When it comes to planning a family there are so many things to consider, so many things to learn. It’s exciting and overwhelming. One of the major topics of discussion inevitably is about what kind of support you want during the pregnancy and labor. Questions arise such as, Does my GP deliver? Will they care about how I hope my delivery will go? What kind of support do they offer leading up to, during, and after the birth?
For many families, the choice to use an alternative to their family doctor is becoming a popular choice for a variety of reasons. This includes approach to the labour and birth experience (using pharmaceuticals to induce/ speed up labour; ordering C- sections for women based on time- constraints rather that natural labour progression), birth support for both Mom & Dad (who really needs help breathing 😉 ); and postpartum support (in- home visits vs. leaving home to go to the Dr office), among others. No longer are midwives and doulas a taboo topic, misunderstood by those who stand to benefit from their services; they are becoming a more common choice among families, respected and sought- after by those who learn about the options they have available to them.
When I was expecting Ari I looked into my options, having watched multiple documentaries about women’s birth experiences in North America comparing traditional options to the holistic ones. I made my choice to use a midwife instead of my family doctor based on the experience of a close friend who had a wonderful experience with one and what I felt was best for our family and what we hoped for for a birth experience. I wasn’t disappointed. Since then I have spoken to countless women who used or will use a midwife and/ or doula for their births; one of my closest girlfriends is due in December and has enlisted the help of a doula to help support her and her husband through labour.
Since it’s my goal to provide natural suggestions for my readers to consider, I am very happy to share today’s post with you. If you or someone you know is planning a family, I hope you will consider all of your options, including those that lie beyond the traditional medical system. I am pleased to introduce Candie Tizzard, an experienced birth doula with Birthrite Doula. I hope she helps you understand more about what these wonderful, passionate individuals do.
TPB: What is a doula?
women labored and birthed at home with a midwife and other women in their
community. Although not known as doulas at the time, these women were continuous
labor support and the idea behind doulas. Doula is Greek, meaning a woman who serves. Today it means a woman who is trained to assist another woman during
childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.
Studies have shown that women who have doula assisted births
have shorter easier labours, less complications, reduced risk of caesarian
section, and breast feed their babies more easily. Doulas provide continuous
emotional, physical and spiritual support. There is a wide range of options for
women in pregnancy and child birth; Doula’s strive to inform women of all their
options, so they can make informed choices about their bodies and their babies
during pregnancy and labour.
TPB: What support services & care does a doula
Candice: Typically Doulas will offer two prenatal meetings, be there for the entire
labour and up to two hours after, and one postpartum appointment. Some doula’s offer more
support to the family; for example, I offer two postpartum visits to high risk,
or first time families. I also offer to stay on 24 hours for two weeks after
the baby is born, so I can support breast feeding. There are various skills and services that
doula’s can offer on top of this, such as use of a TENS machine, birth pools, placenta
encapsulation, photography, massage, acupuncture, acupressure, prenatal
education and much more.
It is very
important that you know what it is you want out of your birth and your labour
support and find a doula that best supports your desires and you click with.
Interview until you find the perfect one, there is no rule that says you have
to choose right away. Doulas also have
our hands in many resources in our community; we can refer out to anyone that
will benefit the women and her birthing team.
TPB: How long prior to a birth should clients
contact a doula?
Candice: This part varies. Some doula’s are busier than
others and need more notice. Typically women will contact us at about 20-30
weeks pregnant; however, it happens at all points during pregnancy, right up to
a woman in labour contacting us. I have had women contact me right after they
found out they were expecting, before finding their midwife or care provider,
and one who contacted me at 40 weeks 3 days!
What is the average cost?
Candice: Doulas are not covered by MSP*, and only some extended health
will cover partial or all costs of a doula. I always submit receipts of my
services and let clients know to submit them, even if the answer is no; it shows the
need and desire for doula care during labour. The price of a doula is not regulated
and you will find that prices vary across the region. Typically you can expect
to pay between $600-900 or more for services, based on experience. There are volunteer
services out there for families that need the support, but cannot afford to pay
for a doula. Doulas understand that the cost is high; we also know that our services
are worth our cost and will work with families to be able to afford our
services by offering various types of payment plans and certificates.
*In BC, you have the choice between using your GP or a midwife; if you choose to use a midwife, this is covered by MSP. Doula services are not yet covered by MSP, so are additional- help get this service covered by making your desire for one known, as Candice suggests above.
TPB: Do doulas provide support post- delivery?
Candice: There are many types of doula supports out
Antepartum: Support high risk women who are on bed rest at home
or in the hospital. The support
consists of resources, small errands, emotional support, and more.
Birth: Support women prenatally, during labour
and birth, and postnatal.
Postpartum: Support women through their postpartum
period offering emotional support at home with small chores, some cooking,
resources, and much more. Postpartum Doulas help with the women’s needs and
baby’s needs, allowing women to take the time they need to take care of
themselves and rest. Some postpartum
doulas do overnight care allowing families to get the sleep they need.
Child Doula: I have recently learned about
this one. These doulas support the
siblings during a women’s birthing time.
Loss Doula: Support women anytime during and
after pregnancy and the loss of their child, whether through, miscarriage,
terminal pregnancy, or still birth.
My midwife was the reason we had the birth experience we wanted. If we had been under the care of a GP, we would have been forced to induce labour, a choice neither Will or I wanted. Midwives and doulas not only provide assistance leading up to, during, and after birth, they also serve as advocates for the parents, helping ensure their voice is heard and respected during birth. If you are fortunate to have a GP that shares your beliefs and approach to birth, that is a wonderful thing. However, not all traditional doctors do, and for this reason I am a proud advocate for midwives and doulas. I hope this post has helped inform you about the options available to you as you begin the journey into parenthood.
If you would like more information about doulas and the services they offer, you can contact Candice via her website and find her business on Facebook & Twitter.
Also make sure to learn more about her Beautiful ME Projecta project Candice proudly started to celebrate women & their bodies following childbirth.
Here are some useful links that Candice provided for readers to check out:
Today’s Savvy Family tip reminds us that simpler is often better…
Tip # 5 – The modern version of your Great-Grandmother’s strategy.
When your great-grandfather arrived home on Friday evening his pocket contained the family pay packet. The weekly ritual in most successful households was the division of the money to pay for the family needs, rent, groceries, heat, light, telephone. Money was also tucked away for larger purchases, shoes, clothing.
Mason jars and envelopes were the management tools of the day. When the grocery jar was empty there were no more groceries purchased until after payday. If there wasn’t enough money in the clothing envelope you had to wait, sometimes for a few weeks. If only they had sites like palmaviolets.co.uk like we do to help them make ends meet.
Our great-grandparents managed real scarcity.
In comparison almost all of us have two pieces of plastic, one that gives us access to every dollar we have, the other allows us to arrange a loan to purchase just about anything from a cup of coffee to a vacation. This situation creates its own problems. It is too easy to spend what we don’t have for items that we really may not need.
We need to create artificial scarcity to assist us to manage our spending.
The envelope method is often suggested as a tool to help us spend less. The challenge is that we’re not used to or comfortable walking around with cash. It seems too 20th century.
An alternative method is the account specific debit card. One family member fills the cars with fuel and goes grocery shopping every Sunday. Sunday evening they transfer a set amount of money from their general account to their debit card accounts. This is their “allowance” for the week. When the debit account is empty, spending stops until next Sunday.
What tools do you use to manage your spending?
Dan Olson is a Sun Life Financial Advisor. An experienced Dad with three children, now young adults. With everyone under one roof for the Summer, his home is feeling really, really small.
If you have some questions for Dan, or would like some help with your family’s savings, here’s how you can contact him:
Every parent knows the feeling of being sleep deprived or the frustrations of trying to get your child to learn new skills and get into good habits (ie potty training & healthy eating habits). It can be challenging and exhausting. It’s hard to get anything done when all you want to do is sleep, and hard to have patience when you’re tired and/ or frustrated.
I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives, regardless of whether we have a baby to look after or not. If you weren’t a parent, at least you’d have a better opportunity to do something about it, especially because you won’t have another human who is relying on you. In fact, my friend has recently told me that she’s started using somewhere like Mankind Dispensary to see if their cannabis products could help her to combat her own insomnia, as her tiredness was starting to affect other areas of her life too. It seems to be so far so good, as she only seems to be raving about how good they are, but that may be down to the fact that they deliver the products to her house, so she can do it all through a click of a button. I’m a little bit jealous. But I think I know how I can put a stop to feeling this way.
Today’s Amazing Mom helps families establish good habits so everyone- including Mom & Dad- can feel well rested and ready to face the day and whatever adventures lie ahead. Meet Marnie Huard from Cheeky Chops…
Get to know Marnie in 3 Questions:
What kind of services do you
I’m a Sleep &
Parenting Consultant; I offer telephone and in-home sleep consultations, talk
times, nutrition services (soon to be launched with an amazing holistic
nutritionist) and potty training.
What is the price point?
Telephone Sleep Package:
In-Home Sleep Package:
consultation, personalized plan, unlimited 3 weeks follow up)
Talk Time- vary according
to time needed: from $40-$100
Potty Training: In Home
$350 / Phone $250
Nutrition: In Home $380 / Phone $280
How long have you been operating and how did
Cheekychops started in
2006; I started in September 2013. I actually used Cheekychops with my son and
was amazed by the level of professionalism and the success I had with my son.
… Get to know Marnie a little better…
How did you decide what to do?
After using Cheekychops
and re-gaining my sanity, I decided that I wanted to help other moms and dads
to feel like themselves again. Sleep is
also so important for babies that it’s a great feeling to hear my clients say
that their whole family is much happier and rested since they have used my
What is your favourite part of what you do?
What is the biggest challenge?
My favorite part is the
excitement and pride I hear in my client’s voice when their child starts
The biggest challenge for
me is to balance my time with my son, husband, and my business. My husband is
self-employed so he works long hours and we sometimes have to be creative to
spend time as a family.
Any advice to other ladies/ moms looking to
start their own business?
Make sure you have a
realistic idea of the time you are able to put into your business versus the
time you will actually end up putting in it. Everything takes so much more time
than we plan for!
About Marnie: Originally from Newport, Quebec, Marnie moved to BC five years ago. She now lives in Langley with her husband, their very active son, and their dog. She has taken several psychology courses including child and developmental psychology and having experienced the negative effects lack of sleep has on a family and a relationship, Marnie understands all the challenges that come with it. Choosing Cheekychops Consulting to help her son sleep better was one of the best decisions she ever made for herself and her family. She serves the Langley, Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Chilliwack, and Hope areas.
If you need help getting your little one to sleep better, eat healthier, or just need some advice from a Mom who’s been there, done that get in touch with Marnie:
Today’s post is a serious one. As much as I like to find the humour in family life, some things simply require our full attention. If you or someone you know is the victim of abuse, I hope this will help you find the courage to get away and seek help; a safe and healthy life away from such a toxic- and dangerous- reality that many people face. A very special thank you to Lalia Frolick for sharing her story with The Pampered Baby.
This post is a really big deal for me. Those of you who’ve been following for awhile will know I started blogging March 1st, 2013. Almost an entire year ago. Well, this post is one that I thought about writing when I first created my blog. But I have put it off, and put it off, and put it off. Because I knew it would be hard for me to write. It’s now nearly a year since I had the idea to write this post, and it’s time for me to finally share it with you.
Once upon a time… There was a little girl, who we will call Elle. She loved watching “The Little Mermaid” and playing make-believe, with her little sister as the prince (who was not a very willing one, by the way). While most her age were starting Kindergarten, this little girl was being moving from place to place with her family, all at the whim of her restless father. It seemed reminiscent of the story of Goldilocks. No matter where they might have moved to, something was always wrong. It was never “just right.” So they would move. Again, and again, and again. But you see, Elle’s father’s problem was not the place that they lived. It was the place within himself that made him restless. To quiet that voice he would drown his sorrows in alcohol and cigarettes, hoping to find happiness at the bottom of a beer can. But the little girl didn’t pay too much attention. It was who her father was, and she loved him.
Many years, and many moves, later… they bought a big house in the country. By this time, the little girl had three siblings, and not just one. The house was a mansion to her, with a room for a parents, and yet a room to each child upstairs. With a small pond on the side of the house, Elle and her siblings would go on many adventures. With only two neighbors, neither of which was within a mile of them, it seemed the sky was the limit. Each day, they would walk through the tall grass, play house in the perfect little nooks underneath giant bushes, and explore the rest of the abundant nature that was their back yard. And each night, Elle fell asleep staring at the moon outside of her bedroom window, and listening to the songs of the crickets in the tall grass.
But the void in the heart of the little girl’s father was getting harder to ignore. Every night, he drank several large bottles of beer. Every morning after, he was always angry, and ready to pick a fight. Harsh punishments were administered for a toe out of line. It was at this time that the little girl finally noticed when her parents would fight. Her father would beat his mother, screaming at her and hitting her for any or no reason at all. During these times, Elle would crawl into her closet, pull the door closed, and curl up against the wall. The angry voice filled the house, and there was no way to get away. She would feel the ground beneath her rumble as her father beat her mother. It seemed as if the house was trembling as she was. She would hear her mother reply to things her father said. But it never made things better. She could hear the pain in her mother’s voice, and practically see the tears streaming down her face. But it would go on, and on, and on. The little girl would eventually be unable to take it anymore. Elle would shut her eyes tight, and let tears stream down her face. “I wish I had never been born,” she whispered to herself over and over again, her lips trembling. You see, as so many little children do, she thought it was always somehow her fault.
It was not long after that Elle was told a little brother was on the way. Her mother’s tummy grew as the child inside it did. But even that did not stop the arguments or the beatings from happening. Days and months seemed swallowed by darkness. The only escape the children had were the adventures they shared together in their backyard, away from the world and its realities.
The little brother was born, and after the Y2K scare, the family had to sell their house. They all squeezed back into the one-bedroom apartment they had been in and out of since Elle was small. You see, the little girl’s grandfather had lived in that apartment for many, many years. So the family of seven lived in the apartment with the grandfather. And Elle couldn’t see the stars anymore, or hear the crickets singing to her as she drifted to sleep. When the episodes happened, there was nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. The bedroom door was shut and locked to prevent the kids from seeing, but nothing could stop them all from hearing. The children grew quiet as the anger consumed the apartment. A somber cloud always hung over the entire family the rest of the day. The girl’s littlest sister would crumble and cry as she once had, and she would hold her close, and stroke her hair. She told her, “It will be okay,” as she hoped it would one day. But all of the children were little, and they would move on. By the next day, all was right in the world again. As the kids grew older, however, something started to change. Some of the anger that was always directed at the mother, was directed at the children instead. Listening to the TV at a volume above a whisper would result in a 2-hour time out if they were lucky, or several spankings with a cord that left blisters and bruises for days, if they were not.
The incidents that were uncommon became common. The mother would go to work everyday, while the father was home with Elle, and all of her siblings. He would not let them attend school, so each day during the week the children had only him. Yet he lived in his own world, and knew so little about his own children
that he didn’t know their favorite colors. He would even mix up their
names. He was more and more unhappy with his life, and in an attempt to gain some control, he controlled each and every move the mother and their children made. The children rarely had contact with children their age, and no friends. The father continued to drown himself in alcohol, but it wasn’t enough. After a back injury, he was temporarily given marijuana medically. But he became addicted, and after he was cut off from it by the hospital, he would seek it out elsewhere. Twice a day, he would smoke, and he was always irritable and short with his children when the high wore off. It got to the point where Elle’s father was spending $1,000 a month on pot. No one could stop him. There are no doubts about it, substance abuse issues can have devastating consequences. However, if you suspect that a family member is using drugs without your knowledge, you might want to do some research into at-home drug testing kits that can be found online by researching companies like Countrywide Testing. Identifying that your loved one is using substances is the first step to recovery. Just remember to seek professional medical guidance at every step of the way. No one should have to deal with drug addiction issues alone.
As for Elle and her father though, there was rarely a week that passed without each of the children being severely punished. Being slapped, hit upside the head, whipped with a cord, and insulted were all run-of-the-mill. One day, after such an incident, when the mother came home she asked how their day had been. One of the sons decided to tell the mother what had happened that day. The mother was very upset, and went immediately to confront their father. Another big fight happened. As soon as the mother had turned around, the father went to his children and hissed, “Who ratted me out to Mom? We’ll talk about this tomorrow!” The children looked at each other. They held their breath the next morning after their mother had left for work. But it seemed, this once, the father had forgotten. Nothing happened. The children learned not to speak to their mother about what happened at home. The mother would have bruises on her face, and everywhere else. Anything that anyone could see was covered up with make up. It was the only time, and only reason, their mother ever wore make up at all.
When Elle was finally a teenager, she learned to escape her circumstances within the pages of good books. It started with the magical world of Harry Potter, and continued with almost any other book she could get her hands on. It kept her quiet, and out of trouble. Days turned into months, where she would do her best to think of little else. The episodes and incidents continued to happen, and the family spoke of them to no one. The little girl was so afraid to speak about these things, that she would not even confide in her diary about such things. None of the mother’s friends knew, and the children knew better than to say a word about it to anyone. As far as anyone else knew, they were, more or less, a normal family.
One day, the little girl actually thought about their circumstances. For the first time in her life, she allowed herself to consciously analyze the situation. The strong love she once had for her father dwindled to dust, as she recognized the depth of what he was doing to them all. This made her angry, and rebellious. Elle’s father had taken to calling her a fat cow several times a day, and it only fueled her anger further. From then on, whenever her father started to hit her mother, she would step in. Every time an argument brewed, and her father’s temper started to simmer… she would hope it would stop at that, even though she knew better. But it never stopped there. Sometimes she would just yell at him to stop, other times she would put her hand on his arm to make him stop. He would yell at her, but it had the affect she was after: it put a stop to the abuse. One Christmas, the father made the mother return all the Christmas presents to the stores. Christmas was the mother’s favorite time of year, and so this made her very sad. So on Christmas Day, she went out in the morning to the gym and stayed there much longer than usual. The little girl, who was not so little anymore, got into her first physical fight with her father. An argument started over a loaf of bread, and ended with the father’s hands in a tight grip around the daughter’s throat. He whispered threats to her, and it only came to an end when the grandfather stepped in. The mother came home, and as with any other incident, not a soul mentioned a word of it to her. It seemed, after that point, a new boundary had been crossed. When the second daughter rebelled also, he would hit her, slap her, and verbally degrade her, not much differently than he did with their mother.
Things continue to escalate. Elle, finally 18, decided it was time to finally leave, as she always told her mother she would do. She couldn’t stand it any longer. A few months before she turned 19, it finally happened. She had taken her belongings from the apartment little by little, storing them in a rented storage unit. The father didn’t notice. She told her oldest brother to look after everyone in her place. Then, one early morning, she woke the father up from his sleep, and told him she was leaving. She wasn’t coming back. He tried to protest, but she reminded him there was nothing he could do. She was 18, and she was going. She held her breath as she quickly left the apartment that was host to so many horrible memories. Elle did not even have time to say a proper goodbye to her siblings. She knew she couldn’t linger. After the shock wore off, she knew he’d be looking for her. As soon as she walked a block away, she turned a corner so her direction couldn’t be seen from the front of the apartment. She walked another block, and turned the corner again. Only now did she let herself cry as she continued to walk away. She worried for her mother and siblings. But what could she do? It was time for her to finally begin her life. Two blocks later, she ducked into a parkade, and she was safe. She’d done it. She was free.
As it turned out, this is exactly what had to happen. A year later, the mother escaped with all of the children, and the grandfather, too. Once she finally knew that her husband was abusing their children, too, she knew she had to get them out. She tried to speak to him reasonably, and he threatened to kill her, and their children, if she ever left him. With no other choice, she escaped much the same way her daughter did. The mother and her other four children still live together. Far away from the father, they are finally safe, and finally happy. You’ll be happy to know the little girl is, too. In the five years after she moved away, she married her best friend, and started a family of her own. They continue to live happily ever after, even though not quite like it goes in the fairytale.
There’s something else you should probably know. That little girl is not made up. Nor was she simply inspired by the countless experiences that children around the world have been subject to.
That little girl was me.
We cannot control our pasts. We can only control the now, and in that way shape our future. The textbooks say that you become your parents, and that we will repeat their mistakes. That we all have a tendency to recreate the conditions in which we grow up, continuing the cycle, however vicious it may be. But I am telling you it doesn’t have to be this way. To anyone who’s childhood was less than ordinary, I tell you this: you deserve better, and you can do better. You cannot change what happened, but you can decide how to live your life now. You choose how you act and how you feel from this point forward. Accept your past, and embrace the future. Whether you have experienced, or are experiencing, domestic violence, bullying, or any other type of abuse… You are strong, and powerful, and you can break the cycle.
As soon as my husband and I decided to start a family, I really began to reflect on my past again. It was something I had scarcely done since I left that apartment in 2009. It was easier, and less painful, to not think about it at all. Funnily enough, I started to truly heal from the experience during my pregnancy. I thought of all the things that had gone wrong in my childhood, and it brought me peace to know that I was already doing things differently in my life. My husband and I do not yell or scream at each other, much less reduce ourselves to a physically fight. Our son is 17-months-old, and I can say with complete honesty that I have not only never hit or abused my son in any way, but I haven’t even thought of doing it. There is a difference between fear and respect, and I have no desire for my son to fear me. I am grateful for my past, because it has taught me what not to do. I hope one day, when my son is old enough, to share the story of my past with him in depth. I hope that I can teach him what I myself have learned from my upbringing, without him having to go through any of the things I have lived through. I look at my son, and am grateful for each day. Grateful that he has a life where his parents both love him, and each other. That he has the stability which seemed like such a luxury to me as a child.
When I think back on my childhood now, it seems to awful and too bizarre to be true. And then I remember: truth is stranger than fiction. Thinking about my childhood within the confines of my thoughts, I don’t think of it in terms of good or bad. It just… is. But I still don’t seem to be able to get the words out when I even begin to express to another person in words what my childhood was like, or recounting memories. It is those times when I am looking someone in the eyes, and trying to tell them something about my past, that it truly hits me what I’ve lived through. My past, in so many ways, feels like something too dark to even speak of. Therefore, the things I am telling to you now, are things that even my husband has only been told in bits and pieces.
I share this in the hopes that someone out there going through something terrible will find hope in it. I know on the darkest of days, reading something like this would have made me look at the future a bit more brightly. For me, the biggest thing to fear was fear itself. When I stopped being afraid, it changed everything. There is the saying that goes, “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.” But for myself, I would amend that to, “What breaks you makes you stronger.” For I had to reach the lowest point, before I was able to find the strength I needed within myself.
Lalia is the blogger of Found Frolicking: A Thoughtful Crunchy Mama Blog. She was born and raised in the San Francisco bay area of California. She was taught to love all kinds of foods, and always had a natural inclination towards animals, nature, and the environment. Lalia now shares what she knows and opens up conversation on the topics of natural living for the whole family.
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