Friday, December 6, 2013

I've Moved!

Thanks so much for all of your support. I've moved my site! Please continue following me at Kavanah Doula there.

Love and Light,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rosh Hashanah Baby-A Cross Post

This is a cross-post from my personal blog:
A few days before I left for Isabella Freedman for the Ride I had the most vivid dream-My 1st Doula Mama was in labor! I woke up with a start and looked over at my phone (which was on vibrate but I slept through) she’d  text messaged me contraction times. As I looked at her text, the numbers and calculated quickly in my head I saw that she was having “pains” as she said about 10 minutes apart-not yet in active labor. I called her, but it was an hour after her text so she’d fallen back asleep-definitely not in active labor yet.

While in the woods I got a message from my back up doula that my Mom was starting to lose her mucous plug. Her contractions were still sporadic with no clear patterns so I didn’t fret too much.

She had a planned induction because of age and a variety of other factors and while we hoped that she’d go early, even if it meant I would miss her birth, we thought it would be best that she give birth as naturally as possible. We knew that if they started an induction, the likelihood of her going on to have more medical interventions was greater.

This Mama was a single woman so my back up doula  and I met with her at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon…and I didn’t leave her side until early Thursday morning after she gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Wednesday evening at 10:56PM.

The birth was long and exhausting and in the end, she only pushed about 6 times before her baby boy made is entrance into the world. It was, without a doubt, the single most life-altering experience of my life. And I haven’t said that since being in the Holy Land.

On Rosh Hashanah, it is said that the world is born and on this Rosh Hashanah, the Head of the Year, the beginning of 5774 I watched a life be born. I cut him from his mother and my arms were the second arms this little one was cradled in. That little boy was the first baby I was a doula for and since him I've scheduled four other Mamas. Being by his Mom's side on Rosh Hashanah, holding her hand and comforting her while she brought life into the world was the most precious gift I could've ever received. It was the best and in the end, the only way I was supposed to spend Rosh Hashanah this year. I could've been at shul, and I heard Amichai's service was amazing, but being in that hospital exhausted and at the very end of my rope supporting a Mother in labor; emotionally, physically and mentally was truly magical. It was exactly what I needed to start the year-a reminder that life is always changing, always evolving and that life exists so that we can live it.

It was also confirmation that the choice to be a doula is the right one. The one-on-one support between a doula and a mother, especially a single mother, is so vital and I feel incredibly blessed to be walking down this path.

Monday, September 9, 2013

What Mamas Need After Baby is Born

I attended my first birth last week!
More on that later, but for now this amazing list of what a Mama needs AFTER the birth. She can, of course, call a postpartum doula as well.
Re-posted from Gloria Lemay Birth Blog
After the Birth, what a family needs
Posted on October 28, 2008 by gloria
 “Let me know if I can help you in any way when the baby is born.” … “Just let me know if you need a hand.” … “Anything I can do, just give me a call.”
Most pregnant women get these statements from friends and family but shy away from making requests when they are up to their ears in dirty laundry, unmade beds, dust bunnies and countertops crowded with dirty dishes. The myth of “I’m fine, I’m doing great, new motherhood is wonderful, I can cope and my husband is the Rock of Gibraltar” is pervasive in postpartum land. If you’re too shy to ask for help and make straight requests of people, I suggest sending the following list out to your friends and family. These are the things I have found to be missing in every house with a new baby. It’s actually easy and fun for outsiders to remedy these problems for the new parents but there seems to be a lot of confusion about what’s wanted and needed…
1. Buy us toilet paper, milk and beautiful whole grain bread.
2. Buy us a new garbage can with a swing top lid and 6 pairs of black cotton underpants (women’s size____).
3. Make us a big supper salad with feta cheese, black Kalamata olives, toasted almonds, organic green crispy things and a nice homemade dressing on the side. Drop it off and leave right away. Or, buy us frozen lasagna, garlic bread, a bag of salad, a big jug of juice, and maybe some cookies to have for dessert. Drop it off and leave right away.
4. Come over about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then fold all the piles of laundry that have been dumped on the couch, beds or in the room corners. If there’s no laundry to fold yet, do some.
5. Come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Don’t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment.
6. Put a sign on my door saying “Dear Friends and Family, Mom and baby need extra rest right now. Please come back in 7 days but phone first. All donations of casserole dinners would be most welcome. Thank you for caring about this family.”
7. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum and dust my house and then leave quietly. It’s tiring for me to chat and have tea with visitors but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to clean, organized space.
8. Take my older kids for a really fun-filled afternoon to a park, zoo or Science World and feed them healthy food.
9. Come over and give my husband a two hour break so he can go to a coffee shop, pub, hockey rink or some other r & r that will delight him. Fold more laundry.
10. Make me a giant pot of vegetable soup and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house and reline with fresh bags.
These are the kindnesses that new families remember and appreciate forever. It’s easy to spend money on gifts but the things that really make a difference are the services for the body and soul described above. Most of your friends and family members don’t know what they can do that won’t be an intrusion. They also can’t devote 40 hours to supporting you but they would be thrilled to devote 4 hours. If you let 10 people help you out for 4 hours, you will have the 40 hours of rested, adult support you really need with a newborn in the house. There’s magic in the little prayer “I need help.”
First posted online August 2001

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Swollen Feet

This morning one of my Mamas wrote a FB airing her 8 months of pregnancy grievances. Hot NYC weather, inability to roll over in bed or touch her toes which have swollen into little vienna sausages. Inspired by her, I've put together the following informational sheet about swollen feet and natural remedies. I've also been inspired to create either a foot soak or a foot massage oil for my Etsy shop. Stay tuned!

Kavanah Doula-Tips for Managing Swollen Feet

What causes swelling in pregnancy?
Swelling (oedema) is triggered by increased pressure in the veins of your legs, and by pressure from your growing baby on the big veins in your groin. Water retention adds to the problem.

Swelling is common. About half of all pregnant women experience swelling around their ankles, particularly in the last few months of pregnancy. You may find your fingers, face and lower back become swollen too.

The swelling in your legs usually gets worse as the day progresses, especially if you are on your feet a lot. Gravity makes the fluid build at the lowest point. Hot weather and being tired can also make swelling worse. You'll probably have oedema in your feet and ankles, and in both legs.

Call your doctor or midwife if the swelling:
Moves up your calf and leaves an indentation when pressed, or is sudden or severe in your face, hands or feet. If this happens in your third trimester, it could mean that you have pre-eclampsia.
Occurs only in one leg, particularly if your calf is red, tender and lumpy. These can be symptoms of a blood clot in your vein (thrombosis).

If your wrists and hand are swollen, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, which is when the swelling compresses the channel of nerves running up your arm.

Your swelling is likely to become temporarily worse in the first three or four days after your baby's birth.

As your body recovers after birth, all the extra tissue, blood vessels and fluid needed during pregnancy now need to be dissolved and expelled. This makes you pee a lot more, though your kidneys won't yet be able to cope with the extra fluid. Some of the fluid will build up in the tissues around your body until it can be passed out of your body.

How can I prevent swelling?
It may not be possible to prevent some swelling from developing. But you can prevent it from becoming severe. Severe swelling can make your legs painful and your skin tender.

Try to eat a balanced diet so that you put on a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy. Your diet should include a small amount of lean protein such as meat, poultry, eggs, beans and pulses, with each meal.

Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Aim to reduce how much salt, sugar and fat you have and drink plenty of water to help your kidneys to filter the excess fluid.

Some foods may help to maintain good kidney function and make you pee more (natural diuretics). These include celery, watercress, parsley (in small amounts), apples and citrus fruits. Onions and garlic may help to improve your circulation.

Try to avoid eating pre-packaged, highly processed foods that contain both salt and other additives, as these can make fluid retention worse. Opt for foods which are naturally rich in vitamins C and E.

Good sources of vitamin C include:
Citrus fruits
Dark leafy greens (Kale, Collards, Spinach)
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts
Kiwi fruit
Bell Peppers

Foods rich in vitamin E include:
Sunflower seeds
Cashews and almonds
Leafy Greens-kale, spinach, mustard greens
Swiss Chard
Olive Oil
Bell Peppers

Smoking may contribute to your swelling, which is another good reason to quit during pregnancy.

What tips can I try to ease swelling?

Rest as much as possible, putting your feet up above your hips by resting them on a stool. Try not to cross your legs, as this restricts your blood flow. Sit down when you can, and if your work involves standing for long periods of time, move about from one foot to the other to increase blood flow.

Ask your partner to massage your feet and legs gently, using both hands and working upwards from feet to knees, using a base oil such as grapeseed. However, if your legs are excessively swollen and the skin is very tight, this may be too painful for you.

Dandelion tea, an herbal remedy, may help to prevent fluid retention, but don't take this if you have a gall bladder condition. Always drink herbal teas in moderation during pregnancy.

Which complementary therapies could help?
Acupuncture may help. The theory is that it rebalances your internal energies and aids your circulation and kidney function. Osteopathy and chiropractic treat misalignments in your skeleton, which may be placing stress and tension on specific areas of your body, restricting your blood flow.

Foot massage may help to relieve your swollen ankles, and reflexology may ease swelling and the discomfort it causes. Choose a registered reflexologist who is qualified and insured to treat pregnant women.

Soothing tired, sore, achy feet can easily be relieved by using carefully selected aromatherapy oils in a footbath or as massage oil.

Best of all, these oils will provide you with an instant pick-me-up leaving you feeling invigorated and refreshed. Pure essential oils such as Litsea cubeba and Grapefruit (Citrus paradise) have excellent anti-inflammatory and calming properties and also treat swelling water retention, fatigue and insomnia. In addition, Ginger essential oil acts as a pain, eases aches and cramps also improves circulation. Cypress oil is particularly good for circulation and varicose veins. Lavender and chamomile oil may ease your discomfort and make you feel more relaxed.

Tips to Help Soothe Swollen Feet
There are a number of things that you can do to ease swollen feet during pregnancy and prevent further foot problems and these include:

Take short breaks during the day and elevate your feet to relieve the pressure
Stretch and flex your feet when you are sitting down
Wear shoes that fit properly and avoid wearing high-heeled or tight shoes while you are pregnancy as they will constrict circulation
Exercise regularly to ensure optimum health – practice walking every day
Shop for shoes towards the end of the day as feet tend to swell as the day progresses
Measure your feet often throughout your pregnancy as they will change in size
If you suffer from over-pronation, use custom-made inserts in your shoes
Wear compression hosiery to keep the pressure from fluids down
Wear seamless socks that do not constrict circulation
Eat healthy, well balanced meals and avoid foods high in salt that can cause water retention
Drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated, reduce swelling and improve circulation
Have a relaxing foot massage to soothe swollen feet and stimulate circulation
Soaking your feet in tonic water can help relieve swelling

Water Retention Massage Oil- safe throughout pregnancy to help reduce swelling
2½ tablespoons almond or coconut oil
½ tablespoon jojoba oil
1 Evening Primrose oil capsule (approx. 10 drops)
2 drops tangerine oil
1 drop lemon oil
4 drops cypress oil
4 drops lavender oil
3 drops geranium oil
This can be used throughout the pregnancy.  Just relax on the sofa, with your legs raised on pillows.  Apply this aromatic massage oil to your feet, ankles and legs, massaging toward your heart to help circulation.  (The help of your partner would certainly be appreciated.)

Recipe from Young Living Oil website

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why A Doula?

The following post is from Jodi the Doula, a wise wealth of knowledge.

Many women, I'm finding, fall into three camps: Those who know for sure they want a doula, those who think they want a doula, but are unsure of her role, and those who don't know what a doula is. Because I am a doula, I think that every woman should have a doula at her birth, but also realize that for a variety of reasons this is impossible. So, I seek information about the roles of doulas in births today as well as the role of doulas in birth in the past to help guide my practice and my on-going education as a doula.

I'm happy to report that I've met with my first Mom through ASDS's volunteer program and have a meeting with my second mom later in the month! I've also sold quite a few products over on Etsy for Moms, Moms-to-Be and women interested in natural skin care. 

What ever you chose for your birth, be it a hospital birth, home birth or birth center birth, make sure that you educate yourself about your options so that you can have the best birth possible!

Image from DaisyBones
Doula FAQ
What’s a doula?
What does a doula do?
At what point in my pregnancy should I contact a doula?
I have a great doctor or midwife, and will have a nurse. Do I really need a doula, too?
I am already taking childbirth classes. Why would I need a doula?
I’ve already taken another class. Would you still be my Doula?
Do I need a doula if I already plan to have someone (my mom, my partner, my friend) to be with me during my labor and birth?
I’m not sure that I want a “stranger” in the delivery room with me. Isn’t birth supposed to be private?
I’m not sure yet what choices I’ll make in labor. Do I need a doula if I might have an epidural? What if I have to have a Cesarean birth?
How much does it cost to have a Doula?
Are the costs of your services covered by insurance?

What’s a doula?
The term Doula, originally from the Greek word meaning “Woman’s servant”, is used today to describe a professional who provides women with emotional and physical support during pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period. Doulas are known by many names, including: Childbirth Assistant, Labor Support Professional, Birth Assistant, Birth Companion, etc.

What does a doula do?
A birth doula provides a listening ear for the emotional process of pregnancy, physical comfort suggestions during pregnancy and labor and informational support for both the laboring mom and her partner. The doula is knowledgeable about the entire birth process, possesses skills to help a laboring mom cope with the physical experience and emotions of labor and understands the importance of this event in the life of the couple. The doula will provide support for mom and baby by helping mom formulate questions, gather information, and discuss the options available with the medical staff. The doula will not perform clinical tasks, and will never make decisions on behalf of a woman. A Doula will always respect that it is up to the mother to make the informed choice that is best for her. Most importantly, the doula uses her skills to complement those of the woman’s partner and medical providers, helping to ensure a satisfying birth memory.

At what point in my pregnancy should I contact a doula?
The earlier the better! Although the benefits of having a doula for your birth will be the same whether you contact her at 12 weeks or at 35 weeks, the difference in finding your doula early in pregnancy is that you’ll have someone you know that you can call on with those “Is this normal?” or “What does this mean?” sort of phone calls throughout your pregnancy. As well, the longer you have known your doula, the more of a relationship you will build. Furthermore, I tend to book up very quickly, so it is a good idea to contact us soon, so that I can be sure to be available for you. With that said, there is no such thing as “too late” to find a Doula. You will benefit from Doula support, whether you have known your Doula for months, or merely days.

I have a great doctor or midwife, and will have a nurse. Do I really need a Doula, too?
Doulas, doctors, midwives, and nurses all take on separate and unique roles in supporting birth. Each one is important part of the birth team, and all work together to help the laboring woman have a healthy and positive experience. The nurse is responsible for charting, monitoring, and reporting to the doctor or midwife, sometimes for several patients at once. Physicians and midwives are highly trained as medical experts, and are responsible for monitoring the safety of the mother and baby during labor and delivery. A Doula remains a constant presence throughout labor, focusing entirely on providing comfort for the laboring mom and her partner. A Doula’s job is not to replace any part of the medical team, but to complement their roles by providing constant support and information to the mom and her partner.

I am already taking childbirth classes. Why would I need a doula?
Doulas are intended to enhance – not replace – the services of your childbirth instructor. Your doula will be with you to remind you at appropriate times during labor of the things you have already learned in childbirth class.

I’ve already taken another class. Would you still be my Doula?Gladly! I have a strong understanding of many different childbirth class philosophies, and can work comfortably with any laboring woman.
Do I need a Doula if I already have someone (my mom, my partner, my friend) to be with me during my labor and birth?
It is certainly wonderful for a laboring woman to have the presence of others who love her. A doula will enhance the support that others will provide, without being intrusive. Often, your doula has a level of knowledge and experience that your partner may not. Additionally, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and dear friends each have their own emotional response to seeing the woman they love experience labor, and to welcoming this new child into their lives. A Doula will respect that this is a special moment for each person, and will gently provide encouragement, information and reassurance that will help a woman’s loved ones offer their support in a way that also respects the laboring woman’s needs.

I’m not sure that I want a “stranger” in the delivery room with me. Isn’t birth supposed to be private?
Birth is an intimate experience, and the doula is a professional who will respect your wishes regarding privacy and modesty. Many women and their partners report feeling more secure due to the presence of a doula.

I’m not sure yet what choices I’ll make in labor. Do I need a doula if I might have an epidural? What if I have to have a Cesarean birth? 
A doula’s goal is to help you have the best birth experience possible, however you define it. If using pain medication is an option you are considering during labor, your doula will help you make an informed choice about what’s best for you and your baby in the moment. Your Doula will support you and your partner in the early stages of labor before an epidural can be considered, continue to provide support in whatever way is needed throughout labor, and help you avoid further intervention.If your caregiver suggests a cesarean, your doula will help you be as informed as possible about the surgery and the post-partum recovery. your doula will guide you in asking questions that will help you gather necessary information about the reasons your caregiver recommends a cesarean, the risks and benefits relative to your particular situation, and any alternatives you may have. In this case, you will likely make an informed decision and will therefore be more satisfied with a surgical outcome.She will also help to reinforce that even though a cesarean may not have been your goal, you are still giving birth. She will celebrate with you, and facilitate closeness between the new family.
How much does it cost to have a Doula?
This varies somewhat, based upon the services you desire and the going rate in your location. An average birth Doula services package begins at $800 to $1,000. However, I believe in “A Doula for every woman who wants one”, and when possible I am willing to set up a sliding scale or payment plans for those with whom affordability is a concern, or will help you in finding another professional who can serve your birth. Finances should never be the deciding factor in the choice to hire a Doula.

Are the costs of your services covered by insurance?
As more woman are choosing doulas as part of the birth team, and more research is being done proving the benefits of Doula care, more insurance companies are covering the cost of Doula service. Many insurance providers also cover the cost of childbirth classes, whether those classes are private or in-hospital. All receipts and information you need for filing for insurance reimbursement will gladly be provided.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Three New Articles on Adverse Effects of Pitocin

The past few days there have been a total of three articles about the dangers of a common occurrence in American births-augmentation.

Augmentation can happy for a variety of reasons, both medically "warranted" and for the sake of convenience for either a busy doctor or mother. Augmentation is usually done by administering pitocin, a synthetic form of naturally occurring oxytocin, through an IV. While pitocin usually has the same effects of oxytocin (uterine contractions) there are certain other risks. The pitocin can sometimes cause fetal distress because the contractions come on stronger, more closely together and for longer periods of time than naturally produced oxytocin. And, as some of the studies have seemed to find, pitocin may be linked to Autism.

One of the most lasting impressions of The Business of Being Born was when one of the doctors said just this. Pitocin is a rather new drug with, until now, not much research into the long-term effects of its use. Am I against inductions? Do I think that mothers are "bad" for having their labors induced? Do I think that mothers who have inductions are some how putting their children in harm's way? No. What I am saying is that we as women have to remember our voices.

Throughout history our voice has tried to be stifled and throughout history we make it heard. Educate yourself on the procedures that are often suggested or offered as normal and regular and ask questions.
Why do we need to do this procedure?
    What will happen if we don't?
        Is that bad?
            Why is it bad?
                What are the alternatives to this procedure?

In terms of speeding along labor or inducing labor there are natural alternatives. Raspberry leaf tea and Thyme tea will both bring on contractions. Clary Sage, an active ingredient in my Birthing Sprays, is also thought to bring on contractions. Walking or other types of exercise can bring on contractions as well as boy-girl sex (chemical reaction of the sperm) as well as any sexual activity that brings orgasm. Nipple stimulation can also help bring on contractions.

I'm linking the articles below not to shake a finger, but so that we read, learn and research our options and alternatives.

From the American Congress of OBGs: New Study Finds Adverse Effects of Pitocin in Newborns
From the BBC News Induced Labor Linked to Autism
From MedPage Today Induced Labor Linked to Higher Autism Rate

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Breastfeeding Chronicles: I Used Donor Milk To Help Feed My Twins (CP)

One of the beautiful things about being a doula is supporting women and their choices for there pregnancy, birth and postpartum time. We also educate, but we don't pressure or try to sway a woman in either direction or another, rather we can present multiple options and allow the mother to decide.

There is a spirited debate about bottle feeding vs. breastfeeding and I have my own opinions, to be sure. I've spoken to several friends who expressed their desire to nurse there children, but for a variety of reasons were unable to. I've spoken to other friends who didn't think they'd enjoy breastfeeding, but now love it and hope to do it for as long as possible.

The concept of a wetnurse isn't new and it's not something that only the wealthy or aristocratic people do, it's actually more common that we'd like to think. I, for one, think if you've got it, why not give it?

Below is a story of a mother who wanted to nurse hear children and her journey to getting them yummy and nutritionally-dense good, old-fashioned mama milk.
Breastfeeding her twins -- a boy and a girl, born two weeks early -- mattered very much to Melissa, 38, a special education teacher from North Carolina. But when they quickly started losing weight, she and her husband were forced to turn to options like donor milk and a supplemental nursing system to make it happen. As part of our series on what it's really like for new moms to breastfeed, Melissa talks about how it feels to rely on donor milk, and how dramatically nursing can vary from child to child.The BirthThe twins came two weeks early, so they actually made it a long time for twins. I didn't want a cesarean section, but at 38 weeks, my doctor was really insistent that I needed one. It was the end of June, and I was so swollen. I had so much water retention, I ended up needing carpal tunnel surgery to reduce the pressure in my hands, and my doctors were worried about permanent nerve damage. They thought that maybe I could deliver my daughter vaginally, but I'd need a C-section for my boy. I didn't want to do both, so we went with the C-section.
The nurses at the hospital were fabulous. As soon as the babies were born and cleaned up, we tried nursing. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I didn't know what to expect. I knew there was a learning curve, but it hurt, and there I was in the hospital, watching their weight drop. The doctor said that we had to start supplementing, because their weights were getting really low. He said we could do formula or donor milk. We were really fortunate that there was a milk bank right there in the hospital.
Going DonorI had heard about donor milk before, but I had a lot of questions about how it works and where the milk comes from. Ultimately though, breastfeeding was so important to me. Selfishly, there were health reasons -- there's breast cancer in my family, and I know breastfeeding can help reduce the risk. Plus, I wanted the twins to have the health benefits of breast milk, so at the end of the day, that's what we went with.
It's amazingly expensive, probably $4 to $5 an ounce. It was a lot of money, but we knew it wasn't going to go on forever, and knew that we really wanted to provide our babies with breast milk. We probably used donor milk for almost two months. I haven't calculated what it was total ... but it was a lot.
The fact that it came from other women was a total non-issue for me. If anything, it seemed like such an amazing gift for these women to be able to provide milk to babies who need it. And we knew it had been screened and tested.
Read the rest of this article on Huffington Post 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Truth About Baby Oil and Vaseline-Looking for a Few Good Babes

Ah, Johnson's Baby Oil. It's iconic script and scent are what memories are made of. I remember when my nephew, Shane, was born. His skin had the distinct smell of baby oil and the silky softness, no doubt from the baby oil his Mama and my mother who often watched him applied to his wiggly body after a bath. Johnson's baby powder along with a good schmear of Vaseline was the routine of my aunt and my mother. No doubt, what her mother has done and her mother before her. It's what we always do and like many things we used to do, it turns out it's not so great for us.
Let's start with Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder. The ingredients seem simple and straight forward: Talc and Fragrance.The fragrance is made with almost 100 different chemicals which often include phthalates, a human carcinogen that may adversely affect human reproduction and development.

Next up, Talc. According to the American Cancer Society Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up of mainly the elements of magnesium, silicon and oxygen....In it's natural form, some talc may contain asbestos, a substance known to cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled.

Next up? Baby Oil and Vaseline

Baby Oil: again the ingredients are seemingly simple; Mineral Oil and Fragrance.
Mineral Oil -Most often, mineral oil is a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum-based products from crude oil.

And Petroleum Jelly is simply Petroleum Jelly.

Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of oil drilling, and when you spread it on your lips, you end up eating it, which is essentially the same as drinking gasoline. Add up the amount of lip-gloss the average woman uses (and consumes) over a decade, and it equals 7 pounds. The European Union has banned many petroleum jelly products, and experts are concerned they could be linked to cancer. Women with breast cancer have twice the levels of hydrocarbons (substances found in petroleum jelly) in their breasts than women who haven’t had breast cancer. Steer clear of any products that list petroleum jelly or mineral oil on the ingredient list.     ~~~Dr. Oz 
 Crazy, huh?

As my partner and I plan and prepare for our own TTC journey in the winter I've been doing some digging into the major products that usually find their way onto baby shower registries and in the rooms of babes to see what's out there and try to figure out what I can do to make our house safer.

It's honestly how I started creating the products I already make-find ways to make the stuff that we normally reach for without parabens, artificial fragrances and synthetic ingredients.

I'm partnering with a friend to create some salves and have been researching petroleum jelly alternatives and baby powder alternatives that are made with everyday, natural ingredients-that work just as well.

Of course there are a lot of amazing products out there, with ingredients that you can read and understand.
Check out this blog entry for a list of ingredients another blogger found for her and her family. It also has a simple recipe for petroleum-jelly-free vaseline.

I'll be cooking up some more products in my kitchen and can't wait to share them with you! Until then, check out my Etsy store for a wonderfully lush belly butter made with coconut oil and shea butter for growing bellies, massage oils made with jojoba oil as a baby oil alternative and my birthing room sprays.

I'm looking for a few Mamas with babies in diapers to try these new products in September. The products will be made with all natural and organic materials, I'll send you small samples of each-baby oil, baby powder and a vaseline alternatives approximately 1 oz. I'm asking that you send me the flat rate USPS shipping cost of $5.70 and follow up with a quick questionnaire after you've used the products for two weeks. If you're interested in trying out any of these products, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Why I Am a Doula

This weekend I attended a Volunteer Doula Workshop at the organization I got my certification, Ancient Song Doula Service (ASDS). While there ASDS founder, Chanel, explained why she chose the name Ancient Song for her practice-it happened while she was giving birth to her first child. She said that others in the room with her, namely her husband, said that she sang an Ancient Song in a voice and melody she doesn't remember and hasn't sung since, though she's birthed 3 other children. Chanel said that she named her collective Ancient Song because she recognized that all women sing an Ancient, sometimes primal song when they deliver their babies. These songs can be high-pitched voices that vibrate through open mouths or low rumbling sounds deep in the back of the throat. They can be a whimper a groan or a sigh, but they make the beautiful music that is birthing.

Television would have you think otherwise, it would have you believe that all laboring women scream like crazy women possessed when they deliver their children, and many women do, indeed, sing a screaming song. It should be realized, though, that birth need not be a paniced, frantic, scary experience and that birth is a natural process that female bodies are built to experience.

I'm currently reading Natural Pregnancy and the opening chapter discusses how we can become more familiar or be reintroduced to our bodies by listening to it. Do we reach for a pain reliever when we have a headache to get rid of the pain or do we examine ways in which we're experiencing the headache-not enough water or food, a stressful work situation, noises or smells. Like a headache, we've been taught that the sensations (okay pains) of child birth should be medicated away when the medical establishment should educate women (or we should educate ourselves) about the meaning behind the sensations of childbirth. A cervix opening is a sensation we don't feel until childbirth. The contractions of the uterus, the low pains in our backs during labor are all the body's way of birthing a child.

At the Volunteer Workshop we learned about the population of Ancient Song-women of a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds both documented and undocumented people all in need of one thing; women supporting and affirming their childbirth choices.

When I left the training I was vibrating with energy- I had a better understanding of why I wanted to be a doula, to help women experience their births.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Products!

Massage Oil and Belly Butter
I'm so excited about my new butters! In fact, I've already shipped two orders to moms in Florida and Ohio and am making some for co-workers this week.

The next products I'm working on are for babes-natural Baby Oil and Baby Powder to get away from the regular petroleum and talc products out there.

Stay tuned!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Price of a Doula

The other day one of my favorite writers, Avital Nethman of The Mamafesto retweeted the following that I tweeted out:Are you pregnant? Do you need a doula? Want one for FREE!? Help me finish my certification! DM me at 

Another doula and I had an enlightening conversation about the important work that doulas do and how we should value our work by putting a price tag on it. I agreed with what she was saying, heard her voice and her decade's long experience and stubbornly held my ground.

Working as a free doula while I finish my certification, I argued, was a mitzvah, a commandment. It feels like doing the very core of the Jewish concept of tzedakah, righteous giving. She reminded me that the work of women is not only sacred, but important and in the end we agreed that we saw eye-to-eye, but in our own ways.

Jodi the Doula and her very popular blog post "No Free Births" passionately discussed why she feels that doulas should always charge, or barter, their services and she's recently followed up that post with this one, A Doula for Everybody

A few months ago, I wrote a  post called No Free Births!  It was aimed at birthworkers who hope to build a successful private practice by giving their work away. It sat quietly in its own little corner of the blogosphere, minding its own business, until a few days ago. Then… KA-BLAM!  Suddenly, it has had more attention than anything else I’ve ever written.
The responses have ranged from “Right on! Sing it!” to “This heartless woman shouldn’t be a doula!” The question that has come up most often has been, “But what about the mama who needs a doula and can’t afford one?”  Women who become doulas choose this path because, at the heart of who we are, we are compassionate, kind, and often generous people who really just want to help others. That’s exactly as it should be… if we aren’t in this work as an act of service, there really isn’t much point.
First, a word of caution: beware the person who is looking for “something for nothing”. Marketing research has shown repeatedly that the people who ask for discounts are more often able to afford whatever it is they are looking for… they are simply financially savvy enough to seek out “the best deal possible”.  Over the years, discernment has taught me the difference between someone desiring my service because we’re a good fit, and the person seeking me out because I’m the cheapest one they’ve spoken to. (The new cars and the boat in the driveway were a good tip-off…)  There is a significant difference between wanting to help others who would not otherwise have support, and giving away one’s work until the magical “someday when I start charging what I’m worth.” So, what do we, as compassionate people who also value ourselves and our work, do to provide labor support for others when fee is a genuine issue?
It helps to break down the numbers, to recognize exactly what it is we are investing into a free birth. Most doulas incur expenses for every birth we attend. In addition to training and certification, we have expenses for transportation, childcare, meals, internet for email access, cell phones for being on-call, and hospital parking, just to name a few. On average, I have a minimum of $165 in costs per birth, and that’s before I pay taxes on any income I may have. “I’ll do it for free”, when looked at this way, actually becomes “I’ll pay you to let me attend your birth.”  When we’re attending births in this way, it becomes an expensive hobby more than a profession. Most doulas simply do not have the means to work in this way long-term. So, what is a doula to do?
1) Volunteer for a Non-Profit organization.  Many such organizations already exist – a simple web search for “non-profit labor support” and the name of your state may turn up several results. The non-profits that exist in the area in which I live also act as a referral service for their doulas who volunteer, so that those who can afford doula care are more easily able to find the doulas who serve in their area. Non-profits have standards to determine who qualifies for care, and are able to not only provide labor support, but parenting guidance and health education to mamas in need. Through doulas volunteering for small and specific amounts of time, far more women are able to receive help than would be served by one doula alone. The same 40 hours you would contribute to one mama might instead help many! Not a non-profit in your area? Maybe it’s time to consider starting one. Non-profits generate income through grants and donations from outside sources, so that those running the show are able to receive income for the work that they do. Businesses are far more eager to donate time, money, and services to non-profit organizations, because they also benefit from the tax deduction.

Read the rest of the blog post here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Birth from the People Behind Food Matters

I love absolutely everything about this birth story.  I love it so much I'm going to stop blabbing and just cross post it.

From the Food Matters Blog:
By James Colquhoun, Filmmaker Food Matters &Hungry For Change

For those following us on online and onFacebook (nearly 300k, thank you!!!) you might have seen Laurentine's pregnant belly over the past few months. Well we recently had our baby and we wanted to share our unique story with you. I think you'll find it interesting commentary on birth and the beginnings of life as a human.

I call this an unusual story because it is not the typical hospital style birth that dominates our culture. 

Ever since Laurentine and I first met at college at 1999 (yes we're college sweethearts!) we would joke about starting a family and having lots of kids running around. We did however feel deep down inside that there was some important work calling us before we did so which is indeed what happened.

That work was to become the FOOD MATTERS film which helped heal my father from chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and anxiety plus free him from the pharmaceutical drug bandwagon. Then more recently HUNGRY FOR CHANGE which chronicled our experience with helping my father keep his weight off and covers many of the challenges that most people face when trying detoxes and fad diets. This has cemented our belief in the innate healing capacity of the human body and has influenced our opinions on health, life and birth in a deep and lasting way.

The Mind and The Body Need To Be Ready For Conception
Late last year we knew it was time for us to start a family so we prepared our bodies (both of us, you can't get away with this guys!) most importantly focusing on detoxification and rejuvenating our bodies plus balancing our hormones (testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen in particular). We first tried to conceive in Amsterdam when we were there on a 6 week trip writing the Hungry For Change book and visiting Laurentine's European family. Even though we had our bodies in order it didn't happen right away.

After we returned to the US and settled into our new home in Santa Monica Laurentine and I felt that much more 'nested' and conception happened immediately. There was obviously a part of us that needed to feel like we were home (or had a home base) before her body wished to conceive. I have no scientific data on this but can imagine that you might understand why this could be so.

"We had our inner biological terrain ready but we needed to have our mind's dialed in."

During the gestation period we were eating well and supporting the baby's development as best we knew how (there is a lot of info on this which we can save for another time). In preparation for the birth we consulted many of the experts from the films plus other leading experts and we developed some interesting rituals to help welcome this baby into the world. One of the more interesting ones we loved was making baby feel welcomed, expected and accepted.

You Are Welcomed, You Are Loved, You Are Accepted!
We would say this on a daily basis to baby as we knew this was important in making baby feel welcomed and loved, to develop a strong connection to our voices (which they can connect with from the 3rd  trimester onwards) and to aid in a speedy postpartum connection. This work is backed by Bruce Lipton (author of Biology Of Belief) and helps connect with the baby's subconscious mind in early life.

As for the actual birth and labour process Laurentine and I held the very strong belief that...

Birth Is A Natural Process And Not A Medical Emergency
We of course appreciate that there is no place like a hospital when the safety of mom and baby is compromised and you need emergency critical care however we believed that everything should be allowed to progress as naturally as possible for as long as possible before any intervention (if at all).

Read the rest of this amazing story here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Article About the Cost of Birth in the U.S

Image from
This is the third article this month that talks about the high cost of giving birth in the United States. As I've said before, there are many reasons that women birth in hospitals; familiarity, a sense of safety and more. It should also be noted that, and I'm quoting Ina May Gaskin and a number of birth advocates, birth is not a medical procedure. Sure a c-section is medical, but the natural process of giving birth is quite natural and happens just fine when left alone.

I'm a woman with multiple fibroids in my uterus. Did I mention I'm want to start trying to get pregnant in the fall? I'm well aware that because of my fibroids some midwives and birthing centers will automatically make my pregnancy and me "high risk" which basically means that I might not find a midwife willing to let me give birth at home and the only freestanding birthing center in NYC may not accept me...which means that I may be a woman who births in a hospital.

It happens to even the most determined woman.

But you know what:? It's okay. When we, as women, are knowledgeable about our rights, knowledgeable about hospital norms and express those wants and desires through our partners, doulas, and doctors that listen it's still possible to have a natural birth in the hospital.

Of course, hospitals work on schedules and the odds are stacked against you: You may be hooked up to an IV and unable to move around; You may have to labor and give birth on your back (gravity doesn't work that way!); You may only be able to labor for a set amount of time before they try to induce which may lead to a c-section; They may automatically give you a dose of pitocin (that IV is handy, eh?) to help birth the placenta (the placenta usually will birth itself if the baby is sucking at the breast-oxytocin!); They may cut the cord before it's done pulsing; They may wash the baby; They may not put him directly on you...the list goes on and on. But if you know your rights and the hospital's practice (none of these things are necessary and you can decline all of them) you have just as easy a shot (and a cheaper bill) than if you aren't aware.

My point? Educate yourself. Your doctor isn't smarter or more in tune to your body, because it's your body.

"Newer equals improvement" and "More is better than less" have long been effective marketing themes in American culture. But the problem is that in the case of medical technology, the results don't consistently bear that out.

While other countries have set up elaborate systems to assess new medical interventions for their cost effectiveness compared to existing practices before approving them, until recently that has not been a priority in U.S. medical care. The result is that public infatuation with newer technologies merges smoothly with the medical industry's desire to profit from providing more services.
A prime example of this problem is the failure to take advantage of midwife-led birthing centers. These have been found in the U.S. and overseas to be a safe andcost effective alternative to universal reliance on large hospitals. Freestanding birthing centers (as opposed to hospitals which refer to their maternity ward as a "birthing center") are usually directed by midwives and are affiliated with hospitals that serve as a referral site for transfers. The cost savings stem from less reliance on expensive medications and technologies, a shorter stay (mothers typically return home within 24 hours) and lower personnel costs.
While the numbers of birthing centers have increased in the last decade, less than 1 in 300 U.S. births occur in a center. How come?.... The U.S. needs to seriously rethink how we approach maternity care. The first question that needs to be addressed is: Do more tests and reliance on the biggest, most expensive hospital settings actually improve the health of mothers and babies? When they do, great. But when they don't, we need to overcome the financial, institutional and cultural barriers to use reasonable options like birthing centers.Medical technology has done wonders for our lives, especially in select, high-risk cases. But rising maternity care costs reflects the downside of our societal obsession with newer, bigger and shinier technology.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kavanah Doula Room Sprays

 Last night I blended 100% pure essential oils with distilled water to create two, individualized scents for a friend and expectant Mama in Maryland. This Mama wanted Kavanah, the lavender-based scent and Pick Me Up which is citrus-based.
 I pulled out our old type writer to make the labels. I like the old-fashioned feel of a typed letter. I'll be honest-it took a lot of playing around to get the labels to line up perfectly, which I sort of liked. Like making these blends, recipes I borrowed and slightly adapted from an essential oil workshop I took this spring, working the machine is all about intention, kavanah. I knew I was sending them out to a friend, a woman who would be giving birth for the first time, so I wanted to make sure that I stayed focused on the task, enjoyed myself and didn't dwell on the frustrations of an old and clunky machine.
Because I make each scent to order, and essential oils tend to change over time, I only used my recipes as a guide. I mixed and sprayed and mixed again until I was happy with the scent. I then went to our garden and plucked some fresh lavender and sage and tied it all together with kitchen string. I finished it all up with a little note of thanks and it's going to ship out tomorrow!

I currently have three scents for the birthing process; Kavanah, Pick Me Up and Root Down, but I'm working on two more this weekend. Using the workshop notes as a guide and an essential oil encyclopedia I hope to debut the two new room sprays in August.

Kavanah: The essential oils in this blend can allow focus and relaxation during labor. Ingredients: Distilled water, Lavendar, Clary Sage*, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Orange**
Pick Me Up: The essential oils in this blend can be invigorating and uplifting, great for a boost during labor. Ingredients: Distilled Water, Orange, Grapefruit***, Frankincense
Root Down: The essential oils in this are very grounding, thiscan be a great post-labor blend. Ingredients: Distilled Water, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Cedarwood, Frankincense

*Clary sage is thought to help induce labor. For this reason, Kavanah should be used during active labor.
For non-pregnant women, Clary sage is thought to relieve pre-menstrual symptoms.
**& *** Caution should be taken with Citrus-based essential oils. When used liberally, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun

Please note that my essential oil sprays and massage oils are very diluted (100drops max to 2 oz water) and shouldn't cause problems when used, but please talk to your provider.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How Being a Midwife Made Me a Better Doctor-{Cross Post}

I think that sometimes, it's like birth workers are on one side or another: medical hospital birth with an OB vs. unmedicated birthing center or home birth with a midwife. Unfortunately, the lines are quite clear and when you "pick a side" you don't often get to switch-especially if you're in labor.

Of course, a mother who is at a home birth can transfer to a hospital, but I've not heard of a mother laboring in the hospital transferring to a home birth. There are, of course, some hospitals that think well of laboring mothers and have a good understanding of the birthing process. In these hospitals women are able to eat food, move around and birth in a way that is comfortable and natural. More often than not, though, women who birth in hospitals are offered (and sometimes not) interventions like pitocin or an epidural that can sometimes slow the natural rhythms of birth.

I don't believe that these doctors are purposefully trying to interfere with the natural process of birth (which does take some time!), I think there are a lot of factors contributing to the rise of interventions and subsequent unscheduled c-sections and they're not to do with the mother, in my opinion.

Doctors and hospitals are over booked and L&D rooms are a hot commodity. When you've got a large city with a lot of women in labor, there simply isn't time to let a mother labor for 24, 36 or 48 hours. Another factor is that some doctors have never experienced an un-medicated natural birth. This is something that Ina May Gaskin talks about in her books and lectures a lot and was a snip-it in the documentary The Business of Being Born.

In my opinion medical schools and the training are the culprit. Imagine of all medical students did what Dr.Aviv Romm did? What if all OBs trained as midwives? Can you imagine how differently birth would look in our country?

I have many professional titles and roles: physician, midwife, herbalist, author, teacher. Of these, being a midwife most informs and enhances all of what I do and who I am.
Midwife literally means “with woman.” But it also means, “to bring forth.” Midwives listen, coach, cheerlead, care, reassure, support, and speak truth. At my best, I am a midwife in all contexts – not just to the women I serve, but to my partner, my children, my friends, my patients. At my best I bring forth their best – their strength, confidence, and belief that they can do it. And as a midwife I am able to be patient about whether this happens quietly or with loud screaming! At my best I am deeply present and listen closely to what the people in my life are telling me. And I listen to the unsaid, as well.
When I graduated from medical school at Yale I was given an award as the most promising primary care physician in my state for that year. This was not a result of what I learned during my medical education. Being a midwife for 20 plus years prior to medical training imbued in me the art of caring that should accompany doctoring but too often doesnt. As a physician I care for my patients with the compassion, deep presence, and heart of a midwife, whether they are giving birth or being treated for pneumonia, whether they are trying to nurse their newborn for the first time, or have suffered a stroke, leukemia, or are in their last days of their life. And because the demonstration of presence and compassion is more rare than common amongst physicians, it was noticed.
It is my understanding and internalization of the midwifery model of care, which places a partnership model and a patient-centered model first and which treats the body as wise and self-healing rather than as a machine that requires repair that makes me the physician I am. It is being a midwife that informs the care in the health care I provide to all of my patients. And it is this true caring that inspires me to do what it best for my patients, and to truly know who they are as people, not diseases.
I not only midwife my patients, but their families at their hospital bedsides and in clinic rooms. I care just as I would for an anxious expectant father or other children at a birth. I bring the whole family in.

Shipment Arrived!

Today I received 12- 4oz amber bottles from Amazon! I'm so excited to start making some massage oils!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Doula As Witness-Cross Post from The Childbirth Collective

by Jess Helle-Morrissey, MA, MSW, LGSW, LCCE, CLEC
Doulas serve a multi-faceted role in a birthing family’s life: supporter, encourager, normalizer, educator, guide. We rub backs, we squeeze hands, we stroke hair, we breathe, we hold space.  We press cool cloths to a birthing woman’s head as she brings her baby (or babies) forth from the warm, wet womb to the bright spinning world.
One role that is often overlooked, but is perhaps most sacred to my own doula heart, is that of witness. As doulas, we witness over and over again that unique and unparalleled moment in a woman’s life when she becomes a mother. Whether it’s a first birth, or a seventh, a mother is born each time she births a baby.
A baby's first breathWhen a woman has a transformative birth experience (and really, what birth isn’t transformative?), she deserves to be fully seen. And that role is often uniquely the doula’s. Partners are witnessing, but they are most often deservedly caught up in their own personal experience of the moment. Midwives, doctors, and nurses are present, but they have medical tasks to attend to. Doulas are able to attend wholeheartedly to that moment.
We witness the joy of birth. We witness mamas finding their true selves for the first time in their lives as they birth their babies. We see the look on a mama’s face when her baby is five minutes old as she tells us, “Everyone said I couldn’t do it, but I knew I could.” We witness the hilarity of birth – I’ll never forget one mama who turned to me after birthing her twins and exclaimed, “That was f*cking AWESOME!” We get to see the way a partner looks at the birthing woman in complete awe as she makes her way through contraction after contraction. We get to see him or her wipe a tear away as this new little person makes that first yawling cry.
We witness the disappointments, too. And when things don’t go as planned, we can remind her that she is strong because we have seen it with our own two eyes, and we have felt it in our own doula souls. And we remember in a way that she might not.
So as witnesses to those moments, we begin to help her reframe:  Last summer, one of my doula mamas had a surgical birth after a long and difficult labor. In a case like this, it is easy to go to a place of dwelling in what went wrong. I go to my postpartum visit. We talk about all that happened, and I validate the disappointment. I sit with the pain.  But I also tell her, because I need her to hear, “I have never seen anyone work so hard for so long. I have never seen anyone fight so hard for what she wanted. You. Are. Amazing.” And she begins to feel it is true because I have seen it and I know it to be true. She knows I was there. She knows I saw her fully. And as I write this, I remember her fierce birthing spirit as if her baby was born yesterday, and I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up a bit. Because I will never forget her strength, and the gift she gave me by allowing me in.
Above all, it is that sheer strength of birthing women – no matter how they give birth – that we doulas are witness to. The strength to carry on when it feels like all the reserves have been depleted. The strength to make a choice to go a different direction than we’d dreamed. The strength to joyfully claim a place in the history and lineage of birthing women.
And the repercussions of that witnessing can last a lifetime. I spent a good part of my own life feeling like I was not a very strong person. When I gave birth to my twin boys, I found strength I never even dared to imagine I had in me. Today, more than two years later, each time I see one of my two wonderful doulas, I still stand a little taller and feel that swell in my heart – “SHE has seen my strength! She knows the amazing things I am capable of!” A bit dramatic? Perhaps. But life-changingly, soul-stirringly profound for this mama? Most definitely.
So when you invite a doula into your life for some portion of the nine months of your pregnancy (and a couple months after), know that the benefits don’t end there. We not only witness, but we also remember. I tell my mamas, “If you ever need to be reminded of how incredible you are, call me and I will tell you as many times as you need to hear it to believe it.” So on behalf of all doulas,  thank you to birthing families everywhere who invite us to witness your incredible journey. Thank you for giving us the best job in the world.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What's in a Doula Fee?-Cross Post from Jodi the Doula

Happy Saturday, Everyone!

Guess what?!

I scheduled my first mama!!!

She's due in December, which feels like a long ways away, but it gives me time to do some re-reading of important doula books, I'll have taken one prenatal Yoga course and my essential oils book will have arrived from which means I'll be able to create more room sprays and massage oils for my mamas. And, and this is the most important, it means that I'll have that much-needed, hands on experience to help my doula practice grow.

When I first started to train to be a doula I worried about fees-would I be charging to much, would I be charging too little, should I charge while I'm still certifying.
My December birth's compensation? A metro card. And I'm okay with that.

The organization that I did my doula training and who I will certify with is called Ancient Song Doula Services (ASDS) and their focus is not only to train women to be birth and postpartum doulas, but to make doulas available to women who wouldn't be able to afford them. I'm a volunteer doula with ASDS, which means that some of the births that come through their practice will be done for free of for a minimal fee. I'm happy to do the work, especially as I continue the certification process, but also when I am certified because I truly believe that every woman, no matter her financial means, should have the support of a doula. It is because of that conviction that I want to do low-cost or free births even after I'm certified.

And, I want to be a full-time, full-spectrum doula. I want to become a certified prenatal Yoga instructor, a lactation consultant and a birth educator. In order to do all of these things, to pay for these certifications I, and a lot of doulas, have to pay for it ourselves. Doulas make their living supporting women through labor and birth. Many doulas, myself included, work full-time to cover the bills, but hope and dream of doing birth work exclusively. Which is why we have fees.

I thought hard about how I would charge my doula fees and came up with fees based on financial means. I created a chart that is broken down by income to determine how I charge my doula fees. It's interesting because it's based on trust. I trust that the mamas who come to me are honest about their financial status and they trust that I will fully and holistically support them before, during and after their births.

I was pleased to see Jodi the Doula's recent blog post about doula fees not because it "proved" anything, but because it helps me better explain and understand what a typical week looks like for a full time doula. The opening paragraph and a link to the post is below.

Every doula has heard it at least once…
“So, if my birth is really fast, you’ll refund part of what I paid you, right? Because then you didn’t really have to work that much.”
“How can you be ok with charging so much?”
Or, my personal favorite, “You know, what you’re doing is an act of service. It’s really special. It’s like doing The Lord’s Work. So, don’t you think it’s wrong to not do it for free?”
The money questions… it’s enough to make any doula want to crawl under a rock, or wish we could go live in a yurt, in a nudist colony, on a self-sustaining  farm, so that our living expenses could be lower.
How a doula sets her fee is an unclear concept to many people who are seeking or offering birth services.  On the surface, it may seem like a doula’s fee is a lot of money for what amounts to one big day of work. I offer this so that new parents and new doulas have greater clarity of what a doula’s fee really includes.
A Typical Work Week:  Booking one “due date” per week is more than just one day a week at work – it’s a full-time workload.  Consider this – for every client I take on, I offer up to three face-to-face prenatal meetings, unlimited phone support throughout pregnancy and the first week postpartum, and an in-home postpartum visit.  This means that an average work week for me will have four to six home visits (about two hours each), six to ten hours of phone time, and eight to twelve hours of travel time. Throw in a couple of hours for recordkeeping, appointment scheduling, text and email support, and the extra hours it takes to call everyone and reschedule when I have a mama in labor. That’s typically a 37 hour work week, before I’ve spent even one minute at a birth. When all is said and done, each client, on average, has had the benefit of 30 to 42 hours of her doula’s time, and most of those hours have been when she hasn’t been in labor.

Keep Reading here.
As always, if you or anyone that you know is expecting a baby, please reach out to me to discuss the services that I offer.
All the best,