New Services: Preparing for Postpartum Session

The postpartum period can be tricky, often wrought with doubt and uncertainty as parents get to know the personality of their new baby and figure each other out. Lack of sleep makes things even more overwhelming and when both partners are stretched thin and experiencing intense emotions, communication can be a struggle. First time parents may not know what to expect during their immediate postpartum period and families having subsequent babies may feel overwhelmed by the thought of adding another gear to the machine. It’s a lot.

Let’s take a deep breath.

There’s no magic pill or fool proof system to make postpartum perfect. I always say life is like labor, transition is the hardest part. Bringing a new baby into your world is the ultimate transitional phase of life, yet it doesn’t get the focus it deserves. Most would agree that it is incredibly important (or at least very beneficial) to prepare for labor. Culturally, we encourage expectant parents to prepare for childbirth by reading books, studying comfort measures, and learning as much as possible about the process so that they can make educated decisions about their care. We don’t usually recommend that people go into labor blind. At the very least, we hope that expectant parents will take a tour of the hospital, familiarize themselves with their childbirth options, and so on. And yet, most postpartum preparedness is left to baby showers and anecdotal experience from friends and family. I believe firmly that we must prepare for postpartum with the same thoughtfulness and research with which we approach birth.

This is why I’ve created my Preparing for Postpartum sessions. I can’t guarantee that postpartum will necessarily be easy, but it doesn’t have to be completely miserable, either. Creating a plan ahead of time is a great way of getting a jump on potential issues and ensuring that you’re as prepared as possible for any challenges that might arise.

So, what will you get in a Preparing for Postpartum session? For $100, you get 1-2 hour virtual or in person session. I’ll facilitate conversation between you and your partner to ensure that you’re on the same page as you approach your postpartum experience. Preparing for Postpartum sessions are an opportunity for you and your partner to have open conversations about communication, make a sleep plan, nail down logistics about pets, organize meal plans and childcare, and more. We’ll go over your worries and fears and talk through practical approaches to common postpartum problems. You’ll also receive a 15 page Preparing for Postpartum PDF workbook, including pages to help you get your plan down in writing and a handy Postpartum Preparedness Checklist to ensure you’ve got lists of helpers, therapists, lactation consultants, and meal plans all in one easy to find place.

Preparing for Postpartum sessions are a gift to your future self…or a even great baby shower present for those expectant parents you love! Paired with a Birth Brainstorming session or on their own, Preparing for Postpartum is an investment that is sure to help parents approach the newborn phase with confidence, gentleness, and excitement.

Postpartum should be a time of tenderness. What was broken open must be healed. What brought forth new life must be tended to and gently protected. Who you were before this birth is no longer who you are now. It is imperative that you take time to reorient yourself to who you have become after your birth experience: as a woman, as a man, as a family, as a human beings in a state of growth and flux, the exact parents chosen for this particular little soul. 

You can do this.

We can do this, together.

Remember, you’re not alone even if it feels that way. Together we can make a plan to create a truly beautiful postpartum experience.

Birth Stories, Uncategorized

Dear Levi

I’ve been writing this letter in my head for a year. The day you were born, I left the hospital and bought a giant cup of coffee. I didn’t go straight home like I usually do after a birth, but instead I took my coffee for a walk. It was a perfect October morning, golden, crisp, and full of promise. I made my way down the trail holding my coffee close and I passed so many people. There were old ladies power walking and young men out running their miles and it boggled my mind that they were going on with their lives as normal, not knowing that everything was different that day because you were here.

You were born and everything changed.

I watched your mom and dad fight for you through hours and hours of Chopped reruns and even more hours of pushing. I watched them make their way across the bridge that leads from “childless couple” to “parents.” It’s a really long bridge, Levi. It feels like it stretches forever and when you finally see the other side, you realize you’re close, but you’ve still got obstacles to overcome before you’re across. Levi, they overcame so much to bring you here. I hope someday you get the chance to walk over that bridge yourself so you can really understand how much they offered up for you.

I will never forget how long you took to get here. Buddy, you put us through the ringer. Your sweet mama was incredible. I’ve seen a lot of women have babies, but I’ve never seen someone so polite, so thankful, so considerate of everyone around her while she was working her hardest to have a baby. Your dad was precious to her. He was steady and comforting. He never stopped believing in her, not once.

When your mom got especially weary, there was one moment when she doubted herself. She had been pushing for hours, working desperately to bring you into the world, clawing her way across that bridge, and she asked us what she was doing wrong. 

Levi, there may come a day when you feel the same way. There might be a time when you’ll be doing all the right things, but they’re not achieving the effect you’re working toward and you’ll end up feeling discouraged and you’ll start doubting yourself and your abilities. I want you to remember what your dad said to your mom when she was in that place. 

When your mama asked us what she was doing wrong, your father replied,

Nothing. You are perfect.

And he was right. She was, in that broken and beautiful moment, completely perfect. So, when you feel lost and hopeless, I hope you remember the words spoken over your mother and over you in the moments before you were born. I hope you remember the deepest truth of all: that when there’s struggle, radical love is always the answer. Radical love is always the truth.

After your dad spoke those words, your mama mustered her strength. She accepted all of the help and love offered her, dug deep, let go of expectations and control, and delivered you into the world.

I see a lot of babies born, Levi. I don’t usually cry because I’m so busy taking pictures, getting cool cloths, and assuring moms and dads that yes, babies are normally that blue. But I cried when you were born. It might be because you’re my nephew, but I kind of think that it’s because your mom and dad showed me what it looks like to partner together to get over that bridge. Honestly, I’m crying now as I remember it. It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing and I’ll never stop being grateful that I got to be there when you entered this wild world.

Levi, you are a light. You are important, loved, and wanted. You are prayed for and adored. You are here for a reason. My wish for you on your first birthday is that you would be strong like your mama, gentle like your dad, and always remember the power of loving people right where they are. 

Happy birthday, my sweet friend. I’m so glad you’re here.

This letter to one of my doula babies is a little snapshot of my doula heart and mind. It shows how I see my clients, how much I value the privilege of being at their births, and how much I treasure the little moments I get to experience. This letter is shared with permission from my clients who are part of the Bright Birth family and also happen to be members of my actual family. Levi turned one right before Halloween and I’m so grateful to share my experience of his birth.


I’m Not the Doula for You

Okay, maybe I am…but maybe I’m not. And that’s ok!

Choosing a birth support team is a highly personal decision with many factors that come into play. From personal history to religious/cultural beliefs, desires for different types of medical care, and various risk factors in pregnancy, so many things have to be considered when hiring a doula.

Doula support is not one size fits all. What works for one family might not work for another. The communication style and personality of one doula might not gel at all with what you’re going for, but might be the perfect vibe for your best friend.

You are an intricate creation and your approach to childbirth will be as unique and original as you are. To expect any old doula to be “the one” to support you in birth is just silly. So when I say I’m not the doula for you, I very well might not be! And that’s okay. I have happily walked away from plenty of interviews with potential clients feeling completely certain that I was not the doula they were looking for. Maybe they weren’t the clients I was looking for and that’s okay, too!

The beauty of assembling a birth team is that you get to choose people who align with your values, beliefs, goals, and personality. Guys, this is your Marvel moment! You’re Nick Fury assembling a team of Avengers for the monumental job at hand and that’s incredibly cool and exciting, albeit with fewer capes. (Maybe don’t pick me if you don’t get down with superhero references?)

So, how should you discern which doula is the right one for you? There are tons of lists online that offer free access to questions to ask in doula interviews, but here are the things I think are most important:

What are your goals? Maybe you’re attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or you’re a nervous first timer. Perhaps you are dedicated to delivering your baby without interventions or medications. Maybe you want some insight into bringing your faith into your hospital birth experience or you want to have an unassisted home birth. Each and every one of those births requires different styles and levels of support. Each one needs nuanced care that is specifically curated for the unique needs of that particular birth. Don’t hesitate to search for a doula who specializes in the kind of care you’re looking for.

What are your values? Is it important for you to have a doula who shares your faith or belief system? Do you want someone who has an extensive knowledge of the medical system? Is it important for you to have a doula who comes from a similar racial background? Make sure your potential doula has a handle on any customs or concerns you hold dear so that you’re certain you’re all speaking the same language in labor. Having a support person who shares your value system opens up a whole toolbox of ideology, culture, terminology, and context for her to tap into while you’re laboring.

Is this someone you feel connected to? When choosing a doula, you’re inviting someone into one of the most intimate moments of your life. She’s going to see some unmentionables. She’s going to be there when you’re emotionally and physically vulnerable. She’s going to hear you say the things you say when you’re at your absolute limit. She needs to be someone you feel safe and connected to, someone you trust wholeheartedly. Take the time to make sure your doula is someone you can honestly say you connect with and who makes you feel valued and secure.

What are her biases? Pay attention to any biases present. Ask what her birth philosophy is, what core values drive her practice, and what she considers a “successful” birth. You definitely don’t want to hire a “yes man” who tells you what you want to hear, but is driven by motives that contradict the sort of care you want to receive.

So maybe I’m not the doula for you. I am completely cool with that. At the end of the day I want you to have your best birth whether that includes me personally or not. I will never push my services on you. I will never ghost you or guilt you or be purposefully awkward…can’t vouch that I won’t accidentally be awkward, though.

What I will do is refer you to doulas who might be more up your alley. I’ll give you a heads up on what direction to take to achieve the goals you’ve set and I will wish you well. I’ll say a prayer that your birth is beautiful, validating, and precious, that you’re seen and heard by your team, honored by your provider, and adored by your partner. And then I’ll send you on your way to find a doula who will help you make that all happen…because she’s out there and worth finding, even if she’s not me.