“There is much more to the birthing process than just the physical act of giving birth.”
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Vivian Keeler, founder and co creator of several training programs at Amazing Births and Beyond in North Miami Beach, Florida. Understanding that childbirth is fundamentally a spiritual, as well as a physical achievement. Dr. Vivian connects women with birthing instincts and the innate intelligence of their bodies, welcoming babies into the world in a positive atmosphere of calm and joy.Dr. Vivian a Chiropractic Physician, Certified Doula (DONA), is also a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator and Certified Hypnotist, whose focus is on the care of pregnant women and their families. By encouraging women to trust in their bodies and educating them so that they may make informed choices, she empowers them to have healthier, safer and more positive childbirth experiences. Dr. Vivian is known for bringing an aura of calmness to the birthplace and for sharing her wisdom with gentle kindness. The Amazing Baby Spa, is Florida’s first destination baby spa and allows little ones to enjoy the pampering, relaxation and health benefits of infant massage and hydrotherapy through custom float tubs while mom gets acupuncture, yoga and specialty classes such as HypnoBirthing.
Thank you so much, Dr. Vivian for joining us and sharing your inspiration!
What is your “backstory”?
My training as a chiropractic physician gave me a huge respect for the human body and its intelligence. When I decided to become a mother, I had no doubt that my body would know how to birth and that it would be a normal and healthy experience. I gave birth for the first time in my home and it was as I expected; quick, easy and even ecstatic! I came away from that experience feeling so joyful and powerful. As I talked with women about birth, I quickly realized that they were not having the kind of experience I had. Many came away from their birth experiences feeling confused, disappointed and often traumatized. This made me feel so sad for them and their families. I decided that I should do something about it and began learning as much as I could about birth. I first became a childbirth educator and then a doula and began supporting women through their birth experiences. It was through that support that I gained a deep understanding of why they were feeling as they did. I stumbled across something called HypnoBirthing and this changed everything!
Is your career path a life long dream?
I have always wanted to work in the healing field and first fell in love with the chiropractic philosophy and it’s reverence for the innate intelligence of the body. As I experienced birthing, I realized that there is nothing more instinctive than a woman’s birthing body. I understood that when educated and supported, she can have an empowering, even transformative experience. As I gave birth to my babies, I also gave birth to a new passion and profession. Supporting and educating woman in creating amazing birth experiences became my dream.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
I have attended so many interesting births over the years. One of my favorites was a mother who had had two very difficult and traumatizing births including a Cesarean section for her last. We worked hard to teach her HypnoBirthing and educated her about her options. As we headed to the hospital, I realized that things were progressing quickly and suggested we go to a closer hospital. Her husband brushed it off; as her last births were so complicated, dramatic and traumatic. A short time later her water broke and she felt the baby coming. I received the baby in the back seat of a Lexus on I-95 in Miami at 70mph. It was a beautiful birth. No interventions at all which was exactly what she had desired. Baby was beautiful and healthy. Mom was transformed into a powerful woman who went on to have another baby at home, unassisted!
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from that transformation that I witness over and over again. It happens when a woman takes charge of her experience, educates herself, takes ownership in her birth and surrounds herself with support and positivity. A meek and uncertain woman is suddenly strong and powerful when she births as she intended.
What is your greatest accomplishment professionally and personally?
My greatest accomplishment professionally has been the creation of Amazing Births & Beyond, a wellness and birth education center in North Miami Beach, Fl. It is a beautiful & serene space where women can come for guidance, education, support and wellness throughout the childbearing years and beyond. It includes one of the first baby spas in the country.
By far the biggest personal accomplishment has been the birthing of my daughters who were born naturally, easily and joyfully at home, as I intended. By far, the best two days of my life!
Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?
There are so many people that have influenced my life. My husband has provided infinite support and encouragement as I have built my business. Often times; family and friends stepped in to help with my children and business when I was attending births. I am so grateful for my own mother who never taught me to fear birth, but to honor it.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Are you working on any meaningful or exciting non-profit projects?
I really believe that the way a baby is born, determines much about the person she becomes. When I can help a baby come into this world, peacefully and gently, I feel as if I’m helping to make the world a better place. When a mother births as she intends to, she becomes a confident mother and that leads to happy, healthy families. This year we are working on a scholarship fund to help mothers in need to attend classes and obtain birth related services that they desire.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have been greatly influenced by the work of Marie Mongan, the founder of HypnoBirthing. Spending time with her has been a life changing experience in many aspects. Understanding her work and having the privilege of sharing it through teaching and training has given my life a bigger purpose. I have trained thousands of couples in the art of instinctive, gentle birthing and have trained hundreds of birth professionals to teach the HypnoBirthing method.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1- Changing a birth culture takes time. Be patient. Never give up! (Even though there are studies proving a particular practice or protocol is best, it takes years for hospitals to change practices to embrace the evidence.) I had been talking with an OB for more than 10 years before she called me to say, “I only want to do HypnoBirths; can you help?” I have also worked with a particular nurse for 17 years. She never really seemed to get what I do. Recently she saw me in the hallway and asked if she could attend my classes, so she could learn more. After 17 years of trying to get her on board, it finally clicked!
2- Knowing why you are doing something is more important than knowing what you are doing. Marie Mongan once asked me why was it that in a group you could have several people, all trained the same, yet some of them will soar while others will just float along. I believe that those who walk in purpose with a true knowing of why they are doing something are those that are most successful.
3- Relaxation is the key to a more comfortable birth. Fighting your way through childbirth is exhausting and difficult. Letting go and allowing is the key to easier birth.
4- A positive mindset is vital to achieving a positive birth experience. The law of attraction is alive and well! So many people get the birth that they focus on. Repeating negative stories or focusing on all the things you don’t want, draws them to your experience. Focus on what you do want and think on it over and over again!
5- Babies deserve to be born gently. The way we are born is so important. Our first experiences determine how we view the world.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would start a movement to empower girls to love and honor the magnificence of their bodies from childhood, to understand and reinforce how incredible and beautiful they are. How magical they are! Teaching them to embrace the power of their beautiful, feminine and innate wisdom.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust.” — Suzanne Arms
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this :-)
I’d love the opportunity to thank Oprah Winfrey for inspiring me many years ago to do what I love.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There are other groups that do similar work. What makes my company a stand out is that we have created a first class environment that makes our clients feel special. It is beautiful, serene and comfortable. We go the extra mile to meet the needs of our clients with professionalism. There is a misconception that in order to do doula and birth work that you must have “a hippy” energy or a flakey style. Not so! Professional people often let out a sigh of relief when they realize that we are well educated and professional.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
We expend so much time and energy nurturing others that it is easy to put ourselves last. If you are going to last in this work which often includes long hours and middle of the night phone calls and births, you must find a way to recharge your batteries. Find a friend to walk with and process the experiences you have. (It is cheaper than therapy!) Keep a hobby that is not work related. Give yourself the same nurturing that you give your clients.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
We are working to expand our business and have been approached by many to franchise Amazing Births and Beyond and our Amazing Baby Spa.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? What charities or organizations are nearest to your heart?
We want every woman who needs our services to have them. We have started a scholarship fund to help those in need.
As the sky’s the limit, what does the future hold for you?
I will continue to inspire others to create amazing birth experiences. My goal is to make HypnoBirthing the mainstream choice for childbirth education throughout the world via translations into more languages and by training more birth professionals. I will never stop helping women to trust their bodies and to empower them through positive birth experiences and education.