• Mental Health Tips To Help Ease Anxiety

    Looking out at the ocean to help with mental health

    I first just want to say that I am no expert on mental health. I dont want you to think my tips are professional advice, but I know what has worked for me and want to share them with you. In light of the state of the world I felt this was the perfect opportunity to share, so lets get into it.

    1. Set Boundaries

    This one I feel is the most important for protecting your head space. Social Media can be A LOT. Your friends can be A LOT. Strangers you may come in contact with can be A LOT. Your family can be A LOT. You get my point. Everyone has their own opinions and beliefs about things and not everyone is going to agree. News broadcasts about the newest event in the world can be plastered everywhere and sometimes that can be overwhelming. With that being said, make sure you set boundaries for yourself so that you dont become overwhelmed with everything going on around you. And if you must make your own statement and give your own opinions on the matter at hand, do so when you feel mentally prepared to.

    2. Get Outside

    Sometimes a walk around the block can help you clear your head. Nature has a way of making things so much better. Grounding yourself with the earth is not only relaxing but breathtaking. My happy places are the ocean and mountain overlooks; that is probably the best thing I can do for myself. Even if you just sit outside on your patio or find a spot to lay out in the grass, you will be doing yourself a solid by just getting out in nature.

    3. Talk About It

    We all know that keeping our feelings bottled inside to grow is not good for your mental health. As hard as it may be to share your thoughts and feelings with someone it can be this big weight off your shoulders if you just talk it out with someone you trust. Usually when I have a problem I turn to those closest to me who can relate the most. When I am looking to talk, I am usually just looking for someone to listen to me vent and give me their thoughts and opinions if it seems right to, but honestly just having someone to talk to helps a ton and can really make you feel better.

    4. Exercise

    Exercise is great because it gives you an outlet to clear your head. My exercise of choice when I need to clear my head and get in tune with my mind and body is yoga. I am not a hard core yogi, but I do engage in yoga pretty often and it helps my mental space so much! I definitely consider looking into any stress and anxiety related yoga session.

    5. Do Something That Makes You Happy

    Honestly, the list here is endless because you can do whatever you want. Dancing it out, laughing, watching a comedy show, cook, paint or getting in your garden if you have one. You can do whatever you want. Just do what makes you happy!

    At the end of the day everyone deals with things in their own way and I hope I have helped you find new ways to deal with your mental health.

    Peace & Love – India

  • Home birth in the middle of a pandemic

    This is a scary time; not just in the birth world, but life in general. Our home; Mother Earth is trying to heal through all the pain we put her through and it is time to take a step back as human beings and realize what we have done and how to move forward from this. Once we go back to “normal” we have to do better at not taking life for granted. We must protect our Earth because it is the only home we have.

    This time of social distancing and stay at home orders have our world shook and it is not “normal” to us. In the birth world hospital policies are changing daily and it is hard to keep up. In California as doulas we are no longer able to physically attend hospital births. Majority of the pregnant moms birthing here, birth in the hospital. The fear of this virus circling the globe have lead some moms to consider home birth.

    Home Birth

    We know home birth is not for everyone, but for the moms considered low risk and no outstanding medical conditions, it is a viable choice. The hospital policies are currently not allowing doula support, only allowing 1 support person (usually the partner) through the entire stay and no visitors. This is all for a good purpose of course, but it is still hard on us birth workers.

    The way that people are not following orders to stay home or social distance properly I do see the hospitals eventually making the decision to only have the birthing person present and no one else. That is an unfortunate thing because a woman should not have to birth alone during her most vulnerable time. She needs all the support she can get. These new changes have led to many families considering to birth at home. However, one must not choose home birth out of fear.

    In a previous post I discuss the safety of home birth and things to consider when thinking of home birthing. Here is a list of why one would even choose a home birth:

    Why Home Birth?
    • More control over your birth space
    • Its cheaper than a hospital birth
    • Ability to be in a more familiar and comfortable place
    • The decision on how many people to allow in your birthing space
    • Be able to have children present if you choose to (This was important to me)
    • The ability to not have so many unnecessary medical interventions
    • Religious concerns that the hospital may not abide by
    • Labor management can differ
    • The ability to birth the way you want because its YOUR BIRTH

    Many decisions now are being made out of fear. It is totally understandable and I get it. Hospitals are germy, your doula can’t come, visitors can’t come, and you were planning on a “natural” birth anyways. So why not right? This is obviously just not my bias opinion about home birth,  organizations such as the World Health Organization, the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the American Public Health Association all support home and out-of-hospital birth options for low-risk women. Before you change your birth place make sure it is the right choice for you. The relationship between a midwife and her clients are so deeply personal because the relationship has had time to bond and trust has grown.

    This is not to deter any mom from considering a home birth, I just want you to know why many moms choose it and make your decision wisely. Home birth is great and I recommend it to anyone that fits the requirements, but you have to be able to trust yourself and not be fearful of birthing at home. Fear and anxiety are among us all and its a very hard time, but I am certain we can get through this together. Shedding love, peace and light to all families and birthing families during this difficult time.

  • The nitty gritty of a midwife

    When it comes to the practice of holistic health, one might consider having a midwife to be the more holistic route. When planning your birth team a midwife can be an essential part of that team. Everyone knows what an OB/GYN is, but maybe you have never heard of a midwife. Maybe you have heard of a midwife, but just don’t know what they do exactly.

    So, what is a midwife?

    A midwife

    A midwife “with a woman,” provides support and care to a woman whose pregnancy and labor is deemed uncomplicated. The midwife calls on the OB or another type of physician if problems arise. A Midwives main focus is working with the pregnant woman to help reduce the risk for complications during childbirth. She tends to suggest dietary changes, chiropractic care, sometimes herbs and other ways she thinks the risk for complications can be reduced.

    There are different kinds of midwives, so when choosing to have a midwife for your birth team you should know which one you want. You have Direct Entry Midwives (DEM), Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) and Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM).

    What’s the difference?

    Direct Entry Midwives enter the field through apprenticeship or community-based training and provide care to women wanting to have a homebirth. Certified Professional Midwives still enter the field through apprenticeship, but go through a continued education process which includes midwifery school, having a degree, health science courses and completing the certification exam to become certified. You will usually find a DEM or CPM when searching for a homebirth midwife. I personally used CPM’s for my homebirth with baby Roman and it was Amazing! If you have yet to read my story check it out here.

    Certified Nurse Midwives are registered and licensed nurses who have completed a midwifery program. CNM’s can also write prescriptions for mothers and normally attend births in hospitals or birth centers. There is a slow rise of CNM’s attending homebirths as well because they want women to have options, as we should right?! They all are qualified individuals, but with different learning backgrounds and education. So, when choosing your midwife, keep all of this in mind and do your research.

    So, why choose a midwife?

    When a woman becomes pregnant, she wants the best care possible for her and her growing baby. A birth attendant who is more about letting the woman birth how she is intended as long as the complications for her are low is what we want when owning our birth.  It is understood that midwives are for those with uncomplicated pregnancies. They provide information about care available to the pregnant woman and encourage her to get more involved in her pregnancy, by taking care of herself first while nourishing her growing baby. Just like doulas, midwives advocate birth education, natural childbirth, and getting the entire family involved. Cesarean sections and episiotomies are less common when care is provided by a midwife because of how they practice and minimizing the use of interventions and technology.

    Benefits of having a midwife include:

    According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, benefits of receiving midwifery care include:

    • Decreased risk of needing a cesarean
    • Lower infant mortality rates
    • Decreased risk of preterm birth
    • Decreased third and fourth-degree perineal tears
    • Increased chances of having a positive start to breastfeeding
    • Increased satisfaction with the quality of care
    • Prenatal education focusing on health promotion risk reduction behaviors
    • A more hand on approach with a closer supportive relationship with their provider during labor and birth
    • A significantly higher chance for a normal vaginal birth
    • Fewer interventions
    • Care during labor provided by a midwife that the woman knew versus a physician they didn’t know attending the birth
    • Increased sense of control during the labor and birth experience

    Now that you know what a midwife is and the benefits of having one, you may be wondering how to find one. You can ask your family physician, friend, chiropractor or OB/GYN for this help find one. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) can also give you a list of certified midwives in your area based on your zip code. Another way to find a midwife is word of mouth. When choosing a midwife, it is important you get a feel for them and make sure that they are right for your family and your birth team. If you plan to have a homebirth midwife (DEMs, CPMs and some CNMs) you can schedule consults with them and they would be happy to answer all your questions; same goes for Midwives in a private practice.

    Some good questions to ask are as follows:

    • Where did you receive your education? Are you certified?
    • How long have you been practicing? Where do you now practice?
    • Describe your approach to midwifery, including, the role of the patient, expectations, and collaboration with physicians.
    • Do you attend the entire labor process or does another midwife take over?
    • If complications occur, what is the procedure?
    • What are your fees? Do you accept insurance?
    • Do you encourage families to be present during labor and birth?
    • What is your transfer rate? (Applies to families birthing at home)

    Our bodies are an amazing thing and treating our bodies with care and having care providers who understand that is vital. Helping us get on the right path to healing and accepting our body is more than we could ask for.

  • Home birth is safe; So why the misconception?

    You know what I love the most about my job? Being able to support all kinds of families on their journey to becoming parents; either for the first time or for another time. It melts my heart seeing new life come into this world and I just cant get enough of it. Many of you know that for my second pregnancy and the birth of my youngest son Roman, I had a home birth. Home birth to some is considered not safe and they’d rather be in a hospital. If that is your opinion, I am not here to sway your thoughts in any way, but I do want others to know that home birth IS safe.

    My home birth was an insane roller coaster, but truly amazing; one ill never forget. If we decide to have another child later on down the line, I would definitely want to plan another birth at home. Why is there this misconception that having your baby at home is not safe and the worst thing you could do for the health of yourself and your baby? I think people are looking at it the wrong way. In my opinion, if you do your research, have a great provider, are considered low risk, and have a solid back up plan, then what would deter you from having your baby at home.

    home birth
    Pic via Chelsey Jones Photography

    Things to Consider:

    When deciding to have a home birth you most definitely need to plan for it. Whether it is with a midwife or you decide to free birth (having no medical provider to assist in the birth), you MUST do your homework. Birth isn’t just something you go into without planning for. Whether its at home, the hospital or a birth center, you must come prepared.

    Even though home birth is more rare here in the U.S. it is slowly on the rise. Home birth is safe and is SO rewarding. If not planned correctly though, there can most certainly be some drawbacks. Organizations such as the World Health Organization, the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the American Public Health Association all support home and out-of-hospital birth options for low-risk women, so talk to a provider to see where you stand in the risk factor.

    Like myself, more women are wanting less medical interventions during pregnancy and birth and if you try having a hospital birth, sometimes your wishes are not heard; especially in black women. I wont touch on black women in America today because that deserves a post in its own. I will just say though, that unfortunately women are not heard no matter how loud they talk.

    Home birth is safe, but is it right for you?

    Home birth is safe, but it can come with risks. When considering to have a home birth these are the things to consider and ask yourself:

    • Can I afford to hire a trained health care provider to assist in my birth? These would include a Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife or Direct entry midwife ( a midwife whose education and experience meet certain standards.
    • Does my midwife have the proper skill set to transfer me to the hospital when red flags arise?
    • Am I pregnant with multiples? This is usually a higher risk, but I have seen women with multiples birth at home.
    • Is my pregnancy considered low risk?
    • Do I have any outstanding medical conditions?
    • Did I have a previous cesarean? Also higher risk, but have definitely seen HBACs at home.

    Birth is a risk in itself, no matter where you plan to have your baby. The old folks used to say ” Its the closest thing a woman’s body can come to death.” Its just one of those things you have to decide for yourself when it comes to where to birth your baby. You might be wondering, why do people even consider home birth if hospital births are so common?

    Why Home Birth?
    • More control over your birth space
    • Its cheaper than a hospital birth
    • Ability to be in a more familiar and comfortable place
    • The decision on how many people to allow in your birthing space
    • Be able to have children present if you choose to (This was important to me)
    • The ability to not have so many unnecessary medical interventions
    • Religious concerns that the hospital may not abide by
    • Labor management can differ
    • The ability to birth the way you want because its YOUR BIRTH
    home birth is safe

    There are most definitely times when a home birth turns into a hospital birth and considered no longer safe for mom and baby. To me, it is the same as when a vaginal birth is no longer safe in the hospital. Usually when a hospital transfer is made it is because of the following:

    • The baby is in distress
    • The mom is looking for pain relief
    • Labor has stalled
    • Hemorrhaging
    • The mom experiences hypertension

    Those are just some of the reasons, but are usually the most common. Having a skilled midwife with you to help monitor all of these things, especially the red flags can put your mind at ease when deciding whether or not to plan a home birth. The truth of the matter is, some women do end up in a hospital transfer and its okay. You didn’t fail at birthing the way you wanted, but things happen and our plans can change.

    home birth misconceptions

    The end result…..

    So, can everyone birth at home? The answer is simply no. Not every woman has a low risk pregnancy and many women have medical conditions to deem it just not safe. For all the other low risk women out there though, you should definitely consider it if you are comfortable birthing your baby at home. Just because there are some risks, doesn’t mean its unsafe because there are risks in all walks of life. It is up to you to make the best decision for yourself, because in the end its your birth and no one else.

    XOXO

    India

  • Struggles of Motherhood – My Top 3

    These past couple of weeks have been SO CRAZY that I have not been able to do what I need to efficiently. I never thought how hard it would be to stay home with my kids and still have side jobs that need to get done. Like when is there time?! Between a two year old having constant meltdowns these past few days and the baby being well, a baby its been A LOT. I am no expert, but I swear something is going on with the moon. And apparently mercury is in retrograde so there is that. So much fun! With the struggles of motherhood that I have been facing lately, I am constantly reminding myself that no matter what, they still bring me great joy. I am so grateful for them, BUT it is not easy work.

    Okay, rant over. Lets jump into the 3 struggles that I have faced over these past two years. I am sure some of you can relate.

    1. Accepting my new normal

    When I first had malakai I honestly didnt know how my life was going to change. What I did know was that I was about to be a mommy for the first time and that was super exciting. What I didnt expect was my life to change completely and to be needed all the time. That may sound like common sense, but at the time I didnt think about it. I couldnt go out to the with my friends as much, watch certain things on TV because I didnt want my child watching crap TV so young and so many more things that will be discussed later.

    When we found out I was pregnant it was a lot to take in, but the end result was full of happiness and excitement. Not once did I think about how much of my new life would be a struggle. I am not afraid to admit that this thing called motherhood is HARD WORK because it is.

    While pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed to not only feed my baby what I believe is the best, but because it was free and not many of my family members did so. What I didn’t expect from it was having to nurse every two to three hours in the beginning. Anyone who has or has had a newborn probably feels my pain when it comes to getting up at all hours of the night. Pure torture! I need sleep lol. It seems like every good thing always comes with a fault, but I guess that’s life.

    What did I do to deal with my new normal?

    I just got used to the fact that life would never be what it was, I have a new body, and I have a little human calling me mommy. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by this new role, I still made sure I took time for myself when at all possible.

    I would and still do sneak away for showers whether they be quick or long. Showers may not seem like a big deal to some, but when you’re consumed with babies all day a shower is the last thing on your mind and you go days without a shower. I’m just being honest.

    Another big thing I did and still do is getting out into nature. That is probably the best thing I can do for myself. Being out in nature and taking it all in is like the best thing to getting back to normal.

    2. Sleep Deprivation

    I don’t even know where to begin with this one. My first couple weeks I became a zombie. Adjusting to new life outside the womb you don’t really think about how much they will be awake. In the beginning, babies don’t know the difference between night and day so when you are ready for bed, they are ready for play. Lets just say we were not as prepared as we thought.

    I knew having a baby yould make you tired, but the newborn stage couldnt be that bad right?!

    laughing
    via GIPHY

    I was totally wrong hahaha. You will be tired with a newborn. If you think you wont be you are in for a rude awakening. All I could think about with the sleep deprivation was ” I am so tired.” It was so bad, but then I got used to not having sleep that it became the norm.

    There were times when I didnt even know what day it was because of lack of sleep. I would get so much unsolicited advice about sleeping when the baby slept. Yeah that is not a real thing. How do I have time to do that when so much more has to get done? How do I have time to do that when its hard to go back to sleep once they have woken up. I honestly remember only napping once over the past two years when the baby was sleeping. Yeah you read that right, ONCE.

    I remember thinking to myself that if anyone thought they were tired, they couldn’t be as tired as I was; there was just NO WAY!

    struggles of motherhood

    So how did I make it through?

    When Allen went back to work and my family returned home I just knew I needed help. This girl I worked with at the time was a nanny for some local grad students, so I called her up! She was so nice enough to come over and watch Malakai for a few hours while I got some much needed SLEEP. It was the best thing ever and I was so grateful.

    I also had a dear friend encourage side sleeping while nursing. THE BEST ADVICE EVER!

    Those first couple months are hard, but in the end it just takes TIME. Time that sometimes seems like forever, but eventually they get on a schedule and have a normal wake time.

    When Roman was born, I was still tired, but the situation was managed differently. I thank my friend for that side lying tip for sure. Ultimately I was not as tired, but still tired for having a newborn and toddler.

    3. Struggles of motherhood with lack of a village

    It is true that many people including myself have a village, but lack the support that a village should provide. This particular struggle of motherhood looks different to many people. I have many supportive people in my village. I will always thank them for that, but sometimes its hard getting the support when needed.

    Everyone has their own life and own schedules which makes it hard sometimes to get the help you need. All my mom friends who have kids around the same age are in the same boat I am in and going through these struggles of motherhood just like me which doesn’t make me feel like I am alone in this. BUT, with us all struggling how can we give our all to help out our friends?

    So how do you get through the lack of a village?

    I would love to hear your thoughts about this because I have yet to figure it out completely. What has worked for me is leaning on those closest to me. I have found a group of mom friends that I talk to all the time because lets face it, with tiny children you cant always get together for play dates.

    I had a friend ask to barter baby sitting time so that Allen and I could have time to focus on ourselves without distraction. That bartering time could also be spent just sleeping because parenting is hard and sometimes you just need a few hours of silence. It hasnt been easy thats for sure, but you make due with what you have. And for those who dont have family close by lean on friends if you have to. If someone is offering support, TAKE IT, you wont regret it. The worst anyone can say is no and you wont know until you ask.

    The struggles of motherhood are HARD.

    Nothing ever comes easy, but while some things seem like you wont make it through, other things become easier. Its okay to reach out for help if you need it; even if its just someone to talk to. So if you see a fellow mom grabbing her kid off the ground from having a tantrum or know a mom just going through it, reassure her that she is strong and she is doing a great job. She may not think she is, but she will appreciate the reassurance.

    No matter how hard your struggles of motherhood may seem, just remind yourself that these precious children are so worth it.

    motherhood

    Would love to know what you struggled with as a new mom. Drop a comment below!

  • Diastasis recti- What we don’t discuss Pt 4

    These last couple weeks have been pretty busy and I haven’t been able to write my own posts for you guys! I do apologize, so this week you will get two. The other will be on Friday. This post about diastasis recti is the last of my four part series and I hope you have enjoyed them as much I have writing them. So lets get started shall we!

    Diastasis recti – what is it?

    With the joys of motherhood come many terms that we never would have thought of before such as sitz bath (love these by the way), peri bottles and the one most people don’t even think about is diastasis recti. For all you mamas out there, how many have heard of diastasis recti? Maybe a lot of you or maybe not many of you at all. Have you ever pee’d yourself when coughing, sneezing or laughing? Are you having painful sex post baby? Yea that’s not normal and you shouldn’t think because you had a baby that its okay.

    Diastasis recti also know as abdominal separation is the separation of the muscles along the mid line of the abdomen, typically as seen in women during and after pregnancy. According to mayo clinic, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen during pregnancy. This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen to become separated by an abnormal distance — a condition called diastasis recti or diastasis recti abdominis.

    In other words, its that little pooch that we seem to still have once the baby weight has gone away. There are a few exercises that can be done to help and some that are actually harmful. First rule of thumb would be to seek help from a physical therapist (PT). Whether you think your separation is severe or not it is still a good idea to ask for help.

    Just to throw this out here though, diastasis recti isnt just a post pregnancy issue even though it happens to most women. It is an abdominal issue that could even happen in men and children.

    What is the issue?

    Do I have diastasis recti

    With diastasis recti comes pelvic floor issues such as peeing your pants and painful sex; two of the things we don’t talk about in our mommy groups. Before I met Amy from Modern Mommy PT , I thought peeing my pants was a result of having a baby. I thought there was nothing I could do about it and even having painful sex after baby I chalked up to normal from the tearing. Even though it most certainly could’ve been that, I soon learned that my pelvic floor was weak.

    In the crunchy mom groups you would think we would talk about DR right? We talk about cloth diapers, potty training, elimination communication and baby led weaning right so why not diastasis? I first realized I probably had diastasis recti when I was apparently pregnant baby #2. I say apparently for a reason lol. If you dont know that story already let me summarize it real quick.

    When Malakai turned one years old, I was three months pregnant with Roman and had NO IDEA! “India how did you not know you were pregnant though?! I just didn’t know, what can I say. I got sick maybe a few times. Slowly switching to a plant based diet obviously was the reason right? Nope! Anyways, I had a pooch and thought nothing of it. That was probably a combination of my pregnancy bump and my abdominal separation because the pooch was there for months after Malakai was born.

    What to do about it?

    I have since learned that there are excercises to help with it and to avoid the ones that can be harmful such as crunches and planks; who knew?!

    Sometimes severe cases need surgery and extensive PT support, but usually modified at home exercises can help. For now on when I am talking with my mom friends about how they’re doing and healing, my next question will be ” How is your pelvic floor?” It is actually pretty funny to me how personal we can get in conversation about motherhood and this is something that just doesn’t come up. This will change for sure, at least with me. With one of my many jobs as being a doula, I provide resources to parents and this is one of those topics because if no one talks about it, then how will we know?

    Do you have diastasis? Did you know about it before this? Comment below and let me know! This seems to be an issue among the majority of us, so I would love to hear your thoughts.

  • Breastfeeding – What we don’t discuss Pt 3

    What is Breastfeeding?

    Breastfeeding is the act of feeding a baby with the mothers milk. We all know that many women breastfeed their baby, but has anyone ever taught the good, the bad and the ugly of it all? When a woman becomes pregnant and chooses to breastfeed her baby, it is vital that she learn the benefits when it comes to breastfeeding, including the issues that can come with it.

    When I was pregnant with Malakai, I knew a wanted a natural birth and to be able to breastfeed. Breastfeeding in my family was pretty rare and I did not know a whole lot about it, but I knew that I wanted to do it! I didn’t do the research about the benefits or issues that came along with it, but I knew that from seeing other people do it; it had to be more beneficial for the baby.

    Why is breastfeeding something we think just happens naturally and will just flow easily? It is true that breastfeeding does indeed flow naturally for most women, but not all. Not only does it not just flow naturally for everyone, but there are many obstacles that can get in the way. I struggled in the beginning nursing both of my boys and it sucked! I knew more about the benefits and the issues that could come along with breastfeeding after having my first, but it was still hard work!

    If you are new to this breastfeeding world or just want to learn a little bit more about it, I will help you out.

    What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

    • Breastfeeding can protect against a variety of diseases including, but not limited to type 1 + 2 diabetes, childhood obesity, and urinary tract infections.
    • It is a great benefit to the environment and society
    • Breastfeeding families are sick less often
    • Earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight for moms
    • Decreased postpartum bleeding

    Those are some pretty good benefits right? The list is much more extensive, but those are just a few of the main points. As a birth and postpartum doula, one of my many jobs is to provide support and resources to a woman who chooses to breastfeed her baby. I also help with getting that first latch to allow mother baby bonding time.

    Breastfeeding gets painted a pretty picture for being “the best” for the baby. You ever heard the phrase “breast is best?” That is what I am talking about when I say the best for the baby. It does have AMAZING benefits dont get me wrong, but to me and my personal opinion, as long as that baby is fed that is all that matters.

    There are some struggles to breastfeeding and they include:

    • Nipple pain and discomfort
    • Engorgement and Mastitis
    • Sleepy babies
    • Delayed milk coming in
    • tongue tie in babies
    • Low milk supply

    Breastfeeding looks different to every woman. Whether the baby feeds via the nipple or pumped milk in a bottle, it is still breastfeeding. It is an amazing bond between the mother and baby, but not every mom gets to have that bond. It is okay whatever path you go down, whether its the path you chose or the path you had to take.

    If you are expecting your first or even your next baby, it is vital that you do the research and find out all there is to know. It would even be beneficial to take a class! Its not the same for every baby even if you think it will be. Join a breastfeeding support group if you are having trouble. The group will allow you to bond with other moms who are in the same boat as you. Lets not make breastfeeding one more thing we don’t discuss as a society because it is a biological norm.

    XOXO

    India

  • Miscarriage -What we don’t discuss Pt. 2

    Why dont we talk about miscarriage

    Miscarriage. Why don’t we discuss this? It seems like miscarriage is such a taboo topic. So many women struggle to get pregnant to end up with an infertility diagnosis or miscarriage. I feel as though it is not something to be ashamed of and it is ok to openly talk about because it happens. Do we not discuss it because of the emotions it brings the mom who has miscarried for the third time and can’t get pregnant for the life of her? Do we not discuss it because we don’t want to get in anyone’s business about their infertility? Well let’s start talking about. Let us start with a story I myself have never shared to anyone.

    I thought I miscarried once. You know the time between you possibly being pregnant, but your cycle comes instead? I think they call this a chemical pregnancy now. Well this was the worse feeling I have ever felt and my cycles are NEVER that bad; like ever. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was 6 months before I got pregnant with Malakai and I had to leave work because I just did not feel good. The cramps were strong, but something about them was just so off. I made it home and had to crawl up the stairs to the restroom. I threw up as soon as I got to the restroom and the cramping was worse than ever before. The flow came and it made it all so much worse, like the blood just wouldn’t stop coming and the pain would not ease up. I made it to my bed once done in the restroom and let my friend know I made it home and would be in bed the rest of the day and night. Did I miscarry? Was it just a random BAD cycle? I will never know, but I do know that sometimes in the mist of our feeling about miscarriage, whether it is in the very beginning, middle of the pregnancy or even late pregnancy it is ok to open up and talk about it because you are not alone. In that moment I probably should have told my friend what I thought was wrong and I still wonder to this day if that was the case, but I didn’t. You know why? Because people don’t openly talk about miscarriage. People don’t talk about the pain and emotions that come with it. They keep it bottled up inside and that’s no good for your health. Some woman somewhere has gone through what you have experienced. So as hard as it may be, its ok to speak up and tell your story.

    Support

    I don’t think we will ever understand why this happens because women go through so much as it is already, but what we need to understand is that we have a village for a reason; a village of friends, sisters and mothers. Losing a child is never an easy thing to deal with. I am not saying to get over your feelings because its tough! Having a miscarriage can leave you an emotional wreck. I am saying that if you do find yourself in this situation, lean on those closest to you because that is your support system. Those are the people who are going to get you through this tough time. Let them grieve with you and pick you up when you feel you are at your lowest moment.

    You know the moment after you get married and you have those annoying friends and family members asking you “when are you all going to have some babies?” But little do they know you have been trying for months with no success or you have been trying for months and keep miscarrying. As hard as it may be to bring back up those emotions, just be truthful with them. Say “we have actually been trying, but unfortunately we have miscarried.” They will most definitely feel bad for you and for asking in the first place, but this opens a door for conversation. Conversation about this taboo subject needs to be had because it is a part of life for women, one that we will never understand.

    Or how about this one! I like this idea even better personally. If you are that annoying friend or family member (you know who you are), check on your loved ones once they get married or the ones in a long-committed relationship. Ask them “How are you doing? How is your relationship going? Is there anything you feel like you want to share, but are afraid to?” This can also lead room for discussion as long as the person on the receiving end feels comfortable enough to share with you. In all fairness, they just not want to share their heartache and that’s ok. As long as they feel like when they are ready to share with you then they will. Miscarriage is another thing we should not be afraid to discuss and plan for, as hard as it is. Through both of my full-term pregnancies I was afraid to miscarry and one should never live in fear, but I did and I still do for some parts of my life that I need to work on.

    But you read that and you’re like “India you are crazy. Why would I plan for a miscarriage? Why would I plan for my world to break and my heart to shatter?” That is not what I am saying at all. I am saying plan for the what if. Try to put your heart and mind in the right mindset for the unthinkable situation that you could potentially miscarry. We don’t want it to happen because we want a healthy baby, right? But what if it happens? What will you do then? You will still grieve the unborn, but maybe just maybe if more people openly talked about miscarriage as a way of life and you understood more that it can happen and does happen to so many, then MAYBE you could cope just a little better.

    Miscarriage. Its not taboo, but unfortunately it is apart of life. We should talk about it more because if we don’t then who will. Who will let you know its ok to grieve a loss before its born? Who will let you know its ok to feel sad and disappointed when you’ve been trying to get pregnant for what feels like forever and then when you do you miscarry? Who is going to be there to comfort your mind, body and spirit when you feel your lowest? It is ok to be sad; it is ok to feel like you want to give up, and it is ok to talk about it because if we don’t it will continue to be taboo and if we don’t then who will. Miscarriage. 

    XOXO

    India

  • Postpartum – What we don’t discuss Pt 1

    I want to start this 4 part series on Postpartum as a whole because it is such a huge topic. It isn’t more important than the other topics I will touch on because they are all important, but I have had to talk a lot about it recently in my personal life that I think its best to start here. 

    Being a birth and postpartum doula puts me in a position to pretty much think of mothers and their babies all the time. I recently have been given a HUGE opportunity to spread awareness about maternal mortality in the U.S.; more specifically my African American sisters. More details on that will come at a later date, but I will definitely share when the time comes. 

    What is Happening:

    African American mothers are dying at a rapid rate from pregnancy and postpartum related instances; especially here in Georgia. Pregnancy in itself brings up a lot of underlying issues and issues in general. A mom can have a healthy pregnancy, labor and birth, but when they get home and a week later are struggling, there’s an issue. What is postpartum support and why is it so important in the African American community?

    Postpartum support is being there for the mom and her new family while providing a safe space. Sometimes in hospitals the main concern is the baby, but rarely the mother. Moms are not being listened to or taken seriously when they say something is wrong or they feel ‘off,’ so they just don’t say anything and that needs to change. Like ASAP.  

    During pregnancy, when we are planning for our gender reveals and baby showers, we should also take the same effort to plan out who will take care of us postpartum. It can be a family member, a close friend or even consider hiring a doula. Of course I am biased, but every new mom truly deserves a postpartum doula! 

    Why it’s not being discussed:

    So, why is this important? Why are we not talking about the struggles of postpartum depression, postpartum health issues or postpartum support? What we can do to solve those issues? 

    For starters, we as a whole don’t deem the postpartum period as super important unfortunately. When someone hears the term postpartum they instantly think “I’m not depressed.” We need to get past the mindset that postpartum automatically means depression. Postpartum is post baby. We get all geeked about the baby coming and forget about whats to come afterwards. Our providers aren’t giving us that talk about what to expect post baby, so that leaves us to not even think about it, plan for it or talk about it.

     

    While we are on the topic of postpartum depression, it does hit close to home and I get super emotional about this topic, but depression no matter what kind should not be ignored, should be talked about and should be addressed. Unfortunately, if mom doesn’t feel like she has the safe space to bring up her issues or think anything is wrong, then she wont and that’s just that. 

    The health issues that are rising and not being treated postpartum are so high! Like sky high its pretty ridiculous. Can we do something about it? Why is this happening? Are moms speaking up and asking for help? I could go express my feelings about this situation for hours, but yes things can be done and hopefully the fight to end maternal mortality can be resolved. Currently there is a fight to end this outrage. Spreading awareness in any way is beneficial here, so that more people are aware and more moms speak up when they sense something wrong. 

    Postpartum in all its form is one of the many issues women face today and I hope the more we discuss it, the more involvement we get to decrease the issues at hand. If you know a mom who just had a baby within the last year or two please check on them. Lets start there. 

    XO

    India 

  • My Journey Through Motherhood

    I want to start off by saying this journey has been amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! As many of you know my name is India and I have two kiddos; both boys. I am a birth and postpartum doula and reside in Atlanta, Ga. I was inspired to start a blog about all things birth + postpartum, navigating life with two kids, sharing my love of plant based foods, having plant based pregnancies, my love for essential oils and how its changed my family lifestyle, eco-living and so much more. What better way to start this off by sharing my story of being pregnant and becoming a doula. So lets get the ball rolling shall we!

    January 22, 2017, I found out I was going to be a mom for the very first time. I wasn’t married, like I thought I would be when I had my first child and my boyfriend and I lived in two different states; me in VA and him in NC. I was alone – not really, but that’s how it felt. I had a few close friends in my corner who I had met over that past year by my side through the whole pregnancy – thank God for true friends! I always wanted to be a mom one day, but seeing that pink line on the stick turn positive was super scary, but exciting at the same time. “OMG, OMG, OMG” is all I could say. It was a lot to take in.

    Towards the summer I started preparing for my birth. I ran across a Facebook page for doulas assisting women of color in the Charlottesville area. A doula, what’s that? Is what I said to myself. I did the research and was instantly like “THIS is what I need.” Even though I knew my boyfriend would be with me during labor, I just needed those extra hands and that extra support getting me through what would be my most life changing event. I reached out to the collective, secured my doula and ended up with two. I fell in love with them instantly and we still talk to this day. They didn’t take his place, they didn’t over step, they didn’t put their own opinions and beliefs on me, but rather reminded me of my own wishes for my birth and I will forever be thankful for their support!

    My estimated due date was the end of September, but he had other plans and came “early.” September 9 at 12:40 pm I birthed a healthy baby boy. All the rush of emotions hit me at once. He is really here in my hands – I couldn’t believe it; I was a mom. I was now responsible for another human being – Woah. I didn’t return to my 9 to 5 after my 12 weeks of leave, but instead decided to soak up the early stages of his life and be with him full time. Let me just say, that was the BEST decision I ever made and I am so glad I did it.  In December of that same year I decided to pursue becoming a doula myself and guide women into becoming new moms, whether it was their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time.

    In February 2018 we moved back to Atlanta to get more support from our family and my boyfriend moved back to Atlanta shortly after. In March I started actively working on building my business while still being a Mom to a now 6-month-old. Trying to start a business – new for me and becoming a mom – also new to me, at times was very overwhelming, but I started my business and still managed to get up for nightly feedings – oh the joys of breastfeeding – currently still nursing him at 24 months I might add. Being a mom to a breastfeeding child and becoming a doula was harder than I thought it would be, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The long hours, late nights, getting home at 4am – Why would I do that? Who enjoys doing that? Being a doula can have its bad days, but the reward is priceless. I get to help a woman bring her own little baby into this world, I get to help a woman become a mother for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time. Reminding her that she is strong! Seeing those tiny babies makes you want to have more or at least miss the newborn snuggles, but not miss the sleepless nights because let me tell you – being a zombie and changing a baby’s diaper at 2 am is no fun.

    Fast forward to September 17, 2018, I found out I was pregnant AGAIN – Woah. I called my dear friend and doula sister Lauren at 8am and said “guess what, you were right – I am definitely pregnant.” Now I don’t normally call people at 8 in the morning because who does that, but I just had to tell her because she kept telling me I was pregnant when I definitely didn’t think so. Come to find out I was 3 months pregnant when I found out about my sweet Roman Alexander. This pregnancy and birth was so much different than my last – plant-based mama, planned home birth and chasing after my toddler. My thought everyday was – I honestly can’t believe I am about to be a mom to TWO whole kids.

    March 10, 2019 at 10 pm my life changed yet again. I became a mom to two boys. I was reborn again and my body changed again. I brought my youngest son into this world unassisted (My midwife was outside and I couldn’t stop him from coming) in the comfort of my own home surrounded by my man, my doula, my oldest son and a dear friend. I am blessed to be able to have two healthy boys and hold the title of mom – still can’t get passed the fact that I am a mom. Some days I want to pull my hair out because this is the hardest job I’ve ever had and kids will test your patience, but I love them and they bring me so much joy. I can’t stay mad or upset for long just looking at their sweet and innocent faces.

    I never would have imagined that by the age of 29 I would have two boys of my own to love on, watch them grow up and be an example to look up to. Being a mom has its highs and its lows at times, but I love it and I love them. As I end my story here, I just want to take the time to let all the women in my life who have impacted me in someway know that you are loved and appreciated and I will forever be grateful for you.

    XOXO

    India