Down Syndrome Etiquette

Down syndrome Etiquette Jax, FL Childbirth Education

Down Syndrome Etiquette

Down syndrome etiquette is important and is blog worthy! Please take 5 minutes out of your day to read and share this with others on any platform you can. Approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome , making Down syndrome the most common chromosomal condition. Yet there’s still a stigma surrounding Down syndrome (DS).

First Coast Doulas knows it’s super important to be respectful of other humans along their journey in life.

It’s very frustrating for me and many others when we hear people say certain things about people with DS. Frustration doesn’t help change things, but being an advocate and an ally does. So, I decided to write this blog about Down syndrome etiquette to help others who may be confused about what to say or may unknowingly be saying things that are offensive or hurtful to others, yes, even those without Down syndrome.

I’m always learning new things and asking important questions like;

  • What can I do when I hear x, y, and z?
  • What do you want others to know about Down syndrome?
  • What it’s like living with Down syndrome or raising children who were born DS?

One thing I can tell you is that our words matter!

Being a parent is exhausting. Being a parent or caregiver to a person who has DS is double duty exhausting. Not only are they raising their child, they’re likely attending therapy appointments (occupational, speech, and physical) with their children, and being advocates for all people with Down Syndrome. It should be no surprise that sometimes they don’t have the “extra” energy to correct others. To be honest, the responsibility falls on us as individuals to do better and treat people with respect.

Here are some things to consider:

“Downs baby” versus “baby with Down syndrome”, “She has Downs” versus “She has Down syndrome” 

DS doesn’t define who a person is. Think about something you don’t like about yourself and put a name or term on it and imagine how you would feel if every time someone referred to you they said, “Fat Lady”, or “Ugly Man”. It hurts, it’s in appropriate, and it makes the person saying it look like a complete jerk.

Using the terms “retard” or “retarded” or saying it in any context is insulting and completely inappropriate. Even when not referring to Down syndrome the implication remains. If you’re using this term, stop it! Not sure how to stop?

  1. Make a habit of stopping and thinking before you speak.
  2. If you slip up and catch yourself using this term correct yourself and then apologize out loud for your wrong doing. Don’t overlook it and move on; “promising” yourself you won’t do it again. Nope!
  3. Correct others politely without apology. Not saying something still says something. Think about that.

Saying children with DS are the “happiest children you ever met” is offensive.

Saying that they are “the happiest children” implies that they don’t have feelings. That their parents have it easy. It implies that children with DS don’t ever cry nor have bad days. This is quite the opposite; remember DS doesn’t define a person. They have good and bad days and struggles and challenges like everyone else. Parenting is not easy, parenting children with Down syndrome; you guessed it, still not easy!

Appropriately, “cognitive disability” has replaced “mental retardation”

It’s Down syndrome, not Down’s syndrome. The person who named the condition did not have Down syndrome. An “apostrophe s” implies ownership or possession.

DS is not contagious, it’s a condition. You either have DS or you don’t.

Referring to someone with Down syndrome as “special” or asking if they do the same things as “normal” kids should be avoided.

We’re all special and unique. Comparing a child with DS to other “normal” kids implies they are abnormal! People with and without Down syndrome are more alike than different. Say it and repeat it! They are strong, smart, funny, and capable of great things, just as you are!

If you know someone who has a child with Down syndrome, please do not forget the siblings!

Despite being typical siblings at home who play together, share secrets, and argue, when they are out of the house they become fierce protectors of their siblings. Despite being fierce, it’s nice to have others recognize them, to spoil them a little, to see their light shine as individuals, not just the sisters or brothers to the kids who have DS.

I often find myself thinking what I would hope for if I had Down syndrome. I believe I would want to be heard, valued, respected, and accepted so I could enjoy life a little more and worry a little less!

Come to think of it isn’t that what all of us want in life?                           #morealikethandifferent #homieswithextrachromies #t21 #downsyndromeawareness

I hope that this blog was well received by you and by those who you share this with! We want to hear from you in the comments below or email us at info@firstcoastdoulas.com

Resources for our readers:

National Down syndrome Society  http://www.ndss.org/

Local to Jax., FL: Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville https://dsaj.org/

4 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids

 

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids | Childbirth Classes Jax, FL

4 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids

I can’t tell you how many times over the last two decades that I’ve spent raising children and in my career that I’ve thought and heard: there are some things I wish I knew before I had kids. Definitely way more than I ever thought or dreamed I would.  I think most of us would agree that with experience comes at least some knowledge and insight. A mechanic knows vehicles and a doctor knows the ins and outs of medicine! As a seasoned parent, doula, and caregiver I’m often asked about my experience: what I would do in a specific situation and if I have any advice for others. So, I’ve compile a list of 4 things I wish I knew before I had kids to share with all of you and they aren’t about breast or bottlefeeding, spanking, spoiling, or sleep training.

These are things all parents and families can benefit from!

1. It’s imperative that you do you for them!

Don’t underestimate what me time can do for your entire family! Sure, in the beginning it’s tough. The first six weeks is about survival. But after you begin getting back into the swing of things at your own speed, making time for you is imperative!

Parents make sacrifices all the time for their kids and each other, but you don’t have to sacrifice all the time. You don’t have to have an answer for everything or extra set of arms to get it all done, although you give it a good go! We’re simply not designed to multitask and be great at all things. So while balancing, juggling, and living life do not forget to take care of you! Teach your children to love themselves and take time for self-care! A healthy mind, body, and spirit benefits everyone!

2. Your children are modeling for you what unconditional love is!

It’s true, let’s face it! Your finicky three year old doesn’t care if you feed them organic or fast food, they will just pick and poke anyway. Said toddler also give no cares if you leave the house to get the darn french fries without your bra or wearing two different shoes by mistake, they just want the fry fries and love you for getting them. Your little monkey will happily climb you like a tree to breastfeed while you’re squeezing in a 5 minute poop break or share the last few licks of their slobbery lollipop with you! Our children happily love us just the same!

We can learn a lot from our tiny humans. They expect nothing, they have no ideas about how it “should” be, what is “best”, and they simply love and adore us!

3. You can say no without apology or reason!

Not only can you say no because you can’t, but you can also say no when you don’t want to. You don’t have to come up with an excuse and you don’t have to have a reason. Your friend wants to drop by this evening on the way home to go through swatches for her new sofa and paint colors for her living room. You’ve had a long work week and you’re feeling tapped out. You just wanted to sit around in your underwear, have a glass of wine and watch an episode on Netflix. It’s ok to just say no. You don’t have to say why or apologize. You don’t have to feel be sorry, you can just say no, it’s healthy to say no (and yes for that matter) sometimes See #1 again!

This means strangers, friends, even family. It’s hard sometimes, but it’s healthy. This leaves more time and emotional and physical energy to say yes when you want to!

Hint: The more you practice saying no the easier it gets, the better it feels!

4. It’s normal and healthy to make mistakes.

As a mom with three adult children and one whose ten years behind her siblings I often reflect on our journey as a family. I also think back on the choices we made as parents. Boy have we made some mistakes along the way. You will too! We’ve laughed, cried, yelled, and fell upon silence. You will too… and it’s okay! In fact it’s more than ok, it’s completely “normal”. Mistakes means we’re human, mistakes let our children see we are not perfect and that is good!

Before you know it, believe it or not they will be flying the nest! Acknowledging our own mistakes, apologize, and working to learn from our mistakes will help our children not only understand that mistakes are okay, but it also models for them healthy life lessons and strategies they will take with them.

There are a few more things I wish I knew before having kids, but there’s something so freeing about not knowing all things and just winging it! I hope you find these 4 things helpful. What things do you wish you knew before having kids? We want to hear from you in the comment section below!

Here’s to happy birth and parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke, author and owner at FCDoulas

Private Childbirth Classes

 

private childbirth classes | Jax FL | Best Birth Classes in Jax., FL

Private Childbirth Classes

Considering private childbirth classes means you’re a dynamic individual!

When preparing for birth it’s much easier to know what you want when you are aware of what is available to you. You need an educator that is as forward-thinking as you are. Someone that can lay out all of your options, knows the ins and outs of the local birthing facilities, and presents the information in a way that allows you to explore what is best for you and your family. That’s exactly what you get with First Coast Doulas!

When attending Family 1st Private Birthing Classes with First Coast Doulas you can expect to learn about:

  • pregnancy & common ailments during
  • the stages of labor & birth
  • comfort measures
  • your rights
  • how to navigate labor in a way that works best for you in the moment
  • the physiological process of birth

You’ll also learn:

  • how to work with your body to feel more comfortable
  • positions that are helpful during birth
  • when those positions are most helpful

What’s better than that?

How about also learning tips and techniques from someone who works intimately with families giving birth and during the first six weeks after birth. Information to prepare you for what you can expect based on your birth choices, and how to care for your postpartum body, are also included.

Family 1st Private Childbirth Classes are the perfect place to explore how you will define a satisfying birth experience.

We provide you with information on un-medicated vaginal birth, various options for pharmacological pain relief including epidurals, and what to expect if you choose or require a cesarean. All the information is presented in an unbiased and judgement free manner. Regardless of your desires for your birth experience, gathering knowledge of the most common options and variations will help you feel prepared should your plans change along the way.

All of this in the comfort, privacy, and safety of your very own home.

Overall, these amazing classes will help you find what works best for you. You will complete your class feeling prepared with tools to navigate the unpredictability and intensity of your baby’s birth. Using research based information and proven techniques, you can expect to feel safer and less fearful of the birthing process. Are you ready to meet your baby?

Authored by Lacey Park agency owner at Chinook City Doulas, serving families in Calgary!

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Delayed Cord Clamping

delayed cord clamping | Birth Classes Jax, FL

Delayed Cord Clamping

Delayed cord clamping is a term that you’ve likely heard of or read about if you are expecting a baby in the near future. At birth babies are attached to their placenta via their umbilical cord. The placenta is attached to the wall of the woman’s uterus. Once the baby is born the cord is clamped. This stops the flow of nutrient rich blood containing iron from the placenta to the baby. When the baby’s cord is clamped matters.

Some of you just thought, “So what’s the research say?” We got you!

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that, “delayed cord clamping (performed approximately 1–3 min after birth) is recommended for all births, while initiating simultaneous essential neonatal care.” Furthermore they say that early cord clamping (less than one minute after birth) is not recommended for pre-term and full-term babies unless they the baby needs to be moved immediately for resuscitation.

I especially love that they also address the fact that keeping the cord unclamped for a 1-3 minute period also helps to prevent and treat postpartum hemorrhage in the birthing woman.

Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is defined as a rapid loss of blood after giving birth. PPH can happen anytime immediately following birth up to 6 weeks postpartum. The most common causes of PPH are poor contractions of the uterus, separation of the placenta or pieces of retained placenta, or a tear in the uterus. Some women are at higher risk for PPH. Women birthing more than a singleton baby, are of advanced maternal age, who are birthing via cesarean, and those who have had labor augmented with medication are at greater risk. So, it may be important to you to note that delayed cord clamping can help prevent and treat PPH.

Even more exciting, yesterday the American Congress of Obstetricians andGynecologists (ACOG) released their latest statement and the results show the following benefits:

In preterm infants:

  • improved transitional circulation
  • better establishment of red blood cell volume
  • less need for blood transfusion
  • reduces the incidence of brain hemorrhage
  • reduces the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (intestinal disease)

For term infants

  • increases hemoglobin levels at birth
  • improves iron stores for several months
  • helps prevent iron deficiency during the first year of life

ACOG also states that in most cases, delayed cord clamping doesn’t interfere with the immediate care the infant receives including the first breath and immediate skin-to-skin contact. Delayed cord clamping alone does not affect whether or not a woman can have her placenta encapsulated. Majority of women who are planning for or who need to have a cesarean birth can also consider delayed cord clamping.

So, if you’re in the midst of creating a birth plan or preference sheet, delayed cord clamping just might be something you want to include. In addition to taking a great childbirth education class be sure to talk with your provider if you have questions and make your wishes known to your support person(s) and your entire birth team.

Fun tid-bit of the day; delayed cord clamping is also known as optimal cord clamping! From us to you, happy birth and parenting! ~Elizabeth Luke

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience, Part 2

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience

Continued  from Part 1, found here.

 

Sharing More Than Experience Part 2

 

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience

By Abby Anonymous

 

This person said her workspace was safe and there were never two placentas in the same space at the same time. I asked! She gave me her word and now her word meant nothing.

She went on to explain that she remembered distinctly putting my placenta inside the dehydrator with the tray that has a giant crack in it. It wasn’t until after delivering our placenta capsules that she removed the “paper” from the trays to begin the “cleaning” process that she noticed the post-it note with the other person’s name on it on the dehydrator with a crack now and vice versa. She asked her son if he touched it and he said he was helping.

So she does believe the placenta capsules were given to the wrong people.

Then, she apologized profusely, tried to reassure me that the other person is someone she knows well and is healthy. She said she would “make right” what happened. She seemed sincere in her tone and responses, but how can you possibly make right this situation?

You can’t!

When I was telling Liz what happened, she stopped me here and pointed out that the terminology and processes being used by the other encapsulator were throwing up red flags. She said, Post-It notes, children playing with knobs, and  just “cleaning” are not ways to keep people safe.

Liz went on to say, “the client should always keep, transport, and store her own placenta and be met in her own home by a professional so a mix up like this one never has the chance to happen.”

Liz is right.

Liz made her view very clear, “I feel strongly that providing this service in anyone’s home other than the woman who delivered the placenta is irresponsible of a business owner. There can be serious legal repercussions for doing this anywhere other than the client’s home.”

Again, I think she’s right.

Liz went on to tell me, “All equipment should be kept in tip-top order. When things wear they should be replaced. With First Coast Doulas that tray with a giant crack would have been swapped out with a brand new one just as soon as it happened. Trays with cracks are not being properly sanitized per OSHA standards. There is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing.”

She is right, yet again.

Back to my real life nightmare.

This encapsulator mixed up my placenta and called me TWO days after I started taking the pills!

I felt incredibly violated in a way I can’t explain. Our home was broken into once and our belongings rummaged through. I still didn’t feel as violated then as I do about this catastrophic mix up.

I  told her I’d taken 12 capsules that possibly contained another person’s placenta and blood. I told her I’m a nurse. I told her I see people with contagious and infectious diseases every day. I asked her if she understood what she had done. She just sat there, quiet on the other end.

I was naive and trusted her too easily. I hung up on her again and the next several hours I spent crying and being upset. What she had done was unacceptable and made me utterly disgusted.

How do I fix this? How could I? There was no way.

When I calmed down I called her back and reached her voice mail. I left a message, but she never returned my call. For the next couple days I tried to just put it out of my mind. Then I told my husband, and he flipped out. He wanted answers as much as I did. He called and left message after message and she refused to return our calls. She wouldn’t answer text messages or emails either.

I decided to talk to my OB about what happened since she recommended her to me. My OB didn’t seem to understand the urgency of the matter or how I felt. She sort of brushed me off and suggested I keep quiet about it.

I felt sick inside, I felt gross, and I was scared.

I trusted her to help me feel better after delivering our baby, but ironically she did the opposite. I have depression that had gotten worse during pregnancy. Depression was the reason I chose to encapsulate.

I was stunned when I returned for my six week follow up visit with my OB and her information was still being handed out to patients in this very popular doctor’s office even after making such a grave mistake with the health of others.

That was the last time I visited the office and I will not be returning, ever.

I contacted an attorney. Since I have nothing in writing from this woman, no receipt for payment, and essentially no proof this happened to me I can’t really do anything about it. The damage has been done and there is not a single thing I can do about it.

I have to have protected sex with my husband and I’m being even more cautious with my children until we know for sure I haven’t contracted anything from this person who I’ve still never met.

I googled and came across the First Coast Doulas website along with others. I contacted three companies, but Liz was the only one who got back in touch with me. I had read a few of their blogs and felt comfortable having a conversation by phone that led to an in person meeting where Liz let me share without judgment.

Liz answered questions for me that no one else was willing to answer.

 

Liz also helped me understand that while there are things people can do to be safer, that this was in no way my own fault. She couldn’t give me definite answers about what took place with my placenta, noone could do that, but she offered insight about what may have happened, and listened to me. I am currently seeing a therapist who is helping work through this and other issues and things are getting better each day.

Liz also openly shared a lot about what her process involves and she seems to be very knowledgeable about the placenta, bloodborne pathogens, and how to work safely.

To my knowledge this person is still making placenta capsules in her home kitchen. There is no record of her “business” ever being registered with the state, and she is still receiving referrals from the OB. She still has not returned my calls or emails.

I wonder if she told the other person about the unacceptable mix up. Her actions tell me that although she told me about the mix up, she still isn’t providing this service safely. According to her website she is still “picking up” placentas.

I never thought I would say this, but if we decide to have another baby and I try to do this again I’d most definitely hire Liz with First Coast Doulas to handle this delicate process for me. She’s taught what I need to know to be safer, has listened without judgement, and it’s easy to see that she is the best at what she does.

Things to be mindful of when selecting someone to encapsulate your placenta:

  • Always ask about their certifications and training. Don’t be afraid to check in with their certifying body to be sure the information they’ve given you is true.
  • Not all trainings are created equally so look into what their standards are.
  • Ask them to describe the process. If they seem to flounder or not explain things clearly there could be issues there.
  • Ask to also see their certification for Bloodborne Pathogen.
  • Lower price doesn’t = best deal. The market is all over the place and confuses consumers. Fees range from $0 to about $350 in our area.
  • While a higher price doesn’t guarantee anything either, a business has to pay taxes, has overhead and supply fees, and the person preforming the job should be compensated well for his/her skills. If a person hasn’t taken the time to factor all of those things into the cost they are not running a business sustainably and could be cutting corners with your safety.
  • Contracts and receipts are important, it tells the customer what to expect, what is expected of them, and shows they have systems in place.

            Last and Most Important:

  • Who takes the placenta and where is it going? Placentas should always stay with the woman who delivered it. It shouldn’t ever be transported in the encapsulator’s vehicle, go to the encapsulator’s home or “workspace”. Workspace generally means the person’s kitchen, around their spouses, curious pets, kids, and foreign germs. How many kitchens would you eat out of without seeing it? Oh and separate workspace tends to me garage or shed.

It was clear after getting to know Liz that she genuinely cares about people, their safety, and her business very much. Thank you Liz for taking the time to care about others, keeping my identity private, and sharing my story.

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience, Part 1

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience

We were contacted by a woman, we’ll call her Abby, and she wanted to learn more about our placenta encapsulation process. To be honest her email seemed suspicious. You see, in this business it’s not uncommon to receive emails from weirdos looking to talk about vaginal checks, sex during pregnancy, and such. Well, as it turned out Abby had valid reasons for being cautious, using an alias to protect her identity, and for contacting us.

Without further ado, Abby shares her story.

Placenta Capsules Jacksonville, FL

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience

By Abby Anonymous

I will apologize now for the book, but there is nothing that can be cut from my story. Every word and every line is relevant and important. I never wanted to share my story

What I wanted was answers. I wanted to go back to the day she picked up my placenta and change my mind. I never asked for this.

Now, after talking with Liz, owner of First Coast Doulas, I know without any question that I need to share my story to tell others so they don’t make the same mistakes that I did. I don’t know if the other person knows what happened or if there are more people this has happened to. Maybe if the right people in the community share this blog they’ll see it.

What I really want is for others to beware when hiring someone for placenta encapsulation.

I have to protect my identity because I work in the medical field and do not want to be questioned by my colleagues. They already pick fun at me for choosing a more natural approach to all things. They ridiculed and mocked me about my decision to “eat my placenta”, now I wished I would have never told them. At the time they were just a little annoying, but as you can imagine if they found out about this I would be mortified.

Sharing my truth with people through this blog seems like the right thing to do because Liz was gracious enough to sit down with me and explain her process, step by step, from providing the clients with everything they need to take the placenta home to protocol for sanitization, and she answered all of my questions that she could answer.

I was 6 days post-birth when I received the call I never in a million years imagined I’d get.

It was the person who I trusted to pick up my placenta and return my placenta capsules to me on the other end of the call. Before she even broke the news to me I could sense regret in her voice. I knew something wasn’t right.

What she said next blew me away, “I am sorry, but I think I may have accidentally given you another mom’s capsules by mistake. I can pick the bottle up and bring you your capsules.”

What she said next I’m not sure, did anything really matter after that noise?

I hung up the phone in her face. I got sick. I literally became sick to my stomach and vomited not once, but twice.

I called her back and asked her how the hell it happened, who the other person was, and asked if she had spoken with the other person yet? I wanted to talk to her.

I was terrified and rightfully so.

The risks of taking someone else’s placenta capsules means you risk getting any contagious diseases the other person may have. You also risk your body having adverse effects to the other person’s placenta since its complete make up is unique to the person who grew it and delivered it.

The things I thought that day and in the days since: What about my baby, what if I contracted something awful can I pass it to her through breastmilk? I have to tell my husband and we will have to have protected sex until I know for sure I am safe. Why me? How could I of avoided this?

She said she believes her young son might have switched around the Post-it notes she labels the dehydrators with.

Post-It Notes?

What kind of shit show is she running exactly?

She continued, saying she has never had an issue with her son touching the dehydrators until recently and went on to say he has become a bit obsessed with playing with the dials and labels recently.

So this could have happened before and would likely happen again if she didn’t stop. Who knew what else could have happened. Why was the dehydrator around her son?

To be continued…

Read about what happened next in Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience, Part 2

 

How Babies Tell You They Love You

How Babies Tell You They Love You

5 Ways Babies Tell You They Love You placenta capsules in jax

 

Those first 6 weeks of life after giving birth are surreal, overwhelming, beautiful, crazy, (your turn to fill in the blank). You name it and parents somewhere, in a home not far from your own, have felt and experienced it too!

After 6 weeks things begin to get easier as you settle into more of a loose routine. You are learning your baby and your baby is learning how to live life outside the womb.

It sounds cliché, but it does get easier!

As you survive the first year of parenting it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day challenges, your own thoughts, and self-doubt. You’re responsible for this tiny little person who came rushing into the world and captured your heart. This little person whose only mode of communication is squeals, squirms, rooting, cries, grunts, and smells. Not our dominate communication style as adults, but you are doing amazing!

I see new parents bravely venturing into uncharted territory, parents who love their children and want to be the very best they can be for their children. They have their own ideas of what the “best” is. I commend all parents for just sticking with it, sometimes it’s just surviving, and sometimes it thriving, that’s why I am there, to help them thrive!

This list may be laughable, but it’s the truth. We could all benefit from a little more laughter and a lot more encouragement!

In honor of all of you amazing parents out there, here’s how babies tell you they love you:

Your Baby Wakes

Your baby sleeps off and on all day and the very moment you slip off to sleep he wakes up for a long stretch. He wakes to eat, to see your face and hear your heartbeat! A face he’s studying and a heartbeat he knows as home.

Your Baby Poops

Your baby is an eating and pooping machine. I think everyone of us have asked ourselves at least once, “how is it possible for one tiny human to poop this much?” Am I right? Being a super pooper means they are great eaters!

How do they know to poop just after we put a fresh diaper on their booty? You got to love that they’ll wait until it’s time for a diaper change, I mean come on, how do they know?

There is a running joke between current clients of ours, they’re certain that their baby waits till dad returns home before pooping each day and poops at bath time when it’s dads turn for bath routine. Baby genius!

Your Baby Knows

Does your baby seem to always want you? Does he only want you to soothe him in times of distress? Whether it’s teething, illness, or fighting sleep, these babies know they’re smart! They sense you; they just know it’s you!

Has there ever been a day where Murphy’s Law seemed to apply to you all day long when going out with your baby? Blow-outs, spit up, fussy fits, oh my!

They Say “Mama/Dada”

Those magical words are sometimes anticipated and other times it takes you by surprise. Why is it they only say the magical word to you the first gillion times? She clearly repeats the most exciting words ever spoken, over and over, but only when you’re alone. Pull out that camera and you are sure to get a precious, but confused gawk while you wait without success for those words, “Mama”, or “Dada”. What gives?

Then, One Day, They Say It

Just when you thought nothing could be sweeter than those cute giggles, smiles in their sleep, seeing them milk drunk, and hearing the words Mama and Dada, she speaks the sweetest words ever spoken from a child to her parents: I Love You!

“I Love You” makes all those sleepless nights, whining and crying, miserable days of teething, and all those explosive diapers worth it. You wouldn’t trade those words for anything!

In those moments you feel engulfed with love and it’s what living is all about!

How babies tell you they love you may seem small now, but they’ll be meaningful memories you will cherish and carry with you for the rest of your days. Again cliché, but it’s true, you’ll look back and miss these days! No truer words have ever been spoken.

Share this blog with a new mom or dad, an expecting couple, your friends, sisters, co-workers, and neighbors. You never know who you’ll touch with these encouraging words!

 

The Professional Doula

The Professional Doula

Authored by Elizabeth Luke, Owner

professional doula jax fl

 

Doula:

pronounced [doo-luh] is a Greek word meaning a woman who serves. Any Google search will reveal that, but the real question remains. Who is the doula really serving, herself or the women who are hiring her?

Defining professional doula in my own words:

A professional doula has received training and is either certified or working towards certification. Without judgement or their own agenda they support families . One who works cohesively with other members of the family’s team including doctors and other family members. A professional doula works to elevate the profession and does not conduct oneself as a hobbyist.

First Coast Doulas philosophy?

We support you and your choices! You call the shots and make all the decisions along the way, always. Support will look different from one family to the next. We attune to you and your family so we can understand your unique needs and customize support to help you with your goals! Your way is supported! .

We support!

We support single moms and dads, married couples, assault survivors, and teenage mothers. We support mothers who identify with happiness and mothers who feel burdened with pregnancy and newborns. We support all races, political parties, religion, or lack thereof. We support those who breast or bottle feed their babies. We support those who have a plan and those who don’t want one.

I’m a professional doula because it’s my passion to support women and families, including my own!

It’s nice to see colleagues I work with empowered. This is our profession. We’re able to provide for our families while supporting yours through hard work and dedication!

Professional doulas all over the world have experienced backlash from those who do this work as a hobby.

They say we’re lousy doulas because we don’t push our own beliefs, education, and choices. Yep, really! We are told we’re wrong for simply providing access to resources and education when requested.

We’ve been called ill informed if we don’t educate on the best way to birth or parent.

We’ve been wildly accused of not caring for families because we support our clients choices for their own families. Wowzers!

They call us greedy doulas for charging a fee for services we provide to families choosing to hire us. Yes, working in exchange for money. A familiar concept to most people.

These “doulas” are grasping at straws and throwing stones where they shouldn’t be.

When I hear doulas say things like, “you have a responsibility to make sure they are making the right choice,” “it’s a shame you call yourselves doulas,” and “I attend births because these women are less fortunate and need my help to feel empowered and make sure they stick to the plan”, I vomit a little in my mouth.

It’s sick and it needs to stop!

It’s like they are saying without me you are nothing, your birth will not be meaningful. You know what’s empowering? It sure as hell isn’t pity or handouts.

Women birth every day without doula support and have amazing births!! That’s right, I said it and it’s no secret except to those who are self-serving.

In fact, the majority of women giving birth do not hire doulas, the number is close to 95%!

The lack of doula support does not mean your birth is not empowering. It simply means you are one of the 95%. As professional doulas we work hard to elevate our role, earn the respect of providers, and the trust of families with whom we work so that the number of families choosing to hire professional doulas will rise! So they can be supported no matter how they birth or parent because that is empowering!

Professional doulas are not greedy or heartless! We are not and will not be “ashamed”. You know what would be a shame?

Seeing an amazing doula dissolve her business and close the doors to helping improve birth and postpartum because she didn’t know her own value and require an appropriate fee for services. Fees that allow her to continue to provide support and grow her knowledge base.

Charging a fee for our work does not make us greedy doulas. It simply means we’re being paid a fee while those not charging are paying in energy and emotion. There is always an exchange.

Which exchange do you prefer?

Paying a fee for a professional doula who will attune to your needs and support you and your family? Knowing that the doula will take this important work seriously.

Or

Selecting a free or cheap doula who, on the off chance may or may not value her own skill set and commitment to you? Risk having her miss your birth or skip out on your post-birth, or go against supporting your wishes in favor of what she deems best?

Think on that!

A professional doula is paid so that the important work that we do can continue. We are not greedy I have found that it’s the complete opposite.

I work hard supporting women and their families. I’d be lying if I said supporting and providing for my own family wasn’t empowering to me.

If you hear the term “greedy doulas” I caution you to beware. Doulas who aren’t charging a fee may be taking from their clients in other ways, ways more precious than any amount of money. A doula who isn’t charging may not able to support you because they’re likely emotionally supporting themselves. Another great point to think on!

Greedy doula ≠ professional doula. You can’t have both!

Here’s a great thread on our IG showing how many do not understand the non-judgemental support we provide.

Leading the way in training and mentoring professional doulas all over the world, ProDoula is our only choice when selecting doulas to work with First Coast Doulas

Google Is Not Your Doula

Google Is Not Your Doula

google is not your doula best doulas in jax

Google is not your doula! Let’s face it, the internet, a.k.a. the World Wide Web, a.k.a the information super highway is exploding with information, lots of information. Good, bad, and some just downright nasty information! D.I.Y. videos, recipes, home remedies, studies, articles, and diagrams, it’s all spewing all over the place.

Every topic imaginable and even the unimaginable can be found online.

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with the internet. At time there seems to be too much information to sort through online. Understanding what is legit and what is bunk can be daunting, especially when you are pregnant!

Commonly googled questions pregnant moms ask include:

  • I am spotting, could I be having a miscarriage?
  • I am worried about x, y, and z, is this normal? I feel like something is wrong.
  • I feel so tired, why?
  • Will my body know what to do in labor?
  • How will I know when I’m in labor?
  • Which vaccines are best for my baby?
  • Should I circumcise or leave my baby intact?
  • Is massage o.k. during pregnancy?
  • When should I get an epidural?
  • Can I breastfeed with small breasts?

And the list goes on and on!

As a newly pregnant mom, be it the first time or third, there’s a really good chance you’ll google at least one question. Parents can be left feeling unsure and even scared after they google.

Everyone can google, we know that, but Google is not your doula!

One benefit of hiring a First Coast Doulas is not having to sift through the sea of craziness that is the internet!! You’ll love being able to email, text, or call us with questions or concerns anytime day or night 24/7, from the moment you hire us. Your concerns about your pregnancy are our priority and we support, comfort, and guide you through this time in life because when you choose us as your compassionate guides you are getting a Sherpa, a birth Sherpa if you will.

“Asking your husband to be your sole guide through labor is like asking him to lead the way on a climb of Mt Everest. He may be smart and trustworthy, you may love him, but in the Himalayas you’d both be a lot better off with a Sherpa!” – Pam England

A couple of our clients have actually said, “Google is not your doula”, you should blog about that! We love this and decided to share so others are in the know!

First Coast Doulas doesn’t replace your internet. That’s obvious, but we’re in the know and help you make sense of the info overload. We also don’t take over your partner’s role. We support the both of you! We listen to your concerns and help you sort through how you feel about it all.

We do all of this, wait for it… without an agenda!

What does “without an agenda” mean you ask? In simply means judgment -free, we stand for what you stand for along your journey. We do this confidently and with our whole heart because we know this isn’t about us, it’s about you!

Let me dig a little deeper into this.

Many women think that doulas are for those who want a natural birth, that they don’t like vaccines or Pitocin, that they are hippies who love homebirths and avoid obstetricians and hospitals like the plague.

Well, that’s a misconception with First Coast Doulas it’s a misconception! We come to you agenda and judgment-free, guaranteed. It’s one of the reasons we are proud to say that we are the best doulas in Jacksonville, Florida. We say it un-apologetically and with all confidence because we live up to our word.

We don’t force unsolicited advice or studies on you; you want information and a natural birth, great we can help you with that. Do you give no fucks about studies? Great, we support you too!

We can support your without needing you to explain anything, ever!

First Coast Doulas can, if you’d like help you look at risks versus benefits for everything under the sun; homebirth versus hospital, un-medicated versus medicated, moving around in labor, versus just lying still.

In the end though, no matter what you decide you will be supported, not tolerated. You will feel validated, not shunned, because that’s how we roll!

Simplify your life during this pregnancy, hire First Coast Doulas. Remember Google is not your doula and First Coast Doulas supports you!

Promises, Promises in Pregnancy and Birth Support

Promises, Promises

Promises Jacksonville Florida

 

Unlike the lyrics from the 1983 song, Promises, Promises says:

You made me promises promises
Knowing I’d believe
Promises promises
You knew you’d never keep

 

You can absolutely can count on First Coast Doulas to keep their promise to you because we do not make unrealistic promises or guarantees, or feed you false hopes, ever!

 

If you’re interviewing doulas, inquiring about support, or see them post in a group on facebook promising things like:

“I can make sure you get that VBAC!”

“If you want an unmedicated birth, we will make that happen.”

“A cesarean isn’t in the cards for you. I know a great provider who will approve your VBAC”

“I can help you turn your OP (malpositioned) baby.”

“There’s lots we can do to “turn” your baby.”

“I’ll make sure you stay off monitors and walk the halls in labor.”

“If you go to Dr. Miracle for your care you’ll get exactly what you want!”

or anything of the like, please know that these promises give people the wrong idea about what doula support is and ultimately what professional doulas do.

 

It’s the truth! Like it or not!

If you are seeking the support of a professional doula, one who knows and stays within a doulas scope of practice and has ethical doula boundaries and you find a doula making these claims?

Run, Forest run!

Keep scrolling!

Smile, nod, and move right on!

All of these ideas will work!

However, if these things sound great to you, I ask you to take a long, hard look at why they sound promising to you?

What is it you are searching for?

Can you make absolute sure you can follow through on those promise to yourself? What about if an emergency arose or you change your mind in the moment?

NO! 

Then I would heavily suggest not hiring someone who is making these unrealistic promises?

There is no glory in false claims, honesty really is the very best policy!

 

Noone can guarantee you a birth outcome aside from guaranteeing that your baby will be born;

full term, before 42 weeks, vaginal, home birth, safe birth, water birth, fast birth, long birth, unmedicated birth, cesarean birth: yes even cesareans can’t be promised, the mom who was scheduled for her cesarean who went into labor early and by the time she realized it was true labor she was pushing a baby out in the hallway of the hospital can attest to that one!

Shoot, even experienced providers can’t promise you these things. They know the things that can change the tides, and are prepared to see you through those changes with the medical support they provide!

One thing that sets First Coast Doulas apart is this;

We know our scope of practice and understand what it means to be a professional doula. In short our role is to support you.

Not to tell you what is best, but to help you work through things so you can figure out what is best for you.

Not to save you, but to support you through whatever comes your way.

Not to protect you, but to help you feel safer.

Not advocate for you, but to help you feel comfortable enough to have your own voice, even if that means you don’t use it.

And, most certainly not to lie to you! That is not a doula’s role, ever!

We support you in your choices, through whatever comes your way, by addressing your questions with honest answers, not false hope!

We can help you work towards your goals for your birth. We’ll listen and help you map out a plan!

We help you prepare in a way that works best for you! We provide comfort to you and your partner in pregnancy, labor, birth, and even into the postpartum year!

We can support you by helping you have valuable conversations with your provider when things arise that are out of our scope of practice.

We can help you create a memorable experience for your birth, one where you feel supported, period!

We won’t sell anyone an unrealistic dream or promises!

 

A common question we get asked is, “Can you help me get my baby in a better position for labor?”

There is no guarantee that anything you do or anyone else does will “turn” baby. Not your doula, not your provider, not a chiropractor!

Could your provider or chiropractor help your baby turn, yes! There are techniques they can use to help turn your baby!

Will they work?

They may or they may not.

Will baby stay turned?

They may or they may not!

Can First Coast Doulas help turn your baby?

The answer to that is yes and no.

First Coast Doulas are knowledgeable and experienced in gentle exercises that can help make you more comfortable and that may help create space for your baby within the uterus, but we make no promises that it will happen, because we can’t, noone can!

We are skilled in helping you cope if positioning causes issues for you!

 

At First Coast Doulas it is against our personal and professional beliefs to guarantee outcomes outside of absolute, unbiased support and compassionate care.

What you see is what you get, you are not fed false hopes, dreams, or unrealistic promises, promises!

 

Phoenix Family Birth, this agency understands the promise we make as professional doulas!