This is a two-part series. Look for the next part coming soon:
What this Doula Wants You to Know About Postpartum
What this Doula Wants You to Know About Birth
1. The way you give birth matters. If the way you give birth matters to you, then it matters. Period. I don't have an agenda and I am not going to tell you what's the best way for you to have your baby. But I know that you may have an idea of what's best for you, and so what is important to you in your birth is what becomes important to me.
2. Who you choose as your care provider matters. If you have opinions on how you want to give birth, make sure your care provider is familiar with your choices, and supports them. Ask them early on in appointments how they will support your choices. Ask the why, the how, and the when. If you aren’t satisfied with their answers, you may want to look for a provider more aligned with your preferences. If you come to form your opinions on birth later in pregnancy, or you change your preferences, that's a common occurrence. It’s rarely “too late” to get a second opinion or find someone more suited to the kind of birth you want. There are a wide variety of providers here in the Treasure Valley and it's likely you can find someone who is supportive of your goals.
3. Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. Childbirth is a normal, natural event, but it’s not without its complications and risks. Your care provider, family, and friends may be focused on the physical health of you and your baby, but know that how you feel about your birth can also have a lasting impact on your overall well being. It may impact how you interact and care for your baby as well. You are likely to feel positively about your birth if you:
4. Your partner’s experience matters. When your partner is well supported, you will benefit. Your partner could be anxious about seeing you in pain, or could feel lost on how to best help you. They could be tired or hungry, and unable to attend to you in the way you need. When we work together in pregnancy, you are both prepared on what to expect. Pressure on your partner is relieved because you know that I will be there to fill in the gaps so that both of you can approach birth with confidence.
5. Your birth story is your own. What happened during your birth, how your baby was ultimately born, the choices you made during pregnancy and labor— these facts can’t explain the complexity of emotions, circumstances, history, physiology, and timing that became your birth story. You are not the same as everyone else who had an epidural, or Cesarean, or went unmedicated, or had a long labor, or gave birth at home. Your partner, doula, family member or care provider may have their own take on how the story went, and that’s okay, too. You can take in their perspectives, but only you know how you felt in the moment. Your experience is valid.
6. I believe in you. I believe in your body’s ability to birth your baby. I believe that you are strong, capable, and fierce. Even when you may not feel that way, when you are feeling vulnerable and scared, know that I believe in you.
I really mean this. Birth has a way of wiping out all pretense, all the social barriers and pleasantries we use to protect ourselves in the world fall away. What remains is this raw, emotional state is strength and love and beauty. With every contraction I am witnessing your power. With every difficult decision, I see your concern and love for yourself and your baby. I am in awe of you. I am on your side.
I am a certified labor doula and professional postpartum doula serving clients in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. Let's talk about how I can best support you in your birth.
TRUTH: Babies don't need much when they arrive. They need to eat. They need a place to sleep. They need a few items of clothing, and of course, diapers.
ALSO TRUTH: You will still create an extensive baby registry because:
UNSPOKEN TRUTH: Creating a baby registry can be stressful. There are so many items to choose from. You don't know what it is you really need, and what you could live without. There are so many options within a category (strollers, breast pumps, diaper brands, etc.) and you are afraid of making the 'wrong' decision.
Plus, where do you register? You don't want to register at too many places, because you want to make it easy for the people buying things for you. Yet there isn't one store that has everything you need. And you need to consider return policies, long distance buyers, customer service, product availability, potential discounts or coupons, etc. It's no wonder many people put off building their registries.
Here are some tips to make this experience a little easier--and even enjoyable!
1) Don't attempt to register on an empty stomach. When I was pregnant with my first child, I made the mistake of not eating lunch before I started my registry at a large retailer. I thought the process would take an hour or so; over two and a half hours later, I was ravenous and shaking from low blood sugar. At that point I probably wasn't making the best decisions either, as I scanned random baby items in an attempt to fill out my registry.
2) Enlist the help of an experienced friend. Make a date of it! Go to lunch beforehand, and have your friend help you choose your items based on the realities of your situation. For instance, when I accompanied my pregnant sister-in-law as she shopped for a stroller, I was able to steer her away from the large, bulky jogging strollers she was eyeing toward a Snap-N-Go stroller, since it was one of a handful that would fit into her compact car. I had seen friends of mine disassemble their large strollers to fit in and out of their car trunks every time they went out-- a big hassle. A smaller stroller to get her through the first year with her new baby was probably the better option.
A friend or relative who has recently had a baby may be more up to date on the newest baby products, as well. This Haakaa silicone breast pump wasn't a thing when I had my kids but it is now the rage of breastfeeding parents, as it allows you to catch overflow from one breast while baby is latched onto the other breast.
3) Go online. Every large retailer enables you to build a baby registry online. The Amazon Baby Registry enables you to tap into the vast array of products sold on Amazon, with free shipping, easy returns, and loyalty discounts.
Smaller boutique stores offer the ability to create online registries, as well. Pi Baby, a boutique retailer in Boise, offers an online registry. The advantage to registering with a local retailer is that you can physically see and feel the products you are adding to your registry, and you can get the expertise of the sales staff in choosing those products.
One of my favorite registry sites to recommend to my pregnant clients is Babylist. With Babylist you can add items from any website, from big box retailers, to your local boutique, to the online-only store. You simply install their browser button onto your computer, or download their app onto your smartphone, and begin adding products from any website. To add Elevated Birth doula services or Postpartum Services to your Babylist registry, first go to our Gift Certificates page. Then click the "Add to Babylist" browser button, enter the dollar amount you want to add to your registry, and let your family and friends help pay for your doula support!
Or, you can create a Cash Fund to go towards doula support, a newborn photography session, pet sitting, large purchases like baby furniture, fitness classes, etc. and friends can contribute any amount toward those funds.
4) Go minimal. Babies truly don't need a lot. Perhaps you find that purchasing baby items second-hand feels better to you from an environmental standpoint, or because you know your baby will outgrow his or her use for certain items in no time.
Instead of registering for 30 newborn sized onesies, a swing, bouncy seat and Rock n' Play, and that designer set of crib linens that go unused because you end up co-sleeping, register for the basics. Create a cash fund that people can contribute to for future purchases, or things that will really help you settle into life with a new baby-- doula support, meals, housecleaning help, and anything that allows you to rest, heal, and enjoy your new baby.
Whichever route you take in building your baby registry, opt for the one that minimizes your stress level. Any product you find yourself missing or wanting, is ultimately just free two-day shipping away, anyway.
I am a certified labor doula and professional postpartum doula serving clients in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. Let's talk about what's on your baby registry!
I've worked in the forest, in the lab, and in an office cubicle. My favorite and most passionate work has been alongside clients as they reach inside to find their innermost strength, and give birth to their babies. Each birth is an honor to witness.