When I did my Birth Doula training in 2011, the word “doula,” didn’t seem to be quite common place. A few short years later, as we continue to go back to wanting less-medicalized births, women and their partners are cluing in to how crucial it is to have a doula by their sides in child birth.
Studies show that having a doula present at birth creates:
In a hospital birth, it is so important to have the constant support a doula will bring. She does not replace the partner by any means, he is also a crucial part of the birth team! But a doula has been there before. She has seen other women give birth and has likely given birth herself. Maybe even a couple of times! She is there to support you in whatever way you need. Maybe you need reassurance, and explanation, some water or a massage. As nurses change shifts, and the doctor appears only at the very end of the labour, your doula is your constant.
Read on for more reasons why having a doula is a great idea!
Postpartum Doula Services
Birth Doulas are becoming more and more common, and slowly but surely more women are realizing the benefits of having a doula in the postpartum period.
A Postpartum Doula truly is an angel. She is there to serve you in anyway you want/need. When my son was born, my mother lived 4,000 kilometers away and I was feeling very alone. I was fortunate to find a Postpartum Doula to be by my side when I needed her most. She came to take my older child to the park, did laundry, swept floors, did dishes and cooked. Once, she even brought be a Guinness because I asked for one. She was a shoulder to cry on, and a more experienced mom of two that I could ask for advice. Her name is Millie, and Millie is one Postpartum Doula that I absolutely model myself after.
I will be there for you, in my role as a postpartum doula, supporting you in each and every way that you need.
Recently, I did something that I was absolutely dreading. I went on a five day yoga retreat in Sutton, Quebec. Sounds brutal, right?
In it of itself, I wasn’t dreading the retreat. 5 days of yoga and workshops with a solid group of people I love. No need to cook, I’d be served glorious vegetarian food every meal. Fresh air, a cozy cabin to myself…
But I was not looking forward to leaving Babe and Bug. Some of you, whether you are parents or not, will understand this and some of you won’t. I had never, ever, spent a single night away from my Bug. No longer does he need me to fall asleep. Sometimes he still nurses to sleep, but those times are rarer and rarer. He can fall asleep with Papa or a babysitter. Babe also does not “need” me to function day to day. We invested, bug time, with this Attachment Parenting thing, and see how it’s paid off. Again, some of you will understand this and some won’t, and that’s okay. I had left Babe a couple of times as a doula, two nights for our “honeymoon,” when I was 6-months pregnant with Bug, and another time when my friend Rebecca convinced me to go with her to the Eastern Townships when Babe was nearly 2!
Just now, I went back and read that post about the Eastern Townships, and it was a very similar thing, the feelings I was having as I was about to embark on my Happy Tree Yoga Hatha Teacher Training retreat at Au Tournant Du Coeur. But this time for 4 nights. The what if’s? What if they got sick? What if there was an emergency?
Just like the time Rebecca and I went to the blueberry gite, no emergency. No nothing. If they needed me, they could call. This was not a Vipassana retreat (although Au Tournant Du Coeur is at the old Sutton Vipassana centre and we did have one day of silence). The whole family made it through quite happily. Including me! When I voiced my concerns to friends, they mostly tried to assure me I’d be “fine,” once I got there. I didn’t think I would be. Especially on that day of silence. I’d be lost in my own thoughts and start to panic. The last time someone suggested something so preposterous, was the same Rebecca who tried to entice me to Strom for a day at the spa. Instead I went to a private clinic and insisted on a prescription for anti-anxiety meds. Truth. The idea of being left alone with our thoughts can be frightening.
This was one of the biggest realizations I had on my retreat. Kicked off by this funny and true clip by Louis CK, which we watched at the retreat. Feel free to watch it. It’s funny and relate-able. I doubt I’m the only one who sends a text when I’m sitting in a split-second of terrifying silence. And yes, I do do the yoga and meditation thing. That’s how real this is!
Especially the day of silence and juicing, I realized that I talk too much and eat too much. That I’ve been foolishly (humanly) looking for distractions instead of dealing with the real life things that need to be dealt with. It’s the thing about texting or going on Facebook instead of sitting quietly. The thing about bolting when a relationship gets hard. About taking up something new instead of challenging yourself to get to the next level of difficulty. So often we look outside of ourselves for answers. for love. for acceptance. compassion. But we don’t need to look any further than our own heart. Truly. I know this in theory, but it was interesting to finally see how it has been playing out in my own life.
I don’t plan on taking another retreat anytime soon. Although I have a newfound confidence in my the birth doula-ing that I have been (re)committing to. As I mentioned in our closing circle in Sutton, I am so glad that this retreat was obligatory. Just like I say to the moms who come to my Mom and Baby Yoga classes, “This might be the only time you relax this week, so please, emprofite!”
Here’s to relaxing and self-care when no one is forcing us to do so…
I promised myself to never apologize for the infrequent posts on this blog. I’m busy. Like you all are. I did, however, find time to get out on a kid-free night, to the new Cirque du Soleil show, Luzia that I mentioned in my last post. It was as amazing as I assumed it would be.
I was there with a musician friend, and we sat beside contest winners Jason and Elise– Jason is also a musician and Elise is a dancer. I best-identify as a yogi/ yoga teacher. We were a group of very inspired artsy kind of people (some of us fartsier than others). The beautiful music is one of the first things I noticed. Much of the time, the live musicians were off stage, but there were quite a few moments when they came up to play. In a culture where I feel like many of us are lip-synching most of the time, it was amazing and even surprising to see this music being played live.
And the colours. As vibrant as the posters promised. True to typical Cirque style, the costumes were phenomenal, albeit in some cases scary and disturbing, especially for those who don’t love cockroaches.
The show was a great mix of acrobatics, juggling, balancing and bending. There were moments when the performers were doing things I felt, as a mom, to be too dangerous. And I couldn’t help but jump or hang on to my seat, or friend, for dear life. And I’m going to admit, the contortionist, while very good at doing his thing, made me feel a little squeamish! But I’ve been taking aerial yoga classes these days and found myself inspired, while watching Luzia, to run away with the circus. Think I’ve got a chance?
I’ve since run into a few friends umming and awing about whether to go or not. If you can make it happen, I suggest you do. Pure magic and delight. I feel like going back a second time!
When I was in my 20s (as if I can just casually write that!) I lived with a group of amazing girls who loved me so much, that for my birthday they took me to see Cirque du Soleil in Ottawa. Wikipedia leads me to believe it was Saltimbanco, but I don’t remember details (it was almost a decade ago and we were kind of in perpetual party mode…!) I do, however, remember the FEELING. It was pure magic. Ethereal. Imaginative…. I have absolutely nothing to compare it to. But maybe after April 22, I will.
I’m so looking forward to seeing the newest Cirque de Soleil Big Top, LUZIA, which opens in Montreal April 21. It’s about Mexico. I’ve never been. But I’d love to go. Luzia at the Old Port might be as close as I get for the next little while.
And you can get close to Mexico too, if you like. I have a pair of Category 1 tickets (worth $125 each) to give away to a lucky reader.
How to enter:
“Like” the Mama Naturale Facebook page and leave a comment on this post either on Facebook or this blog, telling me why you want a night out at the Cirque.
Contest closes April 15 and the winner will be randomly drawn and announced the week of April 16.
When we think of Spring, don’t we think of birds chirping, buds blooming, and babies being born? I do. We may still have loads of snow, but I know so many of you have recently given birth! Congratulations to all the new parents who are (or might be) reading this!
I wanted to send you information on a few things that are coming up in the next couple of months, whether you’re still pregnant or your baby has made it Earthside already.
I’m so happy to be able to extend the invitation to the Baby Massage class I’ll be running at Happy Tree in April. You can come as of four weeks postpartum, and babies are even welcome if they’re crawling (keeping in mind they are less likely to lay still). More info here.
In May, Melanie Faucher and I will be hosting a workshop on Yoga for Diastasis Recti at Espace Shanti. More details to follow.
POSTPARTUM DOULA SERVICES
I have recently opened up two morning where I am available for Postpartum Doula Services/Yoga Therapy. If you’re coming into Espace Shanti for consultation, you can book online here. If it’s for a home visit, please email me to discus exact times: jennyberthiaume @ gmail.com or call me 514.318.4566
Finally, here is my ongoing schedule for the next few months. You’ll find Yin Yoga, Babywearing Yoga, Mom&Baby and Kids Yoga here.
Well, that’s that. I feel like an old mama. Yesterday, Babe turned five!
So we blew bubbles the whole metro ride to our first stop– Les Papillons en Liberté at Espace Pour la Vie. We’ve gone as a family for the past few years and love noticing the similarities and differences. (2013) (2014) This year, they focused on caterpillars–baby butterflies! And we’re invited to see the world through the eyes of a child.
The exhibit features about a dozen species of caterpillars and 75 species of butterflies and moths. Up to 20,000 butterflies and moths are released throughout the event and there are 1500 – 2000 flying around at any given time. We loved the presentation put on, explaining the life cycle of a monarch.
We headed out about after about an hour and a half, headed to Part II of our mommy-daughter adventure. The Barbie Exhibit at Les Cours Mont-Royal, was unfortunately less of a hit. It was really amazing. I loved it. Babe was tired, had watery eyes and nose, and somehow thought there should be more than 1000 Barbies. Also, she couldn’t play with them.
You do not need to have a birth plan, but it can be a good idea, so your voice will be heard when you might not feel like speaking. Some doctors/hospitals will give you a template to fill out. You can review this guide and then talk to your doctor about the options that speak to you. If you’re ambivalent about any of these points, ask questions and do some research. Creating a birth plan isn’t an attempt to control the situation, just to get your ideas and wishes together for consistency among nurses and doctors at the hospital.
Before Labor Begins
In your plan, you might specify that as long as mother and child are healthy, you’d like to go into labour without induction. (Or add that you’d like to continue past your EDD as long as you’re both healthy. You can also state that you agree to do the Non stress tests (NST) as necessary.)
You can request no, or limited vaginal exams while in labour.
Research: Membrane sweep
(There are many natural ways to get labour going that don’t include the hospital like sexual intercourse, walking the stairs, nipple stimulation and more!)
You can request they limit or avoid residents or students attending your birth.
You might want to request:
Dimmed lights (can remain dimmed even at the end, doctor needs only a small spotlight to see)
For people entering the room to speak softly
For people not to speak during delivery
For the door to remain closed
What do you/ do you not want or wish to be offered? If you’re planning a medication-free birth, specify that you are aware of your options and will request if they’re needed. Ie: “I am aware of pain medication options, please do not offer me an epidural, I will ask for it if I want it.” You can also ask for privacy with your partner to discuss pain management before committing.
Do you wish to be able to move freely? Do you wish to have fetal monitoring kept to a minimum (which will allow you to move around–they normally do not need to do continuous monitoring.)
Do you prefer to have no time limits on pushing (unless baby is in distress)?
Do you prefer to avoid an episiotomy (unless there’s an emergency) ?
Would you like to avoid stirrups (unless it’s a medical emergency)?
Would you like to be guided in pushing or prefer to follow your body’s rhythm (hard to feel if you’ve had an epidural)
Would you like to view the birth using a mirror?
Would you like to touch baby’s head as it crowns?
Who would you like to catch baby? You? Your partner? Doctor?
Would you like the baby to hear your voice before others? Silence in the room?
Would you like for baby placed immediately skin-to-skin on your belly? (Common practice these days but might not hurt to include) would you like to delay all procedures until bonding and breastfeeding have occurred? Assure that anything that can be done while baby is on you, is done this way? Do you want all possible procedures done in your sight?
Do you want to delay bath (you can do this for the first time at home. Baby does not need soap on him in the days after birth it can be harmful (leave the good stuff on! Plus, the products they use at hospital tend to be unnatural/toxic. They will say they want to show you “how” to give baby a bath, but it’s really quite simple to do– get in the tub with your baby.
Would you like to wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before it is clamped?
Would you like your partner to cut the umbilical cord?
Would you prefer for the placenta to be born spontaneously without the use of pitocin, and/or controlled traction on the umbilical cord?
Would you like to have routine pitocin given to me after the placenta is born or delay it unless there are signs of hemorrhaging.
Would like to take home your placenta? (note that this is typically quite difficult to do if you’re giving birth in a hospital, so be sure you really want it!)
Would you like to delay the administration of eye drops until after breastfeeding and bonding has occurred or avoid entirely?
Also look into:
– vitamin K injection/oral administration/refusing
– routine PKU testing
In case of emergency c-section, do you demand your partner is to be present at all times?
Ideally, would you like to remain conscious during the procedure? Would you like the baby to be shown to you immediately after he’s born?
Would you like contact with the baby as soon as possible?
I hope this is not overwhelming, and can serve as a guideline for the creation of your birth plan. Some hospitals and doctors have templates, and of course, if you have a doula, this is something she will help you with!
Disney on Ice is celebrating 100 Years of Magic. I’m taking my kids, and want to give another lucky family the chance to come too! In September, I took Babe and Bug to go see Treasure Trove at the Bell Centre. They loved it, but one little complaint: Where the heck was the cast of Frozen? Thankfully in the newest Disney on Ice production, which starts Wednesday, March 02, 2016, Anna, Elsa and Olaf will in fact be there.
We’d also seen Frozen on Ice which was quite amazing.
Tickets are for either the French show March 2 at 7pm or the English show Thursday, March 3rd, at 7pm.
To enter the contest, make sure you “Like” the mamanaturale facebook page and leave a comment here on this blog post about the role Princess Culture plays in your children’s lives, as well as your language of preference for tickets. Looking forward to reading what you have to say
It seems this mama has “gone veg” again. I was a vegetarian for most of my life, and started eating it around the time Papa and I got together. Then pregnancy, kids, life, I kept it up because it was easy and convenient. Recently, probably not coincidentally coinciding with the new Hatha Yoga teacher training I’m taking, I decided now was the time. I’ve been practicing following my gut and my gut said, let’s go.
Now, to be perfectly honest, I am curious as to what effect, if any, this is going to have on my health. I don’t think vegetarianism is for everyone, and I also don’t think Paleo is, either. I’ve made this decision for reasons that are far from the possible health benefits of vegetarianism. As a meat eater, I actually felt quite healthy. What I do know about Ayurveda, is that with as much fire (Pitta) as I have, vegetarianism will probably be a good fit. So, here I am, a week back to it, feeling very good.
There is still meat in the house, but I don’t imagine myself cooking it every night anymore. This week, the rest of my family has eaten meat a few times, mostly on nights when Papa is in charge of supper. Tonight I made another quick vegetarian meal. It was so quick and so good that I wanted to share it here. Everyone had seconds!
1-2 cups soaked and cooked beans (any kind, including chickpea would be great) a can is fine too!
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/4 – 1/2 cup pine nuts (I’ve used walnuts before, they’re cheaper and very yummy)
A big bunch of parsley (you can sub with anything green, or even a mixture of different greens)
Good oil (I used avacado)Nutritional Yeast
Pasta of choice. We tend to use Quinoa a go-go’s gluten-free macaroni
Boil water for pasta
Meanwhile, wash greens, removing stems if applicable
Put peeled garlic cloves and nuts in food processor and whirl it around for a while
Add greens and continue to pulse until everything is chopped finely
Drizzle in your oil as the food processor is on. After a little while it will become creamy and look like store bought pesto!
When pasta is almost ready, add beans in the pot to quickly heat them.
Strain beans and pasta
Put oil in the pot and return pasta and beans to the pot, adding the pesto to coat the pasta and beans
Serve with Nutritional Yeast, Salt, pepper or chili flakes if that’s what you’re into.