“Giving birth and breastfeeding my daughter were without doubt the most powerful experiences of my life, and they led me to my life’s work.”
Chantal Molnar has worked with new mothers since becoming a childbirth educator in 1978. She has worked in a variety of roles and settings. After teaching for a few years, she went to nursing school. While she was in school, she had the opportunity to become an assistant to a board certified obstetrician at a freestanding birth center. It was at this center that Chantal witnessed the amazing internal power and capacity that women possess, especially during labor and birth and as mothers.
Chantal went on to work at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, in their L&D, Mother-Baby, and Nursery Units. She experienced first hand how abusive, coercive and controlling hospitals and their policies can be. Most of the routine hospital procedures and policies cause serious disruption between mother and baby.
In the early 1990s, UCI opened a unique Birth Center. The UCI Birthing Center was staffed with eight incredible midwives, was equipped with beautiful birthing rooms, each with its own deep laboring tub. In this setting Chantal was able to support women to tap into their primal power and birth in their own unique way, rather than just being a cog in the oppressive system as she had been in the hospital.
These polar opposite experiences of helping women in their most powerful yet vulnerable time of their lives, instilled in Chantal how important labor, birth, and nursing is to women. They are unquestionably the most defining experiences in women’s lives and should be treated as such.
She developed a way of being with new mothers that elicits their innermost strengths that often they were not even aware of themselves. Our medical culture does not cultivate a mother’s power, but often panders to her vulnerabilities, which translates into overbearing and directive policies & procedures from nurses, doctors and lactation consultants. Since “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it (Einstein),” her goal is to step outside of the cultural conversation and approach new mothers from a different paradigm. To see their inner knowledge, wisdom, and capabilities. To witness these, believe them, support them and strengthen them. That is what brings out the best in new mothers and their babies.
Working with individual moms, while rewarding, did not have much of an effect on the greater culture. So Jennifer and Chantal decided to turn to film as a venue to reach as many women as possible. Through some almost magical, serendipitous events, The Milky Way team came together.
Chantal’s intention is that The Milky Way inspires mothers and their families to action. To demand the changes that need to be made that will ensure that new mothers are honored and cared for in the way that is right for them.
Learn more about Chantal’s work and watch the “The Milky Way Movie” at www.MilkyWayFoundation.org