Working with Doulas, Creating Positive Birth Experiences and Nutrition for Birthing Persons with Myriam Webb, RD, RN

Determining who should be on your birth team is an incredibly important decision. Between doulas, midwives, and OBs, it can be hard to know who to turn to for different aspects of the birthing experience. In this episode, we are discussing how to vet and build a supportive care team during pregnancy.

Our guest is Myriam Webb, a Registered Dietitian, Registered Nurse, and trained doula whose mission is to support birth justice for marginalized communities. As she planned her reproductive journey, she came across research showing how medical racism and the social determinants of health impact birth outcomes in the Black and Brown community.

This information motivated her to pursue and complete a full-spectrum doula training. She eventually became a birth assistant at a Midwifery practice in Brooklyn, New York. She combined her nutrition and doula skills to support her community in reclaiming their birth journeys. Myriam recently graduated from nursing school and is strengthening her clinical skills and continuing to advocate for respectful and dignified care.

In this conversation, we discuss how we can design more positive, peaceful birth experiences and ways we can all better support those in our villages through the birth and postpartum transitions.

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We also talk about…

  • Nutrition for before, during, and after pregnancy.
  • What doulas do, why we need them, and how to access doula care.
  • Preparing for a hospital birthing experience.
  • Ways we can support those in our lives who are postpartum.

Resources:

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Episode Transcript

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Music.

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Balanced black girl I'm your host less and I'm so happy to be sharing space with you today.

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We're currently in the midst of our new life series on the podcast and we're talking with guests about fertility motherhood and birthing new ideas.

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If you haven't listened to the first two episodes of the series I highly recommend you do so because we've had some informative conversations about reproductive health and feeling empowered to make the best decisions for us as individuals regarding our fertility.

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If you've been listening you may have realized we're kind of walking on a journey in this series so in our first episode we talked to dr. Tiffany Jones and essentially had a fertility 101 conversation to understand the different factors that can impact our fertility.

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Last week we talked to dr. Cleopatra about the prime Ester protocol and factors to consider if you want to start trying to conceive and today we're talking about pregnancy preparing for birth and postpartum support with our guest Miriam web.

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Myriam is a registered dietician registered nurse and

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she's worked as a registered dietitian serving the diverse population of New York City in community clinical and outpatient settings for 8 years.

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As she started planning her own reproductive Journey she came across the research and information showing how medical racism and the social determinants of Health impacted birth outcomes in the black and brown communities.

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This information motivated her to pursue and complete a full spectrum do the training and become a birth assistant to a Midwifery practice in Brooklyn New York.

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She combined her nutrition and do the skills and started her business to support her community and reclaiming their birth Journeys and health

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she recently graduated from nursing school and intends to strengthen her clinical skills and continue to advocate for respectful and dignified care.

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After having this conversation with Miriam I can only imagine how supported her clients and patients must feel by her she's knowledgeable thoughtful and has a wealth of information supporting those who are preparing to or have just given birth.

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So we talked about prenatal nutrition and building a supportive care team how doulas can help in ways we all as parts of others Villages can support the people in our Lives who have just given birth.

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So let's meet Miriam Miriam welcome to balance flat girl.

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Music.

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I'm so excited to have you you are so freaking knowledgeable your registered dietitian a doula currently become a registered nurse.

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I just feel like you're going to help us get our lives all the way together today with all of your knowledge.

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Well thank you so much for inviting me on the podcast I appreciate that I really am grateful to share space with you and all of your listeners and definitely want to talk about this important topic with you

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absolutely absolutely right now on the podcast our series is called rebirth and renewal and we're talking a lot about relevant topics for people who give birth.

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Whether that is people who are interested in trying to conceive right now maybe pregnant with their first child.

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Maybe haven't had children yet but are seriously considering it so I'm really really excited

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get to talk to you and to get to learn from you because I think the areas of expertise that you bring are just so relevant to those topics.

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Yeah I'm super excited about your series hearing about it is so interesting I think it's a really important topic that.

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A lot of people who you know might make it birth don't necessarily think about this whole process until they decide

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wow I think I might want to start my family so this is going to be a really interesting series.

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Thank you I really appreciate that I mean you know I am at the point where I have a lot of friends who are either pregnant right now or who have.

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Have their first child within the past year year-and-a-half I'm just.

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I'm at a point in time where a lot of people that I know are there and it's been really interesting hearing their perspectives of what they wish they would have known before starting that journey and so a lot of that is what I would love to dig in with you today

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yeah let's do it there's definitely a lot that you can learn about before you actually embarked on the journey so I'm super excited to touch a little bit about all of those things especially from a by POC perspective because

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it's definitely something that I like to focus on in my work so for sure let's dig into it.

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Perfect perfect so the first thing that I would love to talk to you about is actually the nutrition side of things.

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As just a huge Wellness nerd I always just love learning about the different needs that our bodies have and I would love to talk about nutrition for birthing people

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making sure that our nutritional needs are met you know before during and after pregnancy and talking about how our nutritional needs can change during those different stages.

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Yeah sure so nutrition is one of my favorite topics in the entire world I'm a registered dietitian and I've definitely dwelled into this topic for a long time but when it comes to pregnancy I think that

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it's really interesting for us to know that fifty percent of pregnancies are unplanned

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Brave so when it comes to actually becoming pregnant some birthing folks they actually become pregnant before they even planned for it.

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So our nutritional status prior to pregnancy is super super important especially in the first 14 days of the pregnancy.

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So how many people actually know they're pregnant in the first 14 days of pregnancy the majority of people don't unless of course you did some type of IVF or IUI

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where you are actively seeking to get pregnant or if you were just using Family Planning strategies where you plan your pregnancy.

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So one of the biggest things that we hear in the nutrition World discuss is folic acid and how fully kascid can effect.

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The baby and can it deficiencies in folic acid can lead to spina bifida and a lot of neural defects in baby but a lot of that

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is in the first two weeks of pregnancy so we have to think about how we can nourish our bodies before we actually get pregnant and a lot of times

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there is a lot of information out there that can seem overwhelming but what I have come to find

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I'm working with my clients is that really and truly eating in a balanced way

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is the struggle for most people so having half of your plate being fruits and vegetables and making sure that you're incorporating

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a variety of foods that's one of the most important strategies that everyone can definitely implement

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it's baby steps but it's important the other thing is that a lot of times we are not thinking about.

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Something called our vitamin D status and it's something that's really affects a lot of people but especially people of color especially those who are myelinated and so those who have a darker complexion

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and may tend to be more vitamin D deficient than other persons and so I mean I know I was vitamin D deficient for a while I live on in New York on the east coast and winter does not do me well so I had to supplement

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and struggle with that for a little while and I'm a registered dietician so if I wasn't on top of my status I

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wouldn't necessarily know so now there are a lot of studies that are really digging deep into vitamin D and its connections with a lot of other

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issues and diseases and correlation Beyond just mood Beyond just bones.

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Um so that's one thing I would say for anyone who's trying to get pregnant just

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make sure one of the first things you do is look at your vitamin D status as well because as we are growing a baby.

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We need to make sure that our stores and our macro and micronutrients are sufficient for ourselves.

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You know a lot of times there is a huge

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back and forth from should I be vegan should I be pescatarian should I eat red meat should I not and I think that it's just important to remember that you do need some source of

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protein and you need to have a balanced meal pattern so whether the protein source is from beans or from me or from fish I think it's just more important to focus on

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a variety a balanced meal pattern that you're not just having one single thing all the time or that you're having gaps in your meals

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or in your style of eating so that your nourishing your body right because we do need more of certain nutrients during pregnancy.

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So to give you the

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the summary of it I think that it working with people in their nutritional status most of the time the bulk of the work is really in how can we make

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how can we add more Foods add more variety and just make it more balanced and try not to skip meals because even if you're nauseous.

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For if we just not in the mood for food having nutritious snacks available to you to try to ensure that your a nourishing your body is really important.

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So much good information that you just shared with us that it was new to me I actually didn't know that half of pregnancies were unplanned and that that first 14 days is so critical that is.

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Such an important piece of information because yeah 14 days and I would imagine a lot of people probably don't know that they're pregnant yet they probably

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may not have even missed a period yet or may barely be having a late period that may not necessarily raise concern at that time and so it sounds like.

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For everybody it's really important to try and be as mindful as you can about getting your nutritional needs met because what's good for you is going to be good for potential babies down the line

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yes and that's why the general recommendation is out there that those who are in childbearing years should be taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin right

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because we don't always know when we'll become pregnant so it kind of helps us

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fill in the gaps for our not so ideal meal patterns I'm just kind of like a backup reinforcement so I do understand that recommendation but I always still like to emphasize that food should always.

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First and if we work on our Foods

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then it's not a huge Reliance on supplements from you know outside companies that may or may not be what you're actually purchasing so always food first.

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Definitely and I think a lot of supplements aren't able to ethically test like efficacy on pregnant people is that right.

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Well to be honest I'm not sure if

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that's if the ethics part is in testing with pregnant purses I think that ethic part is that they don't even necessarily test

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what they're selling you so a lot of people think well what's on the label matches what I'm actually taking

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and there are that's not true right it's not necessarily regulated in the same way that medications are so

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really it's hard to

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really know for 100% what you're paying for is what you're getting when you're buying supplements but you know 100% that if you're eating in a well balanced way and you're making your meals

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that you know what you're actually is taking in so you know I always like to tell people you do your best when you're selecting products and you do your research but you can 100% know what's in there all the time.

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Such a good point and just a good tip to help us all be Savvy consumers while we're making decisions.

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As I mentioned earlier I have a lot of friends who are either pregnant right now or who have like

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just had baby is very recently and something that I've heard a lot of them talk about is food aversions that they experience while being pregnant just being very turned off either by certain things or by most things so for people who may be pregnant who are having food aversions where maybe like

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everything is just making them feel sick or nothing sounds good what do you recommend they do to kind of Honor that while still getting their nutritional needs met.

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Well first thing I want to say is that it's super important

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throughout your pregnancy to be gentle with yourself and to give yourself the space to feel whatever it is you're feeling and to honor that so we also have to remember that

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people have been having babies

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for a very long time and that our bodies are they're really efficient and trying to make sure that baby is growing well that doesn't mean that things don't go wrong or you know that outcomes can.

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Ba I can sometimes be a non ideal but you know when it comes to am I eating enough

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take it one day at a time some days you may be nauseous some days you may not be nauseous some days you may have.

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All of the fruits and vegetables that you can desire and very nice balanced meals and some days you may

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only be able to hold down water in that day so the first thing I want to say is that I always tell my clients you know.

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Stay in tune with what's going on with you and then always make sure that you have different varieties of options in the home so maybe all you can tolerate.

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Our grapes maybe strawberries maybe just ice cream it's okay remember that it's a balance right.

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And eventually for most persons the beginning nauseous stage does not last the entire pregnancy right.

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There are prank some pregnant persons that it does last the entire pregnancy but in those situations.

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They are going to receive additional help.

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And they may need medications and management and other ways hydration is always super important so if

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all you really did was snack a little bit and maintain your hydration then you did a lot right and then when you're able to try to even if in small tiny portions.

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Whatever it is that you are consuming an able to tolerate try to consume those things and just remember that for the most part all things are temporary.

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So even this phase will pass

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and it can be a miserable face for some people I think we need to acknowledge that because sometimes pregnant persons can feel like oh I feel so bad everyone is so excited but I'm having such a bad pregnancy and they may feel shameful about feeling that way but your lived experience is valid so

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if it feels like a miserable pregnancy it's okay it's your experience you have a right to label a however you want

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but even that is temporary eventually you'll meet your baby and you don't have to be in this face so I always say having like

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nutritious easy to make easy to access snacks is one of the best things you can do because you're not like.

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Oh my God I'm feeling tired and nauseous and now I have to cook this big meal and I can't like even stand the spices

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no it's cool just have a few things you can grab and chew on and eat that you actually enjoy and be a little bit gentle with yourself because it's necessary.

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Such helpful advice I also just have to say Merry and listening to you I just love how affirming you are

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it just feels so good to hear and listen to of like do your best it's okay that reminder of you know many people have had babies before your body knows what to do I think is just so important to.

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Reinforced in here during that time.

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Yeah it's super important and especially for those in the bipod Community because as will probably touch on later on in the conversation there are so many things for us to worry about that we maybe

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hearing and listening to and a lot of

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unsolicited advice sometimes in a lot of interference and it can be very easy to lose sight of the fact that it is your pregnancy and your experience and.

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Completely and totally unique

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um and so that can be something that we lose if we don't actively work to hold on to and that can affect how we feel about meeting our babies giving birth to our babies so I really

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affirming yourself is something that's consistent that has to be consistent because there will be a lot of things coming at you at one time and you need to be able to just

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remind yourself that no one is more capable than you to make your decisions and you'll have to keep reminding yourself of that.

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Hmm yes yes I abso so glad that you said that and I definitely want to dig into that as we continue especially when we talk about kind of assembling your care team and what that

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that looks like
I would love to talk a bit more about doulas and about the work that doulas do and the role of a.

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First I would love to hear what inspired you to become a doula and how was that process for you so it is so funny.

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Sometimes I say that life prepares you for experiences for what you're meant to be doing even when you don't understand exactly why so.

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Anyone who knows me knows that.

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Probably before I was even ready to think about having children I've been kind of like obsessed with birth work and looking at

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just feeding and birth outcomes and and like on my free time like that's what I did right like I don't know why and

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really all the babies and my family are my babies I'm really that person I'm very much in tune with life

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the young infants and and Pregnant persons I'm drawn to them for I don't know why.

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But when it came to becoming natural Doula and I didn't even know what a real Duel of what a doula was I didn't know at all like.

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That there were doulas and what their role was but when I learned about what they did I realized oh wow I kind of do this

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I do this like intuitively for those that I love and I was coming across to be completely honest I was coming across a point in my career where I was like I do.

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Everything a fork

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on my free time in terms of researching and in terms of like learning and listening to like podcast and looking at websites and I know this is the population I want to work with.

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At what point am I going to transition into that work and I actually started off by looking for places to do training to become a birth assistant.

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And I found that there weren't that many inclusive spaces.

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So as I kept researching like well how am I going to transition to this type of work and Mary both my nutrition career and this type of work like what am I going to do so I came across a

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Doula training program that was Ron that is run by a black woman

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black indigenous woman and I looked at how I was taught and I looked at the criteria and I also just looked at

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the topics that she discussed in her training and that was how I wanted to learn how to serve my community because

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as I learned more about giving birth in New York City.

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The more I kept learning the more I was horrified and I'm like this is not the type of experience that you know most people are looking forward to

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and I don't really understand how to show up for people in the space and I knew that I wanted to learn from someone

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in the community so I was very grateful to find a program that centered the experiences of by POC folks

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and really trained us to question everything and to be sensitive to all aspects of our clients and really

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that is holistic.

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Teachings right and so as I Edition I knew that if I was going to do this work I wanted it to be in a holistic Type of Way meaning we're talking about the entire person spiritually emotionally physically.

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And I found that in this training.

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So I'm so grateful because you find a community as well when you do your Doula training usually find your community there and we are still very much in

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with each other and helping each other throughout the process because we come across a lot of different challenging situations where we may need support and also emotional support

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yeah so that's how I ended up becoming a doula and now that I think about it and I reflect back it was something like I said I was kind of doing it.

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Just naturally but I didn't have a name for it and if you look at our culture's most by pop culture's have

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that communal

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support around the time of pregnancy that we probably have ingrained in us from previous generations but in our modern day Society

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we hadn't have a chance to really Express that and I'm grateful that I have a way to express it but I'm also acknowledging that and such surely my people have always expressed it in some way shape or form.

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I love love love that last piece that you said about

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a lot of it was things that you are already doing and just being able to put a name to it while honoring our cultural Traditions I think that that's so powerful

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and I think that's why we've seen particularly over the past few years at least I feel like I've seen a lot more conversations about black women specifically enlisting the help of doulas and seeking these types of care when going on these experiences and it makes sense that it is in our DNA to have that community of

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report.

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Yes and you know as you learn more about what do the work is like what you realize is that communities have always had that you know and that is part of what taking care of each other has always looked like

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so some Community is it would be mother's Auntie's cousins and you know the neighborhood Midwife that was.

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Take care of everyone Beyond birth.

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Um but as we modernized everything in in birth related to birth we kind of lost that.

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That community so now all we have a title for it it's not a real really New Concept to those in our communities in a way it's almost like the modernization of.

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Caring for each other but in another way when you're doing it for your community it's not anything new right so

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yeah exactly yeah that Community Care aspect is so important so important.

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So I would love to talk a little bit about who should be on the care team of birthing people's like

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would it be helpful to have you know maybe a doulas or difference between what the Doula does versus what a midwife does and how can that Team all kind of work together also someone chooses to give birth in a hospital how can how can the team kind of integrate as a unit

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it to support that family.

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Yeah I would love to talk about this I'm a big believer of what we call collaborative care which means that although everyone may have their unique Focus as professionals the

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focus is really.

00:24:58.646 --> 00:25:07.876
To work together to take care of the birthing person so the first thing I want to say is that the birthing person needs to know.

00:25:07.945 --> 00:25:11.945
What type of environment and what type of experience

00:25:11.816 --> 00:25:21.344
they want to give refunds or they want to actually have when they're in labor right and so that is an inter spective type of

00:25:21.197 --> 00:25:30.193
that's an intersective Journey like you have to ask yourself what it is you want to experience and then based off of that you start to pick your team

00:25:30.091 --> 00:25:32.290
right so you know the

00:25:32.107 --> 00:25:48.278
beautiful thing about doulas is that there are all different types of doulas there are doulas that are also Yogi's there doulas that are pelvic floor therapist there are doulas better dietitians like there are different Specialties combined but you have to kind of know what it is that you want.

00:25:48.330 --> 00:26:02.268
Do you want someone who does more spiritual work do you want someone who does more body work do you want someone who's like super hardcore on the facts and the you know the science and all of that everyone style is different so it stems from you what is it that you want.

00:26:02.391 --> 00:26:07.930
Then from there you can say okay so I know I want this type of experience

00:26:07.765 --> 00:26:21.002
what type of Provider would be able to collaborate in that type of experience so if you know that you are going to need to have a surgical birth for whatever reason then

00:26:20.972 --> 00:26:24.549
you know you're going to need an OBGYN so.

00:26:24.735 --> 00:26:39.033
That doesn't mean that you can't still have a respectful collaborative individual birth but you'll have to start thinking this is an OBGYN what kind of qualities do I want to look for in an OBGYN.

00:26:38.976 --> 00:26:44.687
Now if you're a low-risk person and you know you can't stand the hospital because

00:26:44.621 --> 00:26:59.171
we have to acknowledge that some people don't even want to go to the hospital for a true emergency and birth is not an illness right giving birth is not pregnancy is not an illness and giving birth is not an illness so you don't necessarily have to be in the hospital

00:26:58.925 --> 00:27:03.492
so if you're a good candidate for a home birth then you absolutely

00:27:03.408 --> 00:27:11.963
I want to look for a midwife and not just any Midwife but a home birth Midwife and so really as you're selecting your team

00:27:11.862 --> 00:27:20.615
you have to go back and reflect on is this in harmony with the way that I envisioned how I want to bring my child

00:27:20.531 --> 00:27:33.416
first side and if it's not in harmony then reassess right so there is a huge difference between a doula and a midwife a doula may or may not be certified

00:27:33.341 --> 00:27:41.095
and even if they are certified is not necessarily a regulated profession a midwife

00:27:41.029 --> 00:27:50.043
is the medical provider the Doula is not the medical provider where the emotional physical educational support but the midwife

00:27:49.869 --> 00:27:59.739
is the medical provider the Midwife is responsible for monitoring your health status baby's health status and so there it's not.

00:27:59.934 --> 00:28:08.642
To replace each other there's no way to it's like it's like comparing apples and oranges to a different roles to different functions right however

00:28:08.630 --> 00:28:20.471
that being said there are also many different types of midwives there are certified nurse-midwives there are cpms there are traditional midwives so you have to kind of know

00:28:20.441 --> 00:28:29.959
and do your research and look into what again what type of Provider what type of Midwife is in harmony with the type of experience that you want to have.

00:28:29.965 --> 00:28:36.972
I do also want to acknowledge some people would love to have a home birth and a midwife but it's not

00:28:36.933 --> 00:28:40.996
always an accessible service in every state

00:28:40.957 --> 00:28:57.542
and it's not always covered by insurance so so there are true barriers not to mention there are some health issues that someone may have that restricts their access to a home birth so so you really have to know yourself in your situation

00:28:57.422 --> 00:29:01.368
and not beat yourself up for what is.

00:29:01.680 --> 00:29:13.557
Available to you right I think that sometimes we are like oh my God I definitely want that water Barefoot all those beautiful flowers around and the yoga music and and then you are like I can't

00:29:13.482 --> 00:29:27.700
access that and I'm you can beat yourself up for that but we are not in an ideal environment where there's Equity we are in a very compartmentalize Healthcare System

00:29:27.535 --> 00:29:35.802
there are two barriers to those things and so I think we need to recognize that and you have to be gentle again gentle with yourself and honest.

00:29:35.934 --> 00:29:40.204
When you're looking at your options and when you're planning your birth right.

00:29:40.273 --> 00:29:49.269
With that being said you still are the main factor in determining what everyone else should be doing it's based off of your needs and what you need

00:29:49.167 --> 00:29:55.652
so the more you know what you need the more you can select people who fall into harmony with your vision right.

00:29:55.658 --> 00:30:08.426
Definitely what you were saying about that Harmony really really stuck out to me because I don't know if I've ever heard the experience described in that way and I really appreciate just how.

00:30:08.567 --> 00:30:09.938
Empowering

00:30:09.881 --> 00:30:19.346
you made that sound of you can think about what Harmony you want and select the team that's going to be aligned with that

00:30:19.307 --> 00:30:28.708
because that just gives us a lot of agency over our experience that I know I certainly hadn't considered before so I really love the way you describe that.

00:30:28.750 --> 00:30:33.713
Yeah I'm so grateful that you appreciate that and you know I always tell people.

00:30:33.755 --> 00:30:43.121
When we meet someone for the first time we do a Vibe check right and you're like this person is not vibing with me I don't know why and literally to this date

00:30:43.037 --> 00:30:54.617
I have never been wrong on my vibe check like my my intuition is so on point and so trust your intuition right so if you're interviewing providers which here's another thing

00:30:54.542 --> 00:30:56.921
please please please interview

00:30:56.801 --> 00:31:07.499
anyone who's going to have access to you whether to know be a midwife a doula interview them have questions that you ask them so that you can kind of

00:31:07.271 --> 00:31:12.729
do it your Vibe check and and you know and I do want to emphasize that because if

00:31:12.654 --> 00:31:22.695
you are interviewing someone and you just get a bad Vibe I don't think they were really listening they were a little bit hesitant or whatever the case may be

00:31:22.485 --> 00:31:30.923
I trust that because a lot of times the way you're treated in your prenatal sessions is the way you're going to be treated

00:31:30.920 --> 00:31:39.475
during your birth right so if you have a provider that's not listening to you that's really not centering your experience

00:31:39.328 --> 00:31:50.008
then most likely when you're giving birth they're not going to Center you as well it's going to be all the policy oh my time oh you know I have other people blah blah blah and so.

00:31:50.356 --> 00:32:04.060
You want to do the vibe check and interview people and ask yourself after every interaction that I feel listened to that I feel centered is this is this someone I want to work with because again

00:32:04.012 --> 00:32:08.858
your experience your birth and so you want to check the energy that enters your experiences.

00:32:09.729 --> 00:32:14.827
That's so important and when someone is interviewing particular

00:32:14.734 --> 00:32:27.466
candidates for their care team are there certain types of questions with you recommend they ask for certain you know data things that they ask about about either that person's experience or maybe the outcomes of other

00:32:27.364 --> 00:32:31.661
other people they've worked with like how do you recommend preparing for those interviews

00:32:31.604 --> 00:32:38.809
oh I have tons of questions I really really really recommend

00:32:38.734 --> 00:32:53.041
asking about C-section rates so you can depending on the state in New York the New York State Department of Health has a database where you can actually look up your birthing facility if it's a hospital and see

00:32:52.994 --> 00:33:00.288
the C-section rate the rate of vaginal births will be the rate of episiotomies like it breaks down different birth statistics

00:33:00.168 --> 00:33:06.644
your provider may or may not know the birth statistics for the facility in which they work

00:33:06.524 --> 00:33:13.891
however they know their statistics or at least they should so how what is your C-section rate.

00:33:14.113 --> 00:33:18.140
What is your take on how do you handle

00:33:18.047 --> 00:33:34.335
or when do you determine when a C-section is necessary you can ask questions about birthing positions I'm someone who I like to be active I would like to have the option to birthing whatever position is comfortable

00:33:34.134 --> 00:33:41.582
tell me how do you accommodate that in your practice and just ask them about you can even ask them about their philosophies

00:33:41.480 --> 00:33:48.072
with birth pertaining to birth one of my favorite questions to ask your provider is how do you.

00:33:48.105 --> 00:33:52.069
Collaborate care with doulas because this is a big one.

00:33:52.102 --> 00:34:01.009
You can have your Doula with your provider may not respect or acknowledge the role of your Doula and so you can learn a lot.

00:34:01.069 --> 00:34:09.264
From how they they say that they either work or do not work with doulas right so I'm from my personal experience I have found

00:34:09.108 --> 00:34:36.009
that very few OBGYN even will acknowledge my role or even answer questions or if I say oh I'd love to speak to your provider or you know ask a few questions myself they really don't care to Center that which is interesting when you when you work in the medical field in any medical field you understand why they function that way because

00:34:35.853 --> 00:34:46.335
they don't have time for you because they're billing by 15 minutes increments right and secondly they are always concerned with

00:34:46.197 --> 00:34:47.343
malpractice.

00:34:47.367 --> 00:34:57.489
So more people that are involved the more they are concerned with that however in my experience I have found that midwives are a lot more open

00:34:57.306 --> 00:35:03.331
to collaborating with doulas and they actually embrace doulas.

00:35:03.391 --> 00:35:14.665
Part of the carotene so a lot of times they know that you know your client very well or at least you should be getting to know your client very well and they can tag you in when collaborating care.

00:35:14.689 --> 00:35:25.603
Um or if they have a concern about you know where the person is in their labor process and they need an extra set of knives or how is this person vocalizing so.

00:35:25.897 --> 00:35:33.714
I always love when my clients ask their provider how do you feel about doulas or how do you collaborate care with doulas.

00:35:33.819 --> 00:35:43.148
And based off of that you kind of know how they're going to feel about having an extra set of eyes in the space right that should tell you a lot about.

00:35:43.290 --> 00:35:51.142
Whether they're up on the evidence of the rules of doulas and how doulas impact outcomes whether they respected whether.

00:35:51.166 --> 00:35:55.869
Even our just respectful the fact that you want additional support right.

00:35:56.010 --> 00:36:07.256
Um so I have like a whole list of questions that I give my clients when they are interviewing either obese or midwives but those are just like a few that are like to pinpoint

00:36:07.173 --> 00:36:15.196
you can ask about C-section rates there how they collaborate with other professionals and to be completely honest I would say

00:36:15.023 --> 00:36:20.985
go as far as to look up reviews about their practice right because that would give you an idea of.

00:36:21.126 --> 00:36:34.047
Some people the way they speak outside of the birthing spaces one way but then when they're actually in the birthing space it's like being with a stranger so it's good to have input from people who were actually their.

00:36:34.530 --> 00:36:44.382
Oh my gosh I just learned so much in that one answer about questions to ask and things to consider no it's amazing I.

00:36:44.415 --> 00:36:45.786
So so grateful

00:36:45.783 --> 00:36:58.218
because even that handful of questions you just gave us was incredible and already has me thinking in different ways about just other factors to make sure that we're considering so that is is super helpful.

00:36:58.233 --> 00:37:01.423
If someone is interested in working with a

00:37:01.276 --> 00:37:14.863
when should they bring them into the process you know first trimester second trimester if there are planning a pregnancy if they're trying to conceive should they start thinking about doulas they're kind of an ideal time to bring a doula into the fold.

00:37:15.986 --> 00:37:23.730
So this question is something I've pondered over for a very long time because I used to say.

00:37:23.854 --> 00:37:32.607
My answer used to be that you should bring in a doula in your third trimester and what I'm starting to realize is that

00:37:32.577 --> 00:37:41.069
honestly the earlier the better if you have an idea of someone that you want to work with that you like

00:37:40.940 --> 00:37:50.593
in terms of liking their practice you like how they are working with their clients and you like the their knowledge and what they have to offer I honestly would say.

00:37:50.654 --> 00:38:00.604
Try to reach out to them as soon as you know that you're pregnant some doulas do specialize in fertility work and

00:38:00.502 --> 00:38:06.149
they work with clients even in their preconception period so

00:38:06.137 --> 00:38:14.206
that is a great opportunity to work with someone that you know that you want at your Birthright and what's great about that is that the more you work with someone.

00:38:14.285 --> 00:38:17.771
The more time you'll have to switch doulas.

00:38:17.849 --> 00:38:32.661
If you realize you don't want to work with that person for your Birthright so time is everything there's a lot of information to learn there are a lot of classes a lot of seminars a lot of things that you can access

00:38:32.496 --> 00:38:36.424
but what I find is that if people wait till the last trimester

00:38:36.322 --> 00:38:51.026
it can be like an overwhelming experience it can feel like oh my God I have so much to shift through I have so many things to look at and I don't have enough time because I'm getting the nursery ready because I'm getting this ready I'm getting that ready I'm going to the doctor every week

00:38:50.942 --> 00:39:00.892
so what I want to say is the earlier the better what's also really great about starting as early as possible is that you can space out your payments right

00:39:00.826 --> 00:39:06.932
so doulas are not regularly covered or paid for buying from buy insurance so.

00:39:07.128 --> 00:39:12.892
Most likely you will have to be paying for your services but what's great about that is that

00:39:12.826 --> 00:39:20.004
if you know you have a specific tool you'd like to work with you can say hey I am 2 months pregnant.

00:39:20.217 --> 00:39:31.509
For three months pregnant and I have have a long way to go so how can we space out the sessions to make this more affordable to me can I pay you a little by little

00:39:31.326 --> 00:39:43.878
what let's come up with a payment plan so the more time you have to work with the better for your finances because you can spread out the payments a little more and so yeah I so now my answer is.

00:39:43.893 --> 00:39:46.678
As soon as you know you want to work with a.

00:39:46.801 --> 00:39:55.779
Start looking for a doula because the better the earlier the better and it just makes it a better experience for you because if you feel like.

00:39:55.929 --> 00:39:59.488
I need a little more time dedicated to this topic.

00:39:59.764 --> 00:40:07.176
Then you can space out that time you can make that time instead of having to rush through your sessions because.

00:40:07.263 --> 00:40:17.123
Baby may come two weeks early baby may come two weeks late who knows you know so now my advice is as soon as you know just start interviewing people.

00:40:17.373 --> 00:40:30.140
Yeah that's such a good tip and that totally makes sense especially for people who are potentially pregnant for the first time having their first baby and help you through it earlier rather than later I'm sure it was really helpful

00:40:30.057 --> 00:40:42.960
it's everything is an entirely new experience in every pregnancy is different so even if someone's pregnant more than once it's going to be a different experience but I could imagine the first time you experienced that it is a whole new world and so having that support there.

00:40:43.029 --> 00:40:43.905
Who Kendall.

00:40:44.145 --> 00:40:57.624
Yeah I totally agree and now it's funny because I'm not currently pregnant right now but I definitely have been mentally making a list of people that I would like to work with.

00:40:57.685 --> 00:41:00.487
If and when I do become pregnant.

00:41:00.511 --> 00:41:07.743
So it's really funny how you really want to be able to kind of observe people in their work.

00:41:07.875 --> 00:41:19.518
And say hmm I like how they do this I like how they do that and I think they'd be a good match and also look at options right so sometimes my clients or potential clients are a little bit stunned when I

00:41:19.506 --> 00:41:20.643
tell them like.

00:41:20.884 --> 00:41:32.229
This is a free console we can chat you can ask whatever you want to ask but we're not obligated to each other right so you feel free to reach out to other doulas and interview people because

00:41:32.217 --> 00:41:41.591
I want you to pick someone that fits with what you are looking for and that may or may not be me and that's okay right and I start off like.

00:41:41.850 --> 00:41:53.295
Definitely saying that because sometimes people feel like oh my goodness she's nice but she's not exactly what I like so I feel guilty and and you don't want to start off any care

00:41:53.211 --> 00:42:02.432
like that with anyone so don't feel guilty if you have to let me go don't feel guilty if you're you have to dump your OB don't feel guilty if you're looking for a new MID wave

00:42:02.384 --> 00:42:06.528
that's not the point of your birth experience Choose Yourself like

00:42:06.318 --> 00:42:17.384
choose yourself because this is your birth experience as much as we are showing up to support none of us are giving birth to that baby except for you so choose what you need

00:42:17.238 --> 00:42:19.833
and everyone will move on it's fine.

00:42:19.911 --> 00:42:28.664
Yes such a good tip it back to what you said earlier about that Harmony and making sure you have the right people who are in alignment with that.

00:42:28.950 --> 00:42:35.812
Yeah yeah I know I think that a lot of times we are so used to taking care of others that even when they're totally

00:42:35.737 --> 00:42:40.673
the total strangers total and complete strangers were so conscious of like

00:42:40.644 --> 00:42:50.729
taking care of them and that's not in your when you're pregnant and you're getting ready to give birth that's not the right time to be worrying about other people especially people you don't know right

00:42:50.645 --> 00:42:54.186
preach exactly.

00:42:55.893 --> 00:43:02.783
So I'd love to talk a bit about you know things that people can do while pregnant

00:43:02.591 --> 00:43:17.655
to kind of support them during birth and during the postpartum period so do you recommend that there are any practices that birthing persons adopt maybe around types of movement that are helpful mindfulness practice is breathwork

00:43:17.427 --> 00:43:25.505
things of that nature that are good to practice during the pregnancy so that both they and the baby are supported during birth and after.

00:43:25.511 --> 00:43:36.335
Oh my God yes yes yes yes yes to all of that I really really have to say I am obsessed with yoga

00:43:36.206 --> 00:43:43.869
but especially prenatal yoga because a lot of what they practice in classes

00:43:43.840 --> 00:43:51.918
is what you're going to tap into when you're in labor and so I always suggest trying to find a practice

00:43:51.843 --> 00:44:05.853
that is also very Bob body positive so that way you're not super self-conscious while you're in class and I mean let's be honest in this day and age everything is virtual but if you do happen to find a beautiful space that's safe.

00:44:05.913 --> 00:44:13.820
For you to practice in person absolutely go but definitely try to explore the option of yoga.

00:44:13.844 --> 00:44:20.428
Um and you know a lot of what you're going to find and labor is that you need to tap into

00:44:20.281 --> 00:44:33.922
breath for if you need to tap into meditation affirmations Letting Go the concept of letting go is very important and to not fear to not fear the unknown and if you have ever been to yoga class like

00:44:33.829 --> 00:44:45.229
that's the homecoming theme like Let Go learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and like you know so I do always suggest even your if you've never done yoga before

00:44:45.082 --> 00:44:48.938
just trying a few sessions

00:44:48.845 --> 00:45:03.459
and if not there's always dance I love dance I think dance is a beautiful physical release you can adapt it to any and all cultures because music is universal and so finding a dance face

00:45:03.258 --> 00:45:12.362
we're a dance class a dance instructor where you can just release any tension and move your body is perfect you know so you don't have to be like.

00:45:12.377 --> 00:45:25.667
Um I'm not a yoga person stop playing around that that's fine it's okay but finding a space where you can move freely and get your attention out your anxiety out and and just like enjoy yourself.

00:45:25.763 --> 00:45:39.207
Um you really want to be able to spark joy in your pregnancy and and also spark joy in your labor right so some people do tap into dance while they're going through their waves of birth.

00:45:39.285 --> 00:45:45.346
Um also known as contractions but you know they tap into that and that that's a habit that's

00:45:45.280 --> 00:45:51.477
perfectly awesome you know any movement that you do physically is going to help.

00:45:51.600 --> 00:45:57.589
During labor because it really is called Labor for a reason it's physically taxing.

00:45:57.946 --> 00:46:09.274
So the more you move your body in ways that are comfortable and enjoyable to you the better even if out of there all of those suggestions you're like I'm not doing any of that all I could do is walk

00:46:09.253 --> 00:46:18.006
then guess what put some music on and walk during labor there's a very well-known cycle where if you are tense it can

00:46:17.877 --> 00:46:23.318
increase your pain and then that can lead to fear which ends up

00:46:23.297 --> 00:46:36.866
leading to Morton intensity and it's a cycle right and so that part of the cycle we want to cut right away so anything that helps you release tension is going to help make your labor

00:46:36.710 --> 00:46:44.725
go more smoothly and even if it doesn't go smoothly even if you have complications you will have the tools to tap into that.

00:46:44.776 --> 00:46:54.870
Some people do tap into like Hypno hypnotherapy and they may tap into other things they may happen too

00:46:54.724 --> 00:47:09.184
cognitive behavioral therapy because they may have anxiety to start off with or they may suffer from depression already so I want to say anything that's enters your mental health and your physical health and your emotional health

00:47:09.046 --> 00:47:23.786
do that throughout your whole pregnancy and because that's what you're going to need during your labor right it is very introspective a lot of times and so you want to have those habits and tools to know what to do to calm yourself right

00:47:23.621 --> 00:47:32.131
some people is birth for our breathwork some people is meditation some people is music some people is dance whatever works for you.

00:47:32.425 --> 00:47:37.289
Nurture that because that is what you're going to need when you're going through your labor.

00:47:37.412 --> 00:47:48.164
Definitely that's such a good perspective of focusing on movement practices that give you Joy seeing labor as something that you do

00:47:48.053 --> 00:47:54.160
kind of train for in some in some ways because it is a major kind of physical.

00:47:54.256 --> 00:48:04.881
Event and for a lot of us as probably going to be the greatest like physical exertion we experience and so being mindful about how we move our bodies leading up to that sound so beautiful.

00:48:05.022 --> 00:48:09.580
Yeah and making sure it's in tune with you right because not everyone is

00:48:09.379 --> 00:48:21.904
I had one client told me if you told me about your little one more time gorgeous gray of that I'm sorry I'm late it's okay check me check me and yeah so just always centering your experience and what works for you.

00:48:22.343 --> 00:48:30.736
Definitely gosh beautiful so before we wrap up I would also love to talk just a bit about the postpartum period I mean the postpartum period.

00:48:30.796 --> 00:48:33.220
There's so many things we could say about it that

00:48:33.136 --> 00:48:41.376
can and should be a full episode in and of itself but I particularly want to talk a bit about the ways that.

00:48:41.500 --> 00:48:53.466
We as part of the village can show up for those in our life who have just given birth and ways that we can make sure that they are supported during that transition.

00:48:53.617 --> 00:48:57.373
So I'm very happy that.

00:48:58.127 --> 00:49:09.661
Covid has come down a little bit and that some people have been able to feel more comfortable showing up in person for.

00:49:09.875 --> 00:49:19.375
Persons who have just given birth that being said if your friend is not comfortable with you coming by and helping in all the traditional ways.

00:49:19.426 --> 00:49:31.501
Making meals for them or washing dishes or folding clothes or doing laundry if they're like listen I still don't feel comfortable with people coming over I'm not interested in that

00:49:31.417 --> 00:49:41.079
there's two things I want you to remember one is that you can always do drop offs right so you can always offer your friend

00:49:41.023 --> 00:49:45.742
the option of picking up their laundry and dropping it off.

00:49:45.920 --> 00:49:54.538
At their local or are you mad and dropping it back right you can also offer meal drop off so you can say Hey you know I know you really love.

00:49:54.625 --> 00:50:05.377
My chicken soup that I make or my mac and cheese that I make or whatever it is that they love of your specialty dishes and say I'm just going to drop off a tray.

00:50:05.401 --> 00:50:14.613
And I don't have to come in but I want you to I want to make sure that you have something also if they have pets or other children.

00:50:14.682 --> 00:50:17.089
Offer to give them a break

00:50:16.906 --> 00:50:34.652
and walk the dog or watch their other children and say Hey you know I know that things can be overwhelming but I would love to come pick up your two children and take them to on our little movie date and give you some space right I'm sure that they will greatly appreciate it

00:50:34.487 --> 00:50:40.999
there is a part of the pandemic that people have realized and it's that.

00:50:41.167 --> 00:50:53.368
It can it has greatly affected everyone's mental health and it has definitely isolated pregnant persons and in the postpartum period especially

00:50:53.230 --> 00:51:01.218
where you need hands all hands on deck it can be very difficult to navigate how to do that or how to ask for them.

00:51:01.602 --> 00:51:10.841
So coming up with other ways to help someone is very important but also remembering that sometimes all they need to do is talk.

00:51:11.072 --> 00:51:24.957
And you don't need to offer advice but you can very much listen and that way you're respecting their space you're not coming into their home without being invited and please don't show up please for the love of God do not show up to any

00:51:24.855 --> 00:51:26.973
postpartum person's house

00:51:26.925 --> 00:51:40.188
expecting someone to serve you a meal or or even like no one is entertaining guests like if you're going to come over you're coming over with something especially food come with food or you going to help with something

00:51:40.005 --> 00:51:42.403
or you're going to listen or you're going to be in

00:51:42.211 --> 00:51:53.845
active member of helping right we all know those people that show up and is like oh my goodness they didn't even offer me iced coffee or let no one has no one cares they don't come over

00:51:53.617 --> 00:52:03.216
if you are not the time no no if you are the needy person Board of the food and have groceries dropped off and stay home

00:52:03.132 --> 00:52:09.329
because that's not so definitely I my biggest suggestion is

00:52:09.209 --> 00:52:20.050
first things first is to ask the person how they would like to be helped is there a specific task that you're finding that you're struggling with that I can help you with.

00:52:20.111 --> 00:52:23.696
Don't be surprised if they say they don't know because.

00:52:23.802 --> 00:52:36.821
After having a baby they may not even know what they need but then offer suggestions well I'm available on Friday I can come by and pick up the kids and take them out on a little movie date

00:52:36.720 --> 00:52:46.814
is that okay with you so giving like actual tangible options is really helpful so my biggest piece of advice is if you know your friends.

00:52:46.865 --> 00:52:57.518
Ask them if you know that they won't be the type to accept your help or even ask for your help then offer tangible options but please do remember that.

00:52:57.758 --> 00:53:02.829
No one is trying to entertain guests and if you're going to show up

00:53:02.709 --> 00:53:07.951
it better be with a meal in hand like for real minimum.

00:53:08.021 --> 00:53:17.440
Definitely and kind of to that point about just finding alternative ways to support people.

00:53:17.500 --> 00:53:32.357
Is it possible to offer some sort of support where maybe you donate to like doulas Services if that's something that they're interested in or something that they would want that may not be necessarily accessible is that something that like a community can go up on for someone how does that work.

00:53:33.245 --> 00:53:41.872
Yeah absolutely I really wish that as a community we explored the option of a birth fund.

00:53:42.103 --> 00:53:49.830
Um so some some Registries actually do allow you to do like a cash donation or a donation fund.

00:53:49.845 --> 00:53:52.180
For the person.

00:53:52.474 --> 00:54:04.387
I think that that is something we need to really explore right because some people may want to do Le they may want a midwife they may want certain things but they do may not have the cash flow for it.

00:54:04.555 --> 00:54:09.491
So having like a doula registry fund available

00:54:09.362 --> 00:54:22.310
for people to donate or and it doesn't even have to be anything crazy you could just say hey you know I'm actually saving some money for a doula postpartum doula because I know I'm going to need the help and especially at night see that's the thing

00:54:22.262 --> 00:54:35.660
people forget that a baby's natural sleeping cycle is to wake up every couple of hours and they don't really make their own melatonin in the beginning so so they're up

00:54:35.559 --> 00:54:42.898
and they're hungry and they're trying to grow and establish the milk supply so you're upright.

00:54:42.959 --> 00:54:48.714
And everyone that comes by during the day super helpful it's great we love you yes

00:54:48.648 --> 00:55:01.398
but at night is really hard for the person so they may specifically want to hire like a postpartum doula for the evening hours to help them and so starting a fund or saying hey

00:55:01.314 --> 00:55:04.801
you know this is what I know I'm going to need.

00:55:04.852 --> 00:55:14.235
Would you if you're interested in giving me a gift maybe you can just sell me some cash so I can don't put it towards my do my actual fun for this right

00:55:14.187 --> 00:55:17.935
and so there are some Registries that let you start a cash fund.

00:55:18.139 --> 00:55:24.336
But even just getting into the habit of being willing to offer.

00:55:24.360 --> 00:55:30.656
Monetary funds if needed you know I think that some people look at that as taboo.

00:55:30.788 --> 00:55:38.938
Um I think that some communities may feel like I don't I don't know I can't believe this person ask for

00:55:38.746 --> 00:55:47.192
um money instead of gifts but how many people receive gifts that they don't even use that they're like looking to donate after-the-fact like.

00:55:47.325 --> 00:55:55.493
It's I just can't express can't express how important support is so if you know your friend is going to want to.

00:55:55.868 --> 00:56:15.478
Then offer to even start the fun for them right like that's a beautiful thing to say hey I know this is my best friend I know she's going to need the extra help I know all of my other friends are working we don't have any time to really come through and do overnight shifts so how about as a group of friends we just

00:56:15.322 --> 00:56:25.299
put together some cash and give that to them right give that to my friend so I think that if we rethink

00:56:25.152 --> 00:56:34.220
what is actually a gift and we think that concept and rethink the idea of Support over so I always say

00:56:34.056 --> 00:56:40.891
presents over presence right so the presence of a duel of a support person

00:56:40.780 --> 00:56:53.620
it's so important like that's what they're going to remember over the present over the bassinet over the beautiful onesie that you got they're going to need the presence

00:56:53.509 --> 00:56:59.292
so try to think of it that way how can we make sure our friend

00:56:59.244 --> 00:57:08.294
has the presence of the support has people there to help in a way that they're comfortable with I have I'm really looking forward to that time to those.

00:57:08.327 --> 00:57:17.819
These when people are able to say that that's what they need and for people to be okay with offering that right I don't know I just feel like a lot of times.

00:57:17.978 --> 00:57:28.891
We think we're doing the right thing by getting all the cute onesies and then the baby is like a 9-pound baby that doesn't fit any of his kind of wasn't what the person needed right.

00:57:28.942 --> 00:57:38.740
Yeah presents over presence is such a beautiful sentiment that just the gift of support and helping them.

00:57:38.827 --> 00:57:43.124
Transition and feel rested and nourish.

00:57:43.184 --> 00:57:52.882
Definitely feels a lot more impactful than some material items or than only emphasizing the material items so thank you for sharing that.

00:57:53.023 --> 00:58:02.064
Yeah you're welcome so Mary have I learned so much today this was such a helpful conversation thank you for.

00:58:02.116 --> 00:58:07.502
All of the knowledge information and resources that you shared with us I honestly we could have

00:58:07.499 --> 00:58:19.889
five more episodes of me continuing cuz I think we kind of scratch the surface it's so many of these things so if our listeners are interested in learning more about you or in working with you how can they find you.

00:58:19.967 --> 00:58:32.807
So you can definitely find me on Instagram at delicious nutrition I also have a website delicious nutrition that Cam and I have been working on offering

00:58:32.678 --> 00:58:34.671
by POC specific

00:58:34.533 --> 00:58:43.556
birth preparation courses so that is usually on a monthly basis so you can find my offering on my website and sign up

00:58:43.409 --> 00:58:52.072
if you're interested right if you're not that's cool too but you can find me there and on Instagram I do try to post as much content.

00:58:52.141 --> 00:59:00.516
As possible that's specific to our experiences because it is important to have that space for us

00:59:00.315 --> 00:59:05.630
so yeah I would be honored to share space with all of you there

00:59:05.438 --> 00:59:13.641
and you know I do want to say thank you because if I'm being totally and completely transparent I am

00:59:13.585 --> 00:59:27.613
loving the idea of those in our community reclaiming our right to have a beautiful perf experience and to give ourselves what we need to accomplish that in every physical

00:59:27.592 --> 00:59:42.017
possible way so I just want to say thank you for letting me be part of this series and also to just encourage everyone so go for that beautiful experience because you deserve it you deserve to

00:59:41.906 --> 00:59:51.010
bring your child into this space in incomplete joy and whatever way you can help yourself achieve that do it.

00:59:51.097 --> 01:00:00.769
Yes I could not agree more and thank you so much for the work you do in making that possible for people I really appreciate it.

01:00:01.108 --> 01:00:08.195
You're welcome it's an honor always so thanks everyone thanks for having me yes thanks for being here

01:00:08.066 --> 01:00:17.189
I wanted to continue asking Miriam so many more questions

01:00:17.087 --> 01:00:22.482
but just how loving and thoughtful and attentive she is so I hope

01:00:22.407 --> 01:00:30.395
you enjoyed this episode and if you are currently pregnant or want to get pregnant or have someone in your life who's pregnant.

01:00:30.500 --> 01:00:40.460
I really hope that this information was beneficial to you head to the show notes for Miriam's info so that you can give her a follow and check out her services at doulas nutrition.

01:00:40.727 --> 01:00:46.536
We'll also have extended show notes on balance black girl.com with a full transcript of today's episode.

01:00:47.163 --> 01:00:53.657
Shout out to our sponsors who support helps us produce this show and a huge thanks to you for tuning in today.

01:00:54.275 --> 01:01:01.282
Next week we're going to talk about the transition into motherhood navigating changing identities and re parenting ourselves.

01:01:01.585 --> 01:01:07.700
It's another conversation that you do not want to miss so make sure you're subscribed so you can check it out as soon as.

01:01:07.600 --> 01:01:13.116
Music.

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