Supporting & empowering pregnant people & families in NWA. › Birth & Postpartum Doula › LGBT- & gender-affirming › Sliding scale available
Supporting & empowering pregnant people & their families in NWA. › Birth & Postpartum Doula › LGBT- & gender-affirming › Sliding scale available
Operating as usual
During this turbulent time and my parental leave, I am not able to take birth clients. But I want to be of help. So I am making myself available on an "as much as possible" basis for informational and emotional support for pregnant people in need.
My fellow birth workers and I are teaming up to understand the landscape for birthing people and their families during the present upheaval. I am here to talk you through options, connect you to resources, and, as this gorgeous Rise Up Midwife sticker reminds us, hold space.
We have one another's backs, in safety and care and hopeful planning. Please, please DM, email ([email protected]) or call (phone # on my website) with questions, fears, needs. I will be there for you as much as I can be.
#doulasofnwa #doulalife #birthworkers #queerdoula #nwarkansas #covid_19 #pregnancy #birth #doula #doulasofinstagram
My pelvic floor physical therapist has this incredible poster in her office. Throwback to Our Bodies, Ourselves era style! Everyone should get pelvic floor PT, no matter how they birth their babies. #pelvicfloorphysicaltherapy for all!
#reproductivehealth #postpartum #birthworker #birth
#inhonoroftherese I want to share this picture of my first experience supporting a birthing family. It was the greatest honor of my life, and it was possible because Thérèse shared her experience, knowledge, kindness, and love with so many people, including me. She has changed so, so many lives for the better, and I'm privileged to continue to spread her work and wisdom. Thank you, Thérèse and toLabor.
Three years ago 🌱 I'm so full of gratitude for the chance to know and learn from Thérèse, to have stepped into the world of birthwork, and to have connected to so many beautiful and powerful people. It all started here.
We are so grateful to this wonderful group of people who choose toLabor to learn, share and grow with this past weekend in the mountains of Staunton VA. There was such passion, openness of heart and mind and a commitment to change in each of them. As a collective and as individuals they will have a profound effect on all they are honored to walk into birth with. Thank you Thank you!
My fantastic birth partner teaching me the ice practice from Mindful Birthing (and explaining that just because I'm a doula doesn't mean I don't need to practice 😅).
Many birth preparation courses use the ice practice as a learning tool for how to cope with labor. In short: hold an ice cube in your hand for one minute, and see what helps you endure most comfortably. Maybe it's attention to the breath, maybe it's comforting touch from another person, maybe it's visualizing your baby, maybe it's singing a song.
For me, focusing on the *sensations* of breathing is helpful, as is comforting touch, but both at one time is weirdly distracting.
What works in the ice practice may not work in labor, but I think the real value is in trying different techniques and having them in your toolbox for when labor starts.
For those who haven't read it, the Mindful Birthing book is a good resource. It definitely uses gendered language for the pregnant person, but uses gender neutral language for the partner, which I appreciate. It is written by a CNM, so it reflects the midwifery model from a slightly more medically-informed perspective, and focuses on hospital birth when setting is discussed, but is also supportive of homebirth.
#doulalife #pregnancy #mindfulbirthing #birthcoach #doulasofinstagram
I'm at the Willow Creek Birth and Baby Fair with educational resources! Come by and say hey, I'll be here til about 7!
Ever since I saw my first Cameron Light Art partner birth affirmation I've been obsessed. I wish I'd always had these to share with families, and I wish there was a whole deck.
I make partner support a focus in my birth work, because often families want the non-birthing person to take on an active role in labor, but partners don't really feel prepared to do so.
What I try to offer to those partners is confidence, the belief that they *know* what to do and say during birth, and that they are the best person to support the birthing parent.
This mirrors how I prepare birthing parents for labor: I try to instill the belief that with preparation they will know what to do, and that they are the best person to make decisions for their body and for their baby. People often find affirmations helpful in building up their own self-trust and self-confidence for labor; so *of course* partner birth affirmations could go such a long way to do that for partners.
Did you or your partner have any thoughts, mantras, reminders, or affirmations that helped your family through birth?
A dear and talented client is a woodworker and builder, and made this incredible cedar changing table for his family! He really enjoyed the project and would love to make one for another family. If you are interested in some of his custom work, message me and I'll put you in touch. (Picture of matching shelving included to give you an idea of the quality of work he does overall.)
invitation: join me for fun activities that support healthy pregnancy and birth. free, inclusive, low-key, community building for pregnant folks in fayetteville, ar and nearby. FIRST ACTIVITY: prenatal yoga at @trailsideyoga this weds. july 24 at 7:30 pm.
as some of y'all sleuths have sussed out, i am indeed growing a human baby. that means i've supported my last birth until sometime after the new person arrives. it's nice to have a break, but it also makes me sad.
people often ask me if i think pregnancy is easier because i've been a doula. usually i say "yes and no." yes, i know more. no, that's not always good. no, it doesn't give me control over how i feel physically.
but also yes: i have learned a lot that has helped me navigate this process, and i do want to continue to share that with other pregnant folks—and to learn from you, as well. i want to keep holding space for the many experiences we have as people whose bodies are not always entirely ours, even if i can't do it as a job right now.
and i want someone to go swimming with. so here's what i'm putting out there: pregnant folks of NW Arkansas, come do the things i do with me! some or all! in a LGBTQAI+ and gender-affirming environment! that includes
🌱drinking lemonade and eating pie
🌱pleasant morning/evening walks
🌱talking and sharing resources—books, websites, experiences, people
🌱pregnancy-supportive strength-building exercise
some of these things cost money, some of them don't. can't do yoga? you can still sit on my porch. can't eat pie? we can eat vegan pie or sugar-free pie or gluten-free pie or fruit or carrots and hummus. I want this to be a group effort. we can figure all of it out. comment here, dm me or reach me through my fb page or website (rootedgrowthdoula.com). tell all your pregnant friends and coworkers.
#pregnancy #summerbabes #pregnant #fayettevillear #nwarkansas #queerdoula #communitybuilding
Feeling particularly moved this morning by art from @spiritysol honoring parents who give birth to their babies with surgical assistance. I've had the privilege of participating in several cesarean births and I'm always moved by the strength the birthing parents show in making the decision to accept surgical assistance--which is, after all, another one of our options in birth, even if it's one that is scary for many of us.
#birth #cesareanbirth #csection #pregnancy #consent #consentinhealthcare #doulalife #doula #birthworkers
My black cohosh is flowering! Sorry, but this is gonna be one of those #feelings posts 🤷🏼♀️
When I first became a #doula, my partner drew this powerful plant ally as our first attempt at graphic design (second image). Then, when we first moved to #nwarkansas two years ago, we planted this one. This spring, it's flowering in a way that's almost too symbolic of my feelings about our project of coming here.
I left everything back on the east coast and started over in Arkansas. A lot of it didn't come naturally to me--going out on a limb to connect with strangers, engaging with bible belt culture and politics, being open about myself and my practice without knowing how it would be received--but I did it. And I waited. That was maybe the hardest part--I'm not a patient person at all.
And now, two years later, after all that work, I feel like this black cohosh: my roots have gone stronger and deeper, allowing me to bloom and thrive and give back. My community is small but brilliant, which is exactly what I want and need. I'm so grateful to everyone that has nurtured me in this: client families, other #birthworkers and new friends, my partner, my bio and chosen family scattered across the world.
#queerdoula #doulalife #doulasofnwa #plantmedicine #plantmagic #nativeplants #blackcohosh #actaearacemosa #gardening #biblebeltqueers #reproductivejustice #prochoicedoulas
Why did I wait this long to read Pregnant Butch? Because it's a graphic novel? Because of nursing school? Because I was stalling in case I ended up disappointed in it? Well, that's all behind us now and it's fantastic. If you haven't read it, the book details--wryly, hilariously, pointedly--Summers' experiences of conception and pregnancy as a butch lesbian 15 years ago. As she mentions in the intro, lots has changed since then. But then again, lots hasn't. I've been giddy from the title page.
When I'm done, the book will be in my birth library for clients (or anyone) to borrow at any time, so let me know if you want it next!
Feeding a baby can look all kinds of ways 🌱
working on another breastfeeding series with the ever-so-wonderful Milky Mama, LLC 💕
meet malia! she has a g-tube.
sometimes babes cannot receive enough nutrition by mouth, so doctors place a gastrostomy tube (or g-tube) in the tummy to deliver milk/food/nutrients directly to the stomach.
a parent’s breastfeeding journey can look so many different ways. while this babe may not be latching directly onto the breast, this lovely caregiver is still breastfeeding! by exclusively pumping, this family is still able to get malia all that delicious, liquid gold ✨ #gtubebaby
As a person whose chosen work is to support pregnant people, I have nothing but anger and contempt for those who have been working so hard and for so long to take away their options, rights, and protections. Especially if those people are OBs, midwives, nurses, or doulas. We cannot care for our clients and patients if their care isn't our first priority.
And to my clients and my community, I will always be here for you. Even if you don't know what you need, or want, trust that you can ask me, and I will be an honest and nonjudgmental resource, always. If I don't know the answer I will help you find it. You are the best judge of your own life, and of your own body and its needs. That is the basis of my work and I will never compromise on it. We've got each other's backs. 🌱
abortionfunds.org The National Network of Abortion Funds builds power with members to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice.
Now THIS is what I'm talking about 👏👏👏👏
cnn.com Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to drive down the maternal mortality rate among African-American women -- and she has a plan to get it done.
If I could have one wish this week, it would be for everyone who receives routine pelvic exams to read this piece by Feminist Midwife Stephanie Tillman and her coauthors.
What it is not: an argument against routine pelvic exams.
What it is: an argument for patients deciding, with their provider, whether it is appropriate for them to have a routine pelvic exam; and a model for how to do that.
I wish everyone always felt empowered in their healthcare decision-making. But pelvic exams are one of the places where people feel least empowered, and also one of the places where we should feel the most safe and in control.
I want the world to know what I know: pelvic exams don't have to be horrible. And knowing that you don't have to have one is a start. If you want to talk more about this, I'm always here. 🌱
"Research demonstrates that most obstetrician–gynecologists routinely perform pelvic examinations for asymptomatic patients and believe that performing annual pelvic examinations is integral to caring for reproductive-age patients.7 Although professional organizations (ACP, AAFP, SGO, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and ACOG) differ in their conclusions about whether to offer a pelvic examination to asymptomatic patients, their statements support the position that health care providers should no longer automatically perform this examination with asymptomatic patients."
journals.lww.com um, health care providers must respect patients' autonomy in decision making around this examination and initiate a joint discussion about whether to proceed with a pelvic examination. Shared decision making is a model used in other aspects of medicine that can aid such discussions. This model recog...
real doula life: pillow delivery
Do I get a wish? I think I get a wish. 🌱
It's a very good mail day (thanks, USPS)!!! Checking out some gender-inclusive resources for pregnant folks: 🌱 The Queer and Pregnant Journal from @loveoverfearwellness and 🌱 the Lunasea Scout Guide for Breastfeeding Families from @kait_moon_arts
I'll post more about these in the coming days, but right now I'm just feeling like it's a magical day when these arrive at the same time!
I think this is great news! The more options we have, the safer and healthier we can be.
That said, I do want to argue with something in this article, because I am a nerd. The author says that this new low-intervention suite provides "a home-like birth within the safety of a hospital," and I think that is misleading to future parents in a few ways. (Skip ahead to the TLDR summary at the end, if you're already bored!)
1 › It conflates "home" with "low-intervention," ignoring the other benefits of birthing at home.
Having been present at home births and hospital births, I just don't think it's possible for a birth in a hospital to be "home-like" under current conditions. For one thing, a hospital just *isn't your home,* and it's probably nothing like it. At home, you labor with and birth your baby in your most familiar and personalized environment. Your food, your clothes, your bed, your photos and keepsakes, your pets—the hospital doesn't have those familiar and reassuring things that can help calm and comfort people. And calm and comfort are physiologically meaningful in birth!
But for another, the amount of policies and procedures in place at *all hospitals* precludes a hospital birth from truly being *like a home birth.* There are certain things that all hospital births will have in common—presence of and change of staff you don't know, certain required interventions and precautions, different providers depending on when you deliver, the necessity of provider orders for simple requests—that, in my experience, make hospital birth fundamentally different than home birth, no matter how comfortable the beds or tubs.
2 › It conflates "hospital" with "safe," which is misleading. Studies show that for low-risk pregnancies, home births and hospital births are comparably safe. (https://mana.org/blog/home-birth-safety-outcomes). Delivering in a hospital doesn't guarantee a safe or healthy outcome (just like delivering with a midwife doesn't guarantee an idyllic, happy birth). There are risks associated with birth no matter where you do it.
Now, I definitely get that some people *feel* safer in a hospital, and that's a really good thing to recognize, because a feeling of safety is really important for a positive birth experience! But this statement just really got under my skin last week and I've been stewing over it since then.
TLDR: Hospital birth in this suite isn't going to be "home-like" (unless you live in a fancy medicalized hotel), it's going to be *low-intervention.* Home birth isn't *dangerous,* it's a perfectly safe option for most people.
Please know that I do not advocate for home birth over hospital birth, or vice versa. And I am truly cheered at these new options for birthing people in NW Arkansas. I just want us all to communicate clearly and make truthful statements to the best of our abilities!
5newsonline.com BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Expecting mothers have a big decision to make when it comes time to deliver. Do you want an epidural or to try a more natural approach? Now there’s a new option. The Family Birthplace at Northwest Medical Center – Bentonville is about to open the first low-interventi...