Pregnancy


Birth Options: Use your BRAINS

rains(5)Have you heard of the BRAINS decision making tool? It is one birth support tool I teach to all my clients and it just might be helpful to you as you prepare for your birth and parenthood.

So, how does it work?

When you are coming upon a point where a decision needs to made, think about the following in regards to your options: What are the Benefits, Risks, and Alternatives? What does your Intuition say about it? Does it need to be decided upon Now or do you have more time to think things over? Would this decision provide you with a Safe and Satisfying result?

Big or little decisions can be worked through with the help of the BRAINS tool. It can be helpful when deciding where you want to give birth, which care provider you want, etc.

When talking with clients about their upcoming birth experiences, I see a lot of them trying to learn about everything that could possibly happen. Talk about information overload! Information can be powerful but it can also be overwhelming! Sure, I am all for being as informed as possible, but I also see value in letting things in as they happen. I mean, millions of women gave birth before our generation, and they didn’t have nearly as much information at their fingertips. So, if you haven’t studied up on every possible thing that could happen during labor and birth, you can feel confident that you’ll be able to work through your options in labor when you’re using your BRAINS. Whether you’re giving birth at home or the hospital, whether you’re planning a cesarean birth or waterbirth, learning to speak up for yourself and your baby to get the information you need if a decision is needed can make your experience so much better. Feeling informed, feeling like an active participant in your experience, can make all the difference.

The best part about this tool, it works for parenthood, too! Trying to decide which pediatrician to choose? Use your BRAINS! Should you keep your newly-five year old home for another year or send her off to kindergarten? Dust off your BRAINS!


Using Essential Oils Safely

Essential Oils Tallahassee

You hear a lot about essential oils in the birth world. No matter which brand of essential oils you use, or WHEN you are using, please make sure you are using them SAFELY. Like REALLY safely.

What does this mean? Do not use essential oils willy-nilly or solely based on what the manufacturing company says. Seek out what aromatherapists say about that particular oil for your particular situation – small children, pregnancy, or whatever stage your family is in.

As a doula, I am not trained to use essential oils during labor but have had many, many clients who have used them to ease labor pains and discomforts. I am totally cool with whatever families choose for themselves and I personally love using lemon oil while cleaning and even used the same during transition to help ease my nausea!

If you need more info on what essential oils are safe for your family, check out Using Essential Oils Safely​ or their Facebook group: FB.com/groups/UsingEOsSafely/

According to the aromatherapists at Learning about EOs, “Pregnant women need to be especially careful when using essential oils, as some oils are never okay to use during pregnancy.” Two books I’ve seen frequently mentioned while researching EO use for my family are Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child and Natural Babycare. Here are direct links for more information about essential oils for my typical audience:

Essential Oils for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Essential Oils and Children

The takeaway from this I really, really want you to get, is that we all need to be doing our own research on the oils we are interested in BEFORE we buy them, getting the information from sources that are not looking for our business. These oils, even though they’re natural, they have strong medicinal properties and should be treated with respect and caution just as you would any other medicines for your children – and yourselves!


Pregnancy Guided Meditation from Mama and Baby Love

Have you ever meditated? If you’re like me, I had it in my mind that meditation was difficult, but that isn’t true!

Meditation isn’t as hard, and learning how to meditate can be especially easy with a good guide. And since this blog focuses on pregnancy and related topics, I thought you all might appreciate trying out one of Stephanie Brandt Cornais‘ guided meditations from mamaandbabylove.com.

Here is a guided meditation for pregnancy:

Let me know what you think!

Click here if you’re interested in more of the wonderful things she has to offer, especially her new eCourse “How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed.”

Postpartum Support Tallahassee

Bold Birth Doula Tallahassee


Meet Casey Yu: A Dissertation on Motherhood 1

In honor of Mother’s Day and a special birthday, I interviewed Casey Yu. I remember the first time I met Casey but it was so HOT that day as I was waaaaay too pregnant for Summer, I’m not even sure I said more to her than a grunt or a defeated sigh. I met her for real when we hired her as our maternity photographer, and we became fast friends. Tallahassee NICU

So, what special birthday? Two years ago today, Casey’s son William was born. The Will of #freewill and #feedwill hashtag fame. His birth was the first planned cesarean I ever attended as a doula, although it was planned last minute for very emergent reasons, as you’ll read below. I remember being nervous and scared for both he and Casey in the days and weeks leading up to his birth, although on the outside I did my best to remain a calm source of support. I spent every single moment of his birth sending good thoughts out into the Universe for the two of them, hoping it would help get them through the hard times ahead. And today, Will and his family celebrated his second birthday halfway around the world! Casey is now using her experience as a photographer and a mother via cesarean delivery in her dissertation research.

What made you interested in writing your dissertation about motherhood?
I have been writing on and off about mothering online ever since I started my doctoral program at FSU, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my youngest that the focus started to change. Will was diagnosed with IUGR in utero, I had high blood pressure, and was on bedrest from 24 weeks until he was born, in all of his 3lb 2oz glory, at 32 weeks in an emergent cesarean section. In all regards, my experience birthing Will was not too bad. I had a really supportive birth team, with a doula, helpful family members, and surprisingly, a midwife from my practice that I’d had my doubts about but she was perfect at the time. The culmination of events from his birth and my recovery led to my interest in writing about and learning about cesarean sections and their impact on women as a whole. His birth, the support I received, the recovery (both physical and mental) path I took – all of this had a profound impact on me as a person, so it was pretty much inevitable that I would end up writing about it for my dissertation!

My dissertation topic explores the use of cameraphone photography in how knowledge is gained and shared by women who have undergone cesarean sections. I argue that the act of capturing images on a cameraphone and sharing them socially can be considered a powerful act, capable of effecting change. I am in the midst of editing the prospectus of my dissertation, which is essentially the first three chapters outlining my argument, the literature review I have conducted, and my proposed method of
answering my research questions. Getting there!
Tallahassee Parenting
How do you hope your research will change the future of motherhood?
One of the most unique experiences women have is the ability to give birth. This process has become progressively more complicated and murky with so many women who have given birth feeling less in control of their bodies than ever. It is my hope that this work will culminate into photographs captured by mothers to describe the experiences they are having, and encouraging all birth professionals (obstetricians, midwives, nurses, doulas) to consider the impact of cesarean birth on women as a whole. The United States performs over 30% of births every year via cesarean sections, when the World Health Organization indicates that the optimal rate for cesarean deliveries is between 5-10%. This huge discrepancy needs to be addressed by everyone – pregnant women and their birth teams.

Perhaps most simply, though: my hope is that my work can empower women in their quest to birth their children – however the baby is born.

Who has inspired you?
Oh gosh, so many have inspired me. I have grown up in a long line of amazingly strong women with my surname – my mother, my grandmother, my two aunts, and my two cousins. They are some of the most badass, strong, passionate women I’ve ever known. Josh’s family boasts some amazing people too – my in-laws have been incredibly supportive of my education and have helped me shape what I want to do. My advisor is amazing as well and has understood the fervor and anger I feel when I write about some of the things I have had to write about to get this prospectus off and running. My husband Josh is, as I term, the best girlfriend I’ve ever had. My three kids are inspirations (and also cause premature greying of my hair!).

But mostly, I am inspired by the stories I have heard from some of the most amazing people I know who have given birth via cesarean section. Having a child in and of itself a transformative experience. Having a child via cesarean section takes amazing courage and bravery that is not recognized nearly enough. They are my inspiration, through and through.

Tallahassee Newborn PhotographyWhat is something about you that we would be surprised to hear?
I asked Josh to answer this for me, and he says, “I think they would be surprised to know that you are actually capable of emotionally connecting with other humans.” I have a pretty tough exterior and my kids will be the first to tell you that I like to get my way, I am sometimes mean, but secretly way down deep (probably inside my little toes), I am a softy.

And now for the fun questions! Where did you grow up?
All over! I was born in Illinois, lived in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, California, and Florida. I spent two months in Alaska at one point too!

If it won’t make you homesick, what is your favorite part about Tallahassee?
The parenting community! I love the small town feel of Tallahassee – every time I went out to run an errand, I am bound to run into a friend and have a moment to stop and chat. It made me feel connected to an entity of motherhood far greater than the effort I put forth at home.

What is your favorite food/thing to cook?
My late grandmother’s sticky rice stuffing, with pork ribs, dried shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms. Mmmmm!
Tallahassee Motherhood

Have you ever won a trophy?

Yes! I ran a 5K in Chicago – my first one. I am 99% sure I got a medal.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Both! I am the first one awake in the morning, usually due to the sun that rises early here in Dhaka. And I get my second or third or fourth wind around midnight.

What’s your favorite holiday?
Chinese New Year! Josh and I make a ton of Chinese food and invite all our friends over for a grand feast. I look forward to it every year!

What’s your biggest moment?
Hasn’t happened yet. The second I get to have my advisor hood me and call me Dr. Yu – that will be my biggest moment and you can come back and edit this post to reflect that when it happens.