Mama Holiday Gift Guide

Mamas are such pros at taking care of other people and we feel like you deserve ALL THE GIFTS. Just forward this list to the gift-givers in your life.

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Sakara popcorn and their 10-day reset package to get the new year off to a great start. Use code REF_FPCLOVE15 for 15% off any meal delivery.

The Pajama set from Hatch. Seriously the most comfortable pjs you’ll ever own.

A Provenance Meals Holiday gift set.

An at home, on demand massage from Zeel. Make sure to use code FPCEVENT20 for $20 off.  

A mani/pedi from our favorite non-toxic nail salon Sundays.

A “kid expert” slash professional babysitter from the best childcare company we know, Curated Care.

A lifestyle or maternity shoot with photographer extraordinaire, Rob Fitch. Thank us in ten years for the suggestion!

A membership to FPC. Enjoy UNLIMITED classes, 50% off workshop prices, and exclusive discounts.

This baby carrier from Artipoppe is everything.

Five Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding Before I Had a Baby

By Carolina Gunnarsson

 
 Picture by  Sharon Schuster  of our gorgeous friend and instructor  Erin Williams

Picture by Sharon Schuster of our gorgeous friend and instructor Erin Williams

 

Firstly, I would like to mention that I have no formal education in lactation support BUT I have birthed and nursed three babies so I am hoping that accounts for something. Women always ask me for tips on breastfeeding and this list is something I personally wish I had before I welcomed my first baby in to my world. If you have another one you would like to add, please share in comments or email us at info@fpc-nyc.com.

  1. Your breasts (and nipples) might hurt A LOT but there is help to be found. Reach out to us for a list of recommended lactation consultants. A good nipple cream can also be a true lifesaver.

  2. Pump frequently to trick your body into producing more milk than your baby needs. That way you can start build a freezer stash and also lower the chances that you develop an undersupply. Find my favorite pump here.

  3. Do not expect your baby to adhere to your schedule. On demand feeding for at least the first couple of months will save you from many tears and anxiety.

  4. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Sometimes it can be hard to exclusively breastfeed but that doesn’t mean you have to stop, just do it as much as you can and want and use formula or donated milk for the other feedings.

  5. Never be ashamed of nursing in public. If someone tries to shame you for feeding your baby just know that you have the legal right in all 50 states to do so (as of July 2018). Read more on TheBump.Com.

The best thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful breastfeeding experience is to arm yourself with knowledge. We host monthly Breastfeeding Basics workshop and you can sign up for our November 14th one here.

Your Baby's Sleep During the Fourth Trimester

Contributed by Hadley Seward of Bonne Nuit Baby

Ahhh, the fourth trimester. The 3-month period of time when babies biologically should still be in their mamas’ bellies, but instead they’re with us in the world, unable to tell day from night or sleep in ways that make sense.

This period is oftentimes confusing for new moms: on the one hand, you’re blissfully happy that your little one is finally here. But on the other, you realize what true sleep deprivation feels like (and why it’s used as a form of torture). Some moms are instantly enamored with their babies and love all the cuddle time, while others just want to be alone for five minutes. Either way, it’s okay and it’s totally normal.

If you’re currently in the throes of the fourth trimester (or about to give birth), let’s talk about what you can expect when it comes to your baby’s sleep:

Safety first. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to review the latest safe sleep guidelines. (And here are my thoughts on products like Rock-n-Plays, swings, and sleep positioners/cocoons — not only are they unsafe but they’re super difficult to transition away from).

The first six weeks of your baby’s life are all about healing, catnapping when you can, and getting to know your baby.

In a word: survival. As much as you’ll want to focus on sleep, there’s not much you can do right now. If your little one loves to snooze all day but party all night, that’s normal. (Just don’t try to limit daytime sleep in the hopes that he’ll sleep more overnight–it won’t work). My general rule of thumb: Don’t go out of your way to introduce unnecessary sleep associations, but don’t stress out if you need to do so.

Around 8 weeks, you should start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

While your baby’s sleep will remain inconsistent, she should begin to differentiate between day and night. WOOHOO! This typically means that nighttime stretches become a bit longer (4-6 hours). Slowly begin to introduce naps in a consistent sleep environment (crib/bassinet instead of stroller/baby carrier), even if you start out by focusing on one nap per day. Also ensure that LOTS of naps are happening — babies this age usually can’t stay awake for more than 45-60 minutes without becoming overtired. Use a timer on your phone to keep track of awake periods if need be.

Between 2-3 months, nighttime sleep continues to consolidate. 

Again, we’re not talking 12 hour stretches here, but you should all be getting more shut-eye (especially if your baby has mastered falling asleep independently at bedtime). I always advise families at this stage to chat with their pediatricians about how many nighttime feeds are needed, as sometimes it’s okay to let go of a few overnight snacking sessions.

As you likely know, around 16 weeks there’s a big sleep regression.

The silver lining: at this age, you can–and-should–begin to put your baby on a more consistent sleep schedule. The downside is that the regression oftentimes exacerbates underlying sleep issues, such as needing to be fed/rocked to sleep. (Learn more about the 4-month regression and how you can survive it here).

Join us at FPC on Wednesday, November 7, as we welcome Hadley Seward and her expertise on your baby’s first year of sleep. Sign up here.

"Do Your Kegels" or Is it, "Never Kegel"?

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For years there’s been a trend to tell everyone to “do your kegels” and we are currently seeing a shift in the other direction. We’ve recently heard both other pre/postnatal professionals and pregnancy care providers telling women they should never kegel.

We’re here to help clear up that contradictory information and educate you on why we think a general statement one way or the other is dangerous.

If you've taken class with us, you are familiar with the cue, "Pump & Kegel".  We remind you to fire this inner core unit constantly.  But why are we so focused on that? 

The muscles of your pelvic floor support your uterus, bladder and bowel.  They are important for sexual function AND work with the rest of the muscles of the core to stabilize and support the spine.  They also support the extra weight of the uterus and growing baby during pregnancy.  

Many of us don't realize that the pelvic floor, like our diaphragm, is part of our core.  Having an over active or under active pelvic floor negatively effects all the functions associated with breathing, digestion, eliminating toxins and moving through our every day lives.  It also helps neutralize intra-abdominal pressure, making us less susceptible to developing a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation).   Your pelvic floor should contract and release with every single diaphragmatic breath which is why we cue the contraction AND release in all our classes at FPC.

We are bringing a hyper awareness to what your core should be doing naturally because most of us are dysfunctional movers and breathers. We do this because training your muscles to move functionally means that they will be able to properly support you in your day to day movements outside of class as well.

This is why we disagree with the general, blanket advice to either A: do your kegels or B: never kegel. A fully functioning pelvic floor does both! Everyone should understand the muscles of their pelvic floor. Some women need to strengthen them, some need to learn to relax them. If this isn’t information you can assess on your own (many of us can’t), you should seek out someone who can help you assess whether or not you are doing kegels correctly and if you need to devote time to training them to function properly.

If you are given the advice to either kegel or never kegel, what should you do?

Ask follow up questions! Does your care provider notice something specific that has led them to make that recommendation? If so, ask them what they see and what are they concerned about. Another thing you should do is ask for a referral to see a pelvic floor therapist to address the issue. Your midwife or OB is excellent at what they do, but they don’t have the credentials to assess your pelvic floor and prescribe exercises in the way that specialist that can. It’s important to get the help you need.


Want to learn more? Join us for one of our upcoming Protecting your Core and Pelvic Floor for Birth and Postpartum workshops. We’ll teach you to assess your pelvic floor and give you all the information needed to understand how to exercise through pregnancy and postpartum safely.

5 "Scary" Myths About Prenatal Fitness

In honor of Halloween, we’ve put together our top 5 “scary” myths that continue to persist in the pre/postnatal fitness world.

Have you heard any of these before?

 
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You should keep your heart rate under 140BPM’s.

This was a guideline that was recommended in the past but has since been eliminated by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG). Everyone’s level of fitness and resting heart rate is different before pregnancy which means giving a “one size fits all” number doesn’t make sense. We now use “perceived level of exertion” or the “talk test”. Basically if you feel like you are pushing too hard and gasping for air, it’s a sign to slow down.

It’s dangerous to lift heavy weights.

This is another guideline that was given to keep the heart rate from going above 140bpm’s. Lifting weights spikes your blood pressure for a short period of time, but so does stress, running to catch a cab, chasing toddlers, and living life! :) You want to lift weights in order to maintain and build muscle tone. Don’t forget you have a newborn that you are going to be lifting and holding on the way. It’s wise to build up that strength now and not once you are dealing with sleep deprivation and fatigue.

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You can continue doing whatever workouts you did before pregnancy.

This one is the scariest myth of all! While many of your pre-pregnancy workouts are indeed safe for the baby, they aren’t necessarily safe for your core and pelvic floor. It’s important to train differently and with a lot more intention during pregnancy in order to ensure a complete postpartum recovery. (Apply that Pump & Kegel!!) Many people that continue their pre-pregnancy routine throughout pregnancy end up doing damage to their bodies (Diastsis Recti and pelvic floor problems) that can cause pain or discomfort for the rest of their lives.

Crunches are safe before you start to “show”.

Fine for the baby, yes. Safe for your body? Probably not. We recognize that every body type is different and some women continue crunching long into their 2nd trimester without any problems, but they are lucky. Bottom line, the more you strengthen your Rectus Abdominis (6-pack) and Obliques, the more strain you are going to place on your linea alba as your belly starts to expand. We recommend you step away from your traditional crunches and oblique work and begin focusing on strengthening your Transverse Abdominis (TVA) as soon as you know you are pregnant.

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You can go back to your regular workout classes when you are cleared at 6-weeks.

You had an easy pregnancy and amazing delivery. You exercised up until the day you delivered, you feel great and just got clearance from your care provider (sometimes as early as 2 weeks) that it is safe to go back to your pre-pregnacny workouts. Doing too much too soon can cause serious lasting damage. Your core and pelvic floor has been under a tremendous amount of strain for many months. It’s going to take more than 6 weeks to heal. In fact, your first 12 weeks postpartum are considered your “critical healing period”. That’s when you body is doing all the work to bring your linea alba back together and restore strength and function to your pelvic floor. It’s great that you feel amazing, but if you misread that as “healed” and head out for a run and then do 100 crunches, you may end up giving yourself a Diastasis Recti or pelvic organ prolapse. (that’s pretty scary). Honor what your body has just been through and allow it to rest and heal. That intense sweat sesh will still be there when you are really ready for it a few more weeks from now.


Questions about pre or postnatal exercise? Ask us in class! We love questions and want to make sure you are moving through your pregnancy and recovery with 100% confidence.

Spicy Ginger & Coconut Water Mocktail

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We asked our newest FPC instructor, health coach and co-founder of Market.Kitchen.Table, Amanda Schoppe, “What would you serve up at a 1st birthday party to impress a room full of new mom friends?”

This Spicy Ginger & Coconut Water Mocktail was her answer!

Makes 4 Mocktails:

Ingredients:

  • 2 - 2inch pieces of Fresh Ginger - thinly sliced

  • 2 tsp Ground turmeric

  • Pinch of ground cayenne 

  • 2 Cups Water ( For boiling ginger tea)

  • 3 Cups Organic Coconut Water (We like Harmless Harvest)

  • 1 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup

  • Juice of 2 Lemons

  • 4 small pieces of candied ginger for garnish

Directions:

  • Place water, ginger and spices in a sauce pot and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and steep for 8 minutes. 

  • Mean while combine Coconut Water, maple  lemon juice and store in fridge

  • Turn off heat on stove and once mixture cools to room temp place in a glass container and place in fridge. 

  • Once you are ready to serve combine coconut water and spicy ginger tea and pour into 4 glasses over ice. Garnish with a candied ginger piece and lemon slice. 

Enjoy!!

Happy Birthday FPC!

Happy 1st Birthday to FPC!

It’s been exactly a year since we’ve opened our studio doors. Carolina and I knew there was a desparate need for a place for moms to work out out safely and create a community but we greatly underestimated the outpouring of love we would experience this first year.

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Starting a business is HARD and overwhemling work (oy, our email inboxes), especially while raising families of our own. There have personally been many times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel (usually over the frustration of towel deliveries not showing up on time!) and then I teach a class and my heart is bursting with passion and love for what we’ve created. If it weren’t for each and every one of you, we wouldn’t be here today.

We’ve collected some beautiful testimonials over the last year and we just wanted to take a moment to share a few.

Carolina and I want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This last year has been a wild and wonderful roller coaster and we can’t wait to see what year 2 brings for FPC!

Lots of love and appreciation,

Joanie & Carolina


Beyond being one of my all time favorite fitness classes; FPC is also a community of women supporting and encouraging each other while we go through this incredibly special time in our lives. 

 I've always been very active, but pregnancy demands slowing down. It also fundamentally creates a vulnerability that I really wasn't comfortable with... that is, until I found FPC. The community gave me confidence, solace and joy both during my pregnancy and postpartum. It also allowed me to continue to be active without the fear of hurting my baby or myself.  I can not rave enough about Fit Pregnancy Club! 

-E.R.

FPC was a staple for me through out  my pregnancy, and the benefits were obvious in my labor and delivery. I was induced at 41 weeks and after 27 hours of labor and 2 and a half hours of pushing, I delivered a beautiful 9lbs, 2.5oz baby boy. Because of FPC, my pushes were strong and sustained, and without question, class was the difference between my natural birth experience and avoiding an emergency c-section. After my delivery, my doula asked the nurses how much tearing I had, given the size of my baby. All the nurses were stunned to tell us that my perineum remained intact. They all asked if I had I done pelvic floor exercises during my pregnancy...another point goes to FPC’s Pump and Kegel technique!! FPC was a massive help for my pregnancy, labor/delivery, and recovery. 

-A.L.

I can’t say enough great things about FPC, the staff and my overall experience. FPC has been the source of physical and mental sanity as well as fun and sisterhood for me ever since I walked through the door. 

When I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately struggled with 2 things: how do I stay safely fit and find other women to share the experience? Then, serendipitously, I saw FPC’s flyer in a pregnancy clothing store. 

While pregnant, I loved prenatal Pilates but that didn’t give me enough variety in exercise and cardio. FPC perfectly filled that void for me and also provided a great network of women to go through the  pregnancy experience with. It became my all encompassing resource for all things pregnancy and childbirth related. But it didn’t stop there, after my daughter was born, FPC became the perfect place to bring my newborn. Their post-natal workout classes are not only extremely effective, but also super fun for my daughter and me. Thank you ladies of FPC, 5-star review all the way! 

-O.C.

Before starting at FPC, I hadn't even heard about diastasis. Everyone had told me that it was important to exercise during my pregnancy but no one mentioned that it could also cause more harm than good.  FPC taught me how I can safely exercise during pregnancy, their workouts are fun, and I learned what to pay attention to when working out on my own / taking other classes - and I probably exercised until a lot later in my pregnancy than I would have otherwise.

My plan for postpartum recovery was to work with a pre/postnatal certified personal trainer once I got the OK from my doctor. It turned out to be a scheduling nightmare and after trying for over 6 weeks to find someone, I eventually gave up. At that point I really wanted to start exercising again and this is when I discovered that FPC also started offering postpartum mom and baby classes - so obviously I went back! 

I enjoyed their classes even more after my son was born. I loved to have other moms around me who went through similar things while doing something good for myself. And the best part? 12 weeks postpartum I was fully healed, felt stronger, and able to resume my regular pre-pregnancy workout routine. I don't think I would have taken such good care of my body and recovered so quickly without FPC - thank you Joanie, Carolina and to all the other amazing trainers at FPC!

-M.W.

Current Brand Obsession

We are all about products that simplify our lives and we are so excited to introduce you to our latest obsession: YUMI.

In their own words: it’s “Superfood for Superbabies…Every week, our nutritionists design a new menu for your babe based on their age and nutritional needs. Every ingredient has a purpose, your baby's meals are mapped against thousands of clinical studies and reviewed by our experts. We nerd out so you don't have to.”

You receive a box full of delicious and nutritious food once a week so you have one less thing to worry about. As a special perk they are currently offering the FPC community 20% off any order with code FPC20.

And PS. block off your afternoon of November 14th as Yumi x FPC are cooking up a truly special event for that day.

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Meet Your Instructor: Amanda Schoppe

 
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We are excited to introduce to you our newest instructor, Amanda Schoppe! She’s no stranger to the pre/postnatal world. Sh’s a dance and fitness pro as well as the proud co-founder of Market.Kitchen.Table, a company specializing in meals for new moms. We can’t wait for you to try her class!

Hometown- Thompson, CT

Current location- Somewhere in Brooklyn

What is your background?- I have always been obsessed with dancing and any form of movement and connection. I moved to NYC in 2003 to pursue a career in dance and spent 10 years dancing with the Radio city Rockettes as well as numerous other shows like 42nd Street ( my absolute favorite show). My love of movement and body awareness lured me to complete my Stott Pilates certification, AFPA Personal training certification as well as become a Certified Health Coach.

What do you do when you don't teach at FPC?-

I currently co-own a Health Food based company called Market.Kitchen.Table located in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn. MKT is a full service catering program as well as a home delivery nutrition plan specifically designed for Postnatal women. Between our events and deliveries I am running from client to client and spend as much time out in nature as possible.

What inspires you?-

I am inspired by confident people speaking their truth, living their dreams and being good humans.

Describe your FPC Signature class-

My class is holistic minded in that I love to create a lot of space for clients to turn inwards, with a sprinkle of hip hop and lots and lots of sweat! Working out should be fun, invigorating and safe! Looking forward to meeting and sweating with you all.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A farmer.

Current favorite song- My current favorite song is 5 Dollars by Christine and the Queens. It is everything!!!

If you could be any animal in the world (aka your spirit animal), what would you be and why?- My spirit animal is get ready…. a Salmon. If you want to know more just ask.

Tell us something that not a lot of people know about you-

I want to build a tiny house in Maine, and grow my own food.


BossMamas We Love

 
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Name? Erin McConaghy (who is one half of Curated Care along with fellow mama and partner, Marlene Veloso)

What’s the name of your company? Curatedcare.com 

What was the inspiration behind Curated Care? We were passionate about creating a childcare option that felt great for families to use, provided a better, cooler experience for kids and also created a new space for artists and teachers to share their passions and make good money doing what they loved. 

How many children do you have? One kiddo, Keira, 3 and sassy.

What did you do before starting your company? Managed a premiere children's facility in TriBeCa and helped found a Montessori-based drop off program for pre-preschoolers. 

Top three things, in your opinion, to think about when hiring a nanny or babysitter?

1) Do I like being around you? (is it easy and enjoyable)

2) Do you have enough experience with kiddos my child's age so that you can be fully present with them?

3) Do you light up when you articulate the reason you love working with kids?

What is your proudest moment? Birthing my child (which sounds like a cliche but it's a popular answer for a reason -  I still can't believe I got that child to exit :)

What is the most challenging thing about running your own business? Letting things go. I've always wanted to do a good job at whatever I've worked on, but when it's your own company and vision you take everything personally. 

How has being a parent changed you? When people ask me what it's like to be a parent I say "think of all the times during the day that you are sitting down...now remove all those" ha. Honestly, it's the hardest but most validating work I have ever done and you don't realize how huge your heart is until someone tiny and awesome makes it joyfully explode a little more every day. 

Where do you see your Curatedcare.com in 2023? Offering childcare-adjacent options - prenatal yoga specialists (FPC’s note: How about Pre and Postnatal Fitness Experts like ourselves?), lactation and sleep consultants or, on the other end, things like SAT prep, art portfolio prep, etc.

Where is your happy place? Paris

Tell us about your typical Tuesday. Little known fact - NYC families tend to make their family plans on Tuesdays. It's our busiest day on the site so I'm glued to my phone and computer from the moment I get out of bed. 

Lastly, name your top three NYC restaurants! For veg-friendly dining, abcV. For delicious Mexican fare and great mezcal,  Toloache, and for a giant, fantastic bowl of ramen, Kori TriBeCa.

Follow along on Instagram @curatedcare and visit their website for more info curatedcare.com 

 

Birth Like A Badass Part 2: Speak Up For Yourself!

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Contributed by Ashley Brichter who is a Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula and Mom of Two

If you haven’t heard Serena William’s birth story, her daughter was born via unplanned c-section, and the morning after Serena nearly died due to a blood clot. Luckily, she suspected a the clot when she began feeling short of breath, and immediately pressed her doctors to give her a CT and heparin drip (a blood thinner). She knew her body and advocated for herself and saved her own life.

You would not expect in our first world nation that you would have to advocate for yourself in this way, but we know, among other things, the gender bias in health care is real and women are at a proven disadvantage when it comes to our healthcare system. Women commonly face being misdiagnosed or undiagnosed with it comes to gynecological issues. When doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of a woman’s pain, it often goes untreated and unquestioned. Black women are even more at risk of negligence. A recent NPR / ProPublica report showed Black women are 12 times more likely than white women to die during childbirth regardless of socioeconomic status.

It is an unfortunate reality that childbirth is not always on your side. It is always responsible to arm yourself with information, work with trusted providers, and consider a doula, but ultimately you should never trust anyone more than yourself. It’s so important to listen to your body and your intuition and to find the courage to speak up.

We’re passionate about making you the best advocate you can be during your labor and birth process which is why we’ve teamed up with Ashley Brichter of Managing Overwhelming Moments. Learn more with Ashley during her Childbirth Prep Weekend + Breastfeeding and Newborn Care at FPC.

The upcoming Sept 28-30th class is perfect for parents expecting in December and January.

To Plank or Not to Plank?

The Myth:

It's safe to hold planks during pregnancy. 

 
 

 

Why this myth exists

Women are often told by their care providers that it's safe to continue doing whatever workout they did before pregnancy.  For many women their pre-pregnancy workout included planks, pushups, planks holds, etc.  And if you aren't well versed in the topic of Diastasis Recti, it's not an exercise that you would necessarily think of as a contraindication so many women continue doing them without realizing the damaging they may be causing to their core. 

FPC's answer

Pregnancy and early postpartum is the time to train our bodies with the utmost attention to detail.  For us, that means fully integrating the inner core unit, aka what we call Pump & Kegel, (Learn all about it in our upcoming workshop here!) in EVERY single movement from the moment we find out we are pregnant...if not before!  

We perform what we call "moving planks" at FPC in order to fully integrate the inner core unit and protect the linea alba (the connective tissue connecting the two halves of our 6-pack abs together), from any additional outward pressure or strain.  Holding a plank potentially increases that outward pressure that we are trying to avoid.  When it can no longer sustain the pressure, it can stretch beyond what’s considered “normal” during pregnancy, causing what's called a diastasis recti.  

At FPC, we teach that you use your breath, with a properly engaged pump & kegel, to move in and out of a plank position.  This is the way to safely modify your planks during pregnancy and early postpartum.

 

* If you aren't able to maintain the core integration, if you feel outward pressure on the abdominal wall (pushing out) or if you ever see coning or doming through the abs, you should eliminate this exercise completely.  It's best to perform moving plank work under the watchful eye of a qualified trainer or specialist.  

 


Join us for our Pump & Kegel workshop on Wednesday, Sept 26 6:30-8Pm to make sure you are properly protecting your core during your workouts and every day movements from a potential diastasis recti.   

Birth Like A Badass Part 1: Grunt That Baby Down

Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

Contributed by Ashley Brichter who is a Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula and Mom of Two

I’m late to the party here, but we really can’t talk about childbirth these days without calling upon Serena Williams. The thing is, I referenced Serena Williams in my birthing preparation classes long before she had a baby. I referenced her because as long as she has been in the public eye, she has been modeling how to use our bodies well! In my classes, preparing for birth is all about learning to use your body well. If you watch Serena Williams play, you know we exhale with effort. That GRUNT makes her so powerful! Since suffering with health complications after giving birth to her daughter, Serena Williams fortunately and unfortunately taught us another childbirth-relevant lesson: you are your own best advocate!


When Pushing, Exhale with Effort or Grunt That Baby Down!

Breathing is hands-down the most important coping strategy for labor and delivery. Being well oxygenated will allow your muscles—especially your uterus—to function properly. The best part of deep breathing as a coping strategy is that it is always available to you! Here’s how to use your breathe for pushing specifically.

When you feel an urge to push (it will feel like rectal pressure because the baby’s final descent is very much like sh*%ing out a coconut), take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale with an open mouth as you push down into your pelvic floor muscles (finding a bulging sensation in your vagina). You can think about moving a french press from the top of your belly down to your feet with your exhale. You can make that exhale a grunt, Serena Williams style or you pretend you’re blowing out birthday candles across the room. The key is to make your exhale longer than your inhale and to NOT hold your breath. Holding your breath (a commonly taught and hospital-approved pushing technique) will deprive your uterus and baby of oxygen. Maternal oxygen can prevent non-reassuring fetal heart rate patterns. Always exhale on exertion. You want to give yourself permission to make some noise, just like you’re on a tennis court! FWIW, cuing into your pelvic floor muscles and coordinating exertion with your breath before labor can help prevent tearing!


Looking for Childbirth Education? Learn more with Ashley during her Childbirth Prep Weekend + Breastfeeding and Newborn Care at FPC.

The upcoming Sept 28-30th class is perfect for parents expecting in December and January.

FPC's Top Natural Beauty Products!

Skimping on beauty products is never a good idea but it’s especially important to be mindful of what you put on your body while pregnant or breastfeeding. Since you have enough to worry about we did all the research for you, mama.

 

This Indie Lee toner is hydrating yet manages to balance skin to protect it from breakouts. It also acts as a barrier for outside aggressors like pollution. And, it smells heavenly! 

Nervous about getting stretch marks? Use the Hatch belly mask to hydrate the stretched out skin.

Polish free nails during pregnancy is now a thing of the past thanks to the non-toxic Sundays Studio nail polishes. If you don’t live in New York, order the polish on their website and do an at home mani/pedi but if you’re in the city we highly recommend pampering yourself with a visit to their gorgeous studio. 

Our solution to chapped, colorless lips = Herbivore Coco Rose Lip Tint in Coral

The Kat Burki Vitamin C Intensive face cream is a total splurge but trust us, you are never going to be able to go back to any other creams. Anti-aging, all natural, super absorbent and it smells like a field of flowers. 

Did you know that traditional deodorants have all kinds of toxic ingredients? We recommend switching to an all-natural for life or at the very least for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our friends at LymphCandy makes our favorite in "lemongrass". 

People keep talking about that “pregnancy glow” but all you got was your teenage skin back? Don’t worry, it’s more common than not and this Tata Harper face wash combined with a clean diet and lots of water might help combat the issue. 

Looking for a moisturizer that is lush, rich, creamy but also absorbed in a flash? The Basq Mega Moisture cream does the job! Pro tip: you can even use it on your baby. Pick up a jar after class, we stock them at the studio.  

See you soon beauties and don't forget to #pumpandkegel 

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How Doulas Work for You

 
 By Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan

By Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan

 

While doulas are becoming a more common addition to an expectant families birth or postpartum plan, many still aren’t quite sure what a doula actually does. Below is a brief overview of the ways Birth and Postpartum Doulas help the families they work with.


Birth Doulas

We recommend families start interviewing Birth Doulas during the second trimester of pregnancy. It can take a few weeks to line up interviews to find the perfect doula fit. Once hired, your doula is available to you for any questions you may have over email, phone or text. You can also expect:

Pre-birth: during the third trimester, your doula will schedule prenatal meetings. These are valuable sessions to help plan for the day of birth. Your doula will review any childbirth education classes you may have taken and answer any questions you might have. She’ll also help you make a few logistical plans for the day of birth. We never know exactly how labor will unfold, however having a few different plans for how labor may start can be particularly helpful.

Your doula will also help you practice different comfort measures for labor. This may be a combination of movements, breathing techniques, guided imagery, hypnosis, massage techniques and more. She’ll help your partner be prepared for when labor starts, with some guidance on helping you during early labor when contractions are mild.

 

Day of: on the day of your birth your doula will be on call and ready to meet you when you need support. She can meet you either at your home or hospital, whichever works best depending on how your labor is progressing. Your doula is your guide- she’ll help you manage contractions by coaching you through breathing and comfort techniques. She’ll encourage you every step of the way. For your partner, she’ll help normalize the experience and be a reassuring presence.

At the hospital, your doula will help you settle in and be as comfortable as possible. She’ll help you dialog with medical staff and make sure you have all the information you need to make decisions should they arise. If an epidural is requested, doulas have lots of techniques to help clients rest in different positions to help facilitate the baby’s decent into the birth canal.

Every step of the way during your labor, your doula is there for you and your partner, whether it’s gathering supplies, getting you a drink of water, or offering a massage.  

Following the birth of your baby, your doula will help you with the first latch, get you settled in with a high protein snack, take some family photos if you’d like, and help you be as comfortable as possible for those early bonding hours.

Postpartum: after you’re settled in at home, your Birth Doula will return within the first one to two weeks after the birth to have a postpartum check in session. This is a wonderful time to recap the birth experience together. This is also a good time to trouble shoot any lactation, newborn care or postpartum healing questions that may have come up. Your doula will be able to direct you to community resources if they’re needed.

 


Postpartum Doulas

Preparing for the postpartum period, aka “the fourth trimester” is incredibly important for the whole family unit. You’ll never regret setting yourself up with help so you can rest and focus on feeding your baby during those early weeks and months.

Postpartum Doulas are available to assist families either during the day or overnight. Daytime doulas spend a lot of their time focusing on guidance and education for the new family. This might include assisting with breastfeeding and latching, teaching newborn care such as bathing, swaddling, and soothing techniques.  

In addition to baby care, the postpartum doula can also run errands, prepare meals, tidy up the home, and attend to things that help the day move forward for the household. Your postpartum doula is your guide- she’ll help you develop and strengthen your parenting confidence so that when she’s not there, you feel secure with your baby.

Overnight doulas are typically hired so new parents can get as much sleep as possible. For moms who are breastfeeding, the postpartum doula can provide support during nighttime feedings if needed. Although mom will need to wake to breastfeed, the doula handles all the diaper changes, swaddling and soothing so mom can get some much needed rest in between feeds. She can also make you a middle of the night snack, and have breakfast ready for you in the morning.

Postpartum doulas typically work with families anywhere from the first 2-3 weeks following the birth, all the way up to the first 5-6 months depending on the family’s needs. We recommend families interview postpartum doulas in the third trimester of pregnancy, though many clients hire postpartum help after the baby is born.

 

What’s the difference between a Baby Nurse and Postpartum Doula?

 

We are often asked what’s the difference between a baby nurse (also called a night nanny, or night nurse) and a postpartum doula. This is a great question, as the services offered are quite different.

A baby nurse is hired to care exclusively for the baby, while a postpartum doula provides care for the entire family. For example, a baby nurse is in charge of feeding, bathing, and diapering the newborn during her time with a family. A postpartum doula on the other hand, “mothers” the mother, so the parents take care of the newborn, while the doula takes care of the parents. If the parents need a break, a nap or shower, the doula is more than happy to care for the baby.

A baby nurse typically lives with a family for a duration of time, while a postpartum doula comes for her shift and doesn’t live with the family. Depending on sleeping arrangements this can be a big consideration for some families. Postpartum doulas have additional training in breastfeeding support. Depending on a family’s feeding preferences, this can be particularly helpful in those early weeks when breastfeeding is getting established.

 

If you’d like to learn more about birth and postpartum doula services, or have questions about your particular situation, feel free to reach out to Baby Caravan: info@babycaravan.com.

 


 

About Baby Caravan

Baby Caravan provides holistic support for families, from pregnancy through returning to work postpartum. Founded in 2014, Baby Caravan’s mission is to provide families in New York City with exceptional birth and postpartum knowledge, guidance and resources through our network of professional Birth & Postpartum Doulas. We connect families with vetted doulas, to best meet their needs during this special, yet challenging time. In addition to doula services, Baby Caravan coaches moms returning to work following maternity leave to help smooth the transition back to work.  

 

Watermelon & Mint "Steak" Salad

 Contributed by Pre/Postnatal Health Coach, Nisha Malani

Contributed by Pre/Postnatal Health Coach, Nisha Malani

It’s safe to say we all love to eat. Pregnant or not, it’s important that sitting down at the table is an enjoyable, satisfying experience. Otherwise we leave feeling unfulfilled and find ourselves looking to snack on unhealthy comfort foods (*cough* cheese). During pregnancy, what you eat actually shapes your baby’s preferences and tastes, so it’s important to choose nutrient-dense foods. Instead of using the old adage “eating for two” as an excuse to eat twice as much, use it as a reminder to think twice about what you choose to eat.

In the final days of this heatwave we call summer, it’s good to have nutritious, satisfying, and impressive (hello, unexpected guests!) recipes on-hand. This simple yet beautifully sweet & savory recipe is an absolute stunner – for both the eyes and the palate.

Watermelon & Mint “Steak” Salad  

Serving size: 6-8 for medium-sized watermelon 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Whole Seedless Watermelon (approx. 6-8 rings once sliced with rind on)

  • ½ cup Organic Pasteurized Feta Cheese

  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Mint

  • ½ cup Diced Pistachios

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Olive Oil

Instructions (This is a dish worth presenting individually! Your guest will truly be impressed): 

  1. Slice Watermelon in 1-inch rings (keeping rind on)

  2. Sprinkle Salt & Pepper to taste

  3. Top with Diced Pistachios, roughly chopped Mint & Crumbled Feta

  4. Drizzle with Olive Oil

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BossMamas We Love

 
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Names? Jessica Canetti, Marisa Vera, Melanie Haber.

Name of your company? Milx

Inspiration behind starting your company? Jessica: As a new, stressed mom, I tried every nursing and pumping bra on the market and hated their guts. They were flimsy, non-supportive, ugly, and inconvenient. One day, in a fit of rage, I cut holes in a beloved sports bra and made a DIY hands-free pumping bra that changed my life. I proudly sent topless selfies to Melanie and Marisa, and just like that - the first ever Milx prototype was born. The three of us quickly realized that every single mom we spoke to had the exact same gripes with nursing/pumping bras on the market and we needed to make a change!

Do you have children? Name(s) and age(s)? Jessica: Daughter Layla, 3, and pregnant with #2 due in October. Melanie: Son Jack, 3 months. Marisa: Daughters Malena, 2, and Cora, 2 weeks (!).

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What did you do before starting your company? We all still work full time in addition to running Milx. Jessica and Marisa both work at Google in Ad Sales and Marketing. Jess is a Business Lead for Specialty Apparel Retailers and Marisa works in Integrated Digital Marketing Solutions. Melanie is the SVP of Brand and Communications for a publicly traded healthcare company in the addiction space.

Your proudest moment? We are always the most proud after receiving positive feedback from moms about how Milx bras have improved their lives. It truly brings tears of joy to our eyes after years of hard work trying to accomplish this mission.

What is the most challenging thing about running your own business? Finding the time to spend on Milx, our passion, on top of our day jobs and mommying!

How has being a parent changed you? Jess: Being a parent has made me realize that ultimately the only person whose opinion of me matters is my daughter’s. Mel: Three months into mommying, I’m feeling less productive, more disheveled, but also so much more in love than ever before.

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Tell us about your typical Tuesday. Mel: I’m currently on maternity leave from my non-Milx job, so my Tuesdays this summer are spent with Jack! Our day involves lots of diapers, feedings, bottle washings, long walks, tummy time, dancing, and snuggling in no particular order. While Jack naps and after he goes to sleep, I squeeze in Milx e-mails and calls. And I’m always always always (like every day) wearing my maternity jean shorts and a big t-shirt (over my Milx bra, of course). Jess: Wake up (no alarm needed with a 3 year old), and start to get Layla ready for her day with breakfast and getting dressed, (plus, if she slept in her own bed all night she gets to watch one episode of a kids’ TV show of choice!). Then I rush to Google, usually run around to client meetings, and sometimes go to a workout at 5:30pm that I have to leave early from so that I can get home by 6:30 to relieve my daughter’s nanny. Once I’m home it’s all about Layla-  play, give her 2nd dinner, play more, snack on things that are bad for me because I’m starving, bathtime, read two books (one is usually Frozen), tell her a story (usually about Anna and Elsa), scarf dinner with my husband while always being annoyed about how late we’re eating, do Milx work/get on calls for Milx, and pass out!

Where do you see your company in 2023? We see Milx as a lifestyle brand that helps modernize motherhood. In addition to creating products that will make the lives of moms easier, we want to help educate women on what to expect as they become mothers, make breastfeeding and pumping less taboo, and create a supportive community of moms who are all just doing their best!

Where is your happy place? At our future Milx headquarters in Hawaii on the beach :) Or seriously, when we find the time to work all three together on Milx in person, that’s pretty amazing!

Lastly, name your top three NYC restaurants! Kyclades, Minetta Tavern, and ABC Kitchen.


Curious to hear more from the women of Milx? Come hang with them in person at our August 22nd New Mom Support Group at 1pm. They will also bring Milx bras to try on and buy at a discounted rate! 

 

Postpartum Anxiety

 Contributed by The Motherhood Center

Contributed by The Motherhood Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At The Motherhood Center, we provide support and clinical treatment to pregnant and postpartum women that are experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), otherwise known as postpartum depression. Treatment ranges from a Day Program for new and expecting moms with acute PMADs with an onsite nursery, outpatient therapy and medication management for women with mild to moderate symptoms, and support groups. We hear the following comments from new and expecting moms on a daily basis:

‘I just couldn’t get out of my mind. My body was tense, all day, every day, I had an ongoing feeling of nausea and I couldn’t eat for most of the day; I could not pull myself out of it, to focus on myself, my baby, or anything else. I was paralyzed’.                                          

- Rochelle

‘Every time I tried to do something for my baby, I was sure I would hurt her. Did I put detergent in her bottle? If I walked near the window, could she fall out of the window? Did I leave something in her diaper when I last changed her?’             

- Alex

‘I was so overcome with worries all the time. I couldn’t leave the house. What if my baby started crying in public? What if people think I am a bad mother?        

- Bethany

 

Postpartum Anxiety: What is it?

Anxiety is a normal emotion for which humans are hardwired to experience. We needed and still need the ‘fight or flight’ response to know how to deal with fearful and life-threatening situations. With anxiety disorders, however, this normal response is the system over-reacting, becoming over-stimulated and developing into an illness which inhibits you from functioning normally in your personal and/or professional life. Women are especially vulnerable to anxiety during the postpartum period, when there is a major shift in one’s sense of self - their identity as an individual, a partner and as a professional. Additionally, there is a now a tiny human being who is fully dependent on her for all his or her needs!

According to Postpartum Support International (PSI), approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. By comparison, approximately 10% of pregnant women experience depression and up to 15% experience it in the postpartum. Often, anxiety can be experienced on its own, however, it is common for anxiety to be experienced together with depression. It is important to note that almost 50% of postpartum depression and anxiety disorders existed before or can develop during pregnancy, so we prefer to use the term “Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders” which refers to both depressive and anxiety disorders before, during and after pregnancy (ie: the “perinatal” timeframe.)

Postpartum anxiety is not as widely discussed in popular culture or medical sources as is postpartum depression. A Google search of postpartum anxiety yields an ad for postpartum depression as the first hit and a quick Amazon book search of postpartum anxiety yields 4 books specifically geared to postpartum anxiety versus the numerous books that cover either postpartum depression alone, or both postpartum depression and anxiety together. There is even a Postpartum Depression for Dummies book, but not one for postpartum anxiety. The less commonly discussed postpartum anxiety disorders are often missed as women who have only heard of postpartum depression and don’t identify as being depressed, don’t realize they may be experiencing postpartum anxiety.

What are the signs and symptoms of postpartum anxiety?

Physical symptoms can include feeling jittery, dizzy, and/or the sensation of a racing heart. You can have thoughts that are characterized by relentless worries, such as ‘what if my baby cries and I can’t console him/her; what if I am not feeding my baby enough; what if my baby stops breathing.’

Common behaviors that accompany these thoughts and feelings are incessantly asking for reassurance, obsessively researching the internet or calling the pediatrician out of fear that there is something is wrong with the baby. Isolation from friends and family can occur when there is resistance to going outside with the baby.

Other signs and symptoms of postpartum anxiety may include, irritability, panic attacks, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, muscle tension (sore neck, back, jaw, clenching/grinding teeth), trouble concentrating and focusing, memory lapses, frequent episodes of crying for no reason, or thoughts of harming yourself or the baby.

Who is at risk of developing postpartum anxiety?

Top risk factors for postpartum anxiety include a personal prior history of anxiety, a family history of anxiety both in the perinatal and non-perinatal periods, or medical issues such as a thyroid condition. History of trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, a difficult/traumatic delivery, are significant risk factors as well.

 

Is there effective treatment for postpartum anxiety?

Yes! Postpartum anxiety disorders (like postpartum depression) are highly treatable. Treatment for postpartum anxiety starts with recognizing your symptoms. Often, a family member or close friend may recognize these before you do. A full psychiatric evaluation by a mental health professional, which can rule out other medical causes of anxiety (such as thyroid imbalance), is recommended. From the evaluation, recommendations for therapy and/ or medication may be indicated.

Maximizing your sleep, ensuring adequate nutrition and exercise (in moderation and according to what your Ob/Gyn recommends), and engaging in mindfulness/meditation/yoga are other interventions that can help to decrease anxiety. You can work closely with your perinatal therapist on defining which of these measures is right for you.


To learn more about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, visit The Motherhood Center:

https://www.themotherhoodcenter.com/perinatal-mood-and-anxiety-disorders/

Meredith Weiss, MD, is a Psychiatrist at The Motherhood Center, and a clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

Dr. Weiss graduated from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine of Yeshiva University and completed adult psychiatry residency at Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Weiss completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She then completed the Sackler Infant Psychiatry Fellowship at Weill Cornell Medicine where she developed expertise in parent-infant relationships and early childhood development. She has published articles and book chapters, presented at national medical conferences and received training and teaching awards. Dr. Weiss is board certified in both adult psychiatry and child & adolescent psychiatry. 

 

 

Are you prepared to push? (An interview with Chantal Traub)

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We interviewed Chantal Traub, our educator for the upcoming "Prepare to Push" workshop to find out what inspires her and find out, what are the most important things she wishes all women knew for their births?


 

FPC: What inspired you to get into this work and how long have you been doing it?

Chantal: I was teaching prenatal yoga in the late 90's when some of my students invited me to attend their births. To deepen my knowledge and to better serve these women, I studied and became certified as both a childbirth educator and a doula.

While attending hundreds of births, I noticed that women were often under-prepared to push. I realized that was due in part to a lack of understanding of and limited preparation for optimal pushing. I became passionate about helping my clients Prepare + to Push effectively.

I've been assisting births full time since 2003. The work in itself is rewarding. I meet people from all over the world and their strengths and vulnerabilities that come out during the labor process move and inspire me.

 

FPC: What is the one piece of information about pushing that you wish more women knew?

 

Chantal: To release and let go of the pelvic floor muscles and let the baby OUT.

 

FPC: In your opinion, what should a women be doing during pregnancy to “prepare to push”?

 

Chantal: The pelvic floor is designed to stretch significantly during the pushing stage, but factors such as your activity, lifestyle, posture, and mindset can substantially affect this potential. Our nutrition affects our energy and our muscle strength and stretch. Making positive changes towards eating well during pregnancy for birth, postpartum and beyond helps both mom and baby. It is important to build body awareness, strength and stamina and stretch and lengthen the muscles that attach to the pelvic floor.

 

FPC: What kind of support system should a woman have in place to help with the pushing stage?

 

Chantal: The Provider – the OB or midwife that you choose plays a big part in protecting your pelvic floor.

The Partner or support Person can encourage, reassure, cheer and re-energize the mother. They can also help her calm and focus.

 

FPC: Is there anything you’d like to add?

 

Chantal:

  • It is valuable to invest in the preparation for childbirth and postpartum.

  • Self awareness can transform the nature of the experience.

  • The only muscles to tighten during pushing are diaphragm and abdominal muscles – NOT legs or buttocks.

It is so important to keep the big picture in mind. No matter which way your baby comes, it is about your personal experience and the birth of your baby and when you hear your baby cry or see or touch your baby for the very first time, it is a huge moment and a very moving experience and it puts you on the other side of birth and at a new beginning in your life. Enjoy your baby!

 

 

 

Birth Stories: Joanie

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Contributed by FPC co-founder, Joanie Johnson

My daughter turned 2 this week and the story of our birth is one I’ve tried very hard to forget. Thinking about it always brings up feelings of anger and makes me wonder,  what could I have done differently? 

We practiced hypnobirthing and with complete respect for that technique, Im giving warning that this is not a “beautiful birth story”.  If you’ve had a peaceful birth, hopefully this brings you closer to every woman that has struggled with hers. And if you have struggled, know that you are not alone and I encourage you to speak up, share and seek out help in order to grow and heal. 

Friday, July 29, 2016, 7:30AM: My "due date"

I woke up on my due date, shuffled my way to the bathroom and discovered my waters were leaking.  I had no other signs that labor was starting but knew that it had to start soon or I wouldn’t be able to have the no intervention birth I had planned. Taking matters into my own hands, I called up my friends who are acupuncturists and walked myself to their apartment for a treatment to get things started. After that, I started having painful but manageable contractions. The treatment seemed to get my labor started and I felt grateful for all the holistic healers in my life.  My midwife asked that we come in to check my fluids and the baby’s vitals. Everything was fine so we came back home to labor through the night and into the next day.

Saturday, July 30, 4:30PM

Contractions continued to get stronger and we were directed to go to the hospital to check on the baby via sonogram.  Her fluids were good, so again, we drove home to continue laboring, stopping the car along the side the road with every contraction because I couldn’t bear to be in motion while breathing through them.

When we got home, we sent a text to our doula that we were ready for her to come over as the discomfort and exhaustion was starting to weigh on both my husband and me.  She arrived and I was grateful for her comforting doula magic throughout the entire night and into Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, July 31

By mid afternoon, we had taken 2 more trips to the birthing center thinking I was getting close to start pushing.  Both times, my contractions were coming just a few minutes apart and sometimes lasting as long as 4 minutes. My labor had been going on like this for 2 days.  I was mentally and physically exhausted.  I hadn’t eaten (I couldn’t) or slept for more than a few minutes at a time for nearly 48hrs.  After being told for the second time I was only 2 cm dilated, I asked to go to the hospital. I had reached my breaking point, the pain had become unbearable and I wanted an epidural.  We arrived at the hospital sometime Sunday afternoon, I got the epidural and then fell into the deepest, most grateful sleep of my life.

Monday, Aug 1, 11AM

I woke around 11am Monday morning and my midwife told me I was fully dilated and we could start pushing.  In retrospect, I remembered feeling so relieved to have finally dilated that I never questioned that someone outside my body had decided it was “time to push”.  I started pushing around 11:30AM. I pushed in every position and with the strength of the Incredible Hulk for 4 hrs. I could reach down and feel the hair on my baby’s head and she was “stuck”.  Or that was the only explanation anyone could give us.  

Around 3pm My midwife had to give in to the pressure of the hospital.  I remember a doctor coming into the room and sternly saying, “Enough is enough”.  My midwife looked up at me and apologized that I would have to have a C-section.  She assured me I had done nothing wrong, my pushes were strong, but she couldn’t buy me any more time.  A wave of gratitude washed over me for having her as such a strong advocate when someone else would have given up hours ago.  A cesarian birth was my biggest fear and there it was unfolding in front of me.  I was helpless and remember feeling angry at my body for betraying me every step of the way. Another part of me felt grateful for modern medicine and relieved that this was all about to be over. 

As they prepped the OR, my body continued to push without my help.  A nurse told me I could stop pushing and I remember telling her that stopping wasn’t physically possible.  I remember closing my eyes, blocking out what was about to happen and feeling one last glimmer of hope Maybe I could get this baby out by myself and this nightmare would all be over?  The contractions at that point were at their strongest and I remember feeling that hope even as they wheeled me into the OR.  

5:10PM

A full 73 hours and 10 min after my first contraction, my daughter Adina, a healthy 7lb 11oz baby girl was born via cesarian birth.  It was an out of body experience that will forever be etched into my brain. Lying awake, knowing your body is cut open, feeling your lower extremities being shaken from side to side and then being handed your baby.  It all felt slightly disjointed and overwhelmingly emotional. I remember crying for weeks afterwards as I tried to process all the emotions of what had happened while also struggling to navigate the exhaustion and overwhelm of new motherhood.  Those same emotions of anger and betrayal bubble to the surface even now, 2 years later, but then I look at my bubbly, 2-year old and feel grateful for every minute of every day with her.  

Our birth story was my biggest fear come true.  With my occupation and specialty, I knew what it meant to recover from major abdominal surgery.  A recovery journey I'm still on.   But I'm grateful because in the end that makes me an excellent trainer.  

Whenever I share this story, the response is often “Well at least you can be grateful you have a healthy baby”.  At some point, I even found those words coming out of my own mouth because I felt an incredible amount of guilt for not feeling that way.  I’ve learned I can be angry AND be an amazing mother full of gratitude for having a healthy baby.  The anger has nothing to do with gratitude towards my child and everything to do with the need to be human and openly express my emotions in order to heal.   

Births happen in all different ways and it’s absolutely OK to be angry about your birth experience.  What's not OK is that so many of us don't acknowledge our feelings because we're ashamed for not feeling grateful. Feeling and acknowledging that anger is the only thing that can bring us to a place of healing.  

Next time someone opens up to you about how their birth unfolded, or you see them struggling as a new mom, choose your words carefully.  Take that moment to practice some gratitude that this amazing woman has opened up to you in order to heal.  It's the acknowledgment of her anger that will ultimately lead her to more gratitude and abundance.  All you have to say is, Im listening instead of "well at least you can be grateful...." 

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If you are looking for help: 

The Motherhood Center provides supportive services for new and expecting moms, including a range of treatment options for women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

They offer support groups for new mothers, lactation consultations, therapy for birth trauma and individual therapy, offering something to every woman making the transition to parenthood.