So, I’ve been feeling intensely the need to be with other women and soak up their energy (living with a man and two teenage sons can do that to you. I love men but honestly lately it feels like a lot).Read More
I am so absolutely delighted that a labor client asked me to read this book, The Calm Birth Method! I cannot recommend it more highly.
The author, Suzy Ashworth, is British and teaches her version of Hypnobirthing — which is maybe why I’d never heard of it (and there are a lot of books). She has a strong and calming voice and excellent advice.
The best thing is she gets right down to the bottom line and stays there. In my own words, that is:
You can choose to have a calm birth. You cannot guarantee a particular birth outcome, but by practicing relaxation techniques, you can pretty much guarantee that you will react to all challenges with grace and calm. All of which are pretty good life lessons, too. Something is driving you crazy? It’s an opportunity to practice your breathing!
I’m happy to say a lot of this is what I teach in my Lamaze class. My ultimate goal for each student is for them to have a satisfying birth experience, whatever that means to them.
(Unfortunately, I don’t have any control over the ultimate player who decides better than anyone what kind of birth experience their patient has — that is, the physician or midwife who is attending. But I digress.)
And, as a labor doula I’ve worked with a number of parents choosing Hypnobirthing — and again basically all of them have experienced calmer, happier labors. I’m a believer.
I think this book would be a good adjunct for someone who also wants to know more about the stages of labor and so forth and takes a more traditional childbirth class. Or, I think it absolutely stands on its own. Anyone can learn how to focus on their breath. Anyone can learn how better to communicate with their providers to ensure their concerns are heard. Anyone can practice saying no and exercising their rights as a patient (and as a person).
I leave you with wise words from the Introduction: No Vagina Whispering (bolding is mine):
"Although this is primarily a book about giving birth, you’ll also learn how to unleash your personal power from within, so that when the moment finally arrives for you to welcome your baby into the world, you’ll feel calm, positive and ready for whatever twists and turns may be presented to you. The only thing we know for sure about birth is that it’s a journey, and one where you can’t know ahead of time exactly what’s going to happen. You can, however, arm yourself with a mindset and a toolkit that can make giving birth one of the most incredible and enjoyable experiences of your life."
Here is a picture of my older son Miles at about six weeks old with my Aunt Toni, a bona-fide baby whisperer. See how peacefully he is sleeping? That is the only way he would ever sleep. As they say (he's 14 now and almost as tall as me) the years are short .... but those days were very, very long.Read More
Studies show that up to 20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression (PPD) — and the numbers are probably higher since many cases are unreported. Why are so many moms having a hard time, and how can a postpartum doula help?
I love books and my father used to say that I, like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, “taught myself” to read. Of course, when I had kids I couldn’t wait to read to them! It was such a treat to take the boys to the library and pick out a stack of the latest picture books as well as finding copies of my old favorites to share.
They are older now and still like books and going to the library. My older son is proud of his geek cred and prefers graphic novels and reference books about things he likes (which is currently a resurgence in interest in Transformers!). But, give him a book that is in his sweet spot and he won't put it down. Both my husband and I loved Ready Player One when it came out a few years ago and we figured at age 13 he was old enough to like it, too. He read it in three days and now has an overwhelming interest in all things 80s!
My younger son is more like me and will read just about anything -- he tore through the whole Harry Potter series in just two weeks and is rereading them now after our recent vacation to Universal Studios.
Something we all still enjoy is when I read out loud to them (they claim that I could do that for a living if this doula thing doesn't work out) and some of our recent favorites have included Tom Sawyer, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and No More Dead Dogs.
But, as little guys, these books stick out as our favorites (so much so that they remain in the bookshelf for young visitors):
Leo Lionni books with their gorgeous illustrations are a favorite, and best of all is Frederick, starring a mouse poet who “gathers colors … for winter is gray.”
The Velveteen Rabbit, winner of the the 1971 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, is a treasured book from my own childhood that still makes magic.
And, of course, what list is complete without Goodnight Moon? The following words that end the book still make me tear up with their beautiful simplicity:
Goodnight noises everywhere
What are your favorite books for reading aloud?
PS Support your local booksellers! All books listed above are linked to independent and/or brick-and-mortar stores.
My younger son was born at home and he loves to hear stories about it. My favorite one is that he came so quickly we weren't expecting it -- the midwife said in her sweet sing-song voice: "Look down, there's your baby!" And my husband and I both looked down and saw him for the first time. We were so surprised and delighted that we both laughed out loud. What a wonderful way to spend your first seconds on earth!
Here is his interpretation of how it all went down:
What are your favorite birth story memories?
Just about anyone involved in the world of doulas is familiar with these two organizations — one a venerable, “gold standard” and another a rapidly growing upstart that is shaking up the industry....Read More