At this point, my clients have been receiving emails regarding doula support with the latest details as they become available. I have attended several virtual meetings and webinars to uncover as much information as I can for myself and my clients. Working closely with the North Shore Doulas through Zoom meetings, we are supporting one another so that we may support you. Our commitment to you all at this time is stronger than ever. Navigating this uncharted territory is not easy for any of us, but with information, support, and connection (albeit virtual), we are doing what we can in a very unpredictable time. The point of this post is not to give medical advice but rather to provide a starting point for gathering information so that you can make informed decisions about your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. For specific protocols and policies, always speak to your care provider.
Workshop includes information on; how milk is made, how supply is set up, instincts and reflexes in parent and baby, latching and attaching baby at the breast, normal baby behaviour, common breastfeeding challenges and how to cope if they arise, local support resources, setting realistic expectations of the early weeks, and creating clear individual postpartum plans.
An ideal time to take in this workshop is anytime after 20weeks.
Does Birth have to be Painful?!
I am very proud to be presenting this interactive workshop for expectant folks preparing for the reality of pain-coping in labor.
Join Judy Mclaren, a certified Birthing From Within® Childbirth Educator, seasoned Doula, owner of Dancing Star Birth and an integral member of Vancouver’s birth community for over 12 years, to discover and understand your perception of pain in childbirth. Gain confidence in your ability to cope with the intensity of labor and birth while exploring the pain coping mindset in preparation for the transition into parenthood.
Gender Inclusivity Workshop
I am very excited to be presenting this workshop with Safe 'n Sound Squamish! Geared to birth workers and anyone working with expecting and new families, learn how to create a more inclusive practice for gender diverse families. The workshop is free of charge however space is limited, registration is required. Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
My upcoming weekend immersion will complete my first year of mentoring Birthing From Within® childbirth preparation classes. Through Doula-ing and childbirth classes I feel privileged to have supported 83 families this year...and there's still another six weeks to go!
This is the time of year that I start spending more time reflecting and looking back on what has transpired. It's been another busy year of supporting expectant and newborn families. The addition of teaching prenatal classes has opened up an incredibly inspiring outlet for how I continue to serve local families. To say that I love mentoring my classes just doesn't do it justice. My Birthing From Within® classes have fuelled my desire to do more to support families in our community in a way that has taken over my birth work. Expectant families coming from all walks of life, working with all kinds of care providers, are coming together as a community to prepare and gather information for their births. Having such a diverse group of families has benefits beyond lively conversations in class. Before they have their babies they are already starting to build a village of support with other folks who are all headed towards the same transition into parenthood. The benefits of creating a support network before birth can make the entire process less daunting just by knowing you're not the only one going through it! My desire to reach deeper into the community to support these families has only grown. From working with another local doula to offer free Doula Information Nights to cultivating growth in our local La Leche League group and spearheading the Breastpump Fundraiser for SGH, the volunteer hours I have put into this community have been richly satisfying.
I am also very proud to be part of an interdisciplinary group who's goal is to improve care in the childbearing year for families in our community. The Sea to Sky Maternity Project has put out this survey for families who are currently pregnant or have birthed in the corridor in the past three years. Since the first step in improving care comes from understanding what needs to be changed, your participation is greatly appreciated.
Here's to another successful year ahead! Thank you for your support, Lunamama doula services wouldn't be where it is today without you!
Early Parenting Challenges
It's a common scenario, a new parent sitting alone in their home, thinking they are the only one having challenges with the transition of becoming a family. Whether it's breastfeeding, sleep, health concerns or a sibling adjusting to the baby, it's not easy and can feel quite daunting. I remind new parents that they are definitely not the only ones going through a tough patch, but we rarely ever see what happens in other families homes in those first few weeks.
Sometimes, our idea of what it should be like is terribly unrealistic. Often, we see families out and about, they seem to be handling this transition flawlessly and we may start to judge ourselves according to what we see. What we may not realize is that their baby is likely weeks if not months older than a delicate newborn. Perhaps the birthing parent has had time to recover physically from the birth, perhaps the partner was able to take a lot of time off work to be home and help with the new baby...maybe they even had support day and night to help them all get some rest and ease into parenting. Regardless of someone else's story, it probably wasn't a breeze at first, and there are adjustments for everyone. The problem as I see it, is that we tend to go through these adjustments and challenges alone. Here in Squamish, the majority of the families I support do not have a large network of family and friends close by to help out once baby arrives. Instead of having a conversation with a relative or friend, there is a tendency to jump online to diagnose and validate our feelings but with the overwhelming amount of information at our fingertips that in itself can be its own stressor! So what to do? Well, for starters, be gentle with yourselves in this transition. And know that the majority of new parents aren't floating seamlessly through this transition. It is very important, essential really, to build your tribe and create that network of "family" and friends if you do not have that.
Meeting other families while you're still pregnant can be a great way to build this community. In Squamish we have great yoga and fitness classes, prenatal classes, community centres, HPOP etc.. Squamish Baby does a great job of listing local gatherings, I highly recommend having that site on your radar.
And remember, once your baby arrives, it's OK to stay in and go into hibernation mode. There are so many changes that take place in those first few weeks, and often the birthing parent is still quite vulnerable. Having loving support around you is one of the best things you can do for your recovery and transition into early parenting. And know that there's no right way to do this, you will always do what is best for you and your family in the moment. It gets better, it really does.
My two cents on why just using the internet and reading some books on birth might not cut it when it comes to your labor and birth...