Guest Post: Every Woman Can

every woman can

Health Foundations is thrilled to announce our upcoming special event this December 9th, 2016, EVERY WOMAN CAN. This night of community, celebration, empowerment, great music and honored speakers will take place at Aria and will feature keynote speakers, Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein and the musical stylings of female folk singers, Indigo Girls.

The EVERY WOMAN CAN movement was founded by Health Foundations’ owner and founder Amy Johnson-Grass and its mission is to empower and support women in making informed choices for childbirth and their bodies. EVERY WOMAN CAN is a community for every woman, throughout womanhood, pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and beyond. No matter what choices you make for your body or childbirth, we strive to support one another in recognizing the incredible strength and potential we have as women.

To celebrate this powerful mission, Health Foundations welcomes Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, creators of the raw and thought-provoking documentary, the Business of Being Born. Lake is a well-known advocate in the birthing community having served on the board of the nonprofit organization, Choices in Childbirth for many years. In their keynote address, these seasoned advocates of the birth community will address informed decision making and natural birth. Lake and Epstein’s work and life’s missions embody the spirit of the EVERY WOMAN CAN movement, seeking to empower women with knowledge and choices and to recognize the extraordinary potential of our bodies.

The grand finale of this special evening will be an exciting performance from none other than Grammy Award winning folk rock band, Indigo Girls. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are not only known for their hit albums and timeless ballads, but their profound political and environmental activism and support for women issues. Ray and Saliers will close the evening with a performance following the key note speakers and a social hour to allow time to connect and celebrate.

Health Foundations is proud to partner with Free the Girls, Nurture Project International and Esther’s Home to bring you this incredible night to remember. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go towards supporting these organizations and their commendable causes. Here’s a little bit about the work of these partnering organizations:

Free the Girls provides a unique opportunity for victims of sex trafficking to rebuild their lives through operating their own business selling secondhand clothing while going to school, establishing a home and caring for their families. Joined together with fellow survivors, these brave women sell second-hand bras to other women in need around the world. Health Foundations is honored to be an official drop off site for bra donations that benefit the Free the Girls organization.

Nurture Project International is a US-based, nonprofit organization that provides resources for communities impacted by crisis and disaster. Through the organization and support of volunteers, Nurture Project seeks to provide tangible services to those people whose lives have been negatively impacted by crisis and who are suffering the most.

Esther’s Home is a support center for victims of domestic violence that provides shelter, programs, education and counseling to women and children as they rebuild their lives following abuse. Esther’s Home seeks to equip women with the tools and support necessary to reclaim their lives and wellbeing following the traumatic experience of domestic violence.

 

Together with Health Foundations, these organizations eagerly await the EVERY WOMAN CAN event at Aria on December 9th, 2016. Please join Health Foundations for this momentous, once in a lifetime opportunity to join hands with women from around the world to celebrate a woman’s right to choose. To purchase tickets to EVERY WOMAN CAN, please visit the website at http://www.everywomancan.co/ or contact Health Foundations directly with questions. We look forward to celebrating with you!

Health Foundations Birth Center is a freestanding natural birth center that provides a safe and supportive environment for women throughout their pregnancy, birth and beyond. Embracing a women-centered approach, the midwives and staff at Health Foundations are there to empower you and your partner as you journey through this amazing life-giving experience. To learn more about women’s care at Health Foundations, visit our website or call us at (651) 895-2520 for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Guest Post: What is Postpartum Anxiety?

Today’s guest post comes from Sarah Letischuh, who sees patients in my building and is part of The BabyLove Alliance, Ltd. Anxiety is something I have struggled with all my life, with a bout after the birth of my son being one of the worst times I had anxiety. Sarah works with kids as well as adults and moms who are struggling with Perinatal Mood Disorders. One of the things I love about Sarah is how kind she is to everyone. She also has a lot of experience dealing with trauma, a must when we’re talking about pregnancy and birth. She’s truly wonderful. Check out her recent post on Postpartum Anxiety.
-Veronica

In my personal experience as a mom-to-be, I often heard about postpartum depression.    My doctors screened for it.  My friends experienced it.  It was talked about in the news.   On the other hand, I don’t remember hearing about postpartum anxiety until I began to learn more about perinatal mental health, in my role as a therapist.

6% of pregnant women develop anxiety.

10% of women develop anxiety during the postpartum period.

It is certainly normal to experience some anxiety during pregnancy and after the birth of a child.   Anxiety is a natural response to change and we know that being pregnant means lots of changes are occurring and will continue to occur.   The symptoms of perinatal  anxiety (anxiety during pregnancy or the postpartum period) are more intense and last longer than fleeting worries.

Symptoms of perinatal anxiety may include:

  • Constant worry
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in appetite (eating too much or not enough)
  • Intense fear or expecting something bad to happen
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches or feeling shaky

If you believe you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of perinatal anxiety please know you are not alone, even if no one else is talking about it.   These symptoms can be very overwhelming.  You may feel like no one understands what you are experiencing, but don’t let that stop you from reaching out for help.

A trained mental health provider can help you assess your symptoms and determine the best treatment option in order to help you obtain some relief from your anxiety.

I am available to meet with new parents in the South Metro to assess and treat symptoms of perinatal anxiety.   Please click here to read more about the counseling services I offer for new or expecting parents.   I can also be reached at 952-457-2322 or sarah@sarahleitschuhcounseling.com.

If you are from outside of Minnesota, I suggest visiting the Postpartum Support International  website to locate support in your area.
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Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Refresh Wednesday: A guest post on self-care strategies

I’m in the middle of about a bajillion projects right now: planning our open house on 5/2, trying to raise money in the last 7 days of our crowdfunding effort for the non-profit I co-founded, hiring doulas for my agency, and working on securing insurance coverage for childbirth classes. It’s safe to say I’m a wee bit stressed out. I was talking to Sarah Leitschuh, who sees patients here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and she said I should check out her blog. I did, and there’s a lot of great stuff there! You need to go check out all of her posts, but here’s one she said was OK to share here. Enjoy! -Veronica

Are you ready to stop making excuses for not prioritizing self care?   Are you looking for suggested strategies that may help you enhance your approach to self care?  If so, this is the post for you.    Not quite there yet?   Click here to read some quotes to inspire you or check out my last post on excuses for not prioritizing self care.

As you review the list of self care strategies below, I encourage you to remember that self care looks different for each person because we all have unique needs and interests.    I hope this list can be used to help you start thinking about and exploring which strategies may work best for you.  It may take some experimentation to identify which self care strategies you find to be the most effective.

Possible Self Care Strategies:

  • Engage in physical activity
  • Commit to healthy eating
  • Participate in deep breathing or other relaxation exercises
  • Meditation
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Engage in creative activities
  • Make time to do things that you enjoy
  • Journal
  • Pamper yourself (Whatever that means for you!)
  • Spend time with those individuals who you find to be the most supportive
  • Commit to getting enough sleep
  • Massage
  • Allow yourself time to be playful or silly
  • Seek the support of friends, family and/or a mental health professional, when needed

Still looking for more ideas?   Another great resource is a blog post written by Jodie Gale. Jodie compiled over 50 self care tips from therapist across the world.   Click here to read Jodie’s post.

As you consider what types of self care strategies you would like to try, it may also be helpful to take a look at my post about Refining Your Approach to Self Care.  That post included a list of reflection questions to help individuals assess their strengths and growth areas in their current approach to self care.

What are your favorite self care activities?   Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments area below.

Ready, Set, Take Care of YOU!

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About Sarah:

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MN #1771).  I have experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families.  I have provided individual, family and group therapy for people who have experienced depression, anxiety, abuse, struggles with relationships and difficulty               managing anger.

I have extensive experience working with individuals who have been involved with the child protection and juvenile justice systems. A primary emphasis of my work has been in working with children and adolescents who have been affected by sexual abuse.

I tailor  my therapy approach to the needs of each individual client or family.

I am a wife and mother of two young children.   My family owns a lively dog.   In my free time I enjoy playing with my children, going for walks with my family, traveling, reading and watching movies.

Contact Sarah at 952-457-2322 or Sarah@SarahLeitschuhCounseling.com

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Guest Post: From a Mommy Dentist: The challenge of breastfeeding tongue-tied babies

Today I’m going to share, with permission, a post that Dr. Kristen Berning wrote for her dental practice’s blog. As the admin for Tongue and Lip Tie Minnesota Facebook group, I see story after story after story from moms that have many of the same themes that Dr. Berning’s does. In the last year, there has been some very forceful pushback from Lactation professionals, pediatricians, dentists, etc. against addressing tongue ties. Quite frankly, some of the discussions I’ve seen via blogs or social media are very negative about moms who are looking for help on this issue. I’m hoping to share other stories from moms over the next few weeks to help get the word out about what it’s like to be the parent who has to advocate for help. If you have your own story you’d like me to share, email me at veronica@babylovemn.com.

Like many new moms, I thought breastfeeding would come naturally.

When my third baby, Ted, was born, I already had 2 years cumulative experience breastfeeding my other children.   I planned to exclusively breastfed Ted for at least 12 months.

When Ted was just one day old in the hospital, I knew something was different with breastfeeding.  I felt he was “chewing” instead of “sucking.”  The lactation consultants worked with me on encouraging a deeper latch:

tongue tied baby

  • I was told to use my finger to encourage him to stick his tongue out further.  But he couldn’t stick his tongue out very far.
  • I would wait for a wide opening before letting him latch.  But he didn’t open very wide.
  • I was told to use a nipple shield.  But that made the pain even worse since he was still “chewing,” and the plastic was pinching me where I had open cuts.
  • When his latch was shallow, I was told to break suction and try again to relatch.  But the latch-on was the worst part and I didn’t want to restart the feeding.  I just wanted to get it over with.  The toe-curling pain brought me to tears and I dreaded the next feeding.

I had cracked and bleeding nipples.  The lanolin and gel soothies weren’t helping enough.  I attended the breastfeeding support group when he was 3 weeks old and discussed the pain with the lactation consultants.   I was sitting near a sweet mom named Jessi.  Jessi suggested Ted might have a tongue-tie, as she experienced it with her daughter and had it clipped by an ENT physician.   The lactation consultants took a look at his tongue, but were not sure.  At Ted’s 3-week well child appointment, his pediatrician was also not sure.

I made a phone call and the ENT could not see Ted until the next week.

The next night, I felt shooting pains in my chest in between feedings.  With one arm clutched across my chest, and the other arm used to search Google, I read that it might be thrush- a yeast infection of the nipple and breast.  I looked inside Ted’s mouth and saw small white patches in his cheeks.  I went to the pediatrician’s night clinic to confirm the diagnosis of thrush.  Then I drove to the pharmacy in tears, to get our prescriptions.   The pain, the frustration, the thrush diagnosis—were pushing me over the edge.   But I didn’t want to stop breastfeeding.

I called the ENT doctor’s office the next morning, and politely but desperately asked if there was any way they could see us sooner due to the severe pain I was having.  They squeezed me in that day.

At our appointment, I explained to the doctor how I knew Ted’s latch was drastically different than my first 2 babies.   We discussed the procedure, I signed a consent form, and the nurses prepped the room for the frenotomy procedure.  Three-week-old Ted’s little body was placed onto the operating table, he was stabilized by a couple nurses, and the ENT clipped Ted’s lingual frenum with a surgical scissors.  Ted was immediately returned to me to breastfeed.  His latch was instantly better: deeper and less painful.  I was so relieved to have improvement.  My cracked nipples healed over the next week.

It took some time until the thrush was completely managed, but the frenotomy saved our breastfeeding relationship and I exclusively breastfed Ted for 13 months.

_____

Fast forward to when my 4th child, Clara, was born.  She latched on fairly well in the hospital and gained weight well.   I thought we were in the clear.

However, a few months passed and the initial soreness from breastfeeding was not going away.  Her latch was shallow, but not as bad as Ted’s.  She popped on and off the breast frequently and was gassy.  I had sore nipples and cracking again.  I was dreading each feeding as her latch rubbed on the open cracks causing awful, toe-curling pain.  I pumped several feedings (which also hurt) so my husband could bottle feed her and I could take a break from her poor latch.  I tried different nursing positions, used prescription APNO (Jack Newman’s all purpose nipple ointment), and did everything I knew to improve her shallow latch.  I also dealt with clogged ducts and developed mastitis, and was in the doctor’s office again, in tears.

upper lip tie, laser revision, laser frenectomy

I noticed Clara’s upper lip was often tucked in while nursing, and it did not flange.  In our local private Facebook group for breastfeeding mothers, a mom named Tricia mentioned difficulties breastfeeding due to a lip tie.  I had become aware of tongue-ties after my experience with Ted, but I was unsure how lip ties affected breastfeeding   I needed to find out more…

I learned that when a lip tie was present, a posterior tongue-tie was usually present.  A medical practitioner may be familiar with anterior tongue ties, however, posterior tongue-ties are not as visible to the untrained eye.  Clara also had a posterior tongue tie.

Lip and Tongue Tie Revision

I engaged myself in learning about lip ties and tongue-ties as I had experienced so much of this myself with minimal local support.  Let me emphasize, I really appreciate and respect my local lactation consultants and pediatricians.  They are wonderful people!   They just were not (at that time) familiar enough with lip ties and posterior tongue-ties.

Lip and Tongue Tie Revision, Laser Revision

I learned there were dentists revising infant lip and tongue-ties with lasers.  I was using a laser  almost daily in our Dubuque, Iowa dental practice and had done many laser frenectomies on older children and adults.  Dr. Mindy Hochgesang became my mentor and allowed me to observe the lip and tongue tie revision procedure.

As a passionate supporter of breastfeeding, this opened the door for me to “pay it forward.”  It was mom-to-mom support that sent me on this journey.  I could now give both mom-to-mom support and provider-to-mom support for breastfeeding dyads struggling with tongue and lip ties themselves.

My daughter Clara was my first infant patient.   I revised her lip tie and posterior tongue-tie, we did post-frenotomy care, we both healed, and now we have a great breastfeeding relationship.

 

laser dentist, Iowa laser dentist, lip tie, tongue tie

Dr. Kristen Berning provides support for breastfeeding moms who are dealing with lip and tongue ties.  She uses a laser to perform lip and tongue tie revision, including posterior tongue ties.  Her office is located at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids & Dubuque, IA, Galena, IL and Madison, WI areas.  To schedule a consultation or ask questions about laser lip and tongue tie revision with Dr. Kristen Berning please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The cost of birth in the Twin Cities

cost of birth mn

If you read Monday’s post, then I hope you took the time to check out MN HealthScores. If not, that’s ok–you still should, but I poked around for a little bit and pulled more information. On the cost side of things, I was able to pull what they had for local medical groups as far as how much they charge for vaginal births and cesarean births. Not all medical groups had information, but quite a few did.

There are a lot of things this doesn’t take into account. This fee does not include any facility fees or any charges for the baby. It only reflects the charges for the care of mom before, during, and after giving birth. It’s still an intriguing metric.

Vaginal Birth, Highest Cost to Lowest (MN Average $3202)

  1. Park Nicollet- $4287
  2. Allina- $3792
  3. Healthpartners- $3323
  4. Metro OBGYN- $3175
  5. Healtheast- $3059
  6. North Memorial- $3049
  7. Diamond Women’s Clinic- $2996
  8. Clinic Sofia- $2900
  9. OBGYN Specialists- $2749
  10. John Haugen- $2734
  11. Women’s Health Consultants- $2762
  12. Entira Clinics- $2720
  13. Comprehensive Healthcare for Women- $2585
  14. AALFA- $2543

Cesarean Birth, Highest Cost to Lowest (MN Average $3555)

  1. Park Nicollet- $4907
  2. Allina- $4623
  3. Healthpartners- $3970
  4. Metro OBGYN- $3555
  5. North Memorial- $3440
  6. Clinic Sofia- $3297
  7. OBGYN Specialists- $3262
  8. Diamond Women’s Clinic- $3233
  9. John Haugen- $3191
  10. Women’s Health Consultants- $2972
  11. Comprehensive Healthcare for Women- $2972

It’s entirely possible I missed some data, so feel free to head on over to Managing Costs at MN HealthScores and poke around for yourself. And remember: The best care isn’t always the most expensive care.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Interview with Dr. Ghaheri, ENT on tongue ties

For more information on Dr. Ghaheri, breastfeeding, and tongue and lip ties, visit his website at www.drghaheri.com

For more information on Veronica and BabyLove, visit www.babylovemn.com

Find support and resources at: www.facebook.com/groups/tonguetiebabies/

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Guest Post: It’s not the Method, it’s the Mother.

Veronica: I met Deena Blumenfeld, owner of Shining Light Prenatal Education in Pittsburgh, at the Lamaze International Conference last October. The number of independent educators at the conference was small, and the number of women who owned our own businesses was even smaller. Last week, Deena wrote Book Review: “Lamaze: An International History” – Breath Control: The Rise and Decline of Psychoprophylaxis for the Science and Sensibility blog. That sparked a discussion between Deena and I about the current methods being taught in childbirth education and how they are modern versions of psychoprophalaxis. Below is a wonderful post Deena wrote on her blog in 2012 that so echos my feelings on “method-based” childbirth education.

Bradley, Hypnobabies, Brio Birth, Birthing from Within, Lamaze and so many others…Does it matter which flavor of childbirth education you take?  Maybe.

Every method has its benefits.  However, every method is not for every mother.  Not every mother needs a method; not every method will work for an individual mother.

I note that we all have different personalities and different learning styles.  We come from different socio-economic backgrounds.  Some of us have been abused during our lives and that will impact our needs during birth.

Some women need a more flexible class.  Others do need to know what to do at all stages of labor and birth; they need the method, the prescription.  If a woman feels more comfortable with a specific method for birth, then she should use it.  If she feels more comfortable knowing her options and selecting those that work best for her, then she should go with what she knows to be best.

Yes, I am a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (and proud of it!).  No, I don’t teach a method.  So, how does that work?  I teach the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices.  I teach the evidence-based best practices.  I keep current with the research, studies and policy changes that are released.  I help my parents make informed choices regarding their pregnancies, births and babies.

I incorporate my yoga into class with the breathing I teach; the names of the postures and positions for labor and birth; the meditations, and visualizations come from my own experience.

I give women a selection of options from which they can choose to use, or not, as their body tells them.  I remind them not only to follow their body’s instincts, but to trust in their baby and their placenta to know how to give birth.

I do not prescribe certain breathing techniques for women to use.  Nor do I prescribe a series of positions for a woman to use during birth (like a certain Yoga Birthing method).  I do not prescribe any specific mantras, music or meditation.

Why not teach a method?  Why not give more specific instruction as to what to do when?  Because no one method will work for everyone.  There is no one right way to give birth.

If I tell you do X, Y and Z while breathing this way, I’ve stripped you of your autonomy.  I’ve taken away your ability to trust in the process of birth.

If I tell you do X, Y and Z while breathing this way and you fail to do it, for whatever reason, you will more than likely perceive your birth as a failure or perceive yourself as a failure.  This is simply not true.

The method failed, not the mother.

I work with pregnant women and new mothers all the time.  I run a yoga-based workshop called Healing from Traumatic Birth.  I’ve been teaching it for the last 3 years.  One thing that surprised me is the number of women who feel like failures because they didn’t have the “Bradley Birth”.  They “gave in” to the epidural, therefore their birth was traumatic.  Their mantras or affirmations weren’t enough to get them through, so they requested pain medication – and it was devastating for them.

Perception becomes reality.

These mothers perceive themselves as failures, therefore their births were traumatic.  Their perception is valid, their pain is valid.  However, this is not their fault.

This is a failure of the method, not the mother.  This is a failure of that educator, not the mother.  By not following through with an (somewhat) arbitrary set of predetermined, prescriptive behaviors, the woman perceives herself to have failed not only herself but her baby.

On the flip side when a birth is “successful”, and we credit the method we take the power away from the woman.  We strip her of her right to say “I DID IT!”  Instead we hear her say, “I couldn’t have done it without method X!”

In response to a shared birth story online:

Mom #1 – “Thanks so much for sharing! I love reading Hypnobabies stories since I’m using that method this time…

Mom #2 – “I agree. I of course thought it was awesome that it was a Hypnobabies story to…

My response – “Credit where credit is due. It’s not the method, it’s the mother. Kudos to her for birthing her baby the way he needed to be born.

It takes the power away from the mother to credit the method for her birth “success”.  To credit the method is called “advertising”.

About the author:

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Deena H. Blumenfeld, E-RYT 200, RPYT, LCCE is a Certified Khalsa Way™ Prenatal Yoga Teacher and Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Educator, Lamaze Trainer and the owner and lead educator here at Shining Light Prenatal Education

She has been practicing yoga since 1994.She became a certified Yoga instructor through 3rd Street Yoga in December 2008. She completed her 60 hour Prenatal Yoga training in February 2009 in Los Angeles at Golden Bridge Yoga with Gurmukh. Her Lamaze certification was completed in October 2010, through Magee Women’s Hospital and Lamaze International. She is an advocate of empowered birth for women.

Through the teaching of Prenatal Yoga and Childbirth Education classes, she helps women become more confident in their choices regarding pregnancy, birth and parenthood. Deena has also studied yoga with Doug Keller, Max Strom, KK Ledford, Shakta Kaur Khalsa and others. Her ongoing professional development as a Childbirth Educator has been with Ina May Gaskin, Penny Simkin, Gail Tully of Spinning Babies and other childbirth professionals.

Deena is also a mom of two – a son, born via c-section in April 2005, and a daughter in March 2009, a VBAC. She is an active member of the local ICAN chapter and a member of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services.
Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Guest Post: Craft Night Saves Lives

Last night was the return of Craft Night at BabyLove.  It was wonderful. If you saw it and thought, “That would be fun,” you were right. But one mama, Mari Koeck, attended the most recent craft night and sent along these really amazing thoughts.  Enjoy!

-Veronica

Some days as a mom I feel like Mother Theresa. Other days I feel like Cinderella’s wicked stepmother. Today was not a good day. The kids were communicating solely in unintelligible alien shrieks, everything was escalating, and I was not coping well. I could feel my stress level rise, but I was not Mother Theresa. I am thankful I held it together enough to avoid creating headlines, but, barely.

A couple of years ago I watched a National Geographic documentary about stress. The gist of it was that the chemicals released for our “fight or flight” response to problems need to be burned off or they start attacking our cells, causing them to age more quickly, subtly attacking and killing part of our physical body. Thank God the documentary didn’t end there. Can you imagine the tailspin of depression and unbearable stress that would send any viewer into?

They went on to talk about how researchers studied a group of people who suffer from prolonged, chronic stress. They chose parents of children with special needs and they were surprised by what they saw. Yes, chronic stress was every bit as serious as they knew, but they observed something new. Many of the mothers in their study were part of mom groups with other moms raising children with special needs. The mothers who attended these groups had lower stress levels than those who didn’t, but researchers were shocked to discover that the physical damage to cells caused by stress wasn’t simply limited by their relational connection, it was reversed.

After my painfully un-Hallmark worthy day, I was at the end of my rope. It was as if I couldn’t just feel the stress physically killing my cells, but I could feel it killing the deepest part of me that makes me know I’m alive. But tonight wasn’t just any night, it was BabyLove’s Craft Night. It is a simple concept, any kind of moms can come together and…craft. While there’s something deeply satisfying about creating something with your hands, it was the relational aspect of simply chatting with other moms that was better than any medicine or therapy for me today. There wasn’t any program or attempt to make it into “something.” It just was what it was, simple, but profound. It was meeting my real need at the end of a stressful day for some mom relationships to undue the harm that stress was trying to do to me.

When I first came to BabyLove, I thought I was bringing my son to Mama Cafe to hang with other babies. The reason I kept coming was because of the way just being together with other mamas from all backgrounds nurtured the best parts of me. When I was in such a positive place, not only did I never once get a whiff of the “mommy wars,” but I felt deeply loved and I wanted to love those around me. I was renewed and energized by these meetings and I need to remember that it isn’t just in my head, but there is a physical need for this kind of relationship as well.

If you’re a bit of a worrier – like me – and are still hung up on the fact that stress is killing you, then you need to: 1) Watch this TED video “How to make stress your friend” by Kelly McGonigal (Available here) and 2) Do something about it by finding other moms to connect with whether in your neighborhood, your church, your child’s school, or BabyLove. It takes a bit of extra effort, but it is an investment in not just reducing stress and improving your health, it is ensuring more Mother Theresa moments for you and your kids, and we all need more of those.

Mari is a mother of two and head writer for Koeck Communications, LLC

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

BabyLove’s Featured Family: Donncuan, Kelsey and Charles (Part Two)

On Monday, we kicked off our new blog feature where we highlight various BabyLove families with an interview with new mom Kelsey.  Today we get a dad’s perspective from Donncuan!

So, far, what has been your biggest joy in becoming a father?

Watching my son grow and develop. I never thought that seeing him hold his head up on his own, or hearing him make all those funny baby squeals would make me so proud. It is a joy just to see him smile every day.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since your baby was born?

Learning what cry means what was quite a challenge. He would cry, and I would get so frustrated because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Of course, it was always the last thing I had done. If I had just fed him, he needed to be fed again. If I had just changed him, he needed to be changed again. Now I can tell what is bothering him, and he hardly ever cries any more. I suppose that means he finally has me trained J

How has your relationship with your partner changed since the birth of your baby?

I think we are more loving to each other now than before, in some ways. We both understand that it is a challenge to take care of our boy, so we both try extra hard to show our love and appreciation of the other. Whether it’s taking turns making dinner, or just holding him so the other can take a shower.

Did you feel that your childbirth classes prepared you for birth? How so?

In some ways, yes. Having a general overview of what was going to happen was very helpful, as well as having some tools and tricks to try to help my wife with labor. In the end, the best thing I could do to help my wife was just being there and focusing on her and the baby. However, I don’t think that if I had 10 years of training that I would be totally “prepared”. In my experience, our son’s birth was both scary and exciting, but I was never afraid for his, or my wife’s, health, and I credit that to our child birth classes and our midwife.

What is one thing you think all parents should know before the birth of their baby?

Don’t make any other plans for a few weeks! I thought that we would have our baby, and that I would go stir crazy sitting around the house watching him. It’s not like that at all. You’ll find yourself staring at him, feeding him, changing him, and when you look at the clock next, its 11:30 at night. Have a good support structure “just in case” you need a few hours break. Also, for the Mom’s, you are not a bad mother if your baby cries, or you get angry, or frustrated. You will spend days second guessing your decisions, from immunizations, to feeding times, to what kind of diapers to buy. Make a decision and go with it, the only thing that really matters is the love you have for your child. Babies don’t hold grudges. They aren’t going to hate you later in life because you accidentally nick them when you are trimming their toenails. Fill your baby’s heart with love and the little stuff will work itself out.

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Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.