Asheville Doula: Konmari

Raise your hand if Marie Kondo has come to your home this weekend 🙋🏻‍♀️ Raise your hand if you and your husband are holding things and asking, “Does this bring us joy?” 🙋🏻‍♀️ Raise your hand if your dresser drawers are starting to look like little bento boxes of origami shirts and leggings 🙋🏻‍♀️ Raise your hand if you’re bracing yourself to be laughed at when you tell your children to “say thank you” to items before they throw them out 😂🙋🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ We’ll see how this experience pans out. But I do know that the rescue mission is about to get lots of “thanked” bags of clothes that no longer.

I’m finding a lot of things refreshing about the Konmari method. I really like the emotion she brings to tidying up. Being very intentional about surrounding yourself with only the things that bring you joy and passing on the rest with gratitude. I have definitely found that I hold onto things that I don’t need out of insecurity. What if I need these old maternity jeans?? Haha! It’s time for those things to go.

I also like how it’s a process. Most self-help or DIY models make it seem like everything should be instant. But it’s a process of weeding out the bad and highlighting the good.

So far my dresser, my kids’, and husband’s dressers are all stocked with little rolled shirts and pants. We’ve gone through our closet and gotten rid of all the random things. It’s crazy how much emotion I have assigned to seemingly inconsequential items. I picked up a couple of, albeit pretty, dresses that I deeply associated with a job that I worked and hated. I realized in that moment that holding onto them did NOT bring me joy. I thanked them for how they helped me in the past and said goodbye. THAT felt pretty freeing. Funny, right?

Energetically it feels great to be getting rid of the old and making space for all of the new and exciting things we have coming this year.

Asheville Doula: Cold Floors

A wise Japanese okasaan (grandmother) once told me to never let my feet touch cold floor. I believe we have so much to learn from our elders and the wise women among us- and this truth is simple but something I’ve carried and thought over. .
.
.
👞 for one, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, teaches that warmth is life and cold is death. We always want to be adding warmth and life to our lives. Keeping exposed and weak parts of our bodies warm, especially in the winter months, is vital. Feet, hands, throat, head, and ears. This even goes for your own home. Put only warm foods and liquids into your body too. Bye iced coffee 😫 hello tea 🍵
.
.
.
.
👞 my second takeaway is beyond the science. Our feet are primal body parts that we rarely think of. They get us from here to there, they carry us, transport our bodies. But true self care isn’t lavish outings and fancy spa days. True self care is loving ourselves from the ground up. It’s as simple as not letting our feet touch cold ground. It’s warm slippers, it’s surrounding ourselves with kind people, it’s monitoring our own “warmth” *life* *qi* *energy* and knowing when it needs something. Like socks, or a hug, or rest, or French fries 🍟. .
.
.
👠 so my reminder to you all today. Don’t let your feet touch cold ground. Care for yourself from the ground up. You are more than worthy of that. .
.

Asheville Doula Acupressure for Birth: E-Course and Birth Service

my practice of acupressure for birth is included in all doula services

As a doula I’m an oxytocin junkie. The “love hormone” promotes relaxation and feelings of calm. These hormones help birth progress quicker and with less pain. Any avenue that can increase oxytocin during birth the easier the birth will be. Acupressure plays into oxytocin response in a profound way.

in this photo i’m using two acupressure points in tandem while mother labors through a contraction. these points are for fear and nausea.

in this photo i’m using two acupressure points in tandem while mother labors through a contraction. these points are for fear and nausea.

Acupressure is an age-old practice stemming from traditional China. Derived from acupuncture, which uses needles, acupressure uses finger pressure at certain locations to relieve you of stress and pain.

The therapy works by stimulating different points on the body and maintaining the energy flow throughout the body, removing any blockages in the way.

It is thought to stimulate labor and also help ease pain and discomfort associated with different stages of labor by stimulating the release of endorphin, the natural painkillers of the body

I have been practicing acupressure in the Asheville area for over three years now. I have trained extensively with Asheville’s longest practicing acupuncturist and am in the process of developing a training course to teach other birth workers how to incorporate this invaluable healing modality into their work.

Utilizing relaxation acupressure techniques using traditional wooden acupressure tools while mother labors.

As a doula, my hands and my heart are my most valuable tools I bring to a birth. Equipping my hands with knowledge of acupressure has proven to be my most utilized therapy to aid birthing people. Few skills sets are as versatile as acupressure. I’ve found it to be beneficial during inductions, cesarean births, unmedicated labors, medicated births, and even postpartum.  With just some light pressure on certain points of the body I’m able to ease nausea, calm anxiety, and even relieve pressure off the womb.

Call or email me today to schedule your free consultation and find out how this unique therapy can enhance your birth experience! (828) 778-1889 & motherwolf19@yahoo.com

Additionally, alongside my husband who is an acupuncturist, we have developed an online course, Acupressure for Birth, to train birth workers and supportive partners in acupressure therapy. If you’re interested in taking our e-course please follow the link here for more info. If you’re interested in us teaching a workshop for your practice- please email acupressureforbirth@gmail.com. Stay on the lookout for more courses and trainings!

Asheville Doula Meets Ina May Gaskin

This past week one of my lifelong dreams came true… I had the privilege of meeting Ina May Gaskin! Ina May wrote, “Spiritual Midwifery” the book that really began my journey in birth work and my passion for women’s spiritual and emotional health. Ina May started a worldwide movement in the 60s of midwifery care and trust in a woman’s body. Her work brought forth amazing stats with less than 1% cesarean section rates in thousands upon thousands of births.

In her workshop this past weekend, Ina May shared techniques she learned from indigenous tribes in Guatemala and Brazil… I saw a beautiful should dystocia delivery as well as several breech births. All of these in film from the 70s-80s and would be considered automatic surgery today.

Apart from the techniques I loved hearing Ina May’s personal stories of her own birth experience, and the first 10 or so births she attended. Did you know she had never even witnessed a birth before age 30? The first birth she attended was with zero training, in a bus in a parking lot. But it changed her profoundly. In a time where women’s husbands weren’t allowed in the room with them when they birthed in a hospital, and they were put on horrifying drugs that made them basically forget the entire experience, Ina May was a revolutionary woman in fighting for women to have ownership over their own bodies and birthing experiences.

At the end of the workshop I was able to meet Ina May and have her sign my old, battered, kid-colored-in copy of Spiritual Midwifery and dang if that wasn’t a highlight of my career. Just being next to such a matriarch was an honor.

It was also great getting to meet doulas, nurses, doctors, midwives, and birth workers of all kinds. It was all-round such a treat and I’ll be sharing and unpacking my notes and what I learned in the coming weeks. For now, here’s some photos!

41700984_10156640595880917_8133638920035368960_n.jpg
41708910_10156640596700917_8660986274632433664_n.jpg
41716489_10156640596195917_3516791282926092288_n.jpg
41735520_10156640595735917_5675681771358781440_n.jpg
41869861_10156640596200917_7793291271820279808_n.jpg
fan-girling…

fan-girling…

Ina May Gaskin and me… Upstate Birth Expo 2018

Ina May Gaskin and me… Upstate Birth Expo 2018

41816470_10156640595890917_947650745354682368_n.jpg
signature.png

What I Wish I'd Known Postpartum

As a mom of three, I've learned a lot of things the hard way. Even as a doula and childbirth educator I'm continually learning new things. My biggest teachers in this life are my children and I often say that the things I got right, I got REALLY right, and the things I got wrong, well, I learned the hard way! Learn from my personal mistakes and also my now immense doula trainings so that maybe you can have an easier postpartum time:

me as a (short haired!) new mama

me as a (short haired!) new mama

 

I wish I'd asked for help.

I honestly thought I could do it all alone. I thought, "Having a baby is natural, right?" I assumed after a little post-birth healing, that i'd be up and about my routine as usual. I thought I could clean the house, make food, grocery shop, immediately and all by myself. I didn't consider how heavy my need to process my birth would be. I didn't know how heavily I needed a tribe of women to help me cook, help me clean, listen to my needs and fears. I didn't realize how I'd crave woman-to-woman wisdom and story sharing. In fact, I find that a lot of what I do now as a postpartum doula is sharing my own stories of my babies and myself after each of my own personal births. New mothers are thrust into a completely new life and we want to know that we aren't the only ones who have gone through this and survived! Many of my postpartum clients ask me, "Did your babies do this? Did you feel this way?" and there's something so vital and sacred in that sharing. 

Not to mention, hello, I needed help with some daily physical tasks. I wish I'd asked for help or even better, I really wish I'd hired a postpartum doula.

I wish I'd had a better understanding of breastfeeding.

Again, I assumed, "It's natural so it's easy right!?" Oh boy. Breastfeeding wasn't an easy, or even pleasant, experience for me. I dealt with everything from thrush, tongue ties, double mastitis, and raynaud's syndrome. Needless to say, breastfeeding kicked my ass. I wish I'd known that it was a hard journey for a lot of women. I wish I'd known that it was OK to stop! I felt so guilty moving onto formula and I also wasn't fully prepared on what formula to even choose. What bottles, what pacifier, what formula? These were all things I didn't even consider until my body was aching and the whole experience wore me down. Plus the mom-shame of feeling like I'd failed. Maybe this falls into the category of asking for help. Maybe a lactation consultant or postpartum doula could have helped me be more successful. But I really wish I'd had a better idea of how hard breastfeeding can potentially be.

I wish I'd prepared really good meals.

Postpartum nutrition is SO FREAKING IMPORTANT. I didn't prep for that! I was literally breastfeeding and eating graham crackers and twizzlers because they were easy. The last thing I wanted to do was cook. I recommend The First 40 Days for every expectant mother. It's full of mineral rich recipes you can freeze ahead of time. PLAN on being STARVING every moment of the day and pack food in your fridge like you're about to feed a football team.

I wish I'd gone easier on myself

Our society pushes us to "bounce back" immediately after baby. But your body, mood, LIFE, are all forever changed. I wish I'd ignored that dumb pressure and just enjoyed the ride.

I wish I had a self-care routine

This is a fairly new trend honestly. I have only started making self care a habit in the past couple of years. I encourage expectant parents to write down a list of things that make them feel loved and renewed. Try to implement at least one of those things every day. Wether it's a bath, a good meal, a splurge purchase, a walk, listening to music, whatever it is-- DO IT and do it EVERY DAY. As moms we get so wrapped up in taking care of everyone else that we are usually last on the list. But you can't pour from an empty cup! You gotta take care of you. 

I wish I'd left the house with a crying baby.

Yep, you read that right. In the beginning of my postpartum time I was terrified of leaving the house with baby. What if I had to nurse in public? What if baby cried?? What if I couldn't calm baby down? What if everyone stared at me?? Forget it. Pack a diaper and go. Just go. Get out of the damn house. If baby cries, baby cries, and baby will calm down and be happy again in five minutes. Leaving the house for fresh air and perspective is ALWAYS worth it and it's a good habit to get babies used to. They need to get out too! 

I wish I'd owned my parenting decisions

From friends, to family, to strangers and doctors. ERRR-BODY got an opinion. There will always be someone who disagrees with what you do, how you do it, how often you do it, blah blah blah. Cloth diaper or disposable, breast or bottle, vaccine or not, attachment parent or cry-it-out. You're with your baby too much or too little. It's a sh** storm of opinions and it's overwhelming. It still is sometimes. But I've learned over the years that ya know what, if you're doing the best with what you have, then who cares. At the end of the day our babies are loved, and healthy, and cared for, and diaper choices don't really matter in the long run. So own it and forget the haters. 

Those are a few things I wish I'd done. What would you add to my list? 

 

 

signature.png

Steady as we go

I don't put a lot of stock into astrology. I'm a casual horoscope checker, more for fun than purpose. I never really related to my title of "Capricorn"... However, as I've gotten older, I realize how much that dang goat does hold symbol for me.

Change and transitions aren't easy for me. I am a steady, trotting goat. I will scale flat-sided mountains, little by little, step by step. I like to have a plan. Boy do I like plans. One of my favorite activities is my once-a-week ritual of going to a coffee shop, all alone, ordering a brew, and camping out at a table. Once I've sufficiently nested into a corner, I pull out my thick and obnoixiously pink planner, my clutch of multi-colored pens, and plan my week. 

I write down my to-do's, my goals, my weekly and monthly tasks. I even go back to the previous planned week and write down my "wins" and "ways to improve". I scribble down qoutes that have been on my mind or ennegram 4 inspirations... Yes, this is fun for me believe it or not! I pack up my pens and take my last sip of coffee feeling more in control and like my mind can finally sigh in relief that it's all on a page.

I laugh at the hilarity of the universe that two of my life callings, being a mother, and being a doula, conflict so spectacularly with being a head-strong, list-making, day-planning, control freak, steady trotting capricorn. 

Trying to plan with kids akin to herding cats. And have you tried to plan a birth? Go ahead, try, tell me how that goes ;) 

What I'm learning, though, is that weakness and strength are a sort of yin and yang of harmony. I want control, but i'm so acutely aware that it really doesn't exist, so my want and knowing that I won't have it relax me.

I have my entire day planned on paper-- but i also have the desire to say f-it to the page and do something else sometimes and that feels exciting.

I have zero idea of what may happen at a client's birth. A homebirth could end up a hospital transfer-- and you'd think that would make a "planner" lose their mind, but to the contrary, I've already thought about that and have a Plan B 😂

So instead of fighting who I am and trying to force myself into "caring less" or being more fluid, I'm accepting that this is me and it's choas and it's steady, it's a great gift and it's a big struggle. It's everything at once.

Do certain traits in your life show up like that for you too?

 

 

signature.png