A Doula Surprise - Happy World Doula Week

World Doula Week is wrapping up and it's been fun reading all the blogs and spending time with my favorite Nola Nesting Doulas.  I haven't participated in all of the doula week challenge, but I think today is the day to give a shout out to another doula.  So, here you are Maria Pokluda - one of the busiest doulas I know! I can't wait to train more doulas with you at Birth Boot Camp DOULA training in April.


Amanda Devereux is founder of Nola Nesting, a Doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, co-creator and trainer of Birth Boot Camp DOULA and mom of three breastfed babes.

It's World Doula Week!! Let's Celebrate!

Happy World Doula Week!

(I'm not running a sale.)


I'm happy this week is here, this doula and many of the doulas of Nola Nesting have had a very busy month and we are definitely deserving of a week  . . . .of call?  Yah, most of us are on call for some beautiful expecting families so we have our phones on us 24/7, every commitment we make is followed by a 'so long as I'm not at a birth,' and we our packed bags are never far.  We work hard for our clients even when they don't know it.  We are thinking about you and gathering a holistic picture of you in the days preceding your labor.  We answer our phones when you call us in the middle of the night and help remind you what's normal, to cherish this time and to honor yourself in the last days of pregnancy.  

We help you connect with your partner.  It's been said I've saved a marriage.  Now, I really hope that's not true, but we are there to support you in a way that you deserve to be supported every day of your life, but unfortunately probably are not because of our busy schedules and responsibilities.  We are there for you - pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Although we may try to catch a nap while you labor, you are our priority and we work hard to care for you and honor your wishes.  Our hearts are with you and they sing when yours does and they cry too with yours sometimes, but we help you find a positive place and keep going.  We help you navigate breastfeeding and the early days of parenting.

We give of ourselves mentally, physically and on a very personal internal level full of emotion and intuition.  

Doula week is a week to celebrate us.  I will celebrate my doula friends and thank them for all the support they give me.  The doulas of Nola Nesting are the most amazing women and I am infinitely blessed to know each of them.  I will celebrate the doulas who have made change in the birthing world and all of us who only want the absolute best for women!  Through birth work and activism we are with you even when you don't see us.  So, I won't be reducing my rate in celebration of my work.  A sale only devalues what we do, and what we do is priceless.  I'm thinking this is more akin to Teacher or Nurse Appreciation week!  Gifts aren't necessary and are not expected, but we do absolutely love to hear how you are doing and see pictures of your growing babies, and we won't be discounting ourselves in celebration of . . . ourselves.

Interested in becoming a doula?  Well, then here's a chance to win a discount you don't want to miss out on!  You could win a chance to come to Birth Boot Camp DOULA training for 33% off!

Amanda Devereux is founder of Nola Nesting, a Doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, co-creator and trainer of Birth Boot Camp DOULA and mom of three breastfed babes.

Which Way Do You Lean?

Hanging with my daughter and squeezing in some work. 

Hanging with my daughter and squeezing in some work. 

I am a huge fan of Sheryl Sandberg - pretty much all she does, including Lean In.  I love it so much that as a developer and trainer at Birth Boot Camp DOULA, it is required reading for those coming to doula training with me.  Mrs Sandberg's thoughts apply to professional work, home life, birth . . .  really, I could just go on and on about her.  If you want to hear me do that, come to training :)

But, what I really want to write about is the recent article on New Orleans Moms Blog, "Leaning Out: Did I Make the Right Choice?"    GREAT title, right?  I really appreciate what this mom has written.  I despise the idea of mommy wars and the marketing that has perpetuated that idea.  Because really, we are all just doing what we need to do for our families and ourselves.  I am totally a mom who Leaned Out, just as Sheryl Sandberg talks about - before I even had kids.  Then, I had my first baby, tried to lean in - and well, that sent me into a mess of identity crisis and aggravated some ppd.  I have found my balance.

That's a lie.  There isn't a balance.  It is a balancing act.  And that's what I appreciate about this recent NOMB article.  I work hard to do all I can for my family while running Nola Nesting and serving all of my clients and Doulas.  Do I fall short?  Sure.  I always have more business ideas I want to tackle, things I want to work on and more stuff I want to do with my kids.  Because I am a professional and my clients and work are very important to me, I make sure I meet all of those needs.  But, I'm always adjusting.  Similar to this author who has returned to full time work for a bit after taking some time off for her family.  I know how it stimulates that part of the brain, how exciting it is and how much you miss the boring things of home life as much as you miss the great moments.  

What working from home looks like, sometimes.

What working from home looks like, sometimes.

Sometimes I rock it all!  Some days I win!  I am so happy those days.  The house is caught up, my kids are happy, I am loving being their mother and I am rocking at work.  Then, there are days that don't go so well.  Lots of calls to return, emails to write and children asking for more of me.  

I would love to see all women Lean In the way Sheryl Sandberg describes.  Isn't it great that Amanda Bensabat, the author of the NOMB article Leaned In before having kids?  She was able to Lean Out, then she could jump on a great case because of the professional work she had done before, and be able to Lean Out once again.  Sheryl Sandberg talks about staying in the workforce, fulfilling our personal achievements before we hold ourselves back for a family we don't yet have.  But, once you're there and have your family, sometimes we gotta Lean Out.  There's no easy decision.  There's no universal right.  There's only a right-for-you answer.

The good moments of professional life. 

The good moments of professional life. 

How have you handled your professional life and family?  Did you Lean In? Lean Out early?  Lean Out for your family? Or, like Sheryl Sandberg did you find your professional life an important piece to your over all happiness in your family and motherhood?  Cheers to you all!







Amanda Devereux is founder of Nola Nesting, a Doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, co-creator and trainer of Birth Boot Camp DOULA and mom of three breastfed babes.

I Am Your Doula. I Bring You My Heart.

Professional Doulas do a lot of things.  We drop our lives with a phone call, work with very long periods between meals and often with no meals at all, can take a nap anywhere, have both a clinical and sacred understanding of birth, our work is both physically and mentally demanding, and we have learned to manage all of this with very little or no sleep.  But I think the most important skill a doula can have is  the ability to establish an intimate relationship quickly. As I teach in Birth Boot Camp DOULA, it is this relationship, it is the heart I bring, my faith in your ability to birth that will enable me to support you in the best way possible.  

Unless you're in my childbirth class, we've probably spent a total of 5-6 hours together, including our interview, before I join you in labor.  Our meetings were casual, our time spent discussing your pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.  You were excited, anxious, nervous, hopeful and glowing with your round belly.  When you call me to your birth, you are your raw self.  You are exposed and primal, powerful and vulnerable.  You are likely naked or in some state of undress.  If you are uncomfortable being in this laboring state with me present, then I am an intervention who is in the way of your labor.  That is not good.  This could stall or slow labor.

We do carry a 'bag of tricks' as some of my clients have called it.  Really, there is nothing particularly magical in that bag and if I forgot it at home I can still do my job.  This is because I bring you my heart and this relationship that we build is love.  I have to make myself vulnerable to you in a way very similar to how people fall in love.  My own oxytocin levels are high and are rising as you progress through your labor.  Oxytocin is the love hormone.  

I read this article that has been circulating on facebook and I thought to myself, "THIS!  THIS is how we do it!"  If you haven't read it, here's the synposis: 

  • two strangers enter a room and sit near one another.
  • they ask one another a series of questions of an increasingly intimate nature.
  • they actively listen to one another.
  • they hold eye contact for a prolonged period.  Then, they fall in love.

(And as the author discusses, this experiment can be repeated in a bar - how New Orleans is that?!)

Now, here's the doula synopsis

  • We sit together at a coffee shop and talk about your birth, my profession and you ask me questions about my role
  • We sit together in your home, discussing an increasingly intimate number of things.  I am sure to make eye contact.
  • I listen to you and work to gain an understanding of who you are, your wishes and how I might best support you.
  • I join you in labor and  at some point, we have prolonged eye contact.

The rest is labor history. 

You see, they are very similar.  In the article it is noted that both individuals were open to participating and to love.  This is not very different from us.  You seek to be supported, unconditionally and wholly, through your labor and birth and I am making myself available to you.

I loved reading this article because this is one of my favorite parts of my job.  When this happens the best way it can, you feel supported and cared for even if your labor and birth are different than what you had wished and how you envisioned it.  When this happens in the best way it can, I will never forget your birth because it is in my heart and I am genuinely so proud and happy for you; I look forward to seeing pictures of your baby grow and it makes my heart happy when I run into you around town and see you as a mother and father.

I also think that this exercise, similar to how it is done at the bar, can be a very powerful thing for couples to do when preparing for birth.  Take the opportunity to share eye contact and really focus on one another.  Talk about nothing and let it build to sharing your intimate feelings and experiences, especially those concerning your pregnancy and birth.  It may not be over a beer, and you're no stranger to one another - but doesn't everyone love falling in love?  

Amanda Devereux is founder of Nola Nesting, a Doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, co-creator and trainer of Birth Boot Camp DOULA and mom of three breastfed babes.

Prenatal Yoga for Birth!

Join us for a different type of prenatal yoga - a class with focus on both breathing and movements that will help prepare your mind and body for birth.   The class is designed to work in a five week session and handouts will be provided after each class to help you build your personal yoga practice at home and maximize your birth preparation.  Drop ins are welcome. 

Wear comfortable clothing and bring your favorite yoga mat.

Where: Nola Nesting Mothering Lounge in ZukaBaby at 3248 Severn Ave, Metairie

When: Saturdays, 9:30am-1030am

$100/five week session

$25 drop in

Click here to register.

Yoga helps you learn to breathe deeply and relax, which will help you face the physical and mental demands of labor and birth.   In fact, one of the first things you learn in a yoga class is how to breathe fully. The breathing technique known asujjayi requires you to take in air slowly through your nose, filling your lungs, and exhale completely until your stomach compresses.

Learning how to do ujjayi breathing primes you for labor and childbirth by training you to stay calm when you need it most. When you're in pain or afraid, your body produces adrenalin and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that makes labor progress. A regular yoga practice will help you fight the urge to tighten up when you feel pain, and show you how to relax instead.