Volume 1, Issue 7
Wow! It’s November already and the holidays are right around the corner. This is my favorite time of year! I love the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season. I love spending time with family and friends, as well as enjoying great food and drink while being thankful for what we have (and because it’s my birthday month too)! I hope that you are able to spend time with those that you love and cherish the memories created.
I feel like this time of year is full of traditions, either ones that have been going on for years or the ones that you will create this year. My all-time favorite holiday tradition is that my family goes on the first weekend after Thanksgiving to chop our Christmas tree down. We go to this beautiful tree farm in the northern part of our county, they have a bagpipe and drum corps that marches down the mountain playing holiday music with Santa in his kilt leading the way. If the weather cooperates, we tailgate and enjoy lunch with our family and friends. After that we head home and decorate the tree and make gingerbread houses (from milk cartons and graham crackers). I love creating these memories. I hope that you are able to have your own traditions as well.
This month we have added 100 doulas to the ProDoula family. Welcome home! Looking forward to all that join us next month.
On another note, don’t forget to pay for your membership, whether it is renewing it or paying for the first time, you don’t want to miss out on all of the perks of being a member.
Remember, we are ALWAYS here for you whether it is by phone, email or through FaceBook even though I prefer that you call. I do enjoy talking to all of you.
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
~~Moms Mabley, American vaudeville comedian
Many people wonder if there is a code of ethics to use as a guide when utilizing social media for marketing purposes. Although there is no rule book there are a few ‘unwritten rules’ that can be beneficial in helping understand the difference between aggressive and beneficial marketing strategies v.s. riding the coat tails of other brands and stepping on their toes.
Since #HASHTAGS are basically the ‘Key Words’ of social media, Hashtag Etiquette can be a good place to start implementing some of these ‘unwritten rules’. Read more about Hashtag Etiquette by visiting:
Will your favorite doula use her gift certificate to suit up in our Doula Warm-Up Suit?
Perhaps your postpartum placenta specialist is running low on supplies and would stock up with our Placenta Refill Kit?
Would the childbirth educator in your family be over the moon to use their gift certificate on the Cloth Breast Model set?
Give the special birth professional in your life a gift certificate this holiday season!View this Product
Let’s talk about birth. Specifically, the prevailing belief that seems to exist in the birth community that birthing individuals MUST be upright and mobile in order for labor to progress. While I don’t disagree that being upright and mobile can be beneficial to the progression of labor, laboring in the bed isn’t necessarily detrimental to the progression of labor or a recipe for a cesarean either.
When we look at labor as process and how it progresses, it’s important to remember that there are three elements that work together. The ProDoula Childbirth Education Curriculum breaks these down into what we call the Squeeze, Squat & Squirm – The GPS of Birth©. Let’s examine these a bit more in-depth below.
Squeeze – the uterus controls the intensity and the pace of the labor. Some consider the uterus the most powerful muscle in the female body. There are three layers of the uterine muscle (myometrium) and as these layers contract in response to oxytocin they contract in a clockwise motion. The outer layer is comprised of longitudinal fibers that run from top to bottom. The middle layer is comprised of muscle fibers that criss-cross much like a figure 8. The innermost layer is comprised of circular muscle fibers. When the three layers of the uterus contract together they contract in a clockwise motion from top to bottom. It is this motion that helps to aid in the rotation of the baby through the cardinal movements.
Squat – the pelvis is the framework that the baby must pass through in order to be born. During labor, the pelvis is not static. It moves, flexes and expands in response to the movements of the birthing person during labor. Squatting can increase the diameter of the pelvic outlet by up to 30%. If a birthing person isn’t able to achieve an upright squat the squatting position can be closely replicated by drawing the knees to chest in a side lying or semi-sitting position.
Squirm – the baby is not just along for this ride, but actually are the third element in this trinity of birth. The baby must navigate through the pelvis in a series of squirming like movements formally called the cardinal movements. The uterus and the direction of contraction of the uterine fibers play a role in influencing the baby’s rotation as well as the changing diameters of the pelvis.
All three of these elements work together to cause cervical change and aid the baby in navigating his or her entrance into the world.
Now, I know that some will argue that we have research to back up the benefits of mobility in labor. And as I said before I don’t disagree. But we must also remember that research deals with populations as whole, and we are dealing with individuals. Very real and complex individuals.
What this boils down to for me and what I try to convey to new doulas is that women who desire to remain immobile, women in comas, still give birth. Vaginally, even! For many and let’s be honest here, the bed is not the most comfortable place to be. What I want to see us move away from are these closely held beliefs that we MUST get clients up and moving.
Over the past 17 years, I have supported clients who remained upright, mobile and unmedicated that ultimately need a cesarean birth and clients who had early epidurals or chose to remain in bed for the duration of their labors achieve seemingly effortless vaginal births. There is so much more at play when it comes to birth than position alone. As birth workers, we should attune to our clients and their goals for birth.
If a client is most comfortable lying in bed for labor and birth, we should not assume that she is “making birth harder” on herself or her baby. We should trust and honor that she is choosing the position that her intuition and body finds most comfortable.
Faye Harper – Harper Birth Services
I officially became a member with ProDoula three months ago. It took several years to come to that decision, but the minute I started, I knew it was the best choice I’d ever made.
After two and a half years with another organization that left me feeling alone and ineffective, I started cross-certifying for labor with ProDoula and I fell in love. The process was so straightforward, and my trainer, Angela, offered such constant support and such a wealth of knowledge that I knew I needed EVERYTHING ProDoula had to offer. I had been missing out on so much!
While ProDoula’s fantastic cross certification program does not require you to take another hands-on workshop if you’ve already had one through another organization, I chose to invest in theirs anyway. I figured if my old organization had neglected to teach me all the things cross certification covered, I must be missing other things too.
I was right- the two day workshop with Catie was one of the best experiences of my life. We learned how to work with, and not against, our clients’ care providers, and how to make real professional connections. We learned how to truly evaluate our personal biases and how they affect the support we share with our clients, and how to accept that we were not responsible for the outcomes of a birth, only for making our clients feel cared for and heard throughout the entire process. I knew I wanted to provide that kind of truly unbiased and professional support from the start, but ProDoula were the ones who gave me the concrete tools to actually achieve that goal in a way no one else ever had.
I also have access to business tools like their contract and business plan, and consults with Randy Patterson, one of the founders. My trainers are both extremely experienced doulas and have never been unable to answer any question on my mind or heart- I’ve never even had to wait a day to hear back from one of them, and if I did, I know I even have access to the other trainers I haven’t worked with- no matter what, there is someone there to help immediately.
Three months later I’m almost done with the certification process. It’s been intense, but never convoluted or boring- every step of the way I’ve known I was learning how to become a better doula for my clients, and how to professionally represent my field to the medical professionals my clients have entrusted me to work with.
I’m so excited for the day in the near future where I can call myself a certified ProDoula- that title holds a weight no other organization could ever match for me.
What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened at a training?
All I’m going to say is “under a Wyoming bridge”.
Share with us the moment you realized the importance of doula work.
I was enduring my first unmedicated birth with our third son, my husband was witnessing new territory! Having a non-judgmental support person by our side was priceless! I knew at the moment of crowning that this was the job for me.
Share with us an epiphany you had at your own doula training.
Randy was my trainer. I had previously been trained by two organizations that preached the importance of advocacy and need. Listening to Randy speak I finally realized what the true role of a doula is, I’m so grateful for that ah-ha moment and I strive to bring it to my own doula trainings.
Blue – the kind of blue that is a cross between the color of the Pacific Ocean near my hometown in Northern California and my husband, David’s eyes!
Must have item when traveling to a training.
My iPhone. I like to FaceTime my family while I lay diagonal on a king-sized hotel bed with whatever I want to watch blaring on the tv!
As a trainer, you spend a lot of time on airplanes traveling from training to training. What is your favorite thing to do when sitting on a plane?
I love watching scary movies on the plane!!
How long has your mom been a doula?
100 years, not really but it seems like that. She has been a doula for as long as I can remember. She stopped for a minute, but that was short lived.
What is the best part about your mom being a doula?
The best part about my mom being a doula is how she can support women while doing something she loves. Throughout the years she has taught me to do the same, I do hair and makeup, and I feel good about what I do. So I can only imagine the happiness she feels when she goes to a birth
(She also is bffs with my gynecologist which is great because I’m a hypochondriac, so I got my girl on speed dial!)
What are/were the downsides to your mom being a doula?
I was always afraid she would never come back. It affected me negatively for a really long time, I would be the kid that cried during the Christmas show because I couldn’t see my mom from the stage. I dreaded summer camp and daycare. I had severe anxiety/separation anxiety. But over the years i’ve gotten over it, and i’m proud and thankful for the work that my mom has done, even if I wasn’t at the time.