by Eric A Thomas
Sharing her knowledge to provide physical and emotional support, information and comfort to the person with child, their birth partner and the newborn is what Jacksonville native Khristina Helmich CD(DONA), HBCE, SpBCPE, has been doing since 2017. As of March 8, her advice has been published in a friend’s book.
Authored by Hope Smith, “Your Body Is Magic: Wellness Strategies for a Healthy Pregnancy,” is a book full of answers to common questions from moms who want to have a smooth pregnancy. Smith met Helmich at a workshop for birth workers where they struck up a friendship.
When Smith was writing her book, she sought advice from Helmich so that she could find information from a doula’s perspective to include in the book. All proceeds from the sales will be given to International Medical Corps, a global humanitarian organization supporting women and children’s health across the world. The book is available on Amazon.
“In my work as a doula, I see the clients during the pregnancy and after the birth. I see them at least twice during the pregnancy to educate and support. Postpartum, I always see them one or two times in their homes,” states Helmich. In her work, she says it is important to let the medical providers do their jobs as she gives support to the birthing person and partner.
She has worked in hospitals, homes and birthing centers. She adds, “Since I also teach, do birth photography and birth art, I am really all over the place.” Doing this work comes from the experience she had while birthing her first son.
Because it was the first birthing experience for her and her partner, they were in hopes of finding a medical provider who would help educate them about the whole process. She desired to have an unmedicated delivery, but it was clear that the doctor was not for that. After the first visit, they did not go back. They switched to a midwife group and found a HypnoBirthing instructor who was also a doula. “With her, we were able to feel very confident and educated about our options and we went on to have an amazing, peaceful birth,” she recalls. After that beautiful experience, she wanted more women to feel the support she felt. One more child, a homebirth and three years later, Helmich became a doula and a HypnoBirthing instructor.
The technique of HypnoBirthing is a technique that considers psychological as well as physical well-being of the birthing person, their partner and the newborn. It involves preparing the mind and body for labor, focusing on breathing, deep relaxation and visualization techniques, along with childbirth techniques and stress-free methods of birthing.
Another method Helmich employs in her birthing education is called SpinningBabies. She has been offering this technique since 2019. During birth, babies descend through the pelvis by turning to fit each curve in the passage. This is known as fetal rotation. If fetal rotation can be made easier with this method, the birth is made easier for everyone.
In addition to her work as a doula, being a wife and a mother, Helmich is a graphic artist. She served as a freelance artist for a while but now works remotely for a company on the East Coast as a product designer. Currently, she is working with professional artists’ works, developing retail products that are mainly sold in art museums and exhibits. One such project just finished was for a Van Gogh immersive experience.
Helmich’s roots are strong in Jacksonville, as her father served with the Jacksonville Fire Department and her grandpa with the Jacksonville Police department. She graduated from Westfair Christian Academy in 2008 and moved around for college and work, but ultimately found her way back to Jacksonville last year. Also a graduate from Westfair Christian Academy, her husband Alex is the flight instructor at the Jacksonville Municipal Airport. They have three boys all under the age of seven who keep them busy.
In her limited spare time, she enjoys writing, painting and the outdoors. Find out more on her website, IturAdAstraBirths.com, or reach Helmica via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.