Photo credit: Renee Bergeron of Little Earthling Photography
I am getting real with you all here. I want to shed light on my personal experience, and it might surprise you!
I consider myself a pretty normal person. I love Seahawks football, breaking out and having a kitchen dance party with my kiddos and husband, exploring the beautiful landscape around us in the PNW through hiking when I have the chance and just being real with my people on the daily.
But this little piece of me can throw people off...
I am a birth doula.
Most associate the job of “birth doula” with a different type of person. Something along the lines of hyper spiritual, hippy, and more. And my reality is I just don’t fit that mold and yet I still LOVE MY JOB!
So when I told my community I decided on an elective induction for my second birth, it caught some off guard. This came as no surprise to me.
The thing about it though is that I was confident and empowered with my decision. I was dealing with PTSD from my first delivery and knew that a more predictable birth would help both myself and my husband walk into this new birth experience with confidence.
And you know what?! I LOVED my induced labor and delivery!
I was empowered to make choices for myself and I did!
It was intense though!
Don’t for one second think it was easy. I am pretty certain that from the time I was in an active labor pattern to the time my son was born was about an hour and a half.
I describe it as a tornado going through my body. But it was exhilarating!
I felt so incredibly powerful and strong! My husband felt confident and grounded. We never doubted our decision to induce.
In the end, we made the right decision for us. We took all the evidence based information into account and proceeded using our best judgement that made the most sense for our family.
This experience has greatly influenced how I treat my clients in my birth doula work. Bellingham, WA is somewhat known as an especially liberal, hippy part of the Pacific Northwest.
Many people assume that all doula care flows right along with that and that they will be judged if they decide to accept medical intervention during their birth with a doula in Bellingham.
This is the opposite of my approach. I go into every birth with an open mind, keeping the mentality that no one knows what is best for my birth doula clients other than the birthing person.
No one knows her internal experience better than the birthing person.
I remain unbiased and support. At the end of the day, it’s my job and man was I grateful that I was treated this way by my birth support team during my induction!
If you are looking for unbiased, non-judgmental support in preparing for your birth, check out our services. We offer a two great birth classes in Lynden as well as two birth classes in Mount Vernon. Both are packed full of useful, evidence based information that will help you navigate decision making through pregnancy, birth and beyond!
Our birth doula services are a great option as well! It’s always a great idea to have someone who is on your team supporting you no matter what choices you make! Contact us today! We would love to chat all things birth with you!
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know that people tend to tell you exactly what is on their mind without holding back.
People act as if a growing belly is a sign saying something like, “I want all of you thoughts, opinions and advice on anything and everything.”
Here's a list of some things people have said along with some suggestions for things to say instead. If you've said some of these things to a pregnant person before give yourself some grace, then sit back and take notes.
What people say vs what they should say
1. You’re huge! → You’re looking great!
2. Are you sure you’re not having twins? → You’re looking great!
3. You’re tiny! → You’re looking great!
4. You need an epidural! → There are so many ways to give birth. You’re going to do great!
5. You’re planning a natural birth right? → There are so many ways to give birth. You’re going to do great!
6. You need a (insert chosen gender)! → Congratulations!
7. You’re pregnant again?! → Congratulations!
8. Those kids are going to be too close in age! → How exciting!
9. When are you going to try for your next baby? → You’re growing a great family!
10. Make sure you have (insert chosen baby gear here). → Let me know if you’d like any tips or help picking out baby gear!
11. Get ready to feel like a cow from breastfeeding → Your baby is so lucky to have you as their parent. If you ever feel like you need more support at any capacity, let me know. I know of several great resources in our community.
12. You’re cloth diapering right? → Your baby is so lucky to have you as their parent. If you ever feel like you need more support at any capacity, let me know. I know of several great resources in our community.
13. Let me tell you about my birth… → Nope. Just keep your story to yourself for now. Comparison is never a good thing for a pregnant woman. If she wants to hear it, share it after she has her baby.
14. You’re naming them what?! → It sounds like a lot of thought went into that name.
15. You’re giving birth in Bellingham, WA? Don’t go with (insert provider’s name)! → There are so many great providers in Bellingham! You’re going to make a great choice!
16. You’re having your baby in Mount Vernon? You better go with (insert birth location)! → There are several great places to give birth in Mount Vernon. I am excited for you!
17. You are having a C-section?! WHY? → It sounds like you’re making the right choice for you and your baby.
18. You’re too young to be pregnant. → There is so much to look forward to with a new baby.
19. It's about time! → Congratulations!
20. You know formula is horrible for the baby right? → How are you doing? I am so happy for you!
Obviously we always want to remain genuine while talking to anyone. So if the positive spin on these statements don’t sit well, keep it to yourself.
There is plenty to think about while preparing for a new baby. Please don’t add to the stress. We understand most of these statements are well meaning but we never know someone’s internal battles.
What were some things that others said to you that caught you off guard? Have you said any of these statements? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
North Cascade Doulas is a group of doulas in Bellingham, WA who are focused on providing unbiased labor support, childbirth education and placenta services to our families. If you are looking for a doula in Skagit County or the surrounding areas, reach out today. You’re sure to only get the positive statements from us.
When Should I invite family and friends to come visit my newborn?
This is a question we get all the time and it is unique to the comfort level of every new parent. Often times, when someone goes into labor the first thing to happen is she thinks of who she needs to tell.
There are certainly people who need to know when labor begins. Some of these “need to know” category people would include:
→ your medical care provider
→ your birth doula
→ anyone taking care of other children or pets
→ any support people who plan on attending your birth
Sometimes there are other people who need to know when labor begins, but this seems to be a pretty comprehensive list of the NEED to know people.
Notice I said “need to know”???
Of course there is a “want to know” category as well, but these are people who do NOT need to know that you are in labor. These people are typically family members and close friends who will take all the updates they can get and jump at the chance to come see you and your new baby any hour of the day or night.
The thing to think about is how often you, your partner or your doula want to be attached to your phone updating these people.
Typically, people appreciate a predictable game plan. This means that labor makes this tricky as labor rarely plays by our rulebook. So, how do you want to manage communicating with the people who will be your baby’s first visitors?
Do you want to tell them as soon as you have the first signs of labor and let them know that you will update them when the baby is here?
Would you rather wait until you know labor is well underway and then send out one group text so that you’re not typing the same thing over and over?
How about creating a Facebook group page that you post updates to?
For those unsure of when they will want their family rushing in to meet the baby, think about setting strict expectations during pregnancy with these people. You could let them know that you are not going to be having any visitors at your chosen birth location and you will let them know when you are settled in at home and they are welcome at that point (or whenever you decide).
Then, if you determine that you would love for your favorite people to visit prior to going home, you can pleasantly surprise them with an invitation.
This way, you will not have an eager group of well intentioned family bogging down the waiting room while you are in the throws of labor and feeling any pressure from them.
But hey! If you want visitors to come to your birth location, that’s great too! Just make sure you clearly communicate any expectations you may have for them ahead of time.
If you are planning on a hospital birth in Bellingham, St. Joseph Childbirth Center only allows 5 support people per labor room. After you have given birth, the visitors are free to come and go but only during their visiting hours.
Make sure to check with your local birth location to confirm that they are able to accommodate your desires when it comes to people visiting you during labor or after you have given birth.
If you decide that your visitors need to leave either while you are in labor or after giving birth, a doula can be that person to give them the boot. Doulas are great at helping to buffer the tension in a room and support your desires in your birth.
We cover the topic of boundaries and so much more in depth in both of our birth classes in Lynden and Mount Vernon. Follow this link to sign up for one of our birth classes in Whatcom or Skagit County today! We would love to see you there!
Author, Kristina McMurtrey, is a passionate doula who aims to see families supported regardless of their unique way of navigating pregnancy, birth and parenting.
North Cascade Doulas provide care for families looking for Labor Doulas, Postpartum Doulas, Placenta Encapsulation and Childbirth Education Classes. We support all parenting philosophies and birth plans.
Our doulas have experience in a variety of areas, such as:
(natural) unmedicated birth / (surgical) cesarean birth / epidural birth / induction / planned induction / planned cesarean / VBAC / TOLAC / waterbirth / hypnobirthing / multiples / breastfeeding / bottle feeding / formula feeding / NICU / PPD / PPMD / bed rest / high risk / low risk / advanced maternal age / miscarriage / IVF / and more.
Areas we Serve:
We serve Whatcom and Skagit Counties and the neighborhoods of Alger / Anacortes / Bellingham / Big Lake / Birch Bay / Blaine / Bow / Burlington / Clear Lake / Custer / Everson / Ferndale / Glen Haven / La Conner / Laurel / Lynden / Mount Vernon / Sedro Woolley / Sudden Valley / Maple Falls / Everson / Stanwood