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 😉

Happy 901 Day! | Win a Birth and Postpartum Planning Consultation

September 1st is 901 Day, and Doulas of Memphis is celebrating with a giveaway!

This year on 901 Day, we’re hosting a photo contest and giving away a free Birth and Postpartum Planning Session with Doulas of Memphis!

901 day

Have you ever wished there were someone who could walk you through this whole baby thing? Someone who:

  • Knows local OB/GYNs, pediatricians, and other professionals
  • Has a relationship with your birth place and is familiar with options
  • Has experience supporting families through different kinds of birth
  • Is up-to-date on the latest recommendations
  • Can help you sift through all of the baby gear choices
  • Has experience helping families adjust to a new baby
  • Can answer your questions about birth and parenting a newborn
  • Supports you without judgement

If you’re pregnant in Memphis and you’d like to win a chance to pick our brains in the privacy of your home, this contest is for you! 

How to enter our 901 Day Photo Contest:

  1. Go to our Doulas of Memphis Facebook page and find our pinned post.
  2. Post a selfie of you showing some 901 pride in the comments.
  3.  Share the post with your friends and family!

We will pick a random winner on Friday, September 2nd at 3:00pm. Be sure to check the Doulas of Memphis Facebook page for updates!

The “Fine Print”

To be eligible to enter, you must be currently pregnant and live in the Greater Memphis area. If you’re our lucky winner, you must schedule your planning session sometime in the month of September. This offer is non-transferable. The Birth and Postpartum Planning Session will last about 60-90 minutes.

Here at Doulas of Memphis, we love our city and have 901 pride all year round. We hope you have a Happy 901 and celebrate in Memphis style!

We’re looking forward to seeing all of your photos, so enter today!

If you’d like to learn more about our Memphis birth doula, Memphis postpartum doula, and Memphis lactation support services, we’re always a call or an email away. You’ll always hear a friendly voice on the other end of the line.

#901day

 

Memphis summer tips for decorating baby’s nursery

If you’re pregnant in Memphis this summer, it can be hard to find the motivation to pry yourself from the air conditioning to do anything else besides hit the pool. While you’re poolside with your (virgin, of course) drink in your hand, you might be dreaming of what you want your baby’s nursery to look like. What IS the best way to decorate a nursery, anyway?  Pinterest is chock full of time-consuming ideas, but who has time and energy for that when it’s 100+ degrees outside? Before you invest, take a look at the things you already have.

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Who has time to decorate the nursery when the pool is calling your name?

You know your grandmother’s old dresser that you aren’t sure what to do with? It’s beautiful, not too high, and has a lot of storage space. If it’s sitting unused in your attic, a weekend and a few coats of chalk paint can turn your forgotten antique into a meaningful way to incorporate your loved ones into your little one’s nursery. The best part? While the paint dries, grab your beach towel and take a dip in the refreshing pool water! Once it’s dry, you can use items you’ve probably already received to turn that dresser into changing table extraordinaire, with space for all of baby’s clothes, diapers, and other essentials.

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A coat of chalk paint on a piece of multi-purpose furniture goes a long way!

A nursery that tells your story

Speaking of grandma and incorporating loved ones into your baby’s nursery, look around for pieces of art or trinkets you may already own that tell a story to your baby. Place them around the room among the adorable decor you already have. Do you or someone in your family collect something? Create a nursery themed around that, and as you sit and nurse your baby in the rocking chair that’s been in your family for generations, you can bond with your baby by creating a tradition of sharing stories. Stories about your family that bring fond memories, bring you closer together, and connect past and present.

Consider utilizing collections that are meaningful to your family in your nursery decor.
Consider utilizing collections that are meaningful to your family in your nursery decor.

 

There are so many options out there for nursery decorations, but let’s keep it real: your baby isn’t going to remember it! Create a space for yourself that feeds your soul, is true to you, and tells your baby a story that will be woven into the fabric of their childhood. That’s where memories are created. And if you happen to find some cute baskets at Target that match…

When awareness isn’t enough

MHM 2016 Social Media Images-Twitter ProfileThere’s an awareness day, week, or month for nearly everything these days, and mental health awareness is no exception. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this year’s theme from Mental Health America is accompanied by the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike. Mental illness is one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized in our country, so it’s fitting that we talk about it in May and every other month of the year.

The problem with mental health awareness is that it’s not good enough for moms. Women struggling with perinatal mood disorders (PMADs) are one of the most minimized, dismissed, and marginalized groups out there when it comes to mental health. It’s time that we start taking a hard look at ourselves and how we treat moms when it comes to mental health.

Our villages of yesterday are all but nonexistent. Maternity leave in this country downright sucks. We prepare for birth but not the realities of motherhood. We make jokes about sleep deprivation but the reality is that not sleeping is not funny, and lack of sleep affects mental health in huge ways. We expect moms to bounce back in a few weeks, to breastfeed without trouble, to balance pumping and a full-time job. Working moms, stay at home moms, work at home moms (okay, actually moms period) feel pressure to keep up with household tasks, childcare, and somewhere in there you’re supposed to carve out some “me time.”

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Wine and coffee jokes are cliche for a reason.

There are entire websites devoted to using humor as a coping mechanism for how overwhelming motherhood can be. Wine and coffee jokes are cliche for a reason. It’s funny until you stop to think about how more moms than we’d like to admit struggle with alcohol abuse. With the systemic lack of support we give moms, it’s no surprise that many wind up exhausted, addicted, and barely staying afloat.

In addition to the profound lack of resources for moms struggling with mental health, we exacerbate the problem with they way we speak to moms. The fact that the mere word “postpartum” is synonymous with depression indicates a huge problem in our society.

When moms hear words like this from their friends, family, and partners…

“Oh, it’s just the baby blues. You’ll get over it.”

“You’re just really hormonal right now.”
“You just need to get out more.” 
“You’re home all day, so why can’t you get anything done?” 
“What do you mean, you don’t want to go outside?”
“Every new mom is exhausted. That’s part of life.”
“You should stop breastfeeding and go on medication.”
“My baby slept through the night at 2 months.”

…it’s no wonder there are message boards and groups galore full of

“I feel like I’m going crazy and nobody understands.”
“I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t leave the house by myself.”
“I’m exhausted and nobody helps me. My partner doesn’t understand what I’m going through.”
“I feel so lazy and stupid.”

“I don’t feel bonded to my baby.”
“I feel like a bad mom. My kids deserve better.”
“I’m having all of these thoughts and I’m too scared to tell anyone.”

It’s awful, isn’t it? Think of your wife, partner, sister, or friend. What do you do if they feel this way? Mallory Shannon, doula and owner of Kansas City Family Birth, says this about maternal mental health awareness:

We need to treat these mothers as victims because that’s truly what they are. They’re victims of a cold and faceless enemy who is trying to steal their joy, their energy, their life. When we stop looking at PMADs as just a “woman’s hormonal issue” and start looking at them as a threat to our partners we can truly start to make progress. Awareness isn’t enough. Action has to come with it.

Moms: you are not crazy, lazy, or stupid and you deserve to be taken seriously.

Partners, friends, and family: If a mom in your life tells you that something doesn’t feel right, believe her. Don’t write off her concerns and worries because the fact that she even told you about it shows courage and trust. Listen. Help her get the care she needs, whether it’s a few solid nights of sleep or a trip to the doctor.

Even in the face of inadequate resources, we have the power to treat mothers struggling with mental illness with the compassion and respect that they deserve. It starts with us making an effort not to minimize the struggles of others, even if you yourself cannot empathize. It starts with us taking maternal mental health seriously, because healthy, happy moms are what’s best for all of us.

 

 

 

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.

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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.

 

Facebook mom groups: What you should know

Like anything else on the internet, Facebook is one of those places that can work to your benefit or to your detriment, and Facebook mom groups are no exception. Facebook mom groups come in lots of different varieties. There are ones centered around a particular parenting philosophy, some that are location-based, while others are centered around specific interests like babywearing, cloth diapering, or breastfeeding. Let’s talk a bit about some benefits and caveats of participating in Facebook mom groups so you can get the most out of them without them taking the most out of you!

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Facebook mom groups: some benefits

Community

Let’s face it, motherhood can be isolating, especially in the early baby days when naptime is king and it’s not always worth it to put on real pants to interact with real live humans. That doesn’t mean that we inherently want to be alone, so many of us turn to Facebook mom groups for a sense of community. If you join local groups, it’s a great way to make new friends and connect with moms who are in your age and stage. Interactions online can lead to in-person playdates and can help you cultivate friendships that go beyond the screen.

Commiseration

Tried to get out of the house today but the toddler threw your keys in the toilet while you were nursing? Is your baby teething and more grumpy than usual? Spouse being less than understanding? Are you up at 3am feeding…again? Pregnancy isn’t what you thought it was going to be? Chances are, if it’s happening to you, it’s happening to someone else too, and they’re only a post away. Facebook mom groups can be a great place to commiserate about pregnancy and mom life. There’s something cathartic about sharing your wins and woes and knowing that you aren’t alone so even when you can’t get away, you can dig deep and make it til wine-thirty because someone else is there sharing that experience with you.

Crowdsourcing

If you’re new to town and don’t know the mom scene, Facebook mom groups are a fabulous way to crowdsource your world. Need an OBGYN? Pediatrician? Don’t know where to find xyz random food item? The best place to go for storytime on Tuesday? Ideas about what to make for dinner? Special needs resources? Hairstylists? You get the idea. Mom groups are also a good place to troubleshoot parenting problems. Why spend hours on google looking for what you need when the Facebook mama hive mind can tell you in an average of 15-30 minutes?

Facebook mom groups: some caveats

Advice Roulette

When you ask for advice in Facebook mom groups, it’s like playing a game of Advice Roulette. While asking for advice online can often lead to helpful suggestions and solutions, keep in mind that the members of these groups do not have a full picture of your relationships, your health history, or your baby’s health history. The advice that they have is limited and may be misinformed or lacking in evidence. Some people give unintentional medical advice, some advice is sales in disguise, and other advice can be downright harmful for your situation or you as an individual. You haven’t lived in a Facebook mom group until you’ve seen a rash photo or the very NSFW contents of a diaper as you scroll down your news feed, right?! If you’re a die-hard crowdsourcer, ask away, but remember that the advice of other moms online is never a substitute for a medical professional or your own intuition as a parent. 

Illusion of Safety

Even in closed or secret groups, Facebook mom groups are still a microcosm of the internet and the internet is not a safe place. When you spend enough time interacting in a Facebook group reaping the benefits of community and commiseration, it’s easy to let your guard down and share things of a very personal nature online. Remember that once you have put that information out there, you cannot control what other people do with it, so proceed with caution! Things shared online can have real in-person consequences, and they aren’t always pretty.

The Drama Llama

commentsGood old Facebook mom group drama. It’s like reality TV at your fingertips! It’s easy to hide behind the keyboard and get caught up in online drama, and we’ve probably all done it at one time or another. However, much like the sharing of personal information, remember that the internet is not inherently safe and words typed can have beyond-the-screen consequences. With some old-fashioned restraint, you can manage to avoid the drama and still receive the benefits that Facebook mom groups provide.

Happy posting, everyone!

 

The Cesarean Doula

Traditionally, doulas have been associated with midwives and home birth or unmedicated “natural” birth, which is great if that’s the type of birth you’re planning, but what about everyone else? A Doulas of Memphis birth doula happily supports ALL kinds of hospital births. Need an epidural doula? Induction doula? Planning a c-section and looking for a cesarean doula? We’ve got you covered.

cesarean doula memphis
Memphis cesarean doula support in action.

What is a cesarean doula, anyway?

A cesarean doula is a trained birth doula who is supporting you through a cesarean. There’s no official title or special certification for a cesarean doula: all of our Doulas of Memphis doulas are trained through ProDoula, and that training encompasses how to support someone through this type of birth that roughly 1 in 3 birthing women experience. That’s not a small minority, and we feel strongly that cesarean moms deserve the same level of support as any other birthing woman!

Women have cesareans for many reasons, but whatever the reason, cesarean birth falls into two categories: planned or unplanned.

The cesarean doula and the planned cesarean

Can you hire a doula if you’re having a planned cesarean? Absolutely! After all, there’s an entire pregnancy that leads up to those few hours surrounding your baby’s birth, and then the need for support continues. If you are having a planned cesarean in Memphis and want the support of a doula, we are on call and available to you 24/7 the same as any other kind of birth. We’re there for you throughout your pregnancy to provide emotional support, answer questions, connect you with resources, and to be excited for you as you anticipate your little one’s arrival! Your doulas will talk through your plans for your birth,  and even help you plan for when baby comes home. Hopefully everything goes on schedule and according to plan, but if for any reason your cesarean date changes, your doulas are on call and ready to come at a moment’s notice.

On the day of your baby’s birth, your on-call doula will meet you at the hospital and stay with you through the pre-op process, helping you and your partner get comfortable while you wait to go back to the OR. In most Memphis hospitals, only one support person may go back with you. Unless you have discussed otherwise with your OBGYN and anesthesiology team, your doula will wish you luck and greet you after your baby is born. In the recovery room, she will be there to assist you with breastfeeding, support you physically through any discomfort you may be feeling, and will be available to take care of any other little needs you have. After you are home, your doulas will come for a follow-up visit to see how you’re doing and to answer any newborn questions you may have.

The cesarean doula and the unplanned cesarean

If you’ve hired a team of Doulas of Memphis doulas to support you through your birth, know that we are here for you and will provide continuous, unwavering support regardless of how you give birth. If plans change and you wind up giving birth by cesarean when you anticipated a vaginal delivery, our support stays the same. We will stay with you as long as we are allowed to physically support you, help you process any feelings and provide encouragement that you’re making the best choice for you and your baby right now. We’ll never make you feel like less of a mom because of the way you give birth because we believe birth is an achievement no matter what! We will never abandon you because of the choices you make or the outcome of your birth. We’re there to support YOU. Your doula will meet you in recovery and assist you the same as she would for a planned cesarean delivery, and you will receive the same postpartum visit.

Postpartum doulas and cesarean recovery

Whether you anticipated your cesarean birth or not, a Doulas of Memphis postpartum doula can be a tremendous asset to you as you recover from surgery while tending to your new baby. Our postpartum doulas help lighten the load so you can focus on bonding with your baby and your healing. We’ll take care of the little things and the household tasks and are available to help with baby care, basic breastfeeding or bottle feeding support, and to be a listening ear for you if you need to talk about your birth or ask questions about your recovery. Doulas of Memphis is proud to offer continuity of care in the form of birth and postpartum doulas.

If hiring a doula for your cesarean sounds right for you, contact us or give us a call at (901) 308-4888 and tell us how we can meet your needs!

 

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: 

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 History (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!

 

 

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.

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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