We are in a war. It's not a war with guns or chemical weapons (so far) - but rather with opinion and judgement. For instance, when a mother sees another mother breastfeeding her baby (or not breastfeeding her baby) - her reaction is to her own internal self...not to that actual woman. She sees the woman breastfeed (or not) and chooses to be offended. She might even say something to or about that woman. "I can't believe she is (breast/bottle) feeding that baby." Where does that come from? Likely, it comes from the reflection she sees of her own choices by this other woman's mere existence. Maybe she didn't or couldn't breastfeed (or did, but, chose not to or didn't have the courage to breastfeed in public). Maybe she is an avid nurser and can't stand bottles. Either way, they are judging that woman not based on who she is or her particular circumstance, but, rather, what she is mirroring them to see within themselves. When we seek out people who choose what we choose, we're often seeking out our own validation.
This is just one example, but, we could throw out many - especially when it comes to how we choose to birth, feed and parent our children (but can also be applied to all areas of living and interaction - even with those closest to us). It's time that we stop and take a step back and ask ourselves where our reactions are coming from - how what we are seeing might actually be a reflection of something within US that needs examining. We need to understand that we will never truly know what it is like to be that other person, we don't know their full back story - their specific circumstance...but most of all, we don't know who we would be or what choices we would make if we were living their same life - so all "judgement" is a waste of energy (and opportunity to be compassionate). There is no right or wrong in life because we are all learning. Even those closest to us could never FULLY know what it is like to BE us, therefore, we're all just walking around with one angle on a multifaceted truth.
Isn't that so FREEING?! That you don't have to please anyone or take anything personally because ultimately it ISN'T personal?
As a doula, I get MANY women who instantly want to tell me their entire birth story as soon as they find out what I do, and many will say something like "Oh, I couldn't even try for a natural birth because of ___________." My very existence and their knowledge of what I do makes them feel the need to stick up for their cesarean, epidural, etc. I don't have to say anything at all regarding these things, they just assume that because I support, encourage and try to assist in natural births that I must be anti-intervention. I've learned to remove "myself" from these situations and recognize that she is speaking now to her reflection - not to "me". Before I learned this, it was easy to feel attacked, judged and even interrogated. Now, because I have removed myself, I can open my heart to her, meet her where she is at (not where I wish she was) and treat her with respect, tolerance and understanding. Instead of getting my panties in a wad and feeling defensive, I remain confidently rooted in who I am while showing her love and compassion because that is the reflection of myself I would like to see in her.
How can you relate to this? Are there people/issues that you carry judgements for - and, when examined in this way, how could what you are seeing in them/the situation be a reflection of something within YOU that you dislike or don't approve of? Do you feel invalidated when others choose or feel differently than you? On the flip side of that, have you ever felt judged by someone? Can you sit back and apply this theory and see that they potentially weren't talking to "you" at all?
The longest time I have spent in a birth is almost 40 hours. By the time this birth was at it's end I was almost delirious and beginning to impulsively make inappropriate "that's what she said" jokes. These were my friends (who know me well), so that wasn't a huge deal - however, I learned a LOT in that birth and the births following about when it is appropriate to go into a birth to be the most help. The following has become my method and is intended to be informative for both the doula client and the doulas who may be reading this. It has truly helped me do the very best job possible for the clients that I work with.
Part of my job as a doula is to prepare the mother/couple for labor in a way that they can better handle the journey as a whole. If I have done my job properly they won't "need" me until they are nearing the last leg of their labor - when they need a doula's support the most. This is empowering to my clients (because they often get themselves farther than they ever thought they could "on their own") and to me as their doula - because, I get very proud when people use the tools and information that I have given them to make the most of their strength and time in labor. Yes, labor is hard - but you CAN do it. Especially with good advice, good timing and great support. These tips will help clarify when to call and what to do in the meantime.
Plan to labor at home as long as possible.
If you are having a hospital birth, one of the biggest things you can do to lessen your odds of unnecessary intervention is to labor at home for as long as possible. "As long as possible" is different for everyone. Some women tend to deliver very quickly, or know they need antibiotics before giving birth, therefore the timing to go in definitely varies from woman to woman. Overall, you don't want to go until you at least know that this is the real thing and that things are moving along nicely. There is less potential for interruption of labor when given this approach.
Consider calling your doula, then your doctor.
Whenever you think you are in labor or that something might be happening, call your doula. You're not necessarily calling her in to the birth, but, she will be able to provide you with ideas and suggestions over the phone. On top of this, it gives her the heads up that she might be going into a labor that day so she can begin to make any necessary arrangements for work/kids/etc.
You do not need to contact your OB until you are on your way to the hospital. If you do, you might be encouraged to go into the hospital way before you really need to do so. For example, some OB's (and each are different - it's a good to discuss individual policies with your care provider) want you there as soon as contractions are 5 minutes apart - or - as soon as your water breaks. However, depending on the length and intensity of those contractions, or the presence of labor when your water broke has a lot to do with how long you still have to go. If you go into the hospital too early, it can provide an opportunity for a whole slew of potential interventions. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule - always follow your intuition, but, generally it's a good idea to call your doula first and seek her counsel regarding when to call and why. Even if you do not have a doula, you would generally call your OB when you are on your way into the hospital or if you have a direct question or concern.
A watched pot never boils.
Calling people into your labor too soon can make you feel like a hostess of a party where you are the main event. This can actually prolong your labor significantly. People get performance anxiety, especially if they/you feel like it's taking a long time. When you start to sense that they are tired/hungry, it can feel like a lot of pressure for you to get on with the birth...and you'd like to, too, but the pressure is working against you.
Keep your birth team small, down to only the essential people you WANT there (rather than feel obligated to have there). These people should not have any expectation of when they are going to show up because that is strictly up to YOU. Do yourself a favor and surround yourself with people who make you feel empowered and are generally encouraging and supportive - avoid people who cause you stress. Then, only call them into your birth when you feel like their presence would benefit you....and don't be afraid to send them home or to make an "alone" sanctuary in a bedroom or your bathroom so you can escape.
Ignore labor until you can't ignore it anymore.
Labor can start and stop for days at a time up to weeks before the actual labor process, especially if you are experiencing the dreaded "Prodromal Labor" (or as I like to call it - your labor installment plan, because ultimately, a contraction is a contraction and is still working your body and your cervix). First time parents have the hardest time with this because of the anxiety and excitement that goes along with labor starting - and you are not automatically distracted by the children you already have (and have no previous experience to compare it to). You want to meet your baby, and, by this time you're pretty over being pregnant (usually) and are eager to get the show on the road. The biggest mistake people make is by exerting energy to 'get things going' when they notice contractions start. By ignoring labor and keeping yourself well distracted and RESTED you will go less crazy and be much more able to maintain for the long haul.
There will eventually be a "shift" in labor where ignoring it will not be an option...this is a good thing. THEN you can begin your "work" and start coping and riding the waves of your birth.
Exhaustion is enemy #1 in labor - NOT "PAIN".
In labor (and anytime in life, really), it is not the pain that is your biggest enemy - it is exhaustion. Being exhausted intensifies absolutely everything. Pain, hunger, irritation with people or circumstance around you - all of this seems so much more intense and out of control when you are exhausted. We become toddlers who need a nap - badly. It's harder to work with these clients because they are less willing to move around and do the things that might benefit their labor process and/or ease their pain - and not to mention the pushing phase can be much more difficult for these mothers. Now, this isn't to say we all don't get tired by the end of labor, you can almost count on that - however, this is why what you do in early labor matters most.
Sleep your face off!
Once you think that something is truly going on, do your best to GO TO SLEEP! Believe me - you will thank me come 5am and things are just getting "real". If it's the middle of the day, take a nap (or at least take it very easy) - if it's evening, I usually suggest eating dinner, taking a bath and turning in for the night. You would be amazed how much we can labor in our sleep...and if it's truly labor, it's not going to "stop" because you went to bed. Even if you only get 1-2 hours of sleep, it will greatly benefit you in the long haul.
Some clients purchase a bottle of organic red wine for this occasion to help ease the mind and relax the body to be able to obtain sleep. There is nothing wrong with this. The hospital gives out morphine and sleeping pills to women in labor...wine isn't going to kill you (or your babe). Obviously...moderation is key.
Take it to the limit.
Once things make that "shift" and you can no longer ignore your contractions, you (and your partner) are encouraged to cope with labor using whatever coping techniques you have chosen to use - which hopefully you have been practicing nightly before bed. You will still want to get as far into your labor as possible before calling in your birth team, helping them reserve their strength for when you will need them the most.
Ways to cope.
During this time you have alone (or with your partner), spend time loving yourself and each other. Take long baths or showers, spend time kissing and making love (yes, you can make love during labor if your water has not broken, and it actually helps move things along quite nicely).
You will feel your contraction coming before it's really there - this is the time to take your first deep cleansing breath. Get on top of your contraction before it gets on top of you and ride the wave rather than letting it crash over you. This first deep breath helps you do this. From there, work mentally, from the head down to release any tension in the forehead, jaw, tongue, shoulders and down the spine. Always from top to bottom (because we want baby to move down, not up). If you have a partner, they should be scanning your body for areas of tension and gently bringing your awareness to that place in your body so you can consciously release it. The idea here is to make sure that each area of your body is loose and not taking energy and productivity away from the job your uterus and cervix are trying to do. Allow all the tension to be THERE - not in your face/back/hips. A relaxed face, loose hips and breathing mama tells me that she is allowing herself to open up to the process of birth. This is all you can hope for for any mama.
Hitting a wall.
The whole time you are likely keeping your doula updated through texts and phone calls. At some point, you will hit a wall. Things will pick up speed and become more intense. You will need to listen to your intuition here. Are things simply getting more intense, or are you closing in on giving birth. Often times a doula will listen to a contraction or two over the phone and make a fairly accurate assessment of where you are at through your breathing pattern and any sounds you might be making. She will inform you of this assessment and will then make a suggestion or ask you what you would like to do. Sometimes, more often than not, there are 2-3 walls you will move through in labor. Things may be picking up (which is good), but, maybe a hot shower or a bath will help you get through that and help you 'refocus' from where you are now in labor and allow you to continue coping for awhile longer. Sometimes we just need to readjust to this new level of labor.
Things to watch for
These are signs that you may be closer to transition from the first stage of labor to the second stage of labor (pushing). These are all reasons to begin to consider calling in your team and/or going to the hospital (if you're having a hospital birth).
Asking for help is a sign of strength - not weakness!
All of the above is a guideline for helping you achieve the best birth possible and for reserving the strength of your birth team for when you will be at your weakest (and yet, strongest). Ultimately, your doula will come in whenever YOU feel ready for her. We don't want you to wait until you are pushing - but, it's also not a good idea to call her in too early either. Be honest with yourself and listen to your body - when you feel like you need outside support, that is when you call in your doula. Regardless of where you 'think' you are in your labor.
It has become my policy not to offer to come into births anymore (unless I really feel like she is farther into it than even she knows or understands). Not because I don't want to help, but, because I want to empower her to find her voice and use it. As women we are all so comfortable being the caregivers - and often uncomfortable asking for and receiving help from others. However, as a mother you will likely need help from others, which is why I want to make you comfortable with identifying that need and asking for assistance. For you to say "I need help, can you come in now?" is an honest and direct request which will help those around you know when they are needed by you.
Make sure to call your doula - don't leave her hanging!
One of the worst things that can happen to a doula in her profession is to not be called in and left hanging in her "on-call" state. Birth can be crazy, but there is ALWAYS a moment where you can call her and let her know what is going on - even if that is to say that you don't need her to come in or that the baby was just born super quickly. Being on call means she goes to bed early for you, keeps her schedule fairly clear, avoids leaving town, etc...her life revolves around that phone call that could come at any moment. To leave her hanging, then for her to find out much later that you had your baby is one of the worst feelings a doula can be left with. This is why early communication - as soon as you feel like you're having contractions (whether they are no big deal or not) is so important. It doesn't mean you are calling her in, you're keeping her in the loop.
We actually have a clause in our contract for "failure to call in the doula" where our clients are still responsible for 25% of their labor fee. This covers us for our on call period and helps ensure that people will at the very least keep us informed.
What do you think?
If you are a parent, how does this sound to you? Does it make sense to get yourself as far as you can into your labor before calling in the calvary?
If you are a doula, what has your experience been regarding when to go into birth?
Do you feel like preparing parents with practical tools to get them through labor helps them get farther down the road easier?
“bEARTH Doula (n): One who is trained to empower, educate & support women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Creating safer outcomes while restoring sacredness, honor and dignity to the birthing process.”
I have been a birth doula for many years, and while it's definitely something that seems to be catching fire - with many women seeking out a doula for their birth and/or wanting to become one, I still often get "you're a WHAT-A?!" when people find out what I do. So, what exactly DOES a Doula do?
The Birth Team
Humans are mammals, however, we are unlike any other. We have huge brains and are the only two leggeds amung our kind. This makes the way that we birth different from other animals, and often puts us in the position of needing help when giving birth. Huge brains = big heads and standing upright = a narrow pelvis. It's no wonder that because of this, our babies must be born earlier than other mammal babies and that we sometimes need help doing it. Enter, the birth team.
Doulas are often mistaken for Midwives, or they are considered synonymous but they definitely are not. However, Doulas have been a part of the birth team as long as Midwives have. For as long as birth history has been recorded, women have been attending other women in labor, helping them in any way they can to ease the process of giving birth to their babies. It's only in our very recent human history that birth has been taken out of the home and woman-centered environment and put into the hospital. Therefore, having 'doula' is not a new thing – it's a coming home for birth and how we were intended to do it.
Modern doulas generally work in both home or hospital births and are prepare parents prenatally and then physically, emotionally and informatively support them through their birth experience. They don't do anything medical - and should never stand between parents and their caregivers or make decisions for their client. No vaginal checks, no catching babies, no temps or blood pressures - the doulas role is not a medical one, but it can be just as important. Giving birth is not necessarily a medical event, and, even when it is, it is certainly also still a physical and emotional journey worthy of doula support.
With the exception of unassisted home births, every birth team consists of either a Midwife (Homebirth Midwife or a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) which delivers in the hospital) or an Obstetrician (OB) a trained surgeon in Obstetrics & Gynecology. These are the ones responsible for the medical management of care and the safety of you and your baby. If you are having a hospital birth, there will also be a variety of nurses who will interact with you on an as needed basis while you are there. They will communicate your progress and wishes to the OB/CNM who is on call at the time of your birth and decisions will be made regarding your care in this manner.
What's A Doula Got That They Don't Got?
Regardless of whether you have an OB or Midwife, both often will not show up to your birth until close to the second stage of labor or after and most do not provide massage, counter-pressure, Rebozo techniques, etc. like a doula would. From the time parents feel they need support until after their baby is born – their doula has their back. Literally. She fills the gaps in the care that is provided to parents by the medical side of birth, helping navigate the sea of possibilities wherever they choose to give birth. Doulas are trained in a huge variety of options that OB's, Nurses and sometimes even Midwives are not. Comfort measures, encouragement, breathing and visualization techniques, acupressure, aromatherapy, positions to put you in....these are just some of the things that are often utilized by a trained doula to ease and facilitate the process of labor.
A doula in comparrison to a partner, however, is a completely different thing all together. A good doula supports the family as a whole, not just the mother. The partner in any birth scenario is also going through his or her own emotional journey. They are watching someone they love be in pain, they may also be tired from sleepless nights, or, they may be scared of becoming a parent or even of birth itself. Prenatally, a doula will talk with both of you and discover your comfort zones and expectations – she will give your partner practical tools for them to be the support that you will need. Then, when the time comes, she can give suggestions and provide opportunities for the partner to connect with mom. After all, a good doula knows that connection to the one mom loves most is going to help her open up to her baby faster. Partners often want to help – but, they often don't know how when the moment hits them. Even well prepared partners sometimes freeze or feel like they couldn't do anything right in the birth room. And, sometimes, mom really doesn't want to hear or even see the partner. It's not personal, it's just the way it is sometimes. When this happens, the doula can be a bridge between the two.
Many decisions and options are given to parents while giving birth, and it's incredibly difficult to remember why you did or did not want to do this or that because you – and your birth partner - are in what I lovingly call “Laborland”. Your senses and ability to think and process information are altered. Time is warped and you're probably exhausted and distracted by sensations of pain and excitement. Having a trusted doula who is educated on childbirth and knows you, your partner and your birth wishes can be like having a lighthouse guiding you through the fog. For example, let's say your care provider is there offering to break your bag of water and 'see if that helps speed things up', you or your partner might not remember why this is not a good idea – but your doula will and she will gently remind you so you can make an informed decision on the fly.
Doulas are advocates, but, they do not advocate for you - instead they encourage you to advocate for yourself if or when the time to do so comes up. We as doulas must trust that we have provided you with the right information, resources and encouragement prenatally to create the most ideal birth scenario for you. All we can do is gently inform you and then step back and allow you to make your own choices. Doulas are not there to judge, and a good doula will not have an emotional attachment or expectation for your birth. She is simply there to provide the information and then listen to and respect whatever informed decision you make.
Understanding The System
Doulas have a unique perspective because they frequent both home and hospital settings and are there for parents through their entire experience. A doula is going to do whatever she can to help you try absolutely everything before resorting to a medical intervention not because she doesn't see value in medical intervention – but because she knows that this women will need to look back on her birth with a sense that she truly 'tried everything' before needing help, and because she knows that there are real risks presented to both mother and baby with every intervention.
Currently, the local epidural rate in hospital births is around 91% and the cesarean rate still lingers around 31%. This isn't because women can't handle the pain of labor, or because 1 out of 3 women can not give birth to their baby vaginally - it's because natural birth is not the hospital's specialty. In fact, it's rarely even seen. This is why unsupported and/or unprepared parents rarely end up having a natural birth unless they show up close to delivery. It is not that the hospital want every woman to get an epidural or cesarean – it's just what they know. It's simple, really. They offer medical options because they are medically trained.
We are often hired by second or third time parents because they do not want a repeat of a previous birth experience, and we've often heard them say "I just figured they do this all the time, so we just went with it." However, when parent's aren't fully informed or are not given options (or adequate opportunity to even try other options), a cascade of interventions can happen - and does more often than not. And, when birth doesn't go well, women are often left feeling as though their body is a failure, that they are somehow inadequate, some feel violated (and sometimes, they are), and many could face Postpartum Depression as a result. In the worst case scenarios, the interventions actually may have seriously hurt the mother, child or both leaving both parents feeling guilty, depressed and desperate for answers.
Birth matters, and how we birth is more important than we've given it credit for in our recent history.
Choosing The Right Support
An expecting parent begins seeking out their options regarding pregnancy and childbirth usually soon after they find out they are pregnant. Many, especially first time moms, go to the library and/or spend hours on line reading and absorbing everything they can on the subject. They want to know what's going on with their baby and how to best care for their child and their bodies. Thanks to a strong online presence of Birth Doulas and Midwives (and talk of them by other mothers who have had experience with them) as well as the popular movie “The Business Of Being Born” (which I credit for a LOT of our 'awakening' to our current climate regarding birth in the USA), many women will at least come across the word "Doula". Some, usually those who are passionate about being given the best odds of having a natural, vaginal birth with little to no unnecessary intervention will seek one out in their area. A Google search or website such as DoulaMatch.net should help them find a few options. In the West Michigan area, we are blessed to have a wide variety of wonderful doulas to choose from. From there contact is made - usually by phone or email. The process is different for everyone depending on the families needs and the doula that they are working with.
Generally, most doulas are available for a free consultation to meet in person, have questions answered and generally see if the doula and parent(s) are a good match. It's recommended that parents try to meet with as many doulas as they can to better understand the differences between them and how you 'feel' with each one. Hiring a doula isn't only about her resume. You're going to be naked in front of this person, she will be present in the most transformational moment of your life - the 'vibe' she gives you is extremely important. This is such an important part of the process of becoming a parent - connecting with your intuition and finding your voice!
Working With A Doula
Working with a doula generally begins with proper preparation and education, empowering parents with information that would probably not otherwise be given without digging deeply for it.
Generally depending on the needs of the family the doula is working with, you can expect most doulas to provide:
Help creating an in-depth birth plan (while providing current, evidence based information and statistics regarding each of the options regarding yourself and your baby)
Guidence in finding the right health-care provider and birth location
General knowledge and support through the pregnancy
Connection to your local resources & support
Practice in breathing and birthing techniques
Help emotionally and physically prepare you for birth and parenting
On call service 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your due date (meaning, she plans her whole life around the potential that you may need her in this time)
Complete emotional & physical support through your labor and usually 1-2 hours after birth, often laboring at home for as long as possible and going to the hospital together (for hospital births).
Breastfeeding support and/or resources
These services cost generally anywhere between $400 – 1,000.00+ depending on the doula you choose and the options she has available as many offer a variety of other services like Photography, Henna, Blessing Ways, Placental Encapsulation, etc. as well. Most are open to trade, payment plans or will work on a sliding scale for low-income families. The value of this service, however, is imesurable. Doulas almost never get paid what they are actually worth, but, they are passionate about being accessible to the families of their community. They understand that birth leaves a lasting impression on your life and that it is an opportunity to start a whole life off on a good note.
When I decide to go after something, it is always so intense, like all or nothing; going “all in” for a cause or new career path. That is how it was with my career in advertising sales, and then politics. I created an event when I was the fundraising chairperson for Progressive Women’s Alliance called “Strong Voices in Art, Music and Politics”. It was all about empowering and celebrating women. I have a true sisterhood among those women that is so needed in the male-dominated political world. I wanted more women to run for office and worked with groups like the White House Project and PWA to make that happen.
During my first pregnancy, I was working as a fundraiser on a Governor’s race. I knew I wanted to have a natural, un-medicated birth and thought about it in the same way I did with most goals I had at the time.
I felt like I could just set the agenda, and my pregnancy and birth would roll out the way I intended.
My husband and I took Lamaze classes and saw a nurse midwife instead of an OB. I read every pregnancy book that I could and watched every birthing documentary. All went according to plan until I developed pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks. I was put on modified and then full bed rest, and induced at 39 weeks as my kidneys were starting to shut down. I was scared and felt alone.
My midwife talked me through my options. We decided to strip my membranes, and induce with Cervadil. After laboring for half a day, I was later told that I came within 30 minutes of a C-section as they were worried about my daughter’s heartbeat. But by moving to my hands and knees, I was able to turn my daughter and push her out without any pain medication. It was hard, and there were times that I wanted to give up, but my husband was there for me and I was more empowered than I had ever felt in my entire life. I was a warrior now.
When we learned about a year later we were expecting again, I thought about how close we had been to an outcome that would have been much different than intended. I wanted to avoid intervention of any kind this time, and I felt like there was more I could do to improve my likelihood of having the birth experience I wanted, and the birth experience every child deserves.
I hired Crowning Lotus immediately, knowing I would rely heavily on my doula and her apprentice because my midwife group would be dissolving the practice near the end of my pregnancy. I gave birth with an OB and felt comfortable knowing I had two great doulas with me every step of the way. They steered me toward a naturopath, they made me teas and suggested a diet that would help me avoid getting pre-eclampsia again.
Accompanied by my husband and daughter, I was able to labor at home through the morning. After a couple hours of increasingly intense contractions, my doulas arrived to escort me to the hospital. While I was being admitted and assessed, my doulas used the rebozo, rubbed my back, encouraged me, and supported my husband as he had an active role in my birth. By midday I was able to have the most amazing and completely natural birth I could have imagined, and I owe a lot of that to my doulas. Once again, I felt empowered and so strong and happy. That feeling was intensified by having others witness my strength and hold space for me. Crowning Lotus also supported me in postpartum with visits and check-ins.
The other transformative experience during my second pregnancy was a book called “Sacred Pregnancy”. I loved how it focused on the beauty and sisterhood of pregnancy, replacing the fear and anxiety that’s often experienced. It was the spiritual outlet that I needed at that time, and when Sacred Pregnancy, the organization, announced instructor trainings around the country I signed on to be certified.
My family, including my 4-month-old son, accompanied me to the certification retreat in Virginia. I started teaching classes two weeks later, and am now halfway through my third series of classes. I see the women come out of our sessions with a strong sisterhood and a vital support network. They laugh together, cry together, light candles for each other during their births and even have attended a birth to support a sister. The women feel empowered during their births, even if things don’t go as planned, and I am honored to hold space for them.
From my early classes, I felt drawn to a second learning experience, the Art of Sacred Postpartum, which I earned during a retreat to Georgia. The women in my birth journey classes had so many questions about the postpartum time that I wanted to offer them more than just a two-hour session. I wanted them to feel as empowered about motherhood as they did about pregnancy and birth. This Mother Roasting program does that and so much more. Some of the services offered include Bengkung belly binding, milk and honey honoring, relaxation rebozo techniques, sitz baths and peri-care, mother blessings and more.
I will be attending the first ever Sacred Doula training in March, wanting to bring women this type of sacredness during birth as well. Crowning Lotus is taking me on as birth doula apprentice and I am honored to work with such talented women as I am “all in” on supporting women during pregnancy, birth and beyond. I am excited to see where this takes me. Women need a true sisterhood with them during this life changing time and I am honored to play a part in helping that to happen.
Check out the giveaway we're having in honor of our expanded team!
For the past few years, Crowning Lotus has been building a team of unstoppable bEARTH doulas who have earned their reputation for excellence in service wherever families decide to give birth. Our goal being to provide our community and beyond with the information and resources they need to reach their goals not only in birth, but in life - believing in the power of free information and that helping others succeed is always best for the greater good. Because of this, we're always open to new ways of empowering those around us, of making stronger connections and providing a better service or product. In the spirit of this type of expansion, our vision has grown and we couldn't be more excited about it!!
So, without further ado, please help us welcome Kristin Revere and Breezy Barcelo to the Crowning Lotus team!! Both of these lovely women are adding a whole new scope of valuable services to Crowning Lotus, assisting families even more on their journey into parenthood.
A little about Kristin & Breezy:
Kristin Revere, a previous doula client of Juliea and Chasity's, has developed a strong passion for empowering women and helping them get the pregnancy, birth and postpartum care that they need. She has been teaching Sacred Pregnancy birth and pregnancy journey courses in Grand Rapids since April of 2013 and is the first person to be certified in Michigan as a Sacred Pregnancy instructor and for Sacred Postpartum services. Along with these wonderful classes, she is also offering a variety of Sacred Postpartum ceremonies, services and goods such as Belly Binding, Maylay Floral Closing Bath Rituals, tinctures and remedies. We wanted to include Kristin and what she is doing because we believe that we are all sacred and that there are too few opportunities in life to experience this as deeply as one will - or can - on their journey into parenthood. Kristin is a facilitator of this, she gives you the tools to open up and then dive into the possibilities of YOU. Kristin is also starting a bEARTH Doula apprenticeship with Juliea and is also becoming a certified Sacred Doula in March!!
Breezy Barcelo CD(DONA) is not only new to Crowning Lotus, but, she is also fairly new to Grand Rapids! She gained most of her experience in Chicago as a mother of six and serving all sorts of families as a birth and postpartum doula. She found that her heart is in postpartum work, therefore has made this her focus - helping families adjust to becoming parents in a very supportive and hands on way. As she lovingly puts it, she "works herself out of a job" by empowering her clients to be able to parent confidently. Helping them cope with and overcome breastfeeding issues, postpartum mood disorders, sibling integration, and other situations which are sometimes unexpected by new and even experienced parents. We chose to include Breezy and her services because we believe that the Postpartum period is often overlooked and ill-prepared for by parents, therefore can hit them like a ton of bricks. As birth doulas, we provide a limited amount of support - but nothing in comparison to a daytime or over night Postpartum Doula, and we want our clients to have access to the very best. Breezy fills this need quite beautifully with her vast knowledge, experience and peaceful demeanor.
We feel SO BLESSED to have these wonderful women as part of our team. So much so that we would like to celebrate with a GIVEAWAY!! As well as these new additions to the team, we have also recently completely redone our website and blog in an attempt to make the vast amount of information we make available as well as the services and goods we provide more accessible to our readers. SO, let's make this fun! We'd like to give everyone a chance to win, and go a step further by getting interactive with an information treasure hunt!! With every correct answer, you will be given another entry into our awesome giveaway!
What We're Giving Away:
We have THREE prizes to be given away at different stages of this event - the first two winners will be able to choose from these prizes and the third will be given the remaining prize:
Prize #2 - Herbal Relief Set - Complete with an Elderberry Tincture, Thieves Oil, Healing Salve & Mini Pain Relief Stick (similar to this listing on Etsy by Chasity). Perfect for the season! (A $39.00 Value)
Prize #3 - The online version of the Winter 2013 Sacred Pregnancy Magazine! (a $7.00 Value)
How YOU Can Win:
We are giving our fans and readers multiple ways of entering into this giveaway, some easy, some earned.
Each comment you leave on this page is an entry into this giveaway, so the more comments you leave - the better your odds of winning one of these awesome prizes. For each of the options below that you fulfill, you will need to submit a new comment. (If you already "like" any of the pages listed, you can still submit a comment saying so!)
Please remember to leave an email address so we can reach you if you win!
Information Treasure Hunt:
For even more ways to win, answer any or all of the 10 questions listed below. All of the answers are located on our website and/or blog. Send your answers (worth TWO entries each) to email@example.com.
If you have any questions about how to enter, please do not hesitate to contact us directly!
Winners will be announced as they are drawn. We will choose our first winner when our Crowning Lotus Facebook page hits 800!