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A D2EB look at Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum and Parenting.

Down to Earth tips on maneuvering this whole journey from an Edmonton childbirth educator, birth/postpartum doula and mom of 4!

15 hilarious reasons you definitely shouldn’t hire a doula for your birth

August 11, 2019


1)You enjoy being surrounded by strangers during childbirth (hello random OB, nurse, shift change nurse, nurse covering your nurse’s break, anesthetist, student, residents). All during a time when you are most vulnerable and incredible fierce, let’s BRING ON THE STRANGERS!!!! No doula safety needed for you.

2)You are totally okay with fear mongering phrases, and don’t care what the evidence says. Also, your baby is probably too big and your pelvis is too small. Oh, and don’t forget that it’s important to wear the monitors for the ENTIRE labour. PS: don’t you dare eat a thing in labour.

3)You enjoy fighting with your partner, for the rest of your life, about how he couldn’t support you during your labour. I mean, sure it was his first-time experiencing birth but he should have known. Am I right? Doulas don’t support partners anyways.

4)The cost is OUTRAGEOUS! I mean come on. A “labour planner” (doula) is a complete waste of money on THE most important day of your life. You totally shouldn’t invest in your family. Rather spend that money on really important baby items that you will never use. Yes, I am talking to you $300 mamaroo!

5)During your home birth you really think that your partner can be “doing all the things” to comfort you and do tasks like fill the pool, add more water, remove water, get you food, call the midwives, provide hands-on pain relief, gather blankets, towels, take care of the other kids and dogs. Oh, and catch the baby! Wahoo – sounds really pleasant. Your partner will definitely not be tired and 100% in those first hours and days postpartum. Just what you need!

6)So, you can just google and go down a rabbit hole with all the things that are wrong with you during your pregnancy. It’s not helpful to discuss your worries with anyone and be reminded to speak to your health care provider about them. Spiraling is healthy!

7)A doula really doesn’t care that much about you or your birth experience. As long as the baby is healthy right?! Your mental, emotional, physical well-being Is totally not that important.

8)Doulas. They just are never available. You won’t be able to ask your doula anything during your pregnancy, and postpartum. Especially since labour is so cut and dry as is breastfeeding and new parenthood. Easy stuff!

9)Because doulas are trendy and have not been around since 1960 ...well that's when the term “doula” was coined but the birthers in history never utilized support during childbirth.

10)Because your mom/sister/friend never had a doula and they all had births they were totally fulfilled. They wouldn’t change a thing. Queue terrifying birth story.

11)Your partner works out of town and the suspense of not knowing if they will make the birth is FUN!!! Hooray anxiety, panic and fear! I wonder if a doula could help with that? Nahhhhh.

12)You really like pain. You like fear. That’s your jam. Pain in fear and childbirth. Sounds like a positively memorable time.

13)The evidence on doulas is utterly ridiculous. I mean who would want a shorter, less painful more positive birthing day anyway? Bring on the interventions (insert air high 5)!

14)You have never given birth before or have given birth 5 times before. Doulas don't do birth! They don’t do cesarean births, inductions, vaginal. None of it!

15) Kindness, compassion and warmth are just really awkward. Soldier on preggo!

And a bonus

16) Your male OB, has likely given birth before, he gets it! He gets you! #teamwork

Well there you have it. 15 + 1 reasons why you definitely shouldn't hire a doula.

PS- If you made it this far know that this is completely sarcastic and doulas support you and your partner through all these things. In Edmonton and surrounding area there are well over 100 doulas. A simple google search, Facebook search or your trusty moms group will point you in the right direction. It is never too early or too late to book your doula. Reach out, message one or 5. Set up a meeting. You will not be disappointed


Best informed birthing to you!!

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. The final Tip #9

January 27, 2019

We want you to practice, practice, practice.

You have 40ish weeks to prepare for this baby, it may seem like forever but it's not.

 It is never too soon to research, ask questions, gather info. Its also never too early to take care of your physical and emotional health.

 Prenatal yoga anyone? 

How about practicing those comfort measures?

 Maybe it is you and your partner spending some time together getting used to touch or finding ways that they can be supportive to you. Maybe it’s doing a trial run to the hospital Or finding a few good mantras/affirmations that you practice over and over and over so that they become second nature?

 Putting on that prenatal meditation/body scans and finding ways to calm those nerves and decrease stress now will serve you well.


 When you can connect to your pregnant body and baby and know what works now you will have some solid skills to maneuver any labour and birth doubts in the moment. You can just push those doubts right out and get back in your labour zone.

Whatever it is, practice. You have 40ish weeks to practice. So, do it! And if you need help  finding things to practice let us know. We come with ideas! 

Now that you know what your Edmonton doula wants you to know, go and find a doula or head on over to the contact page and fire me a message.

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. Tip #8.

January 27, 2019

  We want you (and your partner) to be your best advocate.

There seems to be a common belief that hiring a doula will get you the birth you want. We would so loooove to be able to do that for you, but we just can’t. While hiring a doula can support your ideal birth, know that when you are able to advocate for yourself you will get your best results.

 How you advocate for yourself is something that we cover in prenatal appointments with you. We strive to get you to a place where you can simply say “tell me more about that (insert procedure here)” and use your B.R.A.I.N so that you can make a well-informed choice knowing all your options if it is not an emergency. When you are confident enough to ask questions to get the big picture you will feel more empowered and have a more positive outlook on your birth experience.

Sometimes, this is done by partners (because care providers are notorious for asking a contracting woman to make BIG decisions). Doulas can help facilitate these conversations in and out of the delivery room and help you narrow down what is the most important for your birthing day. I’ve been known to say “ (insert partners name) do you have any questions you would like to ask” as a gentle reminder that this is a great time to ask questions😊.

Education and some good old birth planning can help you understand your best hopes for your birthing day. Understanding the ins and outs of labour and how to optimize your chances of having the birth you wish for. It boils down to YOU! Knowing what you want for your birth and being an active birther however that may be. And always remembering to find your voice. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY!!!

Tip # 9 coming right up!

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. Tip #7.

January 13, 2019

 We want you to believe in yourself and we want your partner/support to believe in you too!

Going into your birth knowing that you CAN do this is important! It's everything really! 

Having some preconceived ideas of how you would like your birth to go and what is important to you can help you believe in yourself. 

Ask yourself “why are these things important to me”, “what would it mean if the important things didn’t happen” and “are there other things I need to know to be able to believe in myself”.

 If you answer those questions and find that you need more information to believe in yourself, your body and baby then go find a prenatal class that fits with your values. Or even a therapist!

Having a partner/support who believes in you is equally important. Partners, it’s also okay to believe and be terrified of birth too. As a side note, if you really really really don’t think you can handle the birth itself that’s okay, and knowing that you can not be the support your partner needs during birth is powerful and holds value.

 I have previously experienced this with military families. It was not in the best interest for the dad (in this case) to be in the birthing room based on prior traumatic experiences. Instead investing in a doula as a support person may just be the way to go. You will know your partner is well taken care of and can keep you in the loop and you will not be exposed to anything you feel like you can’t handle. 

But partners, do not worry, there is still plenty of involvement during early labour and especially after the birth ( and for the next 99 years) that you will support with. 

That being said, as a partner you will never know the importance of your active presence during the day of the birth of your child, maybe this is super involved or maybe it is from afar.

However this may look, the belief that you CAN do this, that you WILL do this, that you ARE doing this, is powerful!

Check back next week for tip # 8 We want you to be your best advocate.

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. Tip #6.

December 9, 2018

  We want you to click with us.!

We really do.

 We want you to feel comfortable asking us questions and telling us about your pregnancy and the emotions that come with it. We want you to find the best doula for YOU. If you are not clicking with us, we are happy to refer you to another doula. Sometimes it might just mean doing one extra prenatal visit. Two visits is enough for some people and others need more. And that is okay!

 *Here at Down to Earth Birth, there is not a maximum number of prenatal visits*

Please have this conversation with us if you are feeling we are not a good fit for you. We probably feel it too. We know how meaningful this day is for you and do NOT want to be part of the reason you felt unsupported or unsafe. 

We also want you to do some leg work and not make assumptions. You may not click with your doula because your best friend did. We doulas love word of mouth referrals but sometimes, because we are only human, we just can't click. This is why we offer a free initial consult so you can determine if we are a good fit for you. Meet a few doulas. See what is out there. We encourage it!!

  (Keep in mind if you have a current doula that you are not clicking with that you may not get your full fee/deposit back. This will vary from doula to doula. Talk to yours)

Know what qualities you need in a doula and go find that doula. And if you have a great experience, we really do appreciate you sharing our name. 

Up next week. Tip # 7: We want you to believe in yourself and we want your partner to believe in you too!

Check back next week:)

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. Tip #5.

December 1, 2018

  We want you to have the birth that YOU want!

We desperately do. 

We also want to help you get to a place where you feel safe enough to advocate for yourself so that you can have the birth that you desire.

We don’t care if you want a birth with an epidural or a birth without. We don’t care if you want to schedule a cesarean, go for a VBAC or schedule a repeat cesarean. We don’t care if you birth in the hospital, birth centre or at home. In fact, your birth mode may be less important then how you were treated that day. I know I know I have said this before, but the message is too valuable to not repeat. I also know this to be true in my own birthing experiences.

We want you to look back on your babies’ birth as an amazing memory. Even if plans change, which the often do.

A story you will tell for years to come, each time bringing a smile to your face. A smile and a reflection on how your birth, your baby, changed who you were then and transformed you to who you are now.

When that doesn’t happen, we feel for you, we really do. But please know, we were there and we saw those powerful moments. Those thoughtful decisions you made in a moments notice. We saw the support between you and your partner, the way you persevered through the unknown. We saw!

We are happy to share the strength and courage we saw from you on that very special day. If you ever want to know how amazing and courageous you were on your birthing day ask your doula!!!

Even if it is not immediate, because processing your birthing day can take some time. I am always happy to come out and do a birth debrief for all of the families I work with :)

Up next week. Tip # 6: We want you to "click" with us!

See you back here next week.

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. Tip #4.

November 23, 2018

 We want you to know that birth is unpredictable, and so are babies!

We, doulas, can not guarantee that you will get your dream birth. What we can guarantee is that you (and your partner) will feel supported throughout your labour, birth and immediate postpartum, when you hire us.

What happens when you do the below steps (tips # 1,2,3) is that regardless of your birthing outcome you will feel empowered. Empowered that you made THE best choices to give yourself the best chance to get your best birth. When YOU are a part of the decision making you will be better off emotionally (less traumatized) than had you not been apart of the team. You will still have processing of your birth, as this is still part of the whole experience. Hopefully, just hopefully feeling safe and supported are a huge part of your memories from your birthing day.

PS your birth can directly impact your postpartum. Think about the impacts of traumatic births and the bonding that occurs with your baby. It just doesn’t quite occur the same way as it would if you were not traumatized.

We also want you to know that babies sometimes have different plans then you do. Despite your best planning and educating some babies just need out sooner then later. You may never know the reason why but your baby might need out stat!

Take my client, who at 33 weeks went in to get checked on as she sensed something was wrong. Only to be told we need to get you to the OR now. There was no explanation for her, her baby needed out. Her baby is a happy healthy child now.

Or this client, who had a healthy full-term pregnancy, with a baby who had an undetected heart defect. This resulted in a very scary time for the parents and then a long Stollery stay. I am happy to report this baby is also thriving.

The flip side of this is your baby doesn’t seem to ever want to leave your uterus…...and the due date has come and gone. This is hard in its own way as the date you had marked on the calendar has come and gone.

As you plan for the birth, don’t forget to allow for a little unpredictability in your birth plan/preferences😊

Babies. They just have different plans!!!

Up next week. Tip #5 We want you to have the birth that you want.

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. Tip #3.

November 14, 2018

We want you to take prenatal classes!

It was just over 6 years ago. My husband and I had just completed our 2-day hospital prenatal class. We were first time parents and were super eager to learn. I mean I wasn’t dissatisfied per say, but did find that passing around forceps and vacuums to the 30+ couples that attended was tacky.

 I remember being surprised that the couple next to me could not even stomach to watch the birthing video. The mom with an epidural, laying in bed, feet in stirrups birthing video that we have all come to know. I did however learn about a “push present” at these classes as I hadn’t heard the term before. PS I think that’s a fabulous idea!! There we sat, for 2 days. 8 hours each day. And then they were over, and I was relieved. I mean an auditorium does not equal a great learning environment. 

That day, I walked out of the hospital prenatal classes and had instantly forgotten any comfort measures and labour positions I was taught. In a slightly panicked state I spent the rest of the 3rd trimester researching those. Little did I know that at best, you need to understand labour positions and have a few comfort measures. That’s it. Just a few.

Truth be told, not all classes are created equal. But there is a class for you and we want you to find that class. This is why a lot of birth doulas have also trained in Child birth education, myself included. We want you to take the classes. Hiring your doula (if they teach classes) is a great way to get to know each other a little more and get more comfortable with everything. Plus, your doula will know what you have been taught which has great benefits in the birthing room. Its also a great way to get all those awkward questions answered that you would not otherwise ask with someone who you will see quite often in your last trimester.

Years ago, one of the experienced doulas/CBE I have been so blessed to know. Mentioned that she stopped taking birthing families who hadn’t taken prenatal classes. I was shocked. And the more births I went to the more I understood the value of YOU taking classes. Its night and day really. Having some sort of base is truly important in your childbirth. And remember classes are really the tip of the iceberg. The learning does not stop there.

If you choose a hospital birth and an out of hospital prenatal class be sure to get a tour of L&D or at least do the online tour. If you are in a class and its not sitting right with you, that’s your cue that this class isn’t for you (I should have trusted my gut and found another one) Luckily there are many Edmonton Prenatal class options from free classes to $400 for private classes. One of those classes will be for you!

Shop around, find a good fit and get your LEARN ON!

Up next week for tip #4. We want you to know that birth and babies are unpredictable. See you back next week:)

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. Tip #2

November 8, 2018

We want YOU to care about your care.

This seems like a given right?! “Of course, I care about my care” you say.

We are here for you. After those appointments that leave a sour taste in your mouth call us! Or send a text. We will hear you. And we can help guide you on a path of processing those thoughts and how to move forward in the way that is best for you. We want you to care enough that you want to know more, have options and feel good about your choices.

After all, you may have only 5 minutes in your care providers office, so come prepared. Have a list of questions or concerns. Use your B.R.A.I.N (not sure what that means? Read my post about this lower down). Just Ask! And once you have received that information please go do some research (we can help finding the most current evidenced based information). And if need be, have the same conversation the following appointment with your newest research. Mom forums are great, but you will get a lot of different opinions that often just muddle your thoughts and leave you more confused. So, call your doula.

And please, PLEASE do NOT make assumptions that your care provider will let you know if they are worried. Or that they even follow the newest evidenced based practices. We so desperately want you to care about your care. Now, and at all your appointments moving forward. Call us! We can help, you don’t have to go at this alone!

We want you to have questions prepared. We want you to know what is coming next in your prenatal appointments. We want YOU to be prepared. We want you to know yourself and know how you will respond to surprise requests. Ultimately, we hope for you to be able to have a positive experience with a care provider that you jive with. And if you don’t jive just know that it IS okay to find a new provider. Shout out to my client that recently switched providers mid way through her 3rd trimester!

Us doulas are also masters in emotional support so be sure to keep in touch with us throughout. Call us! We want to know that you care! And WE really care that you get the best care for you!

Sometimes caring means being educated. If you don’t know you have any options, you don’t have any options.

Read back next week for Tip #3 "why doulas want you to take prenatal education". Check back soon.

What your Edmonton birth doula really wants you to know. Tip #1. 

October 31, 2018

 As an Edmonton birth doula there are a few things that I want you to know as a doula client. There are reasons why we doulas do what we do and we really really really want you to get the birth you desire. But, we know that that starts with you.

Here is what this Down to Earth doula wants you to know.

1)We want you to do your research. This one is HUGE!

I admit, I actually went with an OB that my friend had recommended all those years ago when I was pregnant with my first. It worked out well and I really enjoyed her. That being said It took until my 3rd pregnancy until I felt comfortable telling her “no” when she wanted to schedule another induction date…. for no reason other then my due date had past (not evidenced based btw). In the end we agreed on another appointment the following week to discuss it again. It was a win and I am so glad I said something as he was born 2 days later….no induction needed.

If we fast forward to my last pregnancy it was full of research and advocacy for myself. Half of my care team was for me going ahead with a home water birth and the other half seemed afraid of the unknowns of Pemphagoid Gestationis (a pregnancy related auto immune disease). So, it was really really important that I did my homework and became the expert on my own disease. Guess what? I got that home water birth! I couldn’t have done it alone though. I had a fantastic midwife, an amazingly supportive doula, and dear friends and family by my side. Had I have not done the research it is likely my birth outcomes would have been very different.

So here is what you really need to know about doing your research.

The research starts right when you pick your care provider. Whether this be an OB, midwife or GP we want you to find one that fits for you. Not all care providers are created equal and just because your best friend had a specific OB, midwife or GP that she loved, doesn’t mean that they are good fit for you. Ask around, read their reviews and call their office to ask questions. If they can’t be answered for you over the phone or email it may be time to think if this is the right practice for you.

If you have special circumstances you need to know that not all care providers will be in support of a VBAC (vaginal birth after ceasarean), vaginal breech birth, water birth, planned ceasarean, vaginal twin birth, unmedicated birth etc. If you are hoping for one of those make sure you have a care provider who supports your best birthing hopes and can ensure you, even if they aren’t on call at the time of labour, that your preferred mode of delivery can go ahead if safe.

Do you need that 4th ultrasound? How about that GBS swab? How accurate is fundal height? Should you be worried about a “big baby”? Is 2 days of labour normal? Should you get your thyroid checked? Should you do the diabetes testing? And all of the other questions you have thought about. Do your research. Find some reputable sources (your doula will help you find those) and read away. When you have a knowledge base it makes it easier to take your questions back to your care provider and have a conversation. But please, pretty please bring any concerns to your care provider.

To recap, your research is so important in supporting your birthing wishes. And know if your caregiver and you aren’t jiving it is okay to find a different one at any point during your pregnancy. But save yourself the hassle and do your research right off the hop!

Coming up next week. Tip #2 in this installment "We want you to care about your care" Check back soon.

The guilt of having a second baby. Do you have enough love?

October 26, 2018

You have done this once before. 

You have awaited the painfully slow long months until you meet your first baby.

 And then you Meet. 

You know the way you would give up everything to protect this child. Your heart belongs with that child. Your life has changed. You are more in love with anyone then ever before. You give that sweet child your all.

And then, months or years later, your pregnant with number 2. 

The doubt starts.

You have probably felt it.

You say to yourself “how will I ever love this baby as much as my last”, “How will I still have enough time for my first born?”, “It will never just be us again”, and you worry.

What you may not know is this: you are not alone in feeling this way!

In fact, it seems more common to have these fears then to not. You have mentioned it to your girlfriends and they say “oh yes! I remember those feelings” or you get the “It will all be fine, don’t worry”.

What they don’t tell you is this: Your growing baby has heard your little one’s voice in utero, for as long as baby could hear. Your little baby knows their sibling more then the big sibling knows them. This baby, tucked so safely inside, knows the noises in your house, the songs you have sang, the sounds of the toys or shows the big sibling is watching. And this baby, LOVES its big sibling.

Something special happens when you introduce baby to its big sibling. It may not happen on day one, but when it does it is so very special. It is something that you have never experienced. And its magical. Seriously, its magical. There is no other way to describe it, and you are going to cry. Tears of joy. You will release all those worries you have been holding in for 9 long months. And in this moment, you know it will all be okay.

The day is coming when you see your first born looking so amazed by their new sibling. The way they want to hold them, and poke them (they learn don’t worry), the way they want to help you feed the baby, the way they are amazed by that little umbilical cord stump, the way they have suddenly turned into a human being that wants to protect this tiny little baby. You see them look at this baby with love. Love you never knew they were capable of. And you cry. Those months of worries and months of preparing for a new child suddenly fade away. You know it is all going to be okay.

And then something else happens.

The new baby stops fussing when it hears its sibling. It saves its first coos, smiles and giggles for its sibling. It looks contently into its big siblings’ eyes. A look of love. A look of familiarity. A look of safety.

 And you cry.

 You know It will all be okay.

Your heart grows tenfold when you witness the smallest moments of sibling love. Your heart grows larger then you ever knew it could. Your heart is full. Your heart is happy. You cry the happiest tears for you have given your children the gift of each other.

In these moments you change. You change from the parent you once were, to the parent of siblings that you have now become. You continue to learn as you go and are kind to yourself on this very steep learning curve.

And then you cry. 

You can not imagine your life without this new little baby. This baby that is somebody’s little sibling. You know if you have a third baby it will all be okay. For this second baby has taught you so much about the capacity of your heart. 

Top 4 must haves for every parents when bringing baby home in Edmonton! They are not what you think.....

October 20, 2018

As an Edmonton child birth educator, birth and postpartum doula and a mom of 4 beautiful little souls I have learned a few things along the way. 

Enjoy this read on my Down to Earth take on bringing baby home.

*And as always, take a look around my website and let me know how I can help!

The bottles, baby brezzas, toys, swaddles, soothers, car seat canopy’s, clothing, crib sets, rocking chairs, strollers, sleep aids, nursing covers, breast pumps, change tables, hats, scratch mittens, baby monitors, swings, mamaroos, playpens etc. Its overwhelming right. After all you will be doing all the things. And to do things you need things right?

How many of you have felt the panic that you don’t have enough stuff prepared to bring your baby home? You’ve felt it haven’t you? 

You’ve just turned 37 weeks and baby can come anytime and you have yet to have the newest baby “must have”. You don’t have the funds or haven’t had a chance to get to the store or worse, your online order has yet to be shipped.

You panic. You feel overwhelmed.

You thought you would get everything from your baby shower (if you even had one) but instead got 800 similar outfits for 0-3 months and nothing that you requested. And you panic!

“I’m not ready!” You say. And you panic.

Wait! Don’t panic yet!

What do you REALLY need when bringing baby home? Like really really need?

Let me tell you the top 4 “must haves” for bringing baby home. They are not what you think.

1)YOU! It’s you. If you’re a partner reading this it’s YOU too! The skin to skin, your warmth, your heartbeat, your voice. Your baby has spent 40(ish) weeks tucked safely inside your uterus. It has only ever been with YOU! It has heard your heartbeat, which has lulled baby to sleep on many occasions. Your voice, has become familiar to baby through out the months. Your amniotic fluid has kept baby at a comfortable temperature for months. It’s YOU! The way you move, the way you rock a fussy baby, the way you cradle baby safely when it is drifting off to sleep. It’s YOU that baby needs most. If this concept of skin to skin is new to you don’t worry your Edmonton birth doula will go over the importance of it  with you.

2)FOOD! Imagine the weeks of sleep deprivation ahead and the need to nourish your own body to provide care for your tiny human. Breastfeeding or not, you need to be nourished. You just had a baby after all. One handed pre-made foods are a MUST. Yes, it may be many months before you get to sit and eat a meal without having one hand calming or feeding your baby. So, get some meals (this is my top baby shower item to gift) and have a stock pile in your freezer ready to be throw in the oven or heated in the slow cooker. As an alternative gift cards for places like skip the dishes is  great so you can fulfill your postpartum cravings (yes you will have craving in the postpartum too) and get a hot meal to your door in 30 minutes (give or take)!

3)SUPPORT NETWORK! Maybe this has not even been on your radar. After all we have maternal instincts so why would we need a support network? Well here’s why. This parenting thing is hard guys. It’s really freaking hard. You’ve have gone from working and socializing and building your own self worth for years. And now…… well now, you are home. It’s lonely. It’s repetitive. It’s weird. It’s exhausting. It’s all new. Your friends are all at different stages in their lives right now. They are at work during the day or have older children or some other variation of a different life then you do. Oh and baby poop is a BIG hot topic around your house these days. What’s a parent to do? Build your network. Build a community around yourself. A community of like-minded moms (like-minded because you won’t connect with every other new mom) who are here to say “you’re doing a really great job” and “this is really hard, how can I help?”. You’ve heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” right? Well these words suddenly make sense now. It also takes a village of support to get through this whole parenting journey for us! So, build a network. Seek out new mom groups or library groups. Use your social media to network and create "play dates", which you will learn are really "mom dates" Luckily in Edmonton we have so many choices of places to go and find that network. Now go find them! If you have a support network already please please please, ask them for help during pregnancy and postpartum.

4)A tidy (ish) house. Declutter, declutter, declutter. Yup that’s right. This one is done before you bring the baby home but right now, at 37 weeks pregnant, is a great time to do some last-minute clearing and cleaning. Get rid of those items you haven’t used for years, clear the junk drawer, and cupboards and closets. Clean the baseboards, wash the walls, do they yard work if you can (call on your village to help). You will spend the majority of the first few weeks sitting on your couch. Sitting on your couch, watching Netflix and looking at all the things that you could be doing. Save yourself the stress and declutter now. Take a seat. Look around. What will drive you crazy while you should be sitting, relaxing, healing, bonding and feeding your baby? See it? Go clear it! You will still have enough to do when baby is here as the general upkeep is enough (believe me) so do what you can now and maybe, just maybe, you actually WILL sleep when the baby sleeps! PS a house cleaner makes a fabulous baby shower gift! And so does a postpartum doula. See my contact page to ask about postpartum doula services!

Other (less important but still needed) considerations.

Car seat! You will need a car seat to be discharged from the hospital. If you have a home birth you do not need one as you will, likely, not be leaving your home immediately.

Diapers and Wipes! I admit, they are really helpful to have for ease of clean up.

Clothes! Not necessary at first actually (the car ride home yes, but once home you can pass for a while). Skin to skin = no clothes required. Oh, and if you eventually want to get baby dressed baby sock are the WORST invention ever. Just a heads up on that!

Blankets! You have those already. And since blankets are not recommended for use in cribs with babies you have some time to collect them anyway. No need for 672 blankets (the number of blankets you collect when you have 4 kids) just yet.

Now you have it. Hopefully you feel more prepared then when you started reading this post!

Wishing you a wonderful postpartum and early parenting journey free of stress and doubt. 

You’re going to nail this!

B.R.A.I.N you got one? Use it!

October 15, 2018

Let’s talk about using your B.R.A.I.N. No not that Brain …. this B.R.A.I.N.

Not following?

Well B.R.A.I.N is this super simple and handy acronym for childbirth, let me break it down for you.






So now that we all know what B.R.A.I.N stands for how do we use it.

Well I just have to mention that this simple acronym comes in handy for more than childbirth. So that will be the focus here. Using your B.R.A.I.N starts at your first prenatal visit, and everyone after. Its an important part of your Labor Day and as you find your way into parenting and the many many pediatrician appointments or immunization visits in your future. Essentially, knowing all your options will help you to make the best decision with your care team during pregnancy, labor and delivery and well into parenthood. 

What am I talking about? I’m talking about informed consent. So be sure to ask away!

Imagine a pregnancy and delivery where you felt like you knew how to ask questions to your care provider. Imagine if this wasn’t a weird thing, it was just second nature. To often we forget to ask the questions that we want answered and sometimes it’s a matter of we have not processed the appointment until after we are gone. But then the questions come flooding in. So, I would encourage you to put to practice using your B.R.A.I.N very early on in your prenatal appointments. It takes time to practice new skills before they really sink in and become second nature. And because B.R.A.I.N will be used many time throughout your life practice practice practice! This means picking up the phone…. call your doctor, OBGYN, GP, or midwife, if you feel it can not wait until the next visit. Or fire off an email. I have never met a care provider without a phone. We may as well put their landlines to use😊. 

Also, no you are not being annoying because you want the results of your diabetes glucose screen before your appointment in 4 weeks……because its your birthday and you want cake. All the CAKE!! But I digress….

So back to how we use B.R.A.I.N.

When we are feeling unsure about a procedure (lets say a cervical exam, induction, fundal height measurements, ultrasounds, immunization, feeding method etc) or just want more information we can start with “how will this benefit me or the baby(B)” “what are you worried about if I don’t want an ( insert exam,or procedure here) yet(R)” “can this be harmful to me or baby and tell me how(R)” “ are their other ways to do this (exam or procedure)(A)” “I’m feeling really uneasy about( insert procedure here) can I think about it and let you know next week(I)” and “what happens if we don’t do a (insert procedure here)(N)”. You can follow up the conversation with a “thank you” for asking and exploring that with me prior to doing the exam/procedure. And as stated above, if you still wont more information to make a truly informed decision……phone them back!

So, you see, consent begins as your pregnancy journey begins and hopefully by having B.R.A.I.N. conversations you feel more supported and informed then ever before. I encourage you to talk to your partners and friends and doulas about how they can support you in using your B.R.A.I.N. and to get on to the same page as you as you start this beautiful journey of pregnancy birth and beyond. Bonus point to the partners who are also comfortable using their B.R.A.I.N during childbirth and beyond!


September 6, 2018


I repeat 3!!!!

3 is the number of first time parents who messaged me back in August.

They messaged to share their birth announcement with me after being in contact at some point during the pregnancy, due to childbirth classes or birth doula inquiries.

3 brand new healthy babies! Yay!

3 new families that all had 1 thing in common. They ALL said “I wish I had a doula”.

3 new happy families who are saddened by their birth experience.

3 sets of parents who felt like they had no idea what was going on, that things just kind of ‘happened’ without being informed.

3 families who did not welcome their baby into this world the way they had hoped.

Although, as an Edmonton doula, I can not guarantee you get the birth you want. I can and will ensure you and your partner feel supported, informed and empowered through your labour and birth.

There seems to be some common misconceptions about doula support so I wanted to break it down for you.

I recently ran a survey on an online pregnancy forum to understand why parents choose to NOT hire a doula to support them through this most memorable time.

The results were not really a surprise but maybe I can help you make sense of it all!

80 women responded to the survey. Some picked more than one option or picked a number for each one of their pregnancies and births. The total is 97 but it only reflects the reasons of 80 random Canadian pregnant women.

Here was the question and the options. Is there a letter that reflects you?

What is the main reasons you choose to NOT hire a doula?

A) cost

B) what's a doula?

C) because that's my partners job

D) birth is private and I'm not comfortable with someone else in the room

E) I haven't found one I liked

F) partner is not on board

G) I have a midwife and don't need a doula

H) I have a doula

Now lets do some myth busting…..

A) Cost. 28 out of 80 women said that cost was the reason they choose to not get a doula.

This, to no surprise, was the number 1 barrier in why mothers choose not to get a doula. Although when asked no one could answer what they felt was a reasonable price. Here is what makes up a doulas fees.

Remember that a doula will provide 2 (some do 1 or 3) prenatal visits in your home getting to know you and your partner. Building a birth plan, if you want, pointing you to the best evidenced based research. Your doula will likely give you some resources and hand outs. Your doula is available for questions at any point after booking and you keep in contact with your Doula after prenatal appointments. Your doula will be on call from 37-42 weeks for you, day or night, and will meet you at your home or the hospital during labour, staying by your side until you get settled postpartum. Your doula may offer another visit if your birthing plans change. Your doula will stay in contact with you and be able to answer questions in the immediate postpartum period and then will do 1 or 2 postpartum visits in your home. Usually bringing a little gift for the new family. So, you see your doula will likely spend 40+ hours with you and additional time spent driving to and from appointments. Other things to consider, your doula will need childcare, gas, parking, new supplies and handouts, new training, new books. There is a lot that goes in to a doulas role, and once broken down, being a doula is not a career that you will get rich from, it’s a calling where your families come first. Oh, and how could I forget, doulas help to shape you and your partners birthing experience, this day you will remember for the rest of your life. Why not have positive memories! That is worth the cost!

B) What’s a doula? 7 out of 80 women choose this option. They had no idea what a doula was.

These were mostly first-time moms and I can so relate, I did not know what a doula was either! So… if you are reading this tell your pregnant friends and family members that they can have a support person who will support, encourage, empower and help make their day a day to remember….in the good way!

C) 11 out of 80 women choose “Because that’s my partners job”.

The explanations ranged from “they did this to me” to “they are fully prepared and have taken all that classes”. I have to say that in this day and age it is so fabulous that so many partners want to be the support for the birthing parent. What a change from the days of male partners not being allowed or declining to go into the labour and delivery room. That being said doulas and partners are a great match. I work from a place of “your partner knows you best” so of course they are the #1 person for you but partners get scared too and tired and they need the support too. If you’ve given birth before go ask your partner if there was a time along your birthing that they could have used some additional support. I am guessing the answer is “yes”! Check out what one dad said about my support during his partners labour and delivery.

“When my wife informed me she wanted a Doula I had to google what they were as it sounded like some sort of witchcraft...

When I found out what they were all about I thought to myself isn't that my job as the partner/father and was a little skeptical about them... But the wife is the boss and we used Whitney's services and if I could rate her higher then a 5 I definitely would.... As this was my first child I definitely did not know how much of a roller coaster delivery would be and Whitney was everything and more that me and my wife needed, especially when things didn't go "as planned" she was an amazing support and definitely made the best day of my life even better... would definitely recommend her to anyone going through a pregnancy”

You see its about enhancing your partners role NOT taking it over. Also your partner can rest easy that you are supported when they need to step away to take a bathroom break.

D) 15 out of 80 women choose this answer. Birth is private.

But is it? I mean you may want it to be but will it be? If you deliver in a hospital with an OB it is likely that you will have a nurse or 2 or 3 depending on shift change, you may see a resident or 2 or 3, your OB (hopefully, but not guaranteed), the lab tech who comes to take your blood, the anesthetist who also sometimes have students, the postpartum nurse, pediatrician and this is just for a normal vaginal delivery. If there are any sort of complications or an emergency cesarean birth, count on more people than that. Even if you are under midwifery care you will have a backup midwife that you may not know. My point is that having another support person in the room that can help you keep your focus while the room is buzzing around you is helpful. PS I have talked to women who feel uncomfortable with other women seeing their vaginas. I can tell you vaginas are NOT, I repeat NOT the focus of the day and I couldn’t tell you what one of the many births I have attended looks like! So, you can rest easy…. Its not about the vagina!

E) 7 women answered that they “haven’t found one they liked” and that’s okay and even fair.

I am not the doula for everyone but believe that everyone who wants a doula should have one. Interview a couple doulas, find what it is that you most need. There are over 100 doulas in the Edmonton area so you have plenty of options. If that seems daunting check out a few Facebook pages, websites or even contact the doula association Edmonton or ask a friend for recommendations to narrow down your search. Oh and doulas offer a free consult so take advantage of that!

F) 4 women said that “their partner was not on board with hiring a doula”.

I get that too. If you read my review up above you would see that this is what people initially think about doulas, “some kind of witchcraft”. But partners, if you are reading this I urge you to meet with a doula or 2 if that is what your partner wants. Please don’t deny her and you this type of support on this very memorable day.

G) 12 women replied that they had midwifery care so they didn’t need a doula also.

I am so happy to hear how supported women feel by receiving midwifery care. It’s music to my ears really!!! I know the feeling. I have had one home birth with midwives and a doula. Why a doula too? Here is the thing….my doula arrived hours…yes hours…before the midwives arrived. Having the extra set of hands was super awesome especially when we needed to get the kids loaded in the car 1 hr before thee baby arrived. True story. My husband was also weary of having a home birth although he trusted my judgement but said our doula was “so much more than he could have imagined”. He also knew that he could go pee or get a quick bite to eat without me yelling at him give me counter pressure.

H) And 13! Only 13 out of 80 women have chosen to get a doula.

The reasons why were “because my husband needs support too” or “my friend had a great experience with a doula” or “I trust my body but…… (insert reason here)” or “I see the value” or “I have heard bad things about (some doctor) and know I will need support” or “I didn’t get one for my first birth and now I know better”.

So, there you have it. There are some of the reasons why women choose to not get a doula. If you see any of your reasons in here then put the letter that relates to you in the comments.

If you want to talk more about how doulas can support you or book birth doula services, head on over to the contact page.

I look forward to supporting you.

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