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Navy Veteran Turned Holistic Health Maven – Exclusive Interview With Dakota Smith

Dakota Smith, a veteran with 3.5 years of Navy service, discovered her passion for holistic medicine while working in a hospital hematology/oncology ward. The conventional medical setting left her unfulfilled, and her focus on holistic medicine intensified during her pregnancy in 2022. Dakota, a certified health coach and childbirth educator, had a transformative home birth in January 2023. Currently 8 months pregnant, she's planning her second home birth in March. As a student pursuing a bachelor's in Holistic Health Sciences, Dakota is the owner of DS Holistic Health LLC and co-founder of Regreen Wellness LLC with her husband, dedicated to promoting holistic health and well-being.


Image photo of Dakota Smith.

Dakota Smith, Certified Health Coach


What inspired you to pursue a career in holistic health and wellness, especially focusing on pregnancy and childbirth support?


In January 2022, I hit rock bottom. I was a mess in every way – unhealthy habits, a confused mindset, not knowing who I really was or what I wanted. One day, I just decided I couldn't keep going like this. So, I quit drinking and smoking on the spot. Started intermittent fasting, got into organic supplements, and picked up yoga and aerial arts – pole, Lyra, and silk.


I started journaling and digging into shadow work and energetic healing. Something amazing happened – I fell in love with myself. I figured out what I really wanted. In May, I manifested a pregnancy, and by July, I was married. It was like a whole new life was unfolding.


During my pregnancy, I went all in on healing – body, mind, and soul. That's when I knew I wanted a home birth. Fast forward to January 2023, and I had a successful home birth. The journey and wisdom gained from that experience lit a fire in me. Now, I'm all about empowering women to believe in their ability to heal, have the birth they dream of, and live their most kick-ass lives as moms.


Can you share a pivotal moment from your own pregnancy journey that s ignificantly influenced your approach to holistic wellness?


When I first got pregnant, my interest in holistic medicine was already pretty high. But what really lit a fire in me to go the natural route happened at my 16th-week OB visit. The medical assistant casually threw out, "When do you want to schedule your induction?" It hit me like a ton of bricks because she assumed I wanted to be induced just because I was a first-time mom. Digging into induction with Pitocin, I discovered the avalanche of negative birth experiences tied to it – babies not ready, bodies forced into labor.


As I dived deeper into labor and birth research, a pattern emerged. Women felt coerced into decisions due to fear instilled by medical professionals. I realized that misinformation fueled misconceptions about water births being crazy and scary. It fueled a culture of projecting fears onto pregnant women who simply wanted the birth they desired. This experience propelled me into the world of natural and holistic medicine. It became the driving force behind my journey to become a childbirth educator, empowering mamas to embrace their strength, trust their bodies, and make choices with confidence.

How do you balance your roles as an active-duty Navy member, a certified health coach, and a dedicated student pursuing holistic health sciences?


Balancing discipline, organization, drive, relaxation, and self-care is key to success. Yet, I recently discovered a game-changer: self-compassion. Struggling with this for as long as I can remember, embracing self-compassion transformed everything. I learned to ease up, relax, and ditch unrealistic expectations. Embracing my humanity, I found a flow where everything became enjoyable instead of stressful. Self-compassion became the secret sauce to showing up as my best self and finding success in every aspect of life.

Tell us about the challenges and rewards of being a business owner alongside your husband. How did you decide to venture into Regreen Wellness LLC and DS Holistic Health LLC?


Owning businesses with my husband comes with its challenges, especially in not letting business or financial stress seep into our personal relationship. We've set strict boundaries, reserving evenings for family, not business talk after dinner. The rewards, though, are immense. His brutal honesty is invaluable, and our shared drive for success, fueled by our children's future, propels us forward.


The trust we've built is the bedrock of our partnership. His unwavering support and cheerleading make him not just a business partner but a vital part of my journey. Regreen, our brainchild, reflects our commitment to a business we're proud of—natural, holistic supplementation with a focus on true results, often vegan or organic.


DS Holistic Health, born after my board health coach certification, aligns with my ongoing studies in holistic health sciences. As a childbirth educator in training, I aspire to empower mothers, helping them feel confident and powerful throughout their pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum journey. The journey is challenging, but the shared vision and unwavering support make it incredibly rewarding.


How has your experience as a Navy hospital corpsman shaped your perspective on holistic healthcare, and what lessons have you carried into your own businesses?


My holistic health journey kicked off when I was a Navy Corpsman in the hematology/oncology ward. The work was tough, but helping people every day made it incredibly rewarding. Yet, it's where I discovered my misfit with conventional medicine. Witnessing its flaws turned me towards holistic healing and natural medicine. Serving as a Navy hospital corpsman for 3.5 years was a rollercoaster of life lessons, deep connections, and selfdiscovery. I soaked up wisdom, gained discipline, and formed bonds that will last a lifetime, including finding the love of my life.


From my Navy stint, what I carry into my businesses goes beyond the medical field's integrity and the importance of discipline. It's about the heart – recognizing your voice matters, especially in healthcare. It's a call to self-care because, ultimately, no one cares about you more than you do. These lessons aren't just part of my businesses; they're the very soul of everything I do.


Image photo of Dakota Smith

Your journey includes a successful home birth. What advice would you give to other mothers considering a similar path?

 

The first piece of advice I'd share is to go within. Labor and birth can feel overwhelmingly intimidating, and fears, doubts, and anxiety may surface just at the thought of it. In the weeks leading up to my home birth, daily introspection became my ritual. I won't deny there were nights I sobbed in the shower, terrified of the impending birth. However, facing those fears head-on, digging through the doubts, was an empowering journey.


Secondly, educate yourself! Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to the unknowns of labor. Don't rely solely on anecdotes; dive deep into resources like YouTube, TikTok, Google, and more. I immersed myself in hours of videos, learning about hypnobirthing, meditation, breathing techniques, labor positions, and the phases of labor. By the time labor arrived, I felt confident and equipped to handle the upcoming challenges.


Lastly, take others' opinions with a grain of salt. For those planning unmedicated or home births, brace yourself for negative feedback. I faced labels like irresponsible, crazy, and selfish. Unwanted horror stories were thrust upon me. My advice? Be prepared for criticism, but don't let it weigh you down. Your journey is unique, and others' experiences shouldn't overshadow your own. Personally, I kept my birthing plans as private as possible to avoid others projecting their fears onto me.


Remember, you've got this. Trust yourself, hold compassion close, and whether you birth in a hospital or at home, medicated or unmedicated, you are one badass woman.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

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