There’s been quite a lot happening in the first two weeks of January. In the last eight weeks I’ve had the honor of attending a Bradley Method childbirth education as a doula, under the instruction of Amy V. Haas. Attending these classes has been moving me toward completion of the DONA certification (birth and labor, postpartum support) that I began in June.
I’m extra excited about this opportunity and the news it brings. I’ll be at my final DONA Birth training this weekend in Ottawa, Ontario with Susan Martensen! I am so looking forward, DONA trainings are fun and you meet so many kind and genuine women.
Two weeks ago in my Bradley class we discussed the signs of a laboring mother in transition, which commonly marks the halfway/most intense point of labor. This is the time the hard working woman begins doubting herself and her ability to give birth, threatens to give up, is shaking from a mix of exhaustion and added boosts of adrenaline, and is becoming more vocal. As birth partners it’s an exciting point of labor because you know from the outside she’s making great progress and will have done the deed of giving birth soon. The waiting has been cut in half and the inevitable will be happening despite any doubts that have made it into her thoughts. This is also a point where a birth partner gets to actively encourage a mother that’s been making great progress. Which is pretty exciting for the partner.
Even though all my writing classes would scoff at my eagerness to compare the analogy of transition in labor (maybe a laboring mom would too actually! wouldn’t blame her) to life, I am going to do it. I say there’s a reason people like birth metaphors for new life and change, as well as they like the heart being a love icon, because they resonate popularly. As I’m going through some major changes myself, committing myself to labor support , building my interaction with women during their transition into parenthood…I’ve been stressing a bit, doubting, feeling scared and shaky, but I guess that’s marking of some progress, and I’m excited about what will be when I make it through. An opportunity to serve families in their greatest and most exciting life transition! Thanks Amy for drawing that connection for me.
Happy Tuesday everyone, next week I should be more informational after a weekend away!
I can’t believe it’s January 2012!
I’ll be posting more recent updates soon, and my resolution is to post regularly.
I also am embarrassed at how much updating I have to get caught up on…I seem to always forget that Thanksgiving time launches us all into a blustery season of activity. Last I mentioned here I was heading out to Cincinnati to be with my friends one week after the new addition to their already amazingly active family tree. My good friend Rachel was able to rest while I tended the big sisters, and Britt (Rachel’s husband) had to be back to work. It was an amazing whirlwind, lots of cooking and crafts, never got to any seed planting…but I did get my shining moment in the 30-minute dress up production of the princess and the pea. It was an honor playing the nameless princess with best supporting actresses Avi and Ryan who played the roles of the “Livinia “(a long lost peasant princess), and “Chick ” (my mother the queen). Azia the littlest big sister enjoyed picking my costumes (the only bits that fit me were loose pieces of tule and crowns), and then snatching them back to wear herself.
It was my duty to keep these busy ladies occupied, and Rachel got a chuckle herself when she saw me running around distracting them and trying to multi-task meal making. “It made me think that if you’re that busy with them all the time, I must look like that too!” I think therein we found her reasoning for being okay with a postpartum doula, and not having so much guilt or pressure on herself to bounce back from her healing time. Being mom is non-stop business.
Their little guy Israel was beautiful and healthy, and in perpetual need of Rachel. My role was only a temporary lightening. Here are some fun shots of our time together. I took all the photos and Rachel granted me permission!
Getting so excited to spend time with my friends in Cincinnati this week! Their son is just a bit over one week, and I am planning to preoccupy the older girls while mom allows herself to rest a bit more.
I finally get to pull out my doula bag of tricks for the siblings! Here’s a peek inside.
So thrilled at the opportunity to travel and support. I am going to be starting seeds with the girls. I find this to be a good segue for cultivating care as the older siblings, and how their care helps things grow and thrive…like plants and little brothers. I’ll update next week with their response!
I spent a few minutes talking with a new mother at work today. She shared her home birth story with me, and when I asked how her son was adjusting to the baby brother situation she was ecstatic! She told me her son was present during her labor and birth, and had been fascinated with it the entire time. She also mentioned how much he comforted her throughout her contractions, snuggling her in between, a making encouraging eye contact with her when the pushing got most intense.
I asked her what sort of educational preparation she used for her son. I was very intrigued to see what she deemed appropriate for her five year old. She smiled and said that they watched lots of animal birth movies, and the process just clicked with him.
I thought this was an amazing parenting skill for the integration of a sibling into the family. Drawing connection for big brother without being extremely graphic…and giving him time to process and prepare his young emotions for the arrival of new life, without it being a complete abstraction and shock to his regularity of life. Even books on baby animals might help develop an early understanding and connection for your child, whether you intend to have them present at your birth or not.
Choose favorite mammals. I went with one that shows the least amniotic fluid. Use your judgement! Dolphins are great if you have/had a water birth and your little one has questions.
I just started a twitter for quick linking to great resources, and daily inspirations from Mom’s I work with.
Let’s all follow follow.
Just home after a weekend watching over a small farm for some friends. This city girl got in touch with her farm strength performing the chores. Talk about finding the positive endorphins at 5am! When I was getting the tutorial on how things should be done in the family’s absence, my friend explained how she ended up with her two sheep that were off grazing in the pasture. “They pretty much just eat grass all day, you won’t need to worry about anything but water for them. They’re the pets. I got them to help me through postpartum depression with my second.”
You might not have the room, or desire for such a pet…but I thought it was so neat that she allowed herself to feel a need in her transition, and do something about it! She said they’re therapeutic value hasn’t faded yet as they graze the same time every night while she’s making dinner, right outside her kitchen window.
Seek ye some inspiration mommies! You deserve it, perhaps it’s as simple as buying yourself a new album by your favorite band, or finding a really good blog that will bring you a daily bout of encouragement (not inferring that it’s this one- ha!).
That’s all for now.
Last month I had the joy of being in my dear friend’s kitchen, talking as I did the dishes and she nursed her new baby girl. The smell of zucchini bread wafted as we tried to problem solve, everything from sleep deprivation, to work scheduling (she owns a great local business), sibling rivalry for attention, and easy breakfast recipes. The conversation became somewhat circular as we defined that the only immediately curable item was the breakfast recipes…I could throw a bunch of quiche together to be frozen and eaten at her family’s leisure. The rest got subconsciously filed away as the messy bits of life, but I tried to remind her to take it easy and nest in a bit. She said with the third child it’s a little easier to just “resume life”, which she wasn’t sure was good or not. Jumping right back in after any birth, might have the appearance of “togetherness” and feel right culturally, but she was questioning the health in it, where her bond with the baby and then family was. Ultimately, I think in our human nature we adapt regardless, but my friend here was acknowledging the struggle to be conscious of the type of transition she wanted to be making into this new tier of motherhood. I admire her for that. Nesting in, and checking on bonding status is vital to a postpartum experience, and often rushed over.
Last night my yoga instructor even said she’s started “incorporating mistakes” into her practice. She says she fears them so much the only way she can choose to get over that fear is by planning or choosing to expect the mistake making. I think we can all learn from this, especially valiant new moms. You’re hitting a learning curve and healing all at once; move at a speed that’s comfortable, write lists on your dry erase board…what you don’t get to will get done. Napping is a priority.
Also don’t be afraid to ask your friend to stock you up on quiche.
Or go shopping for items like these.
About the purpose of this blog:
As the oldest of two brothers in my family, I took interest in being a nurturer from the get go. By the age of 10 I was an accomplished “Mother’s helper”, and moved onto the independence of babysitting in my early teen years. I took interest in what I heard moms’ talking about; lack of sleep, body issues, relational woes, breast-feeding, solid foods, the color of diaper poo, and deep love for their offspring. I was typically amazed by these stories told by amazing women in the midst of extreme life multi-tasking. I was eager to be helping, and idolized my best friend who was about five years ahead of me when she pursued work as a birth doula. As I matured, I got to hear these amazing women share their birth stories, even more impressed, I started hearing the similar life experiences around town from women I was less familiar with. I could hear the tone in conversation at the local coffee shops and during waits in lines at the grocery store. While I was nannying I picked up on the excitable tones in these women as they spoke of that magical doula character (I really thought these only existed on the west coast, where my bestie had run off to). It was “Oh my doula, told me about the most amazing book!” ” Oh, my doula was an amazing guide for new birth positions throughout the labor.” and “Oh! Who was your doula?!” I borrowed their expression and coined it into the phrase most obviously heading up this blog address and title. Not to mock, but to share the expression of delight mother’s have been exclaiming since the rediscovery of this archetypal birth servant/ postpartum supporter. This blog, I hope will serve both families and professional doulas in a hearty way. With knowledgable research finds, healthy sentiment, and wholesome recipes.
Photo credit for banner: Erin Wingerden