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Don’t Let Go

As I am laying in bed next to my 3-year old so that he will fall asleep I cant help but miss the days when he was an infant and wanted to cuddle with me all of the time. I reflect on how my baby boy isn’t a baby anymore and is growing up. As I start to maneuver my arm off of him and attempt my way out of the bed, a hand reaches over and grabs my arm and he says, “Mommy, don’t let go.”

I am reminded of one of those million times that people say to hold on to these moments because they don’t last. Each time they say that, I always smile, nod in agreement, and move on, because really it needs to speed up so I can finally get some sanity and peace, and maybe just get something done, right? At this moment I finally got it. I finally understood what they meant. My son wanted me next to him, not to let go, and to just be there in that moment. How much longer will he want that from me?

Each day my kids get older, and each day they need me less and less. Yes, that is something you hear everyday, and yes, I agree it gets really old and annoying after the 10th time hearing it, but think about who you hear it from. You hear this wisdom from those moms and dads that no longer have the little ones running around and remember what it is like for the time to fly by and possibly not appreciate all that you had in that moment.

Today is “No Housework Day”. What does this mean? It means take a step away from the day-to-day tasks, the “job” of motherhood, and really enjoy this day. Those who have a job they go to get vacation days or days off in some way. You deserve a day off. Maybe you still need to be a mom and a wife, but the laundry can wait, the dishes will be there tomorrow. Savor the time you have as a mom today and really enjoy just being with your kids or even just taking some time to do something that will take your mind off the day-to-day housework chores. Sit, and don’t let go.

Enjoy letting go today,

Amy

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Imagine a Day

Take a minute and imagine having your very own Postpartum Doula for a day.

You are meant to be a mom.  There are often times as a new mom that leave you feeling like you were not meant to do this. It is too hard.  Your body is sore, you need your sleep, and you just don’t know how you are going to get through the day.  Every time you try to use the bathroom, sit down to eat, or rest on the edge of your bed for a moment, the baby starts screaming.  It’s almost like they have a sixth sense or something.  We promise you, you can do it.  What you may need though is the right tools to help things run a bit more smoothly.  Your attitude & perception of this parenting journey can be much more positive by having someone you know and trust walk through the early days and weeks providing guidance, assurance, expertise and support.

The postpartum period is often called “the fourth trimester” and having a doula come to help during this time is valuable in more ways than you may realize.  Your postpartum doula is there to help navigate this wonderful experience through all of the highs and lows that come with parenthood.  She is there to help you figure out how you can shower, make meals, keep up with laundry, and take care of yourself, all while also taking care of your beautiful newborn & the rest of your family.  Your doula is there to provide the opportunity for you to catch up on sleep without the guilt of feeling that you’re letting important things fall behind in the process.

With a newborn, there’s a good chance you and your baby have been up the majority of the night.  There is also a darn good chance you’ve only had 3 hours total of sleep, and it was probably in 30-45 minute increments.  As you greet the day once again, with little sleep under your belt, you may begin to wonder if you’ll ever be able to get a shower or a much-needed nap.  Stack many sleepless nights like that in a row, and you may find being a new mom extra challenging.  It takes time to adjust while you recover and figure out life’s new routine.  In fact, forget even finding a routine in that state of mind, you’re just wondering if the engorgement in your breasts will ever subside.  Navigating through the normal daily challenges that come in those first weeks & months is what your postpartum doula is there for.

So what is it like to have a postpartum doula? Postpartum doulas are not nannies or babysitters. They are there to support YOU as the new mom in all that you need.  Maybe you just need a simple recharge that looks like a nice hot cup of coffee and a warm breakfast.  We know the value of these and many other little resetting experiences.  You deserve to be able to take a breath and have someone nearby who can reassure you that the way you feel  is normal and won’t last forever.  A postpartum doula can arrive in the morning, make you a cup of coffee, & cook breakfast while you nurse or feed your baby.  She then provides you the opportunity to enjoy your breakfast while it’s still hot while she burps & changes your baby’s diaper and then folds the pile of baby laundry that’s been sitting on the couch for the last 3 days.  Sometimes just the ability to take a nice deep breath in the morning is exactly what you need to make the day successful.

Your postpartum doula genuinely cares about you and your family.  She listens and offer encouragement through the struggles & tears.  She’s there to celebrate and share in the joys and parenting wins you experience.  She fiercely believes that you are the very best parent for your baby.  She helps answer those non-stop questions that are constantly running through your head.  How do you find the right bottle?  What is the best baby carrier?  How often should my baby eat and sleep?  Never will she judge decisions or choices you choose to make.  She will encourage you to be the mom you want to be as you navigate through and decide on your parenting philosphy.  There is not one right way.  There is your way, and that is what we think is the right way and what we choose to support.

Here’s just a glimpse into what a day with your postpartum doula can look like:

You are exhausted, but you know your doula will arrive soon. When she gets here for her shift she:

  • Greets you with a smile
  • Listens as you tell her all about the night you had
  • Takes the baby so you can go take time to shower and freshen up without worrying about your baby
  • Has a hot cup of coffee and a nice warm breakfast made for you at the table to sit down and enjoy
  • Has cleaned up the dishes, and the dishwasher has been emptied, and your baby is happy
  • Helps with the laundry that has been piling up for days because you just don’t have the time or energy
  • Changes the baby’s diaper when needed so you can continue to rest
  • Helps to prepare a snack for you
  • Lets you take a much-needed nap while taking care of the baby
  • Provides suggestions for you with any breastfeeding or bottle-feeding problems that you’re experiencing
  • She helps you figure out how to use the baby carrier
  • Has prepared you lunch & put dinner in the crockpot while you were snuggling your baby
  • Has most importantly, helped you to be able to TAKE CARE OF YOU!

The main job of a doula is to take care of the mom. As moms, we spend so much time caring for others that it’s easy to neglect taking care of ourselves so that we can be the best moms we are called to be.  A doula is there for you in the transitional postpartum period to allow you the support you need to gain confidence in knowing that you are not alone, that you are an amazing mom and that you can do this!

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Mom Dating, It’s A Real Thing

Life after having a baby changes things, as I’m sure we can all agree. While you may stay close with your pre-kids friends, you may now find yourself seeking the friendship of other women who are in the same stage of life as you. But what do you do when your girlfriends either haven’t had kids yet or have older kids that are in a different stage? When this happens, it may be time to put yourself out there a bit.

I look back at the first playdate I had with my now best friend, and I just laugh, because it was a complete disaster! I was very pregnant with my second child and I had invited her over along with her 2 young kids. Our 2 years olds were playing so nicely in my son’s room and we were busy chatting and getting to know one another.

After 10 minutes of quiet we decided to check on them, only to discover they had snuck out of my son’s bedroom and were in my bathroom covered from HEAD-TO-TOE in bright green Irish Springs body wash. Oh, and let me also mention they had decorated the ENTIRE bathroom; mirror and all in the body wash.  Oh how I wish now that I had a picture of it all, lol.  Needless to say we were both mortified. Our green gooey children now realizing they were caught and started wailing at the top of their lungs. This only added to the chaos. Our darling angels had never done anything like this before, so of course we were both secretly blaming the other kid.  My kid of course would NEVER do such a thing on his own.  I fumbled around and said I’d clean everything up, while she grabbed her green gooey child, muttered “I’m sorry” and headed out the door. Thankfully neither of us let this disastrous first date end our friendship. 6 years later, all four of our kids are now the best friends just like their moms, and we can easily laugh about this first mom date fail.

If you’re still trying to find your group of friends, don’t give up! There are so many ways to find close friends to do life with. It may take a little extra effort & time on your part, just like it did when you were first dating. Here are a few ideas:

  • Mommy & me yoga, music or gymnastic class.
  • Local libraries often have story time and other activities designed for moms to bring their babies and meet other moms
  • Some local churches offer a MOPS program or women’s studies that cater to moms and typically provide childcare
  • Work out classes that allow you to bring your child(ren)
  • Local moms Meet Up network
  • Playgrounds – introduce yourself to another mom with a child around the same age
  • Local Facebook parenting groups
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What’s Your Story?

As a doula, I often have the honor of supporting women as they welcome their babies into the world.  Every birth story is unique and different from the one before and the one after.  There are 2 things though, that they all have in common, and that’s an immense amount of courage and strength.

Whether you choose to birth your baby at home, in a hospital, or at a birth center; I believe in you.  If you choose a cesarean section, to wait until spontaneous labor begins, or to schedule an induction; I support you.  Maybe you decided on an epidural, to birth in water, or to try for a VBAC; I applaud you.

As we near closer to Mother’s Day, we here at Coastal Doulas would love to honor all of the strong & courageous mothers in a special “Celebrate Motherhood” Blog Series.  We know it took strength to make the best decisions you could for you and your baby.  It doesn’t matter how or where you birthed your baby.  You have a story that’s worth telling, and we know that when you share your story, it will empower other moms as they birth their babies too.

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Please submit your pregnancy and/or birth story to us at coastaldoulasofpalmbeach@gmail.com.

Your stories will be shared on our Blog, Facebook, & Instagram pages during the week of May 1-7, 2016.  All submissions are due by April 25th.

We will let you know once we have received your story and will also let you know the day and time your story will be shared, so that you can share it with your friends and family.  If for any reason you prefer to have your story shared anonymously, please specify that to us at the time you submit your birth story.  Feel free to include any pictures you would like attached too.

I look forward to reading all of your courageous stories!

– Bonnie