motherhood

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.

You haven’t failed: “It takes a village to raise a child”

I have a natural desire to be that “perfect” mom; the one who has all the answers. I want to diagnose every illness, get my kids to eat their veggies, solve behavioral problems, teach them to sleep perfectly, and of course show them everything they need to know in life.

I want my kids to be healthy, happy, and well-behaved – and I want it all to be easy!

As hard as I work to achieve this perfection, reality hits –  I’m not supermom and this isn’t possible!  Yet, when I can’t do it, a part of me feels like I have failed.

In today’s society there is this huge pressure to do it all on our own.  We feel that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness or failure.  This is completely backwards - we can’t do everything on our own and  that is okay!

I love the phrase It takes a village to raise a child.”  Parenting is hard! Kids are complicated. I don’t know it all and sometimes I need to ask for help! Looking for resources available to me and my children is not a sign of defeat.  Finding the right support system for me can be an amazing gain for my child. Sometimes I can find this in my spouse or my family or friends, but at other times I need specialized and professional guidance.

Asking for help is not an admittance of defeat, it is a courageous act and a necessary piece of support for many families. I found this out the hard way.

My first child was an amazing sleeper. So easy to put to bed, slept through the night. I actually had to wake him up most of the time. Then comes Mr. 2 and our world was flipped upside down. He never wanted to be put down, had to sleep right next to me, would make himself sick when we tried to put him to bed.

What happened?  I did everything the same and it just wouldn’t work. Then came Mr. 3 and I was overwhelmed. I was lacking the sleep I required to parent the way I wanted. My children were not benefiting from the biological processes that support memory, health, growth and cognitive development as they sleep. Their behavior was irritable, forgetful and emotionally unstable. I knew this was because of their poor sleep, but I didn’t know what to do.

I struggled for years and I had to make a change and reach out for help! I connected with a dear friend who was working as a Sleep Consultant (scary term, yes I know). I was amazed to find out that sleep was such an individualized piece of every family and unique for every child. I was excited to learn that “sleep training” could be done in a way to support ALL parenting styles, using gentle and sensitive methods. I was blown away that during sleep short term memory transfers to long term memory, growth hormones are released, muscles are restored, tissues are rebuilt and repaired, nerve cells are rewired.  My children were missing out on a healthy development because I didn’t have the tools I needed and was too scared to ask for help.

After reaching out for help, getting the support and encouragement I needed to help them succeed, sleep became my passion. I continued my education and became a Certified Pediatric Sensitive Sleep Consultant. I joined up with my amazing friend and mentor Hannah at www.AtoZSleepSolutions.com and have been supporting families through their own sleep journeys with children ages birth through 5 years.  

 

Sleep can be a complicated puzzle. There are so many environmental and biological factors that work with or against each other and you don’t have to go through this alone. If you need to reach out for help, that’s okay – “It takes a village to raise a child”!

If you have a little one who is struggling with sleep I would love to point you in the right direction. Sign up for my Blooma workshop A to Z Sleep Solutions 4-24 months on December 1st in Minneapolis, or reach out to me at 612-460-1140. I am here to listen and would love to be a part of your village - working together with you to give your child the best start possible on their sleep journey.  

Written by Kate Swanson, Certified Sensitive Sleep Consultant

Kate is a busy mom of four who balances the joys and struggles of mamahood with supporting other families as a Sleep Coach with www.AtoZSleepSolutions.com , member of the International Institute of Complimentary Therapists, and a local community resource for sleep education. 

Learn more and sign up for our upcoming workshop “A to Z Sleep Solutions (for kids 4 – 24 months)” on December 1st at Blooma Minneapolis with Kate Swanson. 

Milk & Cookies: Breastfeeding Support at Blooma

My breastfeeding relationship with my son got off to a rocky start after his complicated birth. First I wasn’t sure if I had enough milk,  then I had too much. I am so thankful for the breastfeeding support group I attended while living in Denver. And, after our rough start, I went on to meet my breastfeeding goals with both of my children. A few years later, as a doula, childbirth educator, and lactation counselor, I am so excited to start leading a similar support group here at Blooma called Milk and Cookies. Breastfeeding support groups are an important part of building a mama’s confidence. It also creates a network of mamas who are able to help you through your struggles and celebrate your successes. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s not always easy.  A little reassurance can go a long way. Plus, the evidence shows us that providing women with in-person breastfeeding support helps them to breastfeed for longer.

Here are a few questions I’ve been getting about this new group:

Who is this group designed for?

This group is designed for any breastfeeding mama and her baby. While I expect that a lot of mamas will be seeking support in the first 12 weeks of baby’s life, mamas at any age and stage are welcome. This class is discussion-based and tailored to answering your questions about anything from sore nipples and latch difficulties to pumping at work and transitioning to solids. If you come to class with a question that I am not qualified to answer, I will happily refer you to the best lactation consultants in town!

Do I have to come with a specific question?

Nope! You might just come to practice breastfeeding in public, meet some other mamas with babies around the same age as yours, or because you just ran out of cookies. Yep, we will always have cookies. Listening to others ask questions and get answers can be helpful to know you are not alone in experiencing breastfeeding hurdles.

Do I need to arrive on time?

Of course not! You have a NEW BABY and I know how hard it can be to arrive to anything on time, even with the best of intentions. So shake on some dry shampoo and head out the door. You are welcome no matter what time you arrive.

So, will everyone just have their boobs out the whole time?

Basically, the answer is yes. Most mamas will breastfeed at some point during class because babies get to eat whenever they want. If you feel more comfortable covering up, go right ahead, and if you don’t want to, that’s fine, too! Very quickly, you will get accustomed to talking to other mamas who are also feeding their babies.

Milk and Cookies meets at Blooma at our Minneapolis location on Mondays from 12:30-1:30pm. You bring the milk, I’ll bring the cookies.

You can find this new class on our regular class schedule.

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

Nutrients you didn’t know you needed in pregnancy - and where to find them.

Pregnancy is a time when moms start to think about their environment, what they are eating, and how they can best support a growing baby. What we eat is an amazing tool we have in our control to support our bodies and the development of our baby throughout pregnancy. But, this can quickly become overwhelming when we start to think about all the nutrients we need.

We all hear about needing folate (aka “folic acid”), B vitamins, iron, and calcium in pregnancy.  But there are several lesser known nutrients that play a key role in pregnancy. Not only do these nutrients support our developing babies, but they can also help support mom as her body goes through huge changes.   

Zinc:

This is a mineral that helps support muscle growth and repair, supports the immune system, and helps to balance hormones.  Zinc is essential to support the rapid growth and development of your baby’s cells. Zinc may also help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure in pregnancy as well as reduce risk for low birth weight.

Where to find it: Crab, turkey, chicken, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and collard greens.

Try this recipe: Smoked Turkey and Collard Green Stew - you could always replace the turkey with chicken!

Magnesium:

This is another mineral that assists with tissue growth and repair.  Magnesium is also an important mineral for bone health and can play a critical role in the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. Magnesium is important for maternal health, helping to relax muscles (helping fight against those pesky leg cramps).

Where to find it: Spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, yogurt, figs, and dark chocolate

Try this recipe: Simply add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds, almonds, and/or figs to your morning yogurt or granola mix.  Avocado toast is another great option. Smash some avocado on whole wheat bread and top with radishes and seeds (sunflower or pumpkin).

Choline:

Choline is important during early pregnancy.  It has been tied to a decreased risk of neural tube defects. It is a key factor in development of baby’s cells and nervous system, impacting brain and cognitive development.

Where to find it: Eggs, kidney beans, broccoli, spinach

Try this recipe: Spinach and Egg scramble

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk or water
  • 1 handful of frozen spinach, thawed and drained or ~1 cup fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter for pan (~1 tbsp)
  • Optional: 1-2 Tbsp shredded cheese of choice
  • Optional: 2 oz. of canned salmon (great source of Omega-3 Fats - see below!)

Directions:

  1. Add 2 eggs, milk/water, and seasonings to a small bowl and whisk eggs
  2. Melt butter in pan on stove
  3. Add spinach to pan (if fresh allow to wilt), and salmon if using
  4. Then add eggs to pan
  5. Top with cheese, if using
  6. Stir until eggs are cooked through
  7. Enjoy!

Omega-3 Fats:

FAT! Yes, I’m telling you to eat fat, specifically DHA and EPA Omega-3 fats.  This is another nutrient that is crucial for development of a healthy nervous system – including brain development and development of vision.

Where to find it: Salmon, sardines, grass fed beef, flax seeds

Try this recipe: Simple Chocolate Delight (add 2 Tbsp of ground flax seeds into your next smoothie)

Ingredients:

  • 1 med. Banana
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 2 cups Almond milk
  • Ice (per your preference for thickness)

Directions:

  1.       Combine ingredients in blender.
  2.       Blend until smooth.

Or have a snack of canned sardines - this is a great source of protein and omega-3s.  

When you look at the sources of these wonderful nutrients, you see a lot of overlap! If you are getting in a variety of vegetables (especially cruciferous veggies/leafy greens) and protein from trusted sources, you are getting these valuable nutrients to fuel you through your pregnancy.

Food and pregnancy can be challenging between aversions, cravings, heightened sense of smell, heartburn, decreasing space….need I go on?  If you are having trouble with any of these things and are working toward starting or maintaining a healthful diet but need guidance and support, I’m here to help!

I offer FREE intro sessions for Health Coaching at Blooma Minneapolis and would be happy to help you through your pregnancy.  Schedule your visit here. (Under "Appointment Type" scroll to "Health Coaching")

 

Written by Margaret Achu – Certified Health Coach, Occupational Therapist, Mama

You can follow me on Instagram @coach_margaret_achu or check out my website margaretachu.com

To schedule a Health Coach appointment with Margaret, you can contact her at coach@margaretachu.com,  or you may schedule an introductory session through Blooma’s Wellness page.

*This is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions, please talk to your medical provider regarding any concerns you have regarding nutrition and pregnancy.

My Blooma Journey: Gratitude, Motherhood, & Connection

I’m laying on my side, facing my 5 week old baby, his tiny limbs gently exploring the air.  There is soft music playing in the background, sun shining through the window, we’re warm and comfortable.  Strong hands reach to my neck with intention and massage my neck, my shoulders, my back, all the way down to my feet.  Unconsciously, a couple of big tears roll down my checks. It’s such a relief to move my nursing, mama body into powerful poses, to lay down to rest, and then to receive someone’s tender touch and affirmation.  With hormones shifting, emotions raw, and exhaustion all encompassing, these are tears of gratitude. Thank you for this space, thank you for noticing me, and us, together and connected. At a time when every waking (and sleeping!) moment is consumed with giving care, I have a sweet moment at Blooma where I am the one receiving.

In those early weeks and months of Samuel’s life, yoga at Blooma was the place I went to receive.  Parenting young children is so physically demanding, but I don’t think it’s ever more demanding than those first few weeks after giving birth.  In that space of newness and recovery, yoga was the sanctuary of our day. It was the place I went to be acknowledged, celebrated, and encouraged.  A place where I could connect with other moms - where our stories, our concerns, our joys (and sometimes our babies’ cries!) could be heard.  

Samuel is my 4th child, and it hasn’t been like this with my other babies.  There was no sanctuary where I felt that sweet connection and relief. My older kids are in 6, 9 and 12, and  Blooma wasn’t even in existence when I was pregnant for the first time.   Perhaps Blooma’s offerings weren’t as developed when I had the chance with my middle children, but I think the biggest factor was my desire to take care of myself wasn’t as developed.  I look back on those years and I think how much easier things would have been if I’d had this community. And I should have known better, I’ve been involved with the birth world for over 20 years.  

When I was 19, I had the rare opportunity to shadow the village midwife in a small fishing village in India and attended many births with her.  I came back to college, completed a doula training, and attended births in my early 20’s. I became an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner, and opened my practice in 2007 focused on women’s health, specializing in fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum care. I have walked alongside women becoming mothers hundreds of times, always encouraging excellent self-care and valuing of their well-being.  But now, with more things than ever on my to-do list, I finally see this equation from a different angle.

My assumption with my first three babies was that time spent caring for myself took away from the well-being of my family.  I would fit in an acupuncture treatment or massage, but there was no foundation of support that offered consistent care. Now, I recognize that the most important thing for my home, my children and my practice (which has now grown into a much larger women’s health and fertility center) is that I take top-notch care of myself.  Because Blooma has classes where I can bring Samuel with me, and offers childcare on-site, this is much easier to achieve.

My journey with Blooma started with barre class at 14 weeks of pregnancy.  I’d been dealing with very significant pain in my sacrum for a couple of weeks.  I knew that I needed something to help stabilize and strengthen my pelvis and decided to try a barre class.  After the first class the pain had significantly decreased and I was hooked.   I made an effort to get to barre class at least 3 times/week-- it became one of my main priorities.  If I didn’t go, the pain would start to return, so I was motivated. I was also determined to do barre regularly because I remembered how much strength it takes to care for a baby-- to hold and wear a baby, and then a toddler--for long hours, and especially to lug that infant car seat everywhere!    

I had done weight training and exercise during my first pregnancy, but by the time I was recovering from my third birth, I was physically weak and depleted and had a variety of physical ailments related to this.  This time around I wanted things to be different and I was determined to emerge from this pregnancy strong and vibrant.

Samuel is now almost 5 months old and I have marveled so many times at what a profound impact Blooma has had on the ease of my postpartum journey.   We try to make it to babywearing barre at least a couple times each week. Postpartum can be an incredibly isolating and lonely time, especially in the winter months. Getting to class regularly not only boosts my energy and my mood, but has provided connection and community, laughter and support.   

The staff at Blooma and the other women in my classes have witnessed my baby grow within my belly and now out in the world.  They have celebrated with me and sympathized with me, and I have done the same for them. They’ve witnessed me when my baby is adorable and when he’s inconsolable.  By showing up again and again I have not only become stronger and more comfortable physically, but I’ve also learned to be more vulnerable and more compassionate with myself and others.  

For everything I have received at Blooma I am so grateful.  Thank you amazing teachers and staff. Thank you Sarah. And thank you to all the women in the classes who share this space with me.  

Kara is a Blooma Mama and the founder and senior practitioner at Fertile Ground Women's Health and Fertility Center.  Fertile Ground is a holistic women's health center in Southwest Minneapolis offering acupuncture, Chinese medicine, therapeutic massage and Maya Abdominal Therapy for women facing fertility challenges, who are pregnant, postpartum or dealing with other women's health concerns.

After Year One of Parenting, Creating A Re-United Front

Here’s the deal: I hit the husband jackpot when I got married. I know this is a super obnoxious and eye-rolling inducing thing to say, but it’s true. His mother, twin sister, and I all agree that he’s our real life Randall from “This is Us”. He has the same laser sharp focus on the needs of his family and methodically works to fulfill them. He’s a one-man pit crew in our house, keeping the whole shebang running.

I’ve heard this theory that in every relationship, one person is a “reacher” and the other is a “settler”. Sometimes I look at his luxurious Brazilian curls and perfect brown skin and think “damn it I’m the reacher!” I mean I’m cool with it. I bring good stuff to the table, even if his hair is way better than mine.

We met in graduate school. One of a handful of the classes we had together was a course on negotiation. We were paired up against another student and when we discussed our strategy, I wrote “united front” on a piece of paper. This turned out to be one of the most romantic moments of all time because I got to tell that story when I vowed to him “a united front” at our wedding.

I’m a super romantic reacher.

We had talked a lot about becoming parents long before our son was born. Everything from raising a child within the context of organized religion to not feeding him puffs because they have zero nutritional value. For the record, the former still fluctuates from time to time and the latter, well, our child basically lived on puffs for a while. It turns out that a lot of our talk about parenting before actually becoming parents turned out to be just that.

What we had not talked about was how having a baby would impact us individually. And subsequently, how it would impact our partnership. On maternity leave when people would ask me how things were going, I often responded with “the baby is the easy part; the grown-ups are the bigger challenge.”

Example: I called him one afternoon as he was on his way into the Capitol to meet with a legislator. I was crying. A lot. “I am here every single day taking care of our baby and becoming increasingly obsolete in my career that I love. Meanwhile, you go to work every day and do not have to pay a price professionally for becoming a parent. I have nothing to show for taking care of him! It’s not like he can conduct a performance evaluation!”

You get the idea. Legitimate thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. Pretty common concerns about your career when becoming a mom? Duh. Important to communicate this to my partner in crime? Without a doubt. In the middle of the day as he’s on his way into a meeting, while I’m sleep-deprived, hormonal, and alone with a newborn for too many hours? Ya know, maybe not.

He listened. He agreed with the struggle. He was compassionate and patient. He then asked nicely if we could continue the conversation later because he was now late for his meeting.

When I was pregnant, I wrote him a letter entitled “United Front, Chapter Two.” I told him that as we prepared to become parents, I wanted us to remember that our partnership existed before the baby. I wrote that “our gaze will shift from inwards at you and me to outwards at this human we made. But, I do not want us to lose sight of us.”

I can honestly and very humbly say that in this first year of being parents, it turned out to be pretty impossible to not lose sight of us. Like so many parents who have gone before, our kid stole our hearts and minds in a way that no amount of talk beforehand could have even begun to prepare us for. We learned that becoming a mom and becoming a dad is kind of a big deal.

As we reflect on year one, the united front is coming back into view. The new baby fog has lifted and we are able to see us again. We definitely look a little different, but there is even more happiness than before and a new, deeper kind of strength. Plus, his hair is still amazing and I try not to call him crying as much.

I have always believed that your kid’s first birthday is not about your kid. It’s about parents keeping their tiny human alive. Actually, keeping everything in the household alive: dogs, cats, adults, child(ren), plants, whatever. Keeping the domestic unit intact after the birth of a child is a monumental feat of epic proportions. I always told friends to celebrate this massive accomplishment more than anything else. The kid will get their birthday glory for the rest of their lives. Our celebrating included frigid winter hiking, delicious old old-fashioneds, undisturbed – and still warm – meals, and most importantly, uninterrupted conversation.

Here’s a fun fact: our son was born on our dating anniversary. Of all the predictions from our family and friends of his birth date, I was hoping for one of the latest dates because it was our anniversary. His due date was January 25th and I wanted February 4th. Lo and behold, that is when he made his entrance into the world – six years after our first date. So, I’m either a masochist for even entertaining the thought that he be 10 days overdue, or as previously stated, a really romantic reacher.

Either way, this will be really handy. The birth of our kid will always coincide with the beginning of us. And one should be celebrated just as much as the other.

Written by Blooma Mama Ann

Is This Really Happening? Becca's Birth Story

"Ugh, here we go again," I thought, “more Braxton Hicks contractions.” I was sitting down to eat dinner with my three-year-old. We had just gotten home from the neighborhood wading pool, where I unabashedly stuffed my gigantic belly into a swim suit and floated on my hands and knees among all the small children in the pee-laden pool water. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions through the second half of my pregnancy, but in the last few weeks they had really picked up momentum. They had become intense, and I was certain I would have to endure them for another week, at which point my midwives would tell me my time was up and I had to schedule a c-section. I was trying for a VBAC, so I was on a much tighter time schedule. My first was born at 42 weeks and six days via beautiful c-section, after 45 grueling hours of labor. Even though I was really hoping for a VBAC, I was unconvinced it was something my body was going to do. My care providers told me, "Trust your body," and that was a really nice idea, but I was having a hard time getting there. 

So there we were, Arthur and I, still in our swimsuits, eating dinner. My husband, Mike, was at work. He wasn't scheduled to work that evening, and even though it was my due date, he was also unconvinced that this baby was coming any time soon. So, he picked up an extra shift. About ten minutes into dinner, I realized the contractions were happening pretty regularly. "Huh," I thought, "maybe I should download one of those contraction-tracking apps." So I did, and I immediately realized I was having contractions that were one minute long and five minutes apart. "Hmm," I thought again, "maybe I should pay attention to this."

The contractions kept coming at regular intervals, and I took Arthur in the backyard to play with the neighbor boys. After 30 minutes it seemed like things might be getting more intense, but I was in full denial that this was actually labor. “Mommy, are you ok?” asked my sensitive, perceptive little guy. “Yeah, mommy’s ok. I just have a tummy ache.” I was sure this would pass and we would continue on with our night as usual. But I was feeling pretty uncomfortable, so I called my mother-in-law, Susie, and asked if she would come over. She got so excited and asked if she should take Arthur to her house for the night. "No," I said, "I'm sure this is nothing. Will you just come play with him for a while and help me with beditme? I'm sure this will go away." Well, in ten minutes, it most definitely was not going away, it was getting stronger. I called over the fence to the neighbors, "I think something might be happening. Can you watch Arthur until Susie gets here?" I went inside and frantically started picking up the house, and before I even realized it, I was bracing myself and breathing through contractions. Time to text the doula. 

Me: Something's happening.

Nicole (one of my amazing doulas): Oh yeah? 

Me: But I'm sure it's nothing.

Nicole: Do you want me to come over?

Me: No, I don't think so. 

Nicole: Are you having contractions?

Me: Yeah, they're a minute long and five minutes apart.

Nicole: Well, that's something! Is Mike there?

Me: No, he's at work.

Nicole: Maybe you should have him come home.

Me: I don't think so. I'm sure it's nothing. 

 

But, I went ahead and texted him…

 

Me: Hey babe, I'm feeling some intense stuff here.

Mike: Great! Ignore it.

Me: I know, right? I'm sure it's nothing.

Mike: Keep me informed. I love you!

I continued to brace myself and breathe through the contractions. "Maybe I should take this seriously," I thought. "Nah, I'll just get in the bath." But first I called Nicole. We talked through two contractions, and she said she was coming over. "You're in labor!" she announced. "You think so?" I asked. I was still unconvinced. "I'm going to take a bath," I told her, “and it will probably go away. Door’s open – come on in when you get here."

I called Mike and told him he should think about coming home. "Ok, should I keep taking tables? Or just finish out what I have?" I told him he should probably finish his tables and head home. "Do you think this is it?" he asked. "I don't know. I think so. I don't know," I said.

I sat in the bath for exactly 30 seconds and said aloud to myself, "Get me the hell out of here." I was so uncomfortable.

I think that's when I finally accepted that I was in labor. I started frantically throwing Arthur's overnight things in a bag. "He can't see me have a contraction," I thought, "he'll be so freaked out." Susie came bursting through the door then, and I shoved the overnight bag at her, and asked her to get Arthur out of there as soon as possible. She watched me have a few contractions and joked that I might have a home birth after all (which is what I had wanted with the first one). She was very concerned to leave me alone. I knew Nicole would be there soon. I couldn't get Susie and Arthur out of there fast enough. I knew I couldn't let my body do its thing until Arthur was out of my care. For months I had been in tears every time I thought about this moment - letting go of Arthur as my baby and turning my attention to a new baby. I had envisioned this would be a heartfelt moment, with prolonged hugs and kisses, as I said goodbye to my little boy who would be a big brother the next time I saw him. But there was no time for that. In between contractions I gave him a quick kiss and shoved him and his grandma out the door. 

A few contractions later Nicole arrived. "Is Mike on his way home?" she asked. I wasn't even sure. Did I tell him to come right home? Things were getting so intense that I couldn't really remember or bother with my phone. Thank god for doulas. The details get a little blurry from here, as I instinctively moved to my hands and knees and started making that all-too-familiar moaning sound I had made three years earlier. I was kneeling on the floor with my head on the couch, thinking, "I can do this. I got this. I can do this for ten hours." I had prepared myself to last 12 hours; that was my max. I knew I could labor that long. Past that, I was giving myself permission to wave the white flag. I was determined not to have a repeat of the marathon labor I had with my son. I was left traumatized by that birth. Deep down, I didn't really care how this baby came out - via VBAC or via c-section. What I did care about was having a different birth than the first - one that didn't last for 45 hours. I was already one hour in. I could do this for quite a while longer. And hey, I could get an epidural at the hospital. Yep, I got this.

Thirty minutes later Mike came through the front door, saw me on hands and knees, and heard the familiar moaning, and he knew it was real. “That’s a noise you don’t really forget,” I remember him later telling the doulas when the birth was over. "Ok guys, I'm going to pee, then we need to go," I announced. This most definitely WAS happening.

On the short walk from the house to the car, things got ugly. I crawled into the backseat and turned circles like a dog trying to find a comfortable spot. This was really happening. Like REALLY happening. In the next five minutes I had five contractions. I was panicking and climbing the walls of the backseat - I was no longer in control. I let the pain come out of my mouth and screamed through each contraction. They were coming one on top of another. "I'm losing it!" I cried. "I need a fucking break! They're coming so fast!" We weren't even on the freeway yet. We still had 20 minutes in the car. "Mike, I need an epidural as soon as we get there! Ok?" "Of course, baby. Of course," he calmly reassured me. Poor guy. I’m sure the last way he felt was calm.

Nicole was following us to the hospital. Our other amazing doula, Liz, was meeting us there. Nicole was a labor and delivery nurse at Methodist at the time, and she was scheduled to work that night. Our plan was working perfectly. She was going to be my nurse that night, while Liz was going to be our doula. At our last clinic appointment, we had joked with Vida (our favorite midwife) that we would see her on Friday night, which was her on-call shift at the hospital. And here it was, Friday night. My dream team was all in order. And it was my due date. Was this really happening?

It was, and very quickly at that. Somewhere on Hwy 100, I started to feel pressure. Liz's all-knowing doula powers kicked in and she called Mike right at that moment. "Tell her to pant like a dog," she instructed. Thank god for that. I crawled and screamed and swore and panted the rest of the way to the hospital. What a ride!

Liz opened the car door and I fell into her arms. I clung to her all the way to triage, and I clamped my eyes shut, firmly telling anyone around me who could hear that I wanted an epidural. They checked me. I was already at a seven. Holy mary mother of god! "I want an epidural! I want an epidural! I want an epidural!" As I screamed and grunted my way to the delivery room, everyone reassured me the epidural was on its way. Before I got into bed, I leaned over through a contraction, and my water exploded onto the floor. Vida appeared, and I calmed down long enough to say hi to her. I asked yet again for an epidural. I got up onto the bed and she checked me. "Becca, you're at a ten. Look at me." When Vida tells you to do something, you do it. I opened my eyes for the first time since arriving at the hospital. "Becca, you're complete. You can push." WHAT?! I didn’t think those were words I’d ever hear. Those were words reserved for women who had vaginal births. Was I going to join that club?

I was in agony, but I felt amazing. And I also realized I wasn't getting an epidural. But what I didn't realize was how good it would feel to push. I mean, not good, but at least now I felt like I could do something with the pain. Pushing was hard. Really fucking hard. After 20 minutes I thought to myself, "Shit, some women push for hours. I don't think I can do this for hours." But lucky for me, Liz is a master at describing how to push. If it wasn't for her, I think I would have pushed for much longer. "Becca, push that baby across the room!" Every time Liz said that, I pushed in a different way. And every time I pushed like that, everyone who was looking at the business end of things started cheering. I guess pushing isn't just pushing - there is a specific way to push that creates a lot more progress. "I want this baby out!" I screamed. It was time. Two more hard rounds of pushing, and someone was saying, "Becca, reach down and grab your baby! You're having your baby. Open your eyes! Reach down and grab your baby!" I couldn't reach down and grab my baby – all I could do was keep pushing. A few seconds later, a warm, wet baby was placed on my tummy, and Mike paused, looked, and announced, "You have a baby ... GIRL!" Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! "Mike, I did it!” I cried. “Mike, I did it! Mike! I DID IT!" 

I'll never forget that moment. Maybe one day I'll think of it without tears welling in my eyes, but not today. It was the most profound feeling of accomplishment that I've ever felt and will ever feel. And it was over. Thank god, it was over. In only four hours, our family of three was transformed into a family of four.

Everyone who knows about Arthur's birth asks me if Francesca's birth was healing. No, no it was not. I did need to heal from Arthur's birth, but I needed to do that by honoring his birth, not by replacing it. All I wanted was for this birth to be different that my first, and it couldn't have been any more different. The births of my babies are both beautiful in their own ways. Birth is such a mystery until it happens. You never know what kind of birth you will get, and I am lucky to have birthed my babies in completely different ways. I may not have yelled "I did it!" after Arthur was born, but I should have.

Francesca Felice was born on her due date, 7/7/17, and she weighed 7lb 7oz. Lying there with my new baby girl on my chest was the best feeling I think I'll ever feel. It was over. I didn't have to labor anymore. And look what I had to show for it! A baby girl! I did it. I did it. I DID IT!

Written by Becca, Assistant Manager at Blooma Minneapolis, Prenatal Yoga Teacher, and Mama of two.

 

Mindfulness 101

There has been a lot of buzz about mindfulness lately. If you get the concept, but are not sure how to apply it, you’re in luck! Let’s take a look at what it looks and feels like. Breaking mindfulness down can help take the complexity out of it. Small adjustments and shifts can help us de-stress and become more self aware.

What is mindfulness?

Being mindful means, we absorb what’s going on fully. For example, if we’re on a walk, we’re there, aware to the sounds, smells, and our environment. We chose to be present and don’t lean into distractions even with boredom. Being mindful means putting away distractions and focusing on the present. We are frequently ‘plugged in’ phone in hand, half browsing, half focusing on what’s in front of us.

What are the benefits?

Mindfulness allows our brains to grow. When we practice a new habit our brains form a new neurological pathway and this makes us sharper, faster, and stronger. Our brain is a muscle, we must exercise it. Having a daily mindfulness practice helps us to do that. If we’re present, we are learning, and when we learn, we become smarter.

How do I find time?

Studies show that 10 minutes of mindfulness can have a huge impact on our brains. Parenting, work, and life stressors can make us feel like we don’t have a minute to spare. Start small and work your way up. You’ll find a routine that’s comfortable for you.

What are some mindfulness exercises?

     -Mindful Breathing: seated for 3-5 minutes and solely focusing on 5 second inhales paired with 5 second exhales.

     -Mindful Walks: go outside and absorb your environment. Perhaps look at exploring unfamiliar paths or trails. Notice what you    observe, feel, and smell. Process these senses in your mind and commit to being present.

     -Mindful Journaling: take a moment to reflect on your day. Write down a couple things you are grateful for. Reflect on accomplishments and areas you can grow. Notice your feelings, self talk, and overall mood while doing this practice.

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

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

A Birth Story - Baby Fritz

Seven weeks. It’s been seven weeks since Fritz decided to grace our lives with his presence outside of the womb. I truly do not know where the month of May went – it seems to have flashed by in a snap. However, the seven weeks leading up to Fritz’s arrival dragged slowly on.

My pregnancy with him, my third, carried along relatively fine and uneventful. But, as anyone who has been pregnant before will tell you, the last handful of weeks tick by at a snails pace. As our family approached his due date, there was a flurry of family events, and we wondered if you would be a part of them – our daughter’s birthday, Easter, and a few baptisms of his cousins. Nope. He decided he wanted an entrance and celebration that was completely his own.

At my 40 week appointment, two days after my guess date, I was completely fed up with being pregnant, and so dearly wanted labor to be over and our baby to be on the outside of my body. I spoke with my midwife about stripping my membranes – something I hadn’t done with our other two babies. She told me that with stripping my membranes, I may or may not go into labor, I could cramp, I could spot, etc.

About an hour after my appointment, I had consistent cramps that felt worse than the Braxton-Hicks I’d been feeling for weeks. But, I still wasn’t sure it was actually labor. I called my husband home from work and a friend to come over to watch our napping kids. Even though I wasn’t sure this was IT, my second labor and delivery was four hours start to finish and I didn’t want to take any chances.  With a flurry of last minute packing and spewing out instructions about our other kids, we went to the hospital, only to see the look in the nurse and midwives’ eyes that I was not in ‘real’ labor. We stayed for observation for a few hours and were sent home. I was so disappointed, and frankly, embarrassed that I didn’t know what my body was doing. Retrospectively, I am glad that we went, even if just to know that everything was healthy and moving along.

The next morning came with cranky kids who seemed to know that something was going to rock their world later that evening. To get out of the house, I put together a list of errands that I had been putting off – like going to the DMV, Costco, and the bank. Waddling in and out of each store, I would have random contractions at no regularity. And, due to the ‘false alarm’ the night before, I wasn’t even sure that they were contractions. After getting the kids home for lunch and down for naps, I finally sat down to time my ‘random’ contractions. Twenty minutes apart. “Oh,” I thought. Maybe this would actually turn into something.

An hour or so later my husband came home, got the kids up for naps and outside to play. Thirty minutes (and two contractions later), I decided we should go on a family walk ‘around the block.’ My contractions were now coming about every five to ten minutes, and soon I needed to stop and breathe through them. My husband called his dad to come over and watch the kids while we went to the hospital. As we got home from the walk, I labored in the living room while my husband tried to make the kids a quick dinner and we waited for my father-in-law to get there. Within ten minutes, my contractions (and back labor) were increasing in intensity and length. Something really felt like it was changing quickly and my husband sent me outside to wait by the car. I kissed my older two babies as I walked out the door, now truly realizing that our family was changing right before my eyes. Within one minute of his dad showing up, my husband was in the car and pulling out of the driveway. Running three red lights with me laboring in the front seat, is how we pulled into the hospital and were raced up to our delivery room.

The nurse who brought us to our room introduced herself and quickly helped me into bed, letting me know my midwife was on her way. My husband happened to tell this nurse that our favorite nurse, who had been a part of both of our previous births had her same name. “Oh, she’s here today too!” said that nurse who brought us to our room. As my contractions were coming right on top of each other, and full of back labor, I was only able to burst into tears, when our favorite nurse walked into our room, ready to be a part of another Olson baby birth.  Her presence, words of encouragement, strength, and gentle touch always seem to be exactly what I need to get through a natural labor. With a team of two nurses and our wonderful midwife, a little baby boy was born into this world not 40 minutes later. He was put on to my chest immediately, stuck his thumb in his mouth and looked up at me with the bluest of eyes.

From the time that I starting timing my contractions to the time that our babe was in my arms was four and a half hours of the most intense labor I have experienced yet. It was so deeply worth the bundle of true joy and easygoing nature which has been given our family. Frederick ‘Fritz’ Simon is a gem and a delightful addition to our little family.

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

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

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.

Not Your Grandma's Childbirth Education - Couple's Birthing Intensive at Blooma

A "good" birth truly comes in all shapes and sizes, is highly personal and often cannot be defined by the birthing mother and her partner until after the little one is born. We may start our birth journey with a certain set of expectations and hopes, but as birth is often a winding path, our perspectives evolve out of experience and out of necessity. As a mother that has born two children, a birth doula of 9 years and as a student midwife of 3 years, I have seen more than enough birth to know that there truly is no right and there is no wrong, that there is no one way to have a "good" birth. I have also witnessed enough birth to know that when a mother and her partner both feel safe, connected, heard, held, valued, supported and able to make informed decisions along the way, there is a very good chance they will define their unique and powerful birth as a "good" birth, even if it looks very different than anticipated. This is the foundation from which I build and lead the Couple's Birthing Intensive.

Every Intensive that I teach at Blooma starts something like this: "This is not your Grandmother's childbirth education class", which is usually followed by a few knowing laughs because anyone that goes to Blooma and knows our beloved and fearless leader Sarah Longacre, knows that there is nothing old-school and out-dated about our offerings. That statement is then followed-up by something like this: "Instead, this class is about movement, breath, connection, vulnerability, safety, touch, and the amazing hormone 'oxytocin'".

I go on, and I do in fact belabor the point, that "no one gets to define what a 'good' birth is to you. No one. Not your doctor, not your Midwife, not your Nurse. Your doula does not get to define this for you, nor do you friends and family. Only you get to define what a good birth is to you, leaving no room for external judgments and expectations." Then, we spend the next 3.5 hours exploring the opportunities and possibilities of labor and delivery through movement and positions often used by birthing women. I integrate the use of long, full moans and groans that often come during birth, and use touch between couples to foster connection and safety. We discuss how oxytocin works at every stage. I work to help create the reality of vulnerability that happens with birth (yes partners, this means you get to be vulnerable too!) and we explore how to use "informed decision-making" as a pillar of strength in personally defining a "good" birth.

A very clear point is made that just as there is no right or wrong in how to birth a baby, there is no perfect way to support a mother in childbirth either. I work to gently remind partners that they do not have to have the exact right touch, nor the perfect words, but that often just being close, believing in her, grounding her when she needs to feel more safe and simply holding her hand and reminding her that she is loved, may be all she needs. However, because we know that often a mother wants and needs a whole lot of support directly from her partner, we spend a huge amount of time on the stages of labor and how the partner can appropriately and effectively support the mother though physical support and touch, through verbal encouragement and through practical tips like making sure she is drinking, eating, and using the bathroom on a regular basis.

This is not your Grandmother's childbirth education class, as it is far more about getting out of your head and into your body than it is about analyzing the intricacies of birth. But, this class does offer the timeless advice that mothers want and need to be supported, loved, held, and heard in childbirth. Today’s birthing women most often do what their partners present and actively involved in the birth process. This class offers plentiful ways in which the mother can be open to the birth process as it unfolds, as well as an abundance of ways in which the partner can move deeper and more confidently into the birth, so that when their baby is born, both parents look at one another and say, "we rocked that birth together".

Please join me or any of the other amazing Couple’s Birthing Intensive teachers (we each have our own flare!) in one of the monthly offerings in both Minneapolis and St. Paul!

For the next Couple's Birthing Intensive (May 7  & May 25) , click HERE.

For the full Couple's Birthing Intensive, Click HERE.

Written by Brook Holmberg, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Lactation Counselor, Childbirth Educator and Yoga Instructor

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(Photo by Megan Crown Photography)

Chiropractic Care in the 4th Trimester (Postpartum)

Sometime in the 4th trimester, after all the happy hormones of birth start to fade, the reality of pain can be a shocker for some mamas, and not always where they expect it.  While bellies and bottoms are healing, mamas are often surprised at the physical workout that comes from holding, changing, nursing, and carrying a little one outside the womb! Low back pain gets a lot of attention as the spine is recovering from pregnancy, however chiropractic care is also an excellent way to address neck pain, upper back strain, muscle tension, headaches, wrist, and shoulder pain that are so common in the early postpartum weeks.  Often, these are the result of the awkward postural demands of early baby care (bouncing, carrying, feeding, sleeping).

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     I want to remind everyone about the power getting an adjustment can have in the 4th trimester.

 

 

Even with all the great gadgets, wraps, and pillows, despite our best intentions, we are often inclined to accommodate baby - no matter how uncomfortable it is.  When mamas are a few weeks postpartum and experience  headaches, tension in the shoulders/neck, constantly stretch out their wrists, or arch their upper backs, it is time to visit the chiropractor and get re-aligned (yes even those little wrist bones and elbows can get out of place). Your body will feel amazing and will thank you for the attention! The first adjustment after birth is often one of moms’ favorites.

Come in and visit me at Blooma and get your adjustment pre or post baby. At Blooma, there is so much more to experience than yoga and barre. Take time for you and give your body the attention that it needs for happy and healthy motherhood!

Written by Dr. Jessica D.C (Chiropractor and Mama at Blooma)

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*Dr. Jessica was recently interviewed for MN Parent Magazine as a contributing Chiropractor on this same topic. Thank you to Rachel Guyah for highlighting this in April’s MN Parent magazine, and for consistently supporting Blooma as a superstar resource for our community! You can read the full article HERE.

Spring into the Season - What we are looking forward to most!

Spring has sprung! We have made it out of the deep Minnesota frost. While the sun is beginning to shine and the birds have found their song, Blooma's leadership team has put together what we are looking forward to most in this Spring! 

Sarah L.: Getting fat and prego :) & Sun kissed shoulders. 

Lauren: I am looking forward to what spring brings to our friendships.  We all come out of hibernation, leave the germs behind (mamas of little ones you know what I mean!), and have a renewed energy for building relationships.  Park dates, family dinners on the deck, walks around the lakes.  The fresh air and sunshine of spring seem to provide the energy to get back in these habits of life together with our neighbors, friends, and families.  

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Marina: For the past several years I have been studying plant ID for foraging and making herbal medicine. I am excited for nature walks with my dogs, field guides + camera.  I love spending time outside experiencing and appreciating nature, and I'm hoping to find lots of morel mushrooms + fiddlehead ferns. 

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Greta: We got a cargo bike at the end of the season last year, so I can’t wait to have more time on that this year with my son being a bit older and taking it all in as we cruise around town.  We love to take the creek path and see the changes as the seasons shift, there is non stop excitement!

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Sarah A.: I love the trembling that takes place in Spring! That inner anticipation of our collective "engines" turning over. I use this energy to do one big cleaning project  - this year it's to organize my digital pictures and print off some fresh ones for frames. A job I can do outside if the WiFi is strong enough on the patio!

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Laura: I am still exploring Minnesota. The spring means  day trips to different lakeside towns or walks along the river with my pup and boyfriend. I love exploring the hidden gems of the twin cities, hikes through parks and nature reserves, visits to waterfalls, and other outdoor adventures!

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Meghan: I am most excited for the sounds of spring. When it is warm, I try to walk around the lakes everyday, and I love hearing birds chirping, kids playing, and the overall sounds of life as the earth starts to thaw.

Sam: I cannot wait to be bare foot in the grass, swimming in the lake, and getting my hands into the fresh spring soil. This year I am most excited to watch our 300 bulbs of garlic sprout that we planted last year!

What are you looking forward to this spring? What are you doing to soak in the sunshine, fill up your cup, and connect to your body?

We can't wait to see you in our bright and shining studio this spring!

Thank you to Blooma Leadership Team for your contributions to this blog!

Prepping our Toddlers for a New Baby

The title of this post may sound like I know anything about this subject, but I truly do not. It was trial and error the first time around. And, to be honest, it was rough. Our son adored his baby sister, but was frustrated with me spending most of my time with her. There was a lot of acting out, a lot of getting into trouble, and lots of tears from all of us. Granted, my son just turned two when his baby sister arrived. Some of this would have happened regardless of a new sister. But, her presence escalated each situation, especially while I was nursing her. It took a solid five months for both he and I to figure out how to deal with the transition. I was now a mother of two and he had to share my attention.

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Now, for this second time around, I’m brainstorming what each of them may need when facing something new and different. With an additional two years of motherhood under my belt, I’m hoping I’ve prepared them better for what is to come. I know that it won’t be easy again and there will be rough patches. However, knowing my kids, they will (eventually) welcome this baby with open arms. Here are some ways I’m trying to prep by kids for what is to come:

- Having them involved as much as I can with prepping the room and baby clothes. As I hauled plastic bins full of newborn sleepers, crib sheets, and swaddle blankets up from the basement, the kids “helped” me sort and choose what we would use for this new baby. They were in awe (as was I) at how tiny the sleepers were, and that they were not for the baby doll! They helped me throw everything into the laundry and even “fold” and put it away in the new dresser upstairs. I’m hoping that as we start using these things with the baby they will be excited because they will recognize it from when we were sorting, washing, and putting it away.

- Bedroom Swapping. We live in a 3 bedroom house. In the almost three years that we have lived here, we’ve made several bedroom adjustments. One of the most recent was putting our two kids in the same room. Not only has the transition been easier than I anticipated, I have also seen it strengthen the relationship between our son and daughter. Just in these last few weeks, I have seen them play and share better together and giggle over absolutely nothing. They are developing a separate relationship together, without me, and I hope this helps them be partners in welcoming their new sibling, keeping each other company while I’m busy with a baby.

-Feeling the baby move. This baby might be my most active in the womb between the three of them. Which, has come to be a great learning tool for my older children. Both kids love to come and touch my belly while the baby inside kicks and stretches against my skin. The first time my son felt the baby move, he looked up at me with wide eyes, unbelieving what he felt against his hand. When we finally meet the baby on the outside of the womb, we can admire and talk about his/her strong hands and feet that were moving so much in my body – the same movements they felt!

- Experience around other newborns. While anticipating our own new baby, our extended family and friends have welcomed three newborns within the last couple of months. Each of these newborns have allowed my kids to see how little the babies are, how much they sleep, how gentle you need to be as you hold a baby, what it sounds like when a baby cries, what it looks like when a mama breastfeeds, and the joy of holding a newborn. Both of my kids have shocked me with how long they will sit holding a baby, even with their friends and cousins playing around them. I am hoping this love of babies transfers to our own upcoming sibling!

- Looking at pictures and reading books. Every year for their birthdays, I make a birthday book of pictures for each of our kids. It’s a way that I utilize at least some of the great photos and memories we have shared over the last year of their life. Lately, we have spent time looking at and talking about the first time our son came to visit our daughter at the hospital after she was born. We point out how she was only several hours old, that he was so excited to meet her, that he was able to hold her and that she snuggled into him. We have talked about how they will both come to visit this new baby and Mama in the hospital, and the same will happen all over again. Won’t that be exciting?!
We also have a couple of children’s books about having new siblings. Each of them focus on how exciting it was to bring the baby home, but how frustrating it can be when the older sibling doesn’t get much attention. In the end of each book, the older sibling does see how good it is to have a sibling. I even make the connection that is how our son felt when we brought home his sister, but NOW they are buddies, right?!

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-Bribery: a new toy. I found that the last time around, our son got into the most trouble when I was ‘stuck’ under a newborn breastfeeding or changing a diaper explosion. I eventually started pulling out a favorite toy or book every time I needed to be occupied, so he was a bit distracted. This time around, I bought a new toy that both of them can use. Hopefully it’s going to be my golden ticket of distraction and fun play. One of their favorite toys when we go to ECFE are the Magnatiles they have outside their classrooms. When Magnatiles were on Zulily around Christmas, I bought a box and have hid them in my closet since. When all else is failing, at least I can try this.

I know that this transition is not going to be easy. Who said three kids, under four, would be? But, here we are, and I am going to try my best. If you have any other suggestions, send them my way! I can use all the research and experience I can get. Also, I won’t have a chance to make it before this baby comes, but there is a workshop specifically at Blooma on this subject - Kate Hogan's Preparing Sibling's or Birth! Check out the upcoming dates: June 17 & September 16. Best of luck mamas! Enjoy!

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

Prepping for Baby Number Three

Eight weeks and counting. But it could be six weeks or even ten. Still, at least we’re in the single digits. That’s when this new baby comes - at full force - to make his or her presence known. It’s not that I don’t like being pregnant. I actually do enjoy it. I am truly aware of the miracle inside of me – what it means to have a human growing within my own humanity. Even as I’m typing this, my belly is moving like ocean waves as the baby kicks and stretches within me. It is absolutely incredible.

But, there is something about the end of the third trimester. There is so much anticipation for labor and delivery, for who this new little one is going to be, for how my current two toddlers are going to be with him/her, and, for our surprise, if this baby is a boy or girl! Plus, nine months is a long time! I’m ready to have this baby on the outside rather than the inside.

It has been a different experience prepping for this baby other than our first two. As new parents, there is so much equipment and clothing to acquire. You find yourselves consumed by research for car seats, strollers, and high chairs. You also find that when baby comes, all-consuming love for both your partner and this new child takes over every inch of your heart. With the second baby, we didn’t need to acquire many additional items for the baby. Maybe an upgrade on few things and another dresser, but for the most part, we had everything needed for a new baby. As I’m sure all parents wonder if it will actually happen, our hearts grew exponentially when our daughter looked up at our eyes, surprising us by being a girl who came earlier than her guess date and with a much faster birth than our son. So, this third time around, we’re prepping for this baby in a much different way than I expected.

Blooma Prenatal Yoga Classes - I have attended many more prenatal yoga classes this third time around than either before. I discovered during my second pregnancy and labor/delivery, how much yoga helped strengthen and stretch my body during pregnancy and prepared me for labor. I learned how to breathe through uncomfortable (that turned to painful) labor as well as how to move my body to make room for baby. During my second labor in particular, I used many yoga positions and breathing techniques I learned in prenatal yoga classes. Prepping for this baby has meant trying to get to at least one prenatal class per week!

Rearranging/Simplifying – It might be because we live in state with long and dark winters, but for me, every spring brings a giant urge to declutter, deep clean, and simplify our home. So, with this baby due this spring, nesting makes this urge kick in even earlier! My poor husband seems to have a new piece of furniture to move, store, or sell every couple of days. And, my kids have a lot less knick-knacks around, but shhhhh, they haven’t noticed yet! I want this baby to have space both in our home, and in our hearts. As we rearrange and simplify our life, I see that we are rearranging and simplifying our hearts to make room for this new babe. How will this baby fit in our current life? What new parts of ourselves will we learn and discover with the presence of this addition to our family? We have to make room now, in order to be ready!

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Making time for those who are here now - I have tried to be more diligent about making extra time for both my husband and each of our children. There will come a time in a handful of weeks where the majority of my time will be dedicated to little human who requires a lot of needs and attention. So, in these weeks leading up to his/her birth, I’m putting down my phone, pushing off cleaning chores, and waking early (while everyone is sleeping) to get work complete. This way I can spend more time during the day reading my daughter an extra book before nap, helping my son practice letters, and giving more undivided attention to my husband. These are ways I can love them here in the present, instead of being too focused on what is coming in the near future.

Gathering up postpartum goodies – Like I said before, there is not much that the baby will need once he/she comes that we do not already have or can borrow. Instead, I have been collecting a few new goodies for my own postpartum comfort and healing.

Navel Yoga Pants: Mama, doula, yogi, and Blooma-founder/extraordinaire, Sarah Longacre, launched a new brand of yoga pants (and   community right along with it) to fit the physical and emotional changes that come with being a mom. My favorite part of them: the high-waist and detachable belly band for extra coverage and support. I cannot wait to live in these pants during those days cuddling my newborn.

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Bath Salts: A dear family friend owns a holistic skincare and cleaning line out of Brooklyn, NY  (Between You and The Moon). I am lucky enough to try a lot of their products, and this is one of my favorites! Those sitz baths postpartum, even if only for 10 minutes, have been huge lifesavers for my own physical and emotional healing.

Breastfeeding Tanks: For my last two babies, I have breastfed for a full year after they are born. I live in breastfeeding tanks. I have always bought cheap ones that work fine, but this time around, I’m really hoping for something nicer. Maybe even something that aren’t so ratty by the end of my breastfeeding run, they end up in the garbage. I’m still trying to figure out which is best – so if you have any suggestions, send them my way!

New Baby Clothes: I know that I said we really wouldn’t be buying anything new for the baby. However, with already having one boy and one girl, this baby really won’t be getting any new clothing over the course of his/her life – most will be hand-me-downs. In my head, means the new baby should get at least one or two new newborn sleepers.

As my family and I continue to prepare for the arrival of our new one, please know how each of you are in my thoughts (especially if I take class with you) as you prepare for your new ones as well!

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

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

 

 

Friendship - A Remarkable Reality

High school girlfriends. College girlfriends. Post-college girlfriends. Book club girlfriends. Play date girlfriends. Sisters. Sister-in-laws. Blooma mamas. My life is surrounded by a band of strong, loving, passionate, beautiful, powerful, rock-star women.

Friendship is a remarkable reality, isn’t it? Especially deep and lasting friendships. Many friendships begin over common interest, some odd circumstance, or a shared life situation. But, what clicks? What makes a friendship last? What makes your heart want to grow to make room in your life for this other person (or people) who are not family? Love. Love for the other person. At some point, you fell in love, in a certain sense, and in this grand journey of life, you want to walk alongside this person in relationship. And, these relationships make life better, they help us bring humor into potentially dark days, a comradery when life might feel lonely, and the perfect advice you need to get through the next big decision (or the next three year old tantrum ).

My own mother surrounded herself with a band of women. I grew up seeing her talk daily on the phone to her own beloved mother, her sisters who lived from coast to coast across our country, and other women from throughout her life. She cherished each of these relationships, each of the perspectives on marriage, family, and life that they brought to her, and the humor and support she gained from each conversation. As I think about my own band of women, I am grateful for my own mother’s example of friendship.

My own girlfriends intertwine through different periods of my life. But, each is marked with fabulous women. These are women who have supported me, and each other, throughout years of friendships, marriages, deaths, miscarriages, successes, postpartum depression, moves across the country, infertility, divorces and everything in between. The beauty of these friendships is how, no matter what you are going through, you often will have a listening ear who has been there before. These friendships are deep. Yes – we may not always agree on everything, but there is a base of respect, compassion, and gratitude for the other in your life.

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For example, the group of my local college girlfriends got together for brunch a few weekends ago. When one of them walked up to the table, she exclaimed, “Look at us! You would never guess that we were all married with jobs, and 12 kids between the 5 of us!” We all eagerly nodded in agreement – only to have our brunch conversation center on mini-vans, health insurance, job changes, house projects and birth stories. A long way from when we were 19 and in college, talking about our next exam, roommate problems, and that really cute guy in our English class. Driving away, I laughed to myself, wondering what would come in our next 10 years. For these are women who I know will still be in my life.

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As our families grow, our relationships deepen, and lives become more full, I am grateful for each of these remarkable women in my life. Each, in her own way, rejuvenates me to be a better person, a more loving wife, and a more gentle mother.

I am lucky to say that my band of sisters, mamas, and friends has grown since my first classes at Blooma. Knowing that the women that surround me are going through the same things. Maybe before class, they too fought a toddler about wearing a coat. Or, maybe they debated leaving the house into the frigid cold to come to class (Tots and car seats in hand). They are dealing with the same struggles, witnessing the same milestones, and crave the same connections. Maybe you, or someone in your life needs to experience the community that can be found at Blooma. Take a prenatal yoga class to connect with other expectant mothers. Find a comforting ear at New Mama Group. Challenge yourself surrounded by other hard working students at barre class. Whatever it is, share the love at Blooma.

 

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