SHANNON & NICOLE’S STORY
Shannon and I have been passionately called to work with women facing challenges related to fertility, pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. We are committed to providing services that promote the physical and emotional well-being of women and their families.
Sometimes, great challenge and suffering can propel us to our unique and unexpected calling in life. The sheer rawness and difficulty of an experience can move us in our core in such a powerful way that it easily leads us to our life’s work. It is in our life experiences where we found our purpose…these are our stories.
I can’t say I have personally been through fertility challenges of my own, but have known countless women both professionally and personally who have endured this deep longing for a child. They have struggled to achieve pregnancy for various reasons. I do think there is universal commonality in surrendering within the experience (i.e. trying to achieve pregnancy, going through labor, healing the physical and emotional trauma of labor, postpartum, recovery and transitioning into being a parent.)
For some time, I was unconsciously compelled to work with women though all the joy and deep pain of these life transitions. I found myself wondering why at certain junctures. I know through and through that this work brings complete joy and fulfillment to my life, but the question I have asked is why has it been so fulfilling for me? I have one beautiful child that I love with all my heart and soul. However, my experience with labor was long, difficult, and painful. I literally thought my body would rip into pieces as I experienced back labor for 16 hours. I had a long pushing phase of 3 hours. I am in no way complaining about my home birth, but it was terrifying yet beautiful and amazing. Quite honestly the hardest thing I have ever done. Yet I wouldn’t of have wanted my birth experience to be any different.
Postpartum, my little boy was colicky resulting in a 2 year sleep deprivation. It was the kind of sleep deprivation where I would forget what I was saying mid-sentence. At times I had emotional break downs due to lack of sleep. Although having a child has deepened and enriched my life. I have little desire to be pregnant or go through labor again. Instead, I am called at my core to spend this energy to help make this process easier for women, babies, and families.
At the very root of all of these life experiences is a deep surrender and a deep letting go of control. This experience is so innately primal (i.e. desiring a baby, enduring labor, and healing traumas, etc.). Motherhood is so incredible and profound. It allows one to love a child with a deep selflessness and compassion. I find myself compelled to make this process easier for women. , I know from experience that I can lend a hand in helping women (i.e. with a screaming toddler, initiating labor, helping women to achieve healthy pregnancies, and support through miscarriage).
I continue to work with women in this sacred space of supporting them with acupuncture, herbs, intuitive work, listening, providing compassion, and understanding. My experience has triggered a deep innate desire to be present and committed to this process for other women, and given me my life’s purpose. I am so grateful for ALL of it!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a huge heart for people. I am passionate about making a difference in the world and in others’ lives and have spent my whole life in this pursuit. I lost my brother and mother before the age of 12, because of this I planned to become a counselor to assist others to heal from loss. With this in mind, I created peer counseling and survivor programs in my middle and high schools. During high school and college years, I began fundraising for Greenpeace, Muscular Dystrophy, and Universal Health reform.
I moved to Chicago to model while continuing college and found that I enjoyed promoting the struggling fashion designers and photographers rather than modeling myself. Later, I was offered the opportunity to scout and place models with agencies around the world. I hoped to help make their dreams a reality. There came a turning point when I felt led to pursue other avenues other than the modeling industry. I tried Corporate America, and assisted in building a start-up business into a billion dollar company. We established internal communications while developing guiding principles and overall vision during their expansion.
What I didn’t know at the time was that one of my greatest opportunities in fulfilling my purpose was just an early birth away. Everything changed when I went into labor at six months (25 weeks,resulting in a “c” section) and gave birth to twins weighing 1 lb. 10 oz. and 1 lb. 11 oz. That event truly changed the course of my life! I spent 6 months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) holding my babies’ skin to my skin. I learned the profound healing difference touch provides! As I watched my boys flourish, and grow stronger daily. I was in the presence of the miraculous. I knew that this ability was a gift and an honor. Shortly after the boys came home from the NICU, I was inspired by an infant massage therapist to massage my boys.
I moved my family back to Madison, Wisconsin, to learn massage therapy, another lifelong passion. I studied under a renowned Chinese doctor and acupuncturist. I became certified in Chinese and Western massage. I learned even more about the miraculous power of touch and the healing available through Chinese medicine and acupressure. I knew that I wanted to work with pregnant women, so I studied under an amazing RN, midwife and therapist. I became certified in prenatal and postpartum massage.
After my training, I went on to work in an acupuncture fertility center for several years providing fertility, pregnancy and postpartum massage. During that time, I also worked in a chronic pain center improving the lives of those struggling with pain. In addition, I worked in a spa as a therapist to introduce many to their first massage. While working for the spa, I held a public relations and marketing position, and created an employee wellness program for Corporate America. Many companies learned they could increase retention and productivity, by utilizing holistic and preventive care therapies, such as chair massage, acupuncture, nutrition, yoga, and Chinese Medicine.
Most recently, I became a certified Reiki master practitioner. This extraordinary training has deepened my ability to be present and compassionate with everyone I am able to touch. I now feel empowered to provide a safe, loving and healing experience through my intuition, words and hands.
One of my greatest joys (outside of my twin boys) has been teaching others about the value of creating connection, intimacy and healing through massage. I taught prenatal massage to massage students for many years and now teach prenatal and labor support massage to pregnant couples. I am excited to say I will be offering parents infant massage instruction soon. Currently, I take advantage of every opportunity to provide seminars, educating others on the benefits of massage, as well as pre-term labor symptoms, and “pain-free” pregnancy.
I have had the great privilege of living out my dream and have owned my own massage therapy business, A Healer’s Hand since 2007. In 2013 I had the profound opportunity to partner with Shannon Gyles of Madison Acupuncture and Holistic Health. We combined our expertise and businesses and were able to create Sacred Healing Center. This enabled us to serve our greater passion and vision of providing all-inclusive therapies to women and their families throughout fertility, pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care.
We have a comprehensive healing center that not only offers massage and acupuncture, but chiropractic, craniosacral, nutrition and lactation consultations, reiki, and massage training for pregnant couples (soon infant massage for parents). I could not be more proud and humbled to work with such extraordinary professionals and clients! The motto I live my life by is “touch others with compassion, for compassion can touch the world”. I am grateful that I am able to fulfill my life’s pursuit and know this is just the beginning.