Our birthing story begins my years ago with fear and anxiety but ends with peace, a glorious testimony, and blessing. Ever since I was little, I never liked doctors’ offices, painful procedures, shots, and pretty much anything medical. I could not even conceive of the experience of childbirth, and my mom often heard me say, “I am not ever having kids!

Years later, having renounced those former statements with the help of Jesus, the spirit of fear was not mastering me, though I still did not know what to expect regarding birth. Four months after getting married, and shortly after my 32nd birthday, I learned that my husband, Dan, and I were pregnant! It was quite the surprise! When it came time to choose a childbirth class, I chose Mandi Ledwith due to the fact that she was a Bradley Method instructor. I had heard that The Bradley Method is based on principles upon which I wanted to ground my new beliefs about childbirth. In all my life I had never heard so many real-life accounts and evidences to back up the fact that childbirth was intended to be, and could be, an awesome, doable, even enjoyable experience. Like most women, I had heard enough terrorizing stories about having babies to raise my level of apprehension or worse, send me to a convent to live out my days! However, knowing that God makes women to give birth, and He doesn’t make mistakes, there had to be another way.

Mandi was and is an excellent coach. She was willing to work with our limited schedule. For several wonderful weeks she met with us, unfolding to us the world of bearing a baby. She was well prepared with worksheets, books, and references. She had many visuals which we found very helpful as we were trying to conceptualize labor and delivery. One of the most effective teaching methods she employed was to repeat the major themes and the information we would be needing the most. Mandi had lots of encouraging stories of couples who had walked the path before us. She also has a wealth of personal experience, having given birth to three daughters of her own.

All in all, we felt very comfortable with Mandi as a person and as a Bradley coach. Her uniquely joyful spirit was refreshing to us each time we met with her. She made sure that we felt confident of what we needed to know before we would be zooming down the road to the birth center. The subject of childbirth is one that appears to be so complex that it is difficult to imagine first-time parents being able to learn all the critical details, not to mention being able to then retain and use them! And yet, we really got a grasp about what to expect concerning our baby’s birthday!

Mandi also made sure to let us know what to do in the post-partum period, and referred us to another birthing resource – a doula whom she personally knew. Now, our story is even more non-conventional in that we asked Enza, Mandi’s contact, to be our doula just days before the birth of our first child.  Mandi had told us, “A doula is a really necessary person to have at your birth if you can at all work it out to have one – and Enza is really good.”

Mandi was right! We’re so glad we took her advice. Between the birthing coaching and referrals she provided, we came upon our baby’s birthday knowing how to manage and thrive through each stage of birth. I was able to deliver our daughter naturally, without any medications or medical interventions. It was not a fearful process, though it was intense and required the focus that Mandi mentioned we would need. The birth of our baby was one of peace and attended by great staff – and we were in full control of how the birthing process went. It was not a scarring experience, but, rather, an incredibly empowering one! I have waited a long time to say this – if I can have a baby successfully, really anyone can!

I cannot mention enough about how great of a coach Mandi is and how convinced I am that being educated by a Bradley Method instructor is not just an “accessory” to a birth, but rather, more of a necessity! Anyone who has ever wondered about the true nature of all that childbirth can be and how to approach it naturally should consider having Mandi Ledwith as their coach.  We will recommend Mandi to all our pregnant friends!

–Anna and Dan Burt