Facing Fear in Childbirth

One question we ask families in our prenatal meetings are, “What fears do you have in Childbirth, What concerns you?”

Most of the time, people brush it aside, and then a few minutes later say, “Actually I’m worried about _______________.”

Why do we fear childbirth? Is it articles on Facebook? Biological disposition? Why talk about it? Won’t bringing up the possibility that that there is something to be feared trigger an emotional response?

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Fear, Anxiety, Concern. Whatever you want to call it, it is the cloud in the room that can greatly impact your pregnancy in birth. As human beings, we need to have our basic needs met to be able to birth our offspring. One of those needs is feeling safe; physically safe and emotionally safe. It means surrounding yourself with support so that you DO feel safe.

 

In pregnancy, untreated anxiety can have affects on both the mother and baby.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4499279/  Opening the conversation about anxiety helps us refer you to outside sources if needed or gives you the space to talk about your worries, no matter what they are.

We validate your concerns. No matter how rare, no matter the correlation to your delivery, no matter how normal it is, your anxieties MATTER. Giving them space to exist is sometimes all a birthing person needs to let someone else carry the burden and focus on carrying their child and birthing them. Processing stress, concerns and previous trauma is an important part of your perinatal time, and helps set up your birthing time to be a more peaceful one.

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One common fear is the unknown. This is especially common for both the birthing person AND the partner!  What if I don’t know if I’m in labor? What if it hurts? What if I puke, poop, cry….(you probably will!) What if I don’t know what to do, say, feel…. What if I don’t know how to care for this baby. What if this rare complication happens? What if cervical checks scare me? What if I have had previous trauma? What happens if we have other kids, pets, family…. How will this affect our relationship? What it is like to see your loved one in pain?

A huge part of our job is meeting people exactly where they are at. Talking through things usually bring a large sense of relief to clients. Assurance that your fears, no matter how large or small have a place and they can be carried for you in this time. We also have enormous resources to help people process some of the bigger things that go beyond holding space for them.

Time and again, we see birth become a space where people’s fears arise. Before we used to NOT pry, to just let people bring it up on their own. Sometimes it would come up in a prenatal, or if not, in the birth. We now know that addressing fear as a preventative measure, goes a LONG way in the birthing time. You are not fretful, you are not a burden, all your feelings matter greatly.

In a recent study in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, (sic) woman with fear of childbirth experienced longer labors and an increased rate of instrumental intervention, than those without fear.

We work to address concern with evidence based information and fantastic resources from our community. A lot of times, the validation and extra awareness from your birth team are just the ticket, in addition to some things we have found to help along the way. We want your birth to be a time where you feel safe, supported and heard. Addressing issues prenatally allows you the space to enter your labor without fear.

This also extends into who you invite into your birthing space. We encourage these talks to happen prenatally. This is that someone is not bringing their own fear into the room, and can be helpful to you. It’s important to only have people that are capable to hold the space and to center your birth around you and your family.

 

You’ve got this! You are the right person to birth this baby. You will do amazing. Lean on your support, process those fears and enjoy connecting with this baby as you enter yout birthing time together.

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Postpartum Planning

In December we had the honor of attending an event at Roots Birth Center where we got to listen to Heng Ou talk about her new book, The First Forty Days- The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. We went into the night with the hopes of learning and understanding more about healing in the postpartum time. Not only did we leave with a better understanding of the practice of lying in, we also left with full hearts ready to bring these practices to the families we serve.

In her book, Heng talks about The Five Insights to Reclaiming Wisdom.

  1. Retreat
  2. Warmth
  3. Support
  4. Rest
  5. Ritual

Over the next five weeks we will dig in deeper into each of these insights. How they can greatly impact your Postpartum time, or the “4th trimester”, as well as recipes, handouts and practical guides on how to achieve these.

In western culture we have this idea that after we have a baby we should jump back to being Superwoman. We should be back to work in no time. Running errands, getting to the gym, “getting your body back” (what does that even mean? It never went anywhere.) And managing to sleep, feed yourself, a newborn, possibly an older child, nurture your relationship with your partner, all while trying to stay sane. While I do believe Beyonce is right when she’s talking about how strong women are when saying “Strong enough to bear children…then get back to business.” I think one key part is left out of that, the 4th trimester, the time where we allow others around us to nurture us, a time to just bond with our baby… to just be.

After the birth of my first, I tried to embody this “modern superwoman”, I thought it was what we were supposed to do. After leaving the hospital we stopped at Target, and within a week we were on family vacations. We were back to “normal life” right away, or so I thought. After not healing properly, and feeling achy for long after the magical 6 week marker it finally occurred to me that maybe my body was telling me something. And that if I quieted my body and mind, it might be able to tell me what I needed.

Fast forward to our second pregnancy when our midwife brought up Postpartum Planning. We talked about our postpartum time the first time around, and what we wanted to change. She told us about the “one week in your bed, one week around your bed” rule, to which I thought there was no possible way we could do. I had a 1.5 year old running around! She explained how as a society we plan so much for our upcoming birth by taking Childbirth Education Classes, talking about labor and reading books. But then hardly any time or emphasis is put on that 4th trimester. So, with the birth of our 2nd we practiced the “art of lying in” as Heng Ou calls it. And let me tell you, what a difference that made! We felt much more attended to as a family, I felt more confident as a parent, breastfeeding was much easier, and the healing time was 3 times faster. And because of the planning we had done (thank you to our supportive families for that!) our daughter was still attended to, and it turned out to be a beautiful bonding experience for us as a new family of 4.

Now, as a birth professional I take the “one week in your bed, one week around your bed” theme pretty seriously. We have seen and experienced first hand the beauty of resting and nurturing your body in that time and the lasting benefits for families. We are excited to share the ways we have adapted these insights, and can’t wait to hear how the art of lying in has influenced your 4th trimester!

Mental Health Support now at Birth & Soul!

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

— Neil Gaiman

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After a year of thinking/hesitating/strategizing and doing other things, I’m happy to announce the beginning of my counseling, support and education practice for parents.  I couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Ellee Owen & Jolynda Anderson at Birth & Soul. Starting in April I will be offering individual & relational counseling as well as monthly support groups! I am so fortunate to be working with those who share my passion for childbirth & parent education, coffee, and out-of-the-box thinking. 

My earliest thoughts of starting this began at Familywise while finishing my undergraduate at the University of Minnesota in 2011.  I worked with parents, infants and children on optimal emotional, cognitive, language, and physical development.  I carried over this interest and experience into Marriage & Family Therapy program at the Adler Graduate School.  The Adlerian principles of individuality, social connectedness, and social equality only sharpened my focus and desire to help families.  In 2015, I started at the University of Minnesota Health’s Recovery Services and spent a year helping families & couples.  During that time, I provided education and counseling to families and couples on stress, anxiety, healthy relationships, and communication. 

Throughout all of this I became a father…twice.

Becoming a father at a young age is what made this work even more personal for me.  I have felt that same feeling of being overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated during this life transition.  As a father, I have felt my feelings and experiences were ignored.  I have dealt with the sometimes contradicting and confusing expectations from society and loved ones.  I have had to learn to better maintain my mental well-being and relationships with the daily and ever-changing demands of my kids.

However, while preparing for my second child, I was fortunate to not only be more experienced but more supported emotionally, physically, and socially.  We had consciously decided on a doula & midwife and actively engaged and were supported by them throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum.  We slowly began to unlearn the belief that asking for help shows “weakness” or “inadequate parenting,” and actively sought out our caring, reliable community of friends & family. These sort of experiences dramatically changed my outlook on becoming a father and mental heath professional.  This also pushed me to explore and understand other important topics that impact fatherhood including brain changes, social problems, mental health, relationship health, and paternity leave.   Eventually, I cumulatively wrote on these topics and more in my thesis on “The Impact of Paternal Perinatal Supportive Services: An Integrative Model Proposal.” Processed with VSCO with acg preset

While finishing graduate school in 2015, I had the opportunity to talk about my thesis and experience as a father at the Minnesota Fathers and Family Conference in St. Cloud.  I was able to share and discuss with other professionals my research on a biological basis for fatherhood and the need for a more integrative model of maternal care for families.

While this was just one discussion and presentation, the interest and excitement from both father and birth professionals in the room validated the need for this kind of support.  I am thrilled for this next phase of my journey in helping families and parents.  I look forward to giving the encouragement and support all parents and families deserve.

-Tim Neumann, M.A; of Minneapolis Postpartum Support & Fatherhood Science


Father Support Groups

1st Sunday of Every Month from 11am – 12 pm at Birth & Soul

17390-10200999247205056-726915161-n-1Tim Neumann M.A. of Minneapolis Postpartum Support & Fatherhood Science is hosting a donation based support group where fathers will have the opportunity to learn more about and discuss issues related to fatherhood including fears about their birth participation, couple conflict, stress management, child development, and their experiences
during the birth. The purpose of this group is two-fold – to receive support for yourself and support other fathers.

Male gender norms have held that if there is an issue for a man, they need to fix the problem, not deal with the emotional effect.  The accumulation of unexamined emotional disturbances begin to negatively impact their emotional well-being. In this support group, fathers can express these feeling and challenges of becoming a father in today’s world. This group is open to all fathers whether you’re expecting your first you’re already a father.


Birth Worker Support Group

1st Sunday of Every Month from 9:30 am- 11am at Birth & Soul

Birth professionals provide some of the most crucial support to expecting and new families. While it can be a miraculous and joyous experience, it can often be a very emotional and traumatic experience as well. This support group is a safe, non-judgmental space for birth professionals to both express and listen to others feelings and experiences.


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Let’s spring into the Daisy Dash!

 

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We are HUGE fans of Pregnancy & Postpartum Support MN. Their helpline and resource list help so many families in the area or perinatal mental health resources.

The hospitals, care providers, birth workers and families in MN rely heavily on them and they are often the first help that gives hope.

We are so excited to have our OWN team to join this spring for the 4th annual Daisy Dash!

It is scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10 a.m. at Rosland Park in Edina. There is a 5k walk and 5k run, a kids fun run, and a great time while showing support to families across MN impacted by mental health.

We want to stop the stigma and show the love! Won’t you join us? We want YOU! Please join our Birth & Soul Team (password: doula) and walk or run with us! Bring those beautiful babies in a stroller or carrier! We are working on fun giveaways exclusive to our team and would LOVE to see you!

Not able to make it, but want to show the love? Please donate on our fundraising page here. ALL funds go to Pregnancy and Postpartum support MN.

Please sign up and let us know you are coming! We can’t wait to be with you supporting this amazing cause. More chatter as it approaches on our FB event page can be found here!

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THANK YOU!

We have wrapped up our first class, hosted our first community events,  hung our first photo, and started our New Parent Group. This is really beginning to feel like home! All I can say is “Thank God for coffee!” & a huge THANK YOU to all our family and friends that have helped get Birth & Soul Doula Services up and running! Everything from sanding and painting, to stuffing class folders and bringing us coffee when we were too tired drive. We couldn’t have done it with out you!


Childbirth Education Classes

img_7386Here at Birth & Soul we want everyone to feel welcome and at home no matter your age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, or marital status. While looking for a Childbirth Education curriculum that we felt fit our mission we continued to be disappointed in what was out there, or felt the curriculums were not inclusive enough or not applicable to birthing in the Twin Cities.

Enter the Birth & Soul Childbirth Education series! We have created a unique evidence based, inclusive, curriculum that pulls from our training in Hypnobirthing, Lamaze, and years of birth doula work! It is an interactive, laid back birth class full of information for you and your birth support tailored to birthing in the Twin Cities!

We have opening’s in both our March Express Class, as well as our April Series & Express Classes’, these classes are great for people birthing in May, June & July!

Whether you are planning a medicated, unmedicated birth, or have no idea what your options are this class is for you! We have both 4 week series, One Day Express Classes, and offer personalized childbirth education classes. Check out our website for dates!


                                                                      Breastfeeding 101

img_7387Come learn the basics of breastfeeding in our Breastfeeding 101 class! We will go over the perfect latch, supply and demand, and troubleshoot the most common breastfeeding problems!

You will leave with the confidence and knowledge to achieve your nursing goals. And if bumps in the road should arise you, will have already have started a relationship with a lactation specialist who can then come into your home after your babe arrives!

Our class is taught by Ellee, our resident lactation expert. Ellee was trained as a Breastfeeding Counselor by Childbirth International, and is currently pursing becoming an IBCLC.

This is a 2 hour class for only $50, and includes both you and a support person.


The Business of Birthwork March 11

Are you an awesome Minnesota birth worker, who is not sure how to navigate the business side of birth work? Has the $200+/ hr price tag of a small business attorney made you feel like you can’t possibly set up your practice the best way? Do you know where to begin so that you, your clients and your business are protected? Did you file an LLC, and not know what it means, or what to do next?16113460_1650654018561863_3684124505192851796_o-1

Join us for this amazing opportunity, as Jordan Anderson leads “The Business of Birth Work. In this 2 hour session, Mr. Anderson will discuss the benefits of a legal organization to your company, how to choose the correct legal structure, the process to set up and manage your business properly, and identifying small, common mistakes that can cause huge problems. Included in the discussion is a 30 minute group Q & A.

This information will benefit you wether you have been practicing for years, or are just starting out.

Jordan Anderson is an attorney, licensed in the state of Minnesota. Married to a Doula, he understands the unique complexities of birth work. He practices in the area of small business structure, corporate litigation and contracts, and family law.

$85, please register in advance as space is limited and will be capped. We have scholarships available for POC or other marginalized, under represented birth workers. Please contact info@birthandsoul.com


We still have openings for Spring & Summer births!

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Our Birth Client Exclusive Workshops are now listed for our birth clients, please register beforehand!

Placenta Encapsulation

Placenta Encapsulation is the process of steaming and dehydrating your placenta, then grinding it and placing it into capsules. If you can get past the initial “ick” factor, many people claim to have wonderful effects from ingesting their placenta!

Your placenta is an entire organ your body creates to sustain your growing baby throughout your pregnancy, and is what transports the nutrients to baby. While encapsulation might sound taboo and gross, humans are one of the few mammals who do not routinely ingest their placenta post delivery. The idea behind encapsulation is that it helps even out our hormones after pregnancy, labor and birth. One of the main hormones contained in your placenta is corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which is linked to stress reduction. Your placenta creates large amounts of CRH in pregnancy, which peaks at delivery, then stays in your placenta after delivery. Many people say that by ingesting your placenta it can help bring those CRH levels back to a healthy range in your postpartum time.

By ingesting their placenta, many people report having:

  • Higher energy levels
  • Reduced levels of anxiety
  • Increase in energy
  • Higher iron levels
  • More milk/ easier breastfeeding experience
  • More balanced postpartum mood

Not only are there different methods for encapsulating your placenta, but there are other/ additional things you can do with your placenta such as smoothies, tinctures, salves, and placenta art. Join us on Saturday as we go more in depth on the different options, and talk more about this amazing organ your body has created!

Want to learn more about Placenta Encapsulation and get your questions answered? Come to our FREE event this Saturday, March 4th from 2-3:30 pm to learn more and get all your questions answered!

Please RSVP as space is limited


Birth & Soul LLC

Whats new at Birth & Soul!

 

We have finished our remodel and are slowly but surely making our new space feel like home! We have loved welcoming you in to our space for classes, prenatals, coffee, and interviews. We are excited to announce our monthly community events and new parents groups that we are starting this month. To keep up with whats going on, and our latest events subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on facebook!

Not only have we been teaching classes, planning events, and trying to stay warm, but we have also been busy accompanying 6 new families on their journey into parenthood. Thank you all forletting us be apart of your birth experience, it was truly an honor! 

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                                                                Placenta Encapsulation 101

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Join us March 4th from 2-4pm for an informational session on placenta encapsulation. We will talk about the benefits, methods of encapsulation, and other things you can do with your placenta. Come get all your placenta questions answered!

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One Day Express Childbirth Education & Series Childbirth Education

Birth and Soul offers inclusive, non- judgmental, evidence based, Childbirth Education. Whether you are birthing in a hospital, free standing birth center, homebirth, planning a medicated birth, unmediated birth, or have no idea all these options existed this class is designed for you.

 In our classes we discuss: Preparing your whole self for birth, the physiological aspects of labor, choices and planning, medications and interventions, birth plans,coping skills for labor, labor support/ team  and postpartum planning.

SEE THE WEBSITE FOR DATES

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Free monthly Community Events, New Parent Groups, Classes & more!

  • February 27th we will start back with our bi-weekly parenting groups. Join us for coffee, donuts, and adult conversation. New Parent groups are a wonderful way to meet new families in the area! 
  • The Business of Birthwork March 11th In this 2 hour session, Mr. Anderson will discuss the benefits of a legal organization to your company, how to choose the correct legal structure, the process to set up and manage your business properly, and identifying small, common mistakes that can cause huge problems. 
  • Breastfeeding 101 Saturday March 25th Join us for a laid back, informative class that will get you prepared for your breastfeeding journey! We will go over the perfect latch, positioning, and trouble-shooting the most common breastfeeding problems.
  • Breaking the Stigma: Postpartum Mood Disorders Join us April 30th for a free informational session with Tim Neumann, M.A., as  we discuss the different types of postpartum mood disorders, and warning signs. You will leave equipped with tools, and resources for either yourself, or to help those around you!

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Delayed Cord Clamping? Here is the latest.

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A new American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG)  committee opinion came out this month on delayed umbilical cord clamping after birth. There hasn’t been a significant standard change to the policy of clamping at 15 seconds for DECADES! (seriously, it changed in the 1950s!)

Despite many mother-baby friendly hospital’s best practice of delayed cord clamping, ACOG has been slow to make an official recommendation, citing lack of research. In Committee Opinion Number 684, published January 2017 they finally updated their opinion to delay umbilical cord clamping for full and pre-term infants for AT LEAST 30-60 minutes after birth. You can see the opinion paper here.

This is still is a different standard then we see from other professional  organizations. For example, The American College of Nurse-Midwives still maintains a recommendation of  clamping 2-5 minutes after birth, and our friends over the pond, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, set their recommendation at 2 minutes.

So what does that mean for you and your baby?

Hopefully, this standard will change the need to request delayed cord clamping at your birth. However, policy changes can take time to implement, and its still worth having the conversation with your care provider. If you have a provider that has in the past been less than excited to adopt new standards of care, the ACOG release and opinion helps provide the evidence based information we all like to have to use best practices!

As doulas, we love providing you with the most current, up to date, evidence based information from across the world, for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. If you are looking for someone to join your birth team, you can find us at Birth & Soul.

 

New Beginnings, New Year

We began this year in a whirlwind. Our space that suffered delay after delay FINALLY was ready for us to move in and welcome families. We have so enjoyed hosting consults and meetings with you, our beloved clients. We love sharing a cup of tea with you and listening to your hopes and dreams as you welcome new life.

The beginning of the year also brought a buzz of new babies! Back to back sometimes, welcomed into the arms of such amazing STRONG, loving parents. We loved bearing witness to your families growing and cherish being welcomed into your birth spaces.

We are getting into the groove of practicing from our space. It’s odd. After running individual practices out of our homes, coffee shops, and plans over kitchen tables, seeing our business birth into a new space was scary, overwhelming and thrilling. We are so happy to see it grow, and each person that visits breathes new life and joy into the walls.

It’s good to be born.

We are starting out the year with some events that we would love to share with you!

We have our New Baby, New Year parent group. It’s casual, come as you are. If you are expecting or have a new baby, we would love to see you. The next one is Monday, January 30th from 10:30-noon. Stop by during that time to visit, ask questions, and relate with other parents. Or just have a warm drink, a donut and some encouragement. We would be so happy to have you.

Birth & Soul also just started offering small group Childbirth Education classes. Our classes are non-judgmental, evidence based and inclusive.  Because of small group sizes, we tailor them to your unique families and want all to feel welcome and included. We want you to feel safe, empowered and informed as you look forward to your birthing time!

We post classes and workshops on our site, and many of the free events on our Facebook page. We would love to see you.

 

 

 

 

Birth & Soul- We are now in Uptown!

img_1509As educators at heart, we have loved being invited into your homes to provide education for pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.

Today we bought our own furniture to welcome you and your families into our new physical space.

We have been nurturing our small business and have come to a place where the best way to serve families is welcoming you into our new home.

On December 1st, Our new uptown location will be opening to serve our clients. We will be offering Childbirth Education with small group classes, providing an intimate and inclusive classroom experience for families. In addition to our childbirth education classes, we will be offering customized classes that we feel best prepare you for birth, baby and beyond. For a list of our current offerings please visit us here.

We can’t wait for you to join us.

Birth & Soul is located at 3515 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55407.  Our location is just 4 blocks off the beautiful Lake Calhoun (Bde Maka Ska) with both on and off street parking.