Why Informed and Not Implied Consent In Birth Means So Much

There is a meme going around on social media about consent and how it should be stated. There have been rebuttals to it stating:

“When you are having a baby you have to expect that you will have things done to you. It is expected.”

“This meme is disgusting. Women do not need to have vaginal exams at all. Stop vaginal exams all together. Stop this disgusting meme.”

“I am grateful for this meme because of what was done to me in my labour. I asked my Doctor to stop because she was hurting me and she didn’t listen. It really traumatized me.”

Consent is imperative in all aspects of our daily life. Consent is incredibly important when it comes to birth, and there are so many reasons why.

We, in Western culture cross many blurred lines when it comes to consent. We can see at the world level right now that lack of consent is incredibly damaging, traumatizing and terrifying for many individuals. We all have evidence in our daily lives of what our lived experiences are when we feel like boundaries have been crossed and informed consent has not been our reality. Each person’s lived experience will be different and we need to be completely trauma informed around the topic of consent.

If a birthing individual has a trauma history, re victimization can happen frequently in the birthing process with the policies and procedures that are community standard. A birthing individual needs to feel emotionally and physically safe during the whole process of the birth. Each step of the process must be met with permission for each procedure, each intervention, each attempt to examine the birthing individual’s body. Body autonomy is crucial for each individual because if the primary care providers do not have knowledge of a trauma history, vicarious trauma can often be the birther’s lived experience of birth. Compassionate care and including the birthing individual in every situation every step of the way needs to be the norm. Birth has to include the person giving birth, it is not to happen “to them.”

Implied consent is often the belief system of institutions and hospitals, and when forms are signed, many people believe that they are handing their well being over to those in charge of their care. It is not true and does not have to be this way. Many of our clients tell us about their birth experiences and the trauma they suffered and did not know they could advocate for themselves, and also were unaware that their partners could advocate. Many clients tell us that they did not even know how to discuss advocacy with their partners. Clients may not disclose their trauma history to their partners, may not be fully aware of their trauma themselves, and trauma may in fact surface during birth. We must be aware of this and know how to provide the right support to traumatized individuals and how to provide informed consent so that clients are not traumatized by their experiences.

As doulas, we are trauma informed. We do our very best to understand how birth can impact each individual and help provide support to make sure that trauma informed care is carried out. We are there to advocate, support and work with our clients and their health care providers around informed consent.

Birth shouldn’t be scary. Birth should be on your terms. Care provided in birth needs to ensure the birthing individual has the felt experience of being safe, seen, secure and soothed. Every step of the way.

How Having A Doula Can Mean A Better Birth Outcome

Many people do not understand what a birth doula is or what a birth doula does. Every day in our breastfeeding support clinic or in our support services practice, we hear people tell us that they have no idea what a doula is or does.

Doulas are support people. We are there to accompany you in the perinatal period- throughout your pregnancy, for the duration of your labour and delivery and in the transition to parenting in the postpartum period. We also support you through fertility issues, through termination and through loss. We are non judgemental about your choices, and help you understand informed choice.

Many studies have been done on the impact a doula can have in attendance at a birth. What we know in a nutshell is that C-sections rates are lower, epidural use is lower and there are more favourable outcomes for both the birthing individual and the newborn when a doula is part of the birthing team.

What a lot of people don’t know about doulas is that they are trained in how to listen, how to hold space for what you are feeling and are active in helping the birthing individual and their partner deconstruct what medical terms mean. Doulas also have an understanding of community standards, hospital policies and procedures and help you understand technocratic and physiologic methods of care.

Doulas support you in midwifery, obstetrical and family physician supported births. We attend clients at home, in birthing centres and in the hospital. Doulas are trauma informed and understand that trauma is relative to the individual and their lived experiences.

Having a doula at your birth means that you are cared for from an emotional and physical perspective. A doula will take care to ask you how you are feeling: from the way that you physically feel, how your are dealing mentally and emotionally throughout your journey and how you are feeling about everything that is going on around you.

At Babies Naturally we understand that birth can be scary and for some birthers very traumatic. We have training in nervous system regulation techniques and work hard to ensure that you feel safe, seen, secure and soothed. We take care of both you and your partner to ensure that you both feel fully involved as each of you want to be in the whole journey to parenthood. For some families, certain aspects of birth care can be very triggering and we work to make sure that we have a full understanding of this in order to help you have a felt sense of being safe, seen, secure and soothed.

Your birth can be filled with many unexpected experiences. Many of our clients are surprised to hear that the obstetrician they have been in the care of may not actually be in attendance at their birth. There is no guarantee that any primary care provider from obstetrician to midwifery and family physician care will attend you. You may have a care provider that you have not met before from your primary care provider’s team. This is a concern for some of our clients and we fully understand that.

Most hospital deliveries will mean nursing shift changes and scheduled nursing breaks. For many birthers, this may be a concern as having a consistent person with them throughout birth is important. As your doula, we do not leave you throughout your journey. From the time you go into labour, until delivery and in our organization we ensure that feeding of your infant is completed and that you are comfortable before we leave. We check in with you a few hours after birth and attend you at home or in the hospital to help you with feeding and the big transition to parenting those first few weeks.

As your doula we support your birth choices, embrace your vision for your birth and ensure that your wishes are respected. We advocate for you, remind you that you are so very capable and are one more person in the room loving you. We never take the place of a partner- in fact, we are frequently thanked for helping support people feel that they are more involved and are more helpful than they ever thought they could be.

As doulas we SEE- support, educate and encourage you - to have the birth that only you know will be best for you. We do it in a non judgemental, trauma informed, inclusive supportive manner because we know how important birth is. We have been through it ourselves at Babies Naturally and understand birth’s impact in the transition to parenting. We want the best for you and your family and believe that your deserve supportive care in your childbearing years.

If you have any questions at all about our services, please reach out to Carol Peat at kilty67@sympatico.ca

and Shannon Stark at Shannon.stark@sympatico.ca

We would love to speak with you!

With much love,

Carol

How Doulas Hold Space

It is World Doula Week and we are busy on call, meeting new doula clients and planning dates for our "Do You Need A Doula?" program for the rest of the year. We are birth doulas and also postpartum and family doulas. We support you physically and emotionally. We advocate for you, we educate you, help you understand community standards, policies and procedures and how to understand what changes are happening to your body and with your baby in labour and birth. We support all of your choices, make sure you have informed choice and we hold space. For everything. 

When we hold space for you, we are protecting your innate power as a birthing human. We never empower you- you are so innately powerful, and we protect your birthing power by  watching the minutia of your body and listening to the journey of you and your tiny human as you get closer to birth. We have spent many many hours watching birthers and we have come to know the outward signs of inward sensations, how pressure affects the body, how the 4 bones of the pelvis move and what to do to help you feel more comfortable through labour. We focus a lot on creating an environment of safety for you- and we oscillate through the dance of labour with you- showing your partner how to place their hands for relief of pressure, dancing with you in hallways, reminding you to keep your knees bent so you can relax your bum.  We hear you when you tell us "I can't do this anymore" and we tell you "I hear you, this is so much right now. You are doing beautifully and you are so strong." We offer you ice water, place a cold washcloth on the back of your neck, hold styrofoam cups for you to vomit into and tell you that you are really bringing your baby down when you dry heave. We sing to you and do horse lips with you, we massage your back, your shoulders, your arms. We hug you and you press back into our knees as you do do hip circles on the physio ball. 

When your partner needs to nap we bring them a warm blanket. We keep Intended Parents in the waiting room aware of everything you need us to when you are giving your baby up for adoption. We help you partner gown up and wait with them while you are prepped for a c-section. Once your partner is situated, we wait for staff to bring us into the OR and remind staff of your wishes for immediate skin to skin because we have covered all of the possibilities of birth with you in our prenatal meetings. We help get your tiny human latched onto your breast. 

We support you from the time we agree to work together until you decide you are comfortable with your day to day in the postpartum. If you want support in attending your prenatal meetings we go with you. We help you decide on birth pools, stools, peanut balls, breast pumps, styles of bottles and how to tell the difference between visitors and helpers. We are on call for you in your last month and are always just a text or phone call away. We talk frequently in the last month and ask lots of questions about your prenatal meetings with your primary care provider. GBS, prophylactic Pen-G, encapsulation, delayed cord clamping, transition, lightening, kick counts, GD, stages of labour, dilation, effacement, stretch and sweeps and induction are all part of our every day vocabulary. We walk you through NSTs, BPPs, foley catheters and ARM as well as what PROM means. When we don't have an answer, we try our hardest to find out for you. 

We are, in essence, one more person in the room loving you. We have an emotional connection with each one of our families and provide full spectrum care. Our spectrum includes support through loss, termination and fertility treatments. We hold space for each and every individual and family experience and are so fortunate to be able to do work that we love every day. 

Life With A Newborn- Ways to Make it Easier

I have worked with new Mums for more than half of my life and as a Mum of three myself, I wish I had known what I now help new Mums understand. 

Life with a newborn tiny human is unpredictable. Let's face it- we leak from many orifices at one time, sleep is staggered, time takes on a whole new meaning, and we occupy a new space. In that new space, we struggle. Here are the top seven topics that we tend to struggle with:

1.) Not getting anything done. Wear your baby in a sling, a wrap, a carrier as you wash dishes, dust, make the bed or do laundry. Including your baby in tasks will allow you to relax (I didn't say sleep!) when your babe does. Then have something to eat or go pee on your own.

2.) Getting enough to eat or finding time to eat it. Have your partner put your lunch together before heading to work, make some overnight oats for the whole week, eat calorie dense foods, make muffins and freeze them. Look into an Instant Pot- game changer for so many families! Cook dinner together with you partner with the baby in a wrap or carrier. Feeding your baby can also be challenging- are they getting enough, are you feeding long enough, how often should you breastfeed? How do you deal with sore nipples and breast pain? We provide in home visits and breastfeeding clinics every Friday from 9:30-11:30 as well as Coffee Talk support every other Monday from 10-11:30. Each is a $10 drop in fee. 

3.) Having a shower- Bring your baby into the bathroom with you! Pop them in a bouncy chair, portable swing or bassinet. Then get in the shower and sing! Singing helps calm your nervous system, your baby will love it and combined with the sound of the running water and steam, your babe will probably love it or grow to love it! 

4.) Lack of sleep- Sleep is a struggle for so many of us. Napping during the day is something a lot of us are not really good at so at the very least try to rest. Netflix and snuggle on the couch, babe on your chest or close by. If you can nap during the day, consider asking a friend or relative to come and stay with your babe when you nap. Also consider hiring a postpartum doula. We come over and stay with your baby while you nap during the day and will also provide over night care. Sleep is crucial to our mental and emotional health. We have a great sleep foundations class to help you understand sleep from a biological, psychological, sociological perspective- not crying it out at all. You can reach Shannon at shannon.stark@sympatico.ca if you have questions about sleep or a postpartum doula. 

5.) Not able to share how you are feeling- You need to talk. To process your birth, to share your fears, to normalize your experiences. A safe person, who you can trust and will not offer unsolicited advice is golden. There are many great professionals services available to help you too. Email us here if you would like a referral.

6.) Afraid to ask your partner for help- Again, parenting is new territory! Oftentimes, the territory looks very different than the map! Unpacking helpful expectations will help you navigate this new journey, together with your partner. We have certified Becoming Us Family Professionals and Certified Relationship Coaches on staff to help you. Email us at kilty67@sympatico.ca for more information. 

7.) Having really high expectations for what life will look like postpartum- Be gentle with yourself. Nothing ever looks like we think it will. With the added pressures of social media we can feel even more isolated. We need each other in the postpartum maybe more than ever. What's really important is to focus on how you are FEELING in postpartum- and being able to share that. We have amazing Mom and Baby groups with Karen that deal with the realities and truths of parenting and our emotional health. You can reach her at gkruby@isp.ca for more info on the classes. 

We are here to help you through the whole journey. You are not alone. Reach out. 

Mama Healing Deep Dive- Owning Our Story to Parent More Peacefully Program

Owning our whole story and understanding why we are the way we are is the key to staying calm, loving and living  authentically, and being present and content with ourselves and our children.

The pressures on Mamas today is more than any other generation before us. We are scrutinized more than any other generation and are bombarded by so many mixed messages! We need to be able to stop comparisonitis, we need to stop focusing on what others are doing and we must come back to ourselves and excavate our true nature in order to live in authenticity. 

This program invites you to dive deep with other Mamas in a safe online environment to support each other, learn from each other and understand that we are all so much more alike- all the while embracing our differences. We will reveal our true selves and revel in it. 

This 3 month online program is based in content I have never released before- because I am always learning, taking courses, being coached by my coaches and by constantly investigating human nature. There are components of Calm Mum principles in this program and we build so high on that foundation! 

There will be daily Facebook live videos, a coming together every day for all of us, exercises, and one on one coaching. Each exercise, each video, each one on one experience will be a deep, safe dive into revealing who you really are- starting with "you are enough" and ending with "I feel deeply that I am so much more than enough!" 

This program is open today for registration and we roll out the program on June 1st. It will take us  right through until September 1st- a summer of learning, loving yourself and growing as a woman, partner, Mama and human. It will also be a huge pressure valve in your day- time and investment in you. Extreme self care. 

It is being offered at a fraction of our other coaching programs as it is the first roll out of the program. 

Open to 20 women for $200. 

Email Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca. When the class is full, one lucky registrant will receive a full reimbursement on their program fee as a thank you. I cannot wait to work with, grow with and support you. xoxo 

MamaNurture- Our Postpartum Support Service

We wish that in North America brand new parents were embraced and taken care of the way they are in other cultures. 

In other cultures, women are cared for, tended to and cherished for 40 days postpartum. The village is there for them and walks with them through the first weeks of motherhood. We believe every family needs and deserves this!

We have worked as birth and postpartum doulas for a quarter of a century. We see the value and the enrichment in caring for families as they navigate the territory of parenthood, which is very often very different than the "map" they thought would lead them into this new world! 

We are offering 3 or 4 hour care packages. These packages include:

Newborn care education

Breastfeeding support

Sleep support

light housekeeping (not full on vacuuming, cleaning toilets, washing windows) like tidying up and helping with baby's laundry 

Holding babe while you eat, sleep, shower

Normalizing your experiences

Providing additional professional support and resources if needed

What we come with:

Newborn diapers, MamaNurture bath bombs, homemade soup and a lot of love. 

This service is offered at $22 an hour. 

Gift certificates can be purchased for new families.

All of our practitioners are Certified Perinatal Support Practitioners, have completed Mothering The Mother, Minding The Mind emotional health well being training and are Mothers themselves.

For more information, to purchase a gift certificate or to register yourself for this program, email Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca 

We so look forward to working with you. xoxo

Palliative Care Support Practitioner Program

As a society, we are not comfortable speaking about or discussing death. For many, there is little to no preparation in the eventuality of death. Our Palliative Care Support Practitioner Program is designed to help families with an eventual death in the home and how to navigate all of the required steps that need to be taken. The program's focus is on the emotional support of the person transitioning to death and their family as well as guiding them through the important "what ifs and how to's" of end of life care.

Co-facilitated by a Registered Nurse in palliative care (who is also a doula) and a birth/death doula, this program will include input from specialists in end of life care. Students will learn from various community based guest speakers about the community standards, policies and procedures and the scope of practice of support practitioners in end of life care. Students will also learn how to set up a support based business through the course.

The program will take place over 7 in class days. Once the students have been selected for the program, the group will co-operatively pick the remaining six days for the class after the initial start of January 21st 2017. Because we understand that most people work full time, the program will run on either a Saturday or Sunday from January until May. If a student must miss a class they will be brought up to speed on the curriculum by one of the instructors. Because we know life is messy and busy!  The program will run out of Babies Naturally, 1124 Gainsborough Rd. London Ontario.

There will be required readings and at home study as well as an online component of the class which will involve video learning and assignments to give the class a total compounded learning of 80 hours.

The cost of the class will be $1000.00 with a non refundable deposit of $250 hours once acceptance into the program is extended. The remaining fee is due the first day of class.

The class is open to 14 students. For more information or for enquiries, please contact Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca

 

 

Advanced Postpartum Doula Training Online! Filling In the Huge Gaps in Postpartum Care

In over 25 years of working with families, I have noticed (as I am sure all of you have!) that the support we offer families in the postpartum is sadly lacking. We don't prepare families for the massive new journey they are on and we certainly don't take care of the emotional, mental and spiritual health of women! We truly are a birth centred culture and we do not understand the importance of encouraging families to have a solid postpartum care plan. I found in my postpartum doula training that there was no solid training in the emotional and mental health care for families. Neuroscience tells us that our brains change in pregnancy and after we give birth and we can use these changes to our advantage, educate our clients on them and help them benefit from the way we should be feeling in the postpartum! The neuroplasticity of the brain and the changes the brain goes through can be utilized to help make postpartum easier-with a full understanding of this and with support and guidance! Birth is not only about babies-it is about making Mums too! For years there have been gaps in the knowledge about postpartum-but with new neuroscience we can help families bond more deeply, as well as restore age old traditions and implement practical ways to support families for a much more relaxed and less anxiety ridden postpartum. 

We are thrilled to be offering an online postpartum doula training program! This program will be delivered in 7 modules, is self-paced learning and will help you fill in those gaps for the families you work with. Help Mums find the joy more readily in postpartum, embrace what the postpartum physiology of the brain and body are meant to do and nurture the families you work with! I cannot tell you the difference this has made in the families I am working with after learning this information over the past three years. I am so excited to share it with you so you in turn can share it with your clients! 

The course is open now for registration and will be offered at an introductory price of $375. You will receive an advanced postpartum doula training certificate upon completion and will have 20 hours of credit for continuing education. 

To register or if you have any questions, please contact Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca

I look forward to working with you!  

Mother's Day Is Loaded

The images of Hallmark cards, hand made necklaces, tiny baby footprints, glittered macaroni and new seedlings in the damp earth tiny pudgy fingers pushed into ripped up egg cartons abound this weekend. It is in North America one of the most loaded "holidays" ever to be created. The history of the origins of Mother's Day are is captured by The History Channel:

"Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service. Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s."

 

For many the holiday itself is loaded. It is loaded with emotions, memories, the lack of memories or emotions, with hurt, with regret, with confusion, with a sense of duty. Motherless women, loss Mamas, single Mothers, single Fathers, women unable to able conceive, adoptive Mothers, women whose own Mothers have never validated them, women who believe that no matter what, anyone other than them would be better for their children- struggle with this celebration. Women who, to the outside world seem to "have it all" struggle. Here's the rub- this day is relative to each person's experience of what "Mother" means. 

To the brand new Mother, it may be a reminder of all that she should be. She may not know who she should be, how she should act, feel, believe or understand. To the woman who has recently lost her partner her "mothering" will be viewed through a new lens. Society and generational beliefs will set us all up to believe that we may not be "mother enough." Oh how we are. All of us. 

I have been watching the robin outside my front window. She decided to build her nest this year in the small tree in my front garden, probably because the morning doves took over the nest inhabited by robins for the last six years in the eaves above my front door. 

In the last six years the robins in the eaves scared the living daylight out of me as I left my house in the morning. They would squawk, poop and peck at the eaves and leave a terrible mess on my front porch. This year I was surprised that there was no mess, yet I heard bird talk on the porch. About a week ago I was met with a big inquisitive eye as I left the house. The dove, quiet as can be, watched me leave and I noticed she wriggled, side to side, presumably settling down deeper on her babies in the nest. "I hear you" I thought as I left. I wanted to not disturb her, so I began going in the garage door. I trusted she knew what she was doing and I didn't want to cause her any more stress. She was letting me know that she was not going anywhere. Her babies were right where they should be and she was keeping them safe. 

This morning, the former "messy" robin sat just as firmly rooted in her nest. My vantage point from my window seat allowed me to watch her. The slightest movement, the slightest noise and she was ready to flee...and leave her babies unattended. If I didn't see her go in and out of her nest, her babies would have a better chance, I thought. Now I am by no means versed at all on the behaviours of birds, but to observe them following their instincts struck me. We too should be "allowed" to be like birds- messy if we want to be, noisy, leaving our shit everywhere, fiercely standing our ground, able to flee to protect ourselves and our babies and  inattentive when it serves everyone best. We should be "allowed" to occupy a different space without judgement out of necessity or because we damn well want to-because we are to be trusted. People should go out of their way to make sure they don't interrupt our mothering-because  we need to and should be allowed to trust our instincts. We need to be supported in feathering our nests and taking care of our babies- without adding stress to what already is a "loaded" existence. May this "mothering Sunday" be all that you want it, need it and hope for it to be. Take flight Mamas, in the knowledge that you are loved, appreciated and so very worthy. You are enough.

 

 

 

Becoming Us Classes For Expectant And New Parents

Most of us when we are expecting think that if we have our homes ready, have taken childbirth education classes, have ticked off all of the to do lists that we are ready for the arrival of our tiny human! What most of us don't understand is that we are no longer part of a society that causes our status as parents to be elevated once we give birth....we in North America are not privy to the "village" that we all so desperately need to support us in our parenting journey. 

In over 25 years of working with families, I can honestly say that 1000's of couples have said to me "I wish we knew this before we gave birth" and all of them have questioned "Is this normal?" "Is it normal that I feel this way about my husband?" or "Is this normal for my baby to be doing this, not doing this or crying so much?" I have sat in thousands of homes and in my office and have helped these families understand that what they are going through is normal. Since I have become a Certified Becoming Us Facilitator, I am ecstatic to be able to offer classes and consultations to families to help alleviate the stress...before their baby comes and parent coaching when they are in the thick of it! 

Many families think that they will be "exempt" from being affected by having a baby. Nothing could be further from the truth. We become new versions of "US" when we become a family. 92% of parents report increased conflict and 67% decreased relationship satisfaction in the first few years of parenthood. The majority of my clients say that communication becomes the major issue in parenthood and I believe that is because most do not understand that parenthood is a time that is ripe for bonding and deepening of  our awareness of each other. Remember your sense of self does change as your become Mama and your partner's does too! Most couples state they miss the old versions of themselves and that they miss their partners as well. Our Becoming Us classes and coaching will help you stay connected as a couple as you navigate your parenting journey. We know that communication creates strong partnerships and this is what we want for everyone. Babies bring immense joy, love and excitement and considerable changes and our programs will help you understand how to best work as a team to manage the stresses of parenthood. Growing as parents and partners through the physical, financial, psychological, spiritual, emotional, cultural and social transitions can be achieved with much less stress when we are prepared. We are here to help. 

 

Our next two Becoming Us Classes are:

Thursday May 19th from 7-9pm (for expectant parents)

Thursday June 16th from 7-9pm (for expectant parents) 

We do one on one classes at your convenience for parents with babies who need help navigating the postpartum. 

The cost for the classes is $75 and includes a home visit in the postpartum for expectant parents! 

Our Coaching programs run around the clock, in the comfort of your own home or at our office, 1124 Gainsborough Rd. London Ontario

 

To register for these classes and programs, please email Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca 

 

Perinatal Support Practitioner Training

We are running our Perinatal Support Practitioner Training this fall. Our normal six month program will be offered in a compressed time frame program of four months. This program will encompass everything you need to know to offer labour support, teach childbirth education classes and offer postpartum and breastfeeding support. The course will include in class days(on weekends because most of our students work full time) and you will also participate in our breastfeeding clinics. There is an exam at the completion of the course and assignments throughout the program. 

You will be mentored by Carol Peat throughout your training and when you attend your student births. Throughout the course you will have access to mentoring and in our online class forum will be able to post questions and stay connected with your classmates. 

We are now accepting applications for this program. Please email Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca if you are interested in the program, have more questions and would like to set up a phone interview to apply for the program. 

 

What our former students are saying about the program:

 

The Perinatal Support Practitioner Program with Carol Peat was developed with a birth worker’s individual strengths in mind. This course inspires not only professional growth but an improvement in all aspects of one’s life. This course was enlightening and provided a huge range of skil lsets through in-depth discussion, case studies, hands-on training and supplemental literature. The people you connect with in the program become your tribe who’s support are limitless extend beyond borders of race, gender, and religion. I’ve found myself in this program and guarantee you will too

 

When I contacted Carol about breastfeeding support training and a few other things she told me about her course and during one of the most pleasant and inspiring conversations I've ever head I made up my mind to give it a try. Once into the first day I knew it is where I was supposed to be. Carol started talking and instantly had this air about her that made you feel like you mattered and that you too could make a difference in someone's life and she was going to help you get there. I recently attended my first birth and could hear her words in my head as things unfolded (as well feel her calm energy that always  comes with her.) From what the uterus is doing to what the baby's doing, everything is explained with such deep knowledge and compassion that it becomes a part of you.  Not only do you learn how to assist the mother,  father and medical professionals, you learn how to speak and connect with the tiny human from the very second they arrive. Nothing can compare to the depth of Carol Peat and her training. 

 

 

Training with Carol as a perinatal support practitioner has enabled me to learn the physiological process of labour and birth, but more importantly to understand the emotionality embedded in birth. Holding space for birthing women is the pinnacle for support.

 

My training with Carol's Perinatal Support Practitioner Program completely changed how my business grew, how I walked through life and how I am with my own children. I had taken a 2.5 day doula program the year before Carol's. I was not "getting births" and was quite honestly hesitant because I did not feel confident in my knowledge base or in my own abilities. I had no mentorship in the other program but this program was so much more than the content and the mentorship! Any questions I had, Carol answered. I never felt like I was asking something out of turn and my vested interest in doing the best for my clients drove me to learn more. I loved the quizzes, the exam, the essay and especially loved working with Mamas and babes in the clinic setting. Listening to the experiences of these women and watching how the babes responded to their Mamas is something I will never forget. I loved that we as students could also attend all of Carol's parenting classes because it has driven up my business by 200%! I help parents navigate parenthood and am preparing them so much more for what life is like with a baby. The hospital in my town refers birth clients to me weekly and I am sending my friend to take the training so we can work together! She already has births lined up and she is not taking the program until later this year! Send an email, then have a phone interview with Carol- you will not regret it. I love that more than three years out she is still there to mentor me if I need it. Invest in your business and know that with this training doors will open for you. Thank you so much for this training and helping me find me. xoxo

 

Within the Realm of Newness

I recently bore witness to a beautiful caul birth. This tiny little human was born fully encased within the caul and proved to me once again the astounding ability for consciousness. Upon crowning, this tiny human turned to face his Mama's right thigh and opened his eyes. Within two more pushes the rest of his body was out and the membranes were still intact. His eyes, still open, seemed to hold the world's knowledge within him as he floated in his cocoon. His Mama sat up and tore a piece of the membrane to lift her new son out and as she brought him up to her chest the membranes hooked around his feet.

His emergence was nothing short of spectacular. Here he was, earthside, still encapsulated by the membranes yet very much a part of the outside world. He immediately bore witness to his Mama's experience. His hands reached up to her face and his cry relaxed her body completely. She eased back onto the bed and as she did so he fell to below the level of her breasts and rested. Mama was silent, regulating her breathing and her birth attendants honoured her wishes of no hat. After a few more minutes of rest, Mama lifted her head to look at her son and he went searching....his stepping reflex allowed him to start his crawl to her breast.

When a tiny human reaches the breast, their cry will often become louder and this wee man's did. He sputtered and cleared mucous a few times and rocked his head side to side until his mouth came into contact with his Mama's nipple. At that point he lifted his head and bobbed about for a few minutes. The whole time, his Mama validated his experience. "I see you moving so well...you are so strong....you can do it...just a little bit further...that's it, you've got it...you are on....you are drinking!" Once again, her body relaxed deeper into the bed. A few minutes later she announced that she felt her cramps picking up and we reminded her that she would feel that as her tiny human fed. She took some deep breaths....and her wee man sighed. She shifted her body to get comfortable....her tiny human settled in to feed again. It was only seconds later Mama announced she could feel her placenta and it slipped out into the waiting bowl. Once her uterus was checked and she was washed, had gone pee and climbed back into clean sheets she sat and looked at her son on the bed. It was as if she, awash in his newness, had just laid eyes on him again for the very first time. "Oh look at you" she smiled. "You are so amazing. Your Papa and I love you so much."  With tears in her eyes she looked to her partner and he smiled and kissed her forehead. Her son, so quiet, so peaceful and so wide awake was taking it all in - this realm of newness belied his amazing awareness. His Mama picked him back up, snuggled him on her chest and asked me if I had had a good look at him. "Oh I really did," I said. "Isn't he amazing?" she asked. I replied that he certainly is amazing and that he really loved her, to which she said "I know...I can feel it. I can't believe he was born the way he was, that was so cool." I responded, as did one of her nurses, that it indeed was very cool. I left her with a kiss and a promise to check in within a few hours. I drove home- all the while languishing in those first few moments of this wee man's life as he inhabited the last few minutes of his gestation in his watery world.

The beauty of a birth like this never leaves you. Even today, as I did a home visit with this new family I felt like I was almost trespassing on the magic that they have filtering in and out of their lives. The beautiful connections forged by our tiny humans render me speechless at times. Within the realm of newness is a chance to bear witness to so much beauty. That beauty is the essence of our human-ness and the altering of our own consciousness, brought about by the tiniest of teachers.

 

With much love,

Carol xo

The Toddler Group

The Toddler Group starts Thursday September 17th from 10-11:30 for six weeks to October 22nd. Each week we will have a different theme, toddler topic and music and movement, crafts and other activities. $65 for the six weeks. It is facilitated by Carol- to register email Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca .

Revel in Your Mamaing

Revel in the days that you can't wait for night, for bedtime.

Revel in the space between dark and dawn, for the syncopation of slumbering sighs.

Revel in the hatred of all things some days- for healthy anger benefits everyone.

Revel in the languished kisses, the broken coupling of anxious hearts and touched out nerves of each day.

Revel in the understimulation of the nubile mind and the unbending piles of laundry.

Revel in the latent screams of dinner rejected, again- for midnight shots of Irish cream liquer to lull your slumber.

Revel in the ample heaviness of hearts torn open as communication breaks down.

Revel in the inability to deal with one more tantrum - for you are drawn into the disjointed fray.

Revel in the unending streams of snot on frozen mittens at the bus stop and ice crystals on your now gone cold coffee.

Revel in the stretched, tight skin of your bulging belly as the life within you rolls directly onto your bladder.

Revel in the relief of the last push and the kinetic energy of the tiny human mewing on your chest- open your eyes Mama and let your tiny human bear witness to your Mamahood.

Revel in the sense of that beating heart within you for you are enough. You are enough for all that you will encounter, all that you will be drawn into, all that you will prove resilient enough to weather.

Revel in the darkness of  transient haunting thoughts we all become victims of. Revel in your ability to be lifted from the depths by your own damn strength.

Revel and live and love and laugh. Cry and dress rehearse tragedy and fret and feel.

Revel in the wholeness of your weary spirit and the love you are worthy of. Roll those R's Mamas - RRRRREVEL. For we are all worthy of all that we feel and experience- for those experiences are ours.

The Tantrum Class!

Tantrums are a very normal part of childhood development...our ability to cope with them, however, leaves us feeling like having our own meltdowns. In this 2.5 hour class we will discuss the rationale (in toddlers eyes) for tantrums, the root causes of them, how to not take them personally and how to navigate the triggers for tantrums. The class comes with two weeks of follow up support for your family. Wednesday, May 6, 7-9:30 pm. Email Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca to register. Cost is $85.00

"I'm Done": Musings on the hard days of being a Mama

One day, seventeen years ago on a Saturday morning I opened my eyes and thought "I cannot do this again." The mere thought of waking up and juggling the needs of three children absolutely side swiped me. I could not get out of bed. I said to my husband "You need to take care of the kids and take them out....I cannot cope, I cannot fathom doing everything that I do every single day one more time."  I spent the rest of the morning wrapped in a sheet, lying on the middle of the family room floor. I did not stay in bed because I actually thought I needed to at least get out of bed...and made it as far as the family room floor.

There are days that you are done. So very done. The exhaustion cannot be evaluated in any way but by the insurmountable feelings on your heart, your soul, your psyche. When you are done- bone weary exhausted- everything is so heavy. The constant "on" of mothering - wiping bums, noses and faces, responding to every single "why" and breaking up fights weighs heavy day in and day out. The hamster wheel of routine and no acknowledgement of anything you have accomplished feels like a sledge hammer to the head....pushing you further under the heap of "to do."  Being screamed at, up multiple times a night to feed, console, wipe (again), change sheets and banish monsters cannot be soothed by all the coffee in the universe. Constantly holding, carrying and  nursing a child can leave you "touched out." Spending hours preparing and cooking meals to be told "I don't like this" can feel like a total assault on your sense of self- especially if your child "eats absolutely everything" at your Mom's house. It is so hard to not take it all so personally. We can't, Mamas.....

These little humans are all consuming. They truly are. Fulfilling the needs of another human being (or two, or three!) is a huge undertaking. It can weigh heavy on your soul and there are days you will absolutely want to get off the Mama bus. Do it. When you feel this way, do it. Have your partner, your friend, your sister, your own parents or in laws take your children. Have them out of the house for a few hours. Wonders can happen here.

About one hour into lying in the family room wrapped in a sheet (because it felt safe- it felt like I could block out any stimuli) I began to realize that I could just lie there. Just lie and be quiet. And then I breathed. I breathed in. I breathed out. I relaxed my face, shoulders, back, legs and arms and sank into the floor. The dam broke open and the tears just streamed. For the next hour I cried over all that I needed to. I needed to cry about it all. Thoughts needed to be put in order, stories had to be investigated (Am I done? No, I am not done, I could never be done being their Mama....I am just tired. So tired. I just need time. Just to breathe. I need help. This is hard. I need to be heard. I need a voice that reminds me that I too have needs. Oh, that feels better. Big breath. Oh shit, this is hard. I love them. I am exhausted. This is so hard!  I can go back to this. I can.) The underlying feeling in all of these huge feelings was a voice saying "Things need to change."

My partner came home with our children later in the day and I was back in bed. He fed the kids after I cuddled and kissed and spoke with each of them. Then we talked. We talked about how much I was trying to accomplish each day, how I felt like I always had to be busy, how my "job" as their Mama was so vast....and how I needed to reduce its vastness. We worked hard, I worked hard, I sought out help from my best friend (who to this day is my go to for anything Mama based.... CH you are my people...) and we opened up our communication every single day. "How was your day?" was either answered in front of the children or it wasn't- it all depended on how it really was. Some days it was not pretty. Some days, it was an ode to joy. The more I acknowledged the hard days, my expansion for the joyful moments grew. Fully accepting all of the emotions of motherhood and not feeling any guilt around them absolutely allowed my "vastness" of being a Mama to be reduced and my capacity for joy to become expansive. We need to be real, Mamas. We are not alone. There are days we do feel done. Talk about them and all of the feelings and emotions surrounding them. Sit in these feelings and let them grow...they have so much to say to you. Have someone listen to you and bear witness to your emotions. We are here,  we will listen.

 

With much love,

Carol xoxo

Dinner for Two Giveaway!

To enter our dinner for two giveaway all you have to do is leave your comment here on the blog and let us know about how love has helped you, affected you or surprised you since you have become a Mama. One comment will win dinner for two from EatGreen Organics delivered to your door this Saturday. All you have to do is heat up the chef prepared meal and enjoy. xoxo

Be Kind to Yourself

Be Kind to Yourself…

 

Did you have visions of what your birth would look like? Did you have specific thoughts on how life with your baby would look ? How maternity leave would look ? How you would act and feel as a new mother? How your new family would function? Did you daydream while pregnant, rubbing your pregnant belly, staring out in space anticipating for the moment you went into labour…excited to start this new transformation in your life?

Well, I did…

And a lot of what I had envisioned was so far from my reality that it completely shook me at a core level. 

My beautiful home birth that I had wanted so desperately and envisioned night after night, did not happen.  It was and always will be a part of my birth experience, but not the end result I had hoped for.  

I felt robbed… 

I blamed myself…

When I returned home, I was hurting, scared, confused, angry, filled with overwhelming love, happy beyond words, excited, joyful, nervous, sleep deprived, hungry and already longing for something that seemed “normal” for me to desperately grab on to. 

 I have beautiful memories of what it felt like living in my bed with my newborn son, him only wearing a diaper with skin-to-skin around the clock.  The sun was shining and my husband was home catering to me with food, water and love and not a significant worry in the world. Welcoming close loved ones into my bedroom to share in my new love. 

And then shit got real…I think I was living in a fog or some kind of honeymoon phase.  My husband went back to work and I had to do this on my own!?!?! The thoughts that were entering into my head, the fear that filled my soul were so bone shaking scary. I kept what was going on for me a secret, or at least tried to.  I think I was in denial or disbelief.  Why was this happening to me? I am an educated woman, a social worker, my role in my family and my professional life is to help and support people…why me?  I struggled with postpartum depression and was plagued with intrusive thoughts…I feared letting anyone hold my baby, I was obsessed with how people were perceiving me – as a person and as a mother, I tried to put on a mask and searched for a “new normal”. 

I lost myself…horribly. 

This impacted every relationship in my life…

Not all days were great, not all minutes were horrible.  The only thing I really knew for sure was that I loved my baby.  My postpartum journey took many paths – both wonderful and unnerving.  Thankfully, my loving support network was there when I fell, stumbled, ran away or ready to embrace me when my face was smiling!

Every day is a new day.  Every minute and every second are new minutes and new seconds.  Please be kind to yourself.   

Please do not shame yourself for that thought you just had that created some negativity for you.  Please be kind to yourself.  Let go of the shame, let go of the self-hatred, let go of whatever you want to let go of, whatever you need to let go of.  Hold on to your baby, your loves in your life…your light. 

Today, I let go of shame.  I have no regrets about my paths, my journey.  This helped shape who I am… and I am proud.  Proud to be my son’s Mama. 

Be Kind to Yourself…  Take a breath, or two.  Breathe in kindness and love to yourself and exhale what does not bring you life. I am sure you would want this for your child… you deserve it too Mamas!

This is my mantra.  I say it to myself every morning, before I go to bed and probably several times more in between. 

I know this is not everyone’s experience; however I thought I would share mine.  If it resonates with you, I hope it brings you comfort. You are not alone. 

Xoxox Much love to you all Mamas. 

Jess 

“we are not meant to be perfect; we’re meant to be whole” ~ Jane Fonda 

Toddlers to Teens: Not Much Difference In How We Parent! The Toddler and Teen Classes for November!

We hear the terms "terrible twos, trying threes, challenging fours" to describe toddlers all the time. Fast forward to adolescence and you will hear "kids of today are so ______________" and they are "so rebellious, so ungrateful, don't know how good they have it" and are "entitled."  I call bullshit. Children, no matter their age, are a direct reflection of what we have taught them to be.  In parenting our Toddlers we are also parenting our teens. The empathy we show our toddlers cements our relationships with our teenagers. The trust we build with our toddlers fosters a connected relationship with our teens. Not rocket science, is it?  Parenting is hard. Navigating the road from toddlers to teens is more like a cross country run - lots of uphills, lots of careening corners, stuck in the mud river crossings, low lying shrubbery that leaves marks - and at the end of some days sheer exhaustion. Both of our classes will help you understand your children and meet them where they are.  Each class will offer you the tools you need to stay connected with your children, to foster repair to the relationship and help you stay calm, validated and more relaxed in your parenting journey.

The Toddler Class

Is your life hectic with your toddler?
Do you find it hard to communicate with your toddler?
Is discipline something you are having a hard time working out?
Is sleep an issue?

This popular, informative class will help you understand what your toddler is going through – emotionally, spiritually and developmentally and will give you the tools to deepen your connection with your toddler and communicate more effectively with them!

Class Fee – $75

 

Saturday November 15

12-4pm

Email Carol at Kilty67@sympatico.ca to register.

 

Teens: Navigating Your Parenting Journey, Cementing and Repairing The Relationship and Keeping Your Cool In The Age of Technology

 

Teens are amazing, loving, confusing, brilliant and our biggest life lessons!  Our teen class runs on Thursday November 6th from 7-9:30 pm. Both parents are welcome to attend for the same fee. $75. Email Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca to register.

New Birth Worker Training!

We will be running our Perinatal Support Practitioner (birth and more! worker) training starting in January and running until June. The program will consist of Friday/Saturday or Friday or Saturday training usually from 10am-4pm. You will be shadowing in our breastfeeding support clinic, attending our parenting classes, receive mentorship in your labour support roles and will be part of our community based learning. In total there will be in class days with homework, self-directed learning and lots of great learning opportunities. For more information or to apply for a spot in the program, email Carol at kilty67@sympatico.ca. We will start interviews next week. Cheers and birthy love, Carol