Winnipeg Doula

In the Eyes of a Child

By on March 24, 2017

Our next fun stop in #worlddoulaweek puts a youthful spin on things. I wanted to let you all know a bit more about me, and what better way to do that than through the ones who know me best- my kiddos! This fun quiz was going around Facebook several months back and I didn't get a chance to test it out with my two oldest- until now. I thought it would be fun to get their perspective on their doula mama, and I'll throw in a few comments of my own too!

Doula Mom Interview

1. What is something I always say to you?
T  Clean up!
E  Clean up!

2. What makes me happy?
T  When I got you soup, when you were sick at the old house and I brought it to your bed.  (When she was 4 I was sick once, and she lovingly went into the fridge in the early hours of the morning, poured soup to the very brim of a new bowl, and carried it down the hallways onto my bedside table, and then left it there without saying anything :|)
E  Playing downstairs

3. What makes me sad?
T  When I don't listen and throw a fit. 
E  Ummm peeing on the floor. (Can you tell we're in the midst of potty learning over here?)

4. How do I make you laugh?
T  *Makes a funny face at me*
E  Give me happy birthday cake!!

5. What was I like as a child?
T  You were like your mom, and your dad. 
E  Like me! (Not too far off! I've always been a quiet, shy, introspective person. You'd most often find me hiding somewhere silly (under the bed, in the closet) with my nose in a book)

6. How old am I?
T  31  (She's too smart for me...)
E  one two three four six. You six. 

7. How tall am I?
T  As big as a giant
E  BIG

8. What is my favorite thing to do?
T  Play with Oakley. Have ice cream. 
E  Going on the bed. Having Happy Birthday Cake. (I think they both get points for this- sleeping in and eating decadent rich cake would count as two favorites! I also enjoy the gym and watching sappy drama tv shows and movies though!)

9. What do I do when you're not around?
T  Get really sad and want to pick us up. 
E  Play!

10. If I become famous, what will it be for?
T  Being the ruler of your hotel and doula job!
E  

11. What am I really good at?
T  Taking care of us. Taking care of me when there's a fire drill.
E  Happy Birthday Cake. Then you and daddy and Tenley and me and Oakie when he is bigger eat Happy Birthday cake! (One track mind this kid has- I like it!)

12. What am I not very good at?
T  Buying toys.
E  Putting the baby gate up...

12. What do I do for a job?
T  Ruling your whole doula world and helping people have babies. 
E  Babies! Play with me. 

14. What is my favorite food?
T  Pancakes, birthday cake and ice cream. 
E  Toast. (I'm gonna call this one a fail. I'd love some good Chinese, followed with poutine and mocha cheesecake.)

15. What makes you proud of me?
T  Baking and taking care of us.
E  Having Sushi (Fail again. I don't eat sushi)

16. If I were a character, who would I be?
T  Darth Vader. Han solo. 
E  Luke Skywalker!!!

17. What do we enjoy doing together?
T  Going out places. 
E  Having battle (Light sabre battles dancing through the house)

18. How are we the same?
T  We're girls. Our hair. 
E  Hair! (True. All my kids inherited my poor sad natural hair color.)

19. How are we different?
T  I'm 5 and you're 31...
E  

20. How do you know I love you?
T  Cause I'm your child! You cuddle with me. 
E  *Starts pointing to all his stuff*

21. What do I like most about dad?
T  You're best friends (<3)
E  Sushi

22. Where is my favorite place to go?
T  Museum, the Zoo, The Y
E  Store. And get more sushi! (He's obsessed! And trying to use his Jedi mind tricks on me!)

23. How old was I when you were born?
T  30. No um 29. (False.)
E  Bigger!

 

Hope you've enjoyed this insight into our crazy lives! Do YOU have any questions for me? Comment, or send me a message so we can chat!

Winnipeg Doula Embrace Birth Services

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Winnipeg Doula

Why Embrace Birth Services? | Winnipeg Doula

By on March 23, 2017

For today’s post in honor of World Doula Week, I wanted to share a little bit about how Embrace Birth Services came about! As many of you know, I’ve been at this doula gig here in Winnipeg for over ten years now (wow!). When I started thinking about returning to my beloved doula work after the birth of my last baby, I knew that I needed a new name that would reflect my services better. Over nine years of welcoming babes into the world, and three births under my belt myself, I’ve matured, my view on birth has changed, and it seemed fitting that my name would too.

And so began the impossible task of coming up with a name that would encompass all of the magic that I believe birth and doula work to be. No easy feat! Hours and hours were spent brainstorming, throwing down words on paper, trying to find something that spoke to me. And eventually, I had it. Embrace. Embrace Birth Services.

Embrace Birth Services Winnipeg Doula

There are many facets to this word, just as there are many facets to birth doula work. On the surface, I love the visual image of embrace during labor and birth. Physically, many women seek to be held, comforted, supported during their journeys. This concrete feeling of not being alone is reassuring, it affirms the belief that mama is strong, that the ground she walks on is secure, and that she and her team have what it takes to venture to the other side of birth. As a doula it is my goal to ensure you feel my embrace- physical or symbolic.

But what made me fall in love with Embrace Birth Services is the less obvious meaning. Acceptance. Surrender. By definition, embrace means to accept or support a belief, a theory, or a change, willingly and enthusiastically. To welcome with open arms, take to one’s heart. And isn’t that so true about birth? Labor and birth to me, is a little like that children’s song “Can’t go over it, Can’t go under it, Can’t go around it, Got to go through it!” Indeed. The only way through birth is through it. What this looks like is different for every laboring family, but I find a common characteristic in the amazing families I’ve supported- they embrace birth.

While labor and childbirth is very much a physical experience, it’s the emotional side of it- the headspace, that I see make the most difference in how a family copes with labor. Dive in, immerse yourself in it. Accept the unknowns, the sensations, the challenge. Embrace the very idea of labor- Work. Important work. Which must be done, but doesn’t need to be a hardship. As you surrender your trust to your body, to this babe about to come earthside, as you embrace the journey you are embarking on- it gets easier. Not pain-free. Not without work. But opening your mind and your mind to what lies ahead changes the dynamic in the birthing space.

One of my favorite articles about birth includes the following excerpt, which I find myself referring to over and over in my birth work.

I believe that this is more than biological. It is spiritual. To give birth, whether at home in a birth tub with candles and family or in a surgical suite with machines and a neonatal team, a woman must go to the place between this world and the next, to that thin membrane between here and there. To the place where life comes from, to the mystery, in order to reach over to bring forth the child that is hers. The heroic tales of Odysseus are with us, each ordinary day. This round woman is not going into battle, but she is going to the edge of her being where every resource she has will be called on to assist in this journey.

We need time and space to prepare for that journey. And somewhere, deep inside us, at a primal level, our cells and hormones and mind and soul know this, and begin the work with or without our awareness. – Jana Studelska

Birth is not just biological. It is emotional, It is spiritual, It is transformative. And it demands a certain degree of acceptance and surrender. Embrace the birth that is upon you. Trust your body, Trust your baby, Trust your team. Hold your head high as you head into these hours, and surrender to the magic that comes when you bring a babe earthside.

embrace birth services winnipeg doula

As your doula, I will be there with you every step of the way. Reminding you of your power. Urging you to embrace this birth. Embrace your strength. Each surge that comes on can feel exciting, but also intimidating and a bit scary. And I will be there to guide you along the path, to accept this birth. Accept the sensations and the fear, look it in the eye, and do it anyways.

So why Embrace Birth Services? Because I believe each one of you deserves to feel power in this experience. To take control of your destiny. Embrace life, Embrace birth, Embrace strength. I know you can.

 

Love,

 

Jenine

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Winnipeg Doula

Happy World Doula Week from Embrace Birth Services!

By on March 22, 2017

Did you know that today, March 22, marks the start of World Doula Week? The Spring equinox, symbolizing the return to fertility, seems like a perfect time to celebrate and bring empowerment to my powerful sisters who hold space as new souls enter the world. I’m thrilled to get to celebrate with you this year!

World Doula Week Winnipeg Birth Doula
World Doula Week Winnipeg Birth Doula

To celebrate, I’ve got some fun things planned this week, so make sure you check back! The theme of this year is #doulasbenefiteveryone, which is so so true. Your doula is truly there to support whichever birth experience you desire- YOU are the boss of your birth experience, and us doulas are just here to help navigate.

I’ve been blessed to support births that were at hospital, and at home. Parents who chose no intervention, and parents who chose belly births. Mamas who were alone, and those surrounded by family. Each of these people benefited from having an experienced, judgment free doula by their side. And I benefited by knowing them. It sounds cliche, but I truly am blessed to be able to call this work my “job”. Doulas benefit everyone- even the doula!

Before I leave you for today, I wanted to share this perfect graphic I found. Doulas are for #thatkindofmom

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<3 Gratitude

By on December 1, 2016

Five weeks post birth with our third baby and I have yet to even open a document to start recording his magical birth story. But this thank you letter to my doula has been on my mind constantly, writing and editing inside my mind, trying to think how to do justice to the gratitude my husband and I have for her.

 As a doula myself, I knew as soon as we started planning our birth that I wanted a doula and a photographer there. To me, your birth days are just as important as your wedding day, and the people you surround yourself with, and the memories you take from that day, will stay with you forever. Which is why I felt extremely blessed to know right away who it was that I wanted at my birth, and even more blessed when she agreed.

I’ve known Catherine for several years as parents, and was lucky enough to take a doula training course with her last fall. Since then we have acted as backups for each other, and it has meant the world to me to have her as a doula sister, knowing that she held the same trust and awe in birth that I did, Catherine truly understands not just the basic mechanics of birth, but the holistic reality that birth is a spiritual and deeply emotional event as well.

With this being my third baby, I didn’t have many questions or concerns about the physical side of pregnancy or birth. I knew my body could and would birth a baby successfully, and I felt confident in the team my husband and I had surrounded ourselves with. But I was surprised in the last weeks by how much I still leaned on Catherine, and took comfort in her wisdom and encouragement. And when the time came to make calls for the birth, it was the one to her that I was most excited about.

We were able to have a wonderful waterbirth at home, and Catherine’s sure, calming presence throughout kept both my husband and I centered. And the photos she took of the occasion will be treasured and revisited countless times over the years, of this I am sure. Catherine was able to switch seamlessly between acting as my photographer, and holding space for me as my doula when she could see that I needed the extra reassurance. I absolutely cannot imagine my birth experience without her.

I urge you, if you are on the fence and considering a doula and/or a photographer. Get one. Take the plunge. Do what it takes to ensure you are supported as well as I was on one of the most important days of your life.

“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” – John Kennell, M.D.

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A Letter To Our Midwife | Winnipeg Doula

By on January 6, 2016

Found this on Facebook today, and all of a sudden I was sniffling and smiling. Shoutout to all the amazing humans lucky enough to call themselves a Winnipeg Midwife.

My first birth was with a new-ish OB in Winnipeg who was friendly, and acknowledged my requests, but was not empowering, was not understanding. She was there for medical reasons, and I never felt anything else from her. At the end of my pregnancy, even after countless visits, I still felt no connection to her.

My second birth, my magical homebirth, was completely different. Right from our first meeting, I could tell I’d been blessed with a Winnipeg Midwife who got birth. She understood the emotional, the spiritual component of it. She knew there was more than mechanics at play. Every step of the way she nurtured us, both my husband and I. And we felt supported and listened to. We felt equal in making decisions about the birth of our son. During my first pregnancy, I was a patient who was a consumer of the medical profession. This time around, I was able to form a relationship with the amazing midwife who stood by my side through everything.

Our little E decided to be born really unexpectedly unassisted, and a bit more ‘exciting’ than we would have preferred. But from the moment our midwife D walked in the door, we knew we were ok. We were in control again, and she was there to hold us up and remind us that we were capable. We were enough. The courage and normalcy she lent to those first hours cannot be given a price. We are forever grateful to her.

And so I want to share this article, this letter. Hopefully you too have been lucky enough to be supported like this by a caregiver, maybe even a Winnipeg midwife, or maybe you will be in the future. One day I hope everyone has this experience.

winnipeg midwife

I don’t know if midwives like you are rare or if all share the same grace and understanding. But here is what I am truly thankful for, as a mother, as a woman and as a human being.

Thank you for speaking to me throughout the whole experience of giving birth with compassion, kindness and love. You made me feel at ease. You enabled me to feel strong and powerful. You reminded me how capable I was, how amazing my body was… how I could keep going, even though the pain was great and I was tired.

Winnipeg doula embrace birth services

A Letter to our Midwife

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