The IKEA Doula

Memphis is buzzing with excitement over the Grand Opening of our very own IKEA. The iconic blue building with yellow letters beckons with the promise of inexpensive home goods, plenty to look at, and delicious, inexpensive meatballs.

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Let’s face it, though. IKEA can be equal parts awesome and overwhelming, and a trip with kids requires a strategic battle plan. Enter: The IKEA Doula.

You know the drill by now: Doulas provide families with physical, emotional, and informational support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. We joke among colleagues about wishing we had a “Life Doula” to support us through difficult-to-navigate situations. Why should IKEA be any different?

Your IKEA Doula provides physical support during your trip.

Parking is a breeze with your IKEA Doula. She’ll drop you off right at the entrance and meet you inside. Having trouble juggling your list, coffee, cart, and purse? Don’t worry, your IKEA Doula can help! Need someone to watch your things while you take a much-needed potty break? We got you. Need one grownup to push the stroller so you can push the cart? Hold your spot in the food line because your toddler has to go potty RIGHT NOW even though they didn’t when you asked them ten minutes ago? We’ll even help you remember to sit down on the display couches and help you stay hydrated while you attempt to walk the entire store.

Your IKEA Doula provides you with the emotional support you need to make it through the store in one piece.

Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering why you decided to even do this opening week? Need help keeping your goals in mind? This is where your doula shines. She’ll remind you you’re not alone, there’s nothing wrong with sitting down for 30 minutes to regroup, that it’s okay to not know which color you want right now. If you’re exhausted, she won’t judge you for taking a nap in one of the micro-apartments. It helps them look more realistic, right? She’ll listen as you process how this piece will fit in your room versus that one, and won’t tell you that you’re overthinking and to “OMG JUST PICK SOMETHING ALREADY. IT’S A COFFEE TABLE.” Your doula knows it’s never just a coffee table and will listen and validate all of your feelings.

Your IKEA Doula is fully equipped to give you the informational support you need for a successful trip.

If you’ve never been to an IKEA before, your doula can help talk you through the process. If you need a list-making ninja, she’ll make sure you’ve got the best list for you. She’ll help you take measurements so you can know if that couch will indeed fit in your living room, and will help you locate every item you need in the warehouse part of the store. She’ll help you find item number and help you make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

There’s no such thing as an IKEA Doula, but don’t you wish there were?!

Alas, this magical creature called the IKEA Doula isn’t real, but if you’re pregnant or a new mom in Memphis, you can get this kind of support through this beginning stage of parenthood! Experience that same magic in the form of birth doulas, postpartum doulas, overnight doulas, childbirth education, and lactation support.

P.S., if you want your postpartum doula to take Baby’s First IKEA Trip with you, we totally do that. We’ll even let you call us your IKEA doula while you’re there šŸ˜‰

The four-letter word you shouldn’t say in labor

Anybody who works around women giving birth will tell you that they have heard their fair share of four-letter words in the delivery room. Even the most mild mannered, polite, and proper of women have been known to let a few choice words fly in the midst of contractions or pushing.

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However, there is one word that we feel should be taken out of a women’s vocabulary during labor, and that word is “only.”

It’s a common scenario. Mom’s been having contractions all day/all night/all week, and finally gets that feeling that tells her, “it’s time,” but then she gets to the hospital and the news isn’t quite what she expected.

“I’m only 3 cm dilated.”

“It’s been six hours, and I’ve only progressed 1 cm.”

“I’m only in early labor and not active labor like I thought.”

“If I’ve only gotten this far in the past eight hours, how long is the rest of this going to take? Am I going to be in labor forever?”

“I’ve only been at __cm for 8 hours. Does this mean I have to have a cesarean?”

The vast majority of the time, the word “only” is used in reference to cervical dilation. The problem with this is that it fails to acknowledge all of the other things that a woman’s body has to do before pushing out a baby. Every contraction has a purpose, but that purpose is not always to dilate the cervix. Some contractions work to engage the baby further in the pelvis or to help the baby rotate. During labor, the cervix does four things:

Softening: in preparation for effacement and dilation, the cervix starts at a firm consistency, like the tip of your nose, and softens to allow for effacement and dilation.

Effacement: as the baby’s head becomes more engaged in the pelvis, the cervix thins out, or effaces, in preparation for dilation.

Positioning: before labor, the cervix is high and posterior, or facing towards your back. As labor progresses, the cervix moves to an anterior or forward facing position in preparation for delivery.

and finally…

Dilation: as delivery approaches, the cervix dilates, or opens, to 10 cm. This is also known as “complete.” When the cervix is fully dilated, the second stage of labor, or the pushing phase, can begin.

The dangers of “labor math”

Labor math refers to the practice of taking how long it takes to get from one stage and dilation to the other and assuming it will take that long to get to the next stage of dilation. Dilation, however, rarely follows such a linear pattern and labor math is not a good way to estimate how long it will be before delivery. This leads to another four-letter word called, “WHEN?!” Instead, labor math leads to disappointment, frustration, and feelings of dread. Because there are other factors besides dilation that lead up to delivery, there might be an ebb and flow to the progress of your dilation.

What if my labor stops?

You may feel “stuck” at a certain number and reach a plateau, and then proceed to dilate fairly quickly after a period of time. Or not! Using the word “only” to talk about your labor progress discounts the amazing work that your body is doing. It is true that sometimes a lack of progress indicates a need for a cesarean, but usually there are other factors at play that contribute to an OB’s decision to perform a cesarean. Unless your OB has discussed a specific concern with you, there is no need to worry if things seem to be taking longer than you expected. If you are feeling exhausted or have another need, don’t be afraid to speak up and communicate those needs with your birth team. Your doula can help you talk things through and help you communicate with the staff if you aren’t quite sure how.

Our opinion? We won’t judge you for any four-letter word you might say during labor, but consider leaving the word “only” at home. You are more than “just” or “only:” you’re incredible and you’re doing great work!

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

MiaĀ 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 womenā€™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 learnĀ from this year’s summer Olympics.

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Moms win the goldĀ 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 theĀ Nikki Hamblins and Abbey Dā€™AgostinosĀ 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!

 

 

Time Out with Doulas of Memphis | YouTube: Intro and Self Care

Exciting news: Doulas of Memphis now has a YouTube show, called Time Out with Doulas of Memphis! We’ll be taking a series of “Mommy Time Outs” and discussing and answering questions about Things That Matter. First up on the list of Things That Matter? YOU! Our first episode is a quick intro and then we dive in to talking about self care.

Self care doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it isn’t about elaborate massages, pedicures, or hours upon hours of “me time.” Here at Doulas of Memphis we believe that self care can’t happen on a large scale until it happens on a smaller scale. Take a Time Out with us and watch the first episode of Time Out with Doulas of Memphis!

Do you have ideas for more Time Outs? We want Things That Matter to you, so drop us a comment either on this blog or on our YouTube video to leave suggestions and feedback! Also, don’t forget to subscribe so that you can take a Time Out with us next time!

And don’t forget to take a time out for yourself this week!

‘Til next time,

Abby and Lindsey

Things to do in Memphis with baby: Rainy Day Edition

Some rainy days are for snuggling up on the couch with a soft throw blanket and a hot mug of something wonderful. Other times, you don’t know how you’re going to make it through the day if you don’t LEAVE RIGHT NOW. If you’re home with a baby and need to get out while you still can, here’s a short list of ideas of things to do in Memphis with baby on a rainy day.

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Rain, rain, go away, mommy needs to go out today…

Target: Old Faithful

If you weren’t already aware, there’s something in the air at Target that has magical baby-soothing (and mommy-soothing!) properties. There’s a reason every mom blog in the universe has something to say about Target! Grab a latte and wander around to your heart’s content. Talk to your baby about the colors, shapes, and interesting things around you. If baby gets a little fussy, it’s no big deal. There’s bound to be another mom around to show you some solidarity. If you’re nursing and in want of a quiet place to feed your baby and regroup, the fitting rooms are comfortable and always available to you.

Storytime

Things to do in memphis with babyIt’s never too early to start reading to your baby, and if you’re looking for things to do with baby in Memphis, there are bookstores and libraries in every part of town. Most of our local libraries and bookstores have either a play area or a weekly storytime. Even if you miss out on storytime, you can still go and browse the aisles and read to your baby!

Here’s a list of storytimes in Memphis by day of the week:


Monday:Ā 

10:00am Book Babies at the Germantown Library
10:00am Knowledge Tree (Germantown Location)


Tuesday:
10:00am Book Babies at the Germantown Library
10:15am Central Library
11:00am Booksellers at Laurelwood
11:00am Barnes and Noble (Wolfchase and Carriage Crossing)

Wednesday:
10:00am Knowledge Tree (Summer Avenue Location)
10:30am Cordova Library

Thursday:
10:00am Knowledge Tree (Cordova Location)
11:00am Booksellers at Laurelwood

Friday:
10:30am Morton Museum of Collierville HistoryĀ (the museum itself is free and open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00am-4:00pm)

Saturday:
11:00am Barnes and Noble (Wolfchase and Carriage Crossing)

Host a playdate

We all know that playdates aren’t really for babies: they’re for moms. If you can’t manage anything except yoga pants and a messy bun, find a friend and survive the day together! Ignore the mess, leave the dishes, put some coffee or tea on, and enjoy some adult interaction. We promise that whatever you can do today is good enough!