rebecca J. Mercurio
A perpetual student of anatomy and bodywork, Rebecca has been working as a licensed massage therapist since 2005. A lifetime of travel and curiosity inform her work. Her yoga practice began in India in 1998. She studied and was attuned to the traditional Usui and Karuna healing systems in Japan and became a Reiki Master in 1999. While pregnant with her son she trained under Gurmukhi Kuar Khalsa and became a prenatal yoga teacher in 2012. Rebecca holds a BA in Communications/Documentary Photography from Fordham University in addition to professional certifications in Essential Oils Therapy, Infant Massage Instruction, Infant CPR and is a DONA certified Birth Doula. She has traversed the globe collecting healing modalities and techniques and is fiercely dedicated to the empowerment of women and their families.
Her focus and commitment are deeply rooted in the realm of maternal and perinatal care. Her services incorporate bodywork, childbirth education, relaxation techniques, emotional, informational and physical support to a community she holds in the highest regard: Mothers. From labor preparation to postnatal support, Whole Nine Wellness offers the whole nine yards of care for the whole nine months and beyond.
****By dismantling the culture of fear that surrounds the birthing process we can positively effect entire families. Respecting the process and allowing women to labor on their own terms elevates the roles of the laboring mother and her partner to active participants. The birth experience is transformative for each and every woman and every woman has the inner resources she needs to endure the process; birth is not a scary thing that happens to us, it is a powerful thing WE DO. Empowering women through education and support empowers our children, our partners, our communities and the world at large. Imagine the implications of an entire generation born in peace.
I began attending Rebecca's pre-natal yoga classes in my first trimester and as a first time mama, wasn't really sure what to expect. While the yoga, stretching and quiet time to connect with my baby intentionally were all wonderful, it was Rebecca's enthusiasm to share her knowledge about pregnancy and birth that kept me coming back week after week. The most helpful books and documentaries I reviewed throughout my pregnancy were recommended by Rebecca and as my pregnancy progressed, I found myself not being able to picture my labor and delivery without Rebecca present. As a doula, she made sure my husband and I both knew what to expect once we arrived at the hospital, what our plans B (and C) would be and just generally that we were comfortable and confident heading into labor. She spent many hours with us over the course of my 3 day labor, massaging me, giving my husband advice about how to be helpful and reassuring me that everything was happening just as it should be. Her calming nature and touch was exactly what I needed. I really can't say enough about how helpful Rebecca was - if you do only one thing for yourself during your pregnancy, consider using Rebecca's services! -Danielle Lewis
I first met Rebecca at a prenatal yoga class during my 3rd pregnancy; at which point I assumed I knew all I needed to about the maternity and delivery process/options. Rebecca blew my mind with critical information I didn't know I needed but ended up truly relying on. Her yoga classes were a haven of safety, inspiration, information, empowerment, and relaxation. I went on to have a delivery I never though I could and meeting her has changed the way I look at maternity all together. I will continue to send women her way so they, too, can benefit from her incredible wisdom and gentle spirit. Thank you for changing my life for the better Rebecca! My family loves you :) -Sandra Haseley
I started prenatal yoga with Rebecca when I was about 4 or 5 months along in my pregnancy. Prior to her class, my experience with fitness was mostly in high-impact and high-intesity workouts, so the thought of practicing yoga at first sounded boring and uneventful but thinking it was probably good for the baby I decided to give it a try. I couldn't have been more wrong! Yoga wasn't boring, it was gentle and relaxing yet provided me with a physical outlet that was very kindly accepted by my body. However, what I gained most from Rebecca's class was the feeling of empowerment and strength from her and the other amazing women around me. I was on baby #2, and thought I had read and researched it all, but I learned so much from the sharing of experiences and knowledge from everyone- especially Rebecca! Rebecca taught me how to find my inner strength and feel confident in making the right decisions for me and my baby. She taught me how to speak up for myself, and communicate with nurses and doctors exactly what I wanted and needed, not what THEY wanted me to do. Through practicing yoga and sharing experiences with other moms, I had the most beautiful and natural (and painful haha), yet rewarding birth! If I could go back I wouldn't change a thing about it. I never thought in a million years I could do it, but that was the path my body took me on as labor progressed and I can honestly say it was because of Rebecca! I couldn't thank her more for giving me the tools and knowledge I didn't even know I needed to have such a wonderful labor and delivery of the most perfect little baby boy. -Sara Ark
I first met Rebecca when I began attending her prenatal yoga class sometime in my second trimester. I don't have family or any friends with kids in Buffalo and as a first-time mom-to-be I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the decisions and responsibilities I felt I had to take on to prepare for having a baby. I knew as soon as Rebecca began the class that it was going to be just what I needed. Instead of jumping right into yoga, Rebecca took time to check in with all the mommas there to see where they were, both emotionally and physically. Then she tailored the yoga practice to our needs. Every time I went to Rebecca's prenatal yoga class I left feeling more connected with my baby, more confident in my ability to give birth, and uplifted by the stories and shared experiences of everyone there that day.
When I learned that Rebecca is also a doula, I knew that she would be the right person to support me and my husband through my labor. She has an easygoing demeanor and a very relaxing presence, and at the same time you can tell she is knowledgeable and experienced. Luckily she was available! As I got closer to my due date, Rebecca checked in with me every once in awhile. One morning, a week and a day before my due date, she texted me and asked how things were going. I relayed that there had been some recent developments that morning, but I was (kind of) sure it wasn't labor; Rebecca assured me everything was normal and that it could be hours or days or weeks before I progressed further. By 4:00 that afternoon I was clearly in early labor. I called and updated Rebecca, but at that point I felt capable of handling the contractions with my husband's support. Rebecca was teaching a prenatal yoga class that night and by the time it was over I knew that I needed her to come check on me in person. By then my husband and I were both unsure of how far along I was in the laboring process; my contractions had been three minutes apart from the start and they had steadily gotten more intense. If we had been on our own we would've gone to the hospital then, but when Rebecca came she was calm and reassuring. She made my husband lay down and take a nap and she stepped in to help me through contractions. Throughout the night Rebecca and my husband took turns supporting me - suggesting different positions, putting pressure on my hips, reminding me to relax and rest when I could.
In the morning we spoke with our midwife and by then she thought it would be a good idea to come to the hospital to get checked out. After the longest car ride of my life we finally made it to the hospital. Then, after another excruciating several minutes of laying on the table with monitors strapped to me while the nurses and midwife checked me out, they determined that I was six centimeters dilated. Finally the midwife said that I was progressing well and that I could be monitored intermittently. My husband, Rebecca and I were left (more or less) alone to focus on laboring once again. Rebecca was in the moment with me the entire time, but she was also aware of the whole picture. She reminded me of the signs of transition as they were happening and frequently prompted me to relax so that I could save my energy for pushing. When I felt like I had to push they called the nurses and the midwife back in and the room got busy again. Sometimes I wasn't sure if I should push or not, but I wanted to - I wanted to get that baby out! Rebecca reassured me that I should push when I felt like I had to push. As things progressed, I was vaguely aware that Rebecca was taking pictures. My husband was busy helping to guide our baby's head out and then catching her body as she was born. I am grateful to have photos of the moment of our daughter's birth because Rebecca thought to take them. I was overwhelmed and so happy to finally meet this little person who had been growing and kicking around inside of me for so long. And it was fitting that Rebecca, who had helped to guide and support me through my pregnancy and through my labor, was there with my husband and with me to be the first to meet our baby girl.
We are enjoying getting to know our daughter - watching her learn and grow everyday. We have our hands full for now. But if and when I am ever pregnant again Rebecca will be one of the first people to know; my husband and I agree that we will want Rebecca as our doula again. There is no other option, as far as I'm concerned, so I plan on asking her as soon as possible to be sure she's free! -Katie Striker
Rebecca helped me with the birth of my second baby- I attended her prenatal classes and made sure to soak in every piece of advice she gave and every ounce of strength she offered. It was because of her that I believed I could have a natural birth without an epidural. And I did! I made it through and was so damn proud of myself! So naturally when I was pregnant with baby #3 I started attending her yoga classes again, but soon realized there was more I was missing out on. I had heard stories from other moms about how wonderful their births were, and although I had 2 births prior to this one that for all intensive purposes were great, I didn't know it was actually possible to enjoy giving birth. I thought the enjoying part was after, not during. But after my most recent baby I am thankful to say I was wrong. And it was only with Rebecca's help and support that we (because this time my husband was actually an active participant in the birth) were able to experience life's greatest blessing in such an amazing way. This time my husband and I met with Rebecca and she gave us even more tools to help us through labor and delivery. Not only was I more confident this time around but it left my husband with positive feelings about the birthing process as well. He was excited to know that he could help me; he could participate and be a part of the birthing process not just be an innocent bystander. He went from being "just the dad" to being my support, my coach, my crutch. And because of what Rebecca taught us he felt needed and important in the birth of our 3rd baby boy- feelings he didn't experience the first 2 times. I can now honestly say I am once of those women who annoyingly tell people that I ENJOYED giving birth to my baby. I'm not sure there will ever be a way to thank Rebecca. Through her teachings and support we experienced a beautiful, calm, peaceful, birth together. And through that grew closer as a couple and had a great start to our new life as a family of 5. -Sarah Colombo