Experiences of PPNE Students and Graduates

Divya Deswal, PPNE Graduate, India

Doula, Childbirth Educator, HypnoBirthing Practitioner, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist, Doula Trainer and Mentor

I was induced with my son in 1996 and I instinctively knew that is left an imprint on him. Just as I instinctively knew that I wanted to be a full time mother and chose to breastfeed my children. Even though the world around me kept telling me that I was an engineer, a professional and a modern woman and my power lay in my career, but I found my true power was in making my own choice and being present to my children was my choice.

Having a child was a life changing moment of my life. My birth was dramatic, with a care provider who preferred a surgery and my son was born while she was at lunch. I walked to the delivery room and walked back out. My birth support was my grandmother and I went through the experience with love, belief and very little information.  That experience shaped who I am today and that set me on a course I am today. I hungered for information that would help me make sense of the strong belief I had about my son being affected by the induction. I first read William Emerson’s report about Obstetric Interventions in 2000. I began this journey as childbirth educator and doula in 2004. In 2007, I had the privilege of facilitating a water birth in a hospital in Delhi and have been doing so for the past 12 years.

In 2008, HypnoBirthing training opened a portal to prenatal psychology. I read books by Thomas Verny, Fredrick Wirth and David Chamberlain. Over a course of 15 years I had the good fortune to be mentored by amazing people. I was able to explore a wide range of subjects regarding tradition, spirituality and science and found myself bringing it all back to birth. I explored working with women art, hypnosis, and dance to prepare for birth. Cognitive classes were simply not enough. I found joy in supporting women in labour and began to extend my knowledge to early period after birth and breast feeding. I found it hard to narrow down and compartmentalize care for the families I worked with to just labour and delivery. I found a wonderful learning resource in the online programs of University of Minnesota.

In 2013 I began to train in Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy. This program took me to a greater depth within myself and the quality of presence I could bring to my clients as a doula. The very nature of birth changed as I found my ‘neutral’. It made me deeply aware of how much of my own story I carried around and my training in BCST took me to look at trauma in a very close and personal way.

In 2017, I found APPPAH’s PPNE program and myself at a crossroad. Joining this program was a difficult decision for me in financial terms. I had invested my time and savings in my BCST training. Yet this program represented my coming to a full circle in my quest for information after my son’s birth. After much internal debate I joined the program and the last two years have been really rewarding. I had the privilege of being at the APPPAH International Congress at Manashakti in Lonavla, India this past January 2019, and met wonderful like minded people.

The course has inspired me in many ways and I plan to begin offering this information as a part of my childbirth class; ‘Choices in Childbirth Through the Baby’s Eyes’. Rather than teaching anatomy and physiology, I now speak of how natures blue print of birth supports healthy mother and baby, and as an extension the family and society at large.

This course also has deeply affected my postpartum interactions with families especially of the baby has breastfeeding difficulty or cries a lot. This understanding has also shaped my therapy work with babies and adults.

I have now enrolled in the Somatic Experiencing Practitioner’s training to add another layer of what I could offer my clients.

Recently I began my own doula training program and draw upon the learning from this course to mentor and support new doulas.

Mark Hunt, United Kingdom

Core Process Psychotherapist, PPNE Student

Having trained at the Karuna Institute as a Core Process Psychotherapist, I was reasonably familiar with the paradigm of the pre and perinatal (PPN) period and had been working with this territory and its influences with my adult clients for a number of years. As my practice became established, I became increasingly curious and aware of more of my own unresolved PPN trauma. This led me to a greater focus on my personal healing and I attended a number of intensive retreats.

My preference is to approach healing trauma, including PPN trauma, through an embodied and relational approach. This was my personal priority and the approach I also take with my clients. However, there came a point when I wanted to understand the history, ideas, and theories that have contributed to the development of the PPN paradigm, and to broaden and deepen my understanding. This would enable me to work more fully with this territory in my psychotherapy practice and in other roles that could promote PPN health.

The APPPAH PPN Educator program was recommended to me by an experienced colleague. I reviewed the program contents and was grateful to find an extensive curriculum charting the history of the PPN movement from its foundations to the present day and providing an extensive reference resource for all the significant contributors, including the very latest research and theories. I have particularly appreciated the weaving together of scientific research, experiential insight, and the recognition and honoring of the sentient awareness of human life from conception. I look forward to promoting these ideas and hope that one day they are part and parcel of the mainstream social science education in schools and colleges.

The content has been highly relevant, stimulating, and affirming, and joining the APPPAH community and the weekly conference calls has been a great support to me. As a man, one that has not had children, it has been particularly helpful to listen to the stories and experiences of many diverse professionals including mums, midwifes, therapists, doulas, and educators etc. This has really helped to create a deeper and richer picture for me personally and has enabled greater empathy in my work as psychotherapist.

Gina Morros, PPNE Graduate, Placerville, CA, USA

Health Coach Educator, Spanish Bi-Lingual Birth Professional, Postpartum Doula, Lactaction Consultant, Infant Massage Instructor

Gina Marie Morros is a Spanish bi-lingual birth professional and has worked with mothers perinatally since 1996. She earned her Masters degree in Health Administration with a minor in Health Education through the University of Phoenix. Gina holds certifications as a DONA Birth Doula, ICEA Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, Infant Massage Instructor, and now APPPAH’s Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Educator (PPNE).

Her experience and journey as a student of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology led her down an interesting and challenging path. Learning how fetal experiences can have major impacts on the life of an individual allowed Gina to better understand and communicate with those she loves and cares for. Working with families, sharing this information, even in its basic form can help a mother better care for her unborn child. Recently Gina was hired by El Dorado Community Health Center as a Health Education Coordinator- bilingual to help implement a federally funded grant focusing on creating the Center’s first Health Education program. Diabetes education is the current primary focus with future opportunities to expand their program base. Gina looks forward to applying her PPNE graduate knowledge to better serving her community.

Shatia Owsley, Washington D.C., USA

BSW, MS, PPNE Graduate & Mentor

Shatia Owsley has a B.S. in Social Work and a Masters in Health Education and Promotion from Maryland University of Integrative Health, where she focused on physical activity during pregnancy with women of color. Shatia has worked in the health care field with local non-profit and hospitals throughout the Washington, DC area, but shifted to holistic and alternative medicine when she believed that healing takes place in the mind, body and spirit. Shatia also serves as co-instructor/ curriculum designer for the annual Medicine Woman apprenticeship in Washington D.C., which empowers women to reclaim their health through ancestral traditions and practices. She contributes to The Gaia Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, serving women and especially women of color as they navigate their maternal mental health. She provides maternal health education and practitioner to clients seeking holistic approaches to postpartum care and maternal mental health.

Shatia’s life vision came full circle in 2013 when she was blessed with the knowledge of being pregnant with her son. Understanding that reproductive, maternal and family health is a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical journey, Shatia decided to dedicate her life to providing families with a supportive, encouraging, and transparent environment that fosters full body healing. As a woman of color, Shatia is dedicated to improving maternal health outcomes with women of color and rebuilding families ONE MOMMY AT a TIME. With that approach in mind, Shatia has decided that in 2020 she will open her own holistic wellness studio in the nation’s capital.

Shatia is credentialed as a Certified Prenatal and Perinatal Educator (PPNE), a Certified INNATE Traditions postpartum Practitioner, a Certified Holistic Full Spectrum Doula, a Preconception and Family Planning Counselor, a Positive Co-Parenting Coach, and several ancestral and maternal health trainings centered around full-body wellness.

Watch Shatia’s Vlog about the PPNE Program: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbCLwgrglozMhELX_cgcrBmm0YPNCr0fJ

Elizabeth Wasserman, PPNE Graduate

The PPNE program has profoundly impacted me. After years of working as a mental health counselor, I felt a growing need to work pro-actively to help prevent trauma. APPPAH provided the foundation for this. It became very clear how to prevent trauma in the earliest stages of life. I am now aware of the importance of a peaceful birth, as well as the power of bonding. I am able to help my clients heal at a deeper level, while also clearing family lineages, to stop transgenerational trauma. The program also expanded my awareness of the conscious and intelligent nature of the unborn baby. It allowed me to dare to communicate with these beings, which unfolded healing otherwise not accessible. Personally, I have become more confident and enthusiastic about starting a family. The program was beyond educational. It was truly enlightening.


I am using my PPNE certification to facilitate bonding workshops for pregnant couples. I have also started seeing more pregnant women for individual counseling, which often includes bonding work through transgenerational healing and Light activated meditations.


Elizabeth Wasserman is a trained clinical counselor, with a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling and a concentration in the Healing Arts. After 15+ years providing psychotherapy to the general population she now specializes in Prenatal Psychology. As a Pre & Perinatal Psychology Educator and Counselor, she provides therapy to those conceiving and pregnant, while also facilitating community workshops to nurture bonding and encourage empowered births. Elizabeth serves to transform generational patterns, helping parents clear unwanted patterns within so that they may consciously raise their children to their fuller potential.

Dr. Sergio Costa, Curitiba, Brazil

PPNE Student

My name is Sérgio Luis Costa and I graduated in Medicine in 1993 in Paraná Federal University. After this I did my residence in OBG&Gyn at the same institution ( 1994/1995). I did my specialization on Maternal-Fetal Medicine in São Paulo (1996). And in 1997 I spent half  year on King´s College Hospital in London, learning prenatal diagnosis and treatment.

I run a private clinic of Fetal Medicine ( Ultrasound Scans ) in Curitiba (South of Brazil) for more than 18 years, dealing with normal and pathological pregnancies.

In 2008 to 2010 I did a specialization in Chinese Medicine focusing emotional aspects of illness. Accupuncture is another excellent tool, to help mothers and families to thrive.

Nowadays, I am focused on integrating the initial knowledge of PPNE on my daily clinic, orienting parents about the conscious baby and all these beautiful areas. With simple advices and tools for connection I think I can make couples aware of the importance of these relationships on the future of their children.

In my personal path, I realized about my birth trauma and early imprints and I am working on them. One thing I can see….. My difficulties made my journey! And now I can re-pattern them, and help other people!!