Can I Give Up a Natural Birth?

Have you always imagined you’d give birth naturally, but are realizing now that, for whatever reason, natural birth just isn’t in the cards this time?

Maybe you have a medical condition that prevents you from having a natural birth – it could be placenta previa, or a breech baby, or maybe there’s concern over how well the baby could handle labor, to name a few common examples.

Is it ok to accept that a natural birth isn’t in your future?

Sure, you could stand on your head for hours a day, or do special moves in the swimming pool, or any of the other hundreds of suggestions for getting a breech baby to flip around – but what if none of them work for you? And what if you just don’t feel like trying yet another trick you heard worked for your coworker’s friend?

poolside lemonade
Set aside your worries – enjoy your time poolside!

 

What if the thought of one more positive visualization imagining your placenta moving out of the way makes you want to throw things across the room? Is it ok to just stop?

Can you feel good about accepting this change in your plans?

Absolutely.

If natural birth has always been your goal, it can be a hard mental shift to accepting that your reality may involve more medical intervention than you want. But you can do it. In fact, it’s ok to make that shift. It’s ok to embrace a new outlook, and look forward with anticipation instead of dread.

I’ll repeat, because it’s so important: it is absolutely, always, 100% ok for you to be at peace with your decisions.

Asking yourself the following questions can help you clarify your feelings. Part of our job at Doulas of Memphis is to help you work through the answers, and to support you every step of the way, so if you don’t know us already, let’s chat!

What is it about a medicalized birth that I’m hoping to avoid?

Is it a feeling of lack of control? Are you worried that you are somehow letting your baby or your partner down? Is it important to you that you still have a voice in your experience? Are you concerned that the medical aspect will overwhelm you with questions and details?

You might have a combination of answers to this question. Once you have explored all your answers, start to think about concrete things you can do to alleviate or even eliminate your concerns. Talk about your ideas with your doula and your doctor. We both want what is best for you, and can help you with your new plans.

What will it mean about me as a person or as a parent if I have a medicalized birth?

Worded slightly differently, you might come to an answer from a different angle: what will it mean about me as a person if I don’t have a natural birth? Hopefully, you are able to see that you are a worthy and valuable person and parent, regardless of the circumstances of your baby’s birth. You deserve to feel good about your choices and your experience.

Imagine yourself birthing your baby with confidence and clarity. What do you need this time to do that?

This is a great question to ask yourself regardless! Do you need education about your new options? Do you need additional support now and during the labor? Do you just need someone who “gets it” and won’t judge as you work through your feelings and make new decisions; someone who will remind you that you are enough?

The insight gained from your answers can help you start setting the stage for a positive birth experience, even if it isn’t the one you always thought you wanted. We would love to help you every step of the way.

Round ligament pain: Why is my belly so sore?!

Round ligament pain is a common complaint during pregnancy, and can be a bit alarming if you don’t know what it is. You might be thinking, “OMG I’m barely into my second trimester, WHY is my belly so sore?!”

 

round ligament pain
You mean my uterus is held up by the equivalent of a rubber band?!

If this isn’t your first rodeo, chances are you experienced round ligament pain sooner this time. Yes, it’s annoying, and totally unfair, even if it is a normal part of pregnancy.

What’s a round ligament anyway?

During pregnancy, your uterus expands to accommodate your growing baby. Your round ligaments are what support your uterus inside of your abdomen, and when your uterus stretches, your round ligaments stretch and soften as well. Think of it like a very thick rubber band that’s stretchy but has lots of resistance.

What does round ligament pain feel like? What causes it?

As your round ligaments are stretched and pulled by your growing uterus, they can pull on sensitive nerves and cause pain. Most women experience round ligament pain as a sharp, stabbing sensation on one side of their abdomen, sometimes both. For some, it almost feels like ovulation pain or an abdominal cramp. It can be caused by changing positions too quickly, sneezing, sleeping funny, exercise/overdoing it, or just plain old being pregnant. Whatever the cause, it’s no fun! We’ve been there, done that, and gotten the uncomfortably stretchy t-shirt.

What can I do about round ligament pain?

As annoying as it is, there are things you can do to help relieve round ligament pain, like…

Rest: If you’re experiencing pain in your abdomen from exercise or overdoing it, the best thing you can do is stop and rest. You may need to modify your routine to minimize pain and pressure.

Support: Particularly in the latter part of pregnancy, your round ligaments can feel sore from the weight of carrying your baby. A support band, girdle, or simply wrapping your belly with a ring sling or wrap you already have can help take the pressure off. Your doula may also have some additional suggestions for you.

Change positions slowly: Since round ligament pain can be caused by sharp movements, changing positions slowly can help you avoid that unpleasant cramping sensation.

Exercise/Stretching: If you have the okay from your provider, you can utilize some simple stretches to help with round ligament pain. One common stretch is a knee-chest position, where you place your knees and chest on the floor, legs apart, with your bottom in the air. It’s not the most flattering, but many find that this stretch really helps.

If you are experiencing extremely sharp pain, particularly pain that extends into the groin area, let your provider know. That could be another type of pregnancy-related pain called symphysis pubis dysfunction, or SPD. 

With SPD, the ligaments that keep your pelvis aligned stretch and relax too soon before birth. This can cause intense pain and pressure in the groin area, and should be dealt with under the care of a physician and likely a pelvic floor physiotherapist. SPD is different from round ligament pain and affects a different area of your body.

Your doulas will never minimize your complaints, no matter how small, and will always provide a listening and understanding ear. If you don’t have a doula yet but want one, let us know and we’ll get you taken care of!

 

 

 

Private childbirth classes to the rescue for busy Memphis families!

So you’re getting a ways into your pregnancy and your to-do list is growing! You’ve gotten your ultrasound, registered for baby showers, and maybe even gotten a few baby items. You know you should probably take a childbirth class, but you can’t find one that fits your schedule and you don’t want to take up a whole Saturday at the hospital. Can’t we just do this at home? Are private childbirth classes a thing?

private childbirth classes
On the lookout for private childbirth classes? We got you.

Good news: private childbirth classes are totally a thing!

Even better news: you can take a private childbirth class that fits your schedule and covers what you want to know and pass over the things you don’t.

What’s wrong with the one at the hospital?

Well, nothing’s “wrong” with the one at the hospital. Hospital childbirth classes tend to stick to the basics and focus on what it’s like to give birth at that specific location. You’ll come out with more knowledge than when you came in for sure, but there may not be time to answer your specific questions in the detail that you’d like. You can’t skip what you already know, you have to take it on their schedule, and you don’t get to choose who is there with you. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not for everyone.

If you and your partner have busy schedules that don’t always line up, a private childbirth class is perfect for you.

Time is precious these days, and the last thing you or your partner want to do after a long day is schlep it out to ANOTHER thing. You want to come home, eat, put your feet up, and stay there. We come to you on your time, in the comfort of your home. We’re also super not judging if you’re eating pizza in your bunny slippers when we get there.

If you and your partner are more private and the thought of a group class makes you uncomfortable, a private childbirth class is perfect for you.

Group childbirth classes can be a time to make new friends, but for some, that’s not the place they envision building lasting relationships. You might be uncomfortable talking about an intimate subject like birth around other people. You want to be able to speak freely and ask questions without getting the side-eye. Or maybe your history is complex with a history of infertility, loss, or a medically complicated pregnancy. You’re doing pregnancy your own way, but you don’t want to feel pressured to put on a happy face or share your story with people you don’t know well. A private class in your own home can ensure you get the information you want in an environment that’s sensitive to your needs and your story.

If you want to be able to stop and start and fast-forward through information at your pace based on your interests, a private childbirth class is perfect for you.

Our classes are in person and while it’s not quite like watching something on DVR, a private class gives you a lot more control over what you’re learning and the pace at which you learn it. Every family goes into birth with different priorities, and we want to make sure you learn what’s most important to you. . If you already know about the birth process but want hands-on tools and ways to connect with your partner, we have a class for that. If you ONLY want hands-on comfort techniques, we’ve got you covered. If you want a full series, we have a 3-week option that goes in-depth on #allthethings so you can feel prepared for anything that comes your way.

I have a couple of friends who are pregnant, too. Can we do a class together?

Absolutely! To get a group rate, get at least 6 of you together and it’s a party! Enjoy a smaller, more intimate setting with people you already know, love, and trust. It’s a happy medium between a private class and a larger setting with people you may not know.

Excited to learn more? Head on over to our childbirth classes page or give us a shout on our contact page. We’re pretty fast and will get in touch with you ASAP!

 

 

 

Holidays and inducing labor

If you’re due around the holidays, you may have heard quips like, “Thanksgiving is not a medical indication for induction of labor!” The implication is that induction of labor rises around holidays and that physician convenience is to blame. We feel this language is damaging and a more nuanced approach is in order.

Having an estimated due date that falls close to a major holiday can come with its own set of challenges. When it comes to holidays and inducing labor, there are many factors at play, and physician convenience is usually at the bottom.

While many wouldn’t dream of inducing labor because of a holiday, there are others who see it as the best, most logical choice for their family.

So, why would someone induce labor around a major holiday?

holidays and inducing labor
Your medical team likes Thanksgiving as much as anyone, but they are committed to giving you the best care every day of the year.

Some women choose an induction before a holiday to ensure their primary physician will be there.

You researched your physician carefully and chose them because you felt like they were the best doctor for you. You trust them and have spent your entire pregnancy building a relationship with them and discussing your preferences. You feel you’ll get the best care from them. They know you and understand you, and it’s important to you that they are there to deliver your baby, but you know they won’t be in town for Thanksgiving (or another holiday). Elective inductions without a medical reason are discouraged before 39 weeks gestation, but if you’re on the cusp of your due date and have the okay from your physician to induce labor, then it’s a perfectly valid choice and one that we won’t judge you for.

Some women choose induction because they want/don’t want to have their baby on a specific holiday.

For some, the decision about holidays and inducing labor comes from a desire to have their baby on a specific holiday. The idea of a Thanksgiving or Christmas baby is special to them. For others, it’s the exact opposite, and they don’t want their child to feel overshadowed on their birthday because of the holiday. If you’ve got a New Year’s baby on the way, taxes can be a huge issue for families as well. All of these are valid choices when they are made with your physician.

Some women choose to induce before a holiday so they can spend that holiday at home.

The desire not to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other major holiday in the hospital is certainly understandable. You might choose to induce before a holiday to ensure that you can be home with your family, propped up on the couch with your newborn with a plate of your favorite comfort food in your hands.

Some women induce around a holiday because they know they will have lots of family support.

Not everyone has family locally, and a woman may choose to induce around a holiday so that her out-of-town family can meet the baby and that there will be plenty of help to go around. Once your family heads back home, our postpartum doulas make the perfect holiday gift and can always pick up where your family left off.

Even if you aren’t concerned about holidays and inducing labor, know that the doctors and hospital staff are there to support you every day of the year, even on holidays.

Your doctors and nurses have dedicated years of their lives to learning how to care for you during your pregnancy and birth. Whether they work in a group or solo practice, they all understand that holiday births are part of the job. Many physicians work in group practices and know ahead of time when their call schedule falls on a major holiday, and they are ready to come to you in the same way your birth doula is ready to come to you, day or night.

At Doulas of Memphis, we support your decisions for your birth and respect the relationships and choices you make with your trusted physicians. Our opinion on holidays and inducing labor? We don’t have one outside of the choice that you feel is best for you.

 

Planning for baby? | Mom Self Care Free Printable

When you’re planning for baby, the vast majority of pregnancy and birth checklists out there all about what you need to do for your baby. But what about you? Giving birth is a feat no matter how you do it, and in the flurry and excitement of packing, it’s easy to forget about the things you’ll need after baby is here!

planning for baby
Planning for baby is no easy task!

Planning for baby means planning for you, too. We asked some veteran moms about their must-have items for the hospital and back home. Here’s what they said:

Of course you’re going to pack toiletries and clothes for you and baby. Here’s what to pack in your hospital bag for you:

Pillows from home: Because we know hospital pillows aren’t known for their extra-fluffiness.
Extra-long charging cable: Keep in touch when you want, from anywhere in your room. Oh, and Netflix.
Chapstick: Trust us, it’s a must-have.
Mints: Freshen up until you can brush your teeth again.
Comfy leggings or pajama pants: There’s nothing quite like slipping on a pair of cozy pants after a nice shower.
Soft, light robe: Be visitor-ready in no time!
Fuzzy blanket from home: Hospital blankets are thin, and who doesn’t love a fuzzy throw?
Your favorite instant coffee (ex. Starbucks Via): Coffee emergencies are a thing.
Water bottle: Skip the styrofoam and stay hydrated in style!
Snacks for after birth: Your favorite takeout menus and a Designated Bringer of Food wouldn’t hurt, either.
Post-birth beverage: Finally, you can have that drink you’ve been craving your whole pregnancy!
Nursing pillow: Save your neck and arms by bringing baby up closer to you.
Nursing tanks/clothes to labor in: Nursing tanks are great for skin-to-skin after birth. Pair with a knee-length maxi skirt for an alternative to that hospital gown.
Button-down or pull-down shirts: for easy nursing access.

You’re back home with all of your stuff, and a new baby. Here’s what to keep around for those days after birth:

Depends (No really, trust us!): Because it’s no fun when your pad moves around.
Tucks Pads:
A common hemorrhoid relief, but they’re oh-so-nice for a sore perineum too!
Peri Bottle:
A lifesaver when wiping is the last thing you want to do.
Constipation relief:
No shame in that stool softener game!
Water bottle:
Between taking care of a newborn, nursing, and recovering from birth, hydration in reach is essential!
Late-night snack basket:
When nighttime hunger strikes, you’ll be prepared.
Dim night light:
So you can see to change that diaper and then get everyone back to dreamland
Freezer meals:
Consider hosting a freezer meal shower to stock up before baby comes.
One-handed snacks:
Feed baby and yourself at the same time!
Fresh, cut-up fruits and veggies:
Because you can only eat so much lasagna.
Baby carrier:
For hands-free snuggling and walking around.
Lanolin/nipple butter:
Relief for nipples that are adjusting to a newborn feeding schedule.
Journal: A place for your thoughts and feelings.
Extra phone chargers:
It’s no fun when you phone dies and you’re stuck under a baby. 
Postpartum doula: 
A postpartum doula is a valuable member of your village! We’re there to make sure you have all of the help, rest, and support you need after baby comes home.

Love our list? What would you add?

Click here to download our Mom Self Care Free Printable!

mom-self-care-free-printable

Postpartum GO!

Pokemon GO is sweeping the nation, and many of us are reliving our childhoods, channeling our inner nerds, and enjoying the chance to catch ’em all in the real world. We also couldn’t help but notice that Pokemon GO has a lot in common with postpartum doulas! Introducing: Postpartum GO!

Pokemon Go
Like Pokemon GO, but for moms.

When you’re a mom playing Postpartum GO, you aren’t catching Pokemon. You’re catching the day to day tasks of parenthood. Diapering, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, nap time, playtime, bedtime, bath time, meals, laundry, dishes, showers, actually putting the clean clothes away, etc. You throw your Pokeball and catch those tasks, checking them off the list until it’s time to do it all over again. Sometimes you miss, and that’s okay too. It’s all part of learning how to play the game.

Sometimes, you feel like your life with a newborn is full of nothing but Pidgeys, Rattatas, and Zubats. You wish you could catch some new Pokemon already! Lucky for you, your postpartum doula is your Great Ball or Master Ball. With her help, you can catch bigger Pokemon and take on more tasks.

Maybe you’re feeling confident about newborn care but struggling with keeping up with household tasks, or maybe its the other way around. Adjusting to a new baby while recovering from birth can feel overwhelming at times, and your postpartum doula is there to take the stress out of the game. While you relax and enjoy bonding with your baby, your doula can help keep your house running AND is there to answer all of your baby questions, bounce ideas off of, and be another grownup who understands and isn’t there to judge or give her opinion. She helps you level up at this newborn gig, and it’s not even considered cheating!

In the game of Postpartum GO, gym battles are the challenges you overcome in early parenthood. Sleepless nights, teething, colicky babies, figuring out exactly how long it takes you to go somewhere, ever-changing, routines. Each stage brings a new challenge. Your postpartum doula is your Potions and Revives.

pokemon goYour postpartum doula is there to help you revive after a long “battle” so that you are refreshed and ready for the next one. Babies are fun and adorable, but they deplete your energy reserves fast if you aren’t careful. Your doula is there to help you balance things out. She’ll make you a special Potion called a Home-Cooked Meal or a Warm Cup of Coffee. She’ll mind the baby so you can take a nap and Revive. She can even come and give you the Lucky Egg of a Full Night of Sleep. You can wake up to clean dishes, folded laundry, breakfast, and all the energy you need to catch the day’s tasks. Talk about feeling like you’ve Leveled Up!

At some point, you’ll want to venture out with your baby and try out new Poke Stops and visit some Gyms.

If you’re unsure about outings with your baby, your postpartum doula can help you prepare. What do I need to pack in a diaper bag? How long will it take? Where will I nurse my baby in public? What if there isn’t a changing table? Each Poke Stop will have different considerations, and your experienced doula can help you think it through, and she’ll even go with you if you want! She can also help you get connected to new moms and start experiencing the magic that is a Play Date. Like a Gym, Play Dates allow you to interact with other moms, find your tribe, and build community. They help you feel less alone. If you’re pregnant or a new mom in Memphis, you can join our “gym” on Facebook! Who knows, maybe you’ll bump into a stranger and leave with a friend.

Nobody starts as an expert in game of Postpartum GO, but with time, patience, and the help of your postpartum doula, you’ll be a master in no time! Let us help you catch ’em all.

 

Your doula

Things are different now from the way they used to be. In an ideal world, everyone would be so supported by their communities and “villages” that my job wouldn’t exist.

your doula
Your doula walks through pregnancy and birth with you.

But our world isn’t ideal- families live far away or are working, we’re stretched thin, we’re isolated, and it seems like everyone around us is busy. Not your doula. Your doula is not too busy because your doula is there for you.


We go to our doctor appointments and we wait an hour for ten to fifteen minutes of face time. Unless there’s something urgent on our minds, oftentimes our questions leave us in the moment, or we forgot to write them down, or we think of something on our way out the door. Who is there for us then? Who has answers, or knows how to get them? Google? Friends who may or may not understand? Our parents who gave birth in a totally different world? What if we just need to talk about something, and it’s not necessarily “doctor-worthy”? Your doula can help. She can listen, validate concerns, calm fears, help you think of questions, help you avoid Google and direct you to the best source for the answers you seek. She’ll never judge, never think you’re silly, and is a constant for you.

When we go to give birth, often it’s just us and our partners punctuated by hospital staff coming in and out at various intervals but never able to stay for very long. They care about you, but they are also focused on making sure your baby is healthy and safe. It seems as if nobody is there exclusively for you, not even your partner. He’s having a baby too, and his focus is divided between you and your baby. He has needs of his own that must be met as he tries to balance them with meeting your needs. What if he gets tired? Anxious? Hungry? As much as he wants to be, he cannot be there exclusively for you.

Your doula can. Your doula is the only one whose job it is to prioritize you and your needs. Everything she does revolves around you.

She is a buffer, someone who makes things easier for everyone around you. Her presence and support ensures that everyone around you can focus on their jobs because they know you are taken care of. She supports your partner by helping guide him in supporting you better. She can be the firm hands on your hips so that he can be the gentle voice in your ear.

She takes the pressure off of him to be everything and instead gives him the freedom to be himself, the one who loves you and the one you need in that moment.

Your doula is experienced in childbirth and knows how to anticipate your needs. You have work to do, and she helps you to make the most of it. Your doula knows what to say to give strength and encouragement to everyone around her, but especially you. After your baby is born, your doula rejoices with you and begins the work of adjusting pillows, snapping a few candids of those first moments (if you’d like, of course), and helping you as the rest of the world melts away and your world is now on your chest. She assists you as you settle in until she sees you breathe deep, that sigh that tells her that it’s time to slip away. Don’t worry, you’ll see her again at home soon, when she will sit down with you to answer your questions and talk about anything you need, whether it’s your birth or how beautiful your baby is.

When everyone else is there to see the baby, she is there to see you, because her work is making sure that you are cared for and that you know how important you are to her.

Blue, Gold, and Doulas of Memphis

We’ve already talked about the Doulas of Memphis difference, but you may have been wondering, “What’s with all the blue? What does that have to do with being a doula agency?” It’s everywhere, from our website to our social media, clothing, and print materials. We have worked diligently to create a brand that encompasses things we love about the city we all call home.

 

Doulas of Memphis
                                             Logo by www.marshartz.com

 

From our blue to our service, every detail with you in mind.

Here at Doulas of Memphis, we see ourselves as here to stay. We are deeply rooted in Memphis as people, parents, doulas, and businesswomen. We chose the color blue because to us, blue represents loyalty to Memphis. Tiger Blue. Grizzlies Blue (and gold!). Home of the Blues. We are loyal to our city, and we are loyal to our clients. We want nothing but the best for you and strive for excellence in everything we do. Our doulas are attentive, professional, and always ready to serve your family.

Doulas of Memphis is an agency that builds bridges.

bridge elementIt’s no coincidence that a bridge is the centerpiece of our logo. We believe in building bridges between doulas and medical professionals so that clients benefit from relationships built on trust and mutual respect. As a client, you can be sure that we will always encourage and nurture those relationships. Our goal as doulas is not to protest for change, but to hold families up through some of the most special and memorable times in their lives. We believe that when we work together, everyone feels supported.

Valuing our history and heritage

blue, headshot, cecelia lucyAs birth and postpartum doulas, we are trained to know both where clients have been and where they are going. In the same way, we recognize our rich history and are working to be a positive part of Memphis as it moves into the future. With musicians represented among our doula ranks, we gave nod to our city’s musical heritage. You’ll see hints of the Levitt Shell, the gold of Sun Studios, and the ebb and flow of the Mighty Mississippi. We’re connected to our city, our history, and most importantly…we’re connected to you!

If you spot us around town in blue (or any other color, for that matter), don’t be shy! Say hello. Tell us your story. If you want us to be a part of your birth and parenting story, we’d be honored! Call us up at (901) 308-4888 or drop us a line on our contact form. We also love interacting with our community online! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see what we’re up to and to look for opportunities to connect. We can’t wait to hear from you.

 

You Do You: Children’s Book Life Lessons

Even before I had children of my own, I was an avid collector of children’s books. I would keep them in my apartment, give them as gifts, and at bookstores you could always find me foraging through the children’s section more enthusiastically than a 6-year-old.  I love them as art, and I love how they can distill life lessons in such a way that even kids can understand. Tennessee has a program called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, where families sign up to receive one book a month from birth to age 5.  One of my son’s favorites is called Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, written by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow. The lesson? You do you!

You do you, molly lou melon

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is a book about being your most authentic self no matter your circumstances or what other people say about you.

Molly Lou Melon is a tiny little girl with a big personality and the best grandma ever. By anyone’s standards, Molly Lou Melon doesn’t have a lot going for her: She’s short, has buck teeth, has a terrible singing voice, AND she’s the new kid at school. One thing Molly Lou Melon DOES have going for her is that her grandma has given her some advice:

“Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you.”

“Smile big and the world will smile right alongside you.”

“Sing out clear and strong and the world will cry tears of joy.”

“Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too.”

Grandma’s advice serves Molly Lou Melon well as she encounters bully Ronald Durkin at school. We never find out what Ronald Durkin’s problem is, but he doesn’t know when to quit! Molly Lou Melon doesn’t entertain his negativity and instead adopts the motto, “You do you.” If Molly Lou Melon cares what Ronald Durkin thinks, the reader never knows. She does her own thing, is her most authentic self, and at the end of the week when she wins Ronald Durkin over, she writes her grandma a letter to tell her she was right.

Whether you’re a parent, doula, new kid, or just trying to get along in the world, you WILL encounter people who seem to feel threatened by your mere existence in their world. Stand tall, friend, and you do you.

It is tempting to be something less than our most authentic selves in the face of disagreement, negativity, passive-aggressive comments, or even bullying from others. The problem? It never works.

Your most authentic self will never be good enough for some people, and making the opinions of others the metric for your worth as a person will always lead to disappointment. 

Being our most authentic selves doesn’t mean we get to do and say whatever we want free of consequence, but it does free us from being beholden to the opinions of others. Molly Lou Melon doesn’t go out of her way to impress anyone; instead, she stays true to herself and in the end finds acceptance and is able to share her gifts with those around her. What if she had hidden and pretended to be something else, or made her life about impressing Ronald Durkin? I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad that wasn’t her story! And you know what? It doesn’t have to be yours, either!

you do you, molly lou melon

 

Take a page out of Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon: shine bright and give the world the best version of you!

Big Brave Dog: on finding strength

Never in my life did I think that a quote from Rugrats would enter my birth room.  And yet, when I think back to the birth of my first child, my mind’s eye goes to the image of Suzie and Angelica fighting over Chuckie as he sits terrified at the top of the big kid slide.

For me, my “slide” was the emergency cesarean I faced. I was terrified. This was not how I planned my birth! This was not the birth I wanted, but here I was.

slide strength
The view from the top

“You’re a big brave dog.”

I’ll be honest with you: it would have so very easy to give into the fear and I almost did. Even though I was a nurse and had attended hundreds of cesarean births, I was still afraid in that moment. Then my husband did something to shake me out of it. He leaned down and whispered in my ear, “You’re a big brave dog.”

All of a sudden, I had a choice. I could give into the fear or I could be a big brave dog.

Those words stuck. I repeated them over and over throughout my cesarean. Each time I said ‘I’m a big brave dog,” the fear melted a bit more and my inner strength came out.
In that moment, I made the choice to speak power into my fear and less-than-ideal circumstances. There may be a time during your birth where you find yourself at the top of the proverbial slide and in need of some strength to help you go down it. It doesn’t matter if your slide is a cesarean, an induction, or epidural, or even when the time comes to push your baby out.

The good news is that while we don’t always have control over our circumstances during labor and birth, we DO have control over the way we speak to ourselves. You can make choices in that moment to speak fear, or to speak power and strength.

As doulas, we help you dig deep and find the power and strength that was there all along.  Maybe your phrase isn’t,  “I’m a big brave dog”-  maybe for you it’s, “I’m a rockstar,” “I’m doing the best thing for my baby,” “I can trust my doctor and medical team,” or “I am powerful.” Take that phrase, and like Chuckie from Rugrats, allow that to propel you through your fear and down your slide.

We’ll be right here with you, waiting at the bottom.

Authored by Lindsey Hanna