Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby Jax FL | Best Doulas Jax FL

Secrets to Having Great Sex when Your Baby Is Nearby

Are there really secrets to having great sex when your baby is nearby? In the beginning new parents sometimes feel disconnected from sex while others do not skip a beat. Both are completely normal, not everyone is ready to engage in sex again at the same time. As long as you aren’t staying in valley too long or taking risks with your health and body in those early weeks, where you fall on the scale is probably pretty normal! For most parents if you want to have time for sex you have to make time, and get creative! You might be wondering if having sex when your baby is nearby by is even possible, it totally is!

So let’s just get right down to business so you can get down to business! Sex is a normal, healthy part of life. It can give you a release that is healing and helpful. Sex can be centered on your partner with no interest in self-gratification too. Sex is about connection, not always about orgasms and thrills! You can learn so much about yourself and your partner during sex through open communication and a trust.

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #1:

Extra Nap or Nap Extended!

Routines and schedules are proven to be beneficial. Sometimes though it’s perfectly healthy to let go of the routine and be “spontaneous”. Let your baby take an extra nap or sleep another hour now and again and engage in some adult activity! It can break up the monotony and create little sparks here and there! Heck maybe even enjoy a glass of wine while you’re at it!

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #2:

Room Divider for Room Sharing, not Sex Shaming!

For the room sharing parents, if “All Eyez on Me,” isn’t your thing don’t worry! You don’t need to be Tupac Shakur to feel the “Changes” that parenthood brings! [Cheesy rapper references used] Younger infants have exactly no idea what sex is, no remembrance of their parents bouncing and moaning, and there have been no studies to ever show it will have any effects on them whatsoever.

If your infants tiny eyes are making it hard for you or your partner to disconnect from the rational part of your brains, the neocortex, and slip into the primal, instinctual part of your brain, the Limbic system then a blind fold or room divider are cheap and easy ways to take eyes off your infant and connect with your partner!

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #3:

Make Play time, “Playtime”!

As parents we are ALWAYS looking for ways to get a damn shower! Instead of engaging in playtime with your baby today or this hour, why not make shower time double duty?! Put baby in his/her rock n play or bouncer in the bathroom, grab your favorite water proof vibrator, or you know your partner if he/she is home, and jump in the shower! Great sex can happen alone too! A quickie in the shower while your baby plays safely in ear and eye shot from you can be exhilarating as well as refreshing! Double the pleasure!

First Coast Doulas knows you’re human. You have desires, and sometimes no desire! We know what it’s like to need time with your partner, alone! As postpartum doulas we help parents live the healthiest lives possible. Sex is important, kids are important, your marriage or partnership is important, and YOU are important!

At First Coast Doulas our brand is built on the motto, “First Love Yourself,” and we mean it! It’s ok to put your needs and desires first sometimes, your kids will have happier parents because of it; your family will be healthier because you loved yourself first!

Happy birth and parenting from the best doulas in Jax. FL


You’re a Rock Star Even if Nobody Tells You

you're a rock star | best doulas in jax florida

You’re a Rock Star Even if Nobody Tells You

We’ve got to get something off our chests.  It’s a secret that shouldn’t be. It’s something that doesn’t, for some reason, get said enough or only gets said when the “right” conditions are met.  And it’s a shame.

You’re a Rock Star! Yes, YOU!

Birthing a baby and parenting said baby until they run your refrigerator out the door, is hard work no matter what. Even for us folk who seem to be floating on cloud 9 in the best breeze, there are days that are just hard. And you’re a rock star for showing up.  Giving birth to this tiny human is also an incredible feat, no matter the mode of delivery.

Society at large seems to place a higher value on certain types of birth though.

We’ve even noticed that the professionals with whom so many new parents place their trust have demonstrated public preference to birth and are biased in what they deem worthy of public merriment. As care providers and professional support persons in a position of authority, this behavior implicitly ascribes a morality to this value and as such, shames different choices and outcomes. And while it may be unintentional, many parents end up feeling like shit about their birth.


“I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does. I did all the things. I took an eight week childbirth class, hired a well-known doula, read articles, and I joined a moms group for women who were and had birthed narturally. In the end it was just me, all alone. Noone cheering me on and telling me, ‘You’re a rock star’, or ‘You rocked your birth’ after a 12 hour labor turned cesarean. I was heart broken, it would have just felt good to know others saw how hard I tried. Instead I felt like I let my doula and closest friends down.”


Our birth experiences shape us, whether we like it or not. How we feel as we enter parenthood matters! Words matter! Hearing, “You’re a rockstar” matters, and not hearing it matters too!

When the most popular doctor, midwife, or doula in town always posts and shares the “best” births on their social media platforms, and you notice that they always say, “Congrats to this Rock Star mama who had an non-medicated vaginal birth” but doesn’t mention the rock star parents who labored for hours and chose to pursue relief via pharmaceuticals, or the parent who chose a cesarean birth from the get-go, it hurts.

We get it.

We hear you.

Having a “natural” birth (which is a misnomer, by the way) is definitely something to be proud of and it is worth celebration. No doubt, at all. But choosing an epidural or opting for cesarean birth is an equally valid choice and one that deserves the same frequency and intensity of accolades.

This isn’t simply a matter of target market or ideal patients/clients on the part of the midwives or other birth professionals in regards to their statements/behavior online and off, because

a). not all of their patients/clients want the same things for their birth that the provider wants

b.) a provider and/or doula shouldn’t necessarily “want” anything other than a healthy, safe, and happy experience and outcome to begin

c.) they are all held in esteem in the greater health community and because of this, have influence and

d.) even if, by some chance, all their clients/patients did want a completely drug-free/intervention-free, vaginal birth, there will always be some who, for their safety and health, cannot and will not birth as originally intended.

The consequences from feeling like one “failed” at birth are very real and entirely damaging.

Not to mention, it isn’t a test to pass. By saving our “You’re a rock star” for specific people, we are effectively setting people up to believe that birth is a test of their abilities and ultimately, of their parental devotion and/or suitability. By always exclusively referring to these “mamas” (another issue for another day), we do a disservice to all those parents who need and want validation and…shared joy in their hard work.  Because let’s be clear here: non-medicated vaginal birth is hard. Medicated vaginal birth is hard. Cesarean birth is hard. Birth is hard.  So what are we saying?

There is no right or wrong way!

YOU’RE A ROCK STAR. With capital letters.  Unequivocally.  All day, every day!

P.S we recommend surrounding yourself with people who will tell you you’re a rock star without any strings. It doesn’t have to be us-we just want nothing more than your fully knowing your power.

Authored by: Heather Horrell and Elizabeth Luke

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

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

While the tragic events that have happened recently are no joke, the way many are responding is. What kind of people judge others on their parenting skills and for the love they have for another human being? Since when has judgement trumped love and compassion? What good can come from throwing stones, name calling, and finger pointing?

We have no right to judge. Have we forgotten that we are not perfect, that we make mistakes, every damn one of us? You are an imperfect person, we are all imperfect people!

What nightmare are we living here?

We are humans, but we’ve become apex predators, more violent than any wild animal. This is our reality and it’s not good at all. The animals are being animals. The children free-spirited, fearless, and learning through play. Our children play, explore, and are curious!

Most people love their children, even those facing drug addiction and debilitating mental disorders. Majority of the time they do not want harm to come to their children.

We have a responsibility to our children. Physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being. Sometimes that is holding their hand every step of the way and other times it means letting go and being there, close by when they ask or need for our help. Have you survived teen years yet?!

We have marriages, mortgage payments, other children, jobs, sick or dying loved ones, and ourselves to care for too!

Meanwhile we parent with life in motion, while juggling work, while balancing life!

You take a quick phone call quick while they play in the tub.

You engage in conversation about the big game last night with another father at the park while you kids disappear from your direct line of sight for a few chaotic minutes.

You let your baby keep that blankie with them as they finally fall asleep on their tummy after hours and hours of crying with no sleep. You dare not risk waking him.

You allow an older, more responsible sibling to take your youngest to the potty who can’t hold it at a restaurant while you deal with your infant who just projectile vomited in the car seat.

You allow your child to run around with a lollipop so they will stop screaming so you can have five damn minutes to gather your thoughts after getting the news your mother has cancer.

You come out of the bathroom to find your toddler has learned operate the child locks and has bleach in her hand or how to get out on the back patio near the pool which he could easily have fell into.

These are situations where accidents could have happened, and they have happened.

Most of us have had a baby fall from a bed. Could we have done more? Maybe! Are kids going to be kids? Yes! Are parents going to make mistakes? Oh hell yes we do, don’t insert “but” here. No buts! Accidents do happen!

Your child could have been these children, you could have been those parents, we all could have been. So please, stop! Stop the judgement and hate, choose love!

Humans have become more predatorily than wild animals. More deaths occur in our country every year than all accidental deaths by animals combine.

So an alligator, gorilla, and a coward walked into a bar and all hell broke loose. This animal disguised as a person took the hate and anger he had for himself and projected it onto others. He killed so many for no reason other than hate. What he did was heartless and senseless, but prepare to see more of this hate if we do not decide to change.

It starts with you, it starts with me. It starts with stopping!

We are all mirrors! What we say, do, and project onto others is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Are your words kind and compassionate or full of hate and judgement?

I know you’ve heard these: sometimes less is more, those who live in glasses houses shouldn’t throw stones, and two wrongs don’t make a right. We are responsible for our actions, our words, and our thoughts. Perhaps we judge less and love more!

Feel, think, process… then respond!

Hate breeds hate. Love changes things! Choose love!


Our colleagues at Hampton Roads Doulas also wrote a fantastic blog. Please go over and show them some love too!

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?

Menstrual Cup GIVEAWAY for Moms

Menstrual Cup GIVEAWAY for Moms

healthy mom jacksonville placenta

Many of my friends, family members, readers, and clients have asked about menstrual cups. Wait, have you heard of menstrual cups?!

A menstrual cup is a reusable, eco-friendly cup that is worn internally. Yes, in your vagina. Made from medical grade silicone, the cup sits in the vaginal canal and collects, instead of absorbs your menstrual blood. These cups have been around since 1937 when the first was patented. The menstrual cup can be worn during the day, at night, even in the water for 4-12 hours depending on comfort and flow of your period.

Imagine a world where pads and tampons didn’t end up in a landfill. Imagine not having to spend money and time to purchase these items. Many women say they have less cramps and produce less blood when using a menstrual cup compared to tampons. No chemicals (bleach is just one) like those used in tampons and disposable pads, no toxic shock syndrome!

What a difference a menstrual cup could have made if you and I knew about them when we were young ladies beginning our journey into womanhood!

First Coast Doulas knows our healthy mom readers want to try these cups for themselves or know someone who they would love to give them to! So, we are giving away not one, but TWO menstrual cups (size 2) to one lucky winner! These are two brands I personally use and love. My DivaCup stays at my house and my other is a traveler. In addition to the cups I am adding in a little something special for the healthy mom winner!

I want you to experience the magic too!

I know everyone wants one and I’d love to wave my magic wand and play Oprah for a moment. “A menstrual cup for you”, “One for you”, and “You’re all getting a menstrual cup”, I’d announce!

I mean, think of the difference these would make in countries where girls miss out on education because of their periods. I’d love to see young ladies embrace their body’s beauty!

Menstruation is a beautiful thing isn’t it? A PITA sometimes, but still a beautiful gift! Let us help you make it less of a pain and more empowering!

Healthy Mom jax placenta encapsulation

Menstrual Cup GIVEAWAY for Moms contest rules, requirements and details:

  1. Read this blog and comment here on the blog. It can be a question you would like an answer to or just a comment.
  2. Like First Coast Doulas Facebook page and share this Facebook post on your timeline.
  3. Comment on this contest post on our Facebook business page that you have completed steps 1 and 2.
  4. Tag your friends. One tag per comment.

Rules and Winner: Follow all steps!! Winner must live within the United States, shipping address must be within the United States. Contest ends on 3-18-2016. No limit to number of friends you can tag, each comment with a tagged friend is an entry. Winner will be drawn at random and announced on 4-2-2016 on our Facebook page, after verifying entries. Once announced the winner must contact us with their mailing address within 7 days or they void their entry and a new winner will be selected. The winner must have completed step 1-4 above.  The prize will be mailed out to the winner within 7 days of receiving their mailing address. Prize package is valued at $55!

Good luck to everyone who enters the Menstrual Cup GIVEAWAY for Moms!!!

What’s Left After They’re Gone?

What’s Left After They’re Gone?

What's Left After They're Gones

I hope that my readers find solidarity, peace, hope, and excitement in what is to come when your kids have moved out. Whether you are nearing these days or you are many years away still!

I have birthed three kids of my own, okay they were babies when I gave birth, but you get my point! I’ve also cared for my baby brother through his life, until recently.

Occasionally, over the years I thought about the day each of my kids would grow up and move out. I wondered what it would be like. I wondered if they’d stay home a while after high school and attend college. What if they don’t attend college? What if they just go out into the workforce? What if they want to leave home at eighteen and travel the world or move across country straight away? What if they had a baby before they were “ready”?

The thoughts could be worse, right?

Like, what if they ended up on drugs and in jail? Worse still, what if they overdosed and didn’t recover from their addiction? What if they didn’t live to even get the chance to decide to have kids or not? What if they ended up on the streets? What if they didn’t want to be independent and they enjoyed being at home, forever?!

Oh my! Enabling others is one thing I will never do. Personal back story here, but let’s say there are good examples, and examples of who I never want to become!

My heart ached at the thoughts. I would get teary-eyed and at times, admittedly I cried. Then I would laugh and think you’re silly, they’re just ___________ (fill in the blank with babies, kids, teens), you have plenty of time left.

The thoughts would pass almost as quickly as they came.

Honestly, some of those tears were from frustration. My mantra during the teenage years was, “Remember, you will miss these days!” Raising kids, four of them at that, is not for the faint of heart. I assure you as parents we all have melt-downs, I’ve had many. As the kids grew older the challenges grew harder too.

I won’t “warn” you or say the very cliché thing most people say, “You think it’s rough now, just you wait till they’re teenagers!” I’ll just say this, they’re sweet and adorable as babies for a reason; to ensure that cuteness and love is enough to carry us through the teenage years!

Every family presents with its own unique set of challenges. For us I think having three boys with only a two year age difference was a challenge in and of itself.

I believe that there is comfort in not knowing all the things to come, at least for me it was. To tell you the truth if I’d knew what we’d face between the ages of 12 and 16 I probably would’ve ran away, forever! Kidding, I would have come back once the future revealed to me that not one, but all three of my boys would move out in 2015. YEAH! I imagined their stories would be their own, unique as each of them, but NEVER did I imagine they’d all be moving out in the same year.

Imagine for a second the shock I experienced when one of them not only moved out at a very young age, but also got married and moved three states away all within 30 days! Yeah, serious shock to this mama’s heart!

So what’s left after they’re gone?

Well, they’re not really gone; they’re just living their lives. This is the natural progression of things. The life that I gave them was always their own. I taught them important lessons and have learned even more!

Oh boy, tears are flowing heavily from my eyes now, again…

After their hand prints have faded from the walls, the loud, crazy music has silenced and their rooms have emptied I am left with a full heart and memories of three funny, inspiring, rambunctious boys who I hope get to enjoy their health life they have been blessed with.

After running out of hot water in the shower at least twice a week for the last 6 years we now have an extra bathroom that rarely gets used and hot water to spare.

The dryer that use to run nonstop with football and basketball uniforms and dark clothes mixed with lights is now working part-time.

After the airsoft pellets have faded from the yard the indentions in the wooden posts remain for a little while longer.

The largest tree limbs of my only shade tree were hacked, but I look back and laugh at how crazy and determined those boys were!

The dirty shoe marks left on the carpet have all been ripped up now. There has been wood flooring put in. I remember the fun they had skateboarding, riding bikes, playing in the dirt, and running in and out of the house in a hurry to get to the neighbor’s pond to swim!

Our large grocery bill has now shrunk, but  I have a hard time cooking for just three of us. We hope to one day feed some little ones from our kitchen and table again!

So what’s left after they’re gone?

Cheers! Toast a glass of wine, a beer, or mocktail, you did it, you survived parenting your kids through their childhood. That is a huge accomplishment in itself.

Hope! There’s hope in knowing we taught them to love with their hearts, to be compassionate of others, but to think clearly with their minds.

Time for ourselves! We have made it all these years, through all kinds of challenges. We have been blessed to come out on the other side of parenting still sane (or with our own new definition of the word)! So there’s time now to do more of the things we sacrificed for the kids!

Trust! Trust that you did the very best you could with the resources you had available to raise your kids. They will make mistakes, they will, but trust that they will be okay, and believe they will do amazing things!

Excitement! I am excited for this new chapter in my life, and equally excited to see what is next for them! Oh the things they will learn and experience next!!

When the nest starts to empty don’t be scared! I hope you take comfort in knowing that many mothers and fathers have walked this path before you and that this is the natural progression of things. Our children will still need us, but in different ways. By grace we have made it this far, we are of the lucky ones!


What Marriage Really Looks Like

What Marriage Really Looks Like

What Marriage Really Looks Like Jacksonville Florida


I think the idea of marriage is terrifying to some, while seeming like a novelty to others. I’m sharing what marriage really looks like for me and many other couples because after thirteen years I have some wisdom to share and our marriage has benefited from other couples who’ve generously shared with us along the way.

I recently had someone ask me if my marriage was peaceful, because peaceful to them meant boring. My response, “We have been together for 13 years, it’s peaceful, but not all the time. Thirteen years and it’s not going to be peaceful all the time, but peaceful does not equal boring!”

When I met my husband, after dating for a period of time, and accepting his proposal I thought about what it would be like to be a married couple. No longer living a single lifestyle, no longer dating each other, but in a solid, long-term, committed relationship.

I considered what that would look and feel like and it excited me!

Fast forward 13 years, 4 kids, 6 deaths in the family, financial struggles, and lots of ups and downs later and I have some insight! Now, there’s something to be said for the innocence of not knowing, so if you would like to leave, this is your warning, now’s your chance…

Marriage means easy like Sunday morning and also hard work and hard times, like really, really hard work from both partners a lot of the time.

It means fun, spontaneity, and excitement. It can also be boring as hell, stagnant, and bone-ass dry!

What marriage really looks like

It looks like spooning in your sleep or sleeping with your backs towards each other because neither of you get restful sleep when you “cuddle” through the night. Sometimes it means taking the couch so your daughter can sleep with her mama when she doesn’t feel well.

It means quickies before your partner leaves for work, and playing “This for That!”

This for That is a game my husband and I created after we had a hard realization that our sex life had changed for that season in our lives, “this for that” bargaining worked, for both of us, it was and is a win-win!

Example- “If you give me 20 minutes in the bedroom, I’ll let you sleep in tomorrow and get up with the baby!”

Sleep, did someone say extra sleep? Deal baby!

What Marriage Really Looks Like Jacksonville Florida

You’re welcome!

Marriage for some means going months without seeing each other because of long deployments. It means getting back into the swing after this long “break”, it’s not all easy!

Marriage can be harsh words, pure disgust, and contemplating the D word. Yes divorce! It means putting the other person before yourself at times, many times. It might mean counseling, even by yourself if the other person won’t go. Marriage means talking, lots and lots of talking.  It’s saying you’re sorry even when you don’t know what you did or understand why it hurt the other person, but you say it because you know you intention wasn’t to hurt them and you did.

Marriage means you may not always be madly in love with your partner, but you love your partner! It means falling back into love again and again.

Marriage means recognizing the others person’s shortcomings, but meeting them where they are instead of calling them out! It’s speaking words of appreciation for the everyday things we tend to take for granted. It’s reminding yourself that they are human just like you and they have not given up yet either!

Marriage means you’re listening and forgiveness game must be strong and your trust and honesty game on point!

We have found that knowing and understanding each other’s personality styles, love languages, and setting some ground rules helped us tremendously. These may not work for everyone, and are really meant more for examples than direct guide for you, but for our marriage it’s been very helpful.

Our ground rules:

  • No name calling
  • No arguing in front of the kids about the others parenting choice. (This has been the hardest for us by far. Our parenting styles are so different, but trusting, which came with time, helped both of us know that we don’t have to understand to trust the other’s choice and decision even though it may be very different from our own.) We will and do argue in front of our kids, on occasion, and feel it is not only acceptable, but beneficial for them to see us have difference. We also make sure, when apologies are necessary that we do it in front of the kids as often as possible so they witness that as well.
  • Once forgiven you can’t throw it back in their face! Forgiveness, but not forgotten!

Marriage is about love! It’s about beginning with the end in mind. Marriage is about knowing when to fight and when to walk away. It’s about not falling asleep at night mad at each other. It’s about squashing the bullshit because you realize life is short and this is the person who you love more than any other.

It’s about taking the road less traveled and creating your own detours!

What Marriage Really Looks Like Jacksonville Florida


When you think about what marriage really looks like, know that it’s beautiful, but not without mess. It’s not all smiles and happiness, it’s rough, it’s raw, it’s crazy, but it’s forgiveness, it’s togetherness, it’s someone to catch you when you fall.

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!

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays


home for the holidays jacksonville doula

Home for the holidays can take on a different meaning after you have kids! Holidays with kids are so different than celebrating as a single person or as a married couple without children. The things we use to doing during the holidays change a bit after we have kids of our own. At least in some way they do.

Many people go home for the holidays, whether it’s next door or cross country. Year after year you do this because it’s what you’ve always done, and you’ve come to look forward to it; it’s what the holidays are to you. Perhaps it’s become a tradition and you want to continue to feel the sense of family.

After you have a baby though you start to look at life through a new lens, it’s true!

Once your baby is here in your arms, your house begins to feel even more like your home, you and your baby are a family. There are times that the longing to “go home” for the holidays sometimes doesn’t seem as urgent. Many parents tend to feel like doing things at their own home a little more, whether it be because they dread traveling with kids, the of ease and convenience of being home, wanting to sleep in or play it by ear, or because they just want to start their own traditions at home with their children.

It’s common to feel torn about this new chapter in life. You want to go “home” to be with your family or perhaps your in laws, but you also really want to do things at your home and not have to deal with the back and forth! It’s common to feel this way and o.k. to express your feelings and be supported in your decisions this holiday season.

Do what feels right for your family. Don’t force yourself into a situation that will leave you stressed out and uncomfortable. Doing something for others should be an act from the heart, not a burden or source of frustration. Make the most where ever you are, whoever you are with! There will never be another holiday exactly like this one, love, share, and just enjoy being together.

One of the greatest gifts anyone can give a new parent (first time or fifth) is to let them know they are doing a great job, and that their decision to come or stay is accepted by you.

Ways to ease the mind and fill the heart of a loved one who is traveling with kids this holiday season;

If they agree to join you at your home support them in their parenting decisions, do not judge or undermine them. These are their children, not yours.

Ask for their permission before you feed their baby, anything liquid or solids.

Offer to help them with making travel arrangements, meet them at the airport if that would be of help to them.

If someone in your own home is sick, be it a minor cold or full on stomach bug, please disclose that information before they come and let them make the call on whether or not they want to expose their family.

If they have a food allergy, be mindful of that. If you’re not sure, just ask.

If they are breastfeeding their baby, let it be on their own terms, not yours, make them feel comfortable, not alienated.


Ways that you might ease the mind and fill the heart of a loved one who has decided to stay at home with their kids this holiday season;

Offer to bring the gathering to them, but be mindful if they do not want company.

Ask if there is a time you can come visit them at their home instead.

Mail a card and let them know you love them, are thinking of them, and hope you all can get together soon!

Send or hand deliver a gift the family can enjoy together. This could be a craft, a board game, or movie.

Gift the family a home cooked meal; be mindful of any food allergies.

Make and send a video to the family. Let each person at the holiday gathering say something meaningful or funny (in character) to the family!


With the holidays quickly approaching, a new little one in tow, or a bun in the oven you are likely counting your blessings and reflecting on years past. You may also be feeling a little anxious or overwhelmed, you don’t have to!

First Coast Doulas is here to help ease your nerves this holiday.

Through pregnancy and birth and into your first year postpartum, let us serve you while you enjoy your family!