Uncategorized

Labor Of Love

In life, we are often convinced to doubt ourselves. So, it is no wonder that we find it hard to believe that we have everything we need to bring our babies Earthside. Babies have been entering into this world, through the gates of their mother’s souls, since the beginning of time. Regardless of how births unfold, they do. Babies arrive in their mother’s arms; their father’s arms; into the arms of those that love and care for them deeply.

The truth is, we are innately born with the ability to start labor, move through labor, and give birth. As humans, we are built to become deeply connected to one another. Though much of what we witness in our world today doesn’t always prove this to be true, love is at the heart of our existence. The science of it all boils down to one simple fact: the flow of hormones in our bodies drives these finely-tuned, innate processes.

As a DONA-trained birth and postpartum doula, a LAMAZE-certified childbirth educator, and a prenatal/postpartum yoga instructor, I often get asked:

“How can I best encourage, enhance and support the natural, pulsating rhythms of labor?”

I hear this question from the doting father-to-be who arrives at the Couple’s Birthing Intensive with a desire to learn how to be the best he can be in supporting his wife as they welcome their child into the world.

I hear this question from the loving partner, in awe of her wife's changing body. A partner who wants to give support while showing acknowledgement and love for this commitment to their growing family.

I hear this question from the “new doula” who just finished her formal training and is dripping with excitement to support her first family in their sacred birth experience.

I hear this question from the woman who will be by her sister’s side while she molds and grows     and forms into the new role of “mother”.

I hear this question from expecting mothers who carve out time to show up on their yoga mat for prenatal yoga. Connect with her baby, but most importantly, connecting to her hopes and desires for her impending birth.

All of these questions stem from a place of acknowledgment and recognition that the anticipation of birth can be overwhelmingly significant. It can stop us dead in our tracks. It can bring up fears and hesitations that were once long buried. It can evoke unwelcome vulnerability and uncertainties. It can open up our self-doubt unlike any other. Expectant woman or not, these sentiments are often felt in varying degrees from everyone involved in the witnessing of such a significant life transition.

Regardless of who is asking the question “how can I best encourage, enhance and support the natural, pulsating rhythms of labor” my answer is always this:

whenever possible, create an environment conducive to building oxytocin”.

Ah yes…Oxytocin.

You may have heard of it. And chances are, whether you know it or not, you’re strongly familiar with it.

Oxytocin is the hormone of love. It is the hormone of a comforting embrace; of a shared kiss; of a deep belly laugh; of a late night cuddle; of intimate sex; of the welcomed touch from a loving hand; of a gifted smile. Simply put, it is the hormone that sky-rockets when we make a connection with another human being. This super-star hormone is also the one in the driver’s seat during labor and birth.

Lamaze International states that “one of the most powerful ways we can support the normal physiology of labor and birth is to let labor begin on its own…the most compelling reason {for this} may be to allow the birth hormones to regulate labor and birth as nature intends.” By doing this, we are allowing the woman’s body to respond, hormonally, in a way that signals to her body and baby that “it’s time.” From this moment on, environmental factors have an impact on the laboring mother.

Women’s bodies are magnificent works of art and function. When trusted and given the opportunity, our bodies - capable & powerful - can do much more than expected. The rush of hormones - of oxytocin - can contract the uterus, can bond two humans together, and can even block the rest of the world out, if even for a moment.

While the body is capable of blocking out it’s surroundings, external and environmental factors can still play a role in the ability of women’s bodies to do their biggest life’s work. Much like the laboring animal retreats into its den for safety; laboring women also need a safe birthing space that enables the sacredness of the journey to unfold.

This may sound like an overwhelming task — creating an environment conducive to the manifestation of oxytocin — but it’s simple really. Laboring women need an environment where they feel love.

When an expectant woman’s partner looks me in the eyes with anxious nervousness and asks me, with quiet hesitation, “how can I possibly be what she needs in birth?”, I look at them confidently and tell them, “You already are.”

*All Photos by Danica Donnelly

Written By Sarah Bach-Bergs-Blooma Yoga Instructor, LAMAZE-Certified Childbirth Educator, DONA-Trained Birth and Postpartum Doula, Mama of two crazy boys, wife, friend, and wilderness lover.

You can learn more from Sarah at Blooma's Couples Birthing Intensive on October 29th, November 19th & December 10th

Ten Years of Women, Yoga, Babies, Bellies, and Breath

It’s Saturday night at 8:42pm. Metta is half awake, half asleep in the back seat of “The Blooma Mobile”. As we head west on 44th street in Edina, my eyes stay focused on the road in front, but my mind and my heart are focused on Blooma’s first home at 3919 44th street.

It has been 10 years since we first opened the doors at Blooma. It is hard to write about and I am not sure why. I’m struggling. It’s hard to look at that first Blooma location - and maybe hard is not the right word to use - it’s emotional. It’s like an old love, looking back at photos, thinking about the memories, reminiscing the happiness and the pain. I think of the late nights with Julie Kesti, Amber Kay, Deborah Savaran and so many others. Drinking wine while we cried and laughed our asses off. We offered so many different workshops, classes, support groups and on and on.

Opening Blooma changed my life. As I am flooded with memories I keep driving. I say a prayer silently, hoping the building that once held so many mamas and babies knows what it meant to me and this community.

As we hit the west side of Lake Harriet I look in the rearview mirror and see my four year old’s sweet face, looking out to the glass lake where my other daughter, Sophia Love, rests - her ashes spread in the lake.

Then it hits me.... holy shit.... what a wild, wild ride the last ten years have been.

Being a business owner is not what I had planned for myself. I  am a “people person”, not a number/strategy person. I wanted to support mothers, be a doula, and teach the best prenatal yoga classes in the world. That was my plan. I wanted, and still want to change the birth culture in the Twin Cities. I wanted moms to come to my class and learn to breathe into that crazy, deep, powerful, all knowing, all trusting, all loving place within themselves. I wanted to empower mothers to find their inner goddess, warrior, voice, and strength. I wanted them to do it all while sending a sparkly love note to their baby.

And, I’m proud that this is what Blooma has become. It is that safe place for those that love being pregnant, and those that don’t. It is a wonderful and crazy place filled with hard working woman that get pushed to their limits.

My plan for all this love, breath, and light didn’t originally include running a business with three locations, two franchises and over 85 employees. It didn’t include making huge financial decisions and intense strategy meetings. But, that is the reality of owning a business.

I started Blooma using my heart and gut to guide me. Now, Lauren and I are printing  spreadsheets and graphs filled with numbers and analysis. It’s certainly not the same Blooma it was 10 years ago. But, we continue to serve and support more families than ever.

The struggles of owning a company are greater than I ever expected. I’m often asked, “knowing how hard it is, would you do it all again?" Now, it totally depends on the day, but a majority of the time I take a deep breath, pause, think back, and hesitantly say “yes, I would do it all over again, but I would have done a few things a bit differently”.

I am learning. Every single day, I am learning.

The biggest thing I have learned, and continue to learn, is a balance between “Sarah the Business Owner” and “Sarah the Friend”. This is a constant challenge that I am always struggling with because I LOVE my staff. The women that run Blooma are top notch. But, there are times where I have to make decisions - decisions that help us keep the lights on, doors open, and everyone employed. So, there are times when "Sarah the Business Owner" has to sit across from her sisters, release the personal and make business decisions. Ugh, it is the toughest thing I have to do and I am learning how to do it each and every day.

From the beginning, mamas trusted us and our teachings so they kept showing up. Women came, and they kept coming, and they are still coming. They come with all of their wisdom, curiosity, fears, hopes, triumphs, and for all of that and more, I am so grateful.

Friendships were made, hearts were filled, babies were born, and babies were lost. When a mother had a loss, we all had a loss. When a mother came back to share her birth story, we all felt the emotions from her birth. Blooma was and still is the place where anything can happen. Babies leave their cozy homes for the first time to come to Blooma. Moms breastfeed, change poppy diapers, have melt downs and share their triumphs for the first time at Blooma.

Gratitude, praise, thanks, namaste - none of these words come close to how blessed I feel for the past ten years. I truly believe that all of the lessons I have learned, especially the toughest moments, make myself, my staff, and Blooma a better place to be. Better than I ever thought it could be.

Blooma has been my constant from all of the highs and lows of my personal life. All three studios are my rocks. I come and land here in the arms of my sisters. I land in the arms of my students. I move my body, I clean, I light candles, I give and receive hugs and love from all.

Thank you for being with us for ten years, we can’t wait to be here for 10 more (and beyond!).

Written by Sarah Longacre - Blooma's Owner and Founder from Day One!

What to ask you kids besides, “How was your day?”

We pick our kids up from school, from a neighbors, from after school care and we ask them, "How was your day?" They typically respond with "good", "fine", or the dreaded "I don't want to talk about it". This lighthearted conversation hits a dead end fast. We quickly move on with our day, never really getting a sense of what they did or how they felt throughout the day. Sometimes we hear about their day from others - their teachers, a friends mom, etc.- and we think, "why didn't they share that with me?"

Some minor adjustments to the way you talk to your child can make a big difference. The way you ask questions can lead to more meaningful conversations, making each day a learning experience for both of you. These conversations can also help your child build foundational social skills and help them to handle situations better.

So get rid of the old “How was your day” and give these questions a try!

“What did you notice today that made someone else happy?”

This question helps your child be mindful and think outside of themselves. Build on their response and ask “How did you know it made them happy?”, then take the dialogue from there. Pose questions that they respond to with specific names and experiences.

“Tell me about someone that you helped today."

Pay attention to how they talk about helping others. Praise for them helping others and for making good choices. Share how it would make you feel to have received help in a similar situation.

“What is something you can do tomorrow to make sure the day is good for you and others?"

Listen as your child responds to this and use some guiding examples. Over time, your child will pick up on your guiding ideas and themes and will implement them. Asking your child about how they feel when doing things for others will help them to continue to repeat mindful behavior. They will begin to understand the joy that comes along with helping others.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After using these guiding questions, more questions will come organically. It is important to listen as your child talks. Children feel more willing to talk when they feel heard. If we can convey the message that they can share with us in a free manner, we will have better overall communication with our children, and get a good picture of how their day really was!

Written by Nicole Pierce-Risvold, MS - Family Psychotherapist

**Nicole is currently taking clients at Blooma St. Paul. Give us a call to find an appointment: (651) 340-8538

 

 

Flow Yoga for Pregnancy and Postpartum

Many come to a class because it fits perfectly in your schedule, a friend dragged you, you found childcare (or got into it at Blooma!), you ran out of the house as soon as your kids fell asleep, or maybe it’s in your google calendar every week so-it-just-happens.  Whatever the reason, good work mama. It may be cliche, but it’s true: "the hardest part is over, you got to your mat!"

I thought my love for yoga was as big as it could be before I  was pregnant. When I continued to practice through my pregnancy, I had a full-on love affair with coming to different classes.  I quickly signed up for another teacher training and went to as many classes as I could, I wanted to take full advantage of my excitement!  

During your pregnancy, know that you are welcome to all of our classes at Blooma. Beyond Prenatal Yoga, our Flow, Slow Flow, and Barre teachers are great (and super knowledgeable) at adapting class to create a safe, welcoming, and empowering environment for our pregnant goddesses.    

Here are some thoughts from Blooma Mama's that love to dip their toes into Flow and Slow Flow classes to complement their Prenatal Yoga practice:

"One thing about Blooma that I really appreciate is the class options through pregnancy. If I'm feeling like I need to connect with my pregnancy, baby, and mama community, a prenatal class fills me up. If I feel like I need to move my body, challenge myself, and feel a sense of "normal" - the flow classes are the perfect fit. And then barre classes for those days that you just need to ramp it up. I took advantage of all three through my pregnancies. Each option fills different needs, but they all helped me prepare for birth.

I was relatively new to yoga when I first got pregnant. Blooma prenatal classes were my gateway in, and I soon found (and loved) the option for flow yoga. My yoga practice had a huge impact on my pregnancies and helped me feel equipped for labor. Yoga has made me physically stronger, helped me find my breath, taught me to work through physical challenges, and helped me stay in tune with my body (not to mention feels damn good)."  Caitlin Hargarten (mama to Otis and Etta Louise)

"I have done flow yoga through all 3 of my pregnancies and it has helped me immensely, both mentally and physically. I love that it gives me focus and clears my mind, taking it off exhaustion, nausea, and stress.  It gives me enough strength building and cardio to keep me in shape for labor, because labor can be long and a major physical challenge. Having strength and flexibility in your hips and pelvic floor are so important for labor and recovery. My favorite thing about yoga during pregnancy is the connection I feel with my baby while I slow down and focus on my body and breath. Sometimes it is the only time in the day I feel like I do this! Savasana is also a heavenly break after a good workout."  Merideth Koehn (mama to Quincy, Rory and baby in belly guess date September 2017)

Blooma flow classes have been a big part of my yoga practice over the last three years: through my first pregnancy, during the postpartum period, and now through my second pregnancy. I love flow classes because they are endlessly adaptable based on how my body is feeling that day. Class can be as challenging or as restorative as I need it to be. My favorite thing about yoga during pregnancy is that it feels so good! My body feels achy and tired a lot these days, but when I'm in yoga class I feel amazing." Lauren Matthews (mama to Harper and baby in belly guess date November 2017)

“I'm a soon to be mom of four, to find time to take a shower is often a luxury, so to be able to look at the Blooma schedule and choose from both flow and prenatal classes allows me to get in some much needed "me time" to honor my body and the baby I'm carrying. I've also found flow classes very complimentary to my pregnancy journey and changing body. Every teacher frequently offers alternative poses that accommodate the bump and are ready to give adjustments to alleviate those pesky aches and pains that often come with pregnancy.

I didn't start taking classes on a regular basis until my second pregnancy and I truly believe my practice gave me so much strength leading up to and during my birth. I knew what it felt like to challenge myself both physically and mentally. I simply knew more about my body. I knew how to listen, when to "push" and when to let go; to encourage myself and to forgive. Blooma is a community of support, love and acceptance. All classes reflect that spirit.”   Kerry Anderson (mama to three boys and fourth babe on the way)

We encourage you to explore more of Blooma during pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. All of our teachers are trained to adapt classes and teach poses that are safe for all mamas. Move with us and get on your mat for more flow yoga! See our full schedule here.

Written by Greta Fay, Yoga and Barre Teacher, Blooma Teacher Liaison, mama to Anderson

A Complete Guide to Processing Your Birth

The birth of my son was unexpected and did not go at all how I had planned or hoped. It took a long time for me to heal from the experience. Now in my work as a childbirth educator and doula, I see a deep need for mamas to process their birth experiences in a setting that is safe, supportive, and validating.

Who needs to process their birth?

Everyone. Literally every person who has given birth needs to set aside some time to process the experience. Even if a birth seems to have gone smoothly to others in the room, the birther may still have experienced disappointment, guilt, shame, or trauma at some point during her pregnancy, birth, or postpartum experience. While these feelings may be more prevalent following births with unexpected outcomes, even an insensitive comment from a care provider can harm someone during their birth.

Why is it important to process your birth?

In our culture, we don’t know how to talk about birth experiences in a way that feels good or promotes healing. The canned response we give after hearing a birth story, particularly one that didn’t go as planned, is, “Well, at least you and the baby are healthy!” Yes, it’s true: it’s great that mama and baby are healthy, but this response negates and ignores any trauma or emotional pain that the birther may have suffered. In fact, it can make a birther feel even MORE guilty for harboring any feelings of shame over her birth experience. A person might harbor these feelings for years. This is all because they were not given the opportunity to process the experience, find ways to appreciate and grow from it, and ultimately, move on. I find it particularly important for mamas to process their birth experience before giving birth again, so that the emotions from the first birth do not invade the space of the labor and delivery room the next time around.

How can I process my birth?

There are three main ways to accomplish this:

  1. Write your birth story. Many women feel that writing about their difficult birth experience is a great way to begin to process it. This was my first step in processing the unexpected birth of my son, which you can read here.

 

  1. Pursue short-term therapy with a licensed counselor. It’s great to find someone who specializes in issues related to pregnancy and postpartum. Blooma has therapists at the St. Paul and Minneapolis locations that are available for help and support. Here are some other great resources for qualified therapists in the Twin Cities.

 

  1. Attend a Process Your Birth workshop at Blooma. Through guided meditation, reflective journaling, and small group sharing in a safe and supportive space, we will begin to process your birth. Your birth story includes your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience. This class is appropriate whether you gave birth a few weeks ago or a few decades ago.

Join us! See all upcoming Blooma Workshops HERE. OR, click the dates below for information about the Process Your Birth Workshop.

October 13, Minneapolis

November 17, Minneapolis

December 1, Minneapolis

Written by Mari Melby, a childbirth educator, doula, intuitive healer, writer, and a mama. Learn more on her website, www.marimelby.com.

All current Process Your Birth Workshops are led by Mari Melby.

Chiropractic Care for Infants and Children

Chiropractic for kids? Absolutely! Just as your child goes to the pediatrician for well child visits, a visit to a pediatric chiropractor for a wellness visit can help keep your kids healthy and thriving as they grow and develop.

When babies are born, they can't walk and talk, can't swallow anything other than liquid, and have certain infantile reflexes such as the startle reflex. These are all indications of a premature nervous system. As our children grow out of these infant reflexes, their nervous systems are going through huge developmental milestones. They are growing physically in size, and becoming more active too. Chiropractic care helps to optimize the potential of their developing nervous systems.

Any interference in the pathways of the nerves, can interrupt the signals being passed from the brain to the body and back again. This can present as difficulty feeding, colic, recurring infections, failure to meet developmental milestones, and much more. Nervous system interference can be silent, without immediate symptoms.It is so important to get your kids checked regularly by a pediatric chiropractor. They can make sure they are growing and thriving, without any limits to reaching their full potential. Here's what some of our patient families have to say about pediatric chiropractic care:

"Chiropractic has been a key part of our daughters' health care since they were infants. Colic, ear infections, torticollis, headaches--all of them have been effectively and compassionately treated by Drs. Finden and Jabs. We live quite far away from Active Health Chiropractic, yet I'd never trust our family's well-being to anyone else." ~Nina J.

"We took our little one to see Dr. Finden at just 3 weeks old. We noticed his head was tipped at an odd angle most of the time and he didn't want us to straighten him out. On the walk home from our first visit he was lifting his head to look around. He was so happy. At the time he also spit up half of what he ate, every time he ate. The spit up virtually stopped after the first visit. The results were so amazing and we could see them before our eyes. We have since taken him back to help with everything from ear infections to constipation. It has helped offer him relief every time." ~April G.

Pediatric chiropractic care is much more gentle than the care we provide for adults, many newborns even sleep through their first adjustments! We have a lot of experience and success with helping kiddos get over the speed bumps they many encounter while they are adapting to their new life outside the womb.

Book a chiropractic appointment for your little one. Give us a call for more information and to find an appointment!

St. Paul: (651) 340-8538

Minneapolis: (612) 223-8064

Written by Dr. Danielle Finden, Active Health Chiropractic

The doctors of Active Health Chiropractic see patients at Blooma Minneapolis and at their St. Paul office.

PHOTO BY DANICA DONNELLY PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Ask the Educators: When Should I Go to My Hospital or Birth Center?

Childbirth education at Blooma serves families no matter what type of birth they are planning. All classes present evidence-based information for normal and safe birth, influenced by the Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices. Classes provide information to expectant families to reduce their fear or anxiety while building confidence and preparing them for birth.

Each Blooma Educator is a seasoned birth doula, up to date on birthing practices and policies.

Our educators frequently hear the same concerns about pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

A question our educators frequently hear: At what point during labor should I go to the hospital or birth center?

First and foremost, we advise all birthing people to listen to their body and their heart.  The most important thing is that you feel safe wherever you are.  This means some birthing people may stay at home longer than others, and some may choose to head to their birthing place earlier on.  Your labor may not meet the criteria below, and that’s the beauty of birth!  It’s not a one-size-fits-all kinda thing.  There is a wide range of normal when it comes to labor patterns, and despite the differences each birthing person may experience, there is always some amount of common ground.

Here are a couple tips and tricks to give you insight.

It is always a good idea to let your care team know when you suspect you are in labor.  Your provider, and doula if you're choosing to work with one, can help you identify where you are at in your labor by listening (in person or on the phone) as you cope through a contraction.  They may suggest rest and comfort measures and encourage you to stay at home a bit longer.  If it’s clear you are in full-on active labor, your provider or doula may suggest making your way to the car (which sometimes can take 30 minutes as you’ll need to pause and focus during contractions) and head to your place of birth.

“4-1-1” is a great tool to help you gauge the progress you are making.  During active labor, contractions will pick up in intensity, become closer together, and stay that way.  We love to see a pattern of 4 minutes between the start of one contraction to the next and each contraction lasting for about 60 seconds.  This pattern should occur for at least an hour.  At this stage of labor your contractions will require your full attention and focus and you will not be easily distracted.  Your job is to breathe and cope through each wave and surge, and then rest in between.  Your support people (partner and/or doula) will be giving you their full attention; helping with position changes, providing water/snacks, encouraging you to go to the bathroom frequently, and reminding you of your strength and power.  It can be so helpful to have someone right by your side the entire time.

Plan accordingly with the travel time from your house to your birthing place.  It is also important to factor in heavy traffic times. Sitting in a car is not the most comfortable place to labor, so if you are approaching a heavy traffic time, you may want to work with your care team to work around it.

What might be an advantage to laboring at home for a longer period of time?

You may be giving birth at a hospital or birth center. But, it is a good idea to labor at home.

It helps to arrive at your place of birth when labor is fully established.  At this point you are more likely to be in a good rhythm with coping through the discomfort and know what tools work well to help you manage each surge. Sometimes arriving at your place of birth too early in labor can cause contraction patterns to subside or stall.

If you are hoping for an unmedicated birth, staying at home as long as you feel safe and comfortable increases your chance of avoiding interventions.

Your home is where you live!  It’s comfortable and safe.  You have your own blankets, pillows, bed, and couch.  You are surrounded by your own scent and personal feel.  You have access to your own kitchen and food preferences to keep you nourished.  Being in your own space allows you the ability to control things like lighting, music, and mood in a much more private and uncensored space than that of your birthing place.

Always remember to listen to your body and your heart. When unsure, always reach out to your educator, doula, midwife, or doctor.

Want to feel more prepared for your birth? Have more questions for our educators? We encourage you to join us for one of our Childbirth Education Classes at Blooma. Find one here. Best of luck to you and your birth!

Laboring at Home Photo by Jenna Dailey

Written by Amy Kelley, Doula, Childbirth Educator, Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Kids, Toddler, & Byob Yoga Instructor.  Wife, dog mom, sister, daughter, and auntie to 6 beautiful children!  You can find me on Instagram as @amykelleydoula or visit my website at www.amynkelley.com

Ask the Educators: Prepping Your Car for Birth & Baby!

Childbirth education at Blooma serves families no matter what type of birth they are planning. All classes present evidence-based information for normal and safe birth, influenced by the Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices. Classes provide information to expectant families to reduce their fear or anxiety while building confidence and preparing them for birth.

Each Blooma Educator is a seasoned birth doula, up to date on birthing practices and policies.

Our educators frequently hear the same concerns about pregnancy, birth, and beyond. One of our educators, Mari Melby, has some tips for prepping you - and your car - for baby!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As you prepare for your new baby, you will undoubtedly come across plenty of lists detailing what you should bring to the hospital or what to stock in your nursery. However, something that is often overlooked is what you should have packed IN YOUR CAR prior to the baby coming. I suggest that you have these items in your car from 36 weeks on. Most likely, your baby will not come that early, however it will give you some peace of mind knowing that certain things are in place and ready to go.

1. A 1/2 tank of gas at all times

From 36 weeks on, I recommend not letting any of your cars go below this mark. Maybe you have a long drive to the hospital or birth center, or maybe there are frigid temperatures outside. Even if you live relatively close by, you may have a work commitment that takes you out of the area for the day. The bottom line is, you do not want to have to stop and get gas while you are in labor. Keeping the tank half full at all times will pretty much guarantee that this will not happen to you.

2. Chux pads or a few towels

In the event that your water breaks either before getting in the car or during the ride, amniotic fluid may continue to gush or leak for a while, and having something that you can sit on will help to protect the car from any damage. You will not get the chance to properly clean the car for a while, so this is a nice protective measure. My sister ended up having to use garbage bags as a last-minute fix, but this also worked well.

3. A properly installed and checked infant car seat

Without this item, you cannot bring your baby home! You may feel that reading the instruction manual is sufficient to install the car seat, but this is often not the case. It is generally FREE to get your car seat inspected by a safety specialist. In addition to making sure that the base is properly installed, he or she may even have you practice putting a doll or stuffed animal into and out of the car seat a few times. It feels a little silly at the time, but I was so fortunate to have had the practice when it was time to drive our new baby home for the first time! You can typically find where to go on your state’s transportation website.

Pro tip: Pack your suitcase and keep it in the car from 36 weeks on, too. You will be ready to go even in an unexpected situation and it is one less thing to do while in labor!

Originally posted on Mari Melby, Birth Services

Written by Mari Melby - doula and childbirth educator at Blooma. You can read more from her on her website, www.marimelby.com.

All the Best Parts of Bellyrama

Our 8th Annual Bellyrama is just a few days away! We are celebrating 10 years of Blooma with yoga, vendors, crafts, live music, and more. There is something to do for everyone! We asked our Blooma teachers what they love most about Bellyrama. Read what they have to say, and we will see you at Lake Harriet Bandshell for Bellyrama!

 

 

“The sense of community is amazing. Looking around and watching women and their families move and breathe together is so uplifting and powerful. It's the highlight of fall every year”. -Ann Butzer Drewiske


“Bellyrama feels better than Mother's Day to me!! It always exceeds expectations and feels so nourishing”! -Sarah Auna

“Bellyrama is a chance to recognize and connect with so many people. People who help us realize we aren't alone, no matter where we're at”. -Rachel Klare

“I love the end of the class, seeing all of the beautiful women and families in savasana -  receiving the love, light, and of course, the rubdown”. -Jessie Seehof Carlson

“My favorite part of Bellyrama is the yoga class with so many women. I had a deeply healing experience next to Kristin Gourde a couple years ago while Sarah Longacre taught. I cried on my mat - and all was well”. - Amy Kelley

“Seeing 400+ people spread out during morning practice in a HUGE circle surrounding the bandshell, over onto the grass, up through the stage, rocking out in goddess pose. It's a feeling of oneness, strength, and community like no other. I get goosebumps thinking about it. Can't wait”! -Stacy Seebart

“My favorite thing about Bellyrama is the community created and shared on that day. Sarah Longacre reminds us to be thankful for all the women who came before us - the ones that mothered us and taught us how to mother”. - Carrie Voda

“My absolute favorite part of Bellyrama is seeing the women of Blooma’s past and present come together, seeing babies who have grown up so much, and the smiles as women reunite on their mats!” - Greta Fay

“No matter what the weather, Bellyrama is always magical. My son got stung by a bee his first time there and he still thinks it's wonderful”. - Meg Morrow

“My favorite part of bellyrama is the feeling of connection to so many people. It fills me with hope, being surrounded by everyone full of light filled intention. It's also really fun knowing so many people in one beautiful Minneapolis hot spot! Love love love this day”! -Kaye Standke

“I've never been! Every time I step into Blooma, there's a resonance of strength, vulnerability, and compassion that's so clearly embedded in our community. I'm so looking forward to feeling, seeing, and hearing the culmination of that communal energy for the first time this year”.  - Lindsay Kocka

“Bellyrama is a good chance to connect with everyone from Blooma from the past and present, but is also an ever-needed reminder that we are so far from alone in this journey of motherhood, with all its struggles and joys”. - Sarah Bach-Bergs

“This is the day where everything Blooma has created is FELT! I feel community, connection, authentic love, deep breaths, a sense of belief in myself and humanity, and that I am doing my best as the role of mama...right now! I am so excited for how real and present these moments are surrounded by beautiful sisters and brothers”! - Kristin Gourde

“The energy we create is powerful! And it's a reminder that we are all in this together”. - Charity Huot Benedict

All the LOVE. All the Energy. All the YOGA, MAMAS, FAMILIES, FRIENDS.

We can't wait to see you all on your mat on Saturday, September 9th! This year celebrates 10 years of Blooma love. Bellyrama is bigger than ever, with 4 different times for yoga! See the full scheudle below:

9:00-10:15am – Yoga with Sarah Longacre
10:30-11:15am – Kids Yoga
11:30-12:15pm – Family Dance Party (With LIVE music from Bunny Clogs)
12:45-1:45pm – Yoga Mela with teachers from the past 10 years!

Come for yoga, stay for vendors, friends, food and more. Learn more here!

My Postpartum Body

“So, when are you due? I don’t normally ask, but you have the most darling little belly,” asked the woman working at the retail store in the fitting room. It was the second time I had heard that in the last weeks prior to this incident. I was so hurt internally, that in order to avoid bursting into tears and tell the truth that would embarrass us both, all I could say was, “Oh, I’m not very far along” and quickly took my stack of clothes into the dressing room. The reason I was so hurt? I wasn’t pregnant. In fact, my daughter was one year old and I was there trying to find a pair of jeans that better hide my “belly.”

I’ve had three babies in four years. With the amount of weight I have gained and lost each time, along with sustaining life inside of me and outside of me in breastfeeding, I look at my body in the mirror now in complete awe of creation. What an incredible miracle conception, pregnancy, birth, and infants are! The blessings and gravity of what I have been a part of is not lost on me. I am truly grateful.

However, it does not mean that there are not challenges. I have had relatively easy pregnancies and recoveries postpartum. And, yet, I still struggle with the changes in my body. In each of my pregnancies I have continued to stay active and eat relatively healthy. I love to walk/run around the beautiful neighborhoods of Saint Paul and take classes at Blooma. Postpartum life brings even more walks with babies, early morning runs, and yoga practices.

But after my second baby, I found that it was really hard to get rid of my “mom pooch.” I was slimming down and getting stronger everywhere else, but I could not get my belly any flatter. In the midst of diapers, toddlers, working part time, and keeping up with the house, I couldn’t find or make the time to do anything about it. I kept thinking that maybe it was the extra ten pounds I had kept on during breastfeeding, like with our first child, until I had weaned him. So, when it didn’t come off when I weaned our second, I started researching if it was something more than baby weight. That’s when I found out about diastasis recti. It’s the natural ab separation that happens when you are pregnant. However, mine, like many women, failed to knit back together postpartum. Thus, the pooching belly. There are a lot of variables how and why this happens, but it’s still there.

By the time that I truly realized that it was a problem and there was something that I could do to fix it and work on it, I was pregnant again. After having our second son this past April, I immediately started Google-ing videos and exercises that could help me work on this condition. I found a lot of different information, all promising to pull in the “mom pooch.” It wasn’t until this past week, when I went to Karin Trigg’s Abdominals: Before and After Birth Workshop at Blooma that I truly felt I received a comprehensive presentation on diastasis recti and how to help it. She went over the anatomy of the body, how and why this separation can happen, breathing and exercises on how to lessen it within our own bodies, and plenty of encouragement and empowerment that we can be our strongest selves, even after being a vessel for another human for so long. Since this workshop, I have tried to dedicate five to eight minutes a day to work on the exercises Karin gave us. Some days I have to wake up even earlier just to make sure I get the exercises in, but it’s helping. And, I can only hope that it continues to help. I strongly encourage any woman, pregnant or not, to try Karin’s class, even if only to learn more about diastasis recti and how to protect your core.

I realize that I may never look like I did when I was at my smallest, but that was before my body had given life to three other human beings. And, for those miracles, I will be happy with however my body looks, as long as I’m staying healthy and active.

Written by Shea Olson- Wife & Mama Trying to Make it All Work

Learn more about the next Abdominals Before & After Birth Workshop (October 26, 2017)

Making 'Work' Work - Tips from a working mama of three

Mama, you’re heading back to work soon.  You’re probably feeling all the feels.  I have been there, I understand!  I have experienced the transition back to work three times and learned a few things along the way.  We know that every mama, babe, and family is different but learning to adjust to life with a new baby while going back to work is tough!  Below are some of tips that we hope can help you find your groove in the transition. 

Maintain Realistic Expectations.  Be gentle on yourself and your family.  This is a transition for everyone and a new “normal” is being established.  To avoid disappointment and resentment, take time with your partner to communicate what your priorities are and what their priorities are.   Practice the art of “letting go” the things you decide aren’t important.

Time Savers. Surrender to the dry shampoo, body showers, and unshaven legs.  Simplify your morning grooming routine.  Buy enough underwear, nursing tanks, and clothes to make it through the work week without doing laundry (stock up your partner and the other kids too!). Pack your bags the night before so the mornings can be as stress-free as possible.

Boundaries.  When you are home, be home.  When you are at work, try to be present at work.  Once you are home, turn work email alerts off your phone or better yet, move your phone out of site. Be present with your family after you leave the office.  When you are at work, focus on the tasks in front of you so that you can leave work feeling good about what you’ve completed.

Food + Water.  Mama needs to be hydrated and fed.  Find a cute water bottle and commit to keeping it close.  Keep your meals simple—there are times in life for gourmet meals… this is not one of them.  Meal plan (again, keep it simple) and grocery shop before the workweek starts.  Have healthy, quick and packable options on hand.  And, remember to eat them!

Sleep + Exercise.  Your mental and physical health is important. Every woman has different sleep and exercise needs.  Figure out yours, and be intentional about making it happen.  Start small and take advantage of tiny time increments.  Add that Saturday afternoon nap on your family calendar, take turns with your partner “sleeping in” on the weekends, or master the art of a power nap.  As important as rest is, so is exercise. Only have time for a 7 minute YouTube workout while your little one is doing tummy time?  Make it happen!

Delivery Service.  During this transition, extra time is non-existent.  Embrace the age of Amazon Prime, Instacart, and In-Store Pick-Ups.  Consolidate your trips and orders to save time and spend those hours with your loved ones instead of running errands.

Embrace the Silver Linings. There are a lot of hard things about finding and trusting a childcare provider.  There are also a lot of great things about it! Embrace the benefits childcare can provide, like your baby adapting to a routine, the wisdom of a seasoned childcare provider to provide insight to your child, and the freedom to go to the bathroom alone (kidding on this one, but not really).

Dates + Talk Time.  Protect time with your partner.  Set aside 30 minutes a week to take care of family business.  Affirm one another, discuss the family calendar, check in on finances, share the struggles and joys of your week. Prepare ahead of time so you both can listen well and can both feel heard.  Be intentional with this time and remember that you are on the same team, working toward the same goals.  Protect a date night too!  Regularly do something fun that unites you and your partner and builds habits that will bear fruit for the entirety of your marriage.  

Support System.  Know who you can reach out to for encouragement.  Motherhood is hard. Being a working mom presents a unique set of challenges.  Learn to ask for help and accept it.  Find people that lift you up and encourage your decision to be a working mom, someone who will listen when life gets hard.  Invest in the life-giving relationships that build you up!

One Step at a Time.  It is easy to get overwhelmed after a bad day and doubt your decision to work outside the home.  Set a time increment with your partner as an intentional “evaluation time” to discuss if things are going well or not.  It is okay to reassess a few months after baby and make new decisions for you and your family. Babies change so quickly and so will your struggles and triumphs.  Setting a “milestone” 8 weeks out will give you a goal, allowing you to conquer some tough days and be objective about the decisions you are making. 

Remember mamas, there will be good days and bad.  Give yourself the freedom to try things out and change your mind!  Be quick to forgive yourself if you don’t do things perfectly or lose your cool at some point.  Learn from other mamas, take care of yourself, lean into your support system, and follow that intuition, mama. Don’t forget that you are a GREAT mama and your little one loves you unconditionally.  You got this!

Written by Lauren Herbeck

Director of Operations at Blooma

Wife and Mother of Three, Friend to Us All

Ask the Educators - Let's talk about VBACs

Childbirth education at Blooma serves families no matter what type of birth they are planning. All classes present evidence-based information for normal and safe birth, influenced by the Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices. Classes provide information to expectant families to reduce their fear or anxiety while building confidence and preparing them for birth.

Each Blooma Educator is a seasoned birth doula, up to date on birthing practices and policies.

Our educators frequently hear the same concerns about pregnancy, birth, and beyond. We love hearing your questions, and helping you make informed decisions for your birth. We often hear questions about VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), so we wanted to take the time to answer your questions and provide information for you and your family.

I had a cesarean birth. Will I be able to have a vaginal birth this time?

The short answer is yes, most likely! In the US, 74% of women who attempt VBACs are successful.[1] Previously, The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended a TOLAC, or Trial of Labor After Cesarean, for women with one previous cesarean and a low-transverse incision. In 2010, they updated their guidelines so that “…women with two previous low-transverse cesarean incisions, women carrying twins, and women with an unknown type of uterine scar are considered appropriate candidates for a TOLAC," according to Jeffrey L. Ecker, MD, co-author of the guidelines.[2]

 What can I do to prepare for a VBAC?

Choose your provider and place of birth carefully. Research VBAC success rates for both the practice and the location. Hire a doula who has experience in supporting VBACs. Blooma offers a VBAC class to help answer questions, explore the pros and cons, and more!

What if I decide I want a repeat cesarean or end up needing one?

Know that a repeat cesarean is still a valid choice. Many women have so much fear after what happened the first time that a repeat cesarean feels like the safer emotional choice. There are also certain medical conditions that make a planned cesarean a safer option. If you do go the route of planned cesarean, be sure to find a provider who is willing to accommodate a family-centered cesarean. A family-centered cesarean includes things like:

  • Using a clear drape or lowering the drape when the baby is born
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Skin-to-Skin in the OR
  • Mom and baby stay together in recovery
  • Doulas and partners allowed in the OR

The Blooma Childbirth Educators are a great resource for VBAC-friendly providers, doctors who practice using family-centered cesareans, doulas with experience supporting VBACs, and additional reading on this topic. Join us for an upcoming Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Class, led by Mari Melby, April 7 in Minneapolis.

Mari Melby is a doula and childbirth educator at Blooma. You can read more from her on her website, www.marimelby.com.

 

[1]Cunningham FG, Bangdiwala S, Brown SS, Dean TM, Frederiksen

M, Rowland Hogue CJ, King T, Spencer Lukacz E, McCullough LB, Nicholson W, Petit N, Probstfield JL, Viguera AC, Wong CA, Zimmet SC. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: New Insights. March 8—10, 2010. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2010; 115(6):1279–1295.

[2]American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Communications. Ob Gyns Issue Less Restrictive VBAC Guidelines. ACOG. N.p., 21 July 2010. Web. 6 June 2017.

Blooma Dads - An Important Part of Our Community

I have been a part of the Blooma community for over 9 years. My wife began coming to Blooma when she was pregnant with our first child. It had prepared her for birth and was her post baby escape. But, it wasn't until I became the primary caregiver that I understood the connection my wife had to Blooma. The community at Blooma goes beyond pregnancy and postpartum support - Blooma is all about being there for you, no matter what stage of life you are in. 

When I went to my first Tots Yoga class with no yoga experience, nervous and hesitant that I would stand out as the only father, I quickly realized my daughter loved Blooma and every minute of her class. And, was even more surprised at how welcoming everyone was of me. Molly loved to sing and dance while helping the teacher lead class. And, I was able to stay in a more reserved role with our baby, Bridget.  The teachers let Molly express her personality, while letting me stay in the background, making sure our little one wasn’t rolling away.   

Our oldest two children enjoyed going to “big kid” class with Kay. I would come in on Summer days with four children, feeling worn down. Kay would offer to have Molly, our third child, attend class as well. Those forty-five minutes were not a long period in the grand scheme of things, but meant a lot to me. This act of kindness, support, and empathy represented what the Blooma family was all about.

Blooma is a place that allows our family to experience a calming atmosphere while still having fun. We are glad to have such a great neighbor!

Written by Brian Meyer, Blooma Father of Four

Kids Yoga: A Toolkit for Finding Calm

Arch your back like a cat! Stretch like a dog! Breathe like a lion!

Children are natural yogis and love the aspect of pretending as they move their bodies like animals. Yoga capitalizes on play, children’s best road to learning.

I love that moment in every kids’ class when we breathe together and a sense of peace and calm settles over all of us.  This often happens in the beginning of Little Kids classes when 22 little ones are babbling and talking, I use the breathing ball to lead a group breath and quiet fills the room.  Children often share how they use breathing and mindfulness in their daily lives off the mat.

“I took a big breath in and out when my mom said ‘hurry up, it’s time for school’ and then I found my mittens.”

 “I felt worried about too much homework.  I closed my eyes and put my hand on my belly to breathe.  I felt better and got my homework done.”

“I was so mad at my little sister, I used lion’s breath instead of yelling.  Then we both laughed.”

In our busy world of school days, music classes, sports teams, and play dates, children need tools to help them find and keep calm.  It is amazing the power that can come from teaching children to breathe – empowering them to face and overcome challenges and/or stress.

Combining mindfulness with physical activity can help foster social-emotional growth and help children deal with stress in healthy ways.  Yoga empowers children to feel confident as they navigate both their family and school lives.  Yoga helps children develop prosocial behaviors as they learn to create a pose with a partner, take turns leading the breathing, or help to add on to the yoga story.

Pretending, laughing, and creating should be at the center of childhood.  At Blooma, kid’s yoga is both playful and calm.  Children are encouraged to create new and inventive yoga poses while laughing and connecting in a supportive community. Children also appreciate having a quiet part of each class too, often reporting to me that their favorite part of yoga is savasana or “yoga rest” (and, of course, the foot or hand rubs they receive). Taking this time in each class teaches the importance of calming both our bodies and our minds.

Yoga is an important aspect of building healthy bodies.  The benefits of yoga for children include:

  • Encourages motor development
  • Develops strength
  • Improves digestion
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Relaxes the body, improving sleep
  • Relieves stress
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Balances low and high energy levels
  • Expands Imagination and creativity

I hope you and your child can come and play yoga with us at Blooma!

Written by Ann Griffin, RYT200, Yoga Calm for Kids & Global Family Yoga Trained, First Grade Teacher at St. Paul Public Schools.

 

From a Non-Mom to All Blooma Mamas - Thank You

I am constantly surrounded by strong, amazing, independent women - most of them mothers or moms-to-be. And, although I spend much of my day within the walls of Blooma, surrounded by mamas and their babes, I am a woman in the Blooma community without a babe. My partner and I frequently talk about marriage and the children we hope to have, but at the moment, I get so much joy from watching, interacting with, and holding (if I’m really lucky) your little ones. I have learned so much from each of you during my time at Blooma, so I thought it would be only right to send you a thank you note:

Blooma Mamas and Moms to Be:

I am amazed by your patience (it is hard to convince a tot to leave Blooma), inspired by your kindness, and grateful for the moments of motherhood you allow me to witness.

I see so many moments of motherhood at Blooma, and I learn from each one of them. Thank you to every mom in our lobby, inside our classrooms, and outside our doors. I hear you using small moments to teach your child (holding the door for others, sharing a toy in tots class). I hear the affection and love in your words. I watch you hold your little ones so close to your heart. SO MUCH LOVE.

I learn from your “new to motherhood” experiences. Watching you change an exploded diaper, or seeking advice on sleep or breastfeeding from a more experienced mama. There are even times that I see you in tears, dealing with the first few months with your new baby, or talking about the effects of motherhood on different relationships. This teaches me so much. It shows me that becoming a mom doesn’t mean you need to be perfect. And, being a parent doesn’t come with an instruction manual. There is no one way to be a mom, everyone is doing the best they can. And – with the right support - a friend to offer their guidance, or a new mama group, you can find the help and resources you need.

I have always wanted children, and always pictured myself being a mother. When the time comes – I know I will think back to each of these moments, apply them to my own motherhood, and strive to be the best mama I can be.

A great big thank you to all your mamas,

Laura, Marketing Director at Blooma

Top Photo - Me and my Partner with our fur baby

A Legacy of Mothering

Life takes us on many paths-it never occurred to me that birth, and the joys it brings, would become my life’s passion. But after adventuring through other directions in academia and pastry making, I was taken up in the birth world after a close friend’s home birth. From there the rest, they say, is history. An important and relevant history that empowers me, each day, to work within the wonderful world of birth.

I delved deeper into birth when I found out that I was pregnant. The support and compassion I received from my doula and midwives at Health Foundations Birth Center was truly inspirational. My birth experience was both healing and transformative, in more ways than I could have imagined. It was through these complied experiences that I knew I had found my calling.

I started my journey in the birth world as a doula. Taking in as much information as I could through my DONA International Training at Blooma and attending births. I attended births in a multitude of settings. Each birth provided me new insights. I was honored to support families and was thrilled each time to bear witness to the magic of birth. What I learned, quite quickly, was that I had developed a preference for out of hospital birth. The support I provided as a doula was embraced in this setting, allowing me to thrive. The quality and thoroughness of care provided by the midwives was incredible.  I realized that midwifery, in an out of hospital setting, was the next step in my journey as a birth junkie.

Explaining myself to family, friends and supporters, wasn’t always the easiest. They couldn’t understand why I was pursuing this “unconventional occupation.” But, I had an ally very early on, my grandfather. He reminded me that our family had a history of midwives. Lena Appert, my great-great grandmother, was a midwife. She served families around St. Cloud, MN. Lena was a German immigrant and a single mother of three children. She traveled to over 1,000 births often bringing her children along in the middle of the night. 

My grandfather shared the photos, news clippings and stories he had about Lena. This calling to out of hospital midwifery resonated even stronger as I learned my own family’s history.  I was determined to carry on this legacy of out of hospital midwifery, just as Lena had done so many years ago. I find myself so curious about her experiences. How did she find herself on this path to midwifery? Was her presence in the community embraced? What changes did she see as birth entered the hospital system? What would she think about the systems in place today?

I was blessed to know my great grandmother quite well. I was incredibly close to my grandmother as well. I lost both of these powerful women before I was 20 years old. As I grow into my calling as a midwife and as I grow as a mother, I find that I have a different longing for their wisdom and support. I cherish the stories I have heard of Lena’s life and legacy as a mother and midwife. 

Now, at each birth I attend, I am so grateful for the history of women who created a legacy of female healers and of midwives that pushed back against institutionalization of birth. It’s as though at each birth, Lena’s life’s work and spirit is with me.

Written By Jamie Huberty, Jamie is a DONA trained birth doula, placenta encapsulator, and Lamaze trained childbirth educator. She will be taking her Lamaze Certification Exam in October and has attended 3 spinning babies trainings. She is a CPM midwifery student at NMI. You can see Jamie at Blooma in her role as a childbirth educator!

Check out Childbirth Education at Blooma!

The Importance of Self Care for All Mamas

When does a mother take a break? Often, the answer is rarely, if ever. Self-care can quickly fall by the wayside as we take care of everyone and everything else. We know this; taking better care of ourselves is a broken record we all hear. But, what can you do?

Chiropractic care is an excellent tool to focus on self-care and spend some well deserved time on your body and mind. It’s a gift you can give yourself, one that benefits you beyond your appointment. This type of wellness care is an easy way to take care of your body, with little personal effort on your part. Just give Blooma a call. Then you show up, talk to us about how you're feeling, and relax! We do all the work to help your brain better communicate with your body, decrease muscle tension, and improve mobility. You may receive a little homework to help you along the way!

Mamas can experience a wide variety of symptoms while pregnant and postpartum, from headaches to muscle tension to low back pain. We can help with all of these! Low back and pelvic pain is so common in pregnancy due to the change of weight distribution. As those low back muscles tighten to keep you upright and hormones are relaxing your ligaments, it's much easier to have those joints move out of alignment which causes extra tension and pain. The same goes for mamas breastfeeding and carrying an infant when shoulders often slouch, creating headaches, neck pain, and upper back tension. 

Taking time out of your week to focus on your health is important. Our society focuses so much on “sick care.” We wait until something is wrong or painful before we get help. Changing the focus to wellness helps you feel and function better. Being preventative in our choices increases energy, comfort, and happiness. Isn't that something we could all use?

Dr. Ellen and Dr. Danielle are now taking appointments at Blooma. To schedule Chiropractic Care, please give us a call.

 Minneapolis & Plymouth: (612) 223-8064

St. Paul: (651) 340-8538

Contributed by Ellen Jabs, D.C. & Danielle Finden, D.C

* Gift Cards can be purchased and used for Wellness Services at Blooma. Learn more HERE.

Moments of Motherhood: Homemade dresses, hanging boobs, and braided rugs.

An Intro From Laura (Marketing Director)

Motherhood is made up of moments. Happy and joyful moments. Exciting and funny moments. Frustrating and unsure moments. Here are some other moments in motherhood – from the comical, to the inspiring. We want you to reflect on your own memories, or think about the ones you may create for your little one. We are so happy to celebrate all mamas, all month long.

Sarah Longacre (Owner and Founder):

Music was and still is a huge part of my family. We were raised on Barbra Streisand. My mother thought she was Barbra Streisand. My mother made up songs and would sing to us all the time. My personal favorite was, “Do your boobs hang low do they wobble to and fro…”. Growing up with Cheryl Hauser as your mother you are guaranteed to be “entertained” with songs of love and light!

 

Lauren (Director of Operations):

I am blessed with an amazing mother who loves me unconditionally.  It wasn't until I became a mother myself that I truly realized the depth of her love.  My mom has put up with a lot from me: my colic as a newborn, my "strong will" as a child, my sassy teenage hormones, and most recently my own navigation through motherhood.  And not for a single moment of my life have I ever doubted her love for me.

My mom has taught me how to enjoy life, how to be present to and care for those you love, to be open to learning new things, how to forgive, and the lasting impact that sacrificial love can have.  My mother is not perfect, but she is darn close.  She loves well and puts her family first.  I am deeply grateful for the love she pours out and the witness she is to my own daughter.  Grandma Liz, you are cherished.

 

Greta (Teacher Liaison, Teacher):

My mom is the friendliest person ever.  She is also the busiest woman that I know and somehow you wouldn't even always know that. She is graceful and will always shift things in her world to be by my side when I need it most.  I like to think that I have always known she was so amazing but I probably rolled my eyes a few times when friends in high school referred to her as "Greta's cool mom."  I definitely resisted her coolness and then Instagram was invented and I realized that pretty much anyone who Instagrams their homemade kombucha or napkins or braided rug is actually just my mom 30 years ago. She is the original cool.  And now look at me following in her footsteps as a Prenatal Barre teacher (her version was Prenatal step aerobics).  (Here she is pregnant with me in the pic on the left.)

Over two years into my motherhood and we have had so many fun memories (and crazy not so fun ones) but my favorite moment as a mom will always be giving birth and saying "it's Anderson!" as I snuggled him to my chest for the first time.  I loved those first two weeks in bed just staring at him.

 

 

 

Sarah Auna (Childbirth Educator, Community Outreach, Teacher):

One of my most memorable Mother's Day moments was at Blooma - when I was PREGNANT with my first.  It hadn't occurred to me that I should celebrate MYSELF on Mother's Day ...not yet at least! I wasn't a mother - yet  -- was I? I can’t remember who was teaching yoga that day, but the message was clear. You are already mothering this child. Amending you life to make room for the baby and her needs. You are already giving of your heart, your head and your body for this child. You are already connected to the millions of mothers who have come before you - and the millions of mothers that will come after you.  It made me feel less in a place of in-between and really integrate with myself as "mother" and the baby as my "child".

Marina (St. Paul Studio Manager, Teacher):

Check out these sweet matching sunflower dresses! I will never forget all the horrible matching clothing of my youth, and as the oldest, feeling that I was way too cool to be matching with my baby sisters.  My mom was, and still is, a very crafty woman. She sewed these dresses- along with many others throughout my childhood.  She is never scared to take on a new project.  Along the way, I learned how to sew, and gained a deep appreciation for DIY projects.  I have my mom to credit for my creative energy, and willingness to try new things, and I am so grateful for her! Looking at this picture, it is still pretty embarrassing to think that we left the house like this, but at least it's good for a laugh!

Meghan Foley (Minneapolis & Plymouth Studio Manager, Teacher):

My mom is my best friend and twin and all of our inside jokes are from Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping. We have both movies memorized and I have many memories of shouting out the lines together while laughing, crying and stuffing our faces with popcorn. She is my biggest source of laughter and support and I am so grateful for our friendship. 

 

We want to share all your moments of Motherhood! We are celebrating you all month (and all year) long at Blooma! Thank you mamas for all that you do, and for all the memories you make.

Learn about all of the special things we have created for YOU this month.

Written by the Blooma Leadership Team.

Mother Blessing: A Celebration of Mother, Woman, Warrior Goddess

What is a Mother Blessing?

The ‘Mother Blessing’ is inspired by a traditional Navajo ceremony called the Blessingway, which is held during transitional phases of a Navajo woman’s life, such as her first moon time, marriage, and of course, becoming a mother. The Mother Blessing is a celebration of new life; an honoring of the mother-to-be as she moves through one of life's greatest transitions; a ceremonial show of emotional and spiritual support as she experiences the many layers of becoming mother. This is a rich, vibrant ceremony that cultivates connection, joy, and oftentimes, healing tears for all.

My First Experience with a Mother Blessing

The first time I attended a Mother Blessing was when I organized one for my friend Brittany, who was the first woman in my friend group to become pregnant. My friends and I called it a “Celebration of Life.” We wanted to create something sacred, an event focused on self-expression, community, connection — a healing atmosphere for all who attended. We did exactly that. We sat in sacred circle where we read blessings to the mother-to-be. We laughed, we cried, we made birth art, we ate wholesome foods, we danced and sang. It was glorious! The energy we created together that night pleasantly surprised us all. It was so intentional and clear. We created a vortex of love around the mother-to-be when she needed it most. We celebrated the power of life, the vibrant power inside our dear sister friend. We honored the deep work she was doing by growing and choosing to birth her baby in a way that empowered her. That night, we each realized how much our dear friend’s pregnancy impacted us. Celebrating the pregnant woman invited us to reflect on where we all come from, to question the meaning of our lives and our purpose on this planet. It ignited the spark we are born from, and it brought us closer to source.

My first Mother Blessing experience illuminated that, in addition to showering the mother-to-be with gifts in a conventional baby shower, there is so much more we can do for her as she embarks on this courageous voyage of becoming a mother. We can acknowledge the emotional and physiological work she is doing, and will do, to contribute to the next generation. We can love her and support her holistically and spiritually, because birth is one of the most monumental spiritual journeys in the human experience.

I feel so strongly that our ancestors are guiding us to celebrate the real, raw layers of becoming mother, to understand the true meaning of our female village, and to humbly bow to the profound knowledge of our bodies. I am passionate about holding this sacred space for women to connect and hold each other up when we need it most. This is why I’ve created the Public Mother Blessing at Blooma Minneapolis.

Mother Blessings Are For Every Woman

For some women, the idea of a Mother Blessing can feel intimidating. However, Mother Blessings are the exact opposite—they bring women together during a tender period to build off each other’s strength and wisdom. The Mother Blessing invites women to embrace their vulnerability, to find comfort in the discomfort, to open in new, profound ways. There are no prerequisites, no previous knowledge or experience that a woman needs to obtain before attending a Mother Blessing. It is for the young, the old, the seasoned, and the curious alike. If attending a Mother Blessing seems at all daunting to you right now, or too “hippy-dippy,” I empower you to explore this idea in a new way. See it through the eyes of your child; with brand new eyes, with pure curiosity, no identity.

Let go of expectations and listen to your inner voice - feel the excitement of celebration—celebration of YOU: Mother, Woman, Warrior Goddess. Step into a web of other strong women where you can express your fears, your joys, or express nothing at all. The intention is yours to set, and together, we will co-create the exact experience each woman needs. Come as you are. You are welcome here.

What Women Say About Mother Blessings

         

 

 

“Intentional, spirited, soulful. Amy guided me and many of my closest sisters and friends through meditation, song, and ancestral acknowledgement and gratitude during my Mother Blessing. I am so so grateful for the colorful spirit and love that radiates through Amy.” -Kelly, mother of 3 littles

“I enjoyed my baby shower, but I really relished the Mother Blessing because it was a peaceful, meditative gathering focused inward.” -Megan, mother of 1 little

“The Mother Blessing Ceremony was without a doubt exactly what I needed. I healed a lot that day; there were lots of tears, stories, and women coming together in an extraordinary way. The day and ceremony that Amy facilitated set the stage for what was to come, and I felt a sense of peace about the challenges that were ahead. My gratitude is deep for Amy and her ability to hold sacred space for me to be raw and real and say what I had been holding in all those months. There is profound power in bringing people together in this remarkable way to support and heal and prepare a mother as much as possible to embrace everything motherhood has to teach us. If you are on the fence like I was, DO NOT hesitate, DO NOT question it, just book it. Let Amy's thoughtfully planned ceremony fill you with what you need, you will be so very glad you did.” -Haley, mother of 1 little

“Having experienced postpartum depression after my first birth, I needed more than ever to know I was supported and loved throughout and after my second. I was nervous asking my mother-in-law to host a Mother Blessing instead of a baby shower, but when I did she was all for it! And it was truly so much better. Being surrounded by 12 of my closest friends and family, all of whom were eager to share how much they love and care for me; and how they are all so willing to support me and hold me after giving birth; and through my journey of mothering two kids; it all filled my heart more than diapers, toys, and strollers ever could. Tears, laughs, emotions, and love were shared by all who attended, and it felt so good to have it all meant for me. I kept all the cards and quotes I received from everyone who attended and still read them whenever I need to feel that energy again. The women who attended have become some of my closest lifelines in my postpartum life. Truly a a gift that gives and gives and gives.” -Megan, mother of 2 littles.

Written by Amy Heilman

Certified Birth Doula // Prenatal & Vinyasa Yoga Teacher // Bluegrass Lover // Mystical Seeker
www.colorfulwarriordoula.com, facebook.com/ColorfulWarriorDoula

Join us for a Public Mother Blessing at Blooma Minneapolis on Saturday, May 13. Learn more and sign up HERE.

 

Getting to Know Your Body with the Alexander Technique

 [The Alexander Technique is an educational method used worldwide for over 100 years. It begins with the premise that the human organism is perfectly designed for an expansive range of activities. It is our own faulty postural habits that get in the way of this potential, but by teaching how to change those habits, the Alexander Technique improves mobility, posture, performance and alertness.  A student learns to use conscious control to relieve chronic pain, tension, injury and stress.]

Simply put, we are in control of our bodies.  Well, duh.  But what do we do in an Alexander Technique class?  Is it like yoga?  Is it like physical therapy?  And how does it pertain to my pregnant/new mom/experienced mom, body?

Yes and no.  Yes and no.  And just wait, I'll tell you. 

The Alexander Technique was created over one hundred years ago by a Tasmanian fellow named F.M. Alexander.  The long and short of it is, he was having throat/vocal/breathing issues and after seeing lots of doctors and specialists who couldn't help, he decided to take a looksy in the mirror at what he was doing that could be harmful.  He realized that he threw his head back and down, which contracted his spine and cut off his breath and vocal chords. He noticed himself and recognized these habits. The technique was born: 1st step, Awareness.  The 2nd principle, Inhibition - simple.  He would just stop throwing his head back and down. The 3rd idea in the process, Direction, meant that he channeled, or directed, his head to release forward and up.  His throat and breathing issues ceased and his body overall began to fare better.  Which is how your body will respond if you start to pay attention to it, inhibit its habits, and direct these habits in a different way.

We've already created bad habits in our bodies over the years without the added conditions of pregnancy, a newborn, or raising a toddler - habits like, locking your knees, extending your hips, swaying your back, or humping your shoulders.  And, it's these physical habits that can not only make daily activities rough - sitting at a desk, waiting for the bus, pushing a grocery cart, but can make it even worse, more pronounced, when you're pregnant or breastfeeding or picking up and carrying a kiddo. 

Pay attention to yourself next time you perform one of these daily activities, use Awareness and notice whether one of these takes place.  Then allow yourself to Inhibit that habit; stop yourself from doing it. Then try Directing yourself to an easeful place out of the habit with a breath.

Breath is a big part of the Alexander Technique considering it was breath that F. M. was losing.  It is a great part of all three tenets described above (Awareness, Inhibition, Direction).  If you don't understand the steps, at least understand breath in the same way F. M. did: we need it.  In the Alexander Technique Workshop, you will learn how to become aware of your breath, inhibit your habits that may constrict or hinder it, and learn to Direct your body.

Great.  Sounds good.  But wait, how is it like yoga? How is it like Physical Therapy?

There's a meditative quality to finding one's breath and the philosophy of bettering one's body is much the same as in Yoga.  Both methods want to reveal a stronger, more balanced entity.  And it's like Physical Therapy in the sense that some people come to this workshop looking to fix a particular physical issue.  But, unlike some Physical Therapy practitioners, Alexander Technique teachers don't focus on the specific area but rather the body as a whole. 

There are so many layers to the technique. These are just the very basics. Dive deep into the technique with me at my upcoming Alexander Technique Workshop at Blooma. We will focus on the three principles, feel them through our bodies, and practice them in the space. Join me!

Written by Eli Sibley, AmSAT certified Alexander Technique teacher and Certified Laban Movement Analyst (or CMA) and a mama

Eli's Alexander Workshop is Friday, May 5th in St. Paul. Learn more and sign up HERE.