Self-Care

Five ways to practice gratitude in your family this month

In November, it’s easy to be grateful: For family, friends and food.

It comes naturally to practice gratitude during this month of Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean the gratefulness has to stop once November ends. A family gratitude practice is something that is easy to start in November and it’s a great idea to carry it over into the rest of the year.

We think once you start practicing daily gratitude, you and your family will find so many ways to celebrate life’s little blessings day in and day out.

Here are five ways to practice gratitude in your family this month (and every month, really!). Read on:

Be a role model

If you want grateful kids, you need to be a grateful parent. Little eyes and ears are watching you, so make a point to find something to be grateful for every day. The saying goes, “Not every day is a good day, but there is something good in every day.” When you find yourself getting overwhelmed or upset, try to find something good. A hot cup of coffee, a new pair of socks, a smooch from your partner.

Quality time

Everyone likes quality time and one on one attention, right? And that’s especially true for little kids. Take a few minutes each day to simply focus on your child and his or her unique skills, interests and needs. We know; you are busy. Maybe bedtime is a good time to reconnect. Ask your child to tell you one good thing about the day and then tell your child one good thing about your day!

Good deeds

Sometimes, we can get stuck in a cycle of stress and busyness, but marking aside time (especially during the holiday season) to do a good deed or a random act of kindness with your kids can make a big impact. It can be as simple as buying someone’s coffee in line behind you or feeding a parking meter. But when you show your children how to be kind and think of others – even strangers – it fosters a sense of gratitude and blessings in your family, too.

Write it down

If your children can’t write yet, that’s OK! Sometimes, keeping track of the blessings in our lives is a very visual way to see how good we have it – and that can spur gratefulness. You don’t have to do it every day, but try keeping a gratitude jar or journal this year with your kids and then look at it next November. We bet you’ll love going over all the fun memories!

Volunteer

If your children are old enough, consider volunteering your time this holiday season. This can be a great way to show older children a different side of life and let them share their gifts with others.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

We wish you and your family a wonderful season of gratitude and blessings!

Four reasons it’s a good idea to consume your placenta!

If you are pregnant, you might be planning lots of things: The nursery, whether to breastfeed, bottle feed or both, or what type of stroller to buy.

You should add one more thing to your list: Whether or not to have your placenta processed into capsules for consumption and have tincture made.

Record scratch.

Come again?

Yes, we said process your placenta! As doulas, we know it might seem strange to recommend doing anything with your placenta – heck, if you’ve had a baby before, you might have not even SEEN your placenta after giving birth. But we firmly believe in the potential benefits of placenta consumption (aka placentophagia) and guess what? We are trained in safely encapsulating YOUR placenta using our No-Doubt Policy, so we can assist and handle all of the details after your amazing birth.

So why should you consider utilizing your placenta in this way? We have four good reasons. Read on:

#1: It can help with postpartum recovery

Studies have shown that placentophagia can help balance hormones and curb postpartum depression. It can also help tone and contract your uterus AND be used like a supplement to get back the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients lost during pregnancy and birth.

#2: We are the only mammals that don’t routinely do it

Every other mammal – dogs, cats, donkeys, whales – eat their placenta after birth. There’s got to be a natural and healthy reason for that, right? The animal kingdom is seldom wrong.

#3: It’s not gross!

A properly encapsulated placenta isn’t gross. It’s just like swallowing a pill or vitamin. You don’t have to do it yourself: We can help! We have extensive training in the proper handling and care of your placenta, so you can rest assured it’ll be done correctly and safely.

Some people believe that placenta consumption can help moms who plan to nurse with healthy milk production. There are a variety of anecdotal stories in support of this, it really can’t hurt to try!

#4: It can boost milk production

Some people believe that placenta consumption can help moms who plan to nurse with healthy milk production. There are a variety of anecdotal stories in support of this, it really can’t hurt to try!

Metro Detroit Doula Services

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we pride ourselves on taking care of women before birth, after birth and every step of the way on this path called motherhood. If you have questions about placenta encapsulation, we’ve got answers.

 

Tips To Get Through The Holiday Parties With A New Baby

As the holidays are upon us there are many opportunities for gatherings and parties.  These can be overwhelming to a new baby and it’s new parent.  Here are some tips to get through it:

 1) First determine if the outing is appropriate to you and your baby.

  • How old is baby?  Brand spanking new?  Has the cord fallen off and healed?  Did your doctor or midwife offer any suggestions when baby is ready to be out and about?
  • What about you?  Are you still healing and recovering?  Be gentle on yourself.  Even just sitting and chatting can be draining.  Decide if the activity will create too much stress.  Resting and healing can go a long way and you’ll feel better faster than if you do too much too fast.
  • Will your family or friends be helpful to you?  Sometimes these gatherings can be a time to get help with baby tasks and it is refreshing to get out of the house and talk to other adults you haven’t seen in a while.

 
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2) Prepare and pack all the things.

Assess how long you will likely be at the party and add some more time on to get there.  Then make a list of the the things you may need during that time.  Some are listed below:

  • Diaper change necessities
  • Feeding items: nursing cover, formula, bottles, etc.
  • Pacifier if being used
  • At least one extra outfit
  • Burp cloths
  • Swaddling blankets
  • Wrap/carrier- *Babywearing is great to keep baby close if you don’t want too many people touching your baby*

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3)  It is not selfish to focus on YOUR family and what you need.

If the holiday party feels like too much it is OK to pass or leave earlier than planned.  Don’t worry about upsetting Aunt Sally.  Your baby will be just as adorable the next time you see everyone!

  • Do what makes you feel the best
    • If visiting sounds fun, you feel healthy, baby is ready to go out, then go and enjoy!
    • If visiting sounds draining, you feel too tired or weak, allow yourself to stay home.  Your health matters most.

Metro Detroit Doula Services hopes your holiday season is filled with love.  Our Doula services make for lovely gift ideas!  Call us today 586-960-5993!  For more tips about life with babies check us out on Instagram and Facebook!

My Postpartum Body

Guest Blog by: Marie Lang, Postpartum and Infant Care Doula & Postpartum Placenta Specialist

Even before I had kids, I’ve never really been happy about the way my body looked.  Every time I see pictures of myself from the past, I’m always surprised at how I wish my body still looked like that NOW, but at the time the photo was taken I was unhappy with the way I looked, because I always have been.

I wish I could talk to that girl and tell her how beautiful she is, and to enjoy the body she has in that moment.

I’m really not entirely sure why I’ve always had this negative self image.  My family and friends have always been supportive and loving of me, no matter what my body looked like.  I suppose it’s likely the portrayal of “healthy” female bodies in the media.

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-Pregnant with my first child <3

I became pregnant with my first child when I was 23 years old. This was the very first time in my life that I was happy with the way my body looked, oddly enough. Even though my belly was expanding exponentially to grow a baby, I was in absolute love with it.  All of the sudden I could celebrate my big belly and I felt absolutely radiant.  I gave birth to my son and the next 7 years were a very hard time.  I dove head first into motherhood and completely lost any sense of self in the process.  I became pregnant again with my daughter when I was 30, and again was able to love and embrace my pregnant curves.

Then Postpartum Depression happened.

The first two years of my daughter’s life were absolute hell.

How could I have so much love for my new little family when I hated myself so much?

Would I ever be comfortable in my own skin? Not only did I gain weight, but I didn’t recognize my postpartum body at all.

Pregnancy definitely changed my body in a way I wasn’t prepared for.

It was around this time that I was seeing a lot of the “Body Positive” movement on Facebook.  This is obviously a great message to send!  I saw all sorts of women of all shapes and sizes totally embracing their curves, or lack thereof, with no apologies!  While I understand the intent of this movement, it was actually very hurtful for me to see at the time.  When I saw women coming out and saying “I love my curves!”, all I could think to myself was, “But I don’t love my curves. I am not positive about anything right now.”  And then there were the people that were telling me “Look at what your body did! It grew and birthed two babies! You should marvel at what your body did and not be so hard on yourself!”

I know that those people were trying to be supportive and helpful, but now not only was I depressed about my body, I felt guilty that I couldn’t just get over it and love my body the way I was apparently supposed to.

Today, I have emerged out of the Postpartum Depression fog. I have lost a ton of weight and gained some back too. I have body positive days and I have body negative days. The negative days are still typically more frequent than the positive days, but I recognize that I am a work in progress. I don’t particularly love my body right now-and that’s OK. The important thing is that I love the person that I am, and not what I look like. I realize now that it’s OK for those to be separate things.

GWL 2017 fam

-Vacation this winter.

I can love myself while not necessarily loving the way I look. My self worth is not measured by my outward appearance. 

I am sharing my story so that people can see that this is normal. It is ok to be disappointed in your postpartum body. What’s important to understand is that no matter how you feel about your body, it does not define who you are.

**Metro Detroit Doula Services has Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas who can help with life after baby is here.  This helps ease the daily stresses and allows the family extra rest.  We now offer workshops and private classes focusing on restoring your core muscles and pelvic floor after pregnancy and childbirth. Contact us today for more information**

What’s Wrong With Me? | Feelings of Infertility

Disclaimer: I’m completely grateful for the babies we have been blessed with.  I am allowed to feel a range of emotion as I struggle with the difficulties of secondary infertility.  Just want to be clear. ♥

I remember it well.  The idea of becoming a mother had always been in my “one-day” dreams of a big family.  I was 26.  I remember the excitement, the anticipation, the uncertainty if we were really ready to become parents.  I remember thinking, this felt special and different and we could seriously have just started a new life!  How exciting it all was!

Then for those of us who aren’t so lucky to get pregnant at the drop of a hat, I began experiencing the bummed emotion that washed over me when my cycle would return at the end of every month.  What was once a let’s just see what happens attitude soon turned to a this isn’t as easy as we thought it would be worry.

After reading up on becoming pregnant and other’s experiences the, “Do we want to try for a certain sex or birth month?” discussions turned into prayers for a baby of any sex, due any month.

I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility an excellent book written by Toni Weschler.  It was insightful, informative, taught me a lot about my own body, how to chart, and is now in our library to stay.  With lots of prayers, charts, temperature taking, ovulation sticks, sex and funky positions among other things, after 17 months of trying we FINALLY conceived.  I finally stood there holding a positive pregnancy test in hand – shaking.  I was on cloud nine!

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All the plumbing worked!  We delivered a healthy baby girl.

Surely, trying for baby number two would be easier because why wouldn’t it be?!

Things started out the same way going from nonchalant to intensive focus.  I read more and looked into other issues.  This time after 24 months of trying turned into charting, it worked!  Some would say all the sex is great – which was enjoyed mostly, but for those of us who have been there you can’t help but start to wonder,

What is wrong with me?  And why have I been worried about preventing all those years?  This is not as easy as I thought!

It’s heartbreaking and it sucks.  You stand between the thoughts of maybe it worked this month, to not wanting to get your hopes up in fear of being let down.

siblings
We had our second baby, a son, on a beautiful autumn day.  Well, we’ve been trying yet again and it hasn’t been any easier, and it hasn’t been any quicker, and I even got pregnant and miscarried this past year, to which they said I would be more fertile within the next 6 months.  And still, we are not pregnant.

I’m quickly approaching my 40’s and I really do feel like my clock is ticking.

I feel at a loss.  I feel like it is so out of my control.  And I feel like I’m in limbo waiting which direction my life will go.  Why can’t I just be like those women who get looked at the wrong way and get pregnant?  Why isn’t it working?  Is it something I didn’t do? Is it the endometriosis I never had officially confirmed?  Is it something else I don’t know about?  Maybe it’s just not meant to be.

Way back in the beginning I proudly announced to my OBGYN that we were trying.  Her response to me was,

Great!  If you don’t get pregnant in 3 years come see me.

I’ve both relaxed in this statement and become resentful of it.  I understand it’s normal to not happen right away, there are many factors that may come into play.  I also understand not everyone has 3 years and not everyone is willing to wait.  The tricky part about second hand infertility is that it worked before!!!… why not now?   In our case 3 times.  Upon research, apparently 60% of infertility cases are secondary, so we are not alone in our struggles.  And like many things revolving around women’s bodies, people just don’t talk about it.

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Amy Hammer

By Amy Hammer, CEO & Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Doula Services

After having a fabulous doula for her own birth over 5 years ago, Amy Hammer decided to join her gifts of compassion and service with her love for families and become a business owner & doula herself.  Amy and Andrea’s collaboration together has been a complete blessing.  Together they support families, support each other, and laugh a lot!  Amy is certified with ProDoula as a Labor Doula and a Postpartum Placenta Specialist, she is also pre-certified as a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula.

Amy Hammer, Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Doula Services, Certified Labor Doula and Postpartum Placenta Specialist, and Pre-Certified Postpartum & Infant Care Doula

Tell us about your family.  “I’m happily married over 14 years to a super tall 6’8″ husband who I grew up 4 miles away from most of my life and never even knew it, attending rival high schools.  We have a daughter & son who are growing like weeds.  Our animals include a 16 year old grandma grey tabby cat & a black and white Shih-tzu-mix puppy who is exactly that… a puppy!”

What do you love about being a doula?  “I love helping!  I love that my work assists families in enjoying their biggest life moments & helping them realize their dreams.  I was born to help & care for others, it feels so completely natural to me.”

“Having a Doula was fantastic.  I will recommend her to all of my pregnant friends!  I can’t believe the patience and nurturing spirit it must take to do this job.  I can’t imagine how my labor would have gone without her there – it would NOT have been the same at all.” – Labor Doula Client

What are your favorite resources for expecting parents/new families?  “Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Business of Being Born, Birth Without Fear, Active Labor by Janet Blaskas, Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel, Nursing Mother’s Companion, Happiest Baby on the Block, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  The list could go on…”

What are you reading now?  “A bunch 🙂 Breastfeeding Made Simple by Mohrbacher & Kendall-Tackett for my Postpartum and Infant Care Doula Certification, Chase by Jennie Allen for my Lifegroup, The 5 Love Languages by Chapman for my marriage health, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Kondo for my sanity, and Leadership Promises for Everyday by Maxwell for my volunteer work and business! Phew!”

What is your philosophy for parenting & supporting women and their families through their postpartum transition?  “See a need, fill a need and I have faith in you! Transitioning to family is hard work and everyone can benefit from an extra set of hands. The type of hands needed can change on the daily, but ultimately our goal is for you to feel rested and cared for so that when our shift comes to a close you can enjoy your family & relax. Our families know what they need and have great intuition of their baby’s needs; it is my job to support this, encourage where needed, and advise when asked.”

“You are doing better than you think, you are enough, and you know your child best!” – Amy Hammer

What are your favorites?  “Favorite show right now: Call the Midwife on Netflix; Favorite vacation: somewhere warm, Europe, or tent camping in Michigan; Favorite food: Mexican & Mediterranean; Favorite hobby: Yoga.”

On a day off Amy loves to sleep in and spend quality time playing with her family.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?  “This is hard because teleporting would be ah-mazing!  But, super speed task master with multiple arms would have to be it at the moment, so that I could do all the things I need and also be able to spend time laughing with my family.”

“I didn’t know until recently that I was ‘allowed’ to rest and have consistent help.  We hoped that by hiring doulas for postpartum that we wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed as we had before.  To boot, she offered emotional support, a listening ear, company, laughs, warmth to my children – definitely met and exceeded my expectations!  She and Andrea were a valuable and priceless part of postpartum!” – Postpartum and Infant Care Doula Client

What is your favorite song to karaoke? “Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship… it’s become our MDDS theme song. ♥”

Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today and have Amy complete your dream team!
586-960-5993
info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Marie Lang

by Andrea Stainbrook  Doula, Co-Owner of Metro Detroit Doula Services

We at Metro Detroit Doula Services know Marie is fabulous and we want you to know why she is too!  She is a trained Postpartum Doula as well as a Postpartum Placenta Specialist.  She has had a special training in supporting families of multiples as well as an interest in supporting breastfeeding when needed.

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Marie Lang ~ Postpartum Doula & Postpartum Placenta Specialist

We all have our own paths to our careers.   Marie tells us about her journey to becoming a doula:    “Through my own mothering experience and helping friends and family through their postpartum time, I came to realize how natural this work was to me. Whenever anyone I knew had a question about pregnancy, birth, or babies, they always came to me. When my youngest daughter was an infant, I became active in my local La Leche League and that really opened my eyes to how important it is to have mothers supported through this time of their lives. When I found out I could actually make a career out of this, it was like a dream come true!”

“Marie was fantastic. She quickly built up a rapport with our toddler. He enjoyed having her around, which was so important to us. My stress was greatly decreased knowing that he trusted her. She was also very comfortable and skilled with our newborn. I enjoyed having her around. It was great to have someone to talk to and I always felt like things were under control when it was time for her to go home.” – Postpartum Doula Client

What do you love about being a doula?    “The early postpartum days can be full of so much anxiety and emotions, so I love to be there helping the new parent to feel confident in their new role. Also, I love the sweet baby cuddles :)”

Tell us about your family!  “In my house I live with my awesome and supportive husband Dan, my creative and hilarious 9 year old son Tyler, my independent and sweet 3 year old daughter Eleanora, and my thoughtful and helpful Mother-in-law Mary. We also have two dogs (Charlie and Lyric) and a cat (Madeline).”

If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear? “Well, right now my 3 year old commands the track listing with the Frozen soundtrack all of the time.  But, if I had my way it would probably be a mix of current pop music and indie rock.   I also have a love for 80’s new wave and 90’s alternative, so it would really depend on my mood that day. 🙂 ”

“Marie was the voice of confidence that I needed to get through the first few weeks of motherhood. She reassured me and comforted me. She let me vent about anything I needed to and was passionate about my bond with my baby.” – Postpartum Doula Client

Marie’s take on parenting philosophies and support:   “I think it’s important to follow the family’s lead and help them through this time without judgment.  Everyone has their own philosophy and ways of doing things.  My job is to support and help you with YOURS.”

When Marie isn’t busy being a Postpartum Doula or a Postpartum Placenta Specialist she loves taking spontaneous day trips with her family.  Living in Southeastern Michigan there are so many things to do!  Her and her family enjoy going to the Detroit Zoo and Toledo Zoo, Frankenmuth, Cedar Point, Greenfield Village, or even just spending the day at the beach on one of our beautiful lakes!

We think Marie is full of superpowers but if she could chose one what would it be?  “I think it would be super cool to have healing superpowers. I hate seeing people sick or injured and would love to be able to make it better!”

“You are the expert on your baby! Listen to your intuition, it’s the best tool you have in your parenting toolbox.” – Marie Lang

Lastly, what is your favorite song to karaoke?  “I cannot help from singing  Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ every single time I hear it!”

Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today and have Marie there for you during your postpartum time!
586-960-5993
info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com

I wish I had a Doula…

By: Andrea Stainbrook

…when I went to the dentist for fillings.

Ugh.  I know, I know, it’s not that bad.  For some reason, the older I get, the more anxious I feel about dental work.  I am scheduled for the most work to date; despite the fact I have been eating, quite frankly, the healthiest this body has ever seen.   Apparently my teeth prefer junk food. 🙂

Here’s about how it went last time:

So first off the music isn’t right.  While the dentist is doing her friendly banter I hear some radio rock that just doesn’t sit well with me.  At least someone had told me to bring ear buds.  I had NEVER thought of that before.  I put some relaxing ballads on my Spotify and try to zone out.  It was great that I could choose what I listen to, but there’s no way to not hear the drilling.  Don’t focus on it.  Don’t focus on it.  I wonder what the dentist and her assistant are chatting about.  Is it me?  Is there something more horribly wrong with my teeth than what was previously thought?!

*Turns down music*

I hear them chatting about friends and going out to dinner.  Phew, not me.  My dentist smiles at me and tells me I’m doing great.  I guess she noticed I was clenching my phone and tensing my feet.  I’m sure my eyes looked frantic.

*Turns up music*

I feel like we should be moving on to the final parts of this.  Is she still drilling?  Is this a normal amount of time for this?  This feels like a long time.  I wish I checked the time before she started.  Now I have no clue.

Oooh a blue light!  Bite this!  I can do that!

Into my ear…  “HELLO.  It’s me.”  Thanks Adele.  You are always there for me.

And I am done.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone dedicated to you at the dentist?  I wish I had someone  to calm my anxiety and help me focus my attention away from the sensations I was feeling.  I would have loved someone to let me know this is all normal.  “You are doing great!” and “You’re almost done.”…phrases I could hear over and over again.   I would love a calming presence in the room that helps me through a time of the unknown, while going through one of life’s not so pleasant experiences.  I wish I had a doula for the dentist.

 

 

Netflix and Baby

Yay!  Things are settling in.  Visitors are winding down.  You and baby are getting somewhat of a handle on life together.  Baby wants to eat or be held a lot.  But what can you do with limited movement?  I mean reaching for anything becomes a battle in your mind where you are listing the pros and cons of how worth that said movement is.

“Ok so baby is finally sleeping.  My drink is right …over….there.  Ugh.  If I move my right arm just enough I could probably reach it.  Why didn’t I put it 6 inches closer to me.  I know I CANNOT try to reach it with my left arm.  And move baby’s head? Um, no way.  Not waking this little cutie.  Ok I will go for it.  I’m really thirsty and my doula is always reminding me to hydrate!  She should have told me to never set it down more than 3 inches from me.    Ok one quick movement… here I go….. REACHHHHH. Got it!”  Looks down at baby. Phew she didn’t flinch.

So now your hydrated and comfy.   All is good.  Look at that little darling.  And now what?

Bet you didn’t think that you would get TV time in?  What’s that…. you can watch all of the seasons of Mad Men?  Yup, or at least try 😉

 

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TV tips for new mom and newborn:

-Keep the remote with all your feeding stuff

-Get comfy

-Think of your lineup of shows you have been wanting to watch

Oh yeah and don’t forget to use the restroom before feedings.   It’s hard to hold your pee while under a sleeping baby 🙂

Too busy for tea.

I don’t know about you but there are often times that I feel like I’m running on a hamster wheel. Going, going, going, more to do, more to see, more to be… and ultimately it’s draining.  It can turn you into a grumpy human.  Many of us feel overwhelmed and yet, we don’t know how to turn off.  In a world of hustle & bustle, it’s easy to forget about what’s important, who’s important, and that caring for ourselves is important and required for healthy life balance.

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To pour into others, your cup must also be filled.

We’re here to tell you, you can’t pour out from an empty cup… it’s like the airplane instructions & oxygen masks – pour into your cup first.  Be mindful as new parents, to do something for yourself every day; even if it’s just getting dressed in something you feel wonderful in and brushing your teeth.  And then, make yourself a nice pot of tea & enjoy with some sweet biscuits; just make sure to put them close enough, so you can reach them while you feed your little munchkin.  Cheerio!