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.

Introducing Mia Peake

Doulas of Memphis is growing, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have MiaJenell (Mia) Peake on our team as our newest birth doula!

Mia Peake

Mia is a native from Memphis, Tennessee but moved to Georgia where she completed high school and then graduated college with a double major in psychology and women’s studies from Georgia State University. Shortly after she graduated, she joined the Peace Corps as a health educator in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador. Here, she worked with local women and adolescents to promote awareness in various topics including cultural diversity, bullying, self- esteem, healthy relationships, healthy diet, and healthy hygiene practices. She then moved back to the States (Nashville) to complete her masters in public health and health policy at Meharry Medical College.

While completing her master’s degree, she fell completely head over heels with a gentleman from her hometown and now resides in Memphis, Tennessee. Her passion for as long as she can remember has been to be of service to women. Women from all creeds and all backgrounds. She decided to become a doula because she whole-heartedly believes all women and families should have the right to bring a child in the world with the utmost support, education and peace all in an unbiased non-judgmental environment. She is completely overjoyed to be of service in her very own community!

Outside of being a doula, Mia enjoys cooking for her husband, hiking, gardening, watching a wide-range documentaries and watching Game of Thrones.

We asked Mia why she chose Doulas of Memphis. Here’s what she said:

I want to be a part of the greatest transition- from woman to mother. Doulas have the ability to help insure that the next generation more peacefully and with more informed mothers. That’s powerful. As for me and Doulas of Memphis, it seemed just right! You all were so helpful- you were the first ones to reach out to me when I had so many questions. You were warm and open and that meant a lot to me.

We believe that Mia will be a great asset to our team and is definitely Doulas of Memphis material. We hope that everyone who has the privilege of working with her thinks so, too! Welcome, Mia!

 

Mom Olympics | Lessons from Rio 2016

The Rio 2016 Olympics ended yesterday, and over the past couple of weeks the world has seen endurance, resourcefulness, compassion, heartbreak, triumph, controversy, and togetherness on display. In a world where parenting sometimes feels like an Olympic sport, there’s a lot for moms to learn from this year’s summer Olympics.

Olympics

Moms win the gold for doing the best they can with what they have.

The Rio 2016 Olympics was fraught with infrastructure obstacles and budgetary concerns. During the opening ceremony, we saw resourcefulness on display with the use of a projection system to both cut costs and create some pretty sweet special effects. As moms, we are all operating with limited resources. Likewise as moms, we have limited time, funds, energy, sleep…and somehow we dig deep within ourselves and give our children the best we can with what we have. There are no participation medals in the real Olympics, but in the Mom Olympics, we know you’re giving it your all and we honor you!

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, the diving pool turns green.

It wasn’t green yesterday! The pool next to it isn’t green! Oh crap, now we have to swim in this?! It happens at the Olympics, and it happens to us as moms. Sometimes our best-laid plans turn green no matter how much chlorine we put in yesterday. On days when that grocery trip is an epic fail, when Netflix during naptime doesn’t happen, when breastfeeding isn’t going as planned, when you don’t know where the day went wrong, moms keep swimming, ready to dive headfirst into a new day tomorrow.

Moms win the gold for helping each other up when the race gets rough.

The day-to-day of motherhood can feel like a running-in-circles race, and it’s not always smooth track ahead. Even the best of us trip and fall, and that’s when we can count on our mom friends to help us up, put an arm around us, hand us a cup of coffee, and keep going with us. There’s a lot of divisiveness around parenting, but there will always be the Nikki Hamblins and Abbey D’Agostinos out there who meet us in our struggles and encourage us along the way.

The Rio Olympics showed us that women are powerful, strong, and capable. Doulas help moms dig in and find the strength that’s always been there.

At this year’s Olympics, our female athletes made us proud. From Gabby Douglas to Simone Biles, Michelle Carter, Kate Ledecky and more, we saw time and time again that women are amazing and strong. Although they alone were responsible for doing the work, many Olympians acknowledge members of their support team that have helped them along the way. Doulas come faithfully alongside moms as they find strength, endurance, and courage during pregnancy, birth, and the early days of parenting. At Doulas of Memphis, we help you prepare for birth, and when the big day comes, we’re there to lean on, cheer you on, and hold you up physically and emotionally as you do the hard work of birth. We believe in you and your ability to make the best decisions for your family. After baby is home and the real marathon begins, our postpartum doulas support you day and night to help ensure that you get the rest you need, that you get answers to your questions, and we’ll even help keep you fed and nourished as you care for and bond with your newest little Olympian.

Interested in adding a birth doula or postpartum doula to your support team? Give us a call or drop us a line and let us know how we can partner with your family!

 

 

To the dads who roll up their sleeves | Father’s Day 2016

Father’s Day is June 19th and while this holiday may come with mixed emotions for many, we’re choosing here at Doulas of Memphis to celebrate the dads who roll up their sleeves.

Family dynamics are changing in our society, and men are more involved in the home now than they have ever been. In the blogosphere it’s abundantly clear that dads are not babysitters, that they have value beyond breadwinning, and that their roles as parents are important and worth celebrating.

So here’s to you, the dads who roll up their sleeves:

To the dads who walk into the door after a long day and jump right in to the work of parenting.

To the new dads and the been-there-done-that dads.

To the dads who change diapers.

To the dads who wake up to rock, bounce, soothe, and give moms the gift of rest.

To the dads who cook dinner, who pick up groceries, who do the dishes.

To the dads who conquer bath time and read bedtime stories.

To the dads who tickle little tummies and nibble little toes.

To the dads who make feeding the baby possible through support and encouragement.

To the dads who hit the park and kiss boo-boos all better.

To the dads who know when it’s time to hold space and hold you close and when it’s time to find a solution.

To the dads who make sure the coffee is there.

To the dads who stay at home and keep the wheels turning.

To the dads who aren’t afraid to do things differently from everyone around them.

To the dads who have gone before and left us with legacies to remember.

To the nerdy dads.

To the sports-loving dads.

To the handyman dads and the call-the-plumber dads.

To the dads who don’t babysit and instead cherish time alone with their children.

To the single dads who put up and show up to provide for their children.

To the dad who put aside differences to do what is best.

To the dads who lift moms up.

To the dads who teach us integrity and discipline with love and compassion.

This Father’s Day, and every day, we see you. We love you. We value you and appreciate you.  Thank you for joining us on this wild ride of parenthood!

Father's Day

 

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.

 

A doula-in-training is not a thing.

March 22-28 is World Doula Week, and this week on the blog Doulas of Memphis is taking the World Doula Week Blog Challenge hosted by Louisville Area Doulas! Today, we’ve been challenged to address a common doula stereotype, and we’ve chosen the concept of a doula-in-training.

We all have words or phrases that drive us crazy when we hear or see them. You know, like someone pronouncing the word mischievous “miss-chee-vee-ous” or not knowing the difference between its and it’s. As annoying as those are, there’s a word that I dislike much more, and that word is doula-in-training.

doula-in-training
What we do when we hear the term “doula-in-training”

If you have made the foray into the world of Facebook Mommy Groups, chances are you have run across a post along the lines of:

“Does anybody know a doula-in-training who is looking for births or hours to finish her certification? We really want a doula this time because I’ve heard that they can help you during labor, but unfortunately it’s not in the budget right now. If you know anyone, please PM me. Thanks!”

Translation: This person wants the luxury and benefits that a doula provides for free or very low cost. All in the name of the doula being “in training.”  It would be easy to blame the consumer a situation like this, but honestly, they are doing their job as a consumer by seeking out the best value for their money.  The bigger problem here is that…

The idea of a doula-in-training is a common stereotype that is perpetuated by doulas who have educated the public that a doula-in-training is even a thing.  It is not a thing.  A trained doula is a doula. End of story.

Once a doula has completed a training, like the intensive training ProDoula offers,  she is no longer in training. She is a doula. Her time away from her family is not worth less than someone who has been working longer than she has. She deserves to be able to receive a fair wage for the time, energy, and care that she puts into each and every client.

Being a doula is not a hobby, or a megaphone for a set of ideals.  It is a career. It is not a “labor of love” or “heart work” in the sense that you cannot assign monetary value to it.  As doulas, we are able to continue to put our hearts, love, and passion into supporting clients only if we are able to sustain ourselves financially.

We cannot serve from empty vessels, and it is unrealistic to expect a doula to work for little or no  compensation for the sake of “gaining experience.” It is our job as doulas to educate the consumer about the value of a doula. Every time we further the idea that a “doula-in-training” is worth less than anyone else, we are teaching the consumer to value free and low cost over attunement, over service, over the very things in which we pride ourselves. Who does that benefit? NOBODY. The term doula-in-training needs to die and it needs to die yesterday.

You won’t find a doula-in-training at Doulas of Memphis. Here’s why.  

The label of doula-in-training exists in part to make a distinction between a doula who is certified and a doula who is not. Certification comes with its own set of benefits beyond the practical work that a doula does. Pursuing certification is important as it shows professionalism, follow-through, and dedication. Certification helps legitimize doulas in the eyes of medical professionals and the community as a whole.

At Doulas of Memphis, we value certification. All of our doulas are working towards completing their certification through ProDoula, but we also believe that our doulas have value apart from the certification process. They are passionate about supporting you and your choices, and we stand behind the quality of every doula we work with.

Doulas of Memphis works to build up, equip, and encourage our doulas so that they bring you their best every time you come into contact with them. Because of their training, they have been given the tools they need to support you through birth and early parenting. Because they are pursuing certification, they are committed to learning and growing. Your Doulas of Memphis doula has access to a support network of her own through ProDoula and through our agency.  She has been trained to attune to your needs and brings her own unique set of experiences and gifts to your birthplace or home. She is respectful, professional, and reliable.  She is not a “doula-in-training.” She is a doula…your doula.

 

Postpartum Doulas, Nannies, and Babysitters, Oh my!

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Where were you when my baby was little?! I wish I would have known!” in response to my description of what a postpartum doula does. Clearly there is a huge need, but the  term “postpartum doula” still has a way to go before it makes its way into the public consciousness.  If you want to read about Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas, you can click here, but I’d like to take a moment to break down the differences between a postpartum doula and some of its alternatives.

postpartum doulas
Postpartum Doulas, Nannies, and Babysitters, Oh my!

Babysitters vs. Postpartum Doulas


While postpartum doulas do occasionally step into a babysitting-type role, babysitting is not one of the primary duties of a postpartum doula. A babysitter is typically hired for temporary or short-term childcare where the parent is either absent, or at home and unavailable. The babysitter’s focus is solely on the care of children, not on household tasks or the well-being of the mother. A postpartum doula’s focus is on caring for and nurturing the mother. Sometimes that includes baby care or looking after older siblings, but not as a general rule and always in the context of the mother’s needs.

Housekeepers vs. Postpartum Doulas

Basic household tasks are well within the postpartum doula’s scope, but they are just that: basic. While a postpartum doula will do your dishes, cycle your laundry, give your counters and sinks a quick wipe-down, and help you deal with that one clutter spot that’s driving you crazy, we do those things because they provide relief for parents. Time normally spent on mundane daily tasks instead becomes time for self care, to connect as a family, and bond with their baby.

Nannies vs. Postpartum Doulas

The job description of a nanny overlaps the most with that of a postpartum doula.  Both a nanny and a postpartum doula assist with baby care, sibling care, and do simple tasks that keep a household running. A nanny might even stay overnight and assist with nighttime baby care, but that’s where the similarities stop.  Hiring a nanny is a long-term childcare and home management solution, and a nanny may or may not have any kind of certification or credentials.


Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are not only well-versed in infant care, but also in what families are going through physically and emotionally during the postpartum period. You can ask your doula questions about postpartum recovery, what’s normal, and what warrants a call to your doctor. Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are also trained birth doulas, which provides a framework in which a postpartum client can discuss her birth if she so chooses. Unless she has an outside certification or personal experience, a nanny does not provide breastfeeding assistance. Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are trained in assisting mothers with normal breastfeeding and are able to refer clients to additional lactation support if it is needed.

Much like a postpartum doula, a  night nanny (aka “baby nurse”) takes care of your baby during the night so that you can get the sleep you’ve been craving. The biggest difference is that the nanny is there exclusively for the baby, while the postpartum doula is there for the whole family.  Your postpartum doula can take over night-time bottle feeding, or bring your baby to you if you are breastfeeding. She is available to listen, validate, and help if things feel hard, and to answer those new mom questions that may be keeping you up at night.

Nannies do form relationships and care about the families they serve, a nanny’s primary concern is not the emotional well-being of the mother. For a postpartum doula, the physical and emotional well-being of the mother is top priority! Those mundane tasks aren’t mundane to us, and we do all of it with a desire to provide you with same the loving, attentive care that you give to your baby.

 

The Doulas of Memphis Difference

March 22-28 is World Doula Week, and this week on the blog Doulas of Memphis is taking the World Doula Week Blog Challenge hosted by Louisville Area Doulas! Today, we’ve been challenged to tell you all about something that makes us different.

Doulas of Memphis Difference

If you spend any amount of time on our website, you’ll see that we are different. We’re an agency and that’s different. Our birth doulas work in teams and that’s different. We go on call from the moment you sign your contract and that’s different. We can provide round-the-clock postpartum care, we have the most availability, we have uniform training through ProDoula, we’re not an advocacy group, we’re building sustainability through our business model, we’re invested in our community, and yeah, that’s all different, and yes, we’re proud of all the things we have to offer you. But…

All of that is great, but it isn’t what makes Doulas of Memphis the best doula services in Memphis. We are the best doula services in Memphis because our business is built not around an ideology, but around YOU, the client.

Traditionally, has been approached from the framework of helping women achieve greater success in their attempts at natural childbirth, also known as unmedicated childbirth. You hire a doula to help you bypass that epidural, unless of course something happens and it becomes “medically necessary.” There are studies that suggest doulas can help lower the cesarean rate, decrease interventions, and promote shorter labors. The problem with those studies is that they are just that- studies that look at populations and not individuals.

We are grateful for the women who have come before us to put doulas on the map and to get the word out about what we do. We work to carry on their tradition of supporting women through birth and the postpartum period, but Doulas of Memphis was founded based not around an ideal of a birth without interventions, but around the support that modern women in Memphis are craving.

The truth is that the vast majority of women in this city are not having the unmedicated vaginal deliveries that the doulas of the past traditionally supported. We feel at Doulas of Memphis that if we base our support around that standard, we are doing women a disservice.  A woman who wants an epidural, chooses a “wait-and-see” approach to pain relief,  chooses an elective induction, trusts her doctor and values safety over the experience,  or chooses a cesarean birth can benefit from the support of a doula equally as much as someone who wants a natural birth.

Our clients come from different backgrounds and have different values and expectations surrounding childbirth, and we value them all. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:

We’re not here for an experience. We’re here for YOU.

We’ll never hang up the phone or leave your side because you choose an epidural. We value the doctor-patient relationship and believe you are capable of choosing the birth team and making the choices that are best for you. We leave your clinical care to those who are most qualified and keep our focus instead on your emotional well-being. We aren’t invested in your parenting choices, whether you choose to circumcise or not, or if you decide that it’s best for your family if you take a more scheduled approach. We’re invested in YOU, the client. You, the woman who is more than someone giving birth or a mom with spit-up on your shirt after a rough night.  We are invested in getting to know you as individuals so that we can be the best doula in Memphis for YOU.  

If you’ve never considered hiring a doula in Memphis because you thought they were only for a certain type of birth or parenting style, we’d love for you to reconsider and  give us a call! We want to hear from you and learn about your needs and how we can support and serve your family.

That’s the Doulas of Memphis difference. We hope to hear from you soon!

To read blogs from other contributors to the World Doula Week Blog Challenge, visit http://louisvilleareadoulas.com/blog/2016-world-doula-week