Supporting new families since 2002
Owner of Mindful Birth since 2002, Mary Esther Malloy offers families an expansive, holistic approach to childbirth preparation, labor support and parenting. In addition to teaching childbirth classes, running parenting groups, attending births and raising her three children, Mary Esther publishes regularly about birth and parenting. Mary Esther holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and a M.A. in Anthropology from New York University.
Giving birth to my first son changed my life. The simple fact of my son and my huge love for his tiny self shaped every waking (and sleeping) minute of my existence, but I was different too.
- Mary Esther
Giving birth to my first son changed my life. The simple fact of my son and my huge love for his tiny self shaped every minute of my existence, but I was different too. I had given birth. It felt as though I had traveled to the fiery core of life itself and returned with a strong, centered piece of myself I hadn’t known was missing. I still feel it in my bones to this day.
Fast forward: me, parenting my one-year-old, pregnant with my second baby and running a moms’ talk group. We were telling birth stories when a woman in the group turned to me and announced, “You MUST become a childbirth educator!” It was one of life’s lightening bolt moments. She was right. I was fascinated by birth … by this physical, mental, spiritual, political, social, and profoundly transformative passage into parenthood. And I knew I had something to offer.
I’d heard many new parents complain about their lecture-style birth classes and how they couldn’t remember anything from class on the big day. Up to this point, my career had been shaped by my passion for progressive, participatory education in the fields of the arts and language acquisition. I had a long track record of and love for creating engaged, participatory learning environments for adults and children. I knew I could help expectant parents prepare in such a way that they could really bring what we explored in class into their experiences giving birth.
I went on to have a similarly powerful birth with my second (10 lb 3 oz!) son. Again, I’d had to marshal reserves from I knew not where to meet contraction after contraction with softness, surrendering to the force of this child’s birth. I came away from this birth awed by the magnificence of our minds. Our bodies know how to birth these babies, and how we use our minds very much shapes how we experience and allow birth.
In my wild ride of a year parenting two babies, I began what has become my life’s work: offering mindfulness-based childbirth classes, rich in practical hands-on experiences, that help new parents use their hearts and minds in powerful ways to work WITH labor, and whatever they may encounter as they enter parenthood. I called my company Mindful Birth NY for the profound tools of mindfulness that have anchored me and given me a sense of presence at one of my life’s most raw, challenging and beautiful experiences (birth), and helped me offer my babies what they have needed as much as anything: me.
At this time, I leapt into the trenches of birth as a doula and soldiered alongside many a birthing family, learning much about birth, babies and life. I eventually expanded my New Moms Talk Groups to offer support to many more new mothers as they parent their children, nurture their relationships and build community with other new mothers and babies.
The years have been busy since founding Mindful Birth:
- I had a third child in 2010, a little girl who arrived via another lesson-filled birth.
- I’ve now worked with over 2.400 couples in my childbirth classes and have attended the births of over 600 babies in the homes, birth centers and hospitals of New York.
- I have kept sane by way of 18 years of moms talk groups (a model that I shared in 2020 with midwives at The Mayo Clinic as they were looking to develop an exemplary new parents group)
- My articles have appeared in Midwifery Today, The Journal of Perinatal Education, The Journal of Perinatal Psychology, Pathways to Family Wellness as well as on many blogs. Here are a few of my favorites:
- I completed a year-long professional training with Nancy Bardacke, author of Mindful Birthing, that deepened my own practice and – I hope – what I offer to families.
- I joined Choices in Childbirth’s education committee where I developed curricula and facilitated seminars for expectant New Yorkers, including
- Men and Birth
- Choosing your Care Provider
- Breastfeeding and the 4th Trimester
- How to have a Great Hospital Birth
- Choosing Homebirth
- Inspiring Birth Stories
- VBAC and Cesarean
- Over the years I’ve had the honor to learn from Nancy Bardacke, Pam England, Karen Strange, Debra Pascalli-Bonaro, Nils and Jill Bergman, Henci Goer, Gail Tully, Diane Weissinger, James McKenna, the folks at Bradley and many others along the way.
And please check out my latest article on labor and mindfulness!
With gratitude to the many people (big and very small) I have had the pleasure to know through this work.
Mary Esther Malloy, M.A.