doula

Ask the Educators: What is a Postpartum Doula and What Do They Do?

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.

We love hearing your questions, and helping you make informed decisions for your birth. Many mamas and partners want to know, “What is a postpartum doula and what do they do?”

Maybe you have wondered the same? Maybe you have heard of a postpartum doula, but want to know more. Maybe you’ve never heard of one. Our amazing Childbirth Educator, Terra will help breakdown exactly what a postpartum can do for your and your family.

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Just like birth doulas, postpartum doulas are widely known in some circles and have never been heard of in others. As our society begins to recognize that the needs of families and mothers are not being met, awareness is starting to grow about the positive and pivotal role a postpartum doula can play. So what exactly is a postpartum doula?

Postpartum doulas are trained professionals who provide physical, emotional, and educational support after your little one’s birth. The key here is that postpartum doulas provide unbiased and evidence-based care. So many mamas are afraid to ask questions of their families or friends because they know they will receive advice or opinions that may feel judgemental. Imagine being able to ask someone for unbiased advice and support - someone who doesn't have their own personal agenda for your child in their response! A postpartum doula’s goal is to leave you feeling so empowered and confident that they work their way out of a job. You know your baby better than anybody else, and a postpartum doula’s hope is to encourage you to find that strength and trust your intuition.

But a postpartum doula is so much more than just being your biggest cheerleader and advocate. Postpartum doulas not only answer questions, provide resources, and listen to any concerns you may have, but they help cover the day to day basics as well.

Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding

Postpartum doulas are trained to assist with all types of feeding and to provide the best resources for you on your journey. They know that whatever path you choose, it can be tough to navigate, and asking questions feels overwhelming because there are so many different opinions. Many postpartum doulas have additional lactation training, or know lactation counselors or IBCLCs who can drop by for an in-home visit. They can assist with pumping questions and help prep, clean, and wash everything you need for feeding so that you don’t have to. Most importantly, they are there to normalize that feeding isn’t always a walk in the park, and there are lots of tips and tools that can help.

Emotional and Physical Support

Postpartum doulas help create a safe space for you to process your birth experience, or new feelings that arise after your birth. Sometimes it feels so good to tell your birth story, and sometimes there are new feelings that are overwhelming to work through. Postpartum doulas are there to listen, but also to encourage you to seek extra support when needed. They have a wealth of resources here in the community and want you to know there is always someone to talk to if this path is feeling far harder than expected. In addition to emotional support, they are there to make sure you are taking care of you. Your doula encourages you to take naps, enjoy some alone time, and soak in a bath. They want you to know that you are your greatest asset, and the more you can feel cared for, the more you can feel confident in your parenting role.

Newborn Care

Want to learn how to give your little one a bath, soothe them, use that new baby carrier, or just have a question about what is normal? Postpartum doulas can help normalize the often overwhelming transition to becoming a parent, teach helpful tips and tricks, and help make your new role of being a parent of one or more kiddos feel manageable. A postpartum doula is not a medical care professional, but they can help navigate some of your basic questions and refer you to your provider when a question is out of their scope of practice.

Household Help

Laundry, dishes, meal prep, and more. Postpartum doulas are there to help take care of the small stuff that can feel BIG when you have a newborn. At the start of every shift, your doula will sit down with  you and ask what is top of mind - is it holding your little one so you can get some solid rest, emptying and reloading the dishwasher, sweeping the kitchen, starting a meal, taking the pup on a walk, or all of the above? Postpartum doulas are there to assist you with everyday things so that you can simply BE, rest, shower, and bond with your little one.

Day and Night Support

Yes that is right, postpartum doulas help provide daytime and overnight support as well. Most daytime shifts are 3-4 hours and overnight shifts are typically 8 hours. Your doula wants you to feel supported when you need it the most. It is flexible and individualized for every family. Some families seek out support multiple times a week and some families only need a few shifts. Postpartum doulas can be of help anywhere from the first few hours you bring your little one home to months afterwards. Every mama and family is different, and postpartum doulas work to support you in the way that fits best.

So how do you find one of these magical postpartum doulas you ask? Talk to us at Blooma! We have wonderful recommendations of postpartum doulas who are on staff, or in our community. We want YOU to feel supported and cheered on during this wonderful, crazy, and oh such a journey transition and postpartum doulas are there to help.

Written by Terra Peterson Jonker, DONA Certified Birth Doula, trained Postpartum Doula, and Childbirth Educator and Prenatal Yoga Teacher at Blooma.

You can find a class with Terra, or any of our other childbirth educators here.

Ask the Educators: What If I Poop During Birth?

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.

We love hearing your questions, and helping you make informed decisions for your birth. Many mamas and partners want to know, What if I poop during birth?

Educator Sarah Auna answers the question many are nervous to ask....

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Birth is not proper :: it’s primal

Birth is not lady-like :: it’s boss-like  

Birth is not pleasant :: it’s powerful

Birth means not holding things back :: ANYTHING!

 

Including your poop. Let the poop go. From a birth worker’s perspective poop = progress.

Pooping during labor means a birther’s body is releasing, letting go, and opening up. It means the baby is moving itself into a position low enough to stimulate the colon, meaning progress is being made!

Now you have to be a real birth-nerd (like we are here at Blooma) to come to a place of “celebration!”  when it comes to pooping in front of your birth team. So here is some info you may need before you can really let it all go in birth…

 

Will I poop during my birth?

The plain answer is simply, yes. Most likely. But, not in the way that you think.

The human body “cleanses” itself a few days, or sometimes hours, before active labor starts. This allows your body to focus on the work of labor.

You’ll likely have most of your bowel movements in private during early and active labor. This is one of the reasons why it’s so smart to labor at home as long as possible. It allows you to eat the calorically-dense, highly-hydrating, nutritious foods that feel good in your body --- and then use the privacy of your own bathroom to let them go.

If you need to “go” at your place of birth - you can ALWAYS ask for privacy. Many birthers love to use the toilet to support themselves in birth. It’s cool, private, quiet, and a familiar place of “letting go”. Just keep in mind -- if the sensation of needing “to go number-two” is combined with an uncontrollable urge to bear down… then you’ll likely have an audience in the bathroom -  because it’s not time to poop - it’s time to push a baby out!!

This “uncontrollable urge to push” is known as the Fetal Ejection Reflex and it’s often all mixed up with that “I have to poop” feeling.

Here are some common phrases birth workers hear when this Fetal Ejection Reflex is present:

“I feel like the baby is coming out of my butt”

“I can’t, not push!”

“I’m puuuuuuuuushing!”

“It feels like there is a bowling ball in my butt!”

“I have to poop so bad!”

“I sound like my toddler when they poop!”

 *GRUNTING* ... just primal grunting.

 

What if I poop my hospital bed?

If you’re choosing to birth on a bed (with or without an epidural) and you poop during your pushing phase -  then your midwife or nurse will be at the ready to clean it up quickly (often without your knowing) and your doula will be there “fluffing the air” with some quick peppermint or citrus oil, while she thinks: “Hooray! Great work! Great progress! We’re almost there!”

 

What if I’m having a water birth and I poop in the birth tub?

Many women find that having the “shroud” of the water in birth really helps to the facilitate that “no f***s given” vibe that’s needed to tap into their primal- birthing self.

More importantly, if/when you poop in your birth tub -  it’s not a “CODE BROWN! EVERYONE OUT OF THE POOL!” scenario. Rather, the midwife or nurse, whose job it is to be at the watch, will use a little fish-tank net to swoop up the floater before you (or anyone else) even know it’s there.

 

Remember, poop = progress!  Get real with yourself, your partner, and your pride and if you’re struggling to find peace with this aspect of birth…. just recall midwife Ina May Gaskin’s birth declaration: “LET YOUR MONKEY DO IT!” and you’ll tap into that primal, powerful birther who is ready to bring forth life, no matter how messy it gets.

 

Sarah Auna is a birth doula, childbirth educator, and yoga teacher at Blooma. She specializes in adding humor and real-talk to birth and motherhood and she’s here to help you through all of this! Find her classes HERE.

 

Ask The Educators: What Should I Wear For My Birth?

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.

We love hearing your questions, and helping you make informed decisions for your birth. Many mamas and partners want to know, What should I wear to my birth?

The short answer is, it’s totally up to you!  As a doula, I’ve seen birthing people wear a wide range of things.  

For some, yoga clothes scream comfort.  I’ve had many of my clients wear stretchy yoga pants throughout most of their labor. When they decide to get into a tub for comfort during active labor they either take all their clothes off, or leave just their bra on.  At most birthing places they have a stretchy piece of fabric that is placed over fetal monitors to keep them in place.  You could use this mesh fabric as a makeshift bra top, too.  It’s thin and doesn’t go over your shoulder like most bras, making it easy to maneuver.  

Wearing a mid-thigh or knee length skirt can be a good choice for some, so your legs are free to move.  If you are birthing in the summer, a flowy maxi dress might also work! During your birthing time you may experience the release of bodily fluids like the mucus plug, vaginal discharge, blood, or amniotic fluid.  Wearing a pad with disposable mesh undies (a common garment kept stocked at every birth place) might be the best option for you if you prefer not to get your own undergarments messy. You may get blood or bodily fluids on anything you may wear.  Some people choose to wear hospital gowns for this reason.  At the end of the day, the gown is not your property and someone kindly takes it off your hands and deals with the washing.  If the sound of laboring in yoga clothes, a skirt, or flowy dress makes your skin itch you may prefer to be naked at your birth!  If you are in a safe place where you feel supported by those around you, undressing completely may feel most freeing.  When the intensity and frequency of your contractions require your full attention you likely will not care what you are wearing.  

Bottom line, simple is better.  I suggest finding one outfit you feel comfortable moving around in and is easily accessible for intermittent fetal monitoring, frequent bathroom trips, and easy to take off when you want.  After baby comes it’s best to have everything off your chest.  Keeping baby skin-to-skin with the mother or other primary caregivers during the first hour improves baby’s ability to breastfeed successfully and self-attach.  Skin-to-skin contact also helps maintain optimal temperature for baby and promotes the release of oxytocin, which can reduce the risk of hemorrhage.  Following the first two hours after birth some birthing people like to put on a robe or a nursing top that is accessible for nursing, easy to cover up with, and easy to take off if needed.  

Written by Amy Kelley, Doula, Childbirth Educator, Prenatal Yoga & Kids Yoga Instructor and mama-to-be.  You can find me on Instagram as @amykelleydoula.

 

Top Image by Meredith Westin Photography

Birth Story: Everyone Makes It Out Alive

That was our birth plan in all of its simplicity. Except for a small detail: I didn't want to feel the majority of it. Look, I am all about celebrating and basking in the strength of women. I hosted a vagina monologue party in my 20's and my lady friends wrote and performed pieces about their glorious vaginas. I read the book "Cunt" and embraced all things about menstruation. I have a tattoo on my lower abdomen - approximately over my uterus, I think, I'm not a doctor and find anatomy confusing - of a woman sitting cross-legged with hands raised above her head in front of a moon. And most importantly, I frequently went to prenatal yoga classes and drank so much Blooma kool-aid I almost gave myself metaphorical gestational diabetes. But for sure, 1000%, I had zero interest in having an un-medicated birth. Getting pregnant did not come easily and required a lot of testing, a laparoscopy to remove endometrial scar tissue, and a round of fertility drugs to make it happen. Modern medicine could be credited with getting pregnant. Between my gratitude to medical intervention and a much more powerful emotion, my fear of the pain, I wanted an epidural to play a prominent role in the labor and delivery of our son, Luca. 
 
At 41 weeks and one day, I was scheduled for an induction at 5:00 pm. My husband Diogo and I were ready. Everything was meticulously ready. We are obsessively organized people and had been ready for an obsessively organized amount of time. I, as a waddling tool shed, was so ready and though he would weigh just over nine pounds when he emerged, Luca was the only person who wasn't ready. But off we went to have a baby. 
 
After a delicious and nutritious meal at Good Earth, we arrived at the Fairview Southdale Birthing Center promptly at 5:00 pm and I announced that I was there to have a baby. We were given a room and started to settle in. After three or four failed attempts at installing an IV (that left me bruised for weeks), they were successful. This matters only because during each arm stabbing debacle, I kept thinking about how terrible it would be to try and get an IV into someone's arm and miss. I also kept thinking that I wanted to make it as easy as possible for the nurses because we were now a team. They were going to help me bring our little boy into the world and getting salty with them for making me look like a drug addict wouldn't be the most positive way to start our journey together. 
 
At about 7:00, a cervical ripener was inserted and Diogo and I naturally turned on HGTV and also streamed a legislative hearing on my iPad. I'm a lobbyist and a bill I'd been working on was receiving a hearing. Sometimes those hearings are so painful they can make someone wish labor upon them self so it made sense to watch one while my cervix went about its business. 
 
Round about midnight, I started to feel cramps and was very excited about this. Like every other woman in the history of humankind about to deliver her first baby, these cramps were foolishly mistaken for the beginning. And yes, they were, but COME ON. They were "the beginning" of what would end up being over 24 hours of labor just as much as a pair of too-tight pants are the beginning of a speedy and successful diet. I was starting to dilate though and quickly enough that the nurses decided that the next dose of ripener should be in a tampon-like form so that it could be easily and quickly removed. And this is when shit started to get real. My water "broke" in the most lame and anti-climatic way possible. I know it's never like the movies but a trickle of fluid onto the bed is so blah. I mean how awesome would it have been to have the "clean-up in aisle nine" sort of water breaking situation? Like some poor bastard stops into my room to check my vitals or something and happens to slip and fall in the massive pool of my amniotic fluid. 
 
So I'd always envisioned that I would labor and move my way through contractions for awhile. At least in the very beginning until the pain was too intense. Like getting to a certain mile on a run, I'd hoped to power through contractions until I was dilated to, maybe, like a six. You know, one more past halfway. And to get there, I was going to settle so deep into goddess pose during those contractions and serenely hum or say "yes" that Blooma Founder Sarah Longacre herself would have been proud. I was going to move that baby into position and then boom, order up an epidural and push out a baby. No big whoop.
 
And then it happened. My first contraction. Like the first all-consuming, every fiber of my being cried out in pain explosion. And it didn't stop. I went from crampy uncomfortable to pain level seven cluster contractions. As soon as one ended, a smaller one started. So as I envisioned, I channeled all of the power of the female energy and spirit throughout the world and sunk into that goddess pose. I lifted my hands above my head and bellowed "yes" with a guttural throng the likes of which can only be uttered when all that is powerful, amazing woman bears down and brings forth life.
 
J/K
 
I did everything I shouldn't have. Birth coaches, doulas, midwives, nurses, doctors, experienced mamas the world 'round would have collectively cringed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, clenching every single muscle - muscles I didn't even know I had, I found them and squeezed them really, really tight - and simply said "no". Over and over and over again. My husband immediately realized that this approach to pain management may not be the best. He tried so calmly to get me to breathe and all I said was "no" and "epidural". I also may have uttered "hate" and "you" but the pain has blurred my memory. The nurses came in, the anesthesiologist was called and a screen showed big contraction, little contraction, big contraction, little contraction. And as I continued my "no" monologue, a seasoned nurse grabbed a chair, spun it around and up against the bed and put my feet on it. Before I had any idea of what was happening, we were face to face, her forehead pressed against mine, my hands in hers and she sternly and calmly said "breathe with me... in and out... focus on me... curl your spine... don't move... breathe". And just like that the epidural was in and the pain stopped. 
 
What people don't often talk about is that once you get an epidural, you need to be rotated once an hour to prevent pooling of the fluid in your spine which can make the numbing uneven. So every hour, two nurses would come in and flip my huge, bloated pregnant body from one side to the other. One of these pig-on-a-spit rotations wasn't as timely as the others and the next thing I knew my whole left side was numb and my right side was alive. It's cool. It evened out eventually. Oh and another thing people don't often talk about is the puking. But more importantly than the puking itself is the flailing around in the bed like a beached whale trying to sit up but you can't because of the epidural and you just know you're going to asphyxiate on vomit so you start screaming at anyone in sight "SIT ME UP!! SIT ME UP!!". So much fun, you guys. 
 
Let's cut to the chase. Dilated, pushing begins. Amazing doctor at the foot of the bed, amazing husband on left side, amazing nurse Hannah on the right side.
 
"Diogo put my hair up." Tries. Fails. "Hannah put my hair up." Hannah grabs ponytail holder and while piling all of my hair on top of my head smiles and says, "Messy buns get shit done." Four and a half hours of pushing. Each push is made possible by being heaved up by Hannah and Diogo and cheers and words of encouragement. Oh and remember that whole epidural playing a starring role in delivery? Between contractions the four of us chatted like we were at a neighborhood BBQ. "You're looking to buy in Highland Park? That's a great neighborhood." "You work at the Capitol? I have some friends in government relations; do you know so and so?" "Anyone want an Altoid?"
 
Baby is stuck. Doctor recommends a little suction on his head action. We weigh some pros and cons and conclude with "of course." Room fills with NICU nurses and people ready to make sure our baby makes it out safely. "Hi Ann, my name is Jenny..." That's great Jenny and I appreciate you respecting me enough to introduce yourself but let's get this kid the eff out already. Vacuum in place, I close my eyes because I know I'll cry if I see him. I push once and Diogo's voice cracks as he says his head is out. Tears stream down my cheeks and I keep my eyes closed. I push one more time and he pops out and he is on my chest for a second and is then immediately whisked away for assessment given the very long time he hung out in the birth canal. I will later learn that he was gray when he came out and Diogo was really afraid. The nurses go to work on him and we wait and watch from across the room.
 
He is fine. He is good. He is crying. He is peeing on the nurses. He is on my chest again and yes. It is the most amazing moment of my entire life. I look at Diogo and at the baby and say, "We did it." 
 
There are moments in life that you wish you could return to whenever you want. Literally life-changing moments and experiences. I have a fairly short, predictable list which no, does not include that time I got my kickass lady tattoo over my liver or whatever but does include: the last conversation I had with my Dad before he passed; getting to marry Diogo and our wedding celebration; and the serenely quiet moments in the delivery room with Luca after he was born. After all of the controlled - and uncontrolled - chaos; the minutes that were literally life and death; the table of tools was gone, the NICU nurses had moved on to another birth, the monitors were wheeled away and then, there were simply, three. 
 
Luca and I lay in the bed facing each other. He was wide awake and his eyes bright and as focused as they could be on me, his former body roommate, his mom. I stared at this tiny human being with one thought "so here you are" and as I gazed, he caught his feet on my hip and propelled himself upwards in this most eerily familiar way. He had been kicking his way around my insides for so long that if my eyes had been closed I would have sworn he was still in my womb. As we stared at each other, I could see Diogo so peacefully and soundly asleep on the couch just three feet away after being my absolute, unflappable rock for so many hours. My line of vision was Luca and his Dad just past him. And this sight, of these two, was so simple and so deeply, beautifully profound. 
 
We were soon transferred to the recovery room where some reality kicked in including the realization of the fairly horrific damage done to my undercarriage. I mean holy shit the kid was pretty big and the process was long. I often refer to his birth as "The Great Undercarriage Destruction of 2017 otherwise known as The Birth of My Son". We should have saved ourselves some money and trips to Target by putting Epsom salts and ibuprofen on the baby registry and nothing else. But it will never cease to amaze me what the female body is capable of and how quickly it heals. But I knew that - at least in part - long before the experience of birth. This just wholly reaffirmed it. It just may be time to get that tattoo touched up. 
 
Written by Blooma Mama Ann

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!

Why I Became A Doula

I will never forget being present for my sister’s first birth back in 2010.  I had graduated college just one year prior and was in that funky place where I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my life.  Part of my plan was to apply to medical school, so attending a birth was something I thought would be great on my application. My sister, her husband, their care provider, my mother, and I were all present in the birthing room.  It’s an experience I will never forget and one that I have taken with me on my current adventure as a birth doula. 

I am passionate about birth.  It inspires me.  It intrigues me.  I can’t get enough.   It is in my deep passion to work with birth professionals (midwives, OB/GYN’s, family practice M.D.s) in a collaborative way.  I completed my DONA-Approved Doula Training at Blooma this past November and fell even more in love with birth. The training covered all things doula including how to serve each mother, certification, and building a new doula business, creating partnerships, finding internships, and more. The training was engaging and hands-on. We rehearsed several different birth scenarios and discussed how to support expectant families in each of those scenarios. As a group, we practiced comfort measures on each other and discussed ways we could provide safe, trusting support to mamas throughout labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum experience. 

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I have always been a doula at heart and I am certain a lot of you might feel the same.  It’s in my blood to support others.  To help them see their light, their strengths, their brightness.  To remind them that everything will be okay.  To just simply be there.  Have you held your friends hand when she had to make a hard choice during her pregnancy?  Did you lend an ear to listen when your sister needed to tell her birth story?  Did your mother or aunt delegate duties for immediate family and friends to help assist in a smooth transition for you and your partner after your baby’s arrival?  In a time when women are coming together to lift each other up, being a doula is a natural expression of support.

A birth doula is someone who provides continuous support to a woman throughout her labor and delivery. My work as a birth doula starts by encouraging families to educate themselves and make informed choices. For expecting moms, my role as a doula is to discuss birth preferences and be with mama as their birth journey unfolds.  Sometimes birth is exactly what a mama has envisioned, often there are many twists along the way. During labor and birth I do not project any hopes or expectations, instead, it is all about the mother and her needs. I am there to provide the tools that will help expectant families feel safe and comfortable, and I encourage them to be advocates for themselves along the way. 

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Are you considering becoming a birth doula? From the start of this ‘doula adventure’ it has been crucial to surround myself with a support team.  To those interested in becoming a doula here are a couple tips from the newbie. 

- If you are considering this path, it’s for a reason.  The world, a mother, a friend, a sister needs you.  Find a training program that is the right fit for you and get yourself registered!   Don’t let fear or doubt hold you back.  (Take a look at upcoming Doula Trainings at Blooma)

- Find your doula tribe.  This includes a crew of devotees that are your biggest cheerleaders; and honest, loyal, people who will keep you in check.  I have several doula friends on speed dial.  I know they are there to answer my questions while I’m in a birth, or to assist with advice in starting my business.  I also have a couple mama friends who aren’t necessarily doulas, but are just as important.   Network and meet with other doulas as much as you can.  Share ideas.  Make it full of community — not competition.  Let’s be real, there are 1,000s of moms giving birth every day.  We don’t need to compete with each other.  

- Be very honest with your family.  My husband knows I could get called to a birth at any moment.  He respects the career I chose, acknowledges this, and is ready to step up and handle anything that comes up at home while I’m at work (and doesn’t complain when my cellphone goes off at 2am in the middle of the night).  

- Self care:  Make sure you are caring for yourself.  Feel perfectly fine with saying no, and undoubtedly excited about saying yes — both when it feels right.  Schedule a monthly massage.  Clear your schedule the day after a birth to sleep, relax, walk, play, be. 

Let's all be doulas for the powerful and inspiring women around us. Support motherhood, womanhood, sisterhood.

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Learn more about Blooma’s DONA Approved Birth Doula Training. The next training will be led by Emily Shier and begins April 7th . It will include training for emotional support, physical comfort measures, natural labor & the impact of hormones, supporting women with pain medication, cesarean & vaginal birth after cesarean, working with Care Providers, supporting newborns & breastfeeding, postpartum client contact & support, Professional Doula Memberships, Certification Options, and more.

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Written by Amy Peterson-Kelley, Doula, Prenatal & Postpartum 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

 

 

Looking Ahead in 2017

We continue to rock our New Year's REVOLUTION in 2017. Our Revolution isn't just about January, it's about having an amazing year (ups, downs, and everything in between). With 2016 a few weeks behind us, we wanted to share what we're looking forward to most in the New Year! Babies will be born, our community will grow, and families will celebrate milestones together. Blooma's Leadership Team is looking forward to all different things, from vacations and celebrations to walks in the sunshine and yoga trainings.

Sarah Auna - "I've been asked by one of my dearest yoga teachers to assist her on a yoga retreat to Tuscany, Italy in 2017!!!"

Marina Polvitzki - "I'm looking forward to visiting my little sister in Copenhagen for her graduation, and then traveling to Norway for a camping trip with her + our partners. I am also excited to drink the first batch of beer that we brewed on New Years Eve! Imperial Smoked Chipotle Porter... Mmm :)."

Sarah Longacre - "I am looking forward to being kinder to myself."

Tyler Copeland - "I'm looking forward to living in my new apartment. I has huge southern facing windows with tons of light and is only 4 blocks from Lake Calhoun. I can't wait to walk around the lake on a daily basis with my dog."

Lauren Herbeck - "My baby girl starting Kindergarten this fall.  I am excited about her growing up and enjoying school (which she has been asking to start for 2 years now!) but also the extra time I will have with my boys while she is there."

Meghan Foley - "I am looking forward to continuing my yoga therapy training out at Kripalu in the Berkshire mountains. I am excited to have more time in my schedule to relax and take classes. I am excited for this frozen tundra to warm up."

Greta Fay - "I am looking forward to escaping to the beach, snuggling my best friends fresh babies, staying home more, potty training and summer adventures!"

Sam Boyd - "I can't wait to finally go on a honeymoon with my husband, and stick my toes in the sand. I am also very excited to expand our CSA to more members this summer and grow even more veggies!"

Laura Gillespie - "I am looking forward to exploring my second summer in the Twin Cities (I don’t know how much longer I can take the cold!), making more friends in the area, and taking a trip home for my niece’s first birthday!"

 

And, of course, we are all looking forward to more Blooma love, more mamas, more babies, and more time on the mat or at the barre! What are you looking forward to in the New Year?

 

Thank you to Megan Foley, Sarah Auna, Greta Fay, Sarah Longacre, Tyler Copeland, Laura Gillespie, Sam Christopher, and Marina Povlitzki for your contributions!

My Blooma Journey: Motherhood, Yoga, Community and Beyond.

On the journey of parenthood, there are many things that divide us; but I like to believe that there are many more things that unite us. When it comes to parenting, we all long for community, desire acceptance, and need a safe, sacred space where we - and our choices and experiences - are heard and understood. 

Years ago, I was new to the Twin Cities area and was also newly pregnant with my second child. I had worked in the health care sector for years and could help support my family financially. But, I wasn't in love with what I did and I struggled to find the balance I knew I needed. 

One of the biggest problems in finding balance was that I wasn’t great at carving out time for myself, and certainly, not in a way that encouraged me to “connect” with my baby. It wasn’t uncommon for days to pass without a single thought of my pregnancy, the baby, or what I needed for myself. This only left me feeling more drained with each passing day. I knew this wasn’t sustainable for myself, my family, and my new baby. I needed a change. 

It was around this time that I hesitantly walked through Blooma’s doors. To clarify, I was no yogi. In fact, I was fairly convinced that yoga was not for me. Frankly, yoga seemed like a waste of time. Even so, I left the treadmill at the gym and stepped into the Blooma studio. I moved. I flowed. I breathed. I listened to my heart. I listened to my baby. I found intention. I found community. I discovered how to simply BE. I was hooked. 

From that point on, my yoga mat became a near permanent structure beneath my feet. I clung to every word relating to birth, empowerment, fear, love, and everything in between. I valued the brief interactions post-practice with instructors and fellow mamas alike. I raced out of my corporate office at the end of the day to be greeted by the calming energy that the yoga studio brought to my day and my heart. Blooma was my breath of fresh air amidst an ocean of uncertainty, fear and letting go…

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Months went by. The Prenatal Yoga Classes, that I attended so regularly, prepared me for one of the biggest moments of my life. After much anticipation, I birthed my baby on a pale Christmas Eve morning in runner’s lunge, a pose I had practiced so frequently that my body recognized it as familiar. The woman - my doula - who held my hand, hair and heart throughout my birth experience was the same woman who had guided me through countless yoga practices. Her voice brought me comfort and confidence. She was exactly what I needed during my birth - and Blooma had brought us together.

I had given birth, but I continued to crave Blooma’s energy. In my postpartum days, I religiously attended New Mama Group and BYOB, all creating community and new friendships with fellow mamas who were in the trenches right along with me. Blooma was the one place I could openly breastfeed my baby (because openly was the only way I knew how) and that was enough reason for me to show up, day in and day out.

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Before I knew it, my baby was crawling and we were attending Little Movers and Crawlers Classes together, and then Tots Classes. My oldest son enjoyed Little Kids Yoga and I hit up Vinyasa Classes when I could, in an effort to fill my own cup and focus on myself.As time continued to pass, I felt that my coveted community, my place of prenatal and postpartum solace, was slipping through my fingers. I still had Flow and Barre Classes, but my prenatal and postpartum connection was swiftly ending. My baby was growing. I had spent nearly every day at Blooma. I didn’t want LESS of my Blooma community, I wanted MORE. I grieved at the thought of slowly removing myself from Blooma’s walls. 

I began to seriously reflect on how much I wanted to give back to the community of other new parents, birth workers, and instructors that had selflessly given to me when I needed it most. I wanted to be a part of providing a loving, open, sacred space for prenatal/postpartum mamas to show up, find themselves and connect with their babies, just like I had done in the years before.

Of course, I continued to work the 9-5 job I always had, but I took risks. I didn’t have much of a plan and had no idea where I would end up, but for the first time in my life, it didn’t matter because I knew I had a hell of a lot of passion behind the momentum that was driving my decisions. I dove head first into the numerous training's Blooma had to offer including the BYOB Yoga Teacher Training, DONA Birth Doula Training, DONA Postpartum Doula Training, and Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. I also pursued, with encouragement from my Blooma tribe, the training needed to become a LAMAZE-Certified Childbirth Educator.

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I originally pursued the training's to give back, but I've discovered that I've received so much more. In the end, I left my job in health care and dedicated my time to serving women as a Birth and Postpartum Doula, a Yoga Instructor, a New Mama Group Facilitator, and a Childbirth Educator within the Blooma community and beyond. Originally, I stepped through Blooma’s doors to say “I gave yoga a try” and instead I found what I had unknowingly been seeking for far too long: deep-seeded desires around acceptance, community and sacred space. 

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I’m grateful to say that Blooma has showed up for me in ways that I least expected. It is a yoga studio but it is much more than that. Because of Blooma and all that it is, I have discovered the foundation to help confidently build my family, my community and my inner self.

 

In love, light and gratitude, 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.

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Photo Credit:

First image and Black and White Photo: Meghan Pate

New Mama Group Image: Danica Donnelly

 

 

Celebrating Nine Years of Blooma Love: A Personal Account From A Blooma Mama

As Blooma celebrates its 9th Birthday, we want to celebrate the people that have contributed to our success and have held our mission so close to their heart. Lauren started at Blooma as part of our childcare team. Nine years later, she basically runs the place. Not only has she seen her career grow, and Blooma develop into the community it is today, but she has become a mother herself, THREE times! She is kind, warm, hardworking, and dedicated to the mission of Blooma. We asked her to reflect on the past nine years, and we won't lie, some moments brought us to tears. Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do! Happy Birthday Blooma!

I started my journey with Blooma as a college student, completely unaware that my hourly job in the childcare room was going to impact the next decade of my life.  At that point, I hadn't thought much about yoga or birth and I couldn’t imagine then what my life would be like 9 years later.  But here I am!  Now a mama of 3, married to my incredible husband, and the Director of Operations for Blooma. 

Reflecting on the last 9 years with Blooma, I am overwhelmed with the abundance of personal and professional growth opportunities I have experienced and witnessed. 

As a business, Blooma has grown in many different ways.  Our staff has grown from a handful to almost 100. We have moved and added locations across the twin cities and trained yoga instructors and birth doulas across the world.  We’ve developed and fine-tuned class offerings, education, and wellness services.  We’ve touched the lives of thousands of mamas and their families, made mistakes and celebrated enormous triumphs.  And, with the heart and passion of our leader, Sarah, we will continue to identify and serve the needs of our mamas.  

Blooma’s growth wouldn’t have happened without the perseverance of the women (and a few men!) that pour their energy into Blooma.  I have met so many inspiring people through our studios in the past 9 years.  Women and men who are on a mission to make our world a better place.  Our staff and support team has been comprised of mothers, sisters, doulas, writers, teachers, artists, designers, farmers, lawyers, midwives, accountants, grant writers, marketing managers, world travelers, photographers, small business owners, musicians…and I can keep going for hours!  It is humbling to think of the talent, passion and knowledge I have been surrounded by for so many years.  

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I smile when I think about the ways Blooma has impacted me personally, as a mother and sister.  While working for Blooma, I have been blessed to give birth 3 times. Three very different births. I had a natural hospital birth, a beautiful home water birth, and an unplanned 35-week cesarean birth - each with my friend, doula, and boss Sarah by my side (Literally, I wouldn't let her leave my side). During each birth, I drew from the knowledge and strength that Blooma had given me.  Through yoga I learned to manage my breath, Doula Training provided me with comfort measures, and I found strength in every woman who had shared their birth story.

In the last nine years, I have walked with my fellow mamas through their own unique journeys. From infertility and loss, to planned and unplanned pregnancies.  While I have witnessed hard pregnancies and traumatic births, I have been humbled to witness smooth, complication-free pregnancies and swift births.  I have journeyed through perinatal mood disorders both personally and with other mamas, and have been honored to provide postpartum care to my sisters that they had provided for me - holding their newborns, bringing meals, and offering encouragement.  

 

We all have a journey. I never would have predicted this would be mine.  My passion for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum life has turned into a career in a supportive work environment, allowing me to navigate the "working mom" balance.  I have been given an opportunity to apply my skill set in a business with a mission so near to my heart. I am thankful for each client I encounter, each co-worker that’s worked alongside me, every challenge we overcame together, the support I received during my pregnancies, and most significantly of all, for Sarah.  I am beyond grateful for what Blooma has given to me in the last 9 years and can't begin to imagine what the next 9 will bring!

 

Written by Lauren Herbeck

Director of Operations at Blooma

Wife and Mother of Three, Friend to Us All