Biography: Julie Gerland is the Chief United Nations Representative for the World Organisation of Prenatal Education Associations (OMAEP) an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the UN/ECOSOC. She is a pioneer, co-author, international lecturer and advocate in the field of very early parenting from pre-conception to the first year after birth. Julie founded the Holistic Parenting Program: Preconception to Birth & Beyond, a program for parents and professionals. She is a trainer in the world reknown HypnoBirthing® The Mongan Method natural childbirth education and has received several awards including an Hononary Doctorate in Holistic Medicines from the Noble International University. Reach her at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I’m interviewing Julie Ryan Gerland, author, speaker, and advocate for peaceful prenatal and birthing philosophies at the international level.
Ms. Gerland, you have quite impressive credentials. You’ve co-authored books with celebrities such as Deepak Chopra, Carolyn Myss and Michelle Obama, run a holistic center, and have created a holistic parenting program!
Q1: What led you to pursue your passion for helping women and babies in the prenatal time of life?
At the age of 16 I had a very powerful experience which lead to a complete change of consciousness. I just knew that it is possible to create a world where everyone is happy, healthy, and living in abundance. I started volunteering in various projects hoping that these would lead to the necessary changes in the world.
In 1982 I read two books, Education Begins Before Birth and the Secret Life of the Unborn Child. This was enough to convince me that unless we begin at the beginning of life; conceiving, gestating and birthing babies in love, peace, harmony, and respect, each human being would continue to feel hurt, alone and victimized. This leads to aggressive behavior and continues to perpetuate the cycle of violence on themselves, others and the planet. I knew this is where I had to put my efforts, firstly to understand how it works, then to create a program to help others.
Q2: Can you tell us about your association with the United Nations? I’d love a translation into English of your French organization that is in a consultancy relationship with the UN.
Yes, a number of years ago I volunteered to represent at the UN the World Organization of Prenatal Education Associations (OMAEP are the initials for the organization in French) which had just been granted the “Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. So I head the OMAEP – Commission Ecosoc representing “prenatal education” at UN meetings.
We add our voice to UN work on various issues for instance we were actively engaged in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) of which numbers 4 & 5 relate directly to Improving Maternal Health and Reducing Infant Mortality but also sustainable development, the Commission on the Status of Women and all peace issues.
In fact anything that involves human beings stems from the “primal period.” If we want peace, for instance, babies must experience peace from the start then they grow up knowing peace, being peaceful and re-creating peaceful activities and environments which will in turn bring global peace. How can we expect someone who has always known violence from the moment of conception through the most vulnerable time of development, the nine-months in utero, followed by a violent birth and early infancy to act peacefully? It’s like not watering a plant and expecting it to grow!
Q3: I’d love for you to share a brief overview of the goals of your Global Prenatal Initiative.
The GPI is an initiative of OMAEP in partnership with the UN 20Th Anniversary of the International Year of Families in 2014. The aim is to raise awareness of the vital importance and impact of the primal period, that is, from preparing for conception to the most vulnerable months after birth.
We are inviting governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society and anyone who would like to organize an event, which includes at least one of the four priority themes of the UN for the year, to join with us to show the UN that families matter, families are mobilized, that we need to receive this information about the importance of the primal period and naturally make recommendations to them at the end of the year for action.
The GPI starts off in New Zealand on January 1 at sunrise, hopefully events will happen on every continent and finish at the sunset in Hawaii on 31 December. We are working to have the events Live Streamed and available after online so everyone can watch, learn and add their voice to this global initiative.
We will have a tele-seminar running during the year so everyone can learn from the world’s experts in this subject and a cross cultural sharing can take place and women, future parents, mothers and fathers can receive the information and much needed support for the most important job they will every do.
Q4: How can we learn more about the Global Prenatal Initiative? Can you share any Facebook pages or websites that are open to the public?
Anyone can sign up to the newsletter and have more information on the http://naturalprenataleducation.com
The http://globalprenatalinitiative.org website will be up and running this fall
Facebook Group : Global Prenatal Initiative (GPI)
Q5: In my private practice, I sometimes hear that women feel badly when they don’t “achieve” a natural birth…I know that’s not the intent of your program and that you’re not about encouraging competition in women at all.
What can you say to women to help them with these feelings?
Everyone is different, but I probably would say, “This is a great time to share with your baby that we are not here on the earth to “achieve” but rather we are here to live, learn, love and develop.
You can actually pass this on to your baby now by simply, with all your love, talking to him/her and saying, “Mommy did the best she could at that moment with the given situation, I love you, I care about you, I respect you, we are going to continue to live things together, learn and development together, isn’t that wonderful I am so happy you are in my life. If I have hurt you in any way, I am so sorry, I never meant to. I only want to love you and give you the very best.”
The mothers I have worked with have told me this is so freeing!
Q6: Tell us more about your educational offering, the Holistic Parenting Program. It sounds wonderful.
Well, we begin helping parents prepare well before conception (in the best of cases). It’s crazy that there are no “parenting schools” as such, yet it is the most important job, even career anyone can do, bringing into the world another human being. So, the Holistic Parenting Program is a pioneer one.
Future mothers and fathers get to re-visit their own time in the womb, birth and relationship with their parents. This is the ideal time to heal emotional wounds and change deep core beliefs about themselves, parenting or the world that would hinder their blossoming into wonderful fulfilled parents.
We also offer guidance to improve the physical health of each parent as they both contribute to the germ cell health and the genetic capital that their child will inherit. Health is not seen merely as the absence of disease but rather a conscious interaction with their body listening to and making sure that their needs are truly met. This is quite a new concept and practice for most people.
There is also couple bonding to help the chances of the couple staying together and creating a stable loving family. Obviously there is so much to learn about living together in a couple that needs to be consolidated before it can take on the role of parenting.
Understanding the importance of consciously inviting a soul to come and live with them the couple are encouraged to consciously conceive their child with love and respect and assurance that the baby is wanted. Once pregnant the mother and father continue to bond with their baby in utero; the father learns how much the baby needs his loving reassuring presence, touch and interaction.
Talking, singing, walking, relaxing, visualizing, eating healthily and contact with nature are all important in providing the optimal conditions for baby’s peaceful loving environment. They learn to transform their stress into secreting the powerful well being hormones, oxytocin and endorphins.
These are essential actors in a natural comfortable birthing experience. We offer the world reknown HypnoBirthing® Mongan Method for the birth preparation. This is just so simple and is a great preparation to re-condition the parents preconceived ideas about birth and prepare for a natural birth according to the couples own birth plan. The father is empowered to take his place and the body is allowed to do what it needs to do, birth the baby naturally and comfortably. After the birth couples can choose to return to learn holistic infant bonding which includes developmental infant massage.
Obviously there is much more to it but that’s a thumbnail sketch.
Q7: Tell us a bit about your Holistic Center, Providence, in France.
We live on a very beautiful 44 acres hilltop property in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. Over the 23 years we have lived here we have offered people the opportunity to join us for short or longer stays to participate in our holistic way of life, or participate in the programs, trainings or therapies that we offer. Recently we have had less activities here because of our extensive travel schedule.
Q8: I have researched and found these books:
“The Marriage of Sex and Spirit: Relationships at the Heart of Conscious Evolution,” with co-authors include Wayne Dyer, Caroline Myss, Deepak Chopra, John Gray, Scott Peck… Your chapter, “The Winged Dragon” provides an overview of Julie’s life and spiritual experiences in the realm of consciousness, sexuality and healing.
“Einstein’s Business: Engaging Soul, Excellence and Collective Intelligence in the Work Place,” co-authors include Steven Covey, Robert Kiyosaki, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey… Your chapter, “The Inner Voice” was selected for reprint by the popular US based international Well Being Journal.
“Goddess Shift: Women Leading for a Change.” co-authored with celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Madonna and Angelina Jolie, as well as pioneers in the new paradigm Barbara Marx Hubbard and Riane Eisler.
Which books did you enjoy working on the most? Which chapter is closest to your heart and soul?
I am very grateful to have been asked by Elite Books to participate in these three wonderful anthologies.
I can’t say that one is closer to my heart and soul than another. The experience of writing each of them was quite unique and what I share in each is from my heart and soul.
Q9: Do you have some professional mentoring-type advice to those who are working tirelessly in the prenatal – maternal health world?
Never under estimate the importance of this work. The energy, love and wisdom that you share with mothers, babies, families and professionals will no doubt bear fruit.
However, it is important not to be attached to and expect immediate results.
We are living at an incredible time in the history of humanity where it is vital to actually, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” to quote Mahatma Gandhi.
Q10: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for this opportunity for me to share my passion with you and your readers.
Thank you for your valuable time & input!