Your birth space matters – why you should surround yourself with people who support you

Think about the people in your life who love and support you unconditionally. Who would be there for you, with your best interests at heart, in a crisis. In a time of joy. In a time of sorrow.

Hopefully, you have a handful of people in your life who fill that role. Human beings need each other for love, support and friendship and that is always very apparent during life’s transitions – like giving birth.

Birth is a transformative experience that can have a lasting impact on your life. And your birth space matters greatly. Who you have with you in your birth space is an important decision and sometimes, it isn’t easy.

Some people in your life may want to be in your birth space, but they may not always be a good fit. Maybe your mom makes you nervous, or your mother-in-law rubs you the wrong way. Families are excited to be present with a new life enters the world, but that presence may not be the best thing for the parents-to-be.

A birth space that feels off, is stressful or has other issues can impact a woman’s ability to labor. Feeling relaxed, safe and supported is the best way to give birth and who you surround yourself during the process is crucial to a good experience.

Here are some tips for creating a relaxing and supportive birth space:

Hire a doula

Of course, we ARE doulas so we fully believe that hiring a doula for your birth is one of the best ways to achieve the kind of birth you want and deserve. We are there to solely support and advocate for you and your partner. We can make sure your wishes are carried out and that you are fully able to concentrate on delivering your baby. We are trained, experienced and knowledgeable and we don’t have any issue telling pushy family members to back off (in a nice way, of course!).

Talk to your partner

Have a frank and open discussion about your needs in a birth space is a healthy way to set expectations and boundaries. Also, after you have a baby, those expectations and boundaries become even more important as you bond and grow with your new baby. Becoming a family of three (or more!) is a big transition and it should be all about you in the first few weeks. Having these talks now – before baby arrives – is a great decision.

Talk to your health care provider

If you are having a hospital birth, it’s a good idea to talk to your provider about who can and will be in your room as you labor. It’s different at every hospital and sometimes, there can be multiple nurses, medical students and other staff present. It’s OK to say no to these things and set the tone for a peaceful birth with as few interruptions as possible.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we are honored to help create relaxing, safe and supportive birth spaces for our clients. Contact us today if you have questions or concerns.

 

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Diana Abdallah

We are pleased to introduce Diana!  Diana has joined MDDS as a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula.  She is very active in the birth world supporting families physically and through her writing on Detroit Moms Blog, amongst other things.

She launched into family doula care after having had personal experience with postpartum depression and anxiety herself.  Diana knows first hand the difficulties and challenges that many new families struggle with as they transition to their new normal.  She is motivated to improve the experiences of the new families she works with!  Read on to learn more about Diana.

All about her family: I’ve been married since 2009, to a supportive, loving, hard worker, and handsome husband Mike.  I’m a mom to a sweet, kind, and crazy boy, Vincent (aka Vinny), and newly rescued a fur-baby Goldendoodle, Noah.

I love getting amazing baby snuggles and connecting with families of all kinds. – Diana Abdallah

 


If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear?

Bruno Mars (#mancrush)

What are your favorite resources for expecting parents/new families?
I recommend kellymom.com for all breastfeeding questions/concerns and thewonderweeks.com for developmental mental leaps.

Passionate. Caring. Supportive.

What is your philosophy for parenting & supporting women and their families through their postpartum transition?
Unconditional support regardless of your parenting style and path.

Who is your role model? I am a bit torn between PINK and Ellen. (MDDS LOVES Ellen too!)

Give us your best piece of advice to expecting parents/new families:
Schedule date nights, ASAP. Once you learn to get out without the baby in the early months it is easier than to start when they get bigger.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

You will love having Diana supporting your new family!  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Do you know the signs?

If you are pregnant, or if you have been pregnant before, you have probably heard of preeclampsia. It’s a condition that can occur during pregnancy and maybe you or someone you love had it.

Preeclampsia can be an extremely serious pregnancy condition that can happen at any time. There are usually warning signs, however, and moms-to-be who get regular prenatal care are generally screened for them at doctor visits.

So, what is it? It’s a hypertensive condition that affects mom AND baby and occurs in 5-8% of all pregnancies, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation. It usually occurs after the 20-week mark of pregnancy and it can occur up to six weeks AFTER delivery. The foundation estimates that hypertensive disorders in pregnancy like preeclampsia cause 76,000 maternal and 500,000 fetal deaths annually.

It’s important to know the warning signs, even though some women with preeclampsia have no symptoms. To learn more, read on:

High blood pressure

One of the main signs of preeclampsia is high blood pressure. You can’t tell if you have high blood pressure; it has to be measured by a medical professional. That’s why it is so very important to have proper prenatal care.

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Proteinuria

This is a fancy word for “protein in your pee.” And it’s also why your doctor has you pee in a cup during prenatal visits. Your doctor should be checking the protein levels in your urine during visits, to see if the level is changing.

Headaches and nausea

These can be common pregnancy symptoms OR they can be signs of preeclampsia. It’s hard to tell, right? If you have a migraine-like headache that lasts a long time or is exceptionally painful or changes in your vision, call your doctor.

Also, if you have vomiting that happens after the 20-week mark and comes on suddenly, call your OBGYN or midwife. It could be something as simple as food poisoning or a virus but it’s best to be checked out.

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Swelling

Many women swell during pregnancy, especially in their feet and for the most part, this is an annoying and normal part of the experience. However, if you have swelling in other areas like your face or hands or excessive swelling in your feet, call your doctor.

Pain

Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, especially as baby grows and moves. However, if you have stomach or shoulder pain that comes on suddenly, it could be a warning sign of preeclampsia.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We want you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy!

 

World Book Day Blog | Why reading to your baby is so very important

Today, April 23, 2018, is World Book Day, a worldwide celebration of books and reading. If you have a baby, you might already be reading to her. Or, maybe you haven’t started yet.

Reading to your children, starting in infancy, is so very important. Even the tiniest little babies can benefit from being read to daily. It’s NEVER too early to start reading to your baby!

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In fact, starting the habit of daily (or nightly) reading with your baby sets your family up for a lifetime of reading. It also creates lasting memories and is bonding time.

Here are four ways reading to your baby is so very important. Read on:

Memories

Maybe you remember snuggling up to a parent or grandparent and reading a beloved story. If you are a reader yourself, thank your parents! You probably have fond memories of reading and being read to and starting a habit of reading to your baby will create new memories for your family to enjoy. Don’t forget to snap a selfie or two!

Language development

Reading to even the smallest of babies can help them develop language skills. It’s true! Studies show that children who are read to as infants have better brain development: They know more words and have improved math skills. Babies need to hear thousands of words every day; reading is one way to accomplish that goal.

A bonus of reading to babies: You can read anything you like? The news, your favorite book, the back of the cereal box. It’s all good. It’s the sharing of words and language skills that matter most.  And let’s face it, soon enough they’ll have preferences and you’ll be reading Goodnight Moon for the 11,468th time.

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Legacy

If you read to your baby, he will likely become a reader himself. Even if babies can’t understand the words, they begin to start understanding language by hearing you read. Your voice sets your child up to read independently one day. If you watch closely, you’ll probably see him responding to the rhythm and tone of your words. It also sets them up to think that reading is a fun, enjoyable activity.

Bonding

Reading a book can be a great way to calm your baby and have a relaxing moment together. Sometimes life can get so busy, but you can always sit down, cuddle your child and read for a few minutes to reconnect.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We love books and reading! Share your favorite book with us in the comments.

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Beth Smith

In this weeks blog, we introduce Beth!  Beth has joined our team as an experienced Labor doula.  We are so glad she’s with us.  She is well loved, fun, and super easy to talk to.  Keep reading to learn more about Beth.

What is your doula “path” story?
I began my journey as a teacher working with infants and families in a childcare setting.  Supporting new moms and babies was something that came naturally to me.  I completed my bachelors degree in early childhood education in 2004 at Rochester College.  I journeyed down the path of being a doula in 2005 after a friend suggested that I be present for the birth of her son as her labor support person.  After doing a little research about what a doula is and what one does, I joined my friend for her son’s birth.  It was truly amazing!  Afterwards I knew that being a doula was definitely my calling and I haven’t looked back.

My family is AWESOME!  I’ve been with my high school sweetheart since 1997.  We’ve since married and have the pleasure of raising 4 beautiful, spirited daughters.  We also have the luxury of having my mom live with us full time since her retirement.  Our pets include a Flemish Giant (a breed of rabbit) named Franklin and our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, named Ladybug.

I love supporting women and families as they transition into parenthood.  There is nothing else more moving than supporting a new life’s entrance into the world. Being a part of a lifelong memory is something I feel honored to be a part of.  – Beth Smith


If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear?

Top Pop amongst other things!  I love listening to music that you can sing and dance to. The 80’s, 90’s and today’s best music – I’ll listen to it all!  Things I have in my play list include: Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Radiohead, Muse, Pink, The Black Keys, Twenty One Pilots, and Luke Bryan (yes, even country).

What are some positive comments made by others about you?
That I have the ability to remain calm and serene in the face of chaos.

Caring, Warm, Confident

What are you reading now?
I just finished reading Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood.  It was a fast read, and quite entertaining.

What is your philosophy for birth & supporting women and their partners through labor?
I believe what families need most is nurturing and gentle support.  I believe that each labor and birth is a unique and miraculous experience and the emerging family is the center and focus of that experience.  While the course of labor and birth is unpredictable, each family should be able to choose for themselves how they would like to respond to it – where they feel safe, who they want to deliver their baby, who else they want with them and whether they want to use pain medications and other medical interventions.

Favorite Show: This is Us
Favorite Vacation: We try to go to Topsail Beach, NC every other summer.  My family has also taken a liking to Grand Haven, MI.
Favorite Food: Pizza, anything with buffalo sauce and cake.
Favorite Hobby: Reading, Gardening, Crafting

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
What is this “day off” you are speaking of and where can I find it?  I enjoy keeping busy, starting my day at the gym before my kiddos are awake and sneaking a cup of coffee before they’ve started their day.  My dream “day off” would be sleeping in a bit, reading a good book in a quiet café, and getting a massage.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to clone myself so I can be in 2 places at one time.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

You will love having Beth as part of your birth team!  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Why Doulas Are Just Like “Sadness”

Did you watch the Disney movie “Inside Out”?  There is one scene that as a doula resonates with me.   The character Sadness sits down next to Bing Bong after his magical rocket is lost forever.  Bing Bong is clearly upset.  Joy tries to cheer him up.  But Sadness… Sadness listens to him.  Just listens.   She sees him upset and starts with, “I’m sorry that they took your rocket.  They took something that you loved. It’s gone…..forever. ”  Then as Bing Bong opens up she asks questions about the fun he and Riley had on that rocket.   Sadness lets Bing Bong feel his feelings.  By letting him feel his sadness and talk about it she validated his feelings.  A warm embrace and then Bing Bong felt a little better and was able to continue the journey.  film (1)

This is important to doulas.  This is a role we strive to provide.  Not to be “Sadness” per se but to be support that hears you .  We don’t believe you should be a certain way, we just want you to be.  We do not tell you how to feel, we let you feel.

This transcends our doula life and is useful in all relationships.  Parenting, friendships, relatives.  Sadness has it right:

Listen.

Validate.

Support.

That movie has such great lessons to all ages on communication and emotions.  We thank Sadness for being her.  Let us support you and be your listening ear!

 

 

Families Experiencing Loss and Infertility | Resources

From the moment you get a positive test, your dreams and hopes for this new baby comes to life in thoughts of the future, planning, and expectation.  On the other side, you may never get a positive test, or you have had children and now it isn’t working; that all comes with it’s own weight of disappointment and discouragement.

Miscarriage, loss, and infertility are trying times for all families.  When we come face to face with our deepest feelings, it can actually be a lonely place and feel like no one can truly relate.  Many will try to cheer you up, give positive spins on the situation and say well intentioned statements to you because they want to try to help you feel happy again.  However, dismissing or shoving away our feelings doesn’t help us deal with our pain.

Your feelings are real.

…they are valid, and it’s completely ok to have them, talk about them, & express them.  It’s all part of the process in coming through to the other side of the darkness.  Below you will find lists of helpful resources when going through such an event in the Metro Detroit area.

Bereavement/Loss/Miscarriage In-Person Groups/Websites –

Counselors –

  • Embracing Life Counseling – Laurette Lipman
  • Laurel Hicks

Books –

  • A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby’s Life is Expected to Be Brief by Amy Kuebelbeck
  • Celebrating Pregnancy Again: Restoring the lost joys of pregnancy after the loss of a child by Franchesca Cox
  • Not Pregnant by Cathie Quillet (Infertility)
  • Sufficient Grace by Kelley Gerken
  • Empty Arms: Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Infant Loss by Sherokee Ilse
  • I’ll Hold You In Heaven by Jack Hayford

Online support recommendations from fellow moms we know:

  • Resolve – The National Infertility Association
  • The Bump miscarriage/pregnancy loss board
  • Facebook group: Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Infant Loss – 3.4K members
  • Metro Detroit Share

Grieving family members usually find it helpful to continue talking about the situation as much as needed, as often as needed and allowing themselves to feel the full range of their emotions.  It’s ok to be both happy and sad at the same time, there is nothing wrong in that.

It can also be healing to do something special to honor your baby like a dedicated memorial stone at the zoo, planting a tree, create a blog or a website, celebrating birthdays, holding on to mementos, also wearing pins, getting tattoos, or applying car stickers of remembrance can help to heal as well.

Sending out virtual hugs those of you in this spot, dealing with life’s unfairness and processing that our worlds will forever be changed or missing something.

If you have something you feel would be beneficial to add to the list above, please let us know by commenting below.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

If you have any questions or needs, we are here for you & will do our best to help.  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Six ways Daylight Savings Time changes after you become a parent

Remember Daylight Savings Time before parenting? It probably barely registered. Maybe you were tired for a day or something vague and unremarkable.

But now, as a parent, you have little minions who rise with the roosters demanding food, fun and you, you, you to be awake, awake, awake. There’s not enough coffee in the world to save you now. Luckily, the vast majority of parents do end up surviving Daylight Savings Time, so don’t worry.

While you may or may not grab a nap, you can handle Daylight Savings Time like a boss this year. Just don’t forget to set your clocks ahead at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 11, 2018. Have fun springing forward.

To help you with the looooonnnngggg day ahead, here are six ways Daylight Savings Time changes after you become a parent. Read on:

Exhaustion

Maybe you felt a mild tiredness in your pre-parenting days after Daylight Savings Time. The delicate yawn, the extra cappuccino, sipped at brunch, the cozy afternoon nap. Ahh, yes. We remember. Those days are gone.

DST 1

Scheduling

Before your sweet little bundle, you probably had a vague bedtime or routine. But now, you likely live and breathe by the schedule. Naps, meals, bedtime: You need to stick with it. Daylight Savings Time blows that all up, leaving you back at square one.

Chaos

Let’s face it: You now know that an hour of sleep is priceless. And losing it can cause chaos in your home. When do we eat? When do we nap? WHO KNOWS? And overtired and cranky kids can be hard to deal with, especially if you are a new parent. Luckily, if you need overnight care, we can help so reach out!

Longest Day Ever

There are So. Many. Hours. to fill after Daylight Savings Time. Are there even that many episodes of Paw Patrol? Do you want to find out? Before kids, you probably used that extra hour to have a cocktail, or read a book. Nope. Those days are gone.

It lasts … and lasts

It generally takes about a week for your kids to adjust to Daylight Savings Time. Yes, we know. It isn’t fair. Before you had the tiny humans, you probably were tired for a day, maybe two. But it didn’t drag on and on…and on.

DST 3

Mo’ light = mo’ problems

With the days getting longer, you are likely to face an even greater push back at bedtime. Kids are smart: It’s still light out! We can’t possibly go to bed yet! This was never an issue for you before. You only had one person to put to bed: Yourself. And you were easy compared to these masters of negotiation.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We have young children too, so we’ll be in the trenches with all parents this weekend. May your coffee be strong, and your wi-fi signal stronger. We can do this!

The importance of writing down your birth story

Every mother has a unique birth story.

Whether your birth was perfect, less-than-ideal, calm, hectic, emotional or anticlimactic (hey, it happens!), the story of the day you became a mother is a tale you will tell over and over for the rest of your life.

It’s the story of the day you became a mom; a family. A day when you met that precious little baby who had been kicking you from within for nine months. When you found out what it’s like to hold love in your arms and how strong and brave you truly are. When you conquered fear, pain, stress and endured – to create and bring forth life.

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We love birth stories; it’s why we do what we do. We know how much of an honor it is to be a part of YOUR birth story and we love watching families being born.

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we believe writing down your birth story (even if you never show a soul) is something every mother (and perhaps partner – it’s so interesting to see each perspective) should do. It’s a part of your amazing journey.

Even if you aren’t a writer, putting words to paper about the day you met the love of your life is something we should all do. Not sure where to start or what to say? Luckily, you are the storyteller. This is your tale.

Whether it’s sad, funny, embarrassing, disappointing or joyful, it belongs to you. Your story MATTERS.

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Writing your story might be difficult but it can also be healing, cathartic and moving. It’s also a way for you to remember and capture this special time, creating something you will cherish for years to come. The details you think you’ll remember forever will fade over time.  It’s a part of your family history. One day, when your baby is having a baby, you might feel compelled to share it. Think of what a gift that will be.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We are honored to be a part of your wonderful birth story!

Three things you need to know about hiring overnight care

As a new parent, you might think you want to hire a night nurse, or perhaps someone told you to get a night nanny.

But did you know, a postpartum and infant care doula is that – and so much more! As postpartum and infant care doulas, we are trained and certified to care for your whole family.

It isn’t always easy to get the sleep you need with a new baby (or even an older child), but luckily, we can help. If you have ever wished for an extra set of hands at night – to comfort your newborn or soothe your toddler – that is what postpartum and infant care doulas do on an overnight shift.

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we are trained to help with your family’s nighttime needs. Want to chat while you are nursing? Need help with a restless baby? Want someone there to support you or your partner? Want to get as much sleep as possible? We can do it all. We are chameleons, really: We can adapt and serve whatever your family’s nighttime needs are, tonight and tomorrow.

It’s a sacred trust to be supporting parents during their nighttime parenting journey, and we don’t take it lightly. We’re sharing three things you need to know about hiring a postpartum and infant care doula. Read on:

Who needs overnight care?

Really, any parent could likely use an extra set of hands from time to time, but most of our work is for new parents. We can work with newborns, multiples (twins and more!) and older siblings. We can tend to the baby while you soothe your older child. We can soothe the older child while you tend to baby. We can give baby a bottle so you can sleep all night, or we can bring baby to you if you are nursing. We can bring you what you need so your nighttime process is easy and swift – meaning you can get back to sleep as soon as possible.

Our goal is to support your family in whatever way you need. If you hit a wall with sleep, call us. We can help.

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Where do we sleep?

A place for sleep must be provided, but really, we can rest just about anywhere (we don’t usually do too much sleeping!). A comfy couch and a cozy blanket work fine, as does an air mattress or – if you have it – a guest room. We rest when the baby rests. We also work to protect everyone’s boundaries and privacy needs by establishing trust. Working with you at night is a privilege. We know that. We do our best to make it supportive, easy and respectful.

What are your hours?

Generally, we can be at your home anytime, but most clients utilize our services from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. Upon arrival, we take time to talk about how things are going and how your baby (or older child) is doing. We make a plan on how we will handle the night and address any issues or concerns. It isn’t cookie-cutter. We adapt to what you need on that night.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

If you have been considering hiring overnight care, we’d love to chat. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.