When my oldest son was two and it was time for his nap, we had a solid routine. I would change his diaper, he would toddle over to his pile of books, pull one out of the pile and attempt to squeeze between my sizable pregnant belly and the rocking chair. Little Pea, by Amy Krause Rosenthal was among our favorites.
Little Pea is a book about – you guessed it: a little pea who lives with his pea parents. Every
night, Little Pea’s parents struggle to get him to eat his dinner, which consists of pieces of candy. They beg and plead with him, citing that he will not grow big and strong one day if he doesn’t clear his plate. An even bigger dilemma for Little Pea, is that if he doesn’t eat his dinner, he will not get dessert: a heaping bowl of spinach. Little Pea is ecstatic about his dessert prospect, so he begrudgingly eats his candy, knowing he will soon be slurping down his favorite green treat.
This book held a lot of amazing memories for my son and I, including belly-busting laughter at the sound effects Little Pea makes upon having to eat his loathed candy for dinner. But the doula side of me sees a big lesson for everyone in this book.
What is this lesson? Perception, of course!
It is so tempting to read this book and think “I sure wish candy could make me big and strong. I’d be so much happier.” But when we do this, we are invalidating Little Pea’s feelings about the detestable taste of candy.
Perception is different in the birth world too…
The woman who is vocalizing through contractions, may not be in as much pain as you think.
The epidural may have helped that mother relax and dilate faster.
The 2 hour birth from start to finish may have actually been a traumatizing scenario.
The planned cesarean may be just what this family wanted for peace of mind.
When we feel strongly about something, our feelings are never wrong. Even if our feelings differ from another, it is possible for both perceptions to be right because different perceptions fit different people. One of my favorite parts of being a doula is meeting families where they are at and supporting their perceptions, which may change day to day.
If I am ever able to be a postpartum doula for Little Pea’s family, I will hold his baby so he can eat an entire bowl of spinach with both hands, uninterrupted, and then happily help his family to function in whatever way they need for that day. After this, I will get in my car, put on my tunes and grab my bag of Twizzlers for the ride home. Little Pea will never know my love for candy, and he will never have to, because I support all families, regardless of how they feel about candy.
It is an exciting, but terrifying time for the Big Island of Hawaii as Kilauea, a shield volcano on the island, is currently erupting. While this situation is far from upstate New York, emotions range from seeing the awe-striking beauty of the lava flowing, to the catastrophic damage to peoples’ houses and personal belongings.
Many questions arise. Some may ask “Why would people even build their houses on a volcano?” Others may say “Building a house on a volcano is perfectly safe. The chance of a house being wiped out by lava is so rare.”
But, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. That doesn’t mean that the people whose houses are being wiped out did anything differently or less correct than the house a hundred feet away from them, which is standing perfectly safe. We don’t berate the people whose houses were destroyed. We are thankful for the scientists who were able to see this coming and evacuate people to safety.
It’s the same in the birth world.
Society is on a nature-kick these days. It is insistent on putting everything into a natural box, assuring that nature will take its course and shaming away anything man-made that may intervene in a natural process. Many people have formulated opinions about birth, quite similar to the volcano. Some are scared for it, while some are excited and can see beauty in it. No feeling is invalid, it is just a matter of perspective based on our different paths.
You may see one family plan for an intervention-free birth and have everything go as planned, where another family may end up needing intervention. Is this because one family trusted birth more? Is this because the family with the intervention did something wrong? No! It’s nature. Nature doesn’t make plans. If we use the volcano analogy, these two separate birthing families could have lived right next to each other on the volcano. One was hit by lava and one was not. Thankfully, this is birth we are talking about, not a volcano. When “lava” flows in our direction, we can use interventions that keep us safe.
What is our biggest takeaway? We want families to make decisions as they choose. Natural can be great for some, but harmful to others. We need to be mindful of this when making recommendations to our friends. In fact, as doulas, we often see that a client’s INSTINCT is key. We want to be there to support and nurture that instinct, whether your choices are made by nature or not.
The beauty of pregnancy and birth, but also the scary part, like volcanoes, is that it can change from minute to minute. No one can truly predict the path of the “lava.” Natural can be beautiful, but it isn’t always safe. The best thing we can do in this day and age, is to support all decisions, and in the case where they don’t go according to plan, accept that this too is a turn of nature.
Here at New York Baby Co. we want to assure you that no matter what turn the lava takes, we are there to support you, whether you built your house on the volcano or not. We always trust in the choices of our clients, and validate any emotion they may feel.
Today on the blog, we want to uplift you. The journey to becoming a parent, as well as the parenting journey can be hard. Every feeling, at any given stage of this process is completely valid. However, sometimes we can forget that, as many times we are so isolated in the time when we need validation the most.
This is why, today we invite you to sit back with us. No need to think, just read. Here are ten affirmations to help you get through your day. Take what you love, write it on a post-it and put it on a mirror to find some inner strength if it helps you!
So there you have it! These are our hand crafted modern affirmations, and we hope you find one that resonates with you today. In this modern world, with research and opinions at our fingertips every minute of the day, it can often be hard to be gentle with ourselves. Today, we are here to tell you that it is entirely ok.
Do doulas affect birth outcomes?
Our short answer is NO, but hear us out!
For years, newspapers and blogs have broadcasted that hiring a doula can make you less likely to require pain medication, lower your chance of a cesarean birth and lower your risk of postpartum depression. We don’t want to negate anyone’s experiences, but we want to make it clear that doulas do not have anything to do with outcomes.
While it is our goal to support our clients while helping them to the birth they want, we do recognize that there are road bumps that can derail this from happening, and our main goal is to make sure that our client is aware of the process, supported and as comfortable as possible.
There are so many factors
The truth is, one human being, even with sufficient training, cannot affect a birth outcome. Perhaps the support we provided did help a client hang on a little longer before getting pain medication, and it is highly possible that our presence may have lessened the stress of being a postpartum parent, and prevented a client from feeling depressed. However, a doula is not a guarantee to make sure these things don’t happen, and even if these things do happen, we are trained and have a huge desire to support our clients!
In fact, sometimes our clients want these things to happen. Many of our clients go into their births knowing that they want pain medication or have planned a cesarean. We don’t affect outcomes here, because we support ALL of our clients’ choices without question. Our clients will always have the last word and the final decision, along with their provider when it comes to their birth.
Sometimes special situations, variations of normal and risk factors arise that make certain outcomes not possible. We aren’t trained to change that outcome…no one can! We are however trained to support every family through whatever turns their birthing and postpartum periods may take.
We specialize in ALL outcomes
Much like we can’t control the weather, we can’t control the road bumps that arise in the birth and postpartum period…every experience is different! We are trained to understand that and work with any outcome!
The NY Baby Co. does not keep track of our clients’ birth outcomes. This is because support is our main goal and we believe that every client’s birth outcome is worthy of support. No matter what outcome a client finds themselves in, we will always be ready to hear, attune and validate. We will always stand behind the fact that we give 100% to all of our clients, regardless of outcome.
Ahhhhhh grandparents! There is nothing more beautiful than watching your child become a parent, we are told. And who are we to rob them of that wonderful experience? A blessing and a curse, grandparents can be so helpful in the journey of having a baby, but occasionally the generations may clash. This is of no fault to either side, we were simply brought up differently. If only, there was a way to show the grandparents that they are understood and valued while also explaining the differences in generations and how times have changed.
Enter, the Modern Grandparenting Class!
That's right, here at New York Baby Co. we believe that grandparents are an important part of the journey and we want to help them be as confident and fierce in their role as you are. Think of us as the liaisons between the two generations. It is never your job as parents to explain anything to the new grandparents, however, we can't blame them for having the well meaning desire to do what is best for their grand baby. Let us take care of the explaining so you can focus your energy on your baby and your journey.
In the grandparents class, we will discuss how babies were raised back in the day and give grandparents the safe space to talk about their individual journeys. We will hear and nurture them, much like we do for you in your new parenting journey. Giving them the space to do this with us can, many times, minimize the chance that they will be doing this with you when you have enough going on in your head. Sometimes, our parents just want to feel validated that they did a great job with us, and we are here to give that to them!
After talking about their side of the story, we will fill them in on generational differences. For example, they are likely not to understand that your generation may be much more likely to show off the baby bump. By showing them all these differences, they may not understand completely, but they will be aware, and in turn, build a respect for the differences. We will display many of the ways regulations have changed, such as not putting baby on his/her belly to sleep anymore and why these changes are now in place. This way, we can have all the conversations with them so you won't have to do so in the heat of an exhausted morning after being up all night with your little one.
As always, our main goal is nonjudgmental support and you can rest assured that we will not take sides with either generation! We will merely serve to show ways for each generation to understand each other better. No approach or method is silly in our minds. However, we believe that all parents deserve to run their family confidently and in peace, and we want to do everything we can to help make this a reality in your household, while still giving the grandparents the golden moment they deserve.
Want to hear more about this fantastic class? Visit our education page here or give us a call at 518-712-9767.
Do Doulas and epidurals mix?
One of our most frequently asked questions is “I really want to hire a doula, but I’m thinking about getting an epidural. Is that okay?”
Today, we want to break the stigma and tell you that it’s more than okay. There is a myth in the birth world that doulas only exist to support clients who want to birth without pain medication. This is absolutely false. Doulas primarily serve as support people, and no matter how a client births there is so much we can do to help your experience be a better one.
The truth is, professional doulas will never talk a client out of getting an epidural or tell the client when to get one. The decisions about your birth will remain exactly where we want them to remain: between you and your provider.
Epidural administered…Now what?
So you decided you wanted an epidural. Having a doula around can still be very helpful. Doulas are trained in supporting all types of births, so we can easily answer questions about the epidural and even help you formulate your own if you are wanting to talk to your care provider or anesthesiologist. We can also talk to your partner and help to support them.
Upon getting the epidural, oftentimes you are confined to the bed as you will not be able to feel your legs. While many assume and epidural will mean instant comfort, this is often not the case. We can sit with you and help with comfort measures until you are feeling okay enough to rest. We can also support you if side effects such as nausea come about.
The Bottom Line
The biggest takeaway is that no matter what type of birth you choose, we as your doulas will attune and hold space for you. We will make sure you feel as safe and in control as possible and will be your right hand line of support to answer any questions and bring any comforts that may be able to help. We will also make sure your partner is doing the same.
A professional doula understands that clients are in control of their own birthing choices. We completely trust you to make decisions that are best for you and your baby. You will never be locked into a birth plan with us, and we understand that your needs will change from minute to minute. No matter what you need, you can put your trust entirely in us.
Have you seen those videos circulating of women dancing through labor? We just love them! Not only can the movements of dancing be a great comfort measure and distraction from pain, but it’s just plain fun!
As your doulas, we want to support you in your decision to dance, so today we have comprised a list of our top twenty jams to dance to in labor that are just perfect for the occasion. Have a look!
Of course, aside from songs with appropriate titles, It’s important to dance to whatever will make us feel comfortable, and know that no choice is wrong. As your doulas, we will always support your choices, even in music!
Did you dance in pregnancy or labor? What was your music of choice?
They are one of the biggest unknowns of a first pregnancy. What does a contraction feel like? Our family and friends can horrify us, yet among them are some who say contractions aren’t such a big deal. Interpretations range across the board, but when it comes to vaginal birth, one thing is for sure: it’s going to happen.
A contraction is a tightening and relaxing of the uterine muscle during labor. This causes the cervix to dilate and efface, progressing to ten centimeters, when the baby will eventually be able to come into the birth canal and be born.
Contractions can be felt in the abdomen, low back, buttocks and legs. Some people describe them as feeling like a menstrual cramp, whereas others feel more back pain. Some contractions, known as Braxton hicks, are not considered a part of labor, but are rather practice contractions and are usually less intense. Contractions in active labor typically become longer, stronger and closer together. However, each birthing person will have their own pattern and intensity.
This makes it increasingly hard to truly know what we will face before the big day. However, many childbirth education classes can teach coping mechanisms to assist in managing discomfort. These techniques can be practiced and learned so they are second nature by the time labor starts. Some people may feel that they don’t need many techniques in their toolbox, and others draw upon them before labor even starts. Clients planning to request medication for pain relief often don’t want to put much emphasis into learning these techniques, however it is always good to have handy, as hospital floors may become busy, labor may be too quick or medication may not work as we hoped it would.
Often times, the uncertainty of how contractions will feel can become one of our biggest fears. However, nature is funny, as often times once birth is over we will remember how we felt during the contractions, but cannot describe the sensation itself.
Have you already had contractions? Can you describe what they felt like?
What is attunement?
Attunement is the ability to get inside the mind of another person. It’s about anticipating their wants and needs and knowing how they may react to certain situations without even having to ask them. There are many times we attune in our everyday lives without even realizing it. Think about a friend who is having a hard time, a child and parent relationship or career fields such as psychology, education or medicine. No matter what walk of life we are from, it’s likely that we all have at least tried to attune to someone at some point in our lives. Attunement is everywhere, and when done well, can be a powerful gift for the giver and recipient.
Doulas can attune too!
Did you know that a huge part of the training our doulas go through involves learning to attune to another person? It’s actually pretty important, and tends to be why our clients love us. The birth and postpartum periods can be vulnerable and exhausting, even for the seasoned parent. It can often be difficult for our clients to verbalize exactly what it is they need in terms of support.
Hiring a professional doula takes the guess work out of figuring out wants and needs, and in turn gets them met in a way that the entire family can function in harmony as a unit. This attunement can appear in many different ways, but allow us to name just a few.
Attunement feels GREAT!
Having someone around who can attune to us can be one of the most amazing feelings in the world. During the birth and postpartum period, our needs can change in the blink of an eye. Having a professional to anticipate these needs changing and adjust to the family’s needs can make all the difference between surviving and thriving.
As your doulas, we want to make your experience the best it can possibly be, and while you’re always free to tell us what is on your mind or what you need, you can rest assured that if this is a difficult task for you, we will always be working very hard to figure it out and then support you in a way that will make sense to your individual journey.
Want an attunement expert in your birth and postpartum experience? Give the NY Baby Co. a call today at 518-712-9767 to schedule your free consultation!