Angela N. Davis, MM, MTBC
“Peri…what? Wait…music therapy?”
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
Whenever career comes up in a conversation, 99.98% of the time this is the look I’ll get when I say board-certified music therapist. I usually use the following analogy to explain; the same way physical therapists use stretches and other movements to accomplish a particular goal, music therapists use music to achieve goals. While this is definitely an “iceberg” analogy (10% of what music therapy truly is), it begins to explain how music therapists use research on how music interacts with the brain to help people achieve a desired goal within a therapeutic relationship. Many brilliant people have been famously quoted for saying something along the lines of one truth: music is a connecting language. I believe this wholeheartedly, and I’ve experienced for myself, and witnessed in others, the power of music and emotion.
Being a “pregnancy enthusiast” (#PermanentBabyFever), I use research on the connection between music and the brain to improve the quality of the pregnancy experience. Hopefully in the process, I will make an impact on statistical realities that should not still exist in 2019’s United States. To avoid sounding like a dictionary, PMT is the use of music within a therapeutic relationship to accomplish a goal related to one or more of the five stages of pregnancy. These stages include fertility, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and bereavement.
As an aspiring doula, I am learning of the disparities in maternal and infant mortality across different cultures. While there are several issues for women across the five stages of perinatal care, birth is the stage where we find rates of maternal and infant mortality that are rising as it declines in other countries. African American women are dying at three- to four-times the rate of women from other cultures within the United States.
Through my doula training, I have learned three ways to contribute to the resolution of fatal childbirth and issues that lead to poor well-being; educational, physical and emotional support. Educational support includes informing my client of her options. Physical support includes informing my client of how to best use her body during pregnancy and childbirth. These educational and physical components of my support are being strengthened through Stillbirthday’s Birth and Bereavement certification program. My music therapy education and experience lend themselves to the emotional support component. Some examples of what might happen within PMT include prenatal bonding, movement songs, stress relief through music and relaxation, and playlists for labor and delivery. For more information, feel free to visit my website, www.nestingtreemt.com, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.