Author Archive

The Top 15 Blooma Blog Posts: #2 – “13 Reasons Why You REALLY Want a Doula”

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Doulas are birth magic, Blooma Family. Aside from the amazing facts this article by the incredible Alisa Blackwood goes through, there is one reason we want to add (call it the bonus reason): Doulas are trained to hold space for you. They inhale anxiety and anger and pain and exhale peace into your room. They hold your partner’s hand while you cannot. They talk to nurses and midwives and family and provide the space you need to give birth in whatever way works that day, for you. They will stand up for you, support you in your choices, and then afterwards, tell you your birth story and give you a hug, telling you that you did a great job. EVERYONE can use a doula – whether you are birthing in a hospital or in the woods, whether you are waiting until your water breaks at 42 weeks or whether your C-section is already on the calendar. Can you tell we have so much love for doulas? Well, if this short rant hasn’t convinced you yet, please read Alisa’s beautiful words in this, our number 2 in the Top 15 Blooma Blog posts of all time: “13 Reasons You REALLY Want a Doula” Lots of Blooma love, Ann + The Women of Blooma

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The Top 15 Blooma Blog Posts: #4 – “’Squirreling’ — Or, Prepping Postpartum Freezer Meals”

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

As we round the corner into the top four posts, Blooma Family we come to a post that had a lot of our mamas talking, and inspired a big round of sharing in our Prenatal Yoga classes. What were meals mamas could make before birth to have on hand afterwards? We loved the ideas that came up – chopped up fruits and veggies, shredded meats for easy tacos or wraps, and oh so many soups, chilis and broths! This post has some great places to start with recipes and suggestions for those who are not into cooking, and we’d love to hear more of your ideas in the comments below! With that and with mouths watering, we present the number 4 post in our Top 15 Blooma Blog posts of all time: “‘Squirreling’ – Or, Prepping Postpartum Freezer Meals” Here’s wishing you and your loved ones full bellies, happy hearts, and peaceful minds. With lots of Blooma love, Ann + The Women of Blooma

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The Top 15 Blooma Blog Posts: #8 – “5 Tips for Planning Your Maternity Photo Shoot”

Monday, December 14th, 2015

We often talk to our BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby) Yoga classes to brand new Mamas about things they wish they would have known coming into the season of being a mother, and things they wish they would have done before baby arrived (along with things they did or purchased they did not use once!), and so often we hear the same two things: 1. I wish I would have gone on more dates with my spouse. 2. I wish I would have captured my pregnant belly. Maternity photos are very personal – some women want to bare it all like a celebrity, and some want to keep things covered. Some want to share everywhere (if you feel like sharing, tag us with the hashtag #joytothebelly – we would love to see your bump!), and some want to just have their maternity photos for themselves and their partners. Either way you go, Mamas, here they are: “The Top 5 Tips for Planning Your Maternity Photo Shoot” Here’s hoping your photos are ones you treasure, Mamas. Love, Ann + the women of Blooma

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The Top 15 Blooma Blog Posts: #15 – “5 Tips For Boosting Love Hormones and Reducing Labor Pain”

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

{By: Ann Drewiske} We are counting down the days to a new Blooma Blog – and we have so many new articles and features ready to go, Mamas! Until then, we are counting down the top 15 posts from the blog so far (based on clicks and shares) – starting with this brilliant piece from Alisa Blackwood on how to reduce pain in labor by, well, “getting juices flowing” with your partner. Check out Alisa’s article, “Top 5 Tips for Boosting Love Hormones and Reducing Labor Pain,” and share in the comments below – did you use these tips with your partner during labor, and did it help? We’ll see you soon with our #14 post, and stay tuned for the relaunch of the Blooma Blog, coming at you in the beginning of December! Until then, lots of Blooma love (and partner love, if you are headed into labor!), Ann + the women of Blooma  

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Why Watching Your Child Sleep Never Gets Old

Monday, July 6th, 2015

We reached a fever-pitch of whining last night. The 7 year old: “That’s not fair! She gets to…” (insert whatever). And the 4 year old: “I want THIS book, not THAT book!” Ah, bedtime. And especially bedtime after a holiday weekend full of too many treats, too many late nights, and a whole lot of fun. By the time both kids were finally asleep, my husband and I looked at each other with knowing WTF expressions of exhaustion. Any plans for a just-us movie night or snuggles next to a backyard bonfire were dashed. Too tired, too late — it was understood that we, too, were going straight to bed. This morning, as my husband and oldest child dashed out the door for camp drop off, I was left with a few minutes of alone time while Lola, my 4 year old, slept in. (Cue dread for continuing the cycle of late bedtimes.) I crept into her room to put away some laundry, hoping to gently rouse her. My rustling barely stirred her. She turned in my direction and in one, quick unexpected moment, also took my breath away. There she was: beautiful. Peaceful. This was my chance, sans whining or drama to take in her little girl curls, her sweet sleeping-in-only-underwear body. And with her asleep, I could simply watch her. And touch her. And marvel at her miraculous perfection. I smoothed my hand over her soft belly, pet her head, and kissed her sweet cheeks. I counted each of her ribs, visible with each of her deep, sleeping breaths. Her cute little toes, still painted red from the 4th of July. Yes — how miraculous this being is: each part that’s unseen — heart, stomach, brain — all so very luckily, perfectly formed and working in sync with the kind of magic we take for granted every day. Watching one of my children sleep is a lot like a coming to the end of a fabulous yoga class. I’ve cut through the clutter and drama inside my mind and remain with only the essentials: the purity of my breath, a calm heart, and gratitude. Within that quiet, I can see what truly matters. Yes, just like peering in at one of my slumbering not-so-little-anymore babes. These are the moments that remind us to inhale a little deeper, to melt into the exhales, to remember that on the other side of those parenting growing pains, failures and frustrations, there are moments like this — ripe with simplicity and gratitude.

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Straight Talk: Placentas — Wisdom from a Guatemalan Midwife (Part 2)

Friday, March 27th, 2015

The placenta, which a mother’s body grows for the sole purpose of nourishing her baby from tiny being to birth, is thought of by many as the first spiritual connection between mother and child. Many cultures around the world consider the placenta to be sacred, and treat it as such. Some choose to bury the placenta in a location important to the family. Some make art by printing the “tree of life” side onto a canvas. (If you’re curious about placenta encapsulation, check out my part one Straight Talk post about placentas.) Here in the U.S., the placenta is often thrown away as medical waste. Some women question — is the placenta really just garbage or does it symbolize something more? Recently I traveled to Guatemala with three other American birth workers and together, we experienced the honor of a cultural exchange with two Mayan midwives. First, we met with 70-year-old midwife María Sajquiy Cortez (who had, at the time of our meeting, attended 3,802 births!). Against the stunning backdrop of Lake Atitlán — and with the help of two phenomenal language translators — we talked for hours. One of my favorite moments was learning about her beliefs and practices surrounding postpartum treatment of the placenta. “The key to the life of the human being is the placenta,” Sajquiy told us.
A midwife shows a mother her placenta. This side, where the umbilical cord attaches, is also known as the "tree of life" side because it looks like a tree trunk with branches. (Photo by Alisa Blackwood)

A midwife shows a mother her placenta. This side, where the umbilical cord attaches, is also known as the “tree of life” side because it looks like a tree trunk with branches. (Photo by Alisa Blackwood)

After the umbilical cord is cut, Sajquiy ties it tightly in a knot, and via her intuition, determines “the significance and what luck it can bring the newborn,” relaying that information to the mother. The placenta is then cleaned, dried in the sun, and placed in a box with other meaningful relics. The box stays with baby into adulthood, and throughout its life, as a way to keep that person connected to his or her purpose. With Sajquiy’s permission, I’m sharing the video of this part of our conversation. Press play below to learn what she does with the placenta, and how she believes it serves as a life-long, essential guidepost for a person. Special thanks to my Spanish teacher, Teresa Schweitzer-Quieju for her heartfelt translation from Spanish to English, and to Pablo Garcia Ixmata of the Academy of Mayan Languages for his brilliant and compassionate translation from Sajquiy’s Mayan language (Tz’utujil) into Spanish. The second Guatemalan midwife we met with shared with us her practice as well. She waits to cut the cord until after the placenta is birthed. Then she wraps the placenta in a white cloth (to symbolize purity) and gives it to the baby’s family to bury on a spot of land that belongs to them. “If we burn or throw away the placenta, the child will suffer,” said midwife Petrona Yojcom Cortez. Whether or not these practices resonate with you, I was struck by the beauty of such intentional connection to the life source of a person — a contrast to treating the placenta as trash. Like Sajquiy, midwife Yojcom determine’s a baby’s “gift” after birth.”This work for me is very sacred,” she said. “Every baby is born with a gift to the world.” Alisa Blackwood is a certified birth doula, insatiable world traveler, and a registered prenatal yoga teacher (RPYT). As a mother of two, she had two chances to figure out what to do with her placentas. She buried the first one at a family farm with a lovely little tree, and encapsulated her second.

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Straight Talk: Placentas — to Encapsulate or Not? (Part I)

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

When my husband posted on Facebook a “quote of the day” from me, it went something like this: “Oh, by the way, honey, there’s a placenta in our fridge.” True, this happened. And true, it happens with some frequency. As a birth doula, I’m often the middle-woman who brings home a new mother’s placenta as it awaits processing and encapsulation. Sealed and labeled in a white, hospital-issued bucket strikingly similar to a gallon container of Blue Bunny, it sits in my fridge for a few hours until the placenta encapsulator picks it up. (Many doulas offer this service to their mamas, but I choose to outsource this.) Naturally, a bunch of my birthy friends commented positively or liked my husband’s Facebook post. But I can only imagine the “ew” faces crinkled up behind their computer screens that I couldn’t see. One curious cousin living across the country from us dared to ask: “What exactly do you DO with the placenta?” You might be wondering the same thing. So let’s do this. Let’s talk placentas. First off, can we all agree that no matter what you do with the placenta after birth, it’s a downright miraculous thing that a woman’s body GROWS A DISPOSABLE ORGAN for one-time use? This large organ — about the width of a salad plate, give or take a few inches — weighs about a pound, give or take a few ounces. It attaches to the wall of a mother’s uterus and provides oxygen and nourishment to baby via the umbilical cord. It also removes waste from baby’s blood. After baby’s birth, the placenta detaches from mom’s uterus and is expelled with the help of a few (less intense) contractions and maybe a few pushes. In short, the placenta is a baby’s physical — and some say spiritual — connection to its mother. It serves as baby’s life force. That alone is reason enough for many women to consider the placenta sacred (more on that in tomorrow’s post). Yes, some people eat it post-birth — you may have read about placenta stews, stir-fries or milkshakes — but I’d venture to guess that the number of women who partake in culinary placenta use is relatively low. Meanwhile, placenta encapsulation continues to gain in popularity among postpartum women, who can better stomach the idea of popping a pill filled with her steamed, dehydrated, ground up, and now tasteless placenta. Publications from The Atlantic to Parents have written about the practice. Locally, here in Minnesota, you can investigate and find an encapsulator at MinnesotaPlacenta.com. So what’s the takeaway? Why do it?  
Photo by Teresa Espenas Jugovich.

Photo by Teresa Espenas Jugovich.

Though much of the evidence is anecdotal, moms who choose placenta encapsulation report that the pills help regulate postpartum mood, restore iron levels and boost milk production. Even without significant scientific research on the practice, experts say there is little risk to consuming the placenta as long as it is prepared safely, with sterile equipment, by a trained encapsulator. That can be just enough of a go-ahead for a woman with a fear or history of postpartum depression, for example, to hire an encapsulator. I have on rare occasions heard from a mom who says she stopped taking them because they made her feel funny — too energetic, but for the most part, the feedback is two enthusiastic thumbs up. Placebo or real, positive pick-me-up? You decide. What about you, mamas? Do you have personal experience with encapsulation? Tell us — we’d love to hear about your experience. Alisa Blackwood is a certified birth doula and registered prenatal yoga teacher (RPYT). As a mother of two, she had two chances to figure out what to do with her placentas. She buried the first one at a family farm with a lovely little tree, and encapsulated her second. A few weeks post birth her husband commented, “Wow, you seem to have a lot of energy!” 

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Blooma Prenatal Yoga: Rest Smart for More Comfortable Sleep

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

As your belly grows, the more important your precious sleep becomes — and the more important it is to use extra props for overnight comfort! The above image shows you how to “rest smart,” so you can snooze the night away (until your next bathroom break, that is). This pose is also a great way to set yourself up in prenatal savasana, or final resting pose, at the end of your prenatal yoga practice. What you’ll need:
  • a pillow or bolster for under your head
  • a firm bolster or stack of folded blankets
  • a pregnancy wedge or thinner blanket (optional)
Begin by sliding down onto your left side. Sliding down sideways, rather than leaning directly back reduces the chance of straining your back or hips. Use your pillow or a bolster under your head. Straighten your bottom leg. Bend your top leg, supporting it with a firm bolster or stack of blankets. The props should be high enough to keep you from leaning backwards or twisting your upper body. Stack your hips, one on top of the other. Allow your belly to hang forward, as though your baby is resting in a hammock. If you need extra support under your belly, use a thin blanket or a pregnancy wedge. Allow your belly, your muscles, and ligaments to feel heavy and relaxed. Let go. Switch sides whenever you need to. Ahhhh… sweet sleeping, mamas! TVP_4098 (For more about “resting smart” and other tips for maternal comfort during pregnancy, stream Daily Essentials, a video collaboration between Blooma founder Sarah Longacre and Gail Tully of SpinningBabies.com.) Alisa Blackwood is a registered prenatal yoga teacher (RPYT), a certified birth doula, and a mother of two.  

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Blooma Prenatal Yoga Sequence for Boosting Confidence

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Fill your spirit with energy that’s grounding, yet confident, with this 5-8-minute series of poses. First warm up your body with prenatal sun salutations. Then proceed to the sequence below.
  For Boosting Confidence  
Breathe smoothly, in and out of your nose to calm, center, and channel your focus. As always, listen to your body and back off the pose if it does not feel right to you.
 
1) Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hips distance apart. Take a few breaths to rock side to side, back and forth, and evenly distribute your weight throughout your feet.
Inhale, sweep the arms up by the ears, palms facing inward. Exhale, bend your knees and drop the back of your thighs toward the mat, keeping them as parallel as possible to the floor.*
Inhale, melt your shoulders and snuggle baby in. Exhale, pull back through the hips, releasing your tailbone toward the floor.
Inhale, lengthen your spine and lift your heart. Exhale, release your scapula down your back.
To come out of the pose, inhale and press your feet into the earth as you rise up to standing. Exhale, float the arms down. Take a few breaths here and notice how your body feels.
* Weak knees? Reduce the depth of your squat.
 
2) Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
From the top of your mat, step your left foot back, into a wide-legged standing position. Pivot on the right heel to turn the toes forward 90 degrees. Turn the left foot so the toes point toward the front left corner of your mat, pressing down through your back heel.
Inhale, sweep the arms up to shoulder height, extending the fingers. Exhale, bend the right knee over the ankle, aiming the outer edge of the knee toward the pinky toe. Breathe as you press through the back heel, lift the knee cap and draw your thigh toward the bone. Imagine your torso lengthening and lifting, keeping it centered over the hips.
Snuggling baby close, lift your pelvic floor and relax your tailbone down.
Pause here for two to three breaths. Send love and breath to baby. Notice your own energy and confidence building!
Repeat on the opposite side.
 
3) Goddess Pose
From Warrior II, straighten your front leg and pivot the toes outward, drawing your weight into the outside edges of your feet. Inhale arms to shoulder height, bending at the elbows. Exhale as you flip your palms toward the sky and bend your knees deeply. Lengthen your spine and lift your heart. Keep your gaze soft or close your eyes. Allow your jaw and shoulders to melt. Feel your strength rooting down as you send three to five breaths to your baby. Receive!
 
Alisa Blackwood is a registered prenatal yoga teacher (RPYT), a certified birth doula, and a mother of two. Greta Fay (editor) is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and Blooma Teacher Liaison. 

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The Relief of Slow: Holiday Gratitude & Winter Craft Ideas

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Every year around the holidays, we toss around words like “mindful” and “grateful.” Personally, I appreciate these nationwide reminders. But how many of us really stop, not only to ponder the meaning of the words, but to enact them into our daily living? This year, my holiday promise to myself is to slow down. And I mean literally. When I notice my quick steps between errands I will consciously slow. them. down. I will leave more time to let my kids dawdle in their usual way … more time so I don’t have to nag them. Because, ugh, that’s fun for pretty much no one. Why the emphasis on S-L-O-W? Because slow means present. Slow means you’re paying attention. And boom! When you’re paying attention you’ll see so much to be grateful for — even if things are generally feeling really tough these days. My husband recently pointed out that almost all accidents, arguments, rushing, and many frustrations have their root in one thing: not being present. Hmm. Good observation, honey. The great thing is, we can always choose to be more present! As a result, we’ll create much more room for gratitude of the lasting kind. The kind that persists beyond our holiday dinner blessings. This holiday, whether you’re hosting dinner, spending time with a neighbor, or navigating busy airports to get to those you love, make a promise to yourself: I will slow down this holiday. Notice the relief in your shoulders with this simple promise to take care of you. A few ideas while soaking up the last of 2014 and ushering in 2015: 1 / Notice your breath. (Even if the kids are fighting as you set the table.) No more holding that breath, people! Starting your day with even just 3-5 mindful, slow breaths can profoundly affect your approach to the rest of the day. If baby or children are your alarm clock and you’re scoffing at this bit o’ advice, take those mindful breaths with your baby or child in your lap. You can do it. Want to go the extra mile? Try nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, which is known to calm and quell anxiety. (This Yoga Journal video shows you how.) If you’re new to the practice, it may feel strange at first. Give it a go. Watch the effects. 2 / Play together! Whether it’s board games or some playful partner yoga, one of the best things about the holidays is togetherness. Three cheers for putting down our gadgets, looking each other in the eye and playing!  Earlier this week I guided my 3 and 6 year olds through some simple sun salutations and a partner tree pose. We talked about how good it feels to both support someone you love and feel their support, too. These are wonderful lessons to share with your littles during the holidays and year-round. 3 / Practice mindful eating. Engage all your senses during holiday meals (and, well, all meals). First, notice how your plate looks. What are the colors and visual textures like? Which aromas do you notice? How does the bite feel in your mouth? Soft and squishy mashed potatoes? Crunchy, cool salad greens? Guide your older kids through this practice as well; you’ll be surprised how much fun they have with it as you ask them to call out what they notice step-by-step. 4 / Make a gratitude jar. This is my favorite simple craft — but it’s wonderful to keep out year-round, too. There’s nothing more grounding and calming than taking stock of what you’re truly grateful for. Write it down, fold it up, and give it over to the jar. Before you know it, it’ll be full to the top. 5 / Make something together. Whether it’s with a child or a family member, choose a project you can work on together. Maybe it’s a family-favorite holiday dish you’ll prep side-by-side or a craft. I’ve bookmarked these ideas for our family art time: As Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Whether coloring or cooking, when we approach these activities mindfully, it’s all art … and you’ll find yourself breathing deeper than you have all week. xoxo, Alisa {A version of this post originally appeared on the YOXO blog.}

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Boobs, Bottles & Milk: 10 Tips for Creating a “Nursing Station”

Friday, December 19th, 2014

One of the best breastfeeding tips I received prenatally was to set up a nursing station. At the time I knew a whole lot of nothing about nursing. So naturally, I didn’t listen. I was too busy focusing on my baby’s upcoming birth! I learned the hard way that the second I sat down and finally got my baby latched just right that I would be either parched beyond imagination or starving. And of course, neither my water nor snacks would be nearby. I quickly understood that my midwife’s nursing station advice was spot-on.

So I got right on that nursing station thing. (You might want to, too!) My new go-to spot had everything I needed. I was comfortable and nourished.

To create your nursing station, choose a cozy corner or a relaxing area of your house. Choose a comfortable chair and maybe your favorite soft blanket. Then pick up a cute basket and keep it stocked with the following:

1 / A big water bottle. You’ll want to aim for the equivalent of eight glasses of water a day. Drink to your thirst if you feel you want more. Have your bottle filled and nearby before you sit down to nurse.

Sometimes your nursing station doubles as a pumping station. (Note giant jar of water on this mama's side table!)

Sometimes your nursing station doubles as a pumping station. (Note giant jar of water!)

 

2 / Healthy snacks. You’ll need about 400-500 extra calories a day when breastfeeding. That doesn’t mean you get to load up on candy bars or ice cream, but nutritious, healthy snacks, please! Having them nearby and ready can help you keep up those extra calories easily and healthfully.

3 / A list of breastfeeding resources such as lactation consultants and local La Leche League groups.

51XKBM85KQL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_4/ An excellent breastfeeding book. For quick questions and troubleshooting, READ MORE

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Real Moms’ Top Tips for Your Postpartum Kit

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Sometimes asking the Facebook brain for advice yields excellent results. (And sometimes you just don’t need to hear from your conspiracy theory-obsessed neighbor …) In today’s case, you’re going to benefit big time. I asked moms and birth/postpartum professionals to share their top tips for the immediate postpartum period — and WOW! — did they ever deliver. From Florida to California, and Minnesota to New York, mamas weighed in with what helped them most. First, the highlights: 1 / Mother Love Nipple Cream. people mentioned this stuff so many times it must be better than gold! 2 / A Peri Squirt Bottle. This is a given. Swipe a couple from the hospital or pick up at a drug store. Fill with warm water or a postpartum herbal tea and squirt on yourself when urinating. Replaces wiping. 3 / Witch Hazel or Tucks 4 / Postpartum bath herbs. There are a bunch of great ones to choose from!READ MORE

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Birth Story: A Peaceful Home Birth Video

Friday, November 7th, 2014

This lovely collection of images comes to you by way of a home birthing mama in Phoenix, Arizona. Leah and Jack Notebaert welcomed their daughter, Alice, with the support of Mary Henderson of Beyond Conception Midwifery. All images by Jill Richards Photography. Welcome to the world, sweet Alice!

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13 Reasons Why You REALLY Want a Doula

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Though maybe the word “doula” is new to you, women helping women during labor isn’t a new idea. Women used to do this for each other all the time. We witnessed and supported our friends, sisters, and aunts, as they gave birth. Things have changed a bit; more often than not, a woman has likely never seen another woman giving birth. Enter the doula. She fills this essential role of female-to-female support, bringing with her the experience, knowledge and compassionate support essential for both you and your partner. Check out our tips on finding a doula, and help us add to this list by leaving a comment about what your doula brought to your labor! 1 / Let’s start with the hard facts on how and why doulas are so rockin’. There’s GOBS of research showing that continuous support throughout labor results in a higher satisfaction of the birth experience, less use of pain medication, fewer births requiring instrumental help, and lowered risk of Cesarean section. So, there’s that. 2 / Your doula is the one person experienced in birth who will not leave your side throughout your labor. Many nurses wish they could stay by your side, but they often have more than one mama they’re looking after, plus they’re responsible for a mind-blowing amount of charting. Nurses also change shifts, as do OBs and midwives. Your doula will provide consistent support no matter how short or long your labor is. She will also get to know you and your partner prenatally, bringing with her that knowledge of your history, hopes and fears that nurses and other care providers may not be privy to. 3 / Her touch will feel like magic. Your doula will squeeze your hips in ways that will rock your world. Her touch may even make you say, “Ohhhhh, yes! Keep doing THAT.” She’ll apply just the right amount of pressure, in just the right spot on your sacrum, exactly when you need it. She’ll have her own, unique way of soothing you that will make you think, thank goodness that lady is here, doing that. Don’t stop. 4 / She’s got skills, ladies, mad skills. Whether suggesting a warm shower at just the right moment, suggesting a position change to help wiggle baby into just the right spot, or sweeping on lip balm before you even noticed your lips were chapped, your doula comes with a set of tricks and tips that only those experienced in birth would think to suggest. She’ll offer sips of water and bites of nourishing snacks to keep you hydrated and full of energy. If it’s a labor dance party you want, I’m pretty sure your doula will move and groove right along with you. (Labor dance parties are among my favorite!) There’s not a one-fits-all-approach; she’ll tend to you in the ways you need most. Finding a doula you trust and click with is key.READ MORE

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Birth Story: Twins, Forceps, Breech, & More … A Wonderful Birth

Friday, September 26th, 2014

I love this mama’s birthing story. I love it because she’s strong, honest and raw. I love it because she accomplished so many amazing feats. (Growing healthy twins! Teaching booty-kicking barre classes while 36 weeks pregnant with TWO babies!) But I love it most of all because her carefully selected birth team supported her, listened to her, and nurtured her. So when unexpected twists and turns came up during labor, this mama asked good questions, looked to her support team, and trusted her gut. Way to go, Corrine. Big love to you! YOU DID IT!

xoxo, Alisa


{by Corrine Gernes}

Let me start with three reasons that this was a wonderful birth for me:

  • I birthed two beautiful, healthy, and amazing babies: Lillian Naviv (5 lbs, 8 oz) and Bennett Michael (6 lbs, 10 oz)
  • I was surrounded by the birth team of my dreams: my husband, my doula, and Dr. Dennis Hartung
  • Throughout the whole birth, as things came up (and there were a few surprises) I felt totally cared for, respected, heard, and secure in the choices that my birth team and I were making.

Now the story.

When people found out I was pregnant with twins they often said: “You’ll be lucky to get to 36 weeks.” or “You’ll go early.” or “When do you go on bed rest?”

I didn’t buy the whole early birth thing. I have very good genes for babies (36 first cousins, yo) and both my mom and sister had great pregnancies. I circled my 40-week due date on the calendar and wrote: “We can make it babies! Let’s do this!” Then I started a conversation with my babies. Every night I would think: “Just stay in, stay strong. Thank you for being so healthy. Thank you for waiting until we can all come home together.READ MORE

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Celebrate Bellyrama 2014 in Pictures!

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Feast your eyes, mamas, on the gorgeous Bellyrama 2014 images by Tanya Villano Photography! Were you there? Leave a comment and let us know what inspired YOU most at this year’s Bellyrama! Enjoy these highlights of the day, and check out all of Tanya’s Bellyrama photos on her Facebook page. We’ve also received a bunch of requests for Kelly Shay’s (DJ Enigma) phenomenal Bellyrama 2014 playlist, so stay tuned to the BloomaBlog for a list of those tunes coming soon. xoxo, Alisa 10687203_934375623242703_8616948480012619450_n   10672323_934388359908096_63097162144154434_nREAD MORE

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A Beautiful, Crisp Day for Bellyrama 2014 (Tomorrow!)

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Blooma is counting down the hours until the 5th Annual Bellyrama outdoor yoga festival! Join Blooma founder Sarah Longacre and other favorite Blooma teachers Saturday, Sept. 13 for yoga that celebrates mamas, bellies, birth & babies. ALL are welcome, including the little ones! Bring your own mat and water, and we’ll see you at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis; 9 a.m. start time. Stay for loads of fun vendors, adorn yourself with some gorgeous henna, take the kiddos to free kids yoga at 10:30 and have their faces painted, too! Bundle up and get ready for an invigorating, inspiring, community-filled morning full of LOVE. See you there, mamas! Bellyrama2014  

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Quick Warrior Flow Yoga Video + Be Present Discount Code

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Carve out a mere five minutes for YOU with yoga and pilates teacher Jesse Bennett. You all enjoyed her Quick Fix Standing Flow video so much, we thought it high time to bring you another Jesse video: Quick Fix Warrior Flow with Shoulder Openers. READ MORE

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Birth Story {Video}: A Sunlit Water Birth

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Thanks to Blooma mama Jessica and Jennifer Liv Photography for sharing these gorgeous images of her baby’s birth. We adore the images of laboring outside on her birth center’s front porch, then her beautiful, midwife and doula-attended water birth in a sunlit room. Just lovely.

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Warriors & Dancing Goddesses: Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Delighted doesn’t even begin to describe how we felt when reading this gush of love from a graduate of Blooma’s Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. If you’ve been considering signing up, Kenya might just help sway you! And you’ve got some pretty fabulous choices coming up of where to take your training. Our 2014 prenatal yoga teacher trainings will take us to Hawaii, Tampa and of course, Blooma’s home town, Minneapolis. Join us!
  {by Kenya M. Fairley} One of the best personal and professional investments I’ve made to date is most certainly my decision to participate in Blooma’s Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. Over the course of four days I was filled with so much love, hope, healing, optimism and strength from all of my yogi and birth doula sisters and mamas at this training.READ MORE

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Blooma Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in HAWAII!

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Imagine this: a circle of women who share your passion for birth, pregnancy and yoga, flowing with breath and movement on your yoga mat, the hint of an ocean breeze lapping at your skin. The promise of juicy pineapple… YES. This is Blooma Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in HAWAII. Join Blooma founder Sarah Longacre and Blooma’s director of teacher trainings Stacy Seebart, at the luxurious Lumeria retreat center in Maui, Feb. 6-9, 2015, for a 45-hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. (See below for our early bird special, ending Nov. 1!) Lumeria Maui, located on six gorgeously-landscaped ocean view acres, was named “One of The Top 17 Dream Yoga Destinations” by Yoga Journal in its 2014 “The Ultimate Yoga Retreat Guide.” At Blooma’s Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training you’ll get the best of both worlds: an in-depth, knowledgable and spirit-filled teacher training, in a retreat-style atmosphere guaranteed to fill your well. You do not need to already be a yoga teacher, though registered yoga teachers will love knowing that this training is part one (of two) of our Yoga Alliance-approved prenatal yoga teacher training program. We welcome all yoga teachers, doulas, midwives, OB’s, labor and delivery nurses and of course, moms.READ MORE

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Mindful Mama: Finding Presence in Summer Strawberries

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Do you ever have those moments when it suddenly hits you: I am so intensely happy. Content. Right now. Do you? I usually have those in the car with the window down and my favorite music blaring. Or when I’m dancing and giggling with my daughter. On my yoga mat. Or kayaking a lake and soaking in the sun’s warmth. And sometimes, those in-the-moment-moments are far and few between. Usually that’s a sign I’m in a rut: too busy, over scheduled, lacking self-care. All winter long we look forward to summer — the vacations, the leisure, the carefree play outside. Am I alone, though, in that the reality of summer often entails being in fact, wildly busy? There’s just so much fun to be had! Cabins and travel and camps and lake trips and outdoor parties and festivities that make my city so fabulous! But where’s the room for a spontaneous day of coloring sidewalks with chalk, backyard sprinkler play or swimming at the pool or lake? I vowed this summer to leave more space … for me, and for my family. (Next year I’m going to leave even more.) At first I worried that my kids would Drive. Me. Crazy. if I didn’t plan enough to occupy us all summer on my off-work days. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that that hasn’t (for the most part) been the case. My favorite days of summer so far have been the completely unplanned, spontaneous ones like riding light rail, getting off wherever we felt like, wandering, discovering a city park with a stream, taking our shoes off, splashing each other… you know, things like that. And the other day — my most recent intensely happy moment — picking strawberries.READ MORE

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Quick Fix Feel Good Yoga Video (3 mins!) with Jesse Bennett

Monday, July 14th, 2014

If those of us at Blooma could draw giant hearts all over yoga and pilates teacher Jesse Bennett, we would. This mama of two lives and teaches in California, is a Be Present Ambassador, and one of the brightest shining lights you’ll ever meet. She inspired too many mamas to count during her years teaching at Blooma Minneapolis, and we miss her so! READ MORE

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A Home Birth Story in Photos

Friday, July 11th, 2014

“I dreamed that the birth of our second child could be empowering and that I would feel safe and loved. I dreamed I could birth my baby and draw her up into my arms,” writes second-time mama Anna Melzer about her baby’s home birth. As she celebrates her daughter’s first birthday, and reflects upon her first year of mothering two children, she adds: “Pregnancy, labor, and birth are not perfect. Neither is mothering. Dealing with this imperfection, fully experiencing it and becoming a witness to it is what makes it so powerful and transformative.” Enjoy Anna’s birthing story in images, and wander over to Anna’s website to read her birth story in full! xo, Alisa img_2080_2 img_2093_2 img_2112_2 img_2147_2 img_2171_2 (1)   img_2174 (1) img_2190 img_2252_2 img_2253    

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Blooma Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in Tampa, FL!

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Blooma’s internationally renowned prenatal yoga teacher training program is heading south to sunny Tampa, Florida this fall! Join Sarah Longacre and Stacy Seebart at Green Locus Yoga, Nov. 14-17, 2014. Book by July 15 and take advantage of the early bird pricing of $625! This 45-hour, level 1 training will leave you feeling confident and prepared to teach a safe and inspiring prenatal yoga class. READ MORE

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Celebrating Pregnancy with Maternity Photography

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Like any phase in life, some mamas love their pregnant body and some don’t. Whichever camp you fall into, a well-done pregnancy portrait session can make you feel like a GODDESS. Truly. Play up your curves, bring on your sexy, and capture the miraculousness of this time in your life as a woman. Before you book a session, be sure to check out our 5 Tips for Planning Your Maternity Shoot. Mallory, one of my regular prenatal yoga students, recently shared in class about how much fun she’d had at her pregnancy photography shoot. She wanted to commemorate her growing belly and changing pregnancy body. “The session made me feel wonderful,” Mallory says. “It was an afternoon of indulgence – starting with getting my makeup done and hair styled by Brett, who is an extremely talented artist. Having that done took away any of the ‘how will I look’ anxiety.”

And check out the gorgeous results!

Photo by Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios

Photo by Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios

“I love the finished images and feel absolutely beautiful in them. I’m so glad I had them done,” Mallory says. “We’re excited to have these photos to look back on and remember this short time in our lives. They are a great keepsake!”

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Bellyrama Outdoor Yoga Festival – Sept. 13, 2014

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Check out this Wall Street Journal link showing these gorgeous Chinese mamas practicing prenatal yoga! A total of 505 women practiced together, breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest prenatal yoga class. Think we can beat them? I think so! Blooma is celebrating FIVE years of Blooma’s Bellyrama outdoor yoga festival, with our 5th annual Bellyrama scheduled for Sept. 13, 2014. We’ll meet at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis at 9 a.m. We love blooming pregnant bellies, and also want to welcome ALL. Come if you are a mama, you’re going to be a mama, if you have a mother — it does not matter! Come and do a little mama yoga by the lake! Bring a friend, a yoga mat, water and a towel. Come and PLAY on your mat as Blooma founder Sarah Longacre leads class to live music. Last year over 400 yogis (mother- to-be, children, grandmothers and dads) showed up for Bellyrama and we can’t wait to see even more of you this year! Love, Alisa, Sarah & the women of Blooma
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photo by Tanya Villano

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Let’s Nurture (Not Shun) the Third- or Fourth-Time Mama

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Oooh, ouch. Have I been guilty of the below mistake? Saying something unintentionally misconstrued as insensitive to a mama pregnant for the fourth (or more) time? Something along the lines of, “Four! Wow! I can’t imagine.” If so, it’s because as an only child myself I can’t wrap my head around mothering more than two. And because I believe that those of you who mother more than one or two children are GODDESSES here on Earth. (Heck, ALL mamas are goddesses!)

Among those goddesses is my college best friend, who recently birthed her fourth baby. READ MORE

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Video: “World’s Toughest Job” Job Posting

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Mamas, this must-see video highlights the *amazing* work you do each and every day. (Someone in the greeting card advertising industry nailed it with this one.) A fake job posting was created. Applicants were interviewed by video. Check out their reactions when discovering that the “Director of Operations” job required working unlimited hours, with no breaks, and, um — no pay. I’m sure you gather where this is going… Pat yourself on the back, mamas for a job WELL DONE.

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Celebrating You & A Chance to Win!

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Blooma is celebrating a big Facebook milestone — your love and support has pushed us over 5,000 likes! To show our appreciation, we’re offering a few fun prizes for mamas near and far: To enter, READ MORE

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