December 1, 2016

Childbirth Education From the Comfort of Your Own Home!

Dreading prenatal class in the dark days of winter? We have an online workshop that is the perfect solution to those who would rather stay cozied up at home in their pajamas, yet still want to learn about all of the incredible options that they have for their birth!


birthPrep takes you through everything from positions for labour and birth, comfort measures, what to expect in the first 24 hours following birth and some simple strategies for your postpartum transition.

We've created a series of conversational videos, a PDF handbook, various worksheets and then open the floor for questions. Once you complete the online course, simply email us with your questions and one of our very capable doulas will be in touch with you to make sure you get all the answers and guidance that you seek!

To find out more about birthPrep or to register for the course, click here!

xoxo
Shannon

November 25, 2016

Why They Always Want Mama

You hear it in the middle of the night

mama
mommy
mom
mum

From the moment that they first wake up to when they rest their tired heads down on their pillow...and sometimes even in the middle of the night when something scary happens in a dream.

They
Just
Want
Mama




So often, we cringe at the words, especially when they are spoken over and over and followed up with can I have a (insert thing here...probably the word "snack").

But at the end of the day, there is no sweeter word and no better feeling than your child wanting and needing you for something.

Why do they always want mama? Well, because they know you. They trust you. They know your heart from the inside out. They feel comforted by your arms and your smell.

They just want mama.

They want you to hold them. They want to hear your voice and for you to sing.

They want you because they love you and them saying your name over and over is them telling you that you are important. You are everything to them, even in the times when you feel like you are failing them.

Hold them a little longer
Squeeze them a little tighter

Be there. They need you.

xoxo
Shannon

November 21, 2016

How to NOT Feel Like a Patient at Your Hospital Birth

One of the most common concerns that we hear is about how women feel like patients at the hospital,when thy are there for fetal monitoring, non-stress tests in late term pregnancy, or at their previous birth experience.

The hospital gown
Bright lights
Cold air
Sterile environment

Often hear that it hinders a peaceful and calm birth experience, so we thought we would compile a few tips to help you feel more of a person and less of a patient at the hospital during your birth.


Ditch the gown!

Wearing your own clothing (and something you don't mind getting ruined by bodily fluids) can give a great deal of comfort and control at the hospital. A sundress, sports bra, maxi skirt, pajamas. Anything that allows for intermittent fetal and maternal monitoring, that you can move freely in and you feel comfortable in.

Lower the lights

Bright lights instantly make a hospital room feel clinical. Turning off all unnecessary lighting is something that we have found to nurses are more than happy to accommodate, and it's an easy way to lower the intensity of the room.

Bring some music or you favourite movie

Load up your iPad with to playlists: one high energy list and one chill and relaxing list. Include music that you love to dance you, that makes you happy. You know the kind; those jams that get you dancing in your kitchen or singing in the car. To save on you data, download the playlists for offline use.

If you need a movie break or a visual distraction from labour, make your smartphone a mobile hotspot and access Netflix on you iPad or tablet. Pick an old favourite, something that gets you laughing (or crying! Emotional releases bring out the oxytocin, which gets labour moving!) or just something with a really great storyline that makes you focus on the details. I personally recommend Sex and The City; it was amazing to laugh to through the late stage transitions with my doula Jena and nurse Ney!

Ultimately, there is noting about having a baby that makes you a patient. You are still a human, and you can absolutely have a more peaceful and calm experience at the hospital by taking a bit of control and honouring yourself during your birth.

xoxo
Shannon

November 17, 2016

Pregnancy After Loss

There are so many aspects to pregnancy and parenting that just aren't talked about. You know the things I'm talking about; the ones that happen every day and no one wants to talk about because they're hard. They stir up emotions that we would rather bury and hide from.

Today we are talking about pregnancy after loss.





It's a time of such mixed emotions. A time I remember well. After the guilt and grief, numbness and pain came this time where we were supposed to be overcome with joy when we found out we were expecting again.

It had only been six weeks or so. The pain was still there from losing the one we would never meet. How on earth we were supposed to be overcome with joy?

I was overcome, all right. With fear. With anxiety. With a secret worry that we would lose another.

Pregnancy after loss is scary. While absolutely you greet each little milestone with open arms and joy, there's a huge amount of fear that comes with it. And then the questions start.....

Is it too good to be true?
When is something going to go wrong?
Something will definitely go wrong, right?

But the answer, truly, is that nothing bad is necessarily going to happen just because it happened before.

If you are pregnant after a miscarriage or some type of pregnancy loss, take it one day at a time and surround yourself with a support network that makes you feel happy, calm, good and confident. A network of people who will acknowledge and validate those fears and worries and who will give you the space you need to express them.

Be gentle with yourself and take it day by day.

Know that the fear and worry is totally normal, and it won't always be there. Sure, once baby is here a whole new crop of worry will surface, but the fear of pregnancy loss and miscarriage will cease to be.

Live and appreciate each sweet moment. Each kick and hiccup. Each roll and push. These are the moments that remind you that you are having a healthy pregnancy and that the fear holds no place for you.

If you ever need support, know that it is there and we hold you with compassion.

xoxo
Shannon

November 9, 2016

5 Minutes with Jena

Welcome to this months installment of 5 Minutes With, where you get to know the members of our doula team a little bit more intimately! This month we are chatting with birth doula and chilbirth educator Jena!

Photo Credit: Millennial Mama


So tell us about the woman behind the doula - what do you like to do on your days off?

I am the mama of a beautiful, smart and wild four-year-old boy, who just started JK. In that theme I have also gone back to University full time, so when I am not attending births and supporting birthing people, I am attending class/buried under a mountain of reading. The benefit of going back as an adult is the broader life experience that has me choosing my courses for different reasons than say, how I would have when I was 22. Having a young child that is wild about the outdoors has made a forest loving woman out of this homebody, living in the city, creates a unique hobby of finding new and exciting places to hike and to explore. I am also a yogi, that is certified to teach Hatha yoga as well as pre and post-natal yoga. On time off you can find my husband, son and I trying new vegetarian and vegan restaurants throughout the city.

What is your favourite birth support and why?   

I am often asked, what I bring in my birthing bag, and while I have some interesting tools to support birth, at the end of the day, my favourite way to support a birth is with my hands and my voice. Birth doesn’t need a lot of gadgets, although they are wonderful to have sometimes, birth only needs support – counter pressure while working through contractions or a soothing voice to remind you that you know how to birth your baby and you’re doing it perfectly. 

 Why did you want to go into doula work? What other areas of parenting and birth are you passionate about? Do they influence your work as a doula?

The part of birth I am most passionate about is evidenced based information, there is so much access to information out there, but sometimes pregnant people don’t know where to start and some resources can be poorly researched and biased. Knowing the current research and where to find it, is something I am always trying to keep up with. 
  
What advice do you have for a new (or new again) mom as she nears birth?  

As far as parenting/birth advice, I don’t specifically subscribe to anything, exactly. My view, as is with supporting birth, is to make the best choices you can with the information you have, to trust your intuition and love your children and yourself fiercely. We are all doing our best. There are so many more avenues for criticism in this generation of parents, which can be exhausting, no matter your choice someone is going to disagree with you. But only you know what is best for you, for your baby and for your family. Just do you.

To schedule in a consultation with Jena or to learn more about private birth education, email her at jena@sweetstellas.com.


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