Search This Blog

Nov 13, 2008

Baby You're Home

Published: November 12, 2008

Alecia White Scharback between contractions, surrounded at home by her mother, Judith Deierling White; her sister, Amanda White; and her husband, Joshua Scharback, before giving birth to Noah with the aid of a midwife.

SQUATTING in an inflatable pool in the open kitchen of her apartment in Astoria, Queens, a very pregnant Alecia White Scharback, nude except for a bathing suit top, groaned in pain. It was 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 1, and Mrs. Scharback, 29, an actress, had been in labor for more than 36 hours. The contractions had been only mildly painful at first, but had grown increasingly fierce as a second night gave way to morning.

Read More

Oct 14, 2008

A Mother's Final Look at Life

In Impoverished Sierra Leone, Childbirth Carries Deadly Odds.

Sierra Leone has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world. Hospitals lack basic equipment and medication, and factors such as poverty and lack of transportation make every pregnancy a gamble.

The Washington Post
Sunday, October 12, 2008; Page A01

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- Fatmata Jalloh's body lay on a rusting metal gurney in a damp hospital ward, a scrap of paper with her name and "R.I.P." taped to her stomach. In the soft light of a single candle -- the power was out again in one of Africa's poorest cities -- Jalloh looked like a sleeping teenager. Dead just 15 minutes, the 18-year-old's face was round and serene, with freckles around her closed eyes and her full lips frozen in a sad pucker.

This Story

Her bare feet stuck out from the colorful cloths in which she had been wrapped by the maternity nurses who had tried to save her life. Her toenails bore the chipped remnants of cheery red polish.

In the dark hallway, her sisters and friends hugged and wailed, "Fatmata! Fatmata!" in a tearful song of grief.

Eight hours earlier, Jalloh delivered her first child: a healthy baby boy. Her official cause of death was postpartum hemorrhaging. She bled to death giving birth in a part of the world where every pregnancy is a gamble.

More than 500,000 women a year -- about one every minute -- die in childbirth across the globe, almost exclusively in the developing world, and almost always from causes preventable with basic medical care. The planet's worst rates are in this startlingly poor nation on West Africa's Atlantic coast, where a decade of civil war that ended in 2002 deepened chronic deprivation.

According to the United Nations, a woman's chance of dying in childbirth in the United States is 1 in 4,800. In Ireland, which has the best rate in the world, it is 1 in 48,000. In Sierra Leone, it is 1 in 8.

Maternal mortality rarely gets attention from international donors, who are far more focused on global health threats such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS. "Maternal death is an almost invisible death," said Thoraya A. Obaid, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund.

The women die from bleeding, infection, obstructed labor and preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. But often the underlying cause is simply life in poor countries: Governments don't provide enough decent hospitals or doctors; families can't afford medications.

A lack of education and horrible roads cause women to make unwise health choices, so that they often prefer the dirt floor of home to deliveries at the hands of a qualified stranger at a distant hospital.

Women die in childbirth every day, according to people who study the issue, because of cultures and traditions that place more worth on the lives of men. "It really reflects the way women are not valued in many societies," said Betsy McCallon of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, one of the few groups that advocates to reduce deaths in childbirth. "But there is not that sense of demand that this is unacceptable, so it continues to happen."

...continue reading

Natural Remedies

The theme of Midwifery Today Issue 87 is Natural Remedies. With technology and pharmaceutical remedies having taken over birth, natural remedies are often forgotten. In this issue we share a variety of natural remedies that can help make birth better. Included are herbs, chiropractic, humor, naturopathy, homeopathy and massage. As an added bonus, this issue also contains a thought-provoking article by Michel Odent on the origins of the language of birth and the negative impact such words can have on women.

  • Naturopathic Modalities—Their Role in Achieving Positive Birth Outcomes, by Lisa Doran and Nora Pope. Naturopathic medicine and midwifery go hand in hand, and some naturopaths are going on to obtain the specialized designation of naturopathic midwife. This article also covers the principles behind naturopathic midwifery.

Do we have choice in childbirth?

The theme of Midwifery Today Issue 86 is Choice in Childbirth. Do we have choice in childbirth? When is a choice not really a choice? How do obstetricians and midwives control women's choices by the way they explain things? How can we help to preserve choice and make sure women are properly informed?

Working with Your Naturopathic Doctor in Perinatal Care—Our Philosophy: A Meeting of the Minds between Midwifery and Naturopathic Medicine, by Lisa Doran and Nora Pope. Two doctors of naturopathy enlighten the reader on the basis of naturopathy and why it works so well with midwifery.

A Message of Thanks

This message was sent to me from a fellow member of a community health & wellness holistic group. I would also like to extend this note as a form of gratitude to my wonderful Doula sisters, and to all the awesome birth professionals who continue to shine.

Mama Sayana

"The light seems to be getting brighter and brighter as we form ourselves into a tightly knit organically bound eclectic group of holistic practitioners, wellness professionals and health inspired individuals. Each one of us has carried our version of the same message from within to without as we share outwards with what has been kindled inwards. This light grows much brighter as we raise each others consciousness, and we become less independent and no longer bound by what Aldous Huxley described as "island universes of our own doing." We are bridging the gaps of darkness with the embers of our past experiences, and with the energy of the others that surround us with the same notions; those embers become the catalyst for our even brighter futures.

I want to thank all of you for doing the work that you do. The ceaseless self improvement by letting go of self deceiving parts of your ego, the balanced lifestyles, the caring for others, and the practice of eating right and not giving in to the norm is a difficult process to say the least. Just realize that the others that are watching you from your own communities; see you as a leader, and many may try to be adversarial to your beliefs. Hear them out, as they may contain a message for you to reflect upon, but when all is said and done-continue upon your path-because the work that you are doing is that of healing. It is one based in creation, and creation has no place sarcasm, avoidance, and deception. You become the fabric of society that brings back the humanity to being human; you are being humane. There will be many interesting twists and turns, but with a network such as ours; you can always find a mentor that has been down a similar path.

Thank you for your continued efforts, your support, and the role you have played in making this world more wonderful."

-Eco Urban Shaman

Clear Light Toronto upcoming events

The Spiritual Practice of Parenting

Our children can be our most challenging and deeply loving teachers. Experience how the daily acts of caring for your family can be the path to profound spiritual understanding and bliss.

Since you shouldn’t miss out on enlightenment because you had to take your child to a swim lesson or birthday party, this workshop will be offered twice!

Sat Oct 25 from 2:30-4:30
at Yoga Queen - 1273A Queen St W, at Dufferin

Sun Oct 26 from 1-3
at With Child - 705 Pape Ave, at Danforth

About the Teacher: Cliff Spencer is a father, furniture maker, independent business owner, and experienced Buddhist practitioner. He is a graduate of the Asian Classics Institute and a student of Venerable Sumati Marut. With Lama Marut and others, he founded ACI-LA and The Mahasukha Center in Los Angeles, where he teaches Dharma, meditation, and Buddhist Debate.

By donation - $25 suggested. Each class is limited to 15 people. To register email Children welcome. Parents will be responsible for attending to their own children as child care will not be provided.

Yoga and The Voice

A shout out for our very own Dawn Bailey, who will be teaching Yoga and The Voice at The Union Yoga Centre on Sat Oct 18 from 2-4 pm.

Uniting the two sacred arts of yoga and singing - a workshop for Singers and Yogis. Beginners to yoga and/or singing welcome.

Free your voice with yoga! Discover how yoga can help to free your body and focus your mind, how singing can help to open your energetic channels, and how uniting them both can bring more joy into your life. Dawn Bailey is a classically trained soprano and a certified Jivamukti yoga teacher. She will lead you through a sequence of yoga asanas specially designed to help you feel grounded and spacious, to open your energetic channels, and to allow your voice to resonate more freely. This will be followed by vocalization and chanting.

This workshop is for you if you:
- are a singer or musician looking towards yoga to open up new possibilities for your self-expression and art
- are involved in a profession such as teaching in which you use your speaking voice a lot
- are a yogi who would like to delve deeper into your practice of yoga by freeing your voice
- have always wanted to sing but feel that you are tone deaf or unable to sing
- are a yoga teacher who would like to feel more comfortable leading chants during yoga classes

This is not a Clear Light Toronto presentation, but we like to spread the word! If you know of an event that you think should be on our website, email us at

The Union Yoga Centre. 242 Carlton St at Parliament. Cost is $30.

Ending Depression, with Cliff Spencer

 Sat Oct 25 from 7-9pm

at The Carrot Common
348 Danforth Ave

2nd floor, entrance beside Book City

Since the Buddha said life is suffering, what would he have to say about depression? In a world with plentiful wealth and amenities, why is depression and medication to keep us happy so commonplace? Hear a personal experience with depression and how Buddhism played a significant part in the recovery of one person trying to stay happy.

About the teacher: Cliff Spencer is a graduate of the Asian Classics Institute and a student of Venerable Sumati Marut. With Lama Marut and others, he founded ACI-LA and The Mahasukha Center in Los Angeles, where he teaches Dharma, meditation, and Buddhist Debate.

Emptiness, Discipline & Happiness - a talk with Cliff Spencer

Emptiness, Discipline & Happiness: Mahayana Lojong
Fri Oct 24 at 7:30-9pm

at The Snow Lion - 708 Pape Ave
at Danforth Ave, across the street from the Pape TTC station

Join us in Toronto’s renowned Dharma bookstore for a talk on what a bodhisattva looks like, combining wisdom and ethics to project the mind of enlightenment that seeks, one-pointedly, to help all beings. This talk is based on verses from Master Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. Cliff will cover the basics of emptiness and karma, how it relates to lojong compassion practice, and how this is all attainable in this lifetime.

Cost: Dana/by donation (according to your means)
*Please arrive early as the doors will be closing at 7:30pm (no admittance after doors close)
Co-presented with The Snow Lion as part of their ongoing Discipline and Freedom Lecture Series

About the teacher: Cliff Spencer is a graduate of the Asian Classics Institute and a student of Venerable Sumati Marut. With Lama Marut and others, he founded ACI-LA and The Mahasukha Center in Los Angeles, where he teaches Dharma, meditation, and Buddhist Debate.

Oct 9, 2008

Baby Carrots sold in the Supermarkets

The following is information from a farmer who grows and packages carrots for IGA, METRO, LOBLAW'S, etc.

The small cocktail (baby) carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a
machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots . most people probably know this already.

What you may not know and should know is the following: once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution
of water and chlorine in order to preserve them (this is the same chlorine used in your pool) since they do not have their skin or natural
protective covering, they give them a higher dose of chlorine. You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator
for a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots, this is the chlorine which resurfaces. At what cost do we put our health at risk to
have aesthetically pleasing vegetables which are practically plastic?

We do hope that this information can be passed on to as many people as possible in the hopes of informing them where these carrots come from
and how they are processed. Chlorine is a very well known carcinogen.

Oct 3, 2008

Carrying My Baby African Style

You saw me today at the zoo with my baby girl strapped snugly on my back and you were so fascinated by the concept that you stopped me and questioned me at length. You just stared and marveled. The baby looked so happy, so content, so peaceful, and so secure. How could that be?

And I looked so comfortable too, walking so freely with a 20-pound baby on my back. My hands were free to so whatever I pleased, plus it was so easy on my back. I was constantly moving, so the baby was lulled to sleep by the movement. She could not see my face, but she could hear my voice and feel my body. She knew who was carrying her, and there was not a peep out of her for the three or so hours we spent at the zoo. I only flipped her deftly off my back to nurse briefly, and then back on the back she went!

You wanted to know how it was done. You had tried it, at home, you said and it didn't work. It was awkward; it was uncomfortable for both you and your son. You just did not get it right! You would love to be able to have this peaceful situation as you cook and do some light housework, so you can keep him with you if he frets. I tried explain with words how it is done, but really, I did not learn it that way either. Passed down by generations of African women who had to do it that way to keep their babies with them as they worked on the farm, traded in the market place or did their chores, it is a method I never had formal lessons in learning to do it. One may need a little help with one's first born but only because the baby is so tiny you don't want to fling him unaided on your back. After that it just came naturally. Instinctively, yes, but probably more from observing.

What kind of fabric should you use? You asked. Well, traditionally we (Yoruba women) wear buba and iro, usually a cotton top with coordinating wrapper. My wrapper is a pretty two-meter length of cotton that cost me about ! The wrapper is used to wrap the baby who is then further secured with a sash (oja). The oja is often very ornate and very sturdy. I crocheted myself a sober grey one and it works very well!

We chatted about how weird it looked to the average westerner, to see me going about with a baby strapped on my back and how I deal with the stares and the questions. I told you a woman carrying her baby in front where I come from would look pretentious and silly. What, no free hands? How would she bend over, sweep the floor, do the dishes, cook, clean with the baby in front! But it is really just a cultural difference. I loved carrying my baby in front also until my back gave way.

What more can I tell you?

The method is perfect in all kinds of weather. In warm weather, she remains surprisingly cool, and I can add some shade by carrying and umbrella to shield her from the sun. In cold weather, she is snugly warm with body heat.

I think it is the perfect way to carry a baby!

Thank you to Bola Ansa for sharing this story.

African mothers see baby strollers as abhorrent fad Tradition of carrying children upheld; 'they can't sit like lumps'

Nairobi , Kenya -- Irene Wambui can't imagine why anyone would buy a baby stroller. She says she sees it as a cold cage filled with useless rattles, cup holders and mirrored headlights. Imagine children being stuffed into such a contraption and pushed around town like some kind of pet...

Read more

Sep 24, 2008

The HypnoBirthing Experience?

HypnoBirthing® is as much a philosophy of birth as it is a technique for achieving a satisfying, relaxing, and stress-free method of birthing. This amazing program teaches you, along with your birthing companion, the art and joy of experiencing birth in a more comfortable manner. You will learn how to call upon your body’s own natural relaxant and thus lessen, or even eliminate discomfort and the need for medication. When a woman is properly prepared for childbirth and when mind and body are in harmony, Nature is free to function in the same well-designed manner that it does with all animal mothers in Nature.

You will be fascinated as you view HypnoBirthing® films, showing labouring mothers, awake, alert and in good humour as they experience the kind of gentle birth that you, too, can know when you are free of the fear that causes pain and tension. Through self-hypnosis, special breathing, and visualization, HypnoBirthing® teaches you to release all prior programming about birth, how to trust your body and work with it, as well as how to free yourself of harmful emotions that lead to pain-causing fear and unyielding muscles.

You will learn the art of using your own natural birthing instincts. With HypnoBirthing®, you will not be in a trance or a sleep state. You will be aware and fully in control, but profoundly relaxed.

HypnoBirthing® Advantages
 Teaches deep levels of relaxation to eliminate the fear that causes tension and, thus, pain.

 Greatly reduces and often eliminates the need for chemical painkillers and drugs.

 Shortens the first phase of labour.

 Leaves mother alert, fresh, awake and with energy.

 Helps keep oxygen supplied to baby during birthing.

 Reduces the need for an episiotomy

 Reduces and often eliminates fatigue during labour.

 Empowers parents with techniques to achieve a gentle, calm birth for themselves and their baby.

 Gives the birthing companion an integral role in the birthing.

 Embraces the concept of pre-birth parenting.

 Teaches breathing techniques that allow a woman to gently breathe her baby into the world without the violence of hard, physical pushing.

This unique prenatal series is being offered at:

Becoming Maternity April 26th-May 31st (with a 2 week break between May 11th and May18th for Mother's Day and Victoria Day). Couples can register with Becoming.

The JCC with Baby and Me Fitness (couples can register with B & M Fit) April 22nd-May 20th.

Please contact Amanda Burke for more details:

Sep 22, 2008

Free Pregnancy Massage Therapy!

Posted on behalf of Trimesters: Massage Therapy Education & The Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy:

Greetings to you all and happy fall!

Trimesters: Massage Therapy Education & The Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy


Sunday, Sept. 21st, 2008
1.30 - 3.00 p.m.
Location: Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy (Finch West and Dufferin)

This program is part of a supervised clinical training program for Massage Therapists in professional practice & Massage Therapy Students in their final year of training.

Interested women who are 14 - 42 weeks pregnant can contact the Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy (C.C.M.H.) at 416-736-4576 ext. 4 to register or for more information.

The moon goddess yoga series – I’m not psycho. I’m cyclical. Period.

The moon goddess yoga series – I’m not psycho. I’m cyclical. Period.

The objective of the course is to learn how your cycle can actually be an asset in your life rather than a liability!

The moon goddess series is also a great way to prepare your mind, body and spirit for any
female reproductive milestone: whether pregnancy or menopause. Yoga goddess’ Zahra Haji shows you how to gain freedom from cyclical distress such as pms,menstrual discomfort, mood swings and infertility by optimizing the energy of your cycle throughout the month.

Join the 8-week series at Red Tent Sisters (810 Danforth, East of Pape) and learn how you can
use your cycle to improve your life.

Remember, you’re not psycho. You’re cyclical. Period.

Contact, Zahra Haji at to register.

The begins Tuesday September 23rd from 8pm – 9:30pm. The last class is November 11th.

Promotion: Save $20 when you register with a
friend. Regular price: $179. Includes how to
chart your cycle with the moon dial, weekly
email support, class discussions and a take home yoga & meditation practice.

Sep 11, 2008

The Baby Blues

What are baby blues?

Your baby's birth has set into motion great changes in your body and in your life, and your emotions are reacting in a normal way. Dramatic hormonal shifts occur when a body goes from pregnant to not pregnant in a manner of minutes. Add to this your new title (Mommy!) and the responsibilities that go with it, and your blues are perfectly understandable. You're not alone; this emotional letdown during the first few weeks is common after birth. Just remember that your state of mind has a physical origin and is exacerbated by challenging circumstances and you and your body will adjust to both soon.

How do I know if I have the baby blues?

Every woman who experiences the baby blues (also called postpartum blues) does so in a different way. The most common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Sadness or feelings of loss
  • Stress and tension
  • Impatience or a short temper
  • Bouts of crying or tearfulness
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping or excessive tiredness
  • Not wanting to get dressed, go out, or clean up the house

Could it be more than just the baby blues?

If you're not sure whether you have the blues ask your doctor or midwife, and don't feel embarrassed: This is a question that health care providers hear often and with good reason. If you're feeling these symptoms to a degree that disrupts your normal level of function. If your baby is more than a few weeks old, or if you have additional symptoms. Particularly feelings of resentment or rejection toward your baby or even a temptation to harm him you may have more than the blues, you may have postpartum depression. This is a serious illness that requires immediate treatment. Please call a doctor or professional today. If you can't make the call, then please talk to your partner, your mother or father, a sibling or friend and ask them to arrange for help. Do this for yourself and for your baby. If you can't talk about it, hand this page it to someone close to you. You do not have to feel this way, and safe treatment is available, even if you're breast-feeding.

How can I get rid of the blues?

While typical baby blues are fairly brief and usually disappear on their own, you can do a few things to help yourself feel better and get through the next few emotional days or weeks.

Give yourself time. Grant yourself permission to take the time you need to become a mother. Pregnancy lasts nine months, the adoption process can take even longer, and your baby's actual birth is only a moment, but becoming a mother takes time. Motherhood is an immense responsibility. In my opinion, it is the most overwhelming, meaningful, incredible, transforming experience of a lifetime. No wonder it produces such emotional and physical change!

No other event of this magnitude would ever be taken lightly, so don't feel guilty for treating this time in your life as the very big deal it is. Remind yourself that it's okay (and necessary) to focus on this new aspect of your life and make it your number-one priority. Tending to a newborn properly takes time. So, instead of feeling guilty or conflicted about your new focus, put your heart into getting to know this new little person. The world can wait for a few weeks.

Consider as objectively as you can just what you have accomplished. You have formed a new, entire person inside your own body and brought him forth; you have been party to a miracle. Or, if you've adopted,you've chosen to invite a miracle into your life and became an instant mother. You deserve a break and some space in which to just exist with your amazing little one, unfettered by outside concerns.

Talk to someone who understands. Talk to a sibling, relative or friend with young children about what you are feeling. Someone who has experienced the baby blues can help you realize that they are temporary, and everything will be fine. A confidante can also serve as a checkpoint who can encourage you to seek help if he or she perceives that you need it.

Reach out and get out. Simply getting out (if you are physically able and okayed for this by your health care provider) and connecting with people at large can go a long way toward reorienting your perspective. Four walls can close in very quickly, so change the scenery and head to the mall, the park, the library, a coffeehouse; whatever place you enjoy. You will feel a sense of pride as strangers ooh and ahh over your little one, and your baby will enjoy the stimulation too.

Join a support group. Joining a support group, either in person or online, can help you sort through your feelings about new motherhood. Take care to choose a group that aligns with your core beliefs about parenting a baby. As an example, if you are committed to breastfeeding, but most other members of the group are bottlefeeding, this may not be the best place for you, since your breastfeeding issues won't be understood and you won't find many helpful ideas among this group. If you have multiples, a premature baby, or a baby with special needs, for example, seek out a group for parents with babies like yours. And within those parameters, look for a group with your same overall parenting beliefs. Just because you all have twin babies doesn't mean you will all choose to parent them in the same way, so try to find like-minded new friends.

Tell Daddy what he can do to help. It's very important that your spouse or partner be there for you right now. He may want to help you, but he may be unsure of how. Here are a few things that he can do for you show him this list to help him help you.

  • Understand. It's critical that your spouse or partner feel that you understand that she is going through a hormonally driven depression that she cannot control and that she is not just being grumpy. Tell her you know this is normal, and that she'll be feeling better soon. Simply looking over this list and using some of the ideas will tell her a lot about your commitment to (and belief in) her.
  • Let her talk about her feelings. Knowing she can talk to you about her feelings without being judged or criticized will help her feel much better.
  • Tend to the baby. Taking care of your baby so Mommy can sleep or take a shower can give her a breath of fresh air. Have her nurse the baby and then you can take him for a walk (using a sling will keep Baby happy) or go on an outing. A benefit for you is that most babies love to be out and about and will enjoy this special time with you.
  • Step in to protect her. If she's overwhelmed with visitors, kindly explain to company that she needs a lot of rest. Help her with whatever household duties usually fall to her (or get someone to help her) and do what you can to stay on top of yours. Worry about the house's cleanliness or laundry upkeep will do her no good whatsoever. If relatives offer to take the baby for a few hours, or to help with the house, take them up on it.
  • Tell her she's beautiful. Most woman feel depressed about the way they look after childbirth, because most still look four months pregnant! After changing so greatly to accommodate a baby's development, a woman's body takes months to regain any semblance of normalcy. Be patient with both her body and her feelings about it. Tell her what an amazing thing she's accomplished. Any compliments that acknowledge her unique beauty are sure to be greatly appreciated!
  • Tell her you love the baby. Don't be bashful about gushing over the baby. Mommy loves to hear that you're enraptured with this new little member of your family.
  • Be affectionate, but be patient about sex. With all that she's struggling with physically and emotionally, weeks may pass before she's ready for sex (even if she's had an OK after her checkup.) That doesn't mean she doesn't love you or need you, she just needs a little time to get back to the physical aspects of your sexual relationship.
  • Tell her you love her. Even when she isn't feeling down, she needs to hear this and right now it's more important for her health and well-being than ever.
  • Get support for you, too. Becoming a father is a giant step in your life. Open up to a friend about how it feels to be a Dad, and do things that you enjoy, too. Taking care of yourself will help you take care of your new family.

Accept help from others. Family and friends are often happy to help if you just ask. When people say, Let me know if I can do anything? they usually mean it. So, go ahead and ask kindly for what you want, whether it's watching your baby so that you can nap, taking your older child to the park, helping you make a meal, or doing some laundry.

Get some sleep. Right now, sleeplessness will enhance your feelings of depression. So, take every opportunity to get some shuteye. Nap when the baby sleeps, go to bed early, and sleep in later in the morning if you can. If you are co-sleeping, take advantage of this special time when you don't have to get up out of bed to tend to your baby. And if your baby's sleep patterns are distressing to you then reach out to an experienced parent for help, or check out my book The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night.

Don't fret about perfection right now. Household duties are not your top priority now. In fact, nothing aside from getting to know your baby is. Remember that people are coming to see your baby, not your house, so enjoy sharing your baby with visitors without worrying about a little clutter or dust. Simplify, prioritize, and delegate routine tasks, errands, and obligations.

Enjoy your job. If you work outside the home, then view your time at your job as an opportunity to refresh and prepare yourself to enjoy your baby fully when you are at home. Go ahead, talk about your baby and share pictures with your co-workers. Chances are, they'll love to hear about your new little one. This is a nice and appropriate way of indulging your natural instincts to focus on your baby when you can?t be with her.

Get into exercising. With your health care provider's approval, start exercising with short walks or swims. Exercise will help you feel better in many ways both physical and emotional. Even if you didn't exercise before you had your baby, this is a great time to start. Studies prove that regular exercise helps combat depression, and it will help you regain your pre-baby body much more quickly.

Eat healthful foods. When the body isn't properly nourished, spirits can flag, particularly when the stress of recovery makes more nutritional demands. If you are breastfeeding, a nourishing diet is important for both you and your baby. Healthful foods, eaten in frequent meals, can provide the nutrition you need to combat the baby blues and give you the energy you need to handle your new role. And don't forget to drink water and other healthy fluids, especially if you're nursing! Dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches.

Take care of yourself. Parenting a new baby is an enormous responsibility, but things will fall into place for you and everything will seem easier given time. During this adjustment phase, try to do a few things for yourself. Simple joys like reading a book, painting your nails, going out to lunch with a friend or other ways in which you nourish your spirit can help you feel happier.

Love yourself. You are amazing: You've become mother to a beautiful new baby. You've played a starring role in the production of an incredible miracle. Be proud of what you've accomplished, and take the time to know and enjoy the strong, capable, multifaceted person you are becoming.

This article is a copyrighted excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley.

How to Have a Happy Marriage When You're Busy Being Parents

Is your marriage everything you ever hoped it could be? Or has it been pushed down your list of priorities since having children? Let's face it, parenthood is a full-time job, and it dramatically changes your marriage relationship. But marriage is the foundation upon which your entire family is structured. If your marriage is strong, your whole family will be strong; your life will be more peaceful, you'll be a better parent, and you'll, quite simply, have more fun in your life.

Make a commitment?

To create or maintain a strong marriage you will have to take the first critical step: You must be willing to put time, effort and thought into nurturing your marriage. The ideas that follow will help you follow through on this commitment and will put new life and meaning into your marriage. A wonderful thing may happen. You may fall in love with your spouse all over again. In addition, your children will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel secure when they know that Mom and Dad love each other. Particularly in today's world, where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce; half of your children's friends have gone, or are going through a divorce; or maybe it's your kids who have survived a divorce and are now living in a new family arrangement. Your children need daily proof that their family life is stable and predictable. When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference. No, they won't suffer from neglect! They'll blossom when your marriage and their home-life is thriving.

The surprising secret is that this doesn't have to take any extra time in your already busy schedule. Just a change in attitude plus a committed focus can yield a stronger, happier marriage.

So here's my challenge to you. Read the following suggestions and apply them in your marriage for the next 30 days. Then evaluate your marriage. I guarantee you'll both be happier.

Look for the good, overlook the bad

You married this person for many good reasons. Your partner has many wonderful qualities. Your first step in adding sizzle to your marriage is to look for the good and overlook the bad.

Make it a habit to ignore the little annoying things dirty socks on the floor, a day-old coffee cup on the counter, worn out flannel pajamas, an inelegant burp at the dinner table and choose instead to search for those things that make you smile: the way he rolls on the floor with the baby; the fact that she made your favorite cookies, the peace in knowing someone so well that you can wear your worn out flannels or burp at the table.

Give two compliments every day

Now that you've committed to seeing the good in your partner, it's time to say it! This is a golden key to your mate's heart. Our world is so full of negative input, and we so rarely get compliments from other people. When we do get a compliment, it not only makes us feel great about ourselves, it actually makes us feel great about the person giving the compliment! Think about it! When your honey says, You're the best. I'm so glad I married you. It not only makes you feel loved, it makes you feel more loving.

Compliments are easy to give, take such a little bit of time, and they're free. Compliments are powerful; you just have to make the effort to say them. Anything works: Dinner was great, you make my favorite sauce.Thanks for picking up the cleaning. It was very thoughtful, you saved me a trip. That sweater looks great on you.

Play nice

That may sound funny to you, but think about it. How many times do you see -- or experience -- partners treating each other in impolite, harsh ways that they'd never even treat a friend. Sometimes we take our partners for granted and unintentionally display rudeness. As the saying goes, if you have a choice between being right and being nice, just choose to be nice. Or to put this in the wise words of Bambi's friend Thumper, the bunny rabbit, If you can't say something nice don't say nothing at all.

Pick your battles

How often have you heard this advice about parenting? This is great advice for child-rearing and it's great advice to follow in your marriage as well. In any human relationship there will be disagreement and conflict. The key here is to decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored. By doing this, you'll find much less negative energy between you.

From now on, anytime you feel annoyed, take a minute to examine the issue at hand, and ask yourself a few questions. How important is this? Is this worth picking a fight over? What would be the benefit of choosing this battle versus letting it go?

The 60 second cuddle

You can often identify a newly married couple just by how much they touch each other, holding hands, sitting close, touching arms, kissing; just as you can spot an oldly-married couple, by how little they touch. Mothers, in particular, often have less need for physical contact with their partners because their babies and young children provide so much opportunity for touch and cuddling that day's end finds them touched fulfilled.

So here's a simple reminder: make the effort to touch your spouse more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage, the good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.

Here's the deal: Whenever you've been apart make it a rule that you will take just 60 seconds to cuddle, touch and connect. This can be addictive! If you follow this advice soon you'll find yourselves touching each other more often, and increasing the romantic aspect of your relationship.

Spend more time talking to and listening to your partner.

I don't mean, Remember to pick up Jimmy's soccer uniform. Or, I have a PTA meeting tonight. Rather, get into the habit of sharing your thoughts about what you read in the paper, what you watch on TV, your hopes, your dreams, your concerns. Take a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.

Spend time with your spouse

It can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all your time being Mommy and Daddy. You need to spend regular time as Husband and Wife. This doesn't mean you have to take a two-week vacation in Hawaii. (Although that might be nice, too!) Just take small daily snippets of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even just quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys. A daily morning walk around the block or a shared cup of tea after all the children are in bed might work wonders to re-connect you to each other. And yes, it?s quite fine to talk about your children when you're spending your time together, because, after all, your children are one of the most important connections you have in your relationship.

When you and your spouse regularly connect in a way that nurtures your relationship, you may find a renewed love between you, as well as a refreshed vigor that will allow you to be a better, more loving parent. You owe it to yourself and to your kids to nurture your relationship.

So take my challenge and use these ideas for the next 30 days. And watch your marriage take on a whole new glow.

Parts of this article are excerpted with permission from books by Elizabeth Pantley:

Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions are Really Telling Our Children

Stop the Diaper Changing Battles

Babies are little bundles of energy! They don't want to lie still to have their diapers changed. They cry, fuss, or even crawl away. A simple issue can turn into a major tug-of-war between parent and baby.

Diaper changing as a ritual

The position of parent and baby during a diaper change is perfect for creating a bonding experience between you. You are leaning over your baby, and your face is at the perfect arms-length distance for engaging eye contact and communication. What's more, this golden opportunity presents itself many times during each day; no matter how busy you both get, you have a few moments of quiet connection. It's too valuable a ritual to treat it as simply maintenance.

Learning about your baby

Diapering offers a perfect opportunity for you to truly absorb your baby's cues and signals. You'll learn how his little body works, what tickles him, what causes those tiny goose bumps. As you lift, move, and touch your baby, your hands will learn the map of his body and what's normal for him. This is important because it will enable you to easily decipher any physical changes that need attention.

Developing trust

Regular diaper changes create rhythm in your baby's world and afford the sense that the world is safe and dependable. They are regular and consistent episodes in days that may not always be predictable. Your loving touches teach your baby that he is valued, and your gentle care teaches him that he is respected.

A learning experience for your baby

Your baby does a lot of learning during diaper changes. It's one of the few times that she actually sees her own body without clothes, when she can feel her complete movements without a wad of diaper between her legs. Diaper-off time is a great chance for her to stretch her limbs and learn how they move.

During changing time, your baby is also a captive audience to your voice, so she can focus on what you are saying and how you are saying it, an important component of her language learning process. Likewise, for a precious few minutes, you are her captive audience, so you can focus on what she's saying and how she is saying it; crucial to the growth of your relationship.

What your baby thinks and feels

Many active babies could not care less if their diapers are clean. They're too busy to concern themselves with such trivial issues. It may be important to you, but it's not a priority for your child.

Diaper rash or uncomfortable diapers (wrong size or bad fit) can make him dread diaper changes, so check these first. Once you're sure all the practical issues are covered, make a few adjustments in this unavoidable process to make it more enjoyable.

Take a deep breath

Given the number of diapers you have to change, it's possible that what used to be a pleasant experience for you has gotten to be routine, or even worse, a hassle. When parents approach diaper changing in a brisk, no-nonsense way, it isn't any fun for Baby. Try to reconnect with the bonding experience that diaper changing can be -- a moment of calm in a busy day when you share one-on-one time with your baby.

Have some fun

This is a great time to sing songs, blow tummy raspberries, or do some tickle and play. A little fun might take the dread out of diaper changes for both of you. A game that stays fresh for a long time is, hide the diaper. Put a new diaper on your head, on your shoulder, or tucked in your shirt and ask, Where's the diaper? I can't find it! A fun twist is to give the diaper a name and a silly voice, and use it as a puppet. Let the diaper call your child to the changing station and have it talk to him as you change it. (If you get tired of making Mister Diaper talk, just remember what it was like before you tried the idea.)

Use distraction

Keep a flashlight with your changing supplies and let your baby play with it while you change him. Some kids? flashlights have a button to change the color of the light, or shape of the ray. Call this his diaper flashlight and put it away when the change is complete. You may find a different type of special toy that appeals to your little one, or even a basket of small interesting toys. If you reserve these only for diaper time, they can retain their novelty for a long time.

Try a stand-up diaper

If your baby's diaper is just wet (not messy), try letting her stand up while you do a quick change. If you're using cloth diapers, have one leg pre-pinned so that you can slide it on like pants, or opt for pre-fitted diapers that don't require pins.

Time to potty train

If your child is old enough and seems ready for the next step, consider potty training.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

The Other Side of the Glass

This film is about the powerlessness and trauma that fathers experience when they can't protect their partners and babies from the violation and abuse that some face during a hospital birth.

Thank you Janel for sharing this film.

View film

Sep 10, 2008

The Golden Notebook

"You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture.

The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors.

It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others, will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself-educating your own judgement. Those that stay must remember, always and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this society."

-- Doris Lessing, "The Golden Notebook"

Dr. Phil Soliciting Home Birth Horror Stories

Dr. Phil's website is soliciting home-birth horror
stories-- get happy clients to inundate it with satisfied home-birthers, or
go to the site yourself and give your feedback. If we don't respond, he will
do a show that slams women's right to birth at home and our sound judgment
to make such choices..... ....

Dr. Phil has a form on his website where you can submit your "home-birth
horror story".

Many of us are instead using this form to a) tell our horrible hospital
stories, b) tell our great home-birth stories, or c) just plain let Dr. Phil
and his staff how bad we think this show concept is.

My hope is that, if enough people raise a stink, the show will drop the
idea. If you or anyone you know wants to join in the barrage, you
can find the form here:

Do you regret having a home birth?
http://www.drphil. com/plugger/ respond/? plugID=12524

Pregnant? Wondering If You Should Home Birth?
http://www.drphil. com/plugger/ respond/? plugID=12479

Did You Have A Traumatic Birthing Experience?
http://www.drphil. com/plugger/ respond/? plugID=12538

Sep 9, 2008

Bill C-51

This is a Bill that will wreak havoc on every type of holistic, homeopathic, natural, energetic, and non government sanctioned method of care, illness prevention, or cures.

This bill is a flagrant misuse and abuse from the governmental super-structure. Many of you with small business's that have spent your lives dedicated to these natural home remedies, will be not allowed to practice the methods that have been passed along for generations.

Interestingly-the government has given you tax breaks, and offers programs to open small business's in this field- yet now they are destroying the field itself. Over the last 3 years-some hospitals have opened up mindfulness clinics and have even used non-evasive homeopathic remedies as cures. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Learn more

Sep 8, 2008

The Midwife On A Mission

CBC Evening News: Can A Simple, Caring Approach Reverse The High U.S Infant Mortality Rate?

An 81 year-old grandmother runs one of the most successful birthing clinics in the nation in the city with the worst infant mortality rate.

Sep 4, 2008

With Child

Let us be your guide and resource to the wonderful and exciting world of parenthood! On our site we feature the most popular and helpful products used by our customers. We hope that this will save you time and help answer some of your questions. However, for those times - and there are many- when you aren't sure of what you need, where to go or what to do, just give us a call. We are here for you!

Bassinet Recall

Two Infants Die Due to Strangulation While Using Simplicity Close Sleeper Bassinets

Back to school

Tips for Students, Parents and Teachers.
Get the house, the classroom and the kids ready for the new school year with shopping tips, recipe ideas, homework help and much more!

Aug 16, 2008

History in The Making

Today I witnessed a miraculous event.  Jamaica's Usain Bolt astonished the world as he shattered the world record in the 2008 Olympics 100 meter race.

I learned a great deal from him today. Confidence is the first step towards not only intimidating an opponent, but simply realizing amazing accomplishments. This footage is an inspiration for me to maintain focus on my ambitions, motivations, thoughts and most importantly, my Doula support. 

My values are those of a generation that has taken control of their destiny. It is within me to challenge and encourage women to birth naturally and with confidence. Trust in your biological ancestry and draw on the strength from those that have birthed before you. Your body already knows.

Aug 15, 2008

The Business of Being Born

"The Business of Being Born is a passionate ground-level examination of home childbirth, anchored in a scene in which its executive producer, Ricki Lake, the actress and former talk-show host, gives birth to her second child in a bathtub.

That graphic scene, and several other unblinking sequences of home birth attended by a midwife, are intended to erase any stigma from the situation. Practiced widely in Europe and Japan, home birth has largely disappeared in the United States, the documentary states, because of an image as a primitive, unsanitary ritual.

As the film enumerates disadvantages of hospital births, conspiracy theorists might detect a plot by the medical establishment to take control of a process for both economic and psychological reasons. But the medical establishment would argue that a hospital is the safest place to give birth because if something goes wrong, speed is essential. The Business of Being Born is not overtly political. Its feminism is palpable but unspoken." - The New York Times

View video


"To give the breast is to give life."

View video

Hyena Square - Tanzania

Elisa Joseph tells her story to the camera.

From a difficult family background in rural Iringa, Elisa came to town when she was thirteen years old, following promises for a job and the possibility to go to school. But the household she was sold to for 10,000 Shillings never paid her a salary, and after two years she was raped by the husband in the family. She was accused of theft and thrown into prison for three months. Fifteen years old and with nowhere to go she ended up as a sex worker in Dar es Saalaam's infamous Uwanja wa Fisi (Hyena Square). Elisa managed to get out of prostitution with the help of KIWOHEDE, an NGO working with rehabilitation of child sex workers and domestic workers. When she found out she was infected with HIV, she decided to be open about it in order to help others. In this film we meet her as she works with advising other girls in a container office in the middle of Hyena Square. Elisa wants to be an example that it is possible to start fresh and lead a meaningful life in spite of the virus. She loves playing football and is hoping to become a star. Meet her, and a bunch of other colourful people of Hyena Square, in this half-hour documentary full of tears and laughter and contemporary Tanzanian music.

View video

Stories of Mothers Lost: A Stories of Mothers Lost: A Promise of Healthy Pregnancy and Safe Childbirth for All

This film follows the Promise to Mothers Lost campaign from its inception in London in 2007 at the Stories of Mothers Lost exhibition launch. Fabric panels and film clips illustrating women's stories of death in pregnancy and childbirth, created by White Ribbon Alliance member organizations and individuals from all walks of life from around the world, are featured. This film amplifies their voices and carries them to the ears of world leaders as the Promise to Mothers Lost campaign rallies around international meetings.

View video

The Tanzanian White Ribbon Alliance: Play your Part

Play your Part is a participatory video made by the Tanzanian White Ribbon Alliance to address issues of Safe Motherhood in Tanzania. The film has been shown at national and international conferences and on Tanzanian television.

View Play Your Part

Aug 14, 2008

Baby Einstein's: Not So Smart After All

"Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby series, researchers find that these products may be doing more harm than good."

New survey of Mother's Sleep and Fatigue

There are very few studies on the topic of new mothers and  sleep/fatigue. If you are a new mother with  an infant(s) 12 months or younger, I would encourage you to participate in this survey.

You will be asked detailed questions about how well you and your infant sleep, where other members of your family usually sleep, and how tired you feel on most days.

You will also be asked about things that usually interfere with your sleep. The results will be used for further research and study.

Morning Sickness Remedies

Part of being pregnant, as most people know is having to battle with nausea and vomiting, otherwise known as morning sickness. This condition affects about 50% of pregnant women.

Morning sickness is caused by the sudden increase in hormones during pregnancy. It is very common in early pregnancy, and it tends to go away by the second trimester. 

Birth Trauma Stress Disorder Afflicts Moms

Study suggests that PTSD may be more common than previously believed.

" Birth is meant to be a rite of passage for a woman into motherhood... she should be cared, supported and loved to arrive in motherhood in one piece-body, heart, mind and soul."

As a Labour and Postpartum Doula I ensure that new moms are equipped with the uncersored knowledge of pregnancy, childbirth and the initial postpartum period.

During my own childbirth experience, things didn't go as planned as I was in labour for 56 hours. In the end, I was left battling (what I thought was) a mild case of the baby blues. With the right support I was able to cope, and made a comforting transition into my new role as mom.

Many women are not aware of their options as birthing moms, and some are forced into making uninformed decisions at the cost of their dignity. Many women are left feeling robbed of such a special experience.

When they are fully informed they are empowered and equipped to enter this momentous experience, and are able to deal effectively with the unexpected.

In my line of work, I encourage new parents to replay their brithing expereince and come to terms with the realtiy of any trauma or mishaps that they had to face.

This gives them the opportunity to become aware of and work through their emotional shock following the traumatic event.

As it is written " Through pain find strength, through birth find healing."

Pregnancy & Obesity

A study of pregnancy in women who were morbidly obese, compared to women of normal weight, showed poor periantal outcomes. Preeclampsia was determined to occur at a rate of nearly five times as frequently: meconium aspiration, fetal distress ad low Apgar scores were also seen more often. In addition, interventions were more frequent, including three times the number of cesareans, a 34% increase in instrumental deliveries, and more inductions. Babies were also more likely to be born preterm.

--- Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey 59(7): 489-491, 2004

Aug 11, 2008

Breastfeeding mother alleges WestJet harassment

Another Vancouver woman has come forward to say that she was harassed while breast-feeding


"My doula was an umbrella of support." 

"Every woman should have a doula." --- Irma & Isaac

"My birth resulted in a c-section. My doula stayed with me and offered comfort through the entire ordeal." --- DM

"My labour lasted 28 hours, my doula was by my side. It was empowering knowing that
I had someone to help me through each moment." --- Christie

"I liked the techniques she used to help my wife get thorough those last emotional centimeters." --- A. McDonanld

"I'd like to comment on how Carla has been extremely helpful with the pregnancy of my wife, Paula. Unfortunately from the start, the pregnancy hasn't been a fun ride, resulting from one complication to another.

My wife and I were blessed with twins but unfortunately, the blessing also came with tragic news as we found out that twin to twin transfusion was the cause we were facing. Than after the laser surgery, we had to deal with the news that one of our sons had hydrocephalus... no brain matter whatsoever.

Needless to say, Carla has been a great support to us. Her lending hand has been an extra tower of hope that reassures an anxiety stricken couple that their labour and pregnancy will go as smoothly as possible. Even through all the hard times we were already facing...

Thanks for everything Carla. God Bless always..."--- Lex and Paula Mejia

Have something to say? Question to ask? Something to submit? I'd love to hear from you.

Welcome to Mama Sayana Doula support. I started this blog as a way to provide real, unedited information about pregnancy and birth to pregnant mothers and couples. 
The true heart of this blog lies in the stories and pictures submitted by you. 
Please feel free to visit often and post your comments.

Happy blogging.

Ask a Doula

Feel free to ask about doulas, becoming a doula, finding a doula,
the basics of pregnancy, birth and beyond, including breastfeeding,
newborn support and more.

Post your questions as a comment.

Aug 10, 2008

A well written pardigm

This was sent to me from a member of my facebook group: Mama Sayana Doula Support
I Will Win!

The die has been cast. I've stepped over the line.
The decision has been done the destiny's been determined.
I will no longer vacillate. I will no longer vacate.
I will no longer listen to, listen at or listen in on losing.
I will not be defeated, dejected, dilluted or detoured.
I will no loger navigate with the needle of negativity.
The direction's been decided, the trail to be tried.
The destiny directed the future forged.
I will not be pulled on, pulled in, pulled down or pulled out.
I won't back up, back down or back away or back off.
I won't give in, give out or even give way to defeat.
I no longer will meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I will no longer conform to the cancer of CAN'T
I now will confirm the condition of CAN.
I will probe the possibilities, pick the probabilities.
I will focus on the fire and heat it even hotter.
I will never give up, let up, set up or shut up on success.
I am reaching for the ring, pulling on the power.
I've quit wishing, hoping, wasting, and whining.
I will aggressively gear in to the word GO.
And, I am determined to dare to do till I drop.
I will withstand the whining winds of defeat.
And, I will be powerfully persistent, consistent, and insistent
To get out of life what I truly deserve.
Because I am willing... I am waiting... I am Worthy...
And I understand the only defat is from within.
I now know that beyond any shadow of the cloud of doubt,
There is no shadow... there is no cloud, and there is no doubt
I will Win!

Aug 7, 2008

Benefits of having a Doula

Reduced the overall cesarean rate by 50%
Reduced the length of labour by 25%
Reduced oxytocin use by 40%
Reduced the use of pain medication by 30%
Reduced forceps delivery by 40%
Reduced the use of pain medication by 30%
Reduced requests for epidural pain medication by 60%
Reduced incidences of maternal fever
Reduced the number of days newborns spent in NICU( neo-natal infant care unit)
Reduced the amount of septic workups performed on newborns
Resulted in higher rates of breast-feeding 
Resulted in more positive maternal assessments of maternal confidence
Resulted in more positive maternal assessments of maternal and newborn health
Resulted in decreased rates of postpartum depression

Source: Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth by Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell, Phyllis H. Klaus

What is a doula?

As a doula, I accompany women in labour to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort and, as needed, communication with the hospital staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labour. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labour progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort. I am an independent doula. As your doula, I am working for you, not your caregiver or the hospital. I believe that you are in charge of your own birth and that I am the invited guest. I am there to serve you to help you have the type of birth you have envisioned for yourself.

My Philosophy

I have a strong belief that all families deserve to have a safe, nurturing and most of all an empowering birth experience. I also believe that families deserve a strong support network during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum period.

I believe that a strong team will provide the safe haven that women require in order to have a positive birth experience. I believe that the birth of a child is a gift, not a moment of crisis.

Women have the power within them to give birth to their babies and can stay strong throughout the labour period. I do promote natural labour, but I will support any method of labour intervention you may choose. I also support Breastfeeding and believe that with the right support all women have the ability to breastfeed their infants.

I believe that it is every woman's right to have a doula.

Doula support is an essential component of birth


Aug 6, 2008

Top Reasons to Hire a Doula

Why Parents Hire Birth Doulas Today
© Brenda Lane

Several reasons parents hire birth doulas today include a desire for more support during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Medical Benefits of Hiring a Doula

Numerous studies in the last 25 years have clearly demonstrated the value of a birth doula during the process of childbirth. Some of the evidence has shown that fewer mothers ask for medication or require medical intervention such as the use of pitocin to induce or speed up labor. Mothers who use doulas are more likely to have shorter labors and fewer cesareans compared to mothers who did not have a doula. Mothers also tend to breastfeed their babies longer and have a more satisfying birth experience if they have used a doula. In fact, a recent survey indicated that mothers gave the doulas the "highest rating" for the best supportive care over any other member of the birth team including nurses, doctors and nurse-midwives.

Parents can have many reasons for hiring a doula that may or may not have anything to do with the research results. Here are a host of reasons parents may want to use a doula.

Other Reasons Parents hire a Doula:

A desire for additional support during labor, with or without a primary labor partner.

A history of a previous long or challenging birth.

Greater access to non-pharmacologic methods of pain relief.

Mothers with special needs such as those planning a VBAC, single mothers or those who cannot use pain medications such as an epidural.

For additional help with breastfeeding techniques and postpartum support after birth.

To assist parents in having a natural or unmedicated childbirth.
How Doula Support is Unique

A common misconception is that the labor and delivery nurse with be providing the same type of support as the doula. Parents believe that the nurse will be there with them continuously and help them with pain relief techniques. The reality is that the typical labor and delivery nurse in the hospital has multiple patients. She is required to keep extensive records on all of her patients at the same time. In fact, one study showed that only about 10% of the nurse's time was spent supporting the laboring woman with her physical or emotional needs.

Doulas do not work in shifts or have multiple patients. They care for the individual needs of the mother and stay with her until the baby is born. Not only that, but the birth doula is not a stranger to the mother and therefore she can act as a familiar guide through the long and often challenging hours of labor.

Parents are also discovering that having a midwife with them during labor also does not guarantee one-to-one support. Certified nurse-midwives are busier than ever these days and often cannot provide individual, continuous attention to mothers in labor, especially in hospital settings.

Frequently asked questions

*What do you think is the most important part of your job?

The most important part of my job is mothering the expectant mother. I accompany her in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort. I believe that you are in charge of your own birth and that I am the invited guest. I am there to serve you to help you have the type of birth you have envisioned for yourself.

*What is your religious belief (if any)?

I am a spiritual person with various religious and philosophical beliefs.

*What are the main skills and abilities you bring to the birth?

I am a labour, postpartum and hypno-birthing doula. I am also a Traditional Japanese reiki practitioner. I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide emotional and physical comfort as needed. I use comfort measures to not only coach mom's through the physical part of labor but also tend to her emotional needs.

*What do you think the father's role should be during labour?

I believe that dad is to be intimately involved in the process of labour and birth. I coach dads to be familiar with the process and language of birth, to understand medical procedures and hospital protocols and advocate for his
partner in an environment and culture he is usually unfamiliar with.

I also teach partners how to squeeze mom's hips to take the edge off back ache; how to rock through contractions in a slow dance; how to manage pain through rhythm, relaxation and ritual.

*How do the doctor and the nurses usually react to your presence?

Overwhelmed nurses don't always have the time for one-on-one instruction, so some have been happy to have me support mom. From a nursing standpoint, some have had doulas cross a line and interfere with the medical aspect of delivery, so few have not been responsive to my presence.

*How do you handle a conflict with the medical team?

Doulas contend that doctors and nurses aren't always cooperative. When I walk into a hospital where the nurse doesn't know me, I still experience dismissal: "What is she here for? Why does the woman think she needs someone else to protect her? "

To ensure that conflict doesn't arise I respect the hospital protocol and stay within my scope of practice. If indeed it does, both staff and I have to make sure that we stay professional and focus on the primary reason for the occasion: Mom first.

*Do you have any additional training or licensing or special methods that you use in your practice?

I am a Traditional Japanese Reiki practitioner and have seen clients experience a degree of comfort from therapeutic touch.

*Will you be available during my 37-43 week period?


*Are there any limitations to your availability?


*Will you come to my home if I am in pain but not ready to go to the hospital?


*How many clients do you take in a month?


*What is your back-up plan if you are not able to attend?

In the event I am unable to attend a birth due to illness or unforeseen circumstances, your birth will be attended by my backup assistant.

*What does your services include?

Holistic Doula Care Treatment includes:

:: Initial Consultation
:: 2 Prenatal Visits
:: 1 Reiki Treatment: energy healing that involves direct application of Chi for the purpose of strengthening the clients energy system
:: Hypno-birthing: self hypnosis, guided imagery, affirmations and visualizations
:: Birth planning: formulating a birth plan
:: Labour Coaching: rehearsal for labour, physical comfort measures, massage, positional changes
:: 1 Postpartum Visit: newborn care instruction and breastfeeding (additional visits available upon request with applicable fees)
:: Unlimited prenatal and postpartum phone support
:: I am available 24 hours a day 2 weeks before and after your estimated delivery date

Creative Services (additional fees )

:: Belly Casting & painting
:: Birth Stories
:: Photo/video diary of labour & delivery