Category Archives: Doula.

11 (low cost) gifts for a new parent

Here are 11 tips on how to be the best visitor a postpartum parent has ever had!

1) Don’t ask, just help. Many new parents will turn down help for fear of burdening or inconveniencing others. Try to make it clear that it would bring you Joy to help them around the house because you know how hard it is to adjust to the postpartum period

2) Entertain the older children. This is by far the biggest way you can help with a 2nd 3rd or 15th arrival of a new family member. If you are trusted enough to take them out for lunch or to a park go for it. If you’re not familiar or comfortable enough with that, bring quiet low maintenance activities such as making play dough, baking, coloring etc. Just make sure you clean up afterwards and enlist the kids help in helping their mom.

3) Feed them. All of them. Buy food and bring it to the house and cook. This will also give you a great excuse to clean their kitchen! While you’re at it…change the garbage, wipe down the cupboards etc

4) If you can’t cook, feed them anyway! With some favourite fast food, store bought salads, or whatever you want, and like seriously, clean their kitchen, or bring disposable plates and dishes and then change the garbage (are you sensing a theme here?)

5) Bring healthy, easy to keep snacks for the new mom or the kids

6) Sit and listen, watch t.v, offer low maintenance company because postpartum is both overwhelming and fucking lonely at times. There maybe some serious FOMO going on with new parents. Sometimes just coming over to watch the walking dead or playing a video game can be just as helpful to them.

7) This is an oldie, but a goodie: hold the baby so the new parents can go take care of themselves. Perhaps a nap, or a shower would be the best gift you can give them

8) Offer to get things for them. This could mean getting the baby bath set up, or grabbing milk and toilet paper on your way in.

9) Bring something for the new parents, onesies and blankets are great too. But some organic bubble bath might be just what a new parent who has just given birth might need to get a decent sleep tonight, or nap, or at least attempt to sleep

10) Remember that they may feel odd, uncomfortable feelings, that make little sense to them. They might be suffering from conflict in their family, financial stress or the baby blues etc. Try your best to just sit and be with them, empathise. Even if this is their second third or 15th baby it’s still a huge transition for the mind body and soul to go through. They might be fragile and vulnerable, be prepared to remind them that their feelings are valid and it is OK to be vulnerable. (We all could use that reminder from time to time)

11) Just surround them with love. Whatever that looks like for you and them

A helpful saying to remember when visiting a new parent (or anyone who is sick or struggling with a life transition) is to empty what is full, and to fill what is empty.

Seriously, just change the garbage, fill their glass of water, empty the dishwasher, and fill their home with support and love.

What would you add? Is there a gift that someone gave you after you had a baby that you are greatful for? What would you like to see published in the next list?

-Kate Williamson birth and postpartum doula, PSW and mom of 3

Why I refuse to call my Clients ‘mama’

If you’ve had any experience in the blogging birth world, you might have noticed this odd trend in speaking about our clients. Here’s 10 reasons why I don’t:

1) The person giving birth isn’t my only client. Yup, that’s right I support ‘papas’ too as the family transitions to life with baby. My job is primarily to support the person carrying the pregnancy, but I do get hired by families to make the transition into parenthood easier…

2) Not all people who give birth identify as ‘mama’ because transgender people exist and have children. I don’t ever want to push potential clients away.
2) Sometimes the partner identifies as a ‘mama’ too and that could just get confusing.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/transgender-dad-gay-partner-first-biological-child-trystan-reese-biff-chaplow-oregon-a7767271.html

3) I wouldn’t call my clients parents grandma or grandpa, nor would I call their partner papa or mama. Its a familial term an even though doulas do certainly get very close with families we are not actually family.

Let’s try this on for size ‘ I love looking after my grandmas too! They are usually so tired after the birth happens!’ Does this make sense? No. Just no!

4) Doulas have fought hard for recognition as a legitimate profession. You would not hear a nurse or an OB or a midwife calling their patients mama for a lot of the reasons listed above, so neither will I.

5) As a PSW I’m pretty sure I would have been in trouble if I called my residents ‘Nana’ or ‘papa’ because its unprofessional. I’m just saying…

6) I already have a mama. She is wonderful. I don’t need a new one

7) I truly respect who my clients are as a person. We are not just the roles and titles we choose to take on. 

8) It doesn’t feel right, it’s about as odd as calling a stranger ‘honey’ or ‘sweetheart’ it’s just….no. 

9) I am a professional doula who works hard to maintain the image of professionalism in my industry. Therefore I don’t have ‘mamas’ I have clients that hire me to care for them during birth and postpartum.

10) My final and biggest reason for not calling my clients ‘mama’ is because of the reality that not all of my clients will have a baby in their arms at the end of the journey, and they may or may not want to identify as a mother at that point. I accompany clients through abortions, miscarriages, still birth, relinquishment and apprehension.
I think that this trend is on its way out among professional doulas, and good riddance, because our clients need support, not cutesy names.

-Kate, your lovely, local, London doula

Dancing for Birth

Have you heard of this phenomenal, energizing, connecting, educational and dynamic class for expecting and new moms? Read on

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Dancing for birth combines intuitive childbirth education with…you guessed it! DANCING!

When I decided to join Sheina’s Dancing for Birth Class, I’ll admit I was nervous, because I hadn’t danced in years (well, outside of my kitchen when a scissor sisters song comes on- then I just can’t help myself). I was pretty sure I couldn’t dance at all (and I will vehemently state that I DO NOT dance in public situations), but I figured it would be a good motivation to get out of the house and active with my (then) babe in arms.

The best part of the class was getting to talk to other moms, while we had fun and exercised! I felt energized, and lighter after each class.

I loved every class, in fact I was sad when it was over, and If I was pregnant right now I’d be signing up for the next series… which happens to start very soon BTW (March 21 https://www.facebook.com/events/242210862851251/) hint hint 😉

Do you have questions for Sheina? Head over to her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DancingforBirthLondonOn%20/

or email her at sheina@dancingforbirth.com

Have you been to a dancing for birth class? tell us what you thought!

 

-Written by Kate, Local (London,ON) birth and postpartum doula, PSW, Student and mother of 3