By: Donna Ryan
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If you are just picking up this book (or perhaps you received this as a baby shower gift) and never heard of Banned From Baby Showers, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Donna Ryan. I married my sweetheart, David, on New Year’s Eve of 1994, and together we have 4 children – one boy and three girls. I began the certification process to teach the Bradley Method in 2002 and also certified with ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) a few years later. I started a birth network in Ft. Worth, TX in 2010, growing it to be the largest chapter of BirthNetwork National. I served on the Board of BirthNetwork National for one year helping other chapters around the country. Birth activism has been an integral part of my career. I founded Birth Boot Camp in March 2012 and worked as CEO until Jan 29, 2021 – my 50th birthday – when I sold the company.
What’s the deal with my blog/book title? The Haters think that I am banned from baby showers because of my strong opinions. I had someone ask me if I have a Texas-sized opinion on all topics, or just childbirth! Am I allowed at weddings? Birthday parties? You’ve noticed my BFBS icon, right? – the caricature with the big hat, big hair, and big mouth!
If you’ll indulge me in a little storytelling, I’ll tell you just how the name came about.
I had my first baby with an epidural in 1996, followed up with a fabulous unmedicated birth in 1999. I had 2 more unmediated births. My message to all women? You can do this! Don’t be afraid. Birth is transformative.
You are strong!
I found myself at playgroups and church telling every pregnant woman why she should have an unmedicated birth and seek out midwifery care. It’s an amazing experience that you only experience so many times in life. Don’t miss out on it! By 2002, I had to do something with this knowledge and excitement for natural birth. I got certified to teach classes and have taught hundreds (thousands if you include the online students) of couples since. I loved my job. In early 2006, I attended a baby shower with some women from church that I barely knew. Several of us seriously got into it. It was ugly. It was all about inductions and trusting your doctor. We fought over being informed or, in my eyes, remaining ignorant. Seriously – ugly. I called several of them before going to church the next day to apologize. Awkward.
After that experience, I told my husband that I could never put myself in that situation again. I simply find it impossible to sit and listen to a group of misinformed women talk about pregnancy, labor, or birth and not say anything. Laughing about inductions and c-sections and how necessary they are is not my idea of fun. Most baby showers make a mockery of this sacred event. So, I stopped attending baby showers.
I’ve always liked writing and my husband bugged me for years to write a book. He suggested the title should be “Banned From Baby Showers.” We laughed over it, and when I decided to write a blog, “Banned From Baby Showers” became the title. Ironic now, all these years later, to convert the blog into a book.
When I talk about “Banned From Baby Shower moments,” I’m referring to those experiences with your friends, family, or co-workers over childbirth or related topics. The moments where you have to make a decision about whether to give information or just walk away from the conversation to avoid a fight.
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About the Author
Donna Ryan married sweetheart, David, on New Year’s Eve 1994. Together they have 4 children – one boy and three girls. After two amazing natural births, she knew she had to become a childbirth educator. She worked as a certified Bradley Method Instructor from 2003-2012 and also held a certification from the International Childbirth Education Association. She has served on the Boards of three Networks and also on the Board of Birth Network National. Birth activism has been an integral part of her career. She founded Birth Boot Camp, Inc. in March 2012 and worked as CEO until January 2021 when she sold the company.
In her personal life, Donna loves to ski, cook, kayak, and spend time with her family. She loves the mountains, Tim McGraw, and road trips and hates humidity, mosquitoes, and reading directions.
American Birth: Intervetion, Epidurals, and C-Sections
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
Doulas & Labor Support
Babies and Postpartum
BFBS Moments, Questions, and Randomness
Birth Boot Camp
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This book is dedicated to Alisa Hodge, my dear friend who inspired my first natural birth and who eventually pushed me to start this blog in 2008. Without her, none of this would have ever happened – the natural birth or the blog!
Alisa was tragically killed in a car accident in December 2019. She was the kind of friend that made you want to be a better person, always thinking of others. There were over 900 people at her funeral if that gives you an idea of the lives she touched. Everyone referred to her as their best friend because that’s how she made everyone feel.
While always willing to share her opinion, she mostly led by example. I’m eternally grateful for the 24+ years I had her in my life. May her memory live on, even in these pages.
Don’t miss this podcast episode to hear more about Donna and the behind the scenes of her book.
Only on the:
Birth Boot Camp Podcast
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Banned From Baby Showers