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Is it your story to tell?

Posted on October 13, 2015 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (5)

Someone has just discovered they are expecting a baby or recently delivered their baby!  This is exciting and you want to celebrate this news, the families accomplishments and the beauty surrounding such gloriousness... but is it your story to tell?

Social media gives us access to INSTANT results, news and information, reliable or otherwise.  Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flick or Snapchat often include todays fine meal or yesterdays mishap and you scramble for the most likes, comments or instant gratification from that post.  Well a new baby will certainly give you the results you may secretly desire, but again is it your story to tell?

The answer is NO!

I'm going to go as far to say it's the parents RIGHT to be the first to announce their story.  Family members please do not steal this moment from them!  They may not be able to announce this news right away, give them time to settle, recover and write about their journey.  Time could mean a full month or more, there is no limit.

There may be an entire back story to be shared, certain details they need to work through and a regrouping that needs to occur.  As they gather their thoughts, quietly provide them with what they do need from you;  a short visit to bring food, an older sibling for a visit, offer to do a chore around the house, run an errand or just be there when they reach out.

Do not steal their thunder!

Birth professionals, you too are accountable to this respectful act.  Often times parents sign consent or give permission to share their birth story, but please make sure your timing is appropriate.  Allow them to be the first, don't tag them on a post in Facebook!  This isn't the way most parents envision announcing the birth of their child.  Keep that space sacred and respected.  Once they have announced their arrival - then piggy back off of that with maybe a slight count of the events or timeline (NOT birth story). I would strongly recommend only recounting the events as they happened NOT your feelings or thoughts on the event, this takes away from their memory.  What if they have a completely different view of how it all happened?

Maybe you mentioned that mom pushed her baby out with ease?  And she's thinking "Bullshit!  I pushed hard and long, it was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life."  Have your just discredited her memories or her efforts in that one innocent statement?

We need to begin thinking about birth from the family and babies point of view.  Continue to share that YOU had the honor of attending a beautiful birth or having knowledge of such incredible accomplishments, but in no way do you paint that picture, nor do you take credit or responsibility for the event!

We as Doulas are not bound to HIPAAs laws but we should certainly act as though we are.  I cringe when I see Health Care Providers posting pictures along side their colleagues, and in the background I see a woman still laying on the operating table from her C-section, I know she did not consent to this type of posting!  What if that was YOU or someone you knew and loved.  

You can certainly post:  "I had the honor of attending a birth today!", "As a Doula, I was allowed to support a family as they traveled into parenthood".  Don't mention names, locations, gender or other identifying details.  Allow the family to tag you in that post if they feel inclined to do so.  NO photos unless they ask you to post, along with a signed photo release.  Because they may come out of their euphoric haze and be upset or disappointed with what they see.  Know the expectations ahead of time, talk with your clients about this.
Treat family and clients as you would want to be treated, show privacy and guard their memories - they last a lifetime!

Expectations, are they realistic?

Posted on September 5, 2015 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)


We all have them, but are they realistic and have they been communicated?  If not, are you setting other up to fail you!?!

As new parents you have "hollywood" visions of what life will be like with your new baby.  Everyone dressed in white, baby snuggled blissfully in your arms, the window dressings blowing in the gentle wind of the window that overlooks the meadows... raise your hand if this actually applies to you?  SHOCKING not very many will raise their hand, because it's fantasy.  The reality is having a baby requires patience, realistic expectations and probably an additional village to help you to raise your baby.  

Then hire a Postpartum Doula and be sure to communicate your needs.  Otherwise you may be disappointed.  Is it sleep that you desire?  A shower? A warm meal as a couple?  Help with learning babies cues? How not to have baby sooth ONLY at the breast?  For each family these expectations are different.  You and your support person can make this time near to the utopia described above, with just a little communication.

If you have a Birth Doula, what you think you need and what you may end up needing may change... in the moment do your best to find your words.  During the interview be sure to explain your expectations.  "I will need you in early labor", "I may need you to be my primary support person", "I love touch, this is what I want all throughout labor", if you don't communicate these things during the interview, the Doula may not know what she's signing up for and she may disappoint.  The honest open communication can help families determine what Doula is BEST for them.

Doulas, please LISTEN!  Studies have shown almost every single person listens to respond!  Don't listen while thinking of what YOU want to say, listen to what the family is actually saying to you.  Hear the words!  If you have taken my training you know this is instrumental in improving your Doula skills.  If you hear what the family is saying and you don't feel you can achieve those expectations, please refer them to another Doula.  Don't compromise your business practices in exchange for a disappointed client.  Everyone wins when there is honest - open communication.

Build your community!  Set yourself and your support up for success!

Read more in the most recent CAPPA Connection

Natural Birth - there is not a gold medal at the end!

Posted on August 24, 2015 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (2)

Imagine you are sitting with a group of women, they know you are pregnant and for a moment you feel safe enough to announce that you plan to have a natural birth!

Wait!  What?  What is their reaction?

"Oh MY God!", "Why would you even do that?", "There is not a gold medal at the end", as they continue you feel like you are being backed into a very lonely dark hole.  The judgement, the lack of support and the outrage and god-for-bid you announce you plan a home birth for the love of chocolate the explanations get bigger!

Have you ever been on the receiving end of this?  Better yet, have you been the one to protest a "friend" or loved ones choice?


I have spent a lot of time wondering, asking and researching this very topic.  Time and time again I hear clients second guess themselves and cry, yes I said CRY, because they were made to feel like bad moms; already and baby hasn't even arrived!  I've hugged those moms and wiped their tears over and over again.  They aren't bad moms because they want to lessen the exposure to unnecessary interventions (that aren't without risk) or because they want to heal quickly so they can meet the needs of their brand new baby.  These are well educated moms, who took the time to research their options and found that this was the best choice for them / not you.  You may have decided differently and that's ok too, your should never be made to feel bad because you wanted a medicated birth or to birth in a hospital, that is certainly your right and you too should feel supported.

If you have been on the receiving end of this, come from a place of compassion for the woman who isn't being supportive.  Sit back and ask yourself if she ever shared details about her own birth with you and what that looked like.  Chances are she wanted to have a normal birth too but along the way she was scared or unsupported and it dictated the decisions she made and ultimately she may have some regrets.

Women please stop judging other women for their birth choices, either way is ok - for that person!

Here is my theory on the subject and I encourage anyone who disagrees to email me, because I am not done trying to learn more on this subject.  If a mother-to-be announces she wants a natural birth, do you then feel she is judging you because you didn't have a natural birth?  Do you protest her choice because it is a reflection on how you birthed your baby?  Do you feel by her saying she wants a natural birth, that she is in some way annoucing that she is better than you?  So you reaction is to critcize her choice or denounce that there is no way she's going to be able to handle the pain, nor will she meet her goal of a natural birth?  Think about it...

My job as a Doula isn't to tell women how to birth their babies or convience them to have a natural birth, in fact I don't even call it natural birth!  I call it "normal birth" left alone, this is what their body and baby would do.  But I know 100% without a doubt you CAN birth your babies normally, I find it's my job to convience YOU that you can do it!  To help you drown out the ney-sayers in your head, to lift you up, encourage you to stay your path - because you chose a normal birth for all your own reasons and you will do it!

Let's lift women up with where they are in their vision for birth, encourage her to birth her way!  The entire team needs to be on the same page as HER (the partner, the family, the entire support team, the Doula, the hospital and yes, the care provider).  If there is a missing link in this chain, you will have a harder time in achieving your birth goals.  Do not compromise, your baby is relying on you to make decisions throughout.

Ask yourself if you have an agenda for someone elses birth!?!

Clock is Ticking, "When are you DUE"

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (15)

What is the very first thing people will ask when you announce that you are expecting?  

Answer: "When are you due?"

My hopes for your reply: "In the Spring, Winter, Fall or Summer!"

Why?  Because you don't know it yet, soon the endless phone calls will begin, "have you had the baby yet?", the text messages will flood your phone like a teenage girl, "have you had the baby yet?", "what's wrong with you that you haven't had the baby yet?", "when are you inducing, since clearly you can't go into labor yourself?".

NEWSFLASH - you aren't broken!  Your due date means NOTHING! It is an "ESTIMATED" due date.

But there is a lot of emphasis on this date.  You expected by this date that your sweet baby would be in your arms.  You aren't broken, your baby doesn't have a clock or calendar, there are only suspicions on what triggers labor, even the natural things or scheduled induction will not insure that you will go into labor.  Labeled yet another NEWSFLASH - EXPECTATIONS are a hilarious thing.  

Let's understand the science to put your mind and everyone else at ease.  If you are getting those calls or texts, simply just copy and paste the link to this article as your reply.  If you received the copy and paste to this article, try this instead:  "let's go to lunch", "let's get a manicure or pedicure", "I trust that you aren't broken and your baby will be here soon", "how can I help you to pass the time until your baby arrives.

ACOG (they write the rules for Obstetrics and Gynecology) says you are considered full term at 40 weeks (NOT 37, that's when you are out of the woods and they would not try to stop your labor) and not "past due" until you are past 42 weeks.  So sit back and enjoy your baby being carried with ease, being fed without waking you in the middle of the night, knowing your baby is being soothed by the sound of your heartbeat.  

This is how your due date is determined, you might quickly notice the flaws.  The pinwheel or app your Doctor is using at that appointment to confirm your pregnancy is based on this formula, from 1850!  No this is not a type-o, I did type 1850 on purpose.

Dr. Naegele, circa 1850, determined that the average length of human gestation was approximately 266 days from conception.

He assumed that the average woman had cycles that lasted 28 days and that she ovulated on Day 14 of her cycle.

However, we know that this isn't true!! He used his data to come up with a mathematical calculation for due dates:

((LMP + 7 days) - 3 months) = Due Date
EX: ((January 1, 1996 + 7 days) - 3 months) = October 8, 1996

Dr. Naegele did not consider certain factors in his calculation. For example: Not every woman ovulates on Day 14. One study indicates that we need to add 12 days to the Naegele EDD for Caucasian, first time moms, and 7 days for Caucasian moms having subsequent children. African American and Asian women tend to have shorter gestations.

Nowadays, doctors use ultrasound, when available or if there is a question of menstrual history. Ultrasound can be an effective way of dating a pregnancy, but this accuracy is lost if not performed in the first half of pregnancy. Not to mention the current controversy as to whether or nor ultrasounds are actually safe for the unborn child. Natural Attachment does not offer or perform ultrasounds and advises against Vanity Ultrasounds (Keepsake Ultrasounds and ultrasounds used to determine the child’s sex).

Most folks agree that there are many ways to date a pregnancy, and that not just one factor should be used to determine the final due date. Other factors to consider are: Quickening (first time mom feels the baby move) Fetal heart tones heard through doppler, stethoscope and fetoscope Fundal height (Measurement of the uterus done throughout pregnancy) A mother's Fertility Awareness Method chart.

Breathe easy now! You will be given options about your birth and it's outcome at this point.  You may be asked to come in for non-stress tests to ensure baby is doing well as you wait for labor to begin.  You will definitely be offered to induce, do your research (articles included below), know your Bishop Score for the likelihood of a vaginal birth, think of it from the babys' point of view, call your Doula so she can give you good information to discuss with your care provider, last but certainly not least TRUST in your ability to make good decisions and be at peace with those decisions.

Even a doctor’s predicted due date is nothing more than a prediction. Only 10% of women deliver on the estimated due date. Half of women hit the due date within one week, but 90% deliver within two weeks of the predicted due date. This is why some obstetricians have started predicting due “weeks” instead of dates. ~ O. Wallace

Inducing labor is intrinsically ironic. It works best when least needed and often fails when needed most. It also causes the very problems it was intended to prevent. A German obstetrician in the early 1800s simply declared that a pregnancy should last ten moon months, that is, ten months of four weeks each. However, when researchers in 1990 study followed a group of healthy, white women they discover that pregnancy in first-time mothers averaged 8 days longer, and the average was three days longer in women with prior births. ~Henci Goer

Bishop Score:" target="_blank"> (Midwifery model of care says anything over 9)

50% of Inuctions end in a C-section: Labor Begins on it's Own

Understand Inductions: Henci Goer, Elective Induction