You Trust Your Doula, Your Doula Trusts You

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There are some unfortunate blurry lines for some people about the role of a doula. To clear that up, we have no stake in the medical field. We don’t open our traps at doctors in your room and we don’t make medical decisions for you. We TRUST you.

We trust that you made an informed selection of your medical provider. We trust that you chose a person who will honor YOUR wishes. We trust that you have educated yourself on these matters and asked us for reliable and accurate information when needed.

We know it is hard, overwhelming and that these are big decisions. But we are here to support you. We are here to answer your questions and help you when you need it.

What happens when we overstep these boundaries? We lose the trust of medical practitioners. They don’t take us seriously when we are there to support you. They may even be less than happy that we are intruding on their space when we arrive in your birthing space. It is so important that we do not create these ripples both for you and for the entire Doula profession. If there is tension in the relationship then we have compromised the very work that we do. We compromise the gentle, caring, calm space that we strive to create to help you achieve the birth that you want.

We want to have a positive relationship with your practitioner. We want them to know that you trust them and that we are NOT there to tell our client that they don’t know what they are doing or that they are making the wrong decision for you. Truthfully, these are YOUR decisions. You do not have to consent to everything they suggest but that is not for us to decide.

You are strong and powerful. We will remind you of that and we will create the positive space you need, trust that.

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It’s okay to not be okay.

No one can fully understand your situation. It is okay to not be okay.
We always try to keep it all together all the time no matter what comes our way but why? Why do we feel like we can’t have a moment to break down when no one can understand? We should and we owe it to ourselves.

Moms are made to feel like we have to have a pristine home, healthy meal choices, well-behaved kids and a smile plastered on our faces all the time. Working moms work too much and stay-at-home moms don’t do enough. Mom shouldn’t be the main bread winner and dad shouldn’t stay at home. Whose kid is out of diapers first, who walks first, who can count to ten, who uses proper manners and so many other things are made to be a competition.

THIS IS HORSE SHIT. These competitions and judgments are good for no one when we all long for something the other has. Stay-at-home moms want to be able to work outside the home some days. Working moms wish they could be home more. None of us really have it together. Hell, I’m trying to write and my three year old just fell off of her bike in the house. I said it. My kid is doing one of those weird things that isn’t “acceptable” and we all let our kids do things that we wouldn’t dare post on social media. And it was hilarious…

It is okay not to be the picture perfect mom (or dad) 24/7 because none of us are no matter how we portray ourselves on the internet. Try as we might, life is NOT a Pinterest board. Babies cry. Toddlers scream. Kids argue. Spouses drive us nuts. What we seem to forget in our fairy tale facades is that all that really matters is love. It is okay that not everything is perfect. It is okay to already want bedtime to come at 8 AM. It is okay to tell your friends the truth.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone is living a lie. I have people tell me sometimes that they don’t know how I do it or that they feel like my 3 year old is incredibly well behaved and I’ll admit, she is pretty well-behaved. However, she DOES act up, have temper tantrums and she does stuff that makes me want to pull my hair out. Those things just don’t make it to the internet. I PROMISE you that one of these twins is going to be a spit fire and give me one hell of a run for my money. I also promise that I will share those woes too. You’re doing awesome and it is okay to not be okay all the time. jenn logos FINAL outlined_logo stacked color

 

 

When someone you know has a c-section…

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April is Cesarean Awareness Month. Without a doubt, modern medicine can be credited with saving many, many lives. Sometimes births end in cesareans and there is nothing wrong with that.  Mothers who birth by cesarean do just that, give birth- no less than anyone else’s births. They are strong, brave, determined, loving mothers-just like anyone else. As a society the way we both question and dismiss cesarean mothers can leave a lot to be desired. People sometimes ask things like “What went wrong?” or say things like “Some people just can’t deliver naturally.” These things may seem innocent but in reality they are very hurtful.

What should you say instead? 

-Do you want to talk about it?

-You did a wonderful job.

-I’m so happy you and baby are healthy.

-How can I help?

Time can be the biggest healer but sometimes moms need to download on someone they can trust, someone that will listen to their story. With Postpartum Depression being such an epidemic we NEED to be there for each other and support one another however we can, no matter how they birth.

The physical recovery from a cesarean can be extremely brutal. It hurts and there is no way to sugar coat that. When a mother may experience pain just from holding her baby we need to step in and be her village. Many women have to return to work before they are even healed from the incisions.

Respect her space. Give her a safe place to share but if she doesn’t want to then don’t press the matter. Some moms carry guilt, anxiety, fear and so many other feelings and they SHOULDN’T. They are amazing. They are enough. They should be celebrated.

Check out our Facebook page to read some incredible cesarean birth stories. Asana Doula Services

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Mourning the end of an era: My Last Baby

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My body is done but my heart is not.
We wanted three kids, I just didn’t realize the last two would be less than 30 minutes apart. Twins.

My heart is entirely full while having a void at the same time. There is something beautiful but heartbreaking about being done having kids.
The one part of me is excited to start a new season in life. Being able to move on with my career, sending them off to school sooner than later, being done breastfeeding in the coming years. The other part of me craves for another little person to need me so desperately that they are saddened at your lack of presence and need the comfort of your breast, the rhythm of your voice and the warmth of your body.
That other side is so ready to hire a babysitter to go on hot dates with my husband that require an Uber to get home.
I can’t wrap my head around their independence equaling my independence but then I want that. I need that.

Being through having children gives true meaning to the term bittersweet. We all love our energy sucking, pant pooping, snot nosed, spitty-uppy kids. But it is just that. When you are done the light at the end of the “MOMMMMMMMMM! Wipe my butt!” tunnel is in view. It is visible and we keep chugging (our wine) along raising these amazing little people.

Still, the gut wrenching feeling of never feeling a sweet baby kick for the first time while you nourish them until they are ready to come earth side, those perfect baby giggles, when they  call for mama for the first time-the longing for that may never fade.  It is easy to forget that they will still need you. They will need you when your eyes well up from their first goal in soccer, from that spelling test that they aced, from the time they fell and cut up their leg doing a trick on their bicycle-sans training wheels. They will still need us.

They will need us when they have kids and those kids will not sleep. They will need us when their baby is in perpetual teething mode. They will need us when they feel exactly the way we feel now. They will always need their mother.

You may feel like me. Happiness, sadness, excitement, guilt and infinite other feelings as our babies blossom in to incredible and independent human beings. We did that. We can keep doing that and we do not have to be sad.

Let’s Hear it For the Dad!

I can hear Deniece Williams singing this as the sequel to “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” but I don’t think this post is that rhythmic. But these dads do love us, love us, love us. Let’s give the dads a hand!

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I always joke that I want to be a dad when I grow up. They get to feed the kids the crap food when mom is gone. They get to take naps with the kids. It just always seems FUN. If I went out to the grocery store in jeans and a tee, no makeup on, hair undone with kids that were throwing complete fits over me not buying cookies people would scoff and think I was a complete mess. This has happened. When dad takes the kids to the store, unkempt, not on their best behavior everyone thinks it is absolutely adorable. It is. Sometimes I fail to remember that it truly is just as trying and just as much work, though. My husband was 3000 miles away when our oldest was born. He didn’t even know she was born yet, for that matter. I cannot imagine how hard that had to be for him. I was surrounded by helping and loving hands but a chunk of my heart was missing. Even then, I knew that me and our baby were happy and healthy and had an easy delivery. He knew none of this yet.

He was able to be there for our twin’s birth. He was able to see that our first twin was born happy and healthy. He was there when our second baby resulted in an emergency cesarean. He was there when I screamed at him not to leave her, to take off his shirt and hold her to his chest. I really was screaming too. What can I say? I needed him to take me seriously.facebook_1458936881997

There he was. He had never held a newborn in his life. We didn’t live together until our first was 4 months old and we made the trip across the country. This is hard. This is not taking the kids to the grocery store and everyone thinking it is the most adorable thing they have ever seen.

The first time I truly realized how much hard work goes in to being a dad was when we were in the hospital. One twin was asleep, the other was nested in his arms. He had just changed her diaper and kneeled down with her to eat as fast as he could so he could get back to helping me. I was high as a kite from the medication they had me on from the cesarean. I was in a lot of pain and I needed a lot of help. Now, it could have been the drugs but I am pretty sure that he really was handling shit and doing it at lightning speed. Then it hit me, (not quite then, at this point I still thought unicorns were real) this is not the first time I had witnessed how much work goes in to being a dad.

facebook_1458936469677My dad is not my biological father. He came in to my life at two and I hated him. Hate being the understatement of the year. He grew on me eventually but I didn’t want him to know it. He does not like pickles so I pretended not to like pickles too but would secretly sneak in to the refrigerator to drink the pickle juice at night. He would do my hair and take me to IHOP where everyone called my hair style a “daddy-do”. We even had matching ponytails. I didn’t realize it was hard work, yet a stranger decided to take responsibility for me.

My dad’s dad went on to be my best friend. My step-grandpa did everything I wanted and treated me like an absolute princess. Every Wednesday was a half day at my elementary school. He would pick me up and we would split a kids meal from Burger King and then we went to “Wally-World” to get me barrettes and socks. I had a very deep drawer dedicated to these barrettes and socks up to my ears. No blood relation and he took this time to spend with me. I had no idea how much that would mean to me later and how much hard work this was.

Fast forward 15 years…

andy 2My father-in-law does the same things. He works so hard to make sure that his kids (in-laws and extras included) knows what they are worth and that they are loved. I would go visit them on the weekends before we moved to be with my husband and he always made sure I was fed and he would take our oldest around with him so I had a little break and to bond with our sweet girl. He would literally carry her in one hand and go about his day with the other. This is hard work.

 

 

My dad would do anything to make these little girls happy. He took our oldest for her first ice cream cone at my favorite local joint back home. He shows off their pictures at work. He sent our oldest these purses that were really just paper bags. When the last one ripped this child gave inconsolable a whole new meaning. One phone call to California and grandpa had purses in the mail. This is hard work.

 

Here I was, surrounded by all of these men that put their hearts and so much hard work in to being dads and it took Dilaudid (a crazy strong drug) to realize this. I still joke that being a dad is easy but I’m literally writing this as my husband is bathing our twins and letting our 3 year old help. If you have a dad around you that you truly cherish like I do all of these men, remind them. Being a mom is hard work but doing it without them would be even harder. They too, are amazing.

What Does the Doula Do

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In honor of World Doula Week I want to take the time to explain what it is that doulas do. It is different for everyone. Mothers and partners need different things and babies all arrive in their own ways. We are here with unwavering support no matter your choices.

We are trained professionals. On the exterior you may learn that we are trained in methods of comfort and “pain” management. We are trained to guide in breastfeeding. We are trained to encourage the partner during birth. We are trained in many areas, all being non-medical. I feel like none of this can truly describe what we do.

We can be used in an un-medicated birth, an induction, a birth with an epidural, planned cesareans, repeat cesareans, midwife attended home births and almost any other birth scenario you can think of. Still, this does not describe what we do. On with it…

Every doula that I know, myself included has a fiery passion for doula-ing. We don’t care how you birth. We care that you know your options and that the decisions are in your hands. We are there to comfort you and encourage you when it is easy AND when the discomfort starts to set in. We are there to be your constant when you are in transition and it seems like the room is spinning or you can’t keep track of your thoughts. We do not use our hands only to make you feel comfortable by relieving any physical aspect-we also use them so you know that we are there never to leave you (unless you need a cookie or you want your slippers and phone charger from the car). We are not there because you cannot do this on your own, rather, to remind you that you can do this because you were made for this.

Often times, the image that comes to mind when someone mentions the word doula is an entirely un-medicated birth in the dirt with good ol’ mother nature. I assure you, we are for everyone.

 

Happy World Doula Week!

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The Pumping Super Human

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Now, I think ALL moms are superhuman. We ALL rock. We ALL defy exhaustion. It is truly a miracle moms all over the world don’t fall victim to micro-sleep. We are all dedicated mothers but if you look up dedication in the dictionary you might find “One who both works and pumps breast-milk for one’s offspring.”

It is insane. Anyone that has pumped understands the reality that is the amount of milk you get pumping compared to what baby gets at the breast. This means that in those short breaks mom gets at work to pump she has to really make it count. By now, breaks to pump at work and a space that is not a bathroom are protected by law in most states. The reality is that it hasn’t been an issue in many establishments in the past so not every place already has these spaces available. Not all moms, recently back from a “break” to have her baby, with hormones that will still be balancing for the next 6-12 months wants to ask (read: demand) that her right to these things be fulfilled. What I have seen from the moms that I know who are in this position is that they get 2-3 breaks around 15-30 minutes to pump for the 40-ish hours each one of them is gone from their babies. These “breaks” are not nearly enough for this dedicated mother to get enough for the times she is away from her baby.

Before I had any experience in the breastfeeding realm I had NO idea the amount of dedication anything like this would take. Honestly, I still don’t. I pump every once in a while at my leisure and donate it. Let me tell you about the first experience I had with pumping-

My sister is a vision. She is absolutely jaw-dropping. Beautiful voluminous locks of gold. Piercing yet soft green eyes. Hourglass figure.

I used to go sit in the bathroom while she would get ready for work and we would talk and joke.

So imagine this…

I walk in to her curling her voluminous blonde hair, popped hip, full face of make-up, dressed for her workday ahead. All the while wearing a hands-free double breast-pump bra. She had been pumping the whole time she got ready for work while my nephew was sleeping. This happened every single day. She would pump in the car using the bra during her 45 minute commute. She dedicated every moment that she had to pump sustenance for her first-born and she went on to do this 2 more times.

This is incredible, impressive, remarkable and so on with the adjectives. So many women do this. So many women do every single thing that they can to do this for their babies. I am privileged to know so many of them. I am privileged to know that this is possible. I am privileged to support these women. I love them and I love the example that they have set. I love when they share their victories and their woes.

No matter how you feed your baby you are amazing and you are enough. Today, let us celebrate the pumping mother. You are amazing.