Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Guest blogger today!  

Only my mom…

My mama has been on a 26 year mission to be a doula. While she has coached countless women through the trials and triumphs of countless hours of labor, labored herself four times (without medication, she will proudly tell you), and mastered every aspect of the woman’s mysterious body it is only in the last couple of years that she has taken the necessary steps to become a certified doula.
As a very young girl I only vaguely understood the inner workings of our reproductive organs when The Change hit. I was only a wee kindergartener when our pediatrician told my parents that I had what was termed precocious puberty. Basically my hormones were a few years ahead of my body and I would experience the joys of womanhood a few years before my peers. You can imagine my mom’s furrowed brow as she sat down at the kitchen table with her then third grader, pulled out a sheet of graph paper and a mechanical pencil (I’m assuming for the sake of detailed accuracy) and drew out all the internal lady parts. I sat in bewilderment as she went over every detail of how conception happened and why our bodies change so traumatically. I laugh now at how clinical and straightforward my sweet mom was as she attempted to guide a little girl through becoming a woman. I later went on to learn about sex through hip hop music and Cosmo magazines like everyone else but the basics came straight from my mom and a well meaning piece of graph paper.
If only uterus pillows had been popular at the time!
Tonight my mom drove to coach my friend through her labor. As we carried her kit through the door I was not sure what to expect, as I had never seen someone even have a contraction before. While the rest of us trilled with nervous energy, laughed anxiously, and flittered around with clumsy intentions, I saw my mom in her prime. She calmly directed us to our tasks and guided my friend through the beginnings of birth. It was the same calmness she possessed as she drew out a uterus for me in my youth, a matter of factness that let you know someone knew what the hell is going on around here!
I kissed my mom and friend as they head to the hospital with a new appreciation for my mom’s undying passion for her field.  My mother is the Sacajawea of the woman’s body; if you will listen, she can lead you through the seemingly abstract world of womanhood.

Today's blog was brought to you by Guest Blogger, Ashlie Sampson-Carter, daughter of Seasons Within Doula, Ivette Carter. Great doula and great mom!  

Thanks for this wonderful post, Ashlie!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

     Gathering Your Village

"The key to gathering a strong system is keeping your eyes open for folks who may just be there when you need them."
“No man is an island.”

“Friends are the family you choose.” 

“It takes a village to raise a child”

There are dozens of sayings that emphasize the importance of community. When making the transition to motherhood they ring truer than ever.

When my spouse and I had our first child we were surrounded by lots of family. We lived near both sets of parents and had an abundance of support through our church. Our second time around we’d relocated to the west coast and had the incredible opportunity to be more intentional about creating our own support system.

It wasn’t until the 36th week of my pregnancy that I began to think seriously about this. In my refresher Birthing From Within Class  our mentor talked about the importance of having allies to support you in the postpartum period. It was then I decided to call on our patchwork community that stemmed from different areas of our lives.

Up until that point our community had been lovely, but untested as far as really leaning into the support. I was a tad nervous. Besides my WONDERFUL doulas the only other folks I felt I could trust were my brother and sister-in-law. They were going to care for my older child while I labored and birthed.

When it was all said and done the folks who I anticipated would flake brought the greatest support to our family, such as cooking meals and other household chores, while the people who I thought I could lean on the most were nowhere to be found when I needed them the most. It was heartwarming to see and feel the love and support from this “chosen family” we had cultivated.

You are quite blessed if you have built in family support.  If not, the key to gathering a strong system is keeping your eyes open for folks who may just be there when you need them. How will you create a support team for after the birth of your babe? Here are three suggestions to begin your building process:

  1. Family/friend support. If you live near your family or have a close group of friends you have a natural resource to tap into. Perhaps setting up a schedule of when folks can stop by with meals and complete some chores for you would be a first step in organizing your village. is a great website so that there isn’t an overlap of folks bringing food.
  2. You may find support through your local church or mom’s group. Often times there will be a sign up and phone chain that provides meals and a bit of postpartum support for you and your family.   
  3. Postpartum doula. Calling on the professionals even with all the other support can be beneficial for you as you begin to bond with your new babe. They bring lots of knowledge and experience on breastfeeding, mother/baby bonding, emotional support. She also can be quite helpful with light housework, cooking, helping older children adjust to the new baby. Find more information here at

Growing families need a village.

In what ways will you create your support team? 

Are there any other ideas you have about gathering your village?

DoulaTales.  Real people.  Real challenges.  Real joy.  Join us. 

Today's blog was brought to you by Seasons Within Doula, Deidre Coutsoumpos, CD(DONA), Advanced Mentor with Birthing from Within.

Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  

See You Next Time!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

She’s Home. 

Now What?

A Journey of Parenting and Breastfeeding

After months and months of waiting, prepping, arranging, re-arranging, shopping, reading, re-reading, re-arranging once again . . . my brand new bundle of joy FINALLY arrived. I was so ready for her. I felt as if I knew what I was doing and what had to be done. I read everything about newborn care; I had changed a ton of diapers before, and helped feed all the babies in my family. Having always been around lots and lots of babies, I practically helped my sister raise her 2 kids the first 5 years.

Well, only because I couldn’t stay away from those adorable little faces and I had to stop by almost every day.

My little girl arrived by Cesarean Birth, so after a few days in the hospital (which felt like an eternity) I was finally home. 

I was excited to have my beautiful baby girl home with me. All of the brand new bedding, blankets, clothing, burp clothes and everything under the sun was out and ready to be used. 

There was just one problem . . . I started to panic. 

I was home all by myself with this tiny little person. Suddenly it sinks in … I am totally and completely responsible for this little person. Me!!! (well, okay, her father too) but really ME!!!
Finding myself with a ton of questions, I was sure all the answers were in the stacks of books I have, but it just wasn’t enough. 

I needed to talk to a real person with real answers. Yes, there were several family members willing and ready to give me their point of view on how to take care of my baby, but do I really want to go there? It made me think of a family gathering I attended early in my pregnancy. EVERYONE had advice on what I should or shouldn’t be doing. Eat more, no don’t eat too much, eat this, no eat that, rub this on your belly, rub that, do this exercise, do that. It made my head spin! I could just imagine all the unsolicited advice I would get without asking!

So there I sat with all these questions and nowhere to turn.

If only I would have known early on about Postpartum Doulas, Breastfeeding Support Groups and Moms Groups.

Join me here to find out more about how these groups became my bridge to sanity. . .

DoulaTales.  Real people.  Real challenges.  Real joy.  Join us. 

Today's blog was brought to you by Elizabeth Valencia, CAPPA Trained Postpartum Doula and Lactation Consultant with Seasons Within Doula Group & Birth Services

Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  

See you next time!