Tag Archives: doula

Hindsight

Pregnancy is humbling. Labor is really humbling. Living in the postpartum and looking back on my pregnancy and birth is extraordinarily humbling. Many lessons were learned the hard way, but I think that’s the way many have to be learned and earned. Here are some rambling observations that I’m still dissecting:

 

  • Babies change everything.
  • Everyone says “You’ll never sleep again!” It’s annoying, but they mean well. They’re also mostly right.
  • Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, the baby changes it up. Example:

Monday: (bragging) Babby slept for 4 hours straight last night, then was up for a feeding, then asleep for another 4 hours! Life is good.

Tuesday: Babby slept for 5 hours straight last night, then was up for a feeding, then asleep for another 4-5 hours! Life is blissful.

Wednesday: Babby slept for SIX HOURS STRAIGHT LAST NIGHT, then was up for a feeding because I freaked out that she slept so long and then slept for another 4 hours! Life is blissful. Parenting is easy!

Thursday through End of Time or End of Sudden Growth Spurt, Whichever Comes First: Babby eats every 2 hours, day and night. She is also a catnapper during the day, sleeping in no longer than 1 hour increments sporadically throughout the day. Life is tired. Parenting is coffee.

  • Though my experience as a doula was invaluable before I became pregnant myself, I now can’t imagine hiring a doula who hasn’t experienced birth/motherhood personally. I get it now, on a whoooooooole ‘nother level. Not to say that a doula who isn’t a mother herself isn’t worth her salt, just that going through labor and birth yourself gifts you with a magnitude of empathy, compassion, and first-hand experience that completely alters the way one doula-s.
  • It took a solid 3 months to begin feeling normal again, or at least to feel comfortable in my new normal. I didn’t even fully stop spotting until Week 13. I still sometimes pee my pants. My maternity jeans are too big, my pre-pregnancy ones are too small; yoga pants are the answer.
  • It also took 3 months to remember I have a husband. Our first real conversation happened during Week 12. We now snuggle and laugh and are best friends again… but it took time, and it’s something we actually have to work on and make time for now. It’s harder, but we appreciate each other more now than ever.
  • It took 3 months to love my pets again. Oh, my poor sweet babycats. Thank god Steve is a responsible adult, because I forgot to feed them for at least 2 months. They went from being All Important to Total Annoyances for awhile there. I threw around the term streetcats a few too many times. Luckily they still love me and even love the baby who turned their lives upside down.
  • Increased breastfeeding retention and quality maternity/paternity leave go hand in hand. Period. I do not believe for one second that I would still be breastfeeding if Steve hadn’t been home for almost 2 months. Paternity/maternity leave in this country is shameful and affects every one of us who have been a child or a parent (see: everyone). Leave needs to be long, it needs to be paid, and it needs to be available to every. parent.
  • Now I have All the Motivation, All the Creativity, & All the Great Ideas… and none of the time.
  • Key relationships have evolved. Some for the better and some for the worse. Being judged for my birth story and parenting choices does not sit well with me. ALL births are to be respected, no matter what they look like. Fanatics on both sides of the homebirth/hospital birth spectrum would be wise to lead with compassion and not judgement or pity. (The pity is the worst for me… just because I had an induced hospital birth doesn’t mean I was traumatized or fooled into falsely believing my experience was beautiful and powerful, thanks. I could go on and on here… and I will! In a later post).
  • The bills just keep coming. One perk of this is that I no longer feel anxiety over money, which used to be my biggest anxiety trigger. Acceptance in these matters is vital to my sanity.
  • Breastmilk poop does stink. Maybe not at first, when kiddo is going 3 times a day. But when her Poo Schedule becomes once every couple of days… yeah. It smells. Like cheese. It’s horrible. “Breastmilk poop doesn’t stink” is one of those Whoops! Lies of Ignorance I told when I was doula-ing before becoming a parent myself. Very sorry about this one, guys. Oh, and while I’m at it I need to apologize for “Sleep when the baby sleeps” (really good advice in a perfect world, but not gospel).

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February Used Birth Book Giveaway

Click here to enter the giveaway!

I’ve discovered minimalism and it’s changing my life in the most amazing ways! I’m paring down my library and am offering giveaways during the next few months. Books will be gently used and will center around pregnancy, birth, the postpartum, and parenting. This month I’m giving away:

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This giveaway runs until 2/25/14 @ midnight. Please share with any doulas, midwives, libraries, birth centers, clinics, birthworkers, or pregnant women who might be interested! Visit the giveaway here.

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Had Baby, Life Exploded: An Update

To sum up the past many weeks of my writing hiatus:

  • We had a baby. She’s AMAZING.
  • Remember my dreamy planned home waterbirth? Well… after becoming high-risk basically overnight at 37 weeks due to Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension, I was medically induced in the hospital at just shy of 39 weeks. 12 hours of Cervidil, 15 hours of Pitocin, and a 2nd degree episiotomy later, baby girl was born! Labor was FIERCE, ya’ll, and I was able to kick its ass all over the place without an epidural or any medical pain management (which was a huge goal for me) and deliver vaginally (the other huge goal) solely because of the incredible support of our doula and excellent midwifery team/labor&delivery staff (and a bit of luck, who am I kidding?). I am living proof that inductions and hospital births do not have to be traumatic experiences that happen TO us, but rather empowering, positive triumphs that WE, the family, can create. I would not change a thing about our birth and am SO EXCITED to soon be jumping back into birth work. Birth story to come soon… you know, in my spare time (and there will be pictures because we had an awesome photographer!)
  • The postpartum period is no joke.
  • We experienced major breastfeeding challenges but overcame with the help of the most compassionate and kind lactation counselor on the planet. Her support was, in fact, SUCH a game changer for us, and SO powerful for us as a family that it has seriously impacted my focus academically and professionally- I’m now in the very initial stages of becoming an IBCLC and earning my degree in Maternal Child Health with a concentration in Lactation Consulting. I had never even considered the possibility of my life taking this direction before The Bean was born, but her birth and our story has really made my purpose and direction very clear. What could of been a very scary, mental-breakdown-inducing (I was but a step away from this in the first few days… more on this later) time turned into a challenging but doable, even joyous period and I can never, ever repay or thank our LC enough. She changed our lives completely.
  • I had no idea what I was getting myself into having this baby. Did I mention the postpartum period is insane? I actually thought I’d have time to write … excuse me while I laugh hysterically! (silently, of course, as to not wake the sleeping babe permanently attached to my chest). Abandon all hope, all ye who think they’re going to get anything done with a newborn in tow. Please do yourself a favor and just relax and love on that baby of yours and savor every calm moment, as this precious (and stressful) time is fleeting. Oh, and read this post from MamaSeeds: New mamas get nothing done (and other untruths).
  • I cannot even begin to describe how special and gratifying it is to be a mother. My little MilkFace has consumed and brightened my life in ways I never imagined possible! Getting misty-eyed, brb.

 

my buddy and me

New Mom Author’s Note: this post took me 6 days to write.

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Resources for the Postpartum Period

My doula partner and I put out a newsletter each month for our small pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support business. This month, we focused on the early postpartum period, and all of the physical and emotional recovery and changes that take place.  We’ve included some really amazing resources from:

concerning postpartum topics like

  • meal planning and recipes
  • visitors in the first week
  • why it’s so important to rest, relax, and bond with baby
  • tips for a less stressful, more restorative postpartum from moms who have been there
  • the physical and emotional realities of the first few days and weeks
  • how to be a great partner during the postpartum

This month’s newsletter is a a great resource for expecting parents and new families, as well as doulas and birthworkers ~ you are welcome to share!

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The Doula Code (featuring Bruce Lee)

This 15 point doula code is not a complete list nor is it written in any order of importance. I personally need to do everything listed equally in order to maintain sanity, sleep at night, and provide the best care possible. And of course there are plenty of Bruce Lee quotes… the man knew how to articulate, what can I say?

 

namaste, bruce

Namaste, Bruce!

 

1. Commit to our clients’ experiences as a whole.

What IS is more important than what should be.

When we commit to our clients, we are making a commitment to forever be a part of that family’s birth story. This is a huge responsibility, and not one that should be taken lightly. When we make this commitment, we are not committing to a birth outcome, but instead are committed to supporting our clients’ choices throughout her pregnancy and birth. By trusting birth and trusting our families to make the right decisions for them in that moment, we are not only supporting, but empowering.

 

2. Trust our instincts.

Don’t think, feel… it is like a finger pointing away to the moon. 
Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!

Birth is a primal, raw event, and for me, birthwork does not involve nearly as much thinking as one might think (pun intended?). When I arrive at my client’s home or hospital (we have no free-standing birth centers in NJ…yet!), my brain shuts off and I live completely in the present, my actions and reactions coming mostly from my instincts.

Our instincts are key when choosing families to work with- Yes: though our clients will most likely come to us seeking care, we have the right to decide with whom we want to work, just as families will decide if we are the right doula for them. For me, birthwork is a two-way street, and if my spidey senses signal me that a family would be best served by another doula, I do not hesitate to refer them. Trusting my instincts has also gifted me with families who could maybe needed extra help overcoming financial barriers to care- we need to always trust our instincts to help us find families who are going to be wonderful matches for us and our unique doula-ing.

 

3. Be honest.

Doula work is not easy, and sometimes it takes a thick skin to come out of a birth in one piece. Birthwork is a delicate dance, and often we are faced with dilemnas of when to speak and when to stay quiet. Every situation is so wildly unique that there is no quick-fix or one-size-fits-all approach that is appropriate- it is during these times that we need to trust our instincts, take a beat, and reflect on what is best for our client in that moment. Always be honest and choose your words and silence with great care and consideration.

 

4. We will never know everything, and that’s okay.

This is a big one. There is an endless amount to be learned about pregnancy, women’s health, mental health, birth, labor, the postpartum, newborn care, infancy… It is easy for doulas to feel overwhelmed or unprepared, and this is a shame because we simply can’t know everything there is to know. First of all, the research is always being updated. Science isn’t static- it’s ever-evolving, and we should be as well.

If we don’t have an answer, that’s okay. It’s important to be honest with our clients and to let them know that we are not sure but will find out for them. This is a wonderful opportunity to spend time after our meeting doing quality research and learning more about a particular subject. As doulas we are not expected to know everything, but we are expected to be life-long students.

 

5. Create a doula practice that best reflects YOU.

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.

There is a doula in this world for every woman, and every doula has their own preferences and tendencies. There is no “right way” to doula, and it is important that we stay true to ourselves.

We do not have to be a “certain way” to “attract” clients. We don’t have to jump on any sort of bandwagon or promote any particular movement- as we grow more comfortable in our roles as doulas, we will naturally fall into “styles” and methods that are authentic for us. We are the right doula for many families, and by being genuine, we will connect with them organically.

 

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6. Keep your promises.

Obviously, things happen that are out of our control, but it is hugely important to keep our promises. We need to call when we say we will call, send that followup email, research that statistic. Be true to your word, always.

 

7. Allow yourself to be moved.

Birth is the real deal. Supporting a woman and her family during labor and through their rite of passage is one of the most intense things we will ever do. It’s natural and normal to have strong feelings during and after the birth, which is why it is so important we find others with which we can safely process our experiences.

If I don’t cry during the actual birth, I always cry afterwards. Normally, about 2 hours after the birth when everyone is settled and in love, I slip away, leaving the family to bond. I usually break down as I’m passing the nurses’ station, into a fit of tears and emotions. I’ve probably freaked out many in the elevator down to the lobby, while I laugh/cry and fall apart into a million beautiful pieces.

Birth is a sweet mix of chaos and peace- it is every paradox, every mixed emotion, every star in the sky, every atom of every every being… it is pure insanity and a single moment where everything that ever was makes total sense. So be kind to yourself, and have a good cry! if you need one- You deserve it.

 

8. Empty our cups: Leave our baggage and ego at the door.

Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.

The births we support have nothing to do with us. As doulas, we exist to serve- for me, that means to inform and support, period. With healthy boundaries in place, it is our duty to leave our past experiences, biases, and personal opinions at the door. It is so vital that we do not let our past color the experiences of the families we are so privileged to support.

 

9. Respect birth in all its forms.

This goes hand-in-hand with #8. Despite our personal preferences regarding our own births, it is vital that birth is respected in all of its forms. Birth can be unmedicated and medicated. It can be vaginal and Cesarean. Birth can be soft or hard, long or short. Rarely is it black or white… instead, birth prefers to reside in the gray, gooey center. It’s not about the outcome, but about treating our families with dignity and respect during their journey to parenthood.

 

keep-calm-and-be-water-my-friend-6

 10. Be water.

I’ll let Bruce explain this one:

Be like water making its way through the cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water.

If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash.

Be water, my friend.

 

11. Be compassionate and culturally sensitive.

This should be a given, but I cannot stress its importance enough. Part of what makes doula work so invigorating is the exposure we gain to different cultures, traditions, and dynamics. Being a doula is very humbling, and as we move throughout our work, we find that not everyone is like us. People look different, act differently, speak differently. Every family and woman we serve is unique and comes with their own diverse histories. Embrace the new, even if it is outside of your comfort zone. We learn from every family we work with.

 

12. Do no harm.

Yes, I think the system is broken. Maternity care and health care in general is broken. In order to make a difference, we need to continue to work from the inside, within the system, facing perhaps those institutions and individuals which we personally would rather not deal with. We never know who will be impacted by the kindness and compassion we give to our families- we never how wide our ripple effect will spread.

As doulas, we should always do no harm. This is in regards to the families we work with and all involved in our clients’ labor and birth. As in all professions, there are always a few bad apples to spoil the bunch, and in my opinion, I must always be professional and respectful as to not harm the reputation of myself and the other doulas in my community. By serving all involved with respect and compassion, we will do no harm.

 

13. Be a team player.

Doulas are a huge part of any family’s birth team! We work with care providers, partners, family members and all those in a position of support to help our families have safe and satisfying birth experiences. Everyone involved in a woman’s labor and birth plays an integral role in her birth story. We can learn from every midwife, OB, nurse, doula, family, and educator in some way.

 

14. Listen.

Asking thoughtful questions and assisting our clients in doing the same is a huge part of being a doula. Equally, if not more valuable, is listening to the answers. Active listening leads to a better understanding of the challenges and strengths of the families we serve, and it is only through this listening that we can give the very best care.

 

15. Be a BE-la, not a DO-la.

It’s not how much you have learned, but how much you have absorbed from what you have learned. It is not how much fixed knowledge you can accumulate, but what you can apply livingly that counts. 
‘Being’ is more valued than ‘doing.’

Our greatest tools as a doula are our eyes, our hands, and our heart. Sometimes we will be more hands-on, and other times, most times, we will “hold the space.”

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9 Things to Do Before You Get Pregnant

Hey you guys: None of this should be misconstrued as medical advice- always discuss lifestyle changes with your care provider and use your best judgement before, during, and after pregnancy!

 

I make mistakes so you don’t have to. Here, from personal experience, are some things I truly wish I had done (and some things I’m so glad I did!) BEFORE I got pregnant.

 

  • Clean out your car.

Like most things on this list, I didn’t realize what an important concept this was until after I got pregnant. Now, I’m sure most people keep their car pretty clean and aren’t total slobs. If you’re like me, however, yours may may need some serious work. As a doula, I pretty much live out of my car. With a thorough search one might find some bottles of essential oil, breastfeeding magazines, pillows, my infant massage instruction doll, socks filled with rice, gallon-size ziploc bags (for placentas, of course), a stuffed uterus… you get the idea. There are also snack wrappers, empty water bottles, a massage table, cds, a step stool, some bolsters, and a wide variety of books in there, among other miscellaneous items. If my car ever got broken into, thieves would be epically disappointed.

The whole inside needs to be cleaned out and reorganized, and now that I am on hiatus from birthwork until after our daughter arrives, this needs to be done during pregnancy. That nesting urge you hear so much about is a real thing, and just the thought of my car in its current state makes me crazy. It’s also now about 1000 degrees out, which means I’ll be out there in the heat of the day, in my hot car, making trips back and forth from the car to the house. There’s also, you know, no room for a car seat in there, which will sort of be an issue in the coming months unless I get this situation taken care of.

So do yourself a favor, and if your car needs a cleaning, just do it now. Your car will have plenty of time to be a mess once you have a child, so enjoy the so fresh and so clean opportunity while you still have it!

 

  • Take selfies.
Instagram has enough selfies- keep yours for yourself!
I used to hate having my picture taken. I don’t like the attention, I don’t photograph well, and I much prefer to be behind the camera. Now that I’m pregnant though, I so wish I had more pictures of myself, and of my husband and I. I’ve reached a point in my pregnancy where I’ve realized that my body is not solely mine anymore and I honestly don’t know how it will look and feel after our daughter is born. Some things will go back to normal, sure, but other things will never quite be the same (which is OKAY!). Now that I have lots of nifty belly shots, I realize I don’t have anything to compare them to from Life Before Child.

So if you’re comfortable with the idea, take some pictures now. They don’t have to be for anyone’s eyes but your own, and hopefully looking back on them will be a lovely nostalgic experience. And take pictures with your partner as well, as your child will someday love to laugh at how young and weird her parents were back in the day.

 

  • Start a self-fertility massage practice.

Whether or not you have ever struggled with fertility challenges, self-fertility massage can be an amazing way to learn more about your body, tune in to your personal monthly rhythms, and develop stronger body literacy. Not only can a regular practice help clear blockages, help with cysts and fibroids, promote egg health, and help relieve the intensity of painful ovulation and periods, it can be a relaxing and holistic way to just relax and take time for yourself. Self-fertility massage can be a great addition to your regular self-care.

Practicing good self-care in all forms is as vital before pregnancy as it is during, and while healing during the postpartum. Self-care may look a little different for everyone, and can be anything from monthly acupuncture, to weekly dinners with family, to saying “NO” a little more often. During pregnancy you’ll find that you and your growing baby physically and emotionally need the best care, more rest, better food, proper hydration. Self-fertility massage before getting pregnant (not to be performed during menstruation, or if you are or think you might be pregnant) is a relaxing, non-invasive, and holistic way to take better care of yourself while learning more about your body and creating a healthy womb for your baby to get cozy in when he or she is created.

Certified Fertility Massage Therapists, such as myself, and Mayan Abdominal Therapists can not only perform massage on your upper and lower abdomen, but also teach you how to perform the techniques yourself. If you are interested, I highly recommend booking an appointment with a qualified therapist- our abdomens never get any attention in our daily lives or during a typical massage, and you will walk away from your session feeling happier, lighter, and peaceful (and smarter!).

 

  • Incorporate a low-impact exercise into your daily/weekly routine.

I know, you’ve probably heard this a lot. It’s very cliche, but something I absolutely wish I had done pre-pregnancy. I say “low-impact” because you want to choose something that you can safely do in every trimester. In your first trimester, you may not have the energy to do a damned thing, and this I understand on a personal level. I also know there were many days during those first few months that I did have a few spare moments of no nausea, and I wish I had chosen to use those moments for taking a walk in the sunshine, or floating around in a pool.

I’m in NO WAY an exercise expert. The most I like to do is hike, swim, kayak, and the occasional kundalini yoga video with Gurmukh. I’m realizing now that my body has these things called limits, and that due to my lack of… shall we say, fitness? my body is a bit more weary than it should for someone who is approaching 30.

Before I got pregnant I would tell Steve, “When I get pregnant, I’m going to swim 3 times a week, and walk every day.” And he said, “No you won’t- you don’t do that now.” And he was right. Start habits now, so that when you’re pregnant they are second-nature, and your body is already used to your routine. Trust me. I walked only 3 miles at a quick pace for a Mark Mulcahy concert last night, and I can count on two hands where it hurts.

Talk with your care provider about enjoying a more fit pregnancy, and follow your body’s cues. I don’t feel pregnancy is a time to push your limits by any means, but a short walk after dinner each night can do wonders for your body, your sleep, and your racing mind. Remember that labor is a marathon, and no one enters a marathon without a bit of training! Your training should involve eating well and moving your body every day in some way, to prepare for the greatest event of your life.

 

  • Make friends with coupons.

couponsSeriously. This goes along with “starting good habits now.” I never realized before I got pregnant how much my appetite would increase. I mean, wow. We go food shopping twice as often as pre-pregnancy, and even that is not enough. I crave different forms of takeout once a week, and that plus the extra shopping has almost tripled our grocery expenses. Steve and I are excellent shoppers and love a good deal, so that helps, but coupons have helped us immensely.

I encourage you to start perusing the websites of your favorite brands (NOTE: these might become your least favorite brands after you become pregnant… but there’s no way of telling!) and signing up for their mailing lists. Companies often send out special coupons and deals, and even have printable coupons on their sites every so often. This is especially true of specialty brands that can be pricey. Websites like coupons.com and common kindness (for crunchy folks), offer a pretty simple way to find, print, and clip your own coupons, and most grocery stores have weekly “deals.”

Become a smarter shopper now so that you’re not pummeled when your appetite kicks in and there’s no turning back. Pregnancy hunger is different from any type of hunger I’ve experienced before- it is INSANE.

 

  • Take your vitamins and Omega 3’s.

I didn’t do this. I wish I had, because now, my skin has never looked better! Also, lots of benefits for overall health and setting the stage for a healthier pregnancy and wee one. If nothing else, taking prenatals pre-conception will give you time to find one that works well with your unique body. I tried 8 different prenatals of varying qualities, prescription and plant-based before finally finding one that doesn’t make me sick, gives me energy, and that I don’t dread taking (Nature’s Bounty Prenatal + Melaleuca Omega-3).

Prenatals come in all different forms- some are giant with DHA included, and others are smaller and you may want to take your Omega 3’s separately. Some vitamins even come in gummy form… which is really tempting, but I haven’t been brave enough to try. Some pills you have to take twice a day, some only once. Get into the habit of taking your vitamins every day to get your body on the right track and to find what makes you feel great before entering pregnancy.

 

  • Go to therapy.

Last year, when Steve and I were discussing a timeline as to when we wanted to start tempting fate and then seriously trying to conceive, I realized that I needed to go to therapy. I, like most people, had/have a bunch of baggage, and knew that I wanted to work out as many of my issues as possible before bringing a child into the world. This was especially important as most of my “stuff” involved mothers, childhood, and parenting. I knew that I didn’t want any of my negative history to affect my future hypothetical offspring. I also knew I couldn’t afford typical therapy, and so began to research early last fall.

I luckily came across an organization within walking distance of our home, that accepted clients on a sliding scale. I was partnered with a fantastic therapist and was able to make good progress in a short amount of time. I still go to therapy, and feel that this was single-handedly THE most important thing I could have ever done as a parent-to-be. Now that I am pregnant, I already have an established relationship with my therapist and life is just sweeter than it used to be.

It’s amazing what can come up in therapy, and how just talking and being listened to can make such a difference in how you feel about yourself, your life, and all that comes with it. Even if you feel like talk therapy might not be your cup of tea, you might want to just give it a shot and see how you feel about it. If it’s not for you, there you go, but if you have benefited from it, your future child and family will, too.

 

  • Research doulas and care providers.

doula_3.234101330_stdOnce you’re pregnant, you have a million new things to think about. One thing to consider early on is who you want your birth team to be. This doesn’t mean you have to choose everything right off the bat, but by researching doulas in your area before you get pregnant, you can get an idea of what sort of services they provide and what their fee ranges are. Doulas are a WILDLY valuable investment for women and families, and pre-conception is a great time to start putting a small bit of money away each week if possible, as part of a doula fund.

For us, pregnancy has been… expensive. As I mentioned earlier, food costs have nearly tripled. My car is no longer in working order, which was an expense we hadn’t planned for. We’re also having a home birth, which is has consumed every last dollar we received from our wedding. (TOTALLY WORTH IT. I can’t wait to share our experiences with our midwife with you!) Luckily everyone is healthy, none of the cats need veterinary attention, etc. But yeah, pregnancy has been more expensive than we ever thought it would be, and that is with the luxury of health insurance.

While you’re dreaming of pregnancy, start looking into your birth options- do the hospitals by you have midwives? Do you feel comfortable with your current OB/GYN? Do you have a free-standing birth center by you? What do you know about homebirth? Yes, pregnancy comes with a lot of options, and sometimes having so many choices can feel overwhelming! Maybe check out The Business of Being Born on Netflix, or rent the movie Doula! from your library- you’ll get to see some beautiful births and learn more about labor and birthing options while relaxing and being entertained.

Out of all of the myriad choices you’ll have to make during pregnancy, choosing your birth team is, in my opinion, the most important one you can make. Being informed and knowing your options is half the battle! And it can make life in pregnancy much easier by learning what and who is available early on.

 

  • Talk to your partner.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but really, talk to your guy or gal. Dream a bit together, and learn what he or she thinks of when imagining a life with a child. You may find that the two of you have completely different scenarios in mind- and that’s okay. During pregnancy, it’s easy to fall into a routine of every conversation and activity revolving around your baby. Sometimes weeks can go by without talking about stuff other than money, or cravings, or diapers, or the registry. It’s so important to keep the lines of communication open now (again, a healthy habit), so that everyone is on the same page. Pregnancy can also slow down physical intimacy, so you’re going to want a way to stay connected outside of the bedroom.

 

What are some things you wish you’d done before you got pregnant/ had children?

 

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