Tracy Wilson Peters

Tracy Wilson Peters, ICCE, CLD, CCCE, CLE, CPD, CAPD, is a nationally known childbirth conference lecturer.  She is the author of The Must Have Labor Doula Marketing Manual and numerous journal articles. Tracy is a childbirth expert who has been featured on FOX, CBS, NBC, and ABC. Tracy worked with expectant women and families for more than 16 years, and has attended more than 200 births as a professional labor doula (professional childbirth assistant).  She has taught childbirth education to more than 3000 families and is the current CEO of CAPPA.  Meet Tracy:

  1.       What is your idea of an adventure?
An adventure is any experience that is new to you…. Something out of the norm, beyond the day to day. 

2.       Is pregnancy and motherhood an adventure?
Absolutely! Being pregnant is the ultimate adventure. Knowing that each day the choices that you make play a crucial role in your baby’s development. Knowing that even before the baby is born a relationship is already forming, and that relationship will be unlike any other you will ever have. During pregnancy watching and feeling the physical transformation of my body.  Motherhood is always an adventure, with each new day there are constant challenges and choices.  Joyous moments and yes, moments that make you want to scream.  What other adventure could compare to knowing that the kind of mother you are will influence and shape another human being… a human being with ultimate possibilities

3.       How did you become an expert in childbirth?
When my 1st child was born 24 years ago I fell in love with pregnancy and birth. I went on to earn my certification as a Childbirth Educator is 1996 and began working at hospitals in GA teaching childbirth classes. I earned my other pregnancy related certification over the years and supported thousands of families along their journey into parenthood.
4.       Are women receiving enough information about childbirth, postpartum issues, and motherhood in the USA and abroad?

No, we have a long way to go. Women need to educate themselves on their options during pregnancy and birth. The more informed a woman is about her options the better she will feel about the pregnancy and birth experience. One of the best ways to get the information is by attending a good consumer friendly childbirth education class.  

5.  What do you view as the biggest misconception regarding childbirth?
That birth has to be a scary and daunting time. The opposite is true. It really is all about attitude. If you expect it to be hard, unbearable and unmanageable… it will be. On the other hand,  if you can relax, work with your body, and have a positive attitude it can be a great experience, and adventure you can remember with happy memories all of your life.

6.      What are the benefits of having a Doula (professional childbirth assistant)?
 A doula can help the woman to determine prelabor from true labor and early labor from active labor. At a point determined by the woman in labor, the doula will come to her and assist her by:

  • Helping her to rest and relax
  • Providing support for the woman's partner
  • Encouraging nutrition and fluids in early labor
  • Assisting her in using a variety of helpful positions and comfort measures
  • Constantly focus on the comfort of both the woman and her partner
  • Helping the environment to be one in which the woman feels secure and confident
  • Providing her with information on birth options

A doula works cooperatively with the health care team. In the event of a complication, a doula can be a great help in understanding what is happening and what options the family may have. The doula may also help with the initial breastfeeding and in preserving the privacy of the new family during the first hour after birth.

7.      Women are having children later in life.  Any ‘words of wisdom’ for a woman in her 40s wanting to give birth?
Yes! My words of wisdom are to enjoy it.

Giving birth over the age of 40 really isn’t that different as long as you are in good physical health.

Don’t other peoples opinions overly influence your mothering. This is your experience. Be sure to ask for help and seek out the kind of help that is best for you and your family. Avoid trying to do it all and the supermom syndrome.   
8.       On the flipside, I hear teen pregnancy rates are up again.  Why do you believe this is so, and how can we, as a society, reduce the trend?
 I believe that teen pregnancy rates are on the rise for many reasons. The first is that young girls and inundated with sexual images, Hollywood glamorizes young girls and makes sexual activity among teens the norm. Today’s teen idols are far from the innocent Doris Days of yester year. Another factor, is lack of parental involvement, with over a 50% divorce rate in the US; it can be difficult for fathers to have a close relationship with their children and particularly their teenage girls. It takes a lot of work, a lot of education and a lot of love to tackle this important issue.

9.      Mother’s Day is a time of great celebration.  Are mothers sufficiently valued and appreciated by society for their work and dedication to their children?
 I think we have a long way to go. Yes, we have come a long way since the days of June Cleaver, but there is still room to improve. I would like to see employers understand that when women take time off to be with their child at school events, doctor appointments etc, that they are doing so because their child needs them, and in a society where we need to raise healthy, well adjusted and nurtured children, a mother’s love and involvement in her child’s life is crucial to that human being and our society as a whole. 

10.   What is the best piece of advice you can give a first-time pregnant woman preparing for childbirth and motherhood?
Read! Read good books by reputable experts, such as, Dr. Sears. Enjoy the experience, don’t let the small discomforts of pregnancy be your focus.  Focus on the miracle and have a positive attitude…life really is what you make it.

11.    Has motherhood and mothering changed over the millennia or is it essentially   unchanged?
Yes, mothering has changed. I think today’s mothers are challenged, many of us work and have demanding careers, it can be difficult to manage our lives while we make sure that our children are not the ones sacrificing.  Today’s mother have to be great muti-taksers, thankfully technology today allows us to do many things at one time. We can text our husband the grocery list for tonight’s dinner while we are at soccer practice or at the pediatrician appointment. That is one conveyance mothers of the past did not have.

12.    What is your favorite ‘adventure memory’ with your mother?
 My mother and I flew to New York City to go shopping when I was in 4th grade. She took me to a wonderful posh salon, we had our nails done, and then we had lunch at Grand Central Station and bought new purses! I will always cherish that trip.

13.   How do you balance your career with your family?
 It’s not always easy…ok, it’s never easy. I work a lot, I love my job, but I also love my family. We make a point to do things as a family on the weekends.  I think being conscious is what it’s all about. Making sure that I stay aware of the fact that they need me and I need them. I try and make sure that I ask my children to spend time with me, I ask my son if he would like to go out for sushi with me so we can have “us” time, and I know he will say yes because he loves sushi! It’s all in the planning.

14.    What do you always pack in your suitcase?
My Camera! I take tons of pictures. I want to remember my adventures, I want to be able to share my adventures with other people when I return.  Never leave home without it!

15.    Where is your dream destination and why?  
I want to go to Portofino, Italy. I have a beautiful painting in my house of a harbor with boats and charming houses lining the shore. It’s so inviting. I have always wanted to go there and experience the culture, the food and of course the wine! 

16.     What is your motto?
   “When you’ve exhausted all possibilities, remember this—you haven’t.”