Monthly Archives: June 2012

French Friendships

June 24, 2012
[caption id="attachment_236" align="alignleft" width="250"] Letter from Bene[/caption]

It all began in seventh grade, my first year of French class, with $1 and an address. Twenty-nine years later, as my daughter finished up her first year of seventh grade French, my parents and my family of five traveled to Bordeaux and reunited with my penpal.

For a dollar in 1983, I got her address in Floirac, Bordeaux in southwestern France. Benedicte, Bene for short, was a year older than me, she wrote to me in English and I wrote to her in French. We were learning one another’s language and we craved more interaction, more practice, and a glimpse into each other’s lives.

Bene and I mailed pictures, books, postcards, maps, cassettes and trinkets along with lengthy letters. We corresponded for years without ever having met or spoken. We were intercontinental friends and eventually arranged our first meeting.

[caption id="attachment_259" align="alignleft" width="250"] Bene and me in France in the summer of 1989[/caption]

Dads and Doulas

June 17, 2012

dads and doulas, father's day, fathers and doulas, doulas from dads perspective

I sometimes hear a Dad’s hesitation in hiring a doula. He’s involved in the pregnancy, supportive of his wife/partner, wants to be active and have a main role in the birth of his baby, so he’s thinking, “Why do we need her?”

As a doula, I can assure all Dads, that I am not there to replace them, but rather as a part of the birthing team, to help enhance their experience, and to support Dads, too, prenatally, during labor and postpartum. Often, after the birth, Dads are more appreciative of doula support than Moms. Dads and doulas work together as complementary parts of the Mom’s birth team.

Our presence lets Dads support their loved ones in their own way without having to remember position changes or comfort measures, reminding her to empty her bladder or release her shoulders. To a Mom, her husband/partner’s reassurance and presence are invaluable, he is emotionally connected and invested in her and the birth. In labor, I see Dads lovingly rubbing backs,

Father supporting mother in labor, dads and doulas, doulas from dads point of view, doulas from dads perspective, doulas and partners, fathers day

whispering in ears, encouraging and comforting, when they’re working so beautifully together, I can stand back, softly add a word of praise or a suggestion, add a touching hand and let the couple dance the labor dance together.

Composing Your Birth Wishes: aka Birth Plan

June 12, 2012

birth wishes, birth plans, writing a birth plan, Since you can’t plan how your labor and birth will unfold, I prefer to talk about your birth wishes or birth preferences than your birth plan. Honestly, I feel the biggest value in writing this document, is not in the end product, but in the process.

Prenatally, it’s important for both Mom and Dad/partner (and anyone who will be attending the birth) to be involved in this exploratory journey. As you learn about and research possible interventions and hospital protocols, you can get an understanding of how you feel about things in a non-labor state of mind. You have the luxury of time to evaluate and prioritize your desires.

As the vision your birth comes into focus, you’ll find there are things you want to really insist upon and things you don’t care about either way. You’ll learn about your options in birth (medications, music, med students, artificial rupture of membranes, hep-lock, etc.) and the immediate postpartum period (delayed cord clamping, infant eye ointment, skin-to-skin, etc.)birth plans, birth options, birth preferences, natural birth in the hospital, planning for birth, labor plans, birth wishes, writing a birth plan,

Family Game Night: A Roll of the Dice

June 5, 2012

Nostalgic, 50’s-era images of family game night smile in my mind when I suggest a game together after dinner. Whenever we pull out a board game, I get the same cozy feeling of snuggling in with my kids and husband and I visualize the happy turn-taking, dice-rolling, card-drawing moments. Then the idyllic fantasies of harmonious […]