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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Written by Lauren Herbeck

Director of Operations at Blooma

Wife and Mother of Three, Friend to Us All

 

Baby Turns One!

How did we get here already? You are one.

When I found out I was pregnant with you—a combination of absolute elation and complete terror—I also thought, “I got this.”

But it is the role of a baby to flip expectations on their heads, isn’t it?

My pregnancy with you almost broke me. Every day I would think, OK OK, tomorrow will be the day I won’t puke. This has to get better soon.

Spoiler alert: It never did. You made me work really hard for you. Such was the prodigiousness of the morning sickness that Ruby used to announce, “I’m Mama!” and then put her face over the toilet, making retching sounds. I had volcanic heartburn. Sciatic pain sometimes rendered me completely incapacitated in the midst of my repeated march between the bathroom and the bed.

The only thing that sounded remotely appetizing were spicy chicken sandwiches from Wendy’s. Baby, that is all I fed you for a good few weeks, and every night I would say to William, “You know what we should have for dinner? Buffalo chicken!” like it was a brand-new idea. Seriously, though, I think Wendy’s may have sustained me when the winter was long and dark and I would drive the icy freeway to my midwife. St. Wendy was right on the way.

And then after a brief bedrest, you announced your arrival, one sharp contraction after another, very quickly and urgently—and this reaffirms my stance that babies arrive in the way of their personalities. Though I’d been through this before, still I thought, like a big dummy, This is probably not really happening right now.

But it was. Thank god for my mom, because when I called her to casually mention that maybe I was in labor and it might be time for Ruby to go to Susie’s but maybe we didn’t have time to wait for Susie, but I didn’t think I could really be in labor, oh hang on a second, this really hurts, she interrupted my stream of thoughts and firmly said/yelled: “KATIE! Hang up the phone, bring Ruby up here, and get to the hospital,” in the way only a mom can. Otherwise you may have come into this world on my bedroom floor. We left our Thai food waiting for us on a restaurant counter, and I begged your dad to please drive faster because laboring is bad enough, but laboring in a moving car is whole other level of torture.

My sweet, you arrived 45 minutes after we got to the hospital. I felt like I wasn’t going to make it even to check in, that you might arrive in the parking lot. But we made it inside, and suddenly, you were there, in my arms, just the most beautiful newborn I have ever laid eyes on (sorry, Ruby, you were beautiful, too). You have porcelain skin—look, I’m sorry, I tried, I married an olive-skinned guy— and the halo of dark hair you were born with turned sandy blonde. Your eyes started out the deepest ocean blue, mysterious in their depths, but have since marbled into green, gold, and brown, like your daddy’s.

You smiled in your fourth week Earthside, while I sang “At Last” with Pandora and Etta James as I folded laundry with you in the Rock and Play. On subsequent serenades, you would smile so wide it was almost as though your face would crack, and tears pooled in your eyes. You have just one cartoony itty-bitty tooth at 12 months and I am in no hurry for the rest, even though I can see them coming—in fact, your own pediatrician told me to give up on sleep for a while because this is going to be a wild ride. Good thing you have already given me so much practice in the no-sleep realm, right? Please for the love of all that’s good and holy, would you sleep already?

You are one of the great loves of my life, dumpling, even though you have pushed me to the absolute brink of sanity—by which I mean I could actually envision myself hanging on the cliff by my fingernails some days—with your tenacious preference for me. I mean sometimes I cannot even look in a different direction, or you primal scream as though I am ripping you limb from limb.

But you run to me in your uneven, unpredictable gait and when I scoop you into my arms, you press your cheek to mine, sometimes turning my face with your hands to yours, to better give me a good, long kiss on the mouth.

Rem, I worried about how I could replicate the intensity of the love I feel for Ruby. But like so many experienced parents promised me, I took one look at you and even if I didn’t fully know you yet, it still felt like you were always meant to be here. As time has worn on, the initial jolt of love and surprise I felt coalesced into intense devotion.

Remy James, you have pushed me beyond what I thought were my parental limits. I have never felt so tired. I have moments where I feel like my life isn’t my own. I have “eyebrow frowns, “ as Ruby says, and I have discovered more than a few white hairs. But then I have coffee with a friend, or tap out a story in the office while your dad takes over, and I think to myself: “I wonder what my teddy bear is doing right now?”

That’s some magic, baby.


By Katie Dohman // Katie Dohman is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and Blooma mama of Ruby, 3, and Remy, 1. A former style editor, her work has appeared in Minnesota Monthly, the Star Tribune, Experience Life, Midwest Home, and Naturally, Danny Seo, among other publications and works. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @katiedohman