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Join us for birth doula training in New Orleans, April 2017!Read More
satsuma picking with nola nestingRead More
should you vote early? yes! where? here's all the details!Read More
Should you take prenatal yoga? yes! read on!Read More
Support Louisiana Flood Victims. Donation collection for moms and babies.Read More
Support for New Orleans families. Every Wednesday.Read More
A mom of three shares the truth about her changing body and yup, her hair loss.Read More
A New Orleans Doula tells you five questions to ask when choosing a doctor (OB) or midwife for your birth.Read More
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.
We are proud to support the Greater New Orleans breastfeeding community with lactation consultations! We will be running regular latch clinics, perfect for quick checks and questions and full consultations, both in-home and in-office. To book an appointment, click here (scroll to bottom of page).
Being a doula looks like solo work at the surface - well, unless we are hired as a pair, which is awesome for the client and us. But really, when we're with a family during labor and birth, we're not working quite as alone as it may seem. You see, it's important for us to have a network. This is one of the reasons Nola Nesting exists, and it benefits our community, our individual practice and our clients. This doula life would not be sustainable for me without other doulas. This is just a small piece of my gratitude.
The backup doula.
She is incredible. Most of the time she following along, knows when a mother is due and how our prenatals have gone. She's read the intake paperwork and I've shared with her how this mother wants to be supported and any other important points. She keeps her phone by her, hanging out on call, the same as me, knowing she is probably not attending this birth, but being available none the less. She is making herself available to support this family because of my professional relationship with her. She is likely checking on things during labor and helping me keep a clear head, thinking through what might be most helpful for the laboring mother and partner, reminding me to care for myself and meet my own minimum needs, she's thinking about the mother and sending warm birth energy even though she is likely never seen. She's a hero because if we need her, she's there. Ready to jump in and care for the family however the birth may go. She will poor her love into the family just as I would. She will call me and keep me informed and I will support her. Because this is what doulas do. This close relationship means that our clients have seamless care, even when the most unexpected events happen. And for this, I am grateful.
Birth work is intense. We place our lives on pause to step into yours with our whole selves. When we walk away from your birth, we walk away knowing that this thing we have experienced - this amazing life changing event, was only experienced by us. This is why it's an honor to attend births - to be invited into the birth circle. But sometimes births are stressful for us. Sometimes we are just tired. Sometimes we are sad. Sometimes we are just over the moon and need to shout from the highest point that today, on this earth an amazing thing happened! We cannot show you most of this, but we need to share it. Doulas experience birth trauma even when their clients are completely satisfied with their experience. The doulas that surround me understand my work like no one else. I don't have to share all the details of your birth, and I won't, because I honor your privacy, but I do need to decompress and enter the rest of my life. Which can be a funny thing after being absorbed in yours. These ladies answer their phone when I call to guide me home at night, to make me laugh and remind me to eat before I sleep. They meet me for drinks and have a laugh. And for this, I am grateful.
By nature, I think doulas are always seeking to learn more. Just when we think we understand birth the universe reminds us that we know only fragments, perhaps illusions of the whole. The doulas who surround me are my mentors, my teachers. From different positions to address various types of labors, to gaining a greater understanding of the holistic nature of birth, to discussions of intuition and how we can better use our intuition in our work - and how we can better listen to yours, these doulas teach me. We each bring to this work a different set of experiences and background and together we are more knowledgeable and can better serve our clients. And for this, I am grateful.
Doulas understand this crazy life. This passion for birth. This feminist drive to help women have what is by the basics of nature, biologically theirs. Doulas do not flinch at the words vagina, uterus, yoni, discharge, mucous, bloody show, cervix or any others that are common place in our conversations. Doulas have your back when your life hits the rocks, or when you just need to drive across town for a special breakfast. Doulas are not offended when you have to text your client in mid conversation. That said, we don't text each other late at night ('cause you know, on call). Doula hearts are huge and the good friendship of a doula is priceless. And for this, I am grateful.
Thank you to all the doulas I know, here and throughout the country and world who have impacted my person, broadened my view and made me a better doula. Happy world doula week to you.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Nola Nesting is proud to welcome back Courtney Jarecki from Homebirth Cesarean International (HBCI). The May 31st workshop, Speaking of Cesarean, is designed to provide tools, practice, and information for first-time students as well as those who attended the full-day workshop in January.
This workshop is focused on how birth professionals can have prenatal conversations with clients about difficult subjects like unwanted interventions, cesareans, NICU, planning for a challenging postpartum, and much more. After this workshop, participants will be able to improve the quality of care they provide their clients, regardless of birth outcome.
This hands-on and interactive workshop asks participants to:
- Go deep in exploring your own discomfort and biases when working with clients.
- Evolve an understanding about your spoken and unspoken beliefs around childbirth.
- Skillfully build a foundation of trust and open communication in prenatal care.
- Role-play how to navigate conversations with clients who don’t want to talk about unwanted outcomes.
- Asses client’s risk for suffering trauma during or after a difficult birth.
- Prepare clients to build postpartum support during prenatal care.
- Discuss and evaluate the responsibility of the mother and birth partner’s role in preparing for a range of birth outcomes.
- Understand how your client’s own birth may impact and influence her child’s birth experience.
When: May 31, 10:30-2:30
Where: Nola Nesting Lounge, 3248 Severn Ave (Inside of ZukaBaby)
Registration: $75 / Early Bird $50 if before May 1
Click here to register. Space is limited.
About the Facilitator
Courtney Jarecki has worked as a doula, childbirth educator, and a homebirth midwifery apprentice, but her path forever shifted after the birth of her daughter. In recovering from her 54-hour home labor, hospital transport, and cesarean, she soon began creating a new model of understanding for planned out-of-hospital births that end in cesareans, now known as homebirth cesareans (HBC), a term she coined.
She is the author of “Homebirth Cesarean: Stories and Support for Families and Healthcare Providers” and “Healing From a Homebirth Cesarean” (Incisio Press, 2015), books for mothers, families, and birth professionals. She is also the executive director of Homebirth Cesarean International (HBCI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit she co-founded. HBCI works to broaden the conversation and education around homebirth cesareans, through the support of mothers, families, and birth professionals.
In balancing her writing, teaching, and leadership activities, she is the mama to Lazadae, wife to Dave, and alpha-female pack leader to hounds Satchel and Maji. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
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?
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
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.
Cheers! Holiday Mocktails for all the pregnant ladies!Read More
1. It's a great opportunity to take a beautiful maternity picture under the mistletoe!
2. There's no shame in wearing stretchy waist pants. More Turkey? Grandma's apple pie? Yes, please!
3. You can sleep in on Christmas morning. Seriously, if this is your first baby there aren't any of these left in the forseeable future. If this is a sibling, blame it on the pregnancy and catch some extra zzz's.
4. Big comfy winter clothes: Best. maternity. wear. ever.
5. It's all about you! Live it up - savor unwrapping your gifts and ask for something completely impractical.
6. Family drama? No worries! You are growing a baby and can excuse yourself for frequent bathroom trips and naps. Next year they'll all want to see baby.
7. Spend Christmas Eve snuggled on the couch watching the classics and sipping your favorite virgin cocktail. No crazy Santa rush this year! Have sex. Seriously.
8. Drive around and look at the lights, without risk of a crying baby!
9. Take in a delicious reveillon dinner. This is seriously one of the best holiday offerings in New Orleans and is far more enjoyable sans baby and without the cost of a sitter. If you're not lucky enough to live in New Orleans, maybe you can take a quick trip here? Or get a fancy dinner in your own home town. Just take the time to love one another.
10. The best Christmas gift you can give your baby is letting him pick his own birthday.
You're belly is growing, your baby is moving, the weather is cool; it's a great time to just soak it up and enjoy being pregnant!
I love this time of year, and I'm not alone in that. Because of this, labor inductions and cesarean rates increase as we approach major holidays, especially Christmas. Inductions increase your risk of a c-section by 50%. Give your baby the best start at life, and stave off that holiday induction.