Archive for doula life

Doula Life: 3 postpartum foods for healing and lactation

The sole baby girl I was expecting this spring/summer birth season was born early this morning! I still can’t get over how perfect little Beatrice is and how strong her Mama was throughout.

A Galactagogue (great word!!!) is a food, herb, or supplement that aids breast milk supply. Prior to leaving for the hospital, I had prepared the following foods for my client to promote healing for her and baby, to promote lactation, and to intensify her nutrient stores. These could be some great meals for new moms out there, doulas, or just shiny, healthy people looking for whole food, nutrient dense recipes!

Slow baked salmon, kale and quinoa with lemon, fennel, and dill seasoning

In a sheet pan, I slow roasted (275 F) 2 large salmon planks on a bed of spinach, kale and pre-cooked quinoa, covered in lemon and fennel slices, seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh dill.

Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are filled with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and are non-dairy sources of calcium.
Salmon is full of a special kind of fat called DHA that promotes brain growth in infants (and is found in breast milk and formula). The more DHA you eat, the more you will have in your breast milk, and it is also thought to reduce stress and postpartum depression. Quinoa and whole grains provide folic acid important in breastfeeding as well.

Chickpea and Spinach Soup (If on AIP , replace chickpeas with cauliflower)

In a blender or food processor I combine 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, 1 bag of cooked spinach, 1 pan roasted yellow onion and 3 cloves of garlic, and 4 cups of bone broth (chicken stock). I intensify the healing power of my broth my adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to draw out the marrow goodness, and I season it with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. After that is blended well to smooth, I stir in 1 can of coconut milk.

Soup in general helps to increase milk production as it heals. Warm foods also enliven your Qi (or life force), according to Eastern tradition, and thus promote lactation and healing. Bone broth is always good for everyone after surgeries, and I love bringing it as a “get well” gift, so it is even more relevant if you have had a C-section or episiotomy.

Blueberry Oat Muffins

This recipe is coming in my next blog post! Oats, though, provide a new Mom the necessary folic acid and iron (if the tummy can take them) and blueberries are well known antioxidants and provide an energy boost when needed!

Now I’m off to get some sleep!

 

Fertility, Rites, and The Blood Moon

My friend Erin has a simple and great response when I asked her why I am so drawn both to the Catholic faith and druid/pagan folklore: “Um, because you’re Irish!”

So today is the convergence of all those things because I had my first rite of welcome at Mass and I’m performing a fertility ritual under the full blood moon tonight. If you haven’t read about the tetrad of blood moons that have occurred over the last two years…well, most likely you have. The Full Moon is absolutely linked to fertility of the earth, as I mention in my moonstruation post.

Tonight, my ritual is for all my friends who have entrusted me with their desire to become pregnant (you better hire me as your doula!) but it’s also in honor of anyone else out there who has great faith and great desire for the same thing.

Traditional items for your (outdoor) altar: white candle, rose quartz, and something that represents your desired child (a flower, doll, poem, anything!)
Then you just get as many female friends as possible to gather or send you positive energy from afar to concentrate and meditate on the fertility power of the moon goddess and wish all good things for you. This ritual is so positive and full of blessings that it will leave you feeling absolutely wonderful, regardless of how well it actually works for fertility! It is a way for us to bond, rather than compete, as women, and that is the very best part!

Super Soul Sunday

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This quote from the fabulous Brené Brown spoke to me for many reasons. If you don’t know Brown’s perfect, honest wit and wisdom, then you should make The Gifts of Imperfection your next read! Obviously, I love and appreciate the midwife reference, especially since the midwife here is the representation of faith – how true! But I also truly love this sentiment, and think it reflects the rawness of Brené’s writing, and the experience I’ve had so far in this crazy life. Faith really isn’t what carries you through your turmoil, unscathed; faith is the thing (the midwife, the Doula) that holds your hand while you fight through the pain of bearing that turmoil. How lucky we are to have such companions along the way. Hope you’ve had a beautiful Sunday!

A Doula Testimonial

Check out A Doula testimonial below from Actress/model, Jaime King, whose new son is probably most famous for being Taylor Swift’s Godson. I honestly couldn’t have said better what Jaime articulated. I hope you catch my article TODAY on Mind Body Green–Why a Doula’s Worth the Money— and remember that my first 3 clients are free of charge.

A Doula Testimony

IMG_1391 A Doula Testimonial

 

Moonstruation: Why we should be in tune with the earth’s cycles to benefit our own

Moonstruation: Why we should be in tune with the earth's cycles to benefit our own

Have you ever look up at the moon and felt connected to it? OR felt like it connected you with someone else or everyone else? Maybe there’s something to that feeling. A majority of menstruating women with regular cycles report menses during the NEW moon and ovulation during the FULL moon. Thus many women, like me, refer to the monthly cycle as a “moon cycle.” {there’s a nice new name for it if you were looking for one!}
Women were once all in tune with the moon this way. Archaeological and historical evidence shows us that before modern diets shifted to processed foods, and even before hormonal imbalances abounded because of toxins in our environment,  women all over the world actually cycled together. From this, we have the wonderful stories of the “Red Tent” and matriarchal lineage passed through the stories of mothers, sisters, and Doulas. As women, it is most natural for us to flow with the new moon so that we are most fertile during the full moon. This is the way of the earth’s fertility and how crops grow, and at one time we were in tune with it.

Some Reasons you might want to get in tune with your Moonstruation:

– You experience frequently missed or irregular periods
– You suffer with PCOS
– You are experiencing fertility issues
– Other hormonal problems

If you want to get back to your truest moon cycle, I recommend a whole foods diet, 8+ hours of sleep a night, and rising naturally with the sun in the morning. If you can’t quite manage that, make sure your workout routine (even if it’s just walking) gets you tired enough so that you fall asleep when your head hits the pillow. It’s extremely important to cut out artificial light from your bedroom and sleep cycle, including phones and televisions. They should not enter your bedroom. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, which is hard to process through your liver along with your hormones, and finally, most importantly, meditate once a day. Honestly, I’ve noticed that simply being more aware of the moon and its phases draws me closer to my essential moon goddessness. Get in touch with your inner femininity on the full and new moon by scheduling  some “me” time with the help of  this calendar!

 

To Doula or not to Doula

When I tell people that I’m becoming a Doula, the most common response is “what do they do?” and “why do people want one?”Well my friends…I have a pretty compelling list of reasons for that I came up with last night. I know that I won’t go through my future pregnancies without a Doula, and I hope you consider all the richness that this service can add to your childbearing journey!

1. One of the most obvious reasons that I’ve come across is that asking a father or other family member to provide primary support is an extremely difficult expectation put in place by modern society. A Doula enables a father or other family member to present at their comfort level; run the gamut of feelings and fears, and still be able to remain present spiritually for the mother and child in labor.

2. Doulas are trained in massage and relaxation techniques and use bonus natural medicines like essential oils, herbal tinctures, and hypnosis pain control. You are 100% guaranteed to be more comfortable and experience less pain through these techniques. If you also choose to use a breathing technique from another class, Doulas are trained to support you in that as well. It’s like a relaxation and pain control UPGRADE.

3. The largest study to date of Doula-assisted medical births shows a major reduction in length of labor, and a 50% reduction in unnecessary C-Sections. Doulas help to moderate procedures that may not be in your birth plan if they are avoidable, such as pitocin augmentation, membrane rupture, epidural, episiotomy, or any other preference for the expecting mother.

4. A dual certified birth/ postpartum Doula is typically with you from 3 months before delivery to 3 months after. Studies show that this constant companionship and support can have a truly positive effect on a mother’s long term view of herself and her relationship with her child. This is the best part to me! What more do you need to know?

5. If you are planing your birth at a Birth Center, then you may have an individual midwife who is trained in Doula techniques and Nursing, and committed to you through your pregnancy- woohoo! If you are birthing in a hospital, then you should contact me or check out your local DONA listings for options in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum companionship!

Welcome to My New Site!

If there is anything I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that most journeys, especially ones toward health and well-being are taken one step at a time. My aim is to be able to share my steps toward holistic health daily, in the hope that my experience will reach someone and make a real difference in their quality of life, the way mine has been forever altered.

My new posts will include recipes, ancestral health tips, archaeological stories & findings, adventures of my doula training, thoughts on sustainable and natural living in the home and garden, and herbal and essential oil remedies. There’s something for everyone, and I’m excited about this new chapter.

Let me know what you think of the new look and if you have any recipe or topic suggestions for the coming year! I’ve got a bunch of fabulous ideas that I can’t wait to share!

Be Well,

Elisabeth

set your life on fire

Roadtrip to Atlanta!

This weekend we packed up the puppy and A TON of organic, yummy groceries and headed to Atlanta so I could see two of my best friends and their new baby girl. It was a good, rainy weekend of cooking and cuddling. I’m excited to perfect and share my recipes for you:  bison & acorn squash chili and sweet potato & blackbean enchiladas with homemade sauce are coming as soon as I catch up after my Paleo Thanksgiving cooking marathon and posts!

abigail and me

joyful.

 

moon

I’m so happy to be writing my first post on the Full Moon in Taurus. “A full moon in Taurus also coaxes us to shed the layers of our old selves, allowing the illumined authentic self to finally, truly emerge. Many of us have experienced the intensity of recent cosmic shifts, so it’s time to release the perpetual grip we still have on what no longer serves us, for good.”

Now that’s a sentiment that I can surely get behind. RELEASE the perpetual grip YOU STILL HAVE on what NO LONGER SERVES YOU. After this full moon begins to wane,the tight grip that I’ve had on all the things that do not serve the person I am becoming will loosen. I will let go. Why wait until New Year’s! I’m making a list of all the things that no longer serve me:

1.) Past hurts
2.) Unreasonable Grief
3.) Complacency in my job
4.) Processed food and harmful  “cheats” I haven’t fully let go of
5.) Excess alcohol
6.) Ever believing that I don’t deserve to be totally. joyful.
7.) Waiting until tomorrow….