Looking at these images while pregnant, you may be preparing to birth like the woman on the left, and hoping to avoid birthing like the woman on the right.
It is important and normal to prepare in every way possible for your birth. You may be gathering information, and practicing to cope with pain hoping to have a low intervention birth.
Or, maybe you are planning to have a cesarean birth (like the woman on the right, I was her doula).
There is no “wrong” way or “right” way to birth. Your experience, however you plan to birth, is very valid and valuable. How you process your birth and your expectations, however it unfolds, can affect your emotions and experience postpartum.
Our culture differentiates “positive” vs. “negative” birth experiences by outcome; birthing vaginally or via cesarean, un-medicated or medicated.
As I support couples...
I have been honored to have supported over 100 parents during their birth! It is a special milestone for me as a Doula. As I reflect on the years I have been a Doula and the births I have attended, I will share 10 things I have learned.
1) When someone asks me about my services, I can't give them a bullet point answer. Much of what I do is intuitive. My intuition in the birth room has been greatly strengthened with each birth. As I get the call to come to a birth, I say a prayer for strength and guidance for myself and the laboring woman and her partner. There is a mystery and beauty in the birth room. Many women have a birth plan, and I encourage them to hold it loosely as labor has a way of making twists and turns like the labyrinth process I teach in my childbirth classes. As I watch closely in quiet observance, I am thankful when I have a deep knowing, in a moment, of how to guide labor.
It is common to learn "Relaxation Techniques" to prepare for childbirth. In this Facebook Live video, I reveal the truth about "relaxing" during labor and how to prepare to cope with normal labor pain!
I have been supporting pregnant couples during their birth in the NRV since 2012. I recently reached a milestone as a Doula of supporting over 100 couples during their birth! As a wife, mother of 2, and a Doula, I am passionate about supporting families during pregnancy, during birth, and postpartum.
A testimony from my 100th birth client, “Throughout my pregnancy Shalene helped us prepare for the labor with her classes (which help you mentally prepare for and cope with pain). During labor, Shalene was absolutely invaluable! She helped us with our decision of when to go to the hospital and provided the perfect counter pressure and support (quite literally at some points) that I needed to be able to have an unmedicated birth. The prenatal and postpartum bodywork was so relaxing and just what I needed at those times. I know that if/when we get pregnant with our second child, Shalene will be one of the first calls I make. I couldn't imagine giving birth without her...
(This is video is part 2 of a Facebook Live, Part 1 "Tips for Driving Laboring Woman to Place of Birth", is HERE.)
When your due date is nearing, you start to think about what to pack in your birth bag. You want to have everything you need, but through pregnancy brain, it may be difficult to know exactly what you need and don’t!
It’s very easy to over pack and bring unnecessary things with you. The hospital or birthing center will provide a lot of the necessities you’ll need during labor and after birth, so you’ll only need to pack some essentials to help you feel comfortable and prepared after giving birth.
As a doula, I have seen partners coming into the birth room looking like a pack mule! Well, it is your partner’s job to bring your bags in, but, if you can minimize the amount of stuff, that is a plus!
It is important to begin thinking about packing your hospital/ birthing center bag about 1 month before your...
As you near your due date, excitement and anxiety grows as you anticipate labor, birth, and bringing your baby home.
This is all normal!
If you are not birthing at home, your partner may be experiencing some anxiety about driving you to the hospital or birthing center.
I have worked with many partners and have sensed the restlessness as they are trying to make decisions and know what to do, at each moment, when labor begins.
If you are the pregnant mom reading this, share this with your partner!
Your partner may be going around frantically gathering things to pack and trying to remember everything to put into the car. All of this can increase anxiety!
While you are trying to focus on labor, you may not be thinking clearly to remind your partner what to grab or what to do during the drive.
Below are 8 tips to help you keep clarity of mind as you make the transition to your place of birth! These tips can help minimize the release of adrenaline...
BY: Crystal Hazzard (mom)
Photos By: Laura Swift Photography
I, Shalene, am so honored to hold space and support couples during their rite of passage into motherhood. I have been honored to have now supported over a hundred couples during their birth. This story represents my hundredth birth as a Doula.
Crystal, gifted me with her story to share here. If you have given birth, it is important and valuable to write your story, for your own process (however you birthed), and to one day share with your child. I have written both of mine and asked for my mother to write the story of my birth. I have them all in a special place to share with my girls.
Enjoy hearing of a woman's rite of passage into motherhood:
I have been meaning to write Declan’s birth story since he was just a few weeks old, and now he is about to turn 6 months this week. I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly, it feels like...
Many couples, when planning to get married, attend premarital counseling. Getting married is a life changing event!
Well, having a baby is also a life changing event! It is a "Right of Passage". In one of my Birthing From Within® classes, a father asked the question in a personal and profound way, “Do you charge extra for marriage counseling”.
I smiled as I commended him on his observation that preparing for parenthood requires similar preparation and possibly counseling to enhance the postpartum experience.
An important exercise to help you and your partner talk about expectations and goals for the postpartum period is to complete this Couples Expectations Plan.
Do you have growing girls? Have you wondered about teaching girly things and sensitive topics as your girl matures? Well, now there is a fabulous girls course, that I have been reviewing, to help you teach your daughter(s) about sensitive girly topics and how to view her body in a beautiful and healthy way!
As a Doula and Childbirth Educator, I get pretty close and raw to women birthing babies and their woman parts. I get deep and personal with their emotions about their growing bellies as their babies grow. I am in the intimate place as they have cervical exams and are vulnerable with a circle of people staring at them in the raw beauty of their naked bodies.
It is my desire for my clients to view their growing pregnant bodies and postpartum bodies as beautiful and enjoy the feeling of their changing bodies. I desire for new mamas to feel comfortable and safe as they bear themselves during labor and postpartum as they learn to nurse their...