But what does a doula even do? | Winnipeg Doula

"Oh you're a doula? That's like a midwife, right?"

While birth doula care is increasing in popularity, it's still a mystery to many people. After we've established that as a doula I am actually not just like a midwife, (Wichita Doula covers that distinction fantastically here) the next question is usually "Well, so what do you do then?"

That answer... isn't an easy one. You see, a doula's duties are as varied as the families that choose to hire us. The great thing about doula services is that they are completely tailored to your unique experience. What works for one person may make another turn up their nose- and that's ok. Here's just a small sampling of what your doula may do for you during your pregnancy and birth.

Answer your questions and share in your joys (and fears).  One of the benefits of hiring your doula early in pregnancy is that she's there along with you for the entire ride. Your doula can act as a first point of contact for those "I'm not sure if this is normal" questions or the "I'm so over these stranger belly rubs" moments. Consider me your personal sounding board.

Help you decide if this time it's really labor. Your doula can assist you in recognizing the signs of labor, and knowing when to ignore and keep 'doing life' and when to start making forward progress to your chosen place of birth and settling in.

Help you get settled. Whether your place of birth is home, birth centre or one of our hospitals (Women's Hospital at Health Sciences Centre and St Boniface Hospital are both great choices)- a doula is a great resource to put those finishing touches together- whether that means inflating and filling a birth pool, setting up your favorite music or walking you through the strange hospital hallways and settling in to your new home away from home. Feeling comfortable and secure in your birth space makes such a difference in your ability to confidently handle the sensations of labor- and your doula makes sure the job gets done.

 

Winnipeg doula

Provide support while you move. Movement during birth is linked with shorter, less complicated labors. As a doula I will suggest different ways to use movement and position changes to help you cope with each contraction. It may mean we go for a walk around the halls or the neighborhood, stopping to lean on me during contractions, or it could mean providing a firm foundation while you handle contractions on the birthing ball. If you've chosen an epidural, a doula can help you change positions in the bed for greater comfort and to encourage baby to move down easier.

Remind you that this is normal, this is good, and you are doing just fine. While birth is inherently normal-- it can also be intimidating and scary! Your doula is there at each turn to explain the unexpected and reassure you when you're feeling worried. Having a doula who is experienced in pregnancy and birth and can soothe your fears is priceless. Sometimes all you need when you're struggling during labor is someone who can whisper in your ear that you are rocking those contractions.

Soothe aching muscles and release tension. Touch relaxation and counterpressure are truly truly wonderful tools. During labor a doula may use massage techniques or touch relaxation to pinpoint areas that you are feeling tension and help you release. The looser and more relaxed your body, the less pain you will experience. Another one of my favorite doula moves is providing counterpressure or a double hip squeeze. Many birthing people feel their contractions primarily in their backs- providing steady counterpressure during contractions can greatly reduce the sensation and allow you to focus on releasing and breathing through contractions.

Help your partner find their feet. I have been blessed to witness many amazing partners offering support to their significant other during birth. And they almost unanimously have told me before labor they were nervous. That they wouldn't be enough, they wouldn't know what to do, that they didn't know enough to be a good support. The labor room can be an overwhelming space, and partners thrive knowing that all the pressure isn't on them. With a doula present, your partner is able to watch, learn, and step in as much (or as little) as they are comfortable. Having a doula present also allows them to take food or bathroom breaks without worrying that you'll feel abandoned.

Give Postpartum Support. A doula provides nonjudgmental support during your postpartum period as well, whether you have questions about feeding, sleep (or lack thereof!), babywearing, diapering or more. Having a doula means that there's always someone just a text or call away, ready to encourage or answer questions.

 

If you're already convinced that a doula is right for you, head on over to our Contact page to set up a time for us to chat and get to know each other better. If you're still needing a bit more information, stop on over at the Services tab for a list of what is included with your birth doula care. And as always, don't be shy to ask more questions if you need. I love to talk about my work!

Whatcha Got In There? {A Look Inside My Doula Bag} | Winnipeg Doula

I often feel like I need to explain myself when people ask me what I carry in my doula bag. People expect to see a lengthy list of magical and crucial items which I cannot attend a birth without. The truth is- I carry less and less as time goes on. At first glance this can look like a lack of preparation or experience, but it really comes down to perspective and trust.

See the thing is, you don’t need me to pack 83 tools and gadgets to rock the heck out of your birth. Your strength and perseverance, your knowledge and focus, are what are going to help you through the journey that is labor. I’m just there to support you along the way.

There’s sometimes a comfort in “things”. If I pack enough items, if I read enough books, if I’ve stressed over writing the perfect birth plan– *then* I will have the birth I wanted. The truth is that none of that is the key to a satisfying birth experience. 

When you hire a doula, you’re not hiring me for massage tools, bendy straws or lotion. You’re making the choice to hire this doula for my experience, my expertise, my deep seated belief that you have within you all the tools required for a wonderful birth story. I am holding space for your birth, but I am not the writer of your birth story.

What I bring in my doula bag are primarily items designed to help me serve you. To be the best doula I can be for you, every step of the way. So without further ado, I present an inside look into what I’ve found to be the necessities.

winnipeg doula bag

Spare Clothing.  Sometimes birth is messy. Being able to support you fully means that sometimes, a change of clothes comes in handy later on.

Toiletries. Because after 20 hours together, you’ll be happy I brought the toothbrush. All items in here are designed to keep me fresh in mind and body- self care means that I’m putting my best foot forward for you.

winnipeg doula bag

Snacks. This is a sampling of what I keep in the bag for if I need to run quickly. Usually I throw in some fresh foods right before I head out the door. Keeping up energy during your labor and birth is important for the entire team- I encourage my families to eat and drink, and make sure that I do too. Labor is a marathon, not a sprint, and the better we treat our bodies, the better they’ll treat us!

winnipeg doula bag

Massage Tools. Touch during labor can be a magical thing, soothing aching muscles and serving as a reminder of support all in one. To enhance your experience I bring grapeseed oil, a roller ball massager, and a sensory ball to hit all the right tense spots. You can also see a sleep mask for if you’re having trouble resting in between contractions, a small heat bag, a some crystals. I’ll be honest that I’m not 100% sure where I stand on crystals and their usage, but I do know I found it grounding in the last weeks of pregnancy and early hours of labor to hold and rub the smooth cool stones. There’s something about the firmness of a stone or crystal that is extra reassuring when everything around you feels a little shaky. 

I also keep on hand a kneeling pad, a copy of The Birth Partner books, and the gloves and chux pad (the bright blue one). These have come in handy while laboring at home or during a car transfer!

And that’s it! All the important things that assist me in helping you. Add in a willing heart, peaceful open mind and body that’s willing to work- and you’ve got a doula! And the stuff that really matters? That’s already inside you.

winnipeg doula bag

When you Come Unglued | Holding Space as a Winnipeg Doula

I talk a lot in my work about ‘holding space’. It’s a beautiful and breathtaking concept, and Glow Doula captures it perfectly in this article.  What does Holding the Space Mean? As they underwent some business changes, the article was unavailable for a while. Now that it’s back up, I wanted to share it with you again.

“In a strictly spiritual sense, to “hold space” for another is to make yourself a centering force.  To hold the space for a woman giving birth is make yourself the rock-solid ground beneath while labour throws everything it’s got at her.  It means passing no judgement or holding no sway over her decision making, nor her perception of her experience.  It means not trying to fix the unfixable, or reason with the unreasonable. It means accepting that there will be times in labour when she comes a bit unglued, and will be convinced she can’t do it – and knowing what she needs to hear (and doesn’t need to hear) when that time comes. It means making it emotionally safe for her and her partner to live through this most intense of experiences in their own way, and to feel whatever emotions come with it. It means making sure they know there’s a safe space if and when they need to talk afterwards.”

 

At Embrace Birth Services, your doula holds space for your birth- whatever that may mean. I will be your firm foundation, your soft space to land, no matter what choices you may make, or twists and turns your labor may take. Your doula’s support is not dependent on any criteria- I am there to sit with you through the quiet and the storms.

Continuous support during labor has been associated with numerous benefits, but perhaps the most important is the peace that comes with knowing that you have someone on your side who is an unshakable presence- who is there 100% to support your experience. “Not trying to fix the unfixable” is such a beautiful way to put it. As a doula I don’t claim to take away the sensations or pain of labor. A magic wand I am not. But I can sit with you as the waves crash, as you come unglued and assure you that your feelings are real, that your experience matters, and that I will be there every step of the way.

My amazing doula holding space for me during my third labor. No fixing, no magic, just an unwavering presence who exuded acceptance and support.
Other great articles on what it means to hold space:

Heather Plett

Birthing From Within

 

Are you ready to find out more about how a doula can support you during your birth experience? Fill out the form below to set up a complimentary consultation with your Winnipeg doula.

 

 

You Want Me to Wear What? | Winnipeg Doula

If you’re expecting in Winnipeg, you’ve probably heard the news regarding recent health care cuts, specifically those surrounding the postpartum period. We could talk til we’re blue in the face why this is the wrong choice for Winnipeg moms, but instead, I’m here to offer some constructive advice.

The first issue that has been discussed the most by Winnipeg moms lately seems to be the disappearance of those famed mesh undies. Love them or hate them- they get a lot of attention! And unfortunately, many expecting parents lately have been receiving letters from their care providers announcing that they are no longer being provided by WRHA at Winnipeg hospitals. If you’ve read my previous packing list suggestions found here, you’ve got a sneak peak into a fabulous solution.

While no more stylish than the mesh underwear and monster pad option, many women swear by Depends post birth as a hands down better choice. I’d have to agree. I know it sounds wrong, but hear me out. The postpartum period is filled with enough uncertainty and perceived loss of dignity. Depends cuts down on the leak factor, so you can go about the day getting to know your fresh babe without worrying if your new couch is sporting a new stain. They fit better and more comfortably than a one size fits all mesh underwear, and means no need for the King Kong size pad weighing you down.

And now that Winnipeg hospitals may no longer be supplying the beautiful mesh underwear and postpartum pads, choosing Depends also means having an easier item to purchase. While mesh panties may need to be hunted down at a medical supply store or online, Depends are readily available at any grocery store you or your partner may have a moment to run in to. It’s win-win.

So while I still want to blow a giant raspberry in the direction of whomever is responsible for taking away more services from Winnipeg moms, in this case at least- fear not, you have other (and better!) options!

A Peaceful Winnipeg Homebirth- Happy Birthday G! | Winnipeg Doula

I had the opportunity last year to hold space at an absolutely beautiful and peaceful Winnipeg homebirth attended by two incredible Manitoba midwives and one rockstar mama, and on that little lady’s first birthday today I wanted to share some of that with all of you!

T hired me in the winter and right away I felt such a kinship with her- she has that same thirst for knowledge and belief in her body that I hold, and I knew she was going to rock her birth. We spent some prenatal visits curled up on her couch just chatting, getting to know each other and exploring her thoughts about birth. It was like visiting with a friend, which is the best feeling!

Early morning on July 16th, 2016 I got a call from T. She was having some contractions- it was go time! We talked for a bit and I started preparing to go meet her. As the sun rose, we decided I should make my way over, and we would assess things. She knew it was still early on, but some comfort would be welcomed in these exciting moments.

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

We spent the first couple hours of labor just busying ourselves. It was a wonderful time to gain more comfort with each other and the birth process, as contractions slowly increased in intensity. I always recommend to parents that they ‘do life’ until they can no longer avoid it. Focusing on things other than the contractions helps labor not seem so long, and much more manageable. With this in mind, T and I ran some close errands, did laundry, and she completed a few more baby related tasks around her home. It was lovely to see her draw strength and calmly deal with each rush as it came over her- little pauses and then she was on her way again. We also started to inflate and fill the pool- which always seems like such a milestone- birth is really happening!

A little before lunch, T’s good friend joined us, and was a wonderful support to have. While we waited for contractions to pick up some more, we watched tv to keep ourselves busy. Who doesn’t find comfort and distraction in a little Sarah Jessica Parker? Eventually the rushes needed more attention, the tv was abandoned, and we spent some time moving around a bit, trying different positions and focusing. We were no longer ‘doing life’, it was time to do labor! T worked beautifully through the new level of contractions, as she talked to baby, handling each pain as a true pro. I watched her gain comfort from the people and things around her. She took time to speak quietly on the phone with her partner, to get some fresh air on the balcony overlooking Winnipeg, and turned on some beautiful music that spoke to her. Each stage of labor she welcomed with grace and acceptance, relaxing into the new feelings and forging forward.

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

As the midwife arrived and set up, T was able to climb into the pool for some added pain relief. She was so strong, and we began to see that little G was on her way soon! Sometimes the transition from ‘labor’ to pushing is a big event, filled with rushing and stress and a switch to a very medical feeling in the room. In this beautiful homebirth it was a gentle flow through naturally from one stage to the next.  T worked wonderfully in the pool with her body, adding just enough pressure to gently welcome baby G into this world. And before we knew it, there she was!

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

There is such a sweet relief and astonishment each time your brand new baby is placed on your chest, and I feel honored to have been there to see the first moments of mama and baby on this day. The connection between these two beautiful ladies was so heartwarming. Such hard work, but what a payoff! They bonded in the pool for a bit before cutting the cord and then moving over to the bed for snuggles, first latch and a newborn exam. More family had arrived by the time, and there was so much love in the room.

I have been so blessed to watch these two both bloom over the past year- Grace into a precious little being, so happy with life, and T into an amazing, grounded, loving mother and woman. Thank you for letting me into your lives girls <3

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

 

They placed you in my arms tonight;
I can hardly believe that you are mine.
Tiny fingers, tiny toes,
a tiny life that’s gonna grow,
I’ve waited so many years for this day
–I want to make it stay.

I want to remember this, I want to remember this,
every smile,
every kiss,
every moment’s like a promise,
and I want to remember this.

We brought our bundle home tonight,
half scared to death but on cloud nine.
And as I rocked you in the dark I could feel your tiny heart;
I said a prayer as I kissed your sweet face, “Lord, keep him safe.”
Every season, every age will be beautiful in its own way,
from preschool through to prom,
even your wedding day.
And we’ll celebrate and walk with you,
each step that your life brings,
but there’s something that’s so sweet about beginnings…

Visit Beth Champion Mason for a listen to this amazing song.

Ready to find out more?

If you’re considering a Winnipeg doula or are interested in birth photography for your hospital, birth centre or Winnipeg homebirth, contact me today! I am honored to support families like T and G’s and I’d love to support yours. Visit the “Meet your Doula” and “Services” page to learn more about Embrace Birth Services, and then book your Winnipeg doula today!

 

Yours,

Jenine


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Winnipeg Top 10 Things To Do Before Baby Arrives

Today I am sharing with you my Winnipeg Top 10 things to do before baby comes! The list isn’t designed as a shopping list or a specific baby prep- it’s about honouring yourself and the big changes about to come!

While pregnancy in itself is a time of transition and new experiences, bringing a baby into your home- whether the first or fourth or beyond, is always an exciting experience with new stresses and emotions (don’t worry there’s joys too!), and this is my Winnipeg Top 10 list that helped me transition into those newborn days each time.

 

Embrace Birth Winnipeg Birth Doula

 

  1. Feed your freezer – The early postpartum days are already an adjustment without dealing with your insatiable appetite and you’re unlikely to want to spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen. Make it easier on yourself by preparing food ahead of time, or picking up from a meal prep store. Places like Supper Central can be a lifesaver! With each of my babes we made sure to batch cook and feed our freezer with meals, snacks and treats.
  2. Have a date with your partner – Your life is about to change, and so will your relationship with the other people in your life. Take some time to connect with your significant other, so you remember why you fell in love when you’re hopped up on hormones and feeling like you haven’t finished a conversation in weeks.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  3. Have a date with yourself – your relationship with yourself will change too! Don’t forget to take time to enjoy yourself and connect with all the things that make you you. Go sit in a coffee shop and read, do some shopping alone, have a bubble bath and a long nap. Whatever helps you remember that person that came before “mom”.
  4. Pamper yourself – I am one of those mamas that makes sure I get in a shower each day postpartum. It’s important for my mental state and gives me some time to unwind before jumping back into mama duties. But it’s not often I get a chance to take time out for a whole massage or “extras” like doing my nails. So I make sure to take at least one day before baby comes and pamper myself- book a spa day and get a massage, have your eyebrows done, enjoy a mani/pedi so you don’t have to try to reach your feet. If a spa day isn’t in the budget, you can still enjoy all of this at home. Or get together with some friends and do each other’s nails while sipping sparkling water.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  5. Go sightseeing in your city – make time to do those things that are harder once you’ve got a little one in tow. I loved heading to the beach and taking a walk around the forks one last time. Add in some cute photos with your partner in the exchange district and you’ve done double duty with your Winnipeg Top ten things to do before baby list!
    Winnipeg Top 10
  6. Have a postpartum plan – know which friends and family will be around to help, and which ones you want there. Stick to those who will make things easier on you- cross off anyone whom you feel like you’ll need to play hostess for.
  7. Join a La Leche League meeting – Sometimes breastfeeding is second nature. Sometimes it’s not. I find it is so helpful to have connections already in place when those early newborn days come. Find your local group here.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  8. Fill your Netflix or Kindle queue – Babies eat. A lot. I found it so much more relaxing when I wasn’t counting down the minutes until they were done. Before baby two, I made sure to set myself up with a list of shows and movies to watch, and added about a dozen easy reading books to my Overdrive App. It made frequent nursing breaks actually seem like a break, rather than an endless chore. Goodreads always has a great chick lit list.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  9. Find your tribe – parenthood can be very isolating and I’ve never doubted myself like I did as a new mama. Finding a group of likeminded parents that I could be truly transparent with was crucial. You don’t think it’s that important until you’re considering having to ask your coworkers which Depends work best postpartum or really need someone to sit with in your sour milk smelling glory who won’t care a bit when you need to rehash your birth story for the 12th time.
  10. Hire a doula – Well of course. But really. My doulas were instrumental in both my pregnancy and postpartum period. So much of what you do during pregnancy is preparing for the baby- but hiring my doula was for *me*. And having that support from these lovely women who knew just the right questions to ask, who read my mind when I was feeling frustrated or needed reassurance- whether it be hour ten of labor or day ten of breastfeeding– is priceless.

So there it is! My recommended Winnipeg Top 10 things to do before your little one makes their appearance. Is there anything you find a “must do” that I left out? Anything you hadn’t thought of?

Ready to find out more?

As always, if you have any questions, I’d love to chat! Ready to hire a doula? In need of some guidance? Drop me a line!


Email Embrace

*Photo from Essie and used under Creative Commons License.

Creating Your Winnipeg Hospital Birth Packing List | Winnipeg Doula

Many years ago, my husband shared with me that as a very young child he had believed that babies were born- with hats! In every media depicted birth, you always see the fresh baby with a tiny beanie on their head. Right from the get go, they're always seen sporting their new accessory. And so when it was time to pack for our first birth, it became an inside joke between the two of us- don't add a hat to your hospital birth packing list- babies come with hats!

Winnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula

But what *should* you pack be on your hospital birth packing list? I believe in prepared minimalism, and haven’t found a list that suited me, so I’m sharing mine for you! This list is based off the birth packing list I made for my first baby, and is customized for the experience you may have in our Winnipeg hospitals.

We know that when it comes to birth, plans can always change, but most people seem to prefer a short hospital stay- and a short hospital birth packing list! Be reassured that anything you need is just a short car ride away. And if you have a longer than expected stay, your support person may just welcome the fresh air on the drive home to gather supplies! Here’s what I couldn’t have lived without during that first day.

*Photo from Essie and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo from Essie  used under Creative Commons License.

When I thought about packing my bag for my hospital birth, it was all about comfort. At both Women’s Hospital and St Boniface, you may have the option to labor in water, and working through contractions in the shower can be heavenly, so I made sure to bring a bathing suit. I didn’t want to wear a hospital gown, so for my hospital birth packing list, I added a comfortable outfit to labor in- a bra top and a loose flowy skirt. The only unneeded “extra” that I packed and would do so again is fancy shampoo/conditioner and soap. The hospital supplies some, but after all the hard work of labor, it was glorious to grab my yummy smelling Aveda products and freshen up in the shower.

Since babies come on their own time, and weight guesses are notoriously inaccurate, I recommend having two different sizes of clothing available- just in case! With my third baby I put aside a couple newborn outfits. It provided comic relief later when I pulled out the teeny outfits and held them up to my 41+ week 10lb10.5oz babe, but wasn't very helpful for dressing him! For your hospital birth packing list, I recommend only a couple onesies and sleepers. It sounds basic, but skin to skin is wonderful and I prefer to just snuggle up with that fresh babe smell. We only dressed ourWinnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula daughter once it was time to go home.

Our Winnipeg hospitals supply the basics- wash cloths, diapers, receiving blankets, so leave them off your hospital birth packing list. I do bring a muslin for snuggling up with baby afterwards. Bonus that it looks beautiful in photos! I also brought our favourite blanket for the ride home. I distinctly remember snuggling with the blanket on the ride to the hospital, thinking how in just a few short hours, I would be snuggling with our babe instead.

We choose to delay the first newborn bath, and avoid hats on babies, so keep it light and don't bring any fancy baby washes or pretty hats. I see a lot of hospital birth packing lists suggest bringing items like nail clippers and burp cloths. Most of these you truly won’t need during that first night. Pack light, and don’t give yourself too many ‘tasks’ in those early hours. Focus on meeting your new baby, I promise their nails can wait.

There’s many other items you can add to your hospital bag list. And if you will feel better to bring them- do it. In the end, you being able to relax is the goal. In my experience though- most of it stays in the bag. The hospital provides the basics. Your doula and support partner will have their hands and words at the ready- willing and able to help you rock your birth. All you need is your confidence and trust in your body!

 

Click below for a copy of Embrace Birth Service's FREE Hospital Birth Packing List printable. This Winnipeg doula has you covered!

Winnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula

In the Eyes of a Child

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

Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Why Embrace Birth Services? | Winnipeg Doula

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

Happy World Doula Week from Embrace Birth Services!

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