about illuminascent

More than 1 in 3 people report their childbirth experience as being traumatic.1 Between Canada and America there are over 4 million births per year – one third is nearly 1.4 million births.2,3 That is a lot of people suffering from birth trauma. And a subset of them will then go on to exhibit some or all of the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).4

Those who experience childbirth trauma report a disconnection to their infants, a lack of confidence in their parental decision making, and feeling as if they are ‘not good enough’ mothers. Some find physical recovery so overwhelming it impacts their ability to parent the way they imagined they would, and some develop health anxiety that results in social isolation during the early days of parenthood.4

Parenting is hard enough without birth trauma. Becoming a parent – a monstrous transformation that literally occurs at the cellular level, is enough of a hurdle all on its own.

Those who experience birth trauma attribute it as primarily due to a lack or loss of control around the birth (55%), fear for baby’s life or health (50%), severe physical pain (47%) and not enough communication from their provider (39%).5

There is no right or wrong way to have a baby. But how you feel about your birth experience matters.

Here at illuminascent, I aim to provide you the tools, through education and knowledge, to have a better birth. I am certain that being informed does not guarantee a great experience, which, yes, is a funny thing to say on a space designed to inform you. But the truth is, we all have to work within a system where things simply are not completely in our control, where many providers and protocols just do not work in the framework of what research and guidelines say is ideal practice (clinical practice has not caught up with research yet). And likely, that isn’t something that will change quickly. But (of course there’s a but), being informed will absolutely help you identify what is and isn’t important to you, what is and is not recommended, and I firmly believe, it can enable you to advocate for yourself and ask the right questions. Learning a variety of evidence-based tools to manage labour and delivery has been proven to make a difference in outcomes – and I hope to play a role in teaching you those tools (for more info about this – check out our blog post on childbirth education here).

I am not here to tell you one birth is better than another – that there is an ideal you should be aiming for. There is no right or wrong way to have a baby. But how you feel about your birth experience matters. How you are treated, and spoken to, and supported matters.

about me

Hey! I’m Jess, the person behind illuminascent.

Professionally, I have my Master of Science in Neuroscience and I have worked as a medical writer/associate director for about 10 years now (meaning, in short, I read, write, and explain medical journal articles for a living, and lead a small team of medical writers who do the same). I’m also a CAPPA certified childbirth educator, here to play a role in educating and supporting families through comprehensive, evidence-based information for those preparing for pregnancy and/or parenthood.

Personally, I am many things, including a science nerd and lover of research, wife, and mom of three. Long before I had my first child in 2013, I was reading about fertility, pregnancy, labour, and birth. And by reading, I mean pouring through in-depth research articles in medical journals. You know, for fun. I went into my labour pretty well-informed.

Overall, I had an amazing birth experience. But that birth experience also included a hostile confrontation with my obstetrician. I’ve since had two more children, sons born in 2016 and 2019, each attended by midwives. I’m fortunate to say I’ve had 3 great birth experiences, though all with their own bumps along the way. And it is largely those experiences, and my passion around research and helping pregnant people in a judgement-free way, that has led me to this space where I hope to educate and empower people in their journey to and through parenthood. So, I hope you stick around, and look around, and don’t hesitate to reach out.


MSc, Neuroscience

CAPPA Certified Childbirth Educator


I do not care what kind of birth you have - a homebirth, a scheduled Caesarean, an epidural hospital birth, or if you birth alone in the woods next to baby deer. I care that you have options, that you are supported in your choices, and that you are respected.

January Harshe, author of 'Birth Without Fear'

References: 1. Soet JE, et al. Birth. 2003; 30(1):36-40; 2. Provencher C, et al. Report on the demographic situation in Canada – Fertility: Overview, 2012 to 2016. 2018. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/91-209-x/2018001/article/54956-eng.htm (accessed Apr 19, 2020); 3. CDC/National Center for Health Statistics. Births and natality. 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/births.htm (accessed Apr 19, 2020); 4. Molloy E, et al. Women Birth. 2020; epub ahead of print; 5. Hollander MH, et al. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2017; 20(4):515-523


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