I am not my own. It feels like I have lost all my rights to my body. Lost the rights to make decisions because now all my decisions include the caveat 'as long as my baby isn't sleeping' or 'as long as my children can come with me' or 'I need to be home in time to nurse my baby.' When you become a mother, you are no longer your own.
As I write this, I am weeping. For many reasons... (1) being that I wish it would all slow down so I could savor the moments, and (2) because I also know that I keep wishing the days away, even when I know how quickly they fly by, and (3) I have been there, I remember, and I feel for you momma!
I must admit, I am coming out of this phase of life and into the preadolescent years. I have 4 daughters: a 10 year old, 8 year old, 6, year old, and 4 year old. My baby is no longer a baby, no longer wears diapers, sleeps in her own bed (until about 4 am and quietly slips into our bed). I don't have children stealing food off my plate or needing me to wipe their butt.
But I have been there...
I remember nursing every 1.5-2 hours and wondering when my body would be my own again. I was either pregnant or breastfeeding for over 8 years. I felt touched out! I was (and still am at times) sleep deprived. I remember feeling like my husband had no idea how difficult is was to be a mom- and honestly as much as he tried, there was no way he would fully understand- he wasn't breastfeeding, he wasn't getting up in the middle of the night to feed a baby. His body did not have the incredible design that mine did. My body was designed to sustain life, both inside the womb and outside of it. And, at times, I resented him for that.
I resented the freedom he had. I resented that he could go off to work and talk with BIG humans while I was stuck at home with tiny humans, whose voices were grating on my last nerves.
I hated that I was the main disciplinarian because I was the one around our kids the majority of the time.
I wished for the opportunity to walk through the door at the end of the day and have my kids run up to me like I held the world in my hands - seriously though, I was the one making their world spin, and yet these tiny humans had no clue.
I often wondered how other women could get out of their house looking so glamorous, while I had my day 3, unwashed, greasy hair pulled in a bun, wearing sweat pants and some freebie Tshirt, spit up across the front, toddler hanging on me legs, baby crying in my ear. I wished that these days would end.
I am not my own.
I resented the friendships that I lost because motherhood changes you. I hated that I was constantly missing out on fun opportunities because the baby needed me more. Your world goes from revolving around you and the decisions that better your life, to now revolving around these little ones and the decisions that are best for THIER LIFE. And that is a gift, not an easy accepted gift, but a gift nonetheless.
I am not my own any more.
But... there is a silver lining.
I got to be the one to snuggle that newborn and smell their head while I held them and nursed.
I was the one who got to see their first smiles.
Kiss their first boo boo.
Watched them taste many first foods.
Helped them take their first steps.
Watched them and their wonder as the world awakened before them.
I held their hand when they were afraid;
they came to me when they truly wanted safety and security.
And I know that all this time invested is worth it. Ladies, whether your body carried your baby, or not, motherhood is a selfless act. You become more beautiful even though you feel so tattered. You are planting incredible seeds into the lives of your little ones and one day those seeds will take root and grow into strong, fruitful, trees. One day your children will soar... and it will be because of you!
Now I am on the other end of this season... but I have these empty breasts, and I think, how can they be so quickly forgotten, they brought nourishment to my babies. I think about my womb, this bare, dormant home that could miraculously grow tiny humans. It saddens me that it may never carry a baby again. My stretch marks are actually fading away.... slowly, but they are. My c-section scar is practically invisible. One day you will look back and miss it all.
I am not my own.
Everyone says, 'this is only a season'... do you want to know what is scary... it's the truth. You feel like this season will never end, but I promise, one day you are going to blink and it will be gone.
So, take a moment and cry. Go into your closet and scream. Get it out! And then go look into the eyes of your precious baby, the smile of your tiny toddler because they adore you. See the joy that naturally flows out of them and capture some for yourself!
And just know that other moms have been there. We know what it is like. Give yourself grace; grace to fail, grace to grow, grace to be less than your own high expectations. You will make it through this season.
You, momma, make me brave! You remind me of the strength that I have cultivated because of those trying times I persevered through. You will come out stronger!
I pray that today is a good day for you!
I found myself messaging a client, who also happened to be my cousin, and the message was so important I felt the need to share it with everyone!
Your body is not more efficient because you deliver early.
Your body is not inefficient or incompetent if you deliver late.
So many moms come to me discouraged after experiencing start and stop labor patterns. Contractions start up one afternoon, mom is super excited and ready for labor, we chat, only to find the contractions simmer down and fade away after a few hours. And mom is left feeling defeated and frustrated, and doubting her bodies ability to birth.
Just because active labor did not begin, doesn't mean your body has failed you. In fact, your body is showing you that it is making progress!
Let's remember, giving birth isn't a race. Delivering at 38 weeks, doesn't make your body more efficient than the mother who delivers at 42 weeks. It isn't a great accomplishment to give birth ahead of schedule. If your body decides at 39 weeks that it is ready, awesome! But if your body feels that 41 weeks 5 days seems perfect, then that is equally perfect.
Trust that your body is fearfully and wonderfully made! It will help you deliver your baby at the perfect time... the perfect time for your baby and the perfect time for your body!
Struggling to find a nursing bra that will fit your ever growing breast tissue? Sister, I have been there! That is why I have compiled this list for the big breasted momma's out there! I hope my struggles will prevent yours and that my research will make your day a little easier.
The Underwire Options
Miss Anita Nursing Bra - (size options: 34-42 band, B-I cup)
Anita Stretch Microfiber Nursing Bra - (size options: 34-44 band, C-I cup)
Panache Eleanor Nursing Bra - (size options: 28-38 band, D-H cup)
Freya Pure Nursing Bra - (size options: 30-40 band, DD-HH cup)
Cake Maternity Croissant Seamless Underwire Full Cup Nursing Bra - (size options: 32-42 band, C-I cup)
The Wireless Options
Goddess Keira Side Support, Wire-free Nursing Bra - (size options: 36-46 band, DD-N cup)
Elomi Beatrice Wire-Free Nursing Bra - (size options: 34-44 band, DD-JJ cup)
Elomi Molded Nursing Bra - (size options: 34-44 band, DD-JJ cup)
Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra -(odd sizing system, but goes up to a possible 36J)
Sport and Sleep Options
Zest Nursing Sports Bra - (size options: 32-40 band, B-K cup)
Leading Lady Dreamy Comfort Cotton Sleep & Leisure Bra - (size options: S-4X)
Things That Cover the Belly
Maternity Seamless Cami - I loved to use this while nursing because it would cover my belly and I could just pull down the top. It isn't a nursing tank top, but I loved it.
Belly Band - I always continued to use this, even after birth. I never wanted people to see my tummy skin at least not at the beginning), and it helped me feel protected, comfortable, and confident!
Nursing Camisoles - These are a great option, unfortunately I never found one I liked, but this link will take you to one a friend suggested!
Last Ditch Tips!
Turn any of your favorite bras or camisoles into nursing tops! I had to do this a time or two and it was great. I had a seamstress turn a bridesmaid dress into a nursing dress. Usually it just requires a little snip and you can add a hook-and-eye, or a snap, or a button and loop. This has saved my life on a few occasions and hopefully it can help you!
Have you prepared for an amazing breastfeeding journey?
Birth Boot Camp has created an incredible breastfeeding class to prepare you to have a successful breastfeeding journey. It includes tips for pumping, and troubleshooting for all sorts of circumstances such as mastitis, blebs, and the like! Click on the image below to join the class and watch from the comfort of your own home!
This is hard to write.
But it's true... Your mom is not a doula!
I think experience helps me write this, so let me share with you my story!
Lets start with your midwife is not your doula...
I was excited to be birthing at a birth center run by midwives, I thought that by having a birth attended by a midwife that I was setting myself up for an amazing natural birth experience. Little did I realize ALL the things a midwife does while a mom is laboring. Sure, she is supportive, sure, she is encouraging, but she didn't really have the time to do hip squeezes for hours straight. She was very busy charting and making sure that the wellness of mom and baby were not compromised. It was when I was transferring to the hospital for an epidural that I learned, my midwife is not a doula.
Ok, round two... Your mom is not a doula.
I was doing a lot of planning for my second birth - I thought the experience of my first gave me new perspective and understanding about how to approach my second birth better. I made plans to have my mom present as my physical support, while my husband was my emotional support. When I was told at 38 weeks I needed a c-section, I didn't know what to do. I didn't have anyone to bounce this new intervention off of, I didn't have a doula to help me know my options, and I hadn't taken a good childbirth class... it was just me, all alone, with fear being the loudest voice around me. So I ended up with a cesarean.
Onto round three...
Your mom, your sister, your bestie are not doulas.
Well, that is, unless they are a doula - then sure they can be, but unless they have training, then they really cannot fill the role of doula.
I was planning my third birth, a VBAC, but I could not afford a doula (what I didn't realize was that I could not NOT afford a doula). I had a plan though. I had read every book I could get my hands on. I had sat down with my mom and diligently rehearsed scenarios. We practiced comfort measures. I talked with my sister over the phone - she is midwife, but unfortunately wasn't local (and trust me, she tried to encourage me to get a doula). I ended up having my mom, my best friend, my cousin, and a few other women present to support me at this birth - my goal was a natural, vaginal birth - but even with all that support, I did not feel that any of them stepped into the role of doula. Comforter - YES! Encourager - YES! Prayer support - YES! But never did any of them remind me of my options when interventions were considered - in fact, you could often see their fears and concerns override them. When things got tough, they didn't know what to do. When I hit that point in labor when you want to give up and no longer know how to comfort yourself, no one knew how to help me press through. I am thankful though, I did have a vaginal birth and a successful VBAC, but I did get an epidural at 8cm.
But why should I expect my sister, mom, bestie to know how to help me? They were never trained in the role of a doula.
But a DOULA... she can be your doula!
Finally at my forth birth, I hired a doula (a little late in the game, but I am so glad I did). When I was faced with a unsupportive care provider, my doula reminded me of my options, and empowered me in my choices. When my care provider was saying I would need another cesarean, my doula helped me understand how my body hadn't failed me, she encouraged me to listen to my intuition, she sent me so many evidenced based articles so help me make informed and educated decisions. She encouraged me to try chiropractic care so that my pelvis would be in the best alignment possible for birth. When I considered transferring to a home birth, she helped me find a midwife. When my labor went on for multiple days, and my chiropractor was out of town on vacation, she helped me find a pregnancy friendly chiropractor. She came over 3 days in a row while my labor lingered on, she spoke with me on the 4th day when I cried that a baby hadn't come yet. Again, she reminded me of my options - like therapeutic rest, induction, and lots of at home remedies. She encouraged me to remember what my goal was and that I could do it. On the 5th day, when labor took a turn and I didn't know if I could do it, she testified of my strength and how far I had already come! She held my space, limiting visitors. She got me snacks, drinks, reminded me to go to the bathroom, had different essential oils that helped me in different ways at different times. When my labor would slow, she allowed me rest, and then we would try different positions, maneuvers, and my labor would kick back up. When my labor stalled for 6 hours at 8cm, and she heard the doctors talking at the nurses station that I would be getting another cesarean, she was aware that I was mentally arrested and helped me break through that zone.
She did all that and so much MORE...
Since we are at it...
Your Husband is not a doula!
At our first few births, my husband felt the pressure to help me be strong, to make sure everything was in order, to support me in more ways than he was prepared for or capable of.
But at our last birth with a doula, my husband was able to enjoy watching his baby come into the world, no stress on his shoulders, no sweat. My mom was able to tickle scratch my back and know that I was safe and supported. My doula was exactly what I needed, but it was because she had the training, the awareness, this was something she was practiced in, had experience in. She was not emotionally entangled in my world, instead she was my rock, something I knew was unshakable and could hold me up. Even in the midst of everything, though she was present and highly needed, she gracious stood in the background, so my husband and I could have bonding moments, she gave my mom jobs to do that helped her support me, so she didn't feel left out of the birth support.
Being a doula takes work, takes practice, takes effort... it isn't something you just call your mom or sister or friend and hope they fill the role.
If you want your mom to be there, let her be there as your mom - she will comfort you in ways only she can.
Your husband... let him love you through this beautiful journey, but release him of the pressure to make sure this goes perfectly.
Your best friend... invite her into the most intimate of spaces, share in joy together, welcome her to witness you in your strongest hour.
And hire a doula.
Want more information about hiring a doula and building your best birth team, click the button below.
Do you have a passion for childbirth? Do you find yourself talking to everyone about their birth experience? Do you love learning about birth? Have you wanted to teach childbirth classes, but don't know where to start, or maybe fear you don't know enough?
Birth Boot Camp prepares you and equips to become an expert in your community and teach the most incredible childbirth classes around!
When you train with Birth Boot Camp, you will receive comprehensive education. Our recertification work is designed to help you gain knowledge before even attending our in person (or remote) workshop. When you attend the physical training, you will learn how to utilize the many amazing teaching tools that are incorporated into the curriculum. You will also receive copies of each and every class field guide, along with the AMAZING, life changing, instructors guide.
The Birth Boot Camp instructors guide is an amazing tool created to give you confidence. It has all the important facts and information you need, just in case you don't recall each and every detail pertaining to a topic.
With multiple class options available, you will be able to meet the needs of your community in unique and tailored ways. These materials are always evidenced based, sited and sourced, and user friendly!
Are you ready to turn your passion in a tangible resource that can serve and help grow your birth community? Birth Boot Camp is ready to support you on this incredible journey.
I searched far and wide when I was deciding what type of childbirth education classes I wanted to teach. I wanted something that would cover ALL of the ins and outs of birth. And based off my own childbirth education experience, I wanted something that would appeal to men because my husband didn't really enjoy the classes we took during our pregnancy.
When I found Birth Boot Camp one of the things I loved most was that is wasn't all frilly, flowers, and goddesses giving birth (because, trust me, I don't look like a goddess when I give birth - I wanted something relatable!). The name pulled me in, the looks pulled me in, but it was the words BOOT CAMP that sealed the deal... let me tell you why.
My dad was in the Navy for 30 years. I heard stories of his days in boot camp. When I was considering this program, Birth Boot Camp, I wanted to know what boot camp meant to him. This was his response...
... Boot camp is learning everything you need to know to prepare you for what lies ahead. It is practicing and perfecting all the little things, so that when the times comes, and you are under pressure, you will be able to accomplish the tasks at hand without fear, anxiety, or nervousness. It is becoming so familiar with everything, that it is second nature.
I was like YES, YES, THIS IS WHAT COUPLES NEED!!!!
When you attend a Birth Boot Camp Class - or hire a Birth Boot Camp Doula - or attend a Birth Boot Camp Doula Training or Childbirth Educators Training, you will walk away feeling prepared for what lies ahead! You will have the confidence you need to go into labor and be excited! You will have practiced comfort measures and relaxations, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the labor process, you will have all the tools you need to feel supported in your birth experience.
Birth Boot Camp appeals to dads!
Birth Boot Camp prepares you for the hard work of labor!
Birth Boot Camp is evidence based!
Birth Boot Camp is up to date!
Birth Boot Camp sites its sources!
Birth Boot Camp is FUN!
Birth Boot Camp is for everyone!
If you are prepared to take a class, we have in person options as well as online options! Click the links below to find the right fit for you!
As for me, I am teach these AMAZING classes in Rainbow City, Alabama... see you soon!
What's in my doula bag?
This post has been written by EVERY SINGLE DOULA!
So, here is to the millionth 'What's in my doula bag?' blog post!
Catch my Youtube Video about what is in my doula bag below!
Let's begin by talking about the type of bag options... I have tried a few different methods, but my personal preference is the Vera Bradley Iconic XL Campus Backpack. I prefer a backpack because it allows me to be hands free and able to help momma in any way she needs. My second favorite leans in the complete opposite direction - it's an open bag concept - the 31 Deluxe Utility Tote. I like this option because I can easily see what is in my bag and grab it quickly.
But this is what you really came here for - - - the STUFF!!!!
Random Big Things:
Random Little Things:
Things the DOULA Needs (and the couples can use as well):
What's in My Trunk (in case I need it...):
The IMPORTANT Stuff:
That is 'mostly' what I carry with me from one birth to the next. I truly feel like my doula bag is always evolving - it grows and then it slims. There are a few things that I believe really make a doula stand out - - - her HEART and her HANDS! If you can follow your heart (your intuition, your empathy, your love) and always your hands to do the work of serving, you will be an AMAZING doula!
Would you like to become a doula?
I host training's throughout the year and would love to help you navigate your doula journey.
Do you need the support of an Alabama doula?
I would love to meet with you and talk about how a doula can help support you through your next birth!
Would you like to prepare for your birth by taking a Comfort Measures Class?
You can take an in person class with me or take an online class from the comfort of your own home and schedule.
So much can change in two and half years... but just two and a half years ago I wrote a blog about how tough motherhood is, called "I Am Not My Own." This blog, "I Am My Own Again" is the sequel, the continued version, and you will find that a LOT can change in that short amount of time. If you have babies under the age of 6, you should take a moment and read my other blog first... then DEFINITELY come back to this one, it will encourage you!
I am my own again.
I’m on the other side...
Mommmm... come wipe my butt!
Mommmm... she just called me stupid!
Mommmm... she’s not sharing!
Mommmm... she's touching me!
Lots of “she’s...” in our house full of girls.
Your day is filled with wiping snotty noses, dirty faces, tiny tooshies.
Your day is filled with squeaky voices, screaming wails, hushed whispers.
Your day is filled with changing laundry, making snacks, refilling silly cups, reheating your coffee for the 4th time, rocking babies, soothing toddlers, finding breastmilk pads laying in random places...
YOUR DAY IS FILLED!
Your nights are even worse... you sleep (if it can be called that) in a state of constant awareness - able to sleep, yet hear your babies slightest sound, able to sleep yet adjust your body to accommodate your baby and make sure they aren’t smothered by pillows or blankets, able to sleep and change a diaper at the same time, able to warm up a bottle or breastfeed your baby while we do the “mommy” version of 'sleep.' Only to wake feeling exhausted...
YOUR NIGHTS ARE FILLED!
It seems endless, a vortex that has no end in sight.
But it does... and that’s the sad thing.
My girls are now 12, 11, 8, and 6. And I feel sad. Sad doesn’t quite explain it. I am yearning to open my arms to another child. I am yearning for those sleepless nights, yearning to watch the first smiles of a baby again, the gummy grins. I want to see the adventurous crawlers find their freedom, the toddling monster walk... I am longing for all the things that have passed.
That season of life that seemed like it would never end... it doesn’t last long... and it's true, it does come to an end. I have been living in this life of 'freedom' for two years. But this freedom feels a little like a loss. I thought I had processed the idea that my womb would no longer have another baby, but every now and then a wave of grief hits me.
I sacrificed 10 years of my life... my body incubated and sustained life, both inside and outside of the womb for 10 years.... and then it grew up; they grew up. 10 years seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things don’t you think? If you knew that this wouldn’t last much longer, that this phase would be over so quicker, it might be a little easier getting through.
Honestly, by the time your littlest is 4, life seems a LOT easier. Now my littlest is 6, and I feel like I am my own person again. It helps to have an amazing older daughter, and a little tribe of women who love each other fiercely. But if you knew that this season was as short as 4-6 years of life.... you might look at it differently.
It’s easy to wish the days away. I did. I enjoyed them, but I also felt like I died a little. I am back to life, but secretly, I deeply desire to be back in the throws of it all.
I’m just giving you a glimpse into my heart. I see you momma... I don’t have to know you well to know what you are struggling with... and my struggles may have been different from yours, but I know we all wished/wish it was easier. Guess what... you ARE and are BECOMING and amazing human through this process we call motherhood. You are a gift to your children. When you wonder if anyone sees you, or values you, or remembers how amazing you were at this or that, just know that being a mom is making you greater than you could ever imagine.
You are learning to love in greater measure... an unconditional love.
You are selfless - it goes beyond patience, it is completely denying yourself for another.
You are learning to follow your instincts and intuition at a whole new level.
You are learning to stand your ground.
You are learning to silence the critics.
You are learning to ask for help.
You are learning that things aren't always as they seem.
You are learning not to judge others.
You are learning what is truly important in life and what is just fluff.
You ARE... you ARE so much more YOU NOW, than you have ever been.
Motherhood has a way of stripping us to our barest, most vulnerable place, and reshaping us, helping us to grow in our strengths. You are AMAZING, and BEAUTIFUL, and have greater potential now than ever before. And it is totally ok to breakdown 10 times a day from exhaustion. It is totally ok to feed your child peanut butter and jelly for the 5th time in a row. It's ok to feel like a failure, as long as your give yourself grace to grow. It's gonna be ok!
And just so you know... I see you!
I’m on the other side cheering you on - while also plotting to steal your baby for snuggles.
Don't grow weary in doing the most beautiful task a woman could be given. Love your babies and be their world because this season won't last forever.
When your doula gets the call from you, a lot of things begin to go through her mind.
From the moment she walks through your door, she begins assessing, and it never stops....
-How is mom coping?
-When is the last time mom went to the bathroom?
-When was last time she had anything to eat or drink?
-How is her partner doing?
-Is he coping well?
-When was the last time he has eaten or had some water?
-If the plan is to head to the hospital... do they have everything they need together?
-If other support people (friends/family) are present, how are they doing?
-How are the people in the birth space effecting the laboring mom?
-If they have pets... when was the last time they were taken out?
-What are the plans for the pets for after we leave, have those people been notified?
While considering all those thoughts, she is simultaneously providing comfort measures to mom, and between contractions accomplishing other little tasks such as...
-Shifting the atmosphere to help the mother labor peacefully
-Turning off the lights
-Turning off the TV
-Cleaning up the kitchen space
-Getting a trash can with liners in case mom begins vomiting
-Washing hands constantly
-Plugging in essentials oils to help reduce nausea or to to help induce peace
Even if your doula is sitting quietly in the corner watching you labor beautifully, she is considering all the elements involved in this birth, and how to help this experience be as peaceful as possible.
My husband and I didn't have a doula for my first few births, but at my forth birth we did. My husband said he finally was able to enjoy the birth experience because he didn't have to think about everything. He is probably the biggest advocate for doulas now, and has said that we will never give birth without a doula again. Doulas can be just as much for dads as they are for moms.
Would you like to learn more about how a doula can add comfort and support to your birth experience?
Alabama Births provides free consultations; an opportunity to meet with a doula and discuss your birth desires. Contact us today!
"I should have hired a doula..."
This is a phrase I have heard so many times.
In fact, I thought this after my third birth. I had about seven or eight women present in my birthing space, and even having all those wonderful ladies present, I did not accomplish my birth goals. I was trying to avoid paying for a doula. The truth of the matter is that in most situations a friend, or sister, or mother cannot fill the role that a doula can fill, and because of this, I hear so many people say this phrase "I should have hired a doula." Hindsight is 2020. But when will we begin to listen to the advice of our friends and hire a doula - BEFORE we have regrets.
A friend who has given birth naturally may have a special empathy towards you, but she doesn't have all the training that a doula has gone through. A mother may know exactly how you like to be touched and may be a comforting person in the room, but, again, she doesn't have all the knowledge a doula might have, should an intervention arises that you did not expect. Your sister might be someone you arent afraid to be naked in front of, but she might not know all the comfort techniques a doula knows.
Your heart is set on having a natural birth, but once you're in the throes of labor, holding onto that natural birth dream can be difficult. Will you be willing to listen to your mother or your friend telling you to stick to the plan? Will you want to hear them reminding you of your natural birth plans? Another question, will they tell you to stick to it, or will they be too afraid to hold you to your hopes.
Doulas have specialized training that teach them how to support a mother in labor with physical comfort, emotional support, informational support, as well as wisdom of the birthing process.
She understands labor, she is familiar with it. She can tell when something is up. Perhaps mom needs nourishment, and doula suggests a snack and hydration, and mom perks up out of her slump. Perhaps moms contractions appear interesting and the doula can tell that baby may not be an optimal position, so she uses techniques that can help the labor progress. She is trained in the many variations of labor and how to help in those scenarios. And the best thing a doula possesses is a natural affinity to know what is needed before it is needed or asked for.
But what about nurses? Why would anyone need to hire a doula when the hospital has AMAZING nurses? I have seen so many incredible, selfless nurses in my time as a doula! I am so thankful for all that those ladies do, but they also have a LOT on their plate. I know they are on the labor and delivery floor for a reason, because of their tender and nurturing hearts, and I know they probably wish they could sit and stay with a client for her entire birth experience... but that rarely happens. Nurses have so many responsibilities, and one of the most time consuming roles they have is charting. They also have other patients they may have to tend to. A Nurses job never ends. If it is a slow shift, she may be able to stay with you consistently, but you can't bank your birth experience on that hope.
My hope is this, that you might learn from me and hire a doula. I wish I had a doula at my first few births. I wish I knew what a doula was prior to my first and second birth. I wish I had chosen to hire one for my third birth. I am so thankful that I had one at my forth birth - that is when I finally had the experience I planned and hoped for. Even my husband says, "We will never give birth without a doula again!"
Would you like additional support for your upcoming birth?
I would love to connect with you about how a doula may help you feel comfortable and prepared labor!
Disclaimer. Not everybody wants to have a doula and I understand that. Many people will be very successful without one, but a lot of people will benefit from the support and comfort a doula can bring.
Another Disclaimer: Not everyone wants a natural birth. Doulas are beneficial at ALL types of birth, from natural to cesareans. I just find many women who long for a natural birth, and don't end up with it, wish they had hired a doula.
I am always amazed when I attended a birth and I watch a mom who is beautifully aware of herself and in tune with her labor. Her partner and her have a rhythm. They work together.
It’s in those moments that I feel useless.
At the end of their journey, they say things like “there is no way we could have done that without you,” and I laugh because that doesn’t seem true... they didn’t need me at all.
And that is when I realize, sometimes I am like a nightlight.
A laboring mom is often afraid of the unknown, afraid of what to expect, afraid of how to make her desires known. She longs for that extra sense of assurance, that if she needs you, you are there.
A doula nightlight.
A presence that stands to assure the mother that she is not alone. Sometimes that is all the confidence a mother needs.
So, I will be that dimly light presence in the corner of the room, offering assurance and comfort. The occasional word of encouragement, but mostly a quiet presence reminding her she doesn’t need to fear. She has all the strength she needs to accomplish what is set before her. Her partner, who knows her so intimately, also follows his intuition and showers her with adoration and love.
It's there in the quiet, that my presence fades gently into the background and I have come to be content there. Birth on beautiful momma... if you need more light, I will shine a little brighter for you. You are not alone. I will be your doula nightlight.
Blessings to you!
Not every woman desires so much independence in her birth space, some prefer to rest their heads on my chest between contractions, or that I wrap my arms around them providing counter pressure on their backs, while they labor on the toilet.
No matter your birthing style, all women deserve to feel supported, whether it is all hands on deck, a quiet presence in the background, or perhaps you desire a blend of both.
If you are seeking the comfort of support during labor, I would love to serve you. ~Jillian~
I want to let you in on something... I didn't train with Birth Boot Camp in the beginning - honestly, I have never heard of them. Unfortunately, my lack of knowledge and urgent passion fueled my decisions, so I ended up at the cheapest training, the closest training, and a training that would not test me. I walked away from that training defeated and not knowing where to begin as a doula. So, when I decided to add childbirth education classes to my birth business, I decided that I didn't care how much it cost, how far I had to travel, and if I had to take a 12 hour test (insert major exaggeration), then so be it! I rigorously searched for the best CBE options out there and Birth Boot Camp stood apart from all the rest! Little did I know, but I had struck GOLD!!! I was AMAZED by the support and excellence I saw within the company. With that said, I immediately signed up for their doula training - and this time I was not surprised by the AWESOMENESS, I was excited because I knew it would be incredible!!!
After I joined Birth Boot Camp, my birth business exploded! I felt prepared for growth and knew I had an amazing support team behind me! Now, I am one of their trainers. Because of the experience I had when I started doula work, I am eager to train up doulas who feel confident and prepared to serve families, and serve them well!
Are you ready to build your birth business?
Are you ready to be set up for success?
Are you ready to experience a supportive and encouraging community of doulas, childbirth educators, midwives, chiropractors, and so much more?
Click on the buttons below to learn more about Birth Boot Camp trainings!
Tip #1 - read this all the way to the end... I have a tiny gift waiting for you!
You have registered and you can’t wait to start working on your precertification work! Having been in your shoes, let me give you some tips to tackle your work bit by bit and have fun doing it!
When I signed up for Birth Boot Camp, I registered the day before the deadline, even though it was suggested that you give yourself 4-6 months to accomplish the precertification requirements. I knew I was in for a wild ride, but I was able to tackle all the work and I felt prepared for what was ahead of me. Since my training, they have streamlined the precertification work to make it easier to accomplish!
So, here are some of my tips to tackling your precertification work!
The biggest tip of all... Are you ready for it?
Your Trainers want to help you! Talk to them, ask them about questions that are stumping you! Just call them to connect!
If you haven't signed up for Birth Boot Camp Instructor training and you are ready to take this exciting step follow this link to register!
Ok, so now for the gift! I have created a "suggested" study guide schedule! (Mind you, it is very much based off of my personal learning style- which you can learn more about here - but it could come in handy!) Click the link below to view and download the schedule!
Understanding your learning style will help you accomplish the per-certification work more efficiently and become an AMAZING Birth Boot Camp Instructor! We are often a combination of multiple leaerning styles, but there seems to be one or two that are dominant. For Example, I am mostly a tactile learner, I like to get my hands on things. Second to that I am a visual and auditory learner.
When I was preparing to teach my first Birth Boot Camp classes, I felt the need to practice out loud what I would say and how I would delivery it. When I did this, I was able to communicate with better clarity. I quickly realized that prior to practicing out loud, I had to organize my thoughts, so I made index cards. If I didn’t do these two things, I felt inept and nervous which resulted in poor communication.
By allowing your learning style to guide your preparation YOU CAN BECOME AN AMAZING BIRTH BOOT CAMP INSTRUCTOR!
Below is a list of learning styles and their descriptions as written by Justin Ferriman.
To take a short quiz and learn more about your learning styles follow this link: Learning Style Quiz.
Let me encourage you, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. Don’t try to be like someone else! When we learn to work within our personal strengths we will feel so much more confident about our own abilities!
When is the best time to take a childbirth class?
Surprisingly, it's sooner than you might think!
The best time to begin taking a childbirth class is around 25 weeks gestation. Most comprehensive childbirth classes last around 10+ weeks.
You really want to complete the class by the time you are term (37-38 weeks gestation). While many women will go past 40 weeks gestation, a few of you will delivery a little sooner and it is better to be prepared!
Birth Boot Camp has created an AMAZING, modern, comprehensive childbirth curriculum and Alabama Births is thrilled to bring these classes to Rainbow City, Gadsden, and the surrounding communities! This 10 week series will fly by as you have fun and create community with other expectant couples! Click here to learn more about the Birth Boot Camp curriculum. Click here to learn more about Alabama Birth's Childbirth Classes.
Take a peek inside this AMAZING and COMPREHENSIVE field manual you receive!
Don’t have 10 weeks to spare? Is your due date rapidly approaching? Don’t fret just yet… Birth Boot Camp offers many types of classes to fit your growing family.
Comprehensive Childbirth Class - 10 sessions
Hospital Class - 6 sessions
Out of Hospital Class - 4 sessions
Comfort Measures Workshop - 1 session
Reboot Refresher Class - 1 session
Food & Fitness Workshop - 1 session
Homecoming: Life with a New Recruit - 1 session
Sibling Class - 1 session
Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE - digital download
All of our classes are available for you to watch from the comfort of your home during the time you can devote to it! If you have any questions throughout the online series – our Birth Boot Camp Instructor, Jillian, will be there to assist you along the way! Click here to find out more about online classes.
I was so terrified of beginning this journey, of becoming a childbirth educator or a doula. What if someone asked me a question and I didn’t know the answer? How much research would it take to feel fully prepared? But fear is never the beginning of growth; or is it?
Nelson Mandela says it beautifully “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
When was the last time you dreamed big for yourself, dreamed a dream you didn’t think you could achieve?
Underneath your fears lie great opportunity. It’s time to allow yourself to go after your dream, to tear down the invisible barriers that you have built up in your mind that say you can’t, and tell yourself that you can! Find the courage to make life-changing decisions.
All that inspiration to say… Don’t allow your fear of not being an expert in the field of birth to stop you from beginning the journey. Birth Boot Camp will equip you and provide you with the tools to become an expert.
Birth Boot Camp...
So... Are you ready? Are you ready to make one of the greatest decisions ever? To begin this journey, follow the links below!
There are many things that can cause you to have aches and pains during pregnancy - especially in your hips and legs. Your body is releasing a hormone called relaxin that softens your joints and muscles preparing them to allow baby to easily pass through your pelvis. Other reasons may include the new amount of pressure your body is adapting to from the weight of baby - that pressure is situated right over your hips and legs. As your body and baby grow, your center of gravity shifts and this can cause discomfort such as round ligament pain and sciatica pain.
So how can you find comfort for these pregnancy aches and pains? Below are a few helpful tips. And help a momma out by commenting and telling us what worked for you!
1. Sleep with a Body Pillow
Be sure to make sure you have a pillow behind your back to provide good support, possible a small one under your belly, and especially one in-between your legs for support - do what you can to make sure you are comfortable when you sleep.
2. Get Belly Support for Daily Activities
Belly binding, belly bands, maternity belt, iliac brace - all of these tools can help you support the weight of your growing baby and ease your comfort.
3. Heat and Ice
Using a heating pad or rice sock can help bring comfort to the over exhausted muscles. Ice is also a wonderful tool - it can reduce inflammation and calm spasms. Ice is, personally, my new best friend!
Another favorite of mine - when your body is not in perfect alignment it can cause muscles and tendons to pull on one another - causing aches and pains. You may need to visit your chiropractor more often during pregnancy because of the relaxin hormones. To learn more about the benefits of Chiropractic care during pregnancy, click here.
Photography by Birth Boot Camp
5. Prenatal Massage
A trained prenatal massage therapist focuses on techniques specific to the frequent changes in a pregnant body, providing improved circulation, relieving physical fatigue, alleviating aches and pains. It is also wonderful for mental and emotional wellness. Can't get to the masseuse... prop those swollen feet up and ask someone who loves you to rub them!
6. Magnesium Spray or Lotion
This can help relax your tired and over exhausted muscles. Some women may even benefit from adding a magnesium and calcium supplement to their daily prenatal vitamin (always discuss the risks and benefits of adding supplements to your daily routine with your care provider).
7. Cut out inflammatory foods
Foods such as sugar, fined grains, dairy, fried foods, processed meats create inflammation in your body which can add to aches, pains, and spasms. Try eating a balanced whole foods diet and taking the Birth Boot Camp Food & Fitness workshop!
This is so important and can be difficult to maintain good posture as our growing body changes. Choosing to practice good posture is so valuable to strengthening your body.
There are wonderful exercises available to help stretch your tired and sore body: taylor sitting, piriformis stretches, and hip flexors stretches are among those that can benefit hip and leg aches.
10. BONUS TIP!!!!!
When all else fails - take a warm shower or nice soak in a bath. Let the stress and weariness of the day fade away along with your aches and pains (even if it only a short relief - its worth it!)
Birth Boot Camp provides a Food and Fitness class that teaches and demonstrates many different exercises that can be helpful prenatally and postnatal! This workshop will provide you will the tools you need to have a healthy pregnancy and postpartum. You will find your body will be strengthened and better prepared for birth!
Take an in person class with Alabama Births, or you may take an ONLINE class from the privacy of your home!
Laying in bed is not the most comfortable position when you are trying to labor naturally. Your precious baby is being pressed further down into your pelvis with each and every contraction; your spine and tailbone happen to be part of the highway they are traveling on, so you want to create ample room.
If you choose to receive an epidural, you may no longer feel the discomfort from your baby descending, but you may still find that lying directly on your back is uncomfortable – a slight tilt to you side along with a peanut ball or pillows to prop your legs open will make your position much more comfortable.
There are a few main positions that can benefit a laboring mom and within those main positions there are many variations to help.
My first suggestion would be to...
Ok so this isn’t a position, but it is super helpful! Wiggle, dance, sway… move your body around. This will help your body stay loose and relaxed.
Use gravity to your best advantage! Getting off your back can be instrumental to feeling comfortable in labor.
3. Hands and Knees
Hang over a birth ball, or rest on some pillows - this position will allow you some rest from standing. It can relieve pressure off of your back.
Photography provided by Birth Boot Camp
Sit on a birthing stool, sit on a toilet, adjust the hospital bed to become a chair. This naturally puts your body in an upright position - using gravity - and opens your pelvis.
5. Side Lying
This is great for getting some rest when you are tired. Use this position with a peanut ball or some pillows between your legs and it will keep your pelvis nice and open for baby to move down.
Squatting can open the pelvis up to 30% wider.
Take an AMAZING COMFORT MEASURES class ONLINE!!!! Or take a LIVE class with Alabama Births in Gadsden, Alabama!
Have you considered hiring a doula to help you navigate this amazing journey? I would love to meet with you for a free consultation regarding how a doula can benefit your birth goals!
There are many ways to relieve pain during labor. There are the medicated options, but in this 4 part series I plan to cover the many natural pain-relieving techniques. The different categories of comfort measures that will be covered in this 4 part series are environment, positions, tools, and touch.
I recently heard someone say this, your birth space should feel similar to the environment of a spa.
That is a great way to help visualize your birth space – dark lighting, soft music, warm room, relaxing atmosphere, and a pampered momma! Setting up your birth space is so important, whether you plan to birth at home, a birth center, or at the hospital. There are many things that can help you have a more peaceful experience. I like to use the 5 senses as a starting point; it is amazing all the things our senses pick up and sometimes those sensory invaders can become helps or hindrances.
It is said that our eyes are the window to our soul. What is in your window? Are you taking in pleasant sights or are there stressors present? Some tips for setting up your ‘sight’ environment would be to…
Learn more at Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Classes in Gadsden, Alabama!
Sound is something many people may not realize is overloading mom’s senses because we naturally tune things out, but when a mother is in labor she tends to pick up on everything. To help create a peaceful ‘sound’ environment…
The worst thing to do, if I was the laboring mom, would be to arrive with onion breath! Just DON’T do it! Instead try…
It is so important to make sure mom is properly hydrated and fueled up for the labor progress! I highly suggest a whole foods diet for pregnancy – it will help mom get lots of nutrients and vitamins to give her the strength and stamina to sustain her in labor. Consider the following…
In part 4 of this comfort measures series I will cover the topic of touch in much greater detail, but for now here are some helpful tips to helping a laboring woman feel better…
Check out Gadsden, Alabama's Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Classes!
Emotions are a huge part of the environment; they can set the tone of the whole birth space. So be aware of how they are influencing the atmosphere…
I didn’t know where to put this last tip, but really it should be first on your list… get mom to use the restroom, frequently!
If you are planning to change labor locations, for example, you plan to move from laboring at home to laboring at your hospital or birth center of choice, consider how you can reset your birth space when you arrive. Maybe you plan to bring a speaker for soft music, some battery operated candles for ambient lighting, and printed affirmations (with tape) to post around the room!
Another great option to help you accomplish everything listed above, is to hire a doula! A doula helps you do the thinking so both mom and dad can have a relaxing, enjoyable birth experience! Click here to find out how to get a doula!
One of my favorite things is seeing someone’s birth space or an affirmation that worked for them… Tell me how you are preparing your space or post a picture of how you would decorate your birth space!
If you are looking to join a childbirth class, I encourage you to check out my Birth Boot Camp class series! It is incredibly informative, fun, and couples walk away feeling prepared for an amazing birth!
When a mom feels the urge to push, there are so many things running through her head… excitement that this journey is almost over, nervousness that now she has to push a baby out, relief that she can actively engage with her contraction.
In a hospital setting a lot of things begin to happen at the very same time. A nurse begins prepping all the doctors/midwifes tools. They help the care provider get dressed in a special gown. Depending on how fast you are pushing, they call the baby team in who then begins preparing their station, all while you are trying to navigate the pushing phase. The cacophony of voices can become a little distracting.
So here are some tips to navigate the pushing phase…
1. Find a position that works for you
Don’t be afraid to try different positions. Many women, if left to their own ways, would choose position that is relatively upright… squatting, kneeling, leaning over a bed, hand and knees, even some standing positions can be great. Often women end up on their backs, and while a baby will still come out, it isn’t the most helpful position. Try side-lying instead of laying on your back if possible.
2. Wait for the swell
If you can push spontaneously then wait for the swell and go with your body, push when you feel the urge. When the swells goes, let go of your pushing. Wasted energy is draining.
3. Push like you have to poop
I know this sounds weird, but if you push in this way, then you have good form. And guess what, if you poop, then you are REALLY doing a good job! (Also, no one will draw attention to you pooping, in most cases you and your spouse will not even know it happened because doctors and nurses are amazingly discrete about it.)
4. Ask for supportive feedback
Pushing is not the easiest task and there are lots of people in the room who have different perspectives and may be able to give you helpful tips to either open your pelvis wider or release pent up tension in one part of your body to help you to direct it to another part.
5. When it burns, breathe lightly
When you feel that “ring of fire” it is your bodies way of saying slow down, let me open gently. It is your body’s way of trying to prevent tearing. And guess what, It won’t last long, PROMISE!
6. Tune into one voice
If you need coaching throughout your pushing phase, listen to the voice that resonates above all the others – the one voice that you understand. Tell them you are relying on their lead and they will be glad to help!
7. Ask for a mirror
Sometimes being able to see what your body is doing can be helpful. When you see how one style of pushing had more progress than another style, it empowers you to keep at it!
8. Try a Birth Stool/Birth Bar
Using gravity to your advantage will assist your pushing progress. ***Ask if these things are available before the pushing phase begins or else you may not remember them as an option.
I wish you the very best!
You are about to find out how strong you truly are!
If you would like more pushing practice, please check out my Birth Boot Camp class series!
If you don’t live in the Gadsden, Alabama area, I have online classes available.
And lastly, if you need the support of a doula, please message me and we can get together!
Often dads are a little skeptical about doulas…
Will they take my place?
Isn’t that what nurses are for?
I don’t know if I want someone I don’t know in the room!
Can’t your mom/sister just be your doula?
But after a dad experiences the support of a doula, they become the doulas best supporter! So how does a doula support a dad?
Doulas and dads make the BEST team!
If you are interested in meeting with a doula for a FREE consultation, please click here.
I love the way I feel after a visit to my chiropractor! I have renewed energy, my body feels relaxed, I don't have any aches - it is glorious!
I had never seen a chiropractor up until about 5 years ago. I was pregnant and my doula suggested I go see one – but not just any one, one that was well respected in our community, and most of all, was Webster certified. (A Webster certified chiropractic has specialized training regarding care for pregnant women.)
She knew that if my body was in proper alignment, my baby had a better chance of being in a good position for birth. A chiropractor can help your body get in proper alignment.
In my Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Education Series you will learn that your spine is the host to a major highway in your body; a highway that millions of messages are being sent on throughout the day! If your spine is out of alignment it could slow down and/or disrupt the way your body processes those messages. These misalignment's are called subluxations. A chiropractor works on your body to reduces these subluxations allowing the messages to flow efficiently.
But how does this look physically?
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves."
I love serving families throughout their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Doulas have been shown to help lower intervention rates, simply by being present at a birth. They also help families to have a more positive view of their birth experience.
A Birth Doula...
*Photography by Birth Boot Camp
But what does this really look like when labor is actually happening...
Evidenced Based Birth provides wonderful statistics about the physiological benefits of a doula. When continuous labor support was provided by a doula, women experienced a:
Alabama Births is now providing Doula services and Birth Boot Camp childbirth education classes to Gadsden and the surrounding areas. We look forward to serving you!
Drop a comment and tell us about YOUR favorite doula!
My name is Jillian and I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator, Placenta Encapsulator living in the Wilmington, North Carolina. I believe in women and that they deserve support throughout their pregnancy and births no matter what method of birth they desire. I myself am a mother to 4 girls, pregnant with a 5th (that is a boy); each of their births were vastly different.