motherhood

Motherhood Shouldn't Be An Island

Last night we hosted a viewing of "When the Bough Breaks" a heartbreaking documentary about the realities of postpartum depression & psychosis. We were joined by local OC birth professionals, members of the community, and a number of mental health professionals to not only watch this film, but to discuss what we can do to make postpartum support more acceptable and more accessible. 

It's no secret that there is still tons of stigma surrounding mental health and treatment options in this country, but what struck me most after viewing this film was the overall lack of understanding, education, and resources surrounding perinatal mood disorders. Simply put, our healthcare and societal systems often set women up for failure, leaving them feeling confused and isolated with nowhere to turn. There are no specific standards for screening and care providers see so many patients each day that it's common for those needing help to slip through the cracks.

That's if these women reach out for help in the first place as the fear of being judged often keeps women silently suffering.

Enjoying the Holidays with a Newborn

The holiday season is a time of joy and merriment. The days are packed full with holiday parties, family gatherings, shopping for gifts, twinkling lights and overflowing conversation. But, if you have a newborn or a baby on the way, you may be wondering how to not only survive the holiday season, but actually enjoy it! We're here to lend our best tips for a happy and memorable holiday season with your baby.  

Carry On, Mama

 

Hey there, mama. We see you.

We see you with your sore nipples trying to get your baby to latch, scrolling through KellyMom trying to figure out what's going on and how to make it work. We know it's hard and painful and exhausting. They told you your baby would feed every 2-3 hours, but how has it only been 45 minutes since your baby last fed and is now showing signs of hunger again?! Yeah, we see you.

In the Spotlight: Ashley Mullen, Doula

We have a special place in our hearts for this month's spotlight feature... not only because she's an indispensable member of our team, but because prior to becoming a doula, she was first, a DOC client. Orange County, we're delighted to introduce you to Ashley Mullen!

I (Lauren) first met Ashley in high school. She was a new freshman member of the sorority I was president of (yes, high school sororities are a thing in Long Beach... don't ask me why!) so we got to spend a decent amount of time in each other's company. Fast forward many years when I went to a consult with Ashley (not knowing it was her) where we became reacquainted and where I was hired as her doula. 

Let me tell you something about this woman: She is one of the strongest people I know. Not only did she handle her birth like a freaking rockstar, she managed the many challenges of the 4th trimester with grace and humor. She'll tell you herself, she got everything thrown at her once her baby arrived and it was not an easy journey. But she found her way through the darkness and in doing so became inspired to become a doula and help other new moms through similar challenges. 

Ashley is an incredible teacher, not only in her Babywearing 101 class but at in-home postpartum visits as well. She's well-versed in baby gear, has extensive knowledge of breastfeeding and babywearing and has such compassion and empathy for new parents. Her organization and insight will help you prepare your home, your nursery, and yourself for the days, weeks & months after birth. Believe me when I say that you want her on your postpartum team

We are super excited to share her light and passion for postpartum work with you in this months "In The Spotlight!"

Lessons on Compassion from "Call the Midwife"

There's nothing like a good Netflix binge to help calm the mind and reset the body for the week ahead. I've had a particularly rough week emotionally, so when Sunday rolled around with it's rainy OC weather and nothing on my to-do list, I figured what better time to catch up on "Call the Midwife!"

For those that are unfamiliar, "Call the Midwife" is a PBS show all about midwifery care in the 1950s and 60s. It is a beautiful show that portrays the dramatic ups and downs of midwifery, birth, life, and death in the impoverished East End of London. Each episode is guaranteed to tug at the heart strings. 

In episode two of the fifth season, there is an interesting commentary on breastfeeding vs. formula feeding with a beautiful lesson on listening to an individual mothers needs and desires.

Without going into too much detail (because really, if you aren't watching this show yet, you should!!) one of the midwives is extremely vocal of her disapproval of formula feeding. Keep in mind that formula was a new phenomenon in the 1960s and that some people could barely afford to put food on the table. Sister Evangelina, the notoriously vocal midwife touts the benefits of breast milk as being the perfect food for baby and bonus, it's free! 

As a Birth & Postpartum Doula, I of course, know her views to be valid and correct from a logical standpoint, but I cringed at the words she used and the attitude she portrayed, essentially poo-pooing anyone who dared challenge her expertise and views. 

Fast forward to a mom struggling to breastfeed and this same midwife (while encouraging her to keep trying), dismisses her fears and the pain breastfeeding was causing her. It took bleeding nipples and a full emotional breakdown for the midwife to finally admit that she was wrong and that formula was NOT, in fact, evil.