Becca Calhoun, MPH
I trained as a doula at Seattle Midwifery School in 1998, then started teaching childbirth education a few years later in 2002. My interest in health promotion and research led me to get my Master degree in Public Health with a speciality in Maternal & Child Health from the UW in 2006. Since receiving my MPH, I have worked at the UW in public health research while continuing my work with expectant couples. I currently work at the Center for Child and Family Well-Being on research which involves adapting mindfulness programs to meet the needs of specific populations.
I came to mindfulness meditation through my own experience of being pregnant and birthing my son. I continued to study mindfulness over the next several years and found it tremendously helpful in my parenting and in managing my own stress. It occurred to me that I would love to bring these mindfulness practices, that I found so helpful, to the expectant parents I was working with. With this in mind, I trained under Nancy Bardacke, developer of Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting and have been offering these classes in the Seattle area since 2013. I serve on the faculty of the Mindful Birthing and Parenting Foundation where I have the pleasure of training new MBCP teachers.
I live in the Columbia City neighborhood with my partner and our son, who has definitely taught me a tremendous amount about staying in the present moment.
Maggie Bolton, CNM
I trained as a nurse midwife in San Francisco after apprenticing with a home birth midwife in Louisiana for 3 years. I have always been fascinated and humbled with how people prepare for the birth process and wondered if there was a way for people to approach this transition both with a level of preparedness and also a real sense of acceptance for how this process might unfold. I believe that there is a way to prepare that allows for a sense of curiosity, flexibility with outcome, and kindness for oneself throughout the process.
I trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in 2003 as a research participant at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF while I was in midwifery school. Then I met Nancy Bardacke, a nurse-midwife who was finding a way to teach mindfulness for childbirth and parenting preparation and took her 9 week course in 2004(as a midwifery student, not as a pregnant person). I set my intention then to work towards teaching this to expectant parents. My mindfulness practice has been the parachute that I use in my professional life, in my parenting, and in my relationships. I have been attending births since 2000, and have been a practicing nurse midwife since 2005. I find this transition to parenting incredibly fascinating and have a real desire to guide people through it with a sense of gentleness for the process and for themselves.
I live in Ballard with my very supportive husband, daughter and son. I spend my time finding balance between work and play! We love bike rides to the beach, reading and cooking healthy food.
Zachary Pollack, MD
My journey to become a teacher of MBCP began when I first came to Swedish Ballard Hospital to help support the well-established Swedish Midwifery group after finishing my residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/Gyn) at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine - Fresno in 2009. Maggie and Becca had been teaching the MBCP program there and I was deeply moved by how mindfulness was working to help laboring women and their families.
Experiencing first-hand the effects these practices had on the families that had taken the MBCP class inspired me to learn these techniques and to try to integrate them to my Pregnancy Centering Program - a group prenatal care program that was started by the Swedish Midwifery group.
In preparation for teaching MBCP, I attended an MBSR class at UW and met in person with Nancy Bardake for her weekend in labor class that she was offering at the second International Conference for Mindfulness in Amsterdam. This then led to a year-long teacher training program that was completed in 2019.
Learning about MBCP and seeing it first hand was the beginning of my own ongoing meditation practice and its effects on my own life and work have been immense. I am currently an active member of the Blue Heron Zen meditation center since 2016.
I am so very grateful to my wife, daughter, and son who support me in this work and who inspire me to be more fully present for their lives every day. I am a violinist and a member of the board of the Ballard Civic orchestra. I volunteer at Casa Latina to teach violin to children of immigrant families here in Seattle.