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/

Delivery Room Etiquette

Delivery Room Etiquette

Delivery Room Etiquette best doulas in jax

Wedding and delivery room etiquette blogs are becoming more popular for good reason. This blog goes right along with some of the benefits of hiring a doula to support you and your partner while you’re giving birth to your baby. This blog was inspired by the above linked blog!

 

To Rest or Not to Rest

Your doula can give your partner a rest. Your doula actually helps both you and your partner to get sleep and rest that’s beneficial through-out labor. yes, sleep and rest in labor. It looks different at different stages in labor and depending upon the couple’s needs.

Phone Calls or Power Off

Your doula phones home! She can reply to text messages or stay with you while your partner steps away to update family and friends if that is needed. Your mom, mother in law, best friend, and sister all need an update. You don’t have to choose, your doula is happy to help in several ways to support your birth experience!

Paparazzi or Nah

If you opt to not to have a professional photographer join your team in the delivery room your doula is happy to snap the pictures you want and leave off the rest. Sometimes support is holding your hand and helping you remain “in the zone” and sometimes it’s getting pictures using your camera or phone, we have you covered!

Feeling Faint

Doulas are there to support your partner too, our top priority is to support you both in the way that is best for you specifically. That may look like hip squeezes and counter-pressure through a few contractions and getting your partner a cool glass of water and a fan in between.

Complaints or Compliments

Partners bust their ass! They are expected to be and do so much through pregnancy, labor and birth. Hold down the calls and texts, carry the bags, get your drink, hold your leg, stroke your skin, take care of older siblings, and stay awake. All of that with no complaints! They are amazing, but doulas are there so your partner can be an intricate part of the birth experience. With a doula there to support and help lighten the expected load your partner is able to attune to you and be “in the moment”.

T.V. On or Off

Let’s face it, if your partner is a sports fan and it’s on television they may be apt to watch the game or at least the highlights. Perhaps it’s the love of the game, or perhaps it’s just needing a way to release and refocus. Doulas have you covered so mom is not alone when she needs support and you don’t have to feel guilty for stepping away for 5 minutes.

Advocate or Support

The last piece to the “delivery room etiquette” puzzle: no one takes the birthing woman’s voice from her. Her voice is powerful and can be a source empowerment for the mother. Often times people say my doula stopped my doctor from x, y, and z. Doulas have a non-medical scope of practice and we have one job, one very important, underestimated job. Our job is to support! Support, period. That is not to say we can’t help the mother articulate with her own words her wishes and desire. We do not argue with care providers or “make sure” things are done as outlined. We will remind you of your wishes, validate your feelings, and help you find your own words!

Delivery room etiquette can be easily achieved with First Coast Doulas by your side! Our clients love the unique support they receive. Your birth experience is one you will carry with you for a lifetime.  With First Coast Doulas you will gain confidence and feel supported on your path to birth and parenting.

 

Stop Robbing Your Children

Stop Robbing Your Children

As requested by a few of our readers I have decided to write a blog addressing well meaning, but overbearing grandparents. It’s direct, without fluff, but with the intention of helping new families build healthy relationships with those they love and who love them!

 Stop Robbing Your Children

Many woman and men dream of becoming parents, sometimes it’s planned and other times it happens when they least expect it and they’re taken back. Do you remember what it was like to be a brand new parent? To feel vulnerable yet completely over joyed? To feel completely in love, but overwhelmed at the same time? You probably do, but very vaguely.

Becoming a parent is a profound experience!

New parents are fragile, yet they are incredibly strong. They are naive, but fully equipped. They are worthy of their own joys, their own mistakes, and the right to parent as they choose.

New parents need support. They need to hear “You’re doing a great job!” New parents want know you’re there if they need advice or a helping hand, but don’t want your unsolicited advice. Remind them that it get easier. Ask what you can do to help! Bring them a meal. Offer to hold the baby so they can shower. Pick a chore to do while they take in their new love and let the rest of the world fade away if even for just a short time.

Don’t remind them of the places they fall short, we all fall short. Build them up and let them know when you see them shining, even if it’s hard to do. Just do it!

New parents need to know that they are enough, because the truth is, they are!

At one time you were new parents, you didn’t know what you didn’t know and guess what? Your kids survived you! Sure, if you knew then what you know now you would have done some things differently, but that’s the beauty of it. There is no black and white, right or wrong in parenting!

One way isn’t better than another, it’s all just perspective.

With all due respect, grandparents, stop robbing from your children the joys and woes of parenting.

Set up some boundaries for yourself and stop over stepping boundaries your children have established. One example of this is how the baby is fed. Their choices for feeding their infant or child may be very different than your own choices, for different reasons. Car seat safety and co-sleeping are other examples.

It is not a parent’s job to justify to you or anyone else why they chose what they chose. But they may share with you why they do. Listen! Listen to what they are telling you! I bet it’s more than the reasons why, but because they feel it’s the best decision for their child, and that is a powerful reason.

One of the beauties of being a grandparent is that you don’t have to understand the whys, or do the research. It’s simple, respect the parent’s choices and enjoy loving your grandchildren.

Stop warning them of all the craziness that’s to come. Please stop telling them what you feel they’re doing wrong or jumping in to do it your way without being asked. Don’t tell them all the things they should and shouldn’t do or know. 

Grandparents, stop robbing your children and grandchildren of a happy fourth trimester, please! The fourth trimester, the trimester most people don’t talk about, is a delicate time in a mother’s life. She is learning her baby and her baby is learning her. There’s opportunity for risks and rewards. Which one do you want to foster? Her chances for postpartum depression and other issues increase when she is stressed due to many factors, one being lack of positive support.

STOP instilling fear in new parents.

Embrace your new role as grandparents and accept that while you are the parents you do not have the right to parent your grandchildren. Why rob these parents of opportunity and time with their infant and children? It’s hard sometimes to stand by and watch quietly as others do things differently, but it’s necessary.

It’s necessary for parents to learn their own lessons, to find their own path.

Not sure if you are one of these grandparents, not sure if you’ve been robbing your children and grandchildren? It doesn’t matter! Start being supportive now! Start by reminding yourself daily, even hourly if needed. Remember no one loves your grandchild more than your child.

There are no better parents for your grandchild than their parents.

Also, remember, just as you parented your children and they looked up to you and learned from your behaviors, your children are still learning from you even if it’s not the lessons you are intending to teach them. Now you have another set of eyes, ears, and a heart following your lead!

Ask what you can do to be supportive and help them!

A grandparent’s love is a special kind of love. Like a mother and a father, there are no replacements for grandparents. Your love for your grandchildren will live on forever through your actions and your words.

Grandparents, you have given the greatest gift to your grandchildren already, you have given them parents who are strong and capable.

What do you want to be remembered for?

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!

 

What Would Wonder Woman Do?

What Would Wonder Woman Do?

Authored by Keira Packard

What Would Wonder Woman Do Jacksonville Doula

Dear Wonder Woman,

Yes, you. You with your messy bun and a tshirt stained with baby food. Yeah, I’m talking to you.  I’ve got a secret. Want to hear it?

Wanting “Me time” is perfectly normal and healthy.

Yeah, you heard me right.

Even Wonder Woman gets a break every now and then.

In today’s Western society women are supposed to be all and do all; the Wonder Woman of the modern family.

We are mothers, wives, employees, bread winners, friends, volunteers, chefs, cleaning ladies, hot spandex-wearing crime fighters…the list goes on and on.

Taking a break, whether it’s to shower (alone and at a decent hour) or to have dinner with your girlfriends, has somehow become frowned upon. Wonder Woman’s job is never done.

As a wife and mother of two I’m lucky to be able to stay at home while my husband works. Money and time are tight, but it’s worth it to have the opportunity to take care of my family. The downside is the lack of “Me time.” Grocery shopping is done mostly with one or two children in tow, I share my showers with my little one more often than not and the luxury of finishing a fresh cup of hot coffee is a distant memory! Wonder Woman needs her caffeine too!

To combat the constant presence of others, every mother, me and you included, should take the time to do for ourselves. Go get a pedicure, have a glass of wine on the porch or take a hot relaxing bath.

Not only should we do these things regularly, but they should be done without guilt!

I can admit to feeling guilty when I do things that are just for me. I recently went clothes shopping alone at my husband’s insistence and it was so wonderful to sift through racks of clothes and not worry about the stroller being in the aisle or my six year old playing hide and seek amongst the rows of dresses. But even as I enjoyed my moments alone my mind drifted to home and how I could be marking off another thing on my to-do list instead of “wasting” time on me.

I know it’s a struggle I’m not alone in. This kind of thinking is not only wrong, but it’s unhealthy. We are human beings, not machines. Relaxation and joy are crucial to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

There is no shame in indulging in life’s little pleasures as you step out of your Wonder Woman role.

My challenge to you is twofold: start by planning one thing every week to do for yourself. Crack open that new book you’ve been meaning to read or stay up just a little late to eat that tiny carton of Chunky Monkey you’ve stashed behind the frozen peas.

That’s the easy part.

The hard part is to not let anyone, yourself included, make you feel guilty for it!

Enjoy the many roles you play, but remember: super suits are meant to be worn and taken off. Take comfort in the times you can stow away for yourself. Your body and those around you will thank you.

What Would Wonder Woman Do

About the author:

Keira is married with two children and the owner and knitted designer of simplybee.co. Keira is a hardworking wonder woman who knows all too well the importance of me time. Now, making time and not feeling guilty about it is the struggle many of us face. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes to see the reasoning for it!

Going to Work Just for the Fun of It, Part 2

Going to Work Just for the Fun of It, Part 2

If you missed Part 1 you will want to catch up quickly!

Going to Work

 

The 12 hour language used in many contracts simply states that included in the birth doula package, for X amount of money you get 12 hours of face to face support, and beyond that the client pays X amount per hour!

Clients read and understand the terms of the contract, the doula understands her obligations, the client knows what’s expected of them, what they will receive, and that is that. Two or three adults enter into a legally binding contract.

No one knows how long labor will last. Even if you’ve had fast labors before, that is no guarantee the next will be the same. With the 12 hour language in the contract clients will receive amazing support and the doula(s) will be compensated fairly in the event the labor is long. If the labor is short the clients still receive the support outlined in the contract and the doula is compensated fairly!

It’s black and white, it’s plain and simple. Clients get this concept!

They like knowing they’re paying for amazing support, they like knowing their life experience wasn’t a burden on someone else, and when they have their next baby First Coast Doulas will still be around! They like that we provide continuity of care right into the postpartum year! They love that there was an even exchange of support and energy for payment!

It’s empowering!

It’s empowering for the doulas, it’s empowering for the clients!

Imagine this; you live life on call never knowing when you’ll have to leave at a moment’s notice to support a laboring woman for six to forty-eight hours.  You may be in the middle of your daughter’s dance recital, your friend’s husband funeral, or just falling asleep after two days of virtually no sleep thanks to an ear infection in your infant and soothing a fussy, teething toddler of your own. Imagine not knowing if you’d earn $400 or $0?

Imagine you’re supporting a client at a birth, it’s reaching hour 18 and you are dead tired. You can’t keep going, but your client needs you there. It’s a horrible feeling. She goes on to need about 9 more hours of support. Now imagine paying out of your own pocket to pay a back-up doula to come in and provide the remaining hours of support. Yes, I mean your own pocket, or better yet, how about your spouse’s pocket!

Imagine how your spouse or partner would feel about that? Would your children or fur baby be o.k. with this lifestyle choice? Certainly not!

On a global level we need doulas to keep at creating sustainable businesses!

On a global level we need doulas to keep at it!

Globally, if doulas are to help improve pregnancy, birth, and postpartum we must create longevity within the doula profession.

Profession: a type of job that requires special education, training, or skill.

Job: the work that a person does regularly in order to earn money.

The 12 hour language is being used by doulas more and more since ProDoula, a certification agency for the modern doula was started. This language is helping to revolutionize the way  doulas everywhere view the work that they do.

The 12 hour language is only one part of creating stability for the doula so she can make her heart’s work into a long career. The business side of doula work is necessary to create stability, longevity and ultimately to leave behind a legacy! People aren’t working just for the fun of it; they want to leave something behind when they leave this Earth!

The 12 hour language is a SINGLE line in our contract, but it speaks volumes about the work we are doing as professionals!

Being paid a thriving wage allows a doula to be present for her own family when she’s with them, not worrying about how she’ll put food on the table or how she’ll be able to pay a  great nanny to care for her kids when she is called away at a moment’s notice to support her clients in labor.

It allows her to buy herself clothes she would otherwise not be able to afford. It allows her to leave a relationship that’s no longer healthy. It allows her to send a cleaning lady into her elderly father’s home who lives five states away when she can’t get there to help the person who raised her alone!

It allows her to send her child to a school where he/she can receive a fantastic education! It allows her to give her children the very best while she is away!

It allows her self-care when she needs it!

She can get a chiropractic adjustment after a long birth, or pay a therapist regularly to process the stillbirths she supports her clients through! Whether it’s bubble baths, a glass of wine and alone time, monthly massages, or having her hair and nails done on the regular, self-care is important! It’s beneficial, and it’s necessary for longevity!

It allows her to arrive to her clients knowing her kids are taken care of, her car is in good working order, and her house is functioning like a well-oiled machine while she’s away supporting other families.

I say all of that to say this; the 12 hour language allows the doula to come to her clients free from baggage, worry, and frustration. It allows her heart, her hands, and her mind to be solely for the purpose of supporting her clients while she is with them!

Smart people know if you want to make the biggest impact possible in the world it will likely take funds to do so, most things cost! Being business savvy is not greedy, it’s smart!

It allows me and many other doulas, who otherwise would not be able to, to focus on creating stability, longevity, and leaving behind a legacy!

The 12 hour language is a win-win for all! Oh wait, and then there are the ones who have a problem with it!

You know who has a problem with this concept? People who women don’t feel women deserve to be paid appropriately for the work they do. People who are for oppression!

Sorry not sorry!

There are actual people in this world who feel it’s o.k. for women to go to work just for the fun of it. That their actual work is not work at all, it’s all fun and games! They believe it’s o.k. for women to be stuck in abusive relationships, and feel it’s o.k. for women to be away from their families for an unknown amount of time with the possibility she come back empty-handed in terms of earnings. Even worse there are people who think it’s o.k. for the doula to pay out of her own pocket to witness the miracle and extremely hard work of birth!

Bottom line, doulas deserve to be paid for the valuable work that they do, every time, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

The 12 hour language supports the doula while they support their clients! Going to work just for the fun of it creates burn out, not sustainability!

Going to Work Just for the Fun of It, Part 1

Going to Work Just for the Fun of It, Part 1

Going to Work Just For The Fun of It

Doesn’t the thought of going to work just for the fun of it sound amazing!?!

Do you love gambling with your house, car, family, or your future? Think about it, the possibility of getting paid well or receiving no paycheck at all since you love your job, everyday is a new gamble! You win some you lose some!

Sound like a great business model right? How do you think it will help you create sustainability?

How cool would it be if you could call the electric company and say, “I love my job so much that I couldn’t set a wage for myself to ensure I’d be able to pay my bills this month, maybe next week I’ll have it, I’m sorry”, and all was right in the world!

Yeah, not happening!

This blog may seem…weird or out of place! It’s not, I promise. It’s important we blog, talk, and discuss this issue because it’s a real problem and we need to keep it at the forefront if we want to see change happen in our lifetime. If we want to leave birth work better than we found it we have to talk about the awkward right along with the comforting matters!

Please, stay with me, read Part 2.

It offer perspective and tell you exactly what that 12 hour language is all about in our contract!

Have you had a job that you were excited about going today, everyday?!? Remember the saying, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well that’s a load of garbage. Work is work, whether you love it or not, it’s still challenging at some point and majority of people want to be paid for the time they are working!

Without stability you can’t have longevity!  The 12 hour language that’s being used more and more in doula business contracts helps a person create stability for their business. Without stability this profession would suffer, great doulas burn out. Do we really want something as intimate and as life changing as birth to suffer? I know I surely don’t!

Women who are working deserve not only to be paid a wage that helps them survive, but also helps their families survive, and families all over the world thrive, their own family included!

Why should doulas be excluded from this? They shouldn’t!

 

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Going to Work Just for the Fun of It

Dear Parents on Your Mobile Devices

Dear Parents on Your Mobile Devices

Dear Parents on Your Mobile Devices Jacksonville, FL

 

Dear parents on your mobile devices, I see you at the park, sitting at the picnic table on your laptop while your children entertain one another. They toss about the mulch, and dig with their sticks in the dirt.

Their hands are small, but their imaginations are as big as their hearts!

We all know you see your three year old climbing those steps, all alone, while you peer over the top of the screen and watch another child’s mother runs over to help your son up. You sit engrossed on your laptop.

We all physically see you, but I see you practice self-restraint so your children get to interact with other people in the world in which they live, together. I see you resisting the urge to tell her you would prefer she let your son climb the steps without being lifted up so he get the exercise that his body needs. His motor skills need this time at the park!

I notice that you ever so lovingly look over at your children and smile as they race each other down the slide and push each other on the swings.

As you type intently word after word your children yell for you to watch them! You cheer them on and then focus back on your work. Work to some that seems to be more important than your children.

Let that not worry or distract you, for you are an incredible parent!

Oh I see it, I do!

I see the hard work and motivation in your eyes and more importantly, I can feel the love in your heart from across this playground!

I see siblings engaging with other children and trusting one another.

I see two happy children who are using the outside world as their classroom; they are learning to be independent while being closely supervised by their parent, someone who loves them more than anyone or anything else in this world.

That’s powerful!

Dear parents on your mobile devices I hear you talking over your kids! I hear you catching up with a dear friend whom you haven’t seen or talked to in nearly three months. I see you purposing to make time for your friend, someone who you’ve shared good times and bad with. Someone who has been a solid support for you and you for them.

I hear the laughter from the other side of the bench and smile a little knowing your friendship means a great deal to you!

That’s beautiful!

Your children will grow up with you modeling for them what positive friendships/relationships look like. They will know relationships are valuable, unique, and important.

Dear parents on your mobile devices, I see you taking calls on your cell phone while your kids tug at your shirt tail and beg you for a snack. I see you feeding your kids those goldfish and juice boxes while you talk on your phone!

I see a parent scheduling an appointment with their daughter’s pediatrician and scheduling a parent teacher conference. I see you juggling being a fun, in the moment, and responsibility.

I see the McDonald’s wrapper fall from your bag to the ground. I see someone who cared less about breakfast and more about making time for their kids to get that important park trip they have been asking about!

You promised you’d take them and you’re a person of your word!

You are a promise keeper!

Your kids will grow up respecting you for your honesty and always being person of your word, this is harder to come by than you might think!

Dear parents on your mobile devices, I hear your phone go off and signal you to check your text messages. I watch as your youngest child throws sand at your oldest and then your oldest hides alone under the slide. I comfort him while you texted back and forth giggling. To some onlookers I am a stranger and you just don’t care about your kid, but to you I am another parent who is just checking on him and showing normal important human compassion.

Thank you for not judging me or making assumptions about me. To me you seem confident, but wise and watchful over your children.

I see you, I notice. I see a spouse whose other half is working overtime so that he/she can be at home with their children. I see a couple working hard to make a life for their children and for their family.

I see small sacrifices for a better future together.

Dear parents on your mobile devices I see you looking around and wondering if others are watching you and judging you for not being up running around with your children. I see the gears spinning and the expectations you put on yourself. I can see your confidence fade for moments here and there as you second guess yourself.

I see this because I do this too! Yep!

Then I remember I am a parent doing the very best I can at this very moment and that is o.k. I know you know this too. It’s a nice reminder though when another parent says something encouraging to you!

I want to be your encouragement today!

I want you to be someone’s encouragement tomorrow!

Being a parent is humbling and has taught me a whole lot! One very important things I have learned is that there is no right or wrong way to raise your children, just one way or another. It’s also taught me we never know it all.

Being a Doula has allowed me to see parenting in an entirely new light, be more encouraging than I ever imagined possible, and let go of many expectations.

When we let go of expectations we allow ourselves more freedom and happiness! we are more mindful and in the moment.

Dear Parents on their mobile devices please know I see you, I admire you, I respect you, and I do not judge you! Parent with confidence with all the love in your heart and know THAT is enough!

You are enough!

I challenge you to encourage another parent today! With words, with your actions, or simply by sharing this blog with someone who may need to read these words today!

I Just Want a Night with My Friends

I Just Want a Night with My Friends

I just want a night with my friends

New moms give so much of themselves. They undergo rapid changes in pregnancy, like no other time in their lives. They carry and birth their babies and care for them around the clock. Feeding, bathing, dressing, comforting, and providing warmth and love to their babies. Running errands, attending appointments, writing out the bills, cooking, cleaning, and the million and one other things moms to on the daily!

Moms give selflessly day in and day out without complaint. Well, most of the time!

Is it too much for a lady to say, without guilt, “I need a break, just for a little while”, “I have 99 problems, but I just want to ignore them all for a couple hours”?

NO IT’S NOT!

Is it too much for a lady to say, “I need time to be myself, the individual, the person, and not me the maid, cook, referee, nurse, wife and mom? I just want a night with my friends” and actually get it at times?

NOT AT ALL!

Remember, better person, better parent!

From one mother to another I know how it feels to need to be you. I know how it feels to not want to adult every single moment of every single day for months on end without a break. I don’t know about you, but I even adult in my sleep! Even if the new you is in shock and not sure how to do “you” when you get the time!  Even if it’s just for 30 minutes!

We would give our right arm to have me time!

Heck most of us would be happy for a bathroom break alone and not having to crawl to the back of our closets and hide behind the clothes to enjoy a phone call from a friend or our dark chocolate in peace.

Taking time for ourselves is important. It allows us to let loose, relax, socialize with other adult humans and come back to everyday life feeling refreshed and recharged! Setting boundaries for ourselves, for others, giving grace and settling goals and rewards, allows us to be the best me we can be! When our kiddos and spouses push our buttons we are better able to remain calm and focused when we are refreshed!

Ladies, your brilliance amazes us, you are inspirational!

We have designed a package to give you back your time! The First Coast Doulas Ladies Night In Package!

Time so you can enjoy a night with your closest friends! To feel like yourself, to talk girl talk, to laugh, vent, and if you cry you’ll have a shoulder or two to cry on. After all friends are there for good times, bad times, in between times, and all those other times!

This package makes the perfect gift for husbands, best friends, or grandparents to give a new mom!!! Contact us today and get your Ladies Night In on the books and start dreaming about your night!

 

Myth- A Healthy Baby and A Healthy Mom Are All That’s Important

I know you’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it, “A healthy baby and a healthy mom are all that’s important!”

A Healthy Baby and A Healthy Mom Are All That's Important

 

Well I am here to tell you, that’s a load of crap! Yep, I said it and I mean it!

Now, I do agree that the safety of a mother and her baby are first and foremost, but to say that a healthy baby and a healthy mom are all that’s important is terrible.

Did you know that 25-34% of mothers report that the birth of their baby was traumatic.

To shade the way a mother feels about her own personal journey is disrespectful, rude, and terribly warped. Is it done intentionally? Most of the time no, not at all. Most of the time it’s done by well-meaning loved ones and friends who just want to make mom feel better, they just want to “fix” the situation.

However, by saying, “A healthy baby and a healthy mom are all that’s important”, you are saying her feelings and thoughts about her birth are invalid, null and void. Women don’t need to be fixed. They need to be heard, validated, empathize with, and they need time, space, encouragement, and support to heal.

The path a woman takes through pregnancy, labor, and birth are a journey so unique that it can never be duplicated again.

Yes, she may have more pregnancies, more labors, and more births, but no two are ever the same, even ones that are very similar. Whether it be her plan to have a homebirth, medicated hospital birth, VBAC, or cesarean, the journey is important and how she feels about her journey is even more important!

The end result, baby in arms is not all that it’s about, the journey that is taken to get there is of importance too. The way a woman feels about her pregnancy, labor, and birth shape her into who she is, how she feels about herself, and how she will parent her children. The same applies for the father. He knows the safety of his baby and his partner is the most important thing, but tell that to the father whose wife is suffering with postpartum depression or psychosis. Tell that to the father that works all day and comes home to a wife who is weeping in the closet, or full of anxiety about something being wrong with their baby.

First Coast Doulas knows how important the journey is, it’s why we do what we do!

We support women and their partners in pregnancy, labor, birth, and even into the first year after delivering their babies because we know this is a journey not a race. We know the foundation is being built for their parenting journey and we want them to have the confidence, love, light, and laughter they desire to make the journey a positive one.

So, please before the next time you tell a woman or her partner, a healthy baby and a healthy mom are all that’s important, stop and think for a moment. It may be awkward, you may draw a blank on what to say that is o.k., sometimes saying nothing and just being there is what they need.

 

 

Here’s a great blog by Sam McCulloch that is along similar lines of this one if you are interested in reading it.