Why hire a doula, anyway?

When women seek me out, often they don't understand clearly what a doula can and will do for them. They may wonder why their partners or mothers cannot take care of the things a doula does -- and, in the case of first babies, Moms simply may not know what the birth process is like. 

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Childbirth is a transformative, intense experience that will influence the way you see yourself as person, the way you raise your child, and how you interact with the world. Having a memorable, positive birth experience helps to give you the confidence you need to get through early motherhood years. This is the essence of the "doula advantage."

Your doula will provide continuous, caring support during labor, all with the goal of realizing the birth of your dreams. The doula gives you

  • wisdom and guidance that comes from having attended many births and seen what it takes to make things go well
  • continuous support during labor -- being all on-call as much as 5 weeks for each client, available by phone or email
  • hands-on care as you give birth -- not just massage, but support of a kind that transcends emotion and touch
  • advocacy with doctors, nurses, and other birth professionals -- not to create conflict, but to guide the experience in the way that will suit you best
  • postpartum engagement and care, to help you make the transition from birth to mothering
  • referrals to professionals who can meet all of your birth-related needs 

Every woman has personal preferences and needs during birth. Some women will want a more experienced doula, while others prefer someone young and new to the practice. Some women will connect with doulas from the same background, while others will enjoy a doula completely different from themselves.

The best way to understand what you can get from a doula is through a face-to-face meeting and sharing of ideas. Know what you want and need, and find the person who can provide it.

The result will be an experience that will literally change your life! 

Meet with All Moons Doulas during Friday evening Tea & Talk sessions in Union, NJ. The visit is free -- write to Angela to learn more. 
 

Doulas & grandmothers: Different roles, same goals

The Doula doesn’t replace any member of the family, especially the baby’s grandmother(s). Many women believe, “My mother will be there; I don’t need a doula.” Many partners believe, “There will be too many people in the room; what will be left for me to do?” 

The truth is that, when all people invited to the birth are well prepared and have a clear understanding of their contribution to the process, each one plays a unique and valuable role -- supporting the mother in achieving the  birth she desires.

The grandmother can play the very important role of wise woman of the family, representing the family strength -- the one who has gone thru many life challenges, the one who knows the way. 

The Doula’s role is to include the grandmother as much as possible: praising her, teaching her how to relive to labor discomforts, explaining to her birth procedures that she might not be familiar with -- all while making sure the laboring woman is comfortable and is having her wishes met. The Doula keeps the space so the family can get ready to welcome the new member as gently as possible. 

The Doula minimizes fears and concerns; she believes in the process when grandma and/or mother is not so sure. 

The roles are different. The goal is absolutely the same — supporting the laboring woman while she transforms, opens and finally welcomes her new baby. At this moment, the baby is everyone’s responsibility, and Doula and grandmother team up to assure mom and baby’s well being. 

Once the mother decides to invite her own mother or mother-in-law to the birth, issues that might interfere with the woman’s birth experience may come up. At these moments, the Doula can help identify past traumas and unresolved issues and demystify old concepts about birth the grandmother might have. 

The result is a healing, renewing experience for all involved -- and a remarkable welcome into this world for the new baby.

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The sacred placenta

It wasn't until I gave birth for the fourth time that I got a chance to experience the benefits of placenta for postpartum recovery. Even though I was just a few months away from turning 40, Idefinitely had the fastest recovery of any of my pregnancies. During the first exhausting weeks after delivering, I had the highest post-partum energy levels I had ever experienced; and, after an early breastfeeding complication,  my milk supply went back to full and stayed that way for 50 months! I also experienced no mood swings, irritability, or lack of confidence in my ability to care for my baby.

Since then, I urge all my doula clients, prenatal yoga students, and any pregnant women I get in contact with to preserve their placentas. There are many ways to consume your placenta, with encapsulation being the most popular one. You can also ingest it raw in small pieces, make a smoothie out of it, or cook it into a recipe!

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What are the benefits of consuming your placenta?
    •    increased energy level
    •  stronger milk supply
    •    fewer mood swings
    •    quicker healing
    •    decreased postpartum depression
    •    less irritability
    •    faster libido recovery
    •    restored iron levels

No matter how you decide to enjoy the benefits of your placenta,  ingesting this amazing organ will help you feel more available for caring for your baby.

For information on placenta encapsulation, please contact www.lifetreeservices.com or www.birthingandnurturing.com.

Relaxation Is the Key

In a society where feeling uneasy, tired, running on empty, and disconnected is actually a skill promoted since early childhood, it is very difficult to tell pregnant women to relax.

Some women have heard over and over that feeling stress is a norm for the high achiever. Being stressed helps you get things done; being on the go all the time means you are on track, that you are needed and are accomplishing a lot.

So how, all of a sudden, can relaxing be a good thing? But the truth is that relaxing is not just a good thing -- it is the key to a healthy pregnancy, successful childbirth, and peaceful postpartum.

A busy life style, older kids, demanding jobs, and lost ability to relax cannot be acceptable excuses to make you not at least give it a try.

Here some simple first steps:

* Try to do one thing at the time once a day. 
Don't cook and talk on the phone at the same time, or answer emails in the train on your way to work.

* Spend same time outside -- even on the coldest days.
Go for long hikes, or just around the block, walk on the beach, eat a meal on your porch, seat underneath a tree

* Bring back old childhood fun.
Playing cards, building Legos, modeling with clay, drawing, knitting, painting, coloring books -- let your sense of wonder and simple creativity return,

* Avoid TV as much as possible.
S
elect shows that will add to your spiritual and intellectual growth

. Wake up 10 minutes earlier, go to bed one hour earlier.

. Once a week, have a " Me Time." 
Do something you absolutely love to do. If you don't know what this thing is, go find it out.

* Plan your meals ahead, and make them healthy, simple and delicious.

* Take prenatal yoga classes.

* Rethink your needs.
Avoid over shopping for the baby -- consider second hand items.

* Rethink Baby Shower
People who care about you and can afford to treat your baby with a nice gift will do so -- without you having to go through the stress of a big party at the end of your pregnancy. Consider a Belly Blessing instead.

 

* Turn on the radio and dance your favorite beat -- singing along

* Gardening -- even if you don't have a green thumb, start a herbal garden in your kitchen 

* Massage your belly with pure oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oils

* Try meditation, CalmBirth, CalmMother, Hypnobirthing

* Read a great novel

* Find something or someone that makes you laugh out loud

Prioritize your spending

If you review your budget and prioritize your pregnancy, you can indulge yourself in a very relaxing way:

* take a vacation to a beach or mountain place -- take very little with you

* go to a concert by one of your favorite bands

* go on a date with your partner or family member/ friend

* include a massage in your monthly budget

* go to a retreat with your partner or best friend

* hire a house chores helper; if you already have one, add more visits

* consider taking earlier maternity leave to enjoy the last couple weeks of pregnancy

* take off and go to a pregnancy specialized spa

Discover what makes you relaxed. What people put a smile on your face with their presence; what places make you feel at home; what activity just makes you feel yourself, connect to who you really are. That is where you belong; that is the place you want to be as often as you can. Invest in you; practice being relaxed. Giving birth will be way easier this way. Let it go, let it be, and be generous with yourself.