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CAREER 101 for Postpartum Doulas

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Come join us to learn all about becoming a Postpartum Doula!

How to decide if the Postpartum Doula role is for you:

Are you an early childcare provider? Retired nurse? “Stay at home” parent? Find out which parts of the job might feel familiar and which might push you out of your comfort zone. Are you a birth doula who always figured being a postpartum doula would feel like babysitting? (It’s not). Or you’re already a postpartum doula who wants to grow your career? Come learn about the impact you can have with growing families!

Choosing a training or training organization:

There are many trainings offered locally that serve as a great way to get your career going!

The lifestyle:

Figure out if this work fits your lifestyle. Some Postpartum Doulas do only day shifts, others only night shifts, and others do both. What to do about the fact that you can’t be sure of your start date with each client, due to birth being unpredictable? What if you can’t cover all of the client’s needs? How to balance multiple clients and due dates? Slow seasons and busy seasons? What can you expect to earn?

Business structure:

Will you be a solo practitioner? Find a partner? Work as an independent contractor with an agency? All of the above!? How do each of these approaches impact your earning potential?

Next steps:

What are some of the basics you need to have in place to begin your career?

Join Us!

For more information and to reserve a space, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/career-101-for-postpartum-doulas-tickets-39670715177

Participation in this workshop in no way implies or guarantees any association between attendees and One Moon Doula Services (OMD). OMD is not currently seeking doulas but does periodically have openings, which require individuals to go through an application and interview process to be considered for contract work.

Kathryn KeenerCAREER 101 for Postpartum Doulas
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The Sun and Your Baby

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While September brings back to school, it can also bring some of the hottest days of the year here in San Diego. We might be beginning to daydream about scarves and boots, but we can’t forget to keep our sunscreen game strong!

Of course, many of you have infants who are too young to douse in sunscreen if they are under 6 months, at least according to the Skin Cancer FoundationBut babies this age produce very little melanin for protection from the sun, and therefore they recommend the following steps:

  • take your walks with your new baby before 10am and after 4pm
  • use window shields to protect your baby or babies from the sun during car rides
  • dress babies in light clothing that covers most of their skin, and in a hat with a wide brim to protect the head, neck and face.

The AAP indicates that a small amount of sunscreen can be applied to areas that remain uncovered (“Sun and Water Safety Tips,” aap.org).

If you’re going to the beach here in San Diego, bring an umbrella or shade structure, and avoid the middle of the day!

After 6 months of age, a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 is recommended. Of course, some parents are concerned about the ingredients getting absorbed into their little ones’ skin. For that we recommend Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide, or their “skin deep” app, which allows you to enter in a sunscreen brand and type and see how it scores for its levels of potentially harmful chemicals. The ingredients can change from year to year, and the app stays current!

Have fun in the sun!

But wait – what about Vitamin D!? Sunscreens that protect from the sun can also inhibit our absorption of Vitamin D, which is important too! (See how hard it is to make informed decisions in the best interest of our children!? Here’s where we all take a collective deep breath and have compassion for how complicated this job of raising little humans can feel sometimes).

Not to worry, in our next blog post we’ll tackle what you need to know about Vitamin D and Your Baby.

Kathryn KeenerThe Sun and Your Baby
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Nine Simple Strategies to Prevent Back Pain After Baby

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These nine tips come to us from guest blogger Dr. Dawn Andalon, a physical therapist specializing in women’s health at Level 4 Physical Therapy and Performance in Carlsbad, CA.

1. Change up Your Sleeping Position

Sleep with one pillow only.

Anything more will bend your neck more than it should and means the muscles in your back, neck and shoulders are stretched more than they are designed to do so.

2. Improve Your Core Muscles (Not Just Pelvic Floor)

When you’re out for a walk and after only a few minutes you find you need to lean on your baby’s stroller for support because your back aches, or you try to go for a jog but can only manage a few minutes until your back hurts, then you’ve got a problem with your core muscle group that needs fixing fast.

If you’re suffering from lower back pain, groin, hip or pelvic girdle pain (PGP), then without having this ‘core’ group of muscles working, you’re very unlikely to be able to get back to your pre-pregnancy condition.Consider learning the proper way to activate these muscles by a physical therapist who is trained in Pilates!

3. Regular Exercise Is Vital

It might seem you don’t have the time, especially now, but there is always time to add a simple daily exercise routine your life, even if just for a few minutes each day. (Your postpartum doula can help you brainstorm how to make this happen, or take care of your baby while you get a workout!)

Swimming is a very effective way to begin your recovery from lower back pain and is also a proven way to begin the release of the feel good chemicals your body holds back if you’re not exercising, known as “endorphins”. This can also provide great stress relief.

If you do have lower back, hip, groin, or pelvic girdle pain, then please be very wary about starting an impact-type exercise plan too soon (running, step class, boot camp, etc.). Consult a Women’s Health Physical Therapist to discover whether you might have locked joints that need to be loosened or released by hand.

4. Get The Stroller At The Right Height

Make sure you don’t have the handlebar at a height that is below your elbow height. This means that you constantly have to lean forward, which adds stress to your spine.

5. Pick Up And Carry Your Baby Correctly

As tempting as it is to carry your baby on one hip, you will be adding untold amounts of pressure to your hip, groin, pelvic girdle and symphysis pubis problems.

You need to evenly distribute the weight of your baby as best you can. And often the best way to do this is with a professional carrier or sling. Switching hips, unfortunately, won’t prevent the problems listed, so consider minimizing hip carrying, especially if you are experiencing discomfort.

6. Wear The Right Sized Bra

If you’ve jumped from a B cup to a D or DD, it’s important to visit and get fitted in a specialist lingerie shop to minimize stress on your lower and mid back regions. Consider avoiding high-fashion places – most of the best solutions are found in a small boutique type shop with women trained on how to find the right bra size.

7. Avoid High Heels

Wanting to look and feel great again after nine months of pregnancy can sometimes lead you to pull out those sexy heels.

When you wear a pair of high heels, you’re asking an already weak lower back to work 25x harder than in comparison to wearing a pair of flat supportive shoes. If you have to wear them, pick them for an evening of valet parking and seated fun!

8. Adjust The Crib Height

Lifting your baby with a weak back is a nightmare for some new moms. Lifting from a low crib is even worse.

As your baby becomes heavier, it’s even more important to be aware of the way that you lift him or her out of the crib, stroller or car seat.

The core muscle group being strong is an absolute must, but you also need to consider the height of the crib. Can you adjust it? And if not, can you position yourself so that when you do lift, your legs aren’t completely straight?

9. Stay Hydrated

Being dehydrated can cause muscle aches and pains, fatigue and dizziness. So, it’s important that you keep your water intake up in an attempt to ease off any extra or unwanted tension in your back muscles. One really simple way to avoid this is to cut out the stuff that makes you dehydrated in the first place, like excessive coffee, tea, alcohol and energy drinks.

Sip water often throughout the day. Or, if you’re the type who forgets, make a point to chug a big glass all at once if you know you’re going to forget to come back to it later. Do that a few times throughout the day to get your recommended water intake.

If you continue to have symptoms that are not relieved with this advice, you might consider an expert Women’s Health Physical Therapist. Easily the fastest way to settle back pain is to have it done for you by hand. Sometimes exercise isn’t enough to unlock the problem, because if you have joints that have become locked, stiff or stuck during pregnancy, there is only one way for them to become loose — and that’s by hand. The techniques that a postnatal physical therapist will use prepares the body to be able to workout and exercise, meaning you are going to be much safer, have more movement, feel stronger and get your energy back fast.

Don’t hesitate to contact Level 4 Physical Therapy’s women’s health specialist about your back pain.

Phone: (760) 503-4440 or email: dr.dawn@level4pt.com

HEALTH ADVICE DISCLAIMER
By reading this publication, you agree that following any advice herein is at you own risk and agree to hold harmless Level4 Physical Therapy & Performance, Inc., its owners and employees. We are able to offer you this service at a standard charge. Significant injury risk is possible if you do not follow due diligence and seek suitable professional advice about your injury. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied in this blog post. 

By reading this publication, you agree that following any advice herein is at you own risk and further agree to hold harmless One Moon Doula Services, LLC, its owners and employees.

Kathryn KeenerNine Simple Strategies to Prevent Back Pain After Baby
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Upcoming Events for New and Expectant Parents in San Diego: March 2017

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We are sharing information about two events that will have great appeal to pregnant women, their partners, and parents of newborns, infants, toddlers and young children. One Moon Doula Services will be in attendance at each of these events, both of which take place in San Diego in March. Stop by our booth to say hello!

The first event is a parenting fair entitled “Nurturing Compassionate and Mindful Children the Natural Way,” on March 3rd and 4th, and is put on by The Center for Integrative Psychology and The Mind Body Mama. There will be speakers, booths, and a Friday night wine and cheese, with a panel discussion. That portion of the event is only $15! More information on this event, which is to be held at Alliant University, can be found at http://themindbodymama.com/workshop.

The second event is BabyFest at Babies in Bloom, on March 25th from 10am-4pm. There will be 50 booths, activities, speakers, demos (babywearing, cloth diapering, etc) and giveaways. This is a great place to meet other parents and professionals, and learn about products and services in your area. More information at http://www.babies-in-bloom.com/babyfest/.

Let us know if you have any questions! In between speakers and events, stop by our booth to meet owner Kathryn Keener, as well as to get to know some of the Postpartum Doulas from One Moon Doula Services. We hope to see you there!

Kathryn KeenerUpcoming Events for New and Expectant Parents in San Diego: March 2017
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Does it Matter Which Training Your Doula Took?

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In short… not really.

You should interview prospective doulas in person (birth or postpartum). You should ask them about their doula training, their experience, their ability to reliably provide vetted back up in the case they can’t provide service to you. (Ask them for a name, and then interview that person – unless you’re going with an agency such as ours where all of that is built into the interview and selection process for you). If I were you, I’d ask questions about various scenarios (“How does your role change if I decide I want an epidural?” or “what if I have trouble with breastfeeding or decide I want to use formula?”) You should feel reassured that they respect and honor your family and your decisions. You should feel very comfortable and at ease with them. You should also trust your gut, just like with any other personal interaction.

But whether they trained with DONA, CAPPA, ProDoula, toLabor…. Is less of a cause for concern. It is not the training that makes the doula, it is the doula that makes the doula.

I can speak from experience that the training doesn’t make the doula. I have worked as a postpartum doula for four years now, and for the last year I’ve run an agency. At any given time I have 5-7 postpartum doulas working for my agency. I’ve interviewed and vetted them, called references, seen some of them in action or in trainings… and meet with them regularly to debrief, troubleshoot, and provide professional development. Our doulas at One Moon Doula Services do not come from any one training or background. Some have been doulas for years, while others have recently transitioned from nanny work, or parenting young children, into the doula world. Some have trained with multiple organizations, as have I, and others feel loyal to just one. I can see them in action, and I can see that they are professional, compassionate, and thinking adults who take what they learn, assess how it fits or doesn’t fit their practice, and make it their own. Of course, there are doulas out there who have taken excellent trainings who still don’t show good judgment or make very good doulas. Then there are doulas who have taken trainings they felt were lacking, who’ve gone on to be the best doulas anyone can ask for.

Having taken training from three separate organizations myself, I can also say from experience that there is nothing drastically different about any of these trainings. They’re covering much of the same ground. Just like there are average and excellent doulas, there are average and excellent trainers (within each organization). In the doula world there are some strong opinions about the different philosophies of different training organizations. But most of those differences have no impact on the families hiring the doulas. And the families should be our number one focus.

One final “shop talk” note. For 15 years I worked in another field, as a mediator. And provided mediation training. And I DID feel responsible for who walked out of the door after my training and how they would represent the profession. For that reason, my agency and I didn’t just train anyone who signed up. We required them to apply – and be accepted – before taking the training. Because a training can only do so much to create quality, proficiency, and ethics in a person. They have to walk THROUGH the doors with much of that already in place. My hope for you, if you are looking for a doula, is that they walk through your doors with those qualities and so much more. If you are welcoming an outsider into the fold during this momentous and deeply personal time in your life, that’s what you need and deserve.    

Kathryn KeenerDoes it Matter Which Training Your Doula Took?
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An Overnight Doula for Your Hospital Stay?

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We were recently hired by a family who knew they would want overnight help from a postpartum doula during their hospital stay after the birth. After the baby was born, they wanted the father to be able to sleep at home with their four-year-old son, but the mother didn’t want to be alone in the hospital. Of course, one option would be to send the newborn to the nursery for the night. However, more and more new parents are choosing to “room in” with their babies.

Expectant parents are learning in their childbirth education classes that rooming in with their newborn or newborns can be good for bonding, for the breastfeeding relationship, if that is a goal of theirs, and for having involvement and a “say-so” over what newborn procedures get done (and when and where). In fact, hospitals with the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation are tasked with encouraging new parents not to rely too heavily on the nursery – although that initiative has been criticized for demanding too much of exhausted, healing mothers who may just need a few hours to recover without being startled awake by every peep the newborn makes. (From “Behind the Baby-Friendly Hospital Practice That Not All Moms Love,” The Huffington Post). Obviously, most people desire a balance between opportunities to bond with their baby and their own needs for rest and recovery. This balance may look different from couple to couple. 

The mother who hired us for postpartum doula support to begin in the hospital remembers, from when her first baby was born, how many endless disruptions there were overnight in the hospital in addition to her baby’s needs. If the baby wasn’t waking her for a feeding, a nurse was coming in with her pain killers (post c-section), or to give a sponge bath (at 4am!) or to take the baby’s vitals. In our fatigue and fog after childbirth and delivery, and in the newness of the hospital setting, we often don’t realize we have some choice in these matters, or we don’t feel we can tackle the logistics to make for as peaceful a night as possible. (Like, please don’t come in to offer me orange juice and new towels if I am not already awake for crying out loud – literally, I will cry out loud).

Let’s face it – the first few nights with our new babies are eye-opening (when we most wish to close them), sometimes a shock to the system (why is he awake again!?), and vulnerable (is their anyone in this entire building who has not seen my bare nipples!!?) Having someone lend a hand, give a breastfeeding tip… and maybe gently request that the nurse come back a little later because mom and baby just drifted off to sleep… can make all the difference. Packing up to head home a little less sleep deprived, a little less overwhelmed… and with the knowledge that your doula is just a text or a phone call away when you’re ready for more support – well, isn’t that the least we can do to get families off on the right foot?

We now offer gift certificates if that peace of mind is something you’d like to gift to a loved one.

Kathryn KeenerAn Overnight Doula for Your Hospital Stay?
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POSTPARTUM DOULAS NEEDED

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This is not your average “job” opportunity.

One Moon Doula Services is seeking postpartum doulas. Our team of doulas provides top-notch, personalized service to families in San Diego county. We get to do important work and make a difference for families, while utilzing a team approach to ensure that we continually learn from each other and have access to the support and opportunities the agency provides. 

Doulas who work for our agency provide postpartum doula support to our clients, in the client’s home. This involves helping the entire family transition to life with a newborn (whether it be their first or their fifth). It can include newborn care, informational and emotional support for the parents, sibling care, light housekeeping and organization, errands and meal prep, and “TLC” for the healing and/or adapting mother. Mostly it requires tuning in to the needs of the family and responding to their particular situation, with nonjudgmental support. Some doulas might also offer belly binding, lactation education, placenta encapsulation, infant massage, and various other services to the postpartum mother and family as an add-on to their services.

The nature of postpartum doula work is unpredictable. While you may have the opportunity to set your own boundaries (number of hours per week, or day shifts vs. overnights, or taking time off after the birth of your own child or to care for a loved one….) other things are not within your control. There’s no way to know when a client’s baby/ies will arrive, for one. You may have a client who thinks they want overnights, and switches to days, or vice versa. (Therein lies one of the many benefits of joining an agency – if you are unable to make that switch for the client, likely there is someone else who can. That being said, One Moon Doula does seek doulas with a certain amount of flexibility).

Benefits of working for a doula agency include: flexibility, camaraderie, professional development, reliable backup doulas, and the support of the agency director if a dilemma or challenging situation arises with a client. Agency doulas also benefit from the outreach, networking, and advertising efforts of the agency. Their administrative workload (normally unpaid work for private doulas) is greatly reduced, as the agency handles contracting, billing, much of the scheduling, and other administrative matters such as evaluations, reviews, and follow up with clients. The doulas also benefit from the trust and reputation the agency has earned from referral sources such as past clients, providers, and colleagues.

If interested, please contact us to receive a list of job requirements and application instructions, or call (845) 596-3590. You do not have to be currently trained as a postpartum doula, but must be willing to take an approved, 2-day training upon joining the agency. 

One Moon Doula’s Business Philosophy:

One Moon Doula Services believes that there is generally a lack of adequate social and practical supports for families in the weeks and months following childbirth, and seeks to partner with families to ensure a satisfying and successful transition after the birth of their child/ren. The first weeks in a new human’s life are a vulnerable time: mother and baby are physically vulnerable; the entire family is impacted and challenged by the change; a culture that values independence and emphasizes the nuclear family often clashes with the reality that humans are not meant to enter parenthood in isolation. It is possible to feel fully supported while still embracing the experience in your family’s own unique way, and that is with respectful and nonjudgmental help from informed, compassionate postpartum doulas who empower parents to balance their own needs with the needs of the whole family and therefore enjoy (rather than just survive!) life with their newborn/s.

For more about our clients’ experiences, see our Yelp reviews.

Supporting parents of twins

Supporting parents of twins

Kathryn KeenerPOSTPARTUM DOULAS NEEDED
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Why Breastfeeding Comes Naturally to Most Babies – But NOT to Their Mothers

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On the one hand, breastfeeding is, of course, natural. In some ways it’s amazing to see all of the babies who instinctively know what they’re doing. There’s even a term, “breast crawl,” that describes how babies, just minutes or hours old, will inch themselves from mother’s belly right up to the breast, even though babies can’t technically crawl until many months after birth.

On the other hand, it no longer “comes naturally” to so many mothers in our society because while babies get their instincts from nature and biology, mothers receive much of their know-how from information and observation. These days, the opportunities for moms-to-be or expectant parents to witness the ins and outs (literally!) of breastfeeding are few and far between. Their peers are often using formula or expressed breast milk when in public or amongst company, for convenience or privacy. Or, they are using covers or retreating behind closed doors to feed their baby, due to modesty or because of fear of backlash for nursing in public.

We know from our primate relatives in captivity that this lack of exposure to normal functioning – in this case the feeding of our offspring – leads to dysfunction. A gorilla in an Ohio zoo in the 80’s gave birth, but had never witnessed another gorilla mother with her baby. The gorilla had no inclination or instinct to feed her baby, and it died. When she was pregnant with her next baby, the Zoo brought in mothers from La Leche League to model breastfeeding. They came regularly, and the gorilla began to show some interest. Still, when the baby came, the gorilla showed no ability to do what was needed. The human mothers came back. One demonstrated for the gorilla step by step – how to hold and position the baby, how to stimulate the baby’s lips… and the gorilla followed suit. That’s all it took. (Julia Jones, www.newbornmothers.com)

Given that we are lacking the advantage of intimate observation, more and more mothers are trying to find other ways to inform themselves and set themselves up for reaching their breastfeeding goals (whether that be to breastfeed for one week, one year, or whatever they decide). Most people know that lactation consultants can step in and address challenges, sometimes an invaluable step to making breastfeeding work for a mom and baby. However, often by the time a lactation consultant is called into the situation, there have been some long days (and nights) of struggling, questioning, and distressing over the situation. Expectant parents are now looking for breastfeeding classes to take before childbirth – classes that familiarize them with important facts, prepare them for what to expect, and equip them with tools and resources for the challenges that might arise. A breastfeeding class can help parents relax instead of stress about what’s to come – and we see time and time again that helping parents feel relaxed and confident has a powerful trickle down effect (sometimes literally!) Many are saying that while the readings and classes they took prepared them for pregnancy and childbirth, there’s very little to prepare them for what’s next. A breastfeeding class is one important step in that direction.

One Moon Doula Services has partnered with a Certified Lactation Educator to provide Breastfeeding Classes in North County, San Diego. Parents will learn about what factors impact the mother’s breastmilk supply and how to know if you’re on the right track, what positions encourage proper latch, what to know if you will be pumping or storing breastmilk, what you need to know about the makeup of breastmilk, and what to look out for to prevent problems such as infection. You will also have the option to arrange for the Lactation Educator to make a follow up visit to your home, after baby arrives, to reinforce what you’ve learned!

See our “Other Services” for more information about Breastfeeding Classes.

Kathryn KeenerWhy Breastfeeding Comes Naturally to Most Babies – But NOT to Their Mothers
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Mom Guilt Part 1: A Getaway With the Husband

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A Getaway With the Husband

A Getaway With the Husband

This is where I’m sitting, right at this very moment while I write this. The view is spectacular. The “hotel,” (I almost can’t even call it that because of it’s size and grandeur) is luxurious. I’m working, but it’s work I love and care about. With so few interruptions because I’m not in my home office being beckoned by laundry or dishes… I’m not looking at the clock to see how much time until the kids get home. When cocktail hour comes, my food and drinks are paid for and I’m in the company of good people, including my husband.

I’ve come to accompany my husband on a business trip because his room and flight were paid for, the schedule pretty relaxed, and it was a rare opportunity for us to get away together without spending too much money – and to take advantage of time together without the children.

“Without the children” – why is that soooo loaded?

I know a woman who in 18 years NEVER went away with her husband without the kids. There must be others like her. But then there’s the celebrity couple in the news who has arranged to spend every weekend child free, leaving their daughter with her loving grandmother (and then all the backlash from that announcement). And of course there’s everything in between. And for so many families it’s an angst-ridden, complicated decision each time. For some it’s “But we spend all week at work, we’re supposed to want to be with our children on the weekends” or for some “we do want to be with our children on the weekends.” But, they also might want carefree time with their spouse or partner, and many of us haven’t figured out how to have both at the same time – mostly, it’s not possible (or at least never a guarantee) because of the unpredictable nature of children and the high level of their needs.

I’d like to pick apart our guilt to figure out how much of it is based on our real authentic core values about parenting and family, vs. imposed judgment from other people or our culture. How much is about what feels right or wrong to us, versus what we fear others will think? I hope to attempt that over the course of this blog series on Mom guilt. I’ve been talking to other moms while I’m here and the one thing I feel I can put my finger on is that a lot of these feelings stem from the age old “quantity vs quality” debate. We have internalized expectations about how much time we should be spending with our children. Where does that come from? For example, we’re seeing pointed out by Jennifer Senior in All Joy and No Fun, and by Brigid Schulte in Overwhelmed, that parents today spend significantly more time each day with their children than parents in the 1950’s – and that’s when most households had only one working parent! Is that because things were more communal, kids roamed the neighborhood, in and out of each other’s houses, with less need for one on one with the adults? (And is that better, or worse, and does it matter?) Certainly if we rewind even more I imagine infants were strapped onto backs while moms washed clothes on rocks in the river, other children being tended to by older siblings while parents worked in the fields. Now, not only are parents trying to squeeze in their idea of sufficient time with the kids, but the amount of that time that is spent in “high quality, ‘interactive care’” has almost tripled! (Schulte).

So, not only have we as a society at some point decided a certain quantity of time with our children is important, but that time spent is intentional and purposeful – and therefore, harder!

We’re spending more time with our kids, and we’re under pressure to spend it a certain way. “Quantity” and “Quality.”

Now, maybe that’s better. Maybe our kids will benefit. (I guess only time – and more studies – will tell).

But is it any wonder we need a break? Is it any wonder our spouses are being pushed to the back burner? And where do they fall in this discussion of more or less, better or worse? (Is the divorce rate relevant to those kinds of decisions?) Keeping a marriage healthy is hard work – that requires time, and time spent a certain way, too – some Quantity and some Quality.

In case it helps you, here’s something I do… I like to remind myself that I was a whole person before I had kids. I was also a partner before I had kids. And that wanting to revisit what it was like to be that person, or that partner, every once in a while, is okay – maybe even healthy. One day, I’ll be a version of that person again – my kids will forever be a part of me but on a daily basis, less and less so. One day my partner will be my main person again. And I don’t want to feel like we put each other on hold “until.” Some marriages make it “until” – some don’t. I’d also like for my boys to see what a healthy, supportive, connected romantic partnership looks like. To know that we are not JUST their parents, but we’re our own people with our own relationships too. I have to believe that sets them up for healthy relationships themselves.

Of course, I can tell myself all of this, but those little pangs of mom guilt still remain: the knowing how much the boys would prefer it be me or their dad tucking them in for the night or sending them off to school; the just plain old missing them, (but on a trip like this I must admit I miss them in a “can-someone-just-bring-them-to-me-for-a-quick-squeeze-and-a-check-in-and-then-whisk-them-away-again” sort of a way). We won’t eradicate mom guilt, but maybe we can erode her power just a tiny bit, by telling ourselves the kids are alright; that learning how to be outside of their comfort zone and trust other people to care for them is useful; that welcoming home refreshed, happy parents will benefit them in ways they can’t yet understand.

Cheers!

Mom guilt on a getaway with the husband

The importance of couple time without the children

Kathryn KeenerMom Guilt Part 1: A Getaway With the Husband
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Does Your Doctor Hate When You Google? (Guest Blog for Improving Birth)

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We were honored to be featured as a guest blogger for Improving Birth, where we talk about the role of a patient’s own knowledge about their condition and how it can impact the doctor-patient relationship. Take a look over at the Improving Birth Blog to read more!

Kathryn KeenerDoes Your Doctor Hate When You Google? (Guest Blog for Improving Birth)
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Pregnant in Summer? Here’s How to Cool Off!

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  • Pregnant in Summer? Here’s How to Cool Off!

Pregnant women already have a higher blood volume and a slightly higher body temperature… so being pregnant during summer (especially in your third trimester) can be an extra challenge to your comfort and your energy level. Here in North County Coastal San Diego, many homes are without air conditioning because of how mild it is for so much of the year! We found a few tips (besides the obvious, like stay in the shade and stay hydrated) to help you keep your cool:

  • MINT is a cooling herb according to modernmom.com. Incorporate it into some of your recipes or even better, into your favorite mocktail! Our friends over at First Coast Doulas have two great mocktail recipes for you.
  • And oldie but goodie – put some ice water in a bowl for dipping a washcloth, squeezing it out, and applying it to your forehead, or rubbing it all over! Do this in front of a fan and it’s pure bliss.
  • And finally, if you’re in North County Coastal San Diego, or anywhere near water for that matter, go take a dip!

When you’re ready to let us pamper you after your baby or babies finally arrive, call us or read more about our Postpartum Doula Services.

Kathryn KeenerPregnant in Summer? Here’s How to Cool Off!
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What to Expect When You CAN’T Know What to Expect: Planning for Life with a Newborn

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I was inspired to speak on this topic because I just got off the phone with three different expectant parents, inquiring about postpartum Doula services, who want to make sure they have adequate support in place after the birth of their baby or babies, but are overwhelmed with the prospect of planning for something they’ve never done before. Almost always the families that call me say, “How can I know what I need before I need it?”

Some of them will have family members nearby or visiting, but don’t yet know how it will go to have those relatives playing a role they’ve never played before – how much is too much to ask, will there be judgment and unsolicited advice, are they the type who will show up last minute or need things planned out in advance? Others don’t have family nearby at all. Some feel certain their partner will play the supportive role, intuiting their needs and the baby’s needs and sharing the load. Others are certain their partner won’t, and others don’t know until they know. Mostly, none of them know what to expect from themselves and their baby or babies. Will they do well with sleep deprivation or will it alter their mood and resiliency? Will they get a baby with an easier temperament or one that is higher need? Will they want time alone with baby, or will they want company, and how much and how often…?

Kathryn KeenerWhat to Expect When You CAN’T Know What to Expect: Planning for Life with a Newborn
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Borrowing Sugar – Ahem, WINE – from the Neighbors

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Remember when borrowing sugar from the neighbors was a thing? I actually remember my mom sending me next door with a measuring cup to get ¼ cup of sugar. Once, it may have been vinegar.

Well, I’m not ashamed to admit, in my version of adulthood, it was wine (come to think of it, that’s kind of like a sugary vinegar now, isn’t it?). Not only had it become less common, maybe less acceptable to show up at the neighbors asking for stuff (I think it is seen as too intrusive, at least in the NY neighborhood where we lived) but I went ahead and upped the ante from sugar to wine.

Kathryn KeenerBorrowing Sugar – Ahem, WINE – from the Neighbors
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NOT Your Mother’s Mothers’ Day

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  • NOT Your Mother’s Mothers’ Day

Do you feel it?

I think the way we look at moms is shifting…

I think there is greater recognition for what we do. For the parts that are tangible and the parts that are not. For what we sacrifice and don’t get back, even if yes, there are sweet rewards. For the costs – to our bodies, our careers, our psyches when we wonder if we are doing right by our children. (Approaching discipline in an age-appropriate way? Over scheduling or under scheduling them? Leaving them too much or helicopter parenting? Respecting their preferences or coddling???) I think, for a few reasons including those below, we might be approaching a cultural shift towards a climate where we honor and revere mothers for all they do. Where we stand in solidarity with any mother who feels judged, gypped, or unsupported. Where we elevate the status of motherhood to where it is consistent with the significance of bearing life, nurturing bodies, spirits and minds, to where it includes acknowledgement of giving up any chance at autonomy or predictability, any chance of being able to make one decision that doesn’t hinge on four or five others, any chance of ever feeling like we’ve mastered anything for a good 18+ years, or probably forever.

Kathryn KeenerNOT Your Mother’s Mothers’ Day
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5 Reasons NOT to Join a Doula Agency

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I knew starting a postpartum doula agency might raise some eyebrows in the doula community. I wasn’t sure why, exactly, other than the fact that “new and different” tends to raise eyebrows. But wow did I come across a GOLDMINE of reasons just the other day, on a rant on social media from a well-respected doula in our area. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not taking her post as if it were directed at me. But she has quite the following (for good reason – she has worked long and hard supporting and educating doulas and families), and so while the post might not be directed at me, I don’t think there’s any way around the fact that she has just used her influence in a way that directly disrespects me, my business, and my independent contractors (agency doulas). So, whether I like it or not, I feel obligated to respond.

Kathryn Keener5 Reasons NOT to Join a Doula Agency
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Childcare at Work: “It really is not just making a living, it really is making a life.”

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This is so important for all of us to watch. While paid leave is also an important part of the puzzle, HERE is an idea that doesn’t have to get government approval or cost taxpayer money. Parents are going to pay for childcare somewhere, why not 1) reduce their commute time by having it at the work location, 2) increase their access to their children 3) contribute to the success of breastfeeding with such access in many cases,… and the benefits go on an on as described in this video. In fact, many parents would likely pay a higher rate for these benefits, and many employers, if they looked at how much turnover from the highly educated female workforce is technically costing them, would be willing to incur some cost to provide such a benefit.

Kathryn KeenerChildcare at Work: “It really is not just making a living, it really is making a life.”
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Luna Cookies: A Healthy, One-handed Snack for Parents of Newborns – Courtesy of One Moon Doula Services

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One Moon Doula “Luna Cookies”
recipe and photos courtesy of Megan Ameral

Our Luna Cookies are the perfect, one-handed snack! Sweet oat cookies filled with dried blueberries (full of antioxidants such as vitamin A and C) and nutty cacao nibs packed with magnesium and calcium. Little bites of cinnamon and creamy coconut manna make these a decadent treat every family should have packed in their freezer. The perfect balance of healthy and delightful –pack a ziplock to throw in your diaper bag to go, or crumble on ice cream (dairy free if that’s your thing) for the rest of the family. Brewer’s yeast is optional but can support your breastfeeding goals. Ask your postpartum doula to make you a batch, they are a sweet “pick me up” to any Mamma’s day!

Kathryn KeenerLuna Cookies: A Healthy, One-handed Snack for Parents of Newborns – Courtesy of One Moon Doula Services
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The Postpartum Doulas of One Moon Doula Services, LLC

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Last week I held the first team meeting with One Moon Doula’s newest postpartum doulas.

I’m so impressed.

Selecting a team at this time in my life, at almost 40 years old, couldn’t have been better timing. Combining my life experience and work experience with a renewed trust in my gut, confidence in my judgement… led me to know almost instantly who would be a good fit – not just for my agency, and for our clients, but for each other as colleagues and teammates.

Kathryn KeenerThe Postpartum Doulas of One Moon Doula Services, LLC
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The Three (Actually Four) Reasons I’m Opening a Doula Agency

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I’ve had such a positive response – from parents, providers, and doulas – about my plan to open an agency of postpartum doulas to serve the families in North County, San Diego. It’s a wonderful affirmation of the need, as seen by all of the stakeholders.

I’ve also had some questions. Most are just to understand better. Some come tinged with a hint of suspicion (of what I’m not sure), or skepticism.

So I’ll just lay it all out there.

I’m doing it for the parents.

Parents who don’t exactly know what a postpartum doula is, but they DO know they need help. Think about the amount of time that must go into googling the term, surfing around on various sources (that are also highly variable in terms of quality and accuracy). Then, once they’ve figured out if it’s something they want to pursue, the time that goes into researching each particular doula in their area (they’ll also come across quite a bit of variety there). Then, they’ll have to narrow it down to a few, and ideally make time to meet with each one.

Kathryn KeenerThe Three (Actually Four) Reasons I’m Opening a Doula Agency
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Tips for Feeling a Little Less Lonely with a Newborn

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As I talk about in this post, Jennifer Senior in All Joy and No Fun tells us that women’s contact with people in their networks shrinks in the early child-rearing years, and that a study in 2009 found that 80 percent of mothers surveyed believed they didn’t have enough friends and 58% felt lonely. Here’s a list of just a few simple steps you can take to make your time with a newborn less lonely:

Kathryn KeenerTips for Feeling a Little Less Lonely with a Newborn
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