This past weekend, I served as wedding coordinator for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  It was my first time performing this role, but it went well! Almost flawless, in fact.  I realized there are many similarities between being a wedding coordinator and being a doula:
As a wedding coordinator, I was the gatekeeper.  It was my job to make sure that the bride was left to enjoy her day.  If there are any questions or problems, I handled them or waited for an appropriate time to ask the Bride, Maid of Honor, or Mother of the Bride.  It’s the same for a doula! It’s your job to to make sure mom is bothered as little as possible.  There are many questions that dad can answer that mom doesn’t need to be disturbed with.  Also, if there is an important question for mom, a doula can make sure that the question is asked in between contractions.
As a wedding coordinator, it was my job to clearly understand the wants and desires of the bride and groom.  I was available for months beforehand to answer questions, and provide example invitations and wedding programs for them to start from.  As a doula, you are a source of information for your clients.  It is your job to provide information and referrals to help your clients have the birth experience that they want! It is also your job to find out what their preferences are, so that you may provide the support that they want for this exciting time.
As a wedding coordinator, I had to realize that plans change.  The schedule we had decided on went awry when the bride felt queasy during what was supposed to be pictures with her bridesmaids.  She even threw up right before she went down the aisle! (No she wasn’t in transition!)  During this time, I knew that she needed her space!  I wanted to be there right next to her, but all she needed was her soon-to-be husband to calm her down.  The wedding started right on time, they took more pictures right before the reception, and they wedding As a doula, I know that birth plans will change! A mom in labor may want to be massaged one minute and may want to not be touched the next minute.  She may want her labor support surrounding her at one time, and then may want only her primary birth partner there the next moment.  A doula should always be sensitive to the needs of her laboring mother, and change her method of support accordingly.
Looking back, the Bride and Groom had a beautiful wedding day. I was so grateful to be a part of it.  I even cried (once).  I look forward to working with doula clients and being a part of their beautiful birthing experiences.  I’m sure I’ll cry at every single birth!

Breastfeeding is one of the many unique abilities women possess (like childbirth!) that often gets classified as something women have to get through, instead of something joyful that they should look forward to! I know it’s one of the aspects of motherhood I’m looking forward to.

A photographer and mother in Utah has started capturing the beauty and normalcy of breastfeeding in a project called At Mother’s Breast.  I could sit here for hours looking at the photos! Captivating.

What I love the most are the pictures of moms breastfeeding toddlers and older children! I hope to breastfeed my children until they want to wean, but most of society isn’t used to that.  Think about it… how often do you see women breastfeeding at all? And in the few occasions I can think of a mom breastfeeding in public, the babies were still babies! I know there are people out there that breastfeed toddlers, and if I were them I wouldn’t do it in public either! Passers-by are too quick to comment about why that’s so bad for the child, how it hinders their independence, and how painful it must be when they bite! Why do people think it’s okay to criticize another’s choices? ::takes deep breath::  I digress.

Enjoy the beautiful breastfeeding pictures.  And don’t let other people tell you how to raise your children :)


Speaking of childbirth education…  The Feminist Breeder is hosting a childbirth educator from each of the following programs:  Lamaze, Bradley, Hypnobabies, and CAPPA on her radio show tomorrow at 11 PM eastern time.  It will be available as a podcast afterwards, so check it out!  Click here to listen or for more info.


Doulas should be available to all mothers, even when they don’t think they can afford one.  There are many knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and trained doulas who would be willing to support you during your birthing time for free!  Check out this link for a list of volunteer doulas, mainly in Florida.  If you know of anyone needing a free doula in South Florida, please contact me! :)


When trying to decide on a childbirth education class or method, it helps to know how it was started!   Check out the stories linked below!  I’ll pass along others as I find them.

Hypnobabies:  www.hypnobabies.com You can read Hypnobabies founder Kerry Tuschhoff’s story here.

Birthing from Within:    www.birthingfromwithin.com This method of childbirth education comes from author Pam England.  She also has an inspirational story.


Babies are EXPENSIVE!! But they don’t have to be!  Here are a few secrets on how to save money during pregnancy and childrearing.

There is so much to read up on! Instead of buying books, borrow them from the library.  You can search the catalog online, place books on hold to pick up.  You can also have books sent from any library in the Broward County system to your local library.  Any books that you find invaluable, you can always buy afterwards.

Borrow items from friends. If you know of any friends, family, church members, etc. who have recently had babies, ask if they have any stuff lying around that you can borrow!  Often time people don’t like to throw things away, but they would rather give them to another person who needs it.  Even if someone is planning to have more children, they may be willing to part with their bassinet if their child has already outgrown it.  Just remember to give it back once you are through!

Shop thrift stores and consignment stores. You can get lots of great items at half of what they cost in stores by shopping used.  Before you go however, check prices of items new in stores to make sure you’re getting a good deal! There are a ton of these around! Check my resource list for ones in Broward County.

I’ve saved the best for last:  Join your local Freecycle yahoo group (http://www.freecycle.org/).  People in your neighborhood who would like to get rid of their stuff post an “offer” on freecycle.  If you are interested, you reply back and go pick it up!  Over the past few years, I’ve picked up a bed frame, maternity clothes, bathroom rugs, a body pillow and given away countless items to others.   There are tons of baby and children’s clothes, toys, and books offered all the time!  I highly recommend using freecycle to people who want to save money by getting free stuff and clearing out clutter in your own home!

When my husband and I got married, I created a budget to make sure our wedding spending didn’t get out of control! I was surprised how well we were able to stick to that budget.  I hope to do the same with baby stuff (when the time comes, of course)!



As I stated in my last post, I recently suffered a miscarriage.  It was probably the most painful loss I’ve experienced thus far in life.  Here’s how it happened.

I had some brown spotting starting on a Monday or Tuesday.  I wasn’t concerned, because I know many women experience spotting sometime during their pregnancies.  However, Thursday morning it turned into bright red spotting.  I called my doctor, and the person on the other line suggested I go to the emergency room.  I knew in my heart that if I was truly having a miscarriage, there is NOTHING anyone can do to stop this from happening.  So I continued on with my day.  I even had a conversation with my baby.  I told him that I would love for him to stick around, but if he didn’t feel up to it, that he could go home.  (For some reason, I just know my baby was a boy!) Early the next morning, the really bad cramps and heavy bleeding came.  I went to get an ultrasound and it turns out that everything had passed on it’s own.  I’m so thankful I didn’t need to have a D&C.

Here’s what surprises me the most about miscarriage:  no one talks about it.  I had a few cousins on my husband’s side go through miscarriages about a year ago.  Were it not for them, I would have been blown away.  After I miscarried, that’s when all the other stories about aunts, grandmothers, and other relatives and friends who miscarried come up.

I’ve been reading blogs on pregnancy and childbirth for about 6 months, and I’ve never seen the subject come up until today.  While searching for something else, I came across this post.  I love how she expresses her feelings, and the happy ending!! I guess pregnant women don’t like to hear stories of loss.  Most people on the pregnancy/childbirth blogs are already past the first trimester and it’s generally not an issue for them anymore.  However, I believe that if 15% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, it should be discussed more!! People need to know that it’s normal, it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong, and you CAN go on to have a healthy baby.


In my doula training we discussed how we should re-name negative terms to make them sound more positive.  This is apparently catching on (see here). One example would be to replace the term “contractions” with “pressure waves” or “rushes”.  The one term replacement that stands out most to me is this one: Instead of “fears”, call them “wonderings”.

Pregnant women have quite a few “wonderings” to deal with, especially as they approach their birthing time.  One of my favorite books on childbirth, Birthing From Within, shares a great way to deal with fears, worries, and other wonderings.  It’s called Effective Worrying.

Whenever you feel yourself dwelling on a fear or worry, answer the following questions:

  1. What would you do if this fear/worry actually happened?
  2. What would your partner do or say?
  3. What would this mean about you as a mother?
  4. How have you faced crisis in the past?
  5. What can you do to prepare for, or prevent what you are worrying about from happening?
  6. If it does happen, how would you handle the situation?

For example, you may be afraid of needing a Cesarean section in labor.  First recognize that if you have a C-section, it does not mean that you have failed at childbirth! It is a wonderful option to have in case of an emergency.  It may helps to look up ways to prevent a Cesarean Birth.

If you are afraid of the pushing phase, check out tips for the second stage of labor (pushing)!  Afraid of tearing? Read about it.  Research perineal massage, or things your care provider can do to help as your baby is crowning.  You may realize that many of the terrible stories you hear are exceptional cases.

One of my biggest fears came true last week.  I was actually 8 weeks pregnant and miscarried.  What helped me get through was knowing so many women who have had miscarriages and gone on to have plenty of healthy babies afterwards!  It also provides me comfort knowing that there is nothing I did to cause that miscarriage.  Because I had thought about this fear beforehand, I feel like I’m much better able to deal with it now!  I will share more feelings about pregnancy loss in another post.  (Speaking of renaming negative pregnancy terms… does anyone have another word for miscarriage?)

Regardless of what your fears/worries/wonderings are, make sure you address them! Bring them up with your care provider, doula, and birth partner.  That’s the only way to make those fears go away.


Click on the top of the page to find childbirth and parenting resources available to South Florida parents! I will be adding more all the time.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Michelle




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