Click on title to have a listen:
The last pregnancy. The last birth. The last baby. Here is a topic that I feel is very under discussed and can be very emotionally charged. Some will anticipate this last chapter while for others it will catch them by surprise. There are multiple different paths that can lead to this last chapter … each path is so personal, unique, and delicate. Some will transition to growing their little ones up instead of expanding out, while others mourn the opportunity to raise any of their own. As parents we need to talk about our experiences in this stage.
I am so grateful to the individuals who were willing to share their stories and experiences. I have left out names for privacy and confidentiality.
I was just talking to my husband about this. I feel like such an odd ball. Many women I know seem to be sad about their last baby, or they don’t feel content in it being their last baby. I knew my 4th would be my last and I welcomed it! We also decided it was best. I have no yearning for another and am so content and even joyful to be moving past the baby stage and into the school aged years. My youngest will be 4 in August and will be in Kindergarten in fall of 2020. I cherish each stage with her and enjoy all the adventuring we can do as a family without being tied to a needy baby who needs to nurse, or its diaper changed, or a nap, etc… basically I love the freedom that isn’t there when I’m pregnant or I have a baby.
I’m not ready to share our whole story, but I am grateful for this project. Thank you for creating the space for this! As I work through this myself, one of the things that keeps coming up for me is that I can’t remember a time I wasn’t pregnant or nursing babies, so trying to figure out “who I am” in this season coming to a close has me very confused. I feel like the things that have defined me for many years are passing away and I don’t know what’s underneath yet. It feels scary and sad.
Sometimes I’m grateful for our wild and busy, caboose, baby. We knew we only wanted 4, and that’s great. Right now though I struggle to feel content and happy. I feel a loss realizing that my body will never carry another baby, that I’ll never feel those baby kicks inside again, I won’t see them move and flip again. My heart is sad that something I could do and was fairly good at, I’ll never do again. I look at my youngest and frequently ask myself, “is this the last time that I’ll hold you? Is this the last time you’ll want to sit on my lap? Is this the last_____?”
I know it goes away and we never know when and I’ve always held onto the fact that I’d have another one to do those things with, but with the last baby it feels like a mourning process. Not sure that any of that made sense, but those are the jumble of words in my heart and head.
My story has to start after having our 4th baby (our second baby passed away in the womb). Actually I am going to start further back. Growing up I remember being a little girl and saying “I am going to have 4 kids!!”. Before getting married I remember telling my soon to be husband that I wanted 4 and he agreed. Fast forward our 4th turned 2 and I was ready to try for the 5th (4th earth side baby) and my husband was not. He was so done. For about 4-6 months we battled so intensely with one another … our fights included stonewalling, focusing on parent responsibilities only. I felt so caught off guard and betrayed. He is also felt hurt and felt that I cared more about “having a baby than doing life with him”. We both mourned deeply in these months … our inner battles were different but the pain was the same. I felt so discouraged that I had to reach out for spiritual guidance. The recommendation was to pray through Gods Word. I was encouraged to pray for my heart in the situation. I did not pray that the Lord would “change my husbands heart”. This event between us shined some light on items in my heart that needed to be addressed. So that was my mission. Over time my heart began to soften and I drew closer to my husband. Fast forward we ended up having our 5th baby … before that pregnancy I had so much peace in my heart.
Fast forward some more … after having our 5th lots of those feelings came back … was I really really ready to be done? Let’s say there was no doubt in my husbands heart that we were done. My son will be 2 next month (April) and just about 3 weeks ago I surrendered the end of this chapter to the Lord. I was holding on so tightly and I did not even know it. Have you ever been clenching your hand around something? A gentle voice whispered “relax your hand … let go of the tension … release … it’s ok …” that’s the only way I can explain it.
I am at a new level of peace now … the journey and season was long. Sometimes this wave of “desiring another” will brush against me and I welcome it knowing that it is ok to desire something that will not flourish … this is what makes me human. The wave no longer cause bitterness in my heart …. to those who are reading this … please know that this did not happen over night … it was a process that took my willingness to travel it.
My last baby, my miracle baby, recently turned two. His birth was extremely complicated. I developed a life threatening condition called placenta accreta, where you placenta attaches too deeply. I spent seven weeks on hospital bed rest and delivered at 34 weeks. I had to deliver in a main OR, with a team of three surgeons and countless nurses. I had general anesthesia and my husband could not be with me. I had to have hysterectomy immediately following his delivery to prevent hemorrhaging. I wasn’t able to see my son for 8 long hours and he spent two weeks in the nicu. We were lucky…1 in 14 moms that develop this condition don’t get to meet their babies or go home to their families. And that fact haunts me. I mourn the loss of my last pregnancy being “normal”. I have been blessed beyond measure with five beautiful children and for that my heart is full and thankful. But ending this chapter of life has been full of emotion. Most days now I’m excited to be heading into the next phase…and then I see a pregnant woman browsing through newborn clothes at Target and my heart breaks a little.
I woke up this morning thinking on how I was going to post about our ‘last baby’ and all the emotions that have gone into these last 3 yrs and yet then felt how silly that would be as no one truly cares about how I’ve felt.
We have 8 beautiful children that we can’t imagine life without, we’ve also lost 12 babies. Our last living baby is almost 5. But 3 years ago on April 22 we lost longed for twins at 8 weeks along. I had prayed for twins since my earliest memories. I have not become pregnant since. I have prayed, begged if you will for just one more baby.
3 yrs and as the approach of April is here I find the grief pouring in. The grief that I should be deep in the mess of 10 glorious children and 2 of them toddlers. Grief that that loss, which was painful in ever so many ways is how my journey ends. Grief that I didn’t cherish my pregnancies enough ( I suffer from hyper ememsis so pregnancy was horrible.) Grief that I can’t seem to move past it and grief that I still want more babies just as deeply as ever.
I LOVE my life. We homeschool and I get to watch our babies grow and learn everyday. I do not take this for granted. We have children that are off in college…shouldn’t I be relishing the fact that we are done with the baby stage? Sigh. Thank you for letting me express these feelings.
Right now I am afraid Tehmperance will be our last. I’ve miscarried 3 since her and it’s been 6 months since I lost the last one with nothing.. I’m not ready for the last but It May have snuck up and passed me by.
My last baby just turned one and my heart is sad that she will soon no longer be a baby. Babies are my favorite thing in the world. My pregnancy was very special with her too and she is my treasure of a child. All the feels. I wish I could have another pregnancy and birth but I do not want any more kids…so that wouldn’t work unless I was a surrogate. I just want to freeze time and get more cuddles for longer.
Not feeling the holiday Joy? If the answer is “no” you are not alone. Many struggle with depression, stress, and anxiety during the holiday season.
For mamas struggling with a Perinatal mood disorder this season can be especially hard. Not only are you “suppose” to be cheery about your baby but you also need to be cheery for the holidays…. mamas I see you.
Holiday Blues can stem from many different areas. Holiday seasons tend to trigger past and current loss. If you lack a village that consist of family and friends, it’s as though the holiday season places a magnifying glass over your loneliness. You can be left feeling that you are not enough as your Facebook and Instagram pictures are not full of Christmas decorations, family tree cutting, family Christmas portraits, and Black Friday deals.
Here are a couple of things that I want to share that might help:
Know that you are ENOUGH simply as you are. Simply as your house is, simply as your kids are, and simply with the material things you already have.
If you need a village I am going to encourage you to start plugging in. If you need help finding some local Spokane groups let me know. Did reading that give you anxiety? Did you ask yourself “how do I get out of this bed!!??” So happy you went there. That’s honestly the first step. That inner battle is a good sign. Welcome the inner battle… and then fight back. Talk to yourself like you would a good friend “mama you got this”. Just because you tried once and you were not able to make it out does not mean we stop… nope it means we keep going. Progress is progress PERIOD.
I know in Spokane we are surrounded by gray weather… sometimes we do get some sunlight, and when that happens open up all the curtains let all the light in. I also recommended purchasing a Happy Light.
Be mindful how much time you are spending on Social Media. Research shows that those who spend the most time on social media tend to have the highest Depression scores. During hard seasons we can do a lot of “comparing” which crushes our self worth.
Decrease stress. We already have a go go go society where we applauded and praise busyness… and minimize the power of stillness. Try super hard to not pack your calendar. It is ok to flex your “no” muscle. Remember when you say “yes” to something you are always saying “no” to something else. Slow down and think before saying yes. If you love “helping and doing” for others then you have to fill up your cup. What you put in is what you put out.
Spokane families your community has multiple different “Christmas gifting” resources. I know the feeling of wanting to purchase “something” for your child on Christmas and literally having no money to buy anything. In 2014 it seemed that our world crashed. I lost my job … which then lead to losing our housing. All of this happened right before Christmas. It was devastating. So mama I see you and I know that pain. A Chase Middle School class blessed our family with Christmas that year. It’s hard to write this part without tears streaming down my face.
This might be a season that you will want to engage in Therapy. It’s nice to have someone walk this journey with you. If you need help finding a therapist let me know (yes, I currently have openings).
Missing a loved one? Write them a letter. I recommend keeping a special journal for your passed away loved ones. You can write to them often in this sacred special journal. It’s normal to miss them. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions. Share how you are feeling with safe people. For my Christian mamas look up Gods promises let him comfort you, He will meet you at your time of need.
Aromatherapy is also a great option. If you are feeling anxious use essential oils that come from some part of a tree, these essential oils tend be very grounding. If you are feeling depressed I would suggest citrus essential oils, they will uplift the mood. If you are struggling with stress I suggest an essential oil from a flower, these essential oils do a great job of relaxing and opening you up.
You are enough. You do enough. You are worthy. You have infinite worth. You are loved. You belong. You have a purpose.
Mamas we need to talk. Let me start with saying I am very supportive of breastfeeding. There are many articles regarding the emotional and physical benefits to mom and baby. This post is not about which is better “breast” or “formula”. Instead this post is about mamas being supportive of each other when it comes to feeding our babies.
I cannot tell you how many mamas come into my office in tears because they struggle to nurse their babies. There are many reasons why they may struggle. We need to remember that we do not know everyone’s story. Most of the moms I see are working with lactation specialist. They have tried every remedy available. They have changed their diet. Their whole day has been dedicated to nursing and pumping… causing them to be isolated at home.
I love that we are seeing more support for nursing moms and I hope that continues. At the same time I hope we are not passing judgment on moms who are unable to nurse or chooses not to for any given reason. Moms who formula feed feel left out and isolated. There are no support groups for them. Many formula feeding moms do not feel welcomed in lactation support groups; some moms formula feed and nurse but are truly scared to say they use formula.
I know moms who choose nursing and they are met with unwanted “suggestions” and “advice”. They feel isolated, and at times feel a lack of support. Moms who work and pump feel they are a burden to their employer “I try to pump as fast as I can and only on my breaks” this means this mom gets no breaks.
I think sometimes we “under” share about the difficulties of nursing. We worry that moms won’t try nursing if they knew the difficulties that could arise. Moms need to know that nursing can be painful at first, uncomfortable, unenjoyable, sensitive, can be a trigger, and that nursing may not look like you expected. We need to tell moms these things and believe they will choose what is right for them. For centuries moms have chosen “hard” knowing it was the right choice for them and their baby. Moms need to know this, so when things do get “hard” or their experience does not meet their “expectations” they are not shocked and make statements such us “why didn’t anyone tell me?”
All moms deserve to feel supported. Here are a couple of tips that will create more mindfulness:
1. Before giving advice ask if they are open to receiving advice. Before sharing your tips make sure she wants to hear your tips.
2. When you see a mom formula feeding or breastfeeding train your brain and heart to assume the best of her. That mom has a precious story that you do not know about. Get to know her.
3. Support her in ways that SHE finds to be supportive.
4. Create a space that is welcoming to all feeding methods.
5. Use language that is inclusive to all feeding methods.
6. Be slow to speak … be an active listener
Mamas let us support one another. Our villages need to be full of other mamas who’s stories and journeys do not look like ours. We can learn and grow through differences. Let us be welcoming and accepting.
Our we allowing being PC (politically correctness) interfere with our attempts to connect learn, and explore? Let us explore this question.
We all want to be respected, heard, and seen. We all want to know that we have worth and value. I think for the most part people try really hard to be respectful and kind. Side note: the respectful and kind behaviors and actions are usually not the ones that get the spotlight… we are usually bombarded with the opposite and end up feeling that most people are not mindful.
As humans I believe we are naturally curious beings. We allow our children to be curious, we actually encourage it, we know it is important for brain and social development. Have you ever seen a child stare at something… and you can almost see their brain trying to make sense of what they are hearing and seeing?
What I have personally noticed over time is we have become a very PC culture, to the point that we have allowed fear to creep in. We worry about offending someone. We worry that our question will be misinterpreted. Instead of asking the question or having the conversation we close off the opportunity to connect with one another, we close off the opportunity to learn from one another, and we close off the opportunity to enjoy in each other’s exploration.
Here are a couple of tips that may help in opening the door of connecting, learning, and co-exploring:
- Ask for permission first: “would you be OK if I asked you about_______?” “Would you be open to having a conversation with me about ________?” Asking for permission first gives the other person the permission to say “yes” or “no”. Asking for permission says will you “join me”.
- Be an active listener: Be still… listen to listen not to respond. Create a space that is welcoming to the other person. Create a space that says “you are worthy and you have value, and what you have to share has worth and value”.
- Show empathy: “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. Allow yourself to feel what it might be like to walk in the other person shoes. Maybe you have not experienced the exact same “situation”, but we have all experienced emotions. Allow yourself to feel the emotion the other person is sharing. Be willing to connect on a deeper level.
- Disagreeing: You cannot disagree with someone else’s “experience” that is their experience. Two people can walk through the SAME forest and have two completely different experiences. We can disagree on facts, assumptions and statements, but to disagree with someone’s experience can be hurtful and invites defensiveness’s…. it does not validate the other persons emotions and reality.
- It is ok to agree to disagree: Not everyone is going to agree with you, and you are not going to agree with everyone PERIOD. It is all about how we handle the disagreement or the disagreeing areas. We can do this by speaking in “I statements”; “I feel_____” “when I heard this statement_____” “when I saw this post it made me think of______”. Try really hard to avoid the word “you” as that can at times lead to shame talk, putting the other person down, and devaluing the other persons thoughts/emotions/experiences. For example avoid “When YOU posted that, it really made me sad” compared to “When I saw that post it really made me sad”. One invites connection while the other closes connection.
- Body language, tone, typed word choice, and emojis: I know many conversations now happen over text, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms so I think it is wise to cover it all.
- Did you know your face and your body will display emotion before words come out of your mouth? Yes is it TRUE. Be super mindful of your facial reactions and body reactions. This means you might need to slow down the conversation. Sometimes we need to talk to our bodies “relax face” “relax hands”.
- Your tone is also very important. Ever been told a grumpy forced “thank you” or “I am sorry”? I am sure you have, and I am sure you also quickly dismissed it!! Your tone and body language is stemming from somewhere… go to that place inside and work on that area before responding.
- Alright…. social media posting and texting. THINK. BEFORE. YOU. POST. OR. SEND. Be slow in your response. Take the time needed to respond not everything needs to be immediate. So many times on social media I see people blasting each other with comments, when we do that we become flooded which leads us to responding in anger, in frustration, or we completely disconnect (unfriending, blocking, and “unfollowing”… you know what I am talking about). I love emoji’s they can be used to show emotion, but still be mindful a “hot red face” can send a very mixed message.
Being a women of color I have encountered people who have dared greatly and have built up the courage to ask me questions. I have always welcomed those questions and conversations. Let us be willing to come to the table. We need to have the hard and uncomfortable conversations. Do not let PC get in the way of connection, curiosity, and exploration.
Do you ever feel like you are looking at friendships from an inside window from within yourself? It’s as though you are trapped in a room simply only being allowed to watch and observe something you so desperately want to touch. You look out and wonder “how can I get that… how can I have something so sweet and tender?” Then you ask yourself what
is keeping me from leaving this trapped place? Then you begin to pump yourself up “YEAH I can do this!!!” without really understanding what “this” is. So without knowing what part of you, you are really cheering on, you run to the door of your inner home that has kept you “safe”, and has also kept you from the joys of “being with” and “doing life with others”, and living a “wholehearted life” like Brene Brown’s book describes. So now you are at the door. You are proud to make it to the door, because you can feel the courage it took to make it to the door. Since before this point you were ok with simply looking out the window, but your inner being that was designed and created to be with others pushes you to your correct alignment. You are at the door so excited, and motivated, and then you realize the door has a lock. You ask yourself “where is the key?” “How do I even begin to find the key?” At this moment
you want to give up…. you actually tried unlocking this door before to have been met with disappointment and a sense of failure so you walk back to the window. Not this time… this time you are willing to risk GREATLY. You begin to search for the key and realize they are buried in a very deep place…. a place that seems dark and scary… a place that has caution tape marked with “hazardous material”. You walk around the caution tape looking into this place… trying to figure out how to get in and not get too messy, as you have spent so much time getting all dressed up and presentable and would not want to start engaging in friendships looking a hot mess. So you begin to strategize and game plan “how do I get in there!!??”. You so desire that key that opens that door. It all becomes too much so you run back to the door contemplating if there is a way to just knock it down… thinking this will be way easier. You try every method
possible to knock the door down noticing that you left a little dent, and you are now exhausted and still in-front of the door. At this point you know… you know, that you have to get that key. You know, that you have to break through that caution tape. You know, you have to go through the “hot mess”. You know that once you get the key, and unlock the door that everyone will know that not all is perfect. They will know you had to do some digging. At your core you know what is needed so you go for it. Tears of pain and hurt stream down your face as you dig. You move pile after pile and soon you begin to realize that you have developed a new rhythm. You are getting stronger with each pile you remove. Your tears of pain have now changed to tears of hope. You begin to see the shining reflection of the key that has been buried for so long.
At this moment you pause and contemplate covering it all up again. Seeing the key brings in a new flood of emotions and doubts “this is simply too much ….do I really want the key? I know I have worked so hard to reach this point…. but now I am not so sure”. So again you sit and wait and try to think of another way. You game plan and strategize “I will grab the key, take it back to the window, and I will hold onto it just in case I need to use it”. Then you hear something on the other end of the door. you hear people shouting your name and encouraging you to come out… they yell that they have been waiting for you. You realize at that moment you can do this and you will. You dust off whats left on the key and grab it with force… with force that comes so deep from within your core. You hold the key and realize that it is still a little messy and not as shiny as you thought it would be. You grab your shirt to clean the key and realize your shirt is not as clean as you would like it to be. Then again you hear the voices on the other side of the door
calling you to come out… their words are so encouraging and they yell “we have tried to open this door, but we cannot. You have to open it from the inside”. The words echo in your head “it has to be open from the inside… it has to be open form the inside… it has to be open from the
inside”. You realize what you have to do. You realize that they will just have to see you. They will have to see the messy key and the messy “me”. This is your moment and you know it. You can feel it through your skin… until this moment you did not know that your soul could dance. A presences has now entered the room, and with a gentle comforting whisper you hear “I am here”… with that alone you run so fast to the door that it is like you are floating. You unlock the door… as you push it open you realize others are pulling it open. You realize you are no longer at the window, you are no longer at the door… and you have now entered a new space.
As We Thrive continues to be dedicated to Perinatal/Maternal Mental Health. We had an amazing opportunity to speak with Louise Fendrich, Deputy District Director… in the office of Congresswomen Cathy McMorris Rodgers to share about the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act of 2015 H.R.3235/5.2311.
We had a group of women attend the meeting to bring awareness to PPD. As We Thrive partnered with Jen Kennedy-PSI Washington State Coordinator , Gina Hopkins and Courtney Robinette from Fit4mom. There were many other moms and providers who wanted to attend and were not able to be present. Us four ladies went to represent the many moms, dads, and families that struggle with PPD. Mia Edidin from Perinatal Support Washington was a huge contributor to the success of this meeting.
We would love your support as this bill takes on it’s journey. PPD is not a “mom issue” it is a community issue and it is time for us to stand up and respond. This bill will help provide grants that will provide screening and treatment of maternal depression. As We Thrive believes that education is so powerful and empowering and we would love to provide more education to our amazing community regarding Postpartum Depression. Did you know that Postpartum Depression is the #1 complication of a pregnancy? It is also the leading cause of maternal mortality. 1 in 7 mom’s will struggle with PPD. 1 in 10 dad’s will struggle with PPD, and in lower socioeconomic areas 1 in 4 moms will struggle with PPD.
Our Washington community has some great things going and we are heading in the right direction. This bill just gives our community more opportunities and possibilities to support our friends, loved ones, and neighbors.
We are also providing an easy way for you to get involved click here. Thank you for joining us and you are helping to create generational change for our community. At As We Thrive we believe in the Village mentality… we have to come together to do this. With our actions let us show families who struggle with PPD know that they are not alone, that we stand with them.
Will… the Holidays are over, some of you are rejoicing and others are feeling the after Holiday blues. Family and friends have traveled back home, or maybe you are the one traveling back home. Christmas trees are now sitting on the curb waiting for garbage day. Our not so real trees have been put in totes and stored for next year.
Now it’s a New Year!! What does this mean for you? Is this a fresh beginning to start over? A New Year seems to have this magical power over us, it is as though it washes off the ink of our
stories and we are left with blank pages… to create a new story. I strongly encourage you to not wash away your ink, but instead look for meaning through those pages. Those pages contain hard moments, fun moments, sad moments, moments that we wish we can erase and never again read, moments when we powered
through with all the odds against us, and moments that were full of togetherness, connection, and vulnerability.
Since the New Year is full of goal setting and planning I want to share some helpful tips with you:
- Write down your goal. Now break that goal down into stepping stones. Let’s set ourselves up for success. At times we get so excited about our goals that we can bite off too much and then struggle to understand why we were not able to meet our goals. I think we all set great goals but at times we can forget the steps that will lead to that ultimate goal.
- Example: Goal “I want to set healthy boundaries”. Stepping stone “Understanding the reason I struggle with saying the word no”.
- Ask yourself “hmmm what do I need to do to reach my goal?” We need to be very concrete in this area. Goal setting without a plan is just simply goal setting. Be as detailed as possible.
- Example: “During this week I am going to use the word “no” at least two times when I am asked to do something that I know will cause me stress, discomfort, or I simply do not want to do it”.
- Track your progress. This is great to do on a chart or a journal… or just jot a couple of notes in your daily planner. Reading past journal entries or reviewing past charts can be very encouraging. Keep track of how you are doing, it will help you stay focused.
- Share your goal with someone you feel safe being vulnerable with. I believe that we are created to do life with others. Those who we are vulnerable with are great to keep us focused and to share the hard truths. We want our countability person to be real and honest with us “ya girl you are doing great” when we darn well know we are not is not helpful. Sometimes we need “girl hmmm now I know you said you where going to say “no” at least twice this week…. and um just wondering how that is really going”…. we need tough love sometimes. Allow others to challenge you.
- Post your goals and encouraging words around your home, in your car, in your planner, lunch box, anywhere that you will see them. You need to see your goal everyday. Encouraging and insightful quotes and statements are so powerful. You can easily find these on Google, Facebook, and Pinterest. A really fun idea is you can get a mason jar and you ask your friends to write encouraging words, statements, prayers, and or quotes. During your hard days you go to that jar and reach for some inspiration and fuel.
- I feel the most important piece to remember and the reason I saved it for last is because I want it to stick with you. BE KIND AND GRACIOUS with your mind, body, and soul. Remember your are enough and you do enough. Goal setting is not about perfection. If you are going for perfection you will lose… end of story. Things will “go not as planned”… that is called life, it is our choices of what we do afterwards. What kind of words are we saying to ourselves? Are they encouraging? Are they true? When Life happens get back up, the difference between you and someone who accomplishes their goal is that when they fell they decided to learn from what happened, gave themselves some grace, reached out for support and went for it again. Keep going…. small victories everyday make a big difference. There are exceptions to this. At times when goals are not going well we need to start at the beginning and sometimes we reexamine our goal… know that this is a success moment because of your experience you are now more aware , and believe me there is so much power in awareness.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Important to remember they are only tips. There are many, many, many ways to do goal setting. Pick the one that works for you.
As We Thrive Wishes you a Happy New Year… and a year full of moments.
Since I totally skipped over November I thought I should post Decembers book of the month now!! If you live in Spokane Washington and near by cities I am hoping you all have your power restored, or are in the comfort of your family and friends. Sometimes it is easy to give help, but not so easy to receive help. Be courages and reach for the open hand reaching back at you.
Also hoping you had a great Thanksgiving.
Continue to follow us on Facebook for regular posts and updates.
This month I want to highlight a book that I read this month (November), “Mingling of Souls” by Matt Chandler is a great book for single individuals, dating couples, engaged couples, and married couples. Also great for those working with couples.
As We Thrive does offers pre-marital counseling package (click here for rates and more information) . PREPARES/ENRICH is the assessment tool we use for premarital counseling. Discover yourself, your partner, and your relationship. Pre-marital counseling is an opportunity to began to create a strong foundation for your marriage.
“The Song of Solomon offers strikingly candid—and timeless—insights on romance, dating, marriage, and sex. We need it. Because emotions rise and fall with a single glance, touch, kiss, or word. And we are inundated with songs, movies, and advice that contradicts God’s design for love and intimacy. Matt Chandler helps navigate these issues for both singles and marrieds by revealing the process Solomon himself followed: Attraction, Courtship, Marriage … even Arguing. The Mingling of Souls will forever change how you view and approach love”.
So you’ve Just Had a Baby…
This is absolutely magical. You’ve welcomed a newborn baby into this world and your home. You have given pieces of your heart, mind and spirit to your new favorite human. This journey is remarkably life changing, with moments of joy and challenge. In your transition into parenthood, a postpartum doula can be a great source of extra support. What’s a doula, you ask? You’ve visited the right spot!
What is a Postpartum Doula?
Doula is an ancient Greek word meaning, “a woman who serves”. In modern day, a doula refers to a professional who accompanies women and families throughout the childbearing year. More specifically, a postpartum doula accompanies you, the new family, in the months following birth. During this “fourth trimester”, the postpartum doula provides you with nonjudgmental emotional support and education around newborn care. The doula nurtures you as a parent, and in turn you are more equipped to care for your new baby (or babies!). While individual postpartum doulas have a wide variety of specialties, many doulas can assist you with things such as: processing the birth or adoption experience, light cleaning, self-care tips, meal/snack preparation, newborn feeding (breast, bottle, etc.), identifying and understanding baby’s cues, caring for baby or siblings while you rest, shower, spend time together, etc. While nannies and other childcare providers focus primarily on the baby, postpartum doulas are there to create space for you to develop your new normal, recover from birth, and gain confidence about caring for your new baby.
Doulas & Postpartum Mood Disorders
As non-medical professionals, postpartum doulas can connect you with community resources and practitioners for the diagnosis and treatment of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, or PMADs. Doulas offer support around some of the factors that can play a part in the development or exacerbation of PMADs. Ensuring that you have adequate sleep, proper nutrition, connections with community resources and ample time for other self-care practices, postpartum doulas can be helpful in the prevention of and/or healing process from PMADs.
How do I Find a Postpartum Doula?
Looking for a postpartum doula? Often, folks find doulas through their extended work, family, and social circles. Try asking the service providers in your life (OB, midwife, counselor, therapist, chiropractor, birth doula, massage therapist, childbirth education instructor, naturopath, yoga teacher, etc.) if they have a postpartum doula that they recommend. Doulamatch.net is also a really wonderful site to check out – they have thousands of birth and postpartum doula listings from all different areas. Still haven’t found the right fit? Try searching the web for “postpartum doula” + your location for doula agencies, cooperatives, or individual practices.
Whether you have made the decision to hire a postpartum doula before baby arrives, or if baby is already here and you’re realizing you’d like some additional support, finding the right postpartum doula for you and your family is very important. Some things to consider when choosing the right fit for you are the doula’s training, experience and personality. Is this doula certified through a postpartum doula organization? Are they new to this work or have they been doing this for a long time? Most importantly – do my family and I feel safe, connected, and comfortable around this person?
Postpartum doulas charge anywhere from $15-$40 per hour depending on location, education, specialties, experience, number of babies, time of day, etc. This is an incredibly important service however, cost can be a limiting factor for many families. If financial circumstances are a barrier for your family, there are options! Extended families will often contribute towards postpartum care for a baby shower gift. Some postpartum doulas offer sliding scale packages depending on a family’s financial situation. Often, new doulas or doulas still in training will offer reduced rates in exchange for help with certification paperwork or evaluations. Postpartum doulas also may offer to trade or barter their services with you in exchange for goods or services that you may provide them. Postpartum doulas recognize how crucial this time is for families and will often try to be as flexible as possible while also remembering that this incredibly valuable work is how they make their living. Welcoming a baby into your life can be magical and difficult… you deserve support, you deserve a postpartum doula.
*Beth Keenan lives in Portland Oregon and has partnered with a new doula group called Brave Birth Doula Care. If you are in the Portland area I highly recommend that you reach out to these 5 amazing ladies.
Birth & Postpartum Doula