Excerpt from Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
When autumn comes to New Mexico the aroma of green chile being roasted fills the air. Locals buy big burlap sacks of chile which are poured into a big drum that turns over a fire until the chile is charred (which then allows the skin to be peeled off).
Chile is mild, medium, hot and very hot!! Locals know enough to ask, “How hot is your chile?”
One day a newcomer to New Mexico stopped at the Grocery Emporium on Girard Boulevard and bought a bag of roasted chile. The aroma made her mouth water all the way home. Using her chile, she prepared a traditional New Mexican dinner. A few bites into the meal, her eyes began to water and her tongue burned painfully.
The following day she marched up to the chile roaster and began complaining that the chile he sold her was too hot. “Look lady,” he replied, “I just roast and sell chile. If you don’t like your chile hot, you should’ve asked me about it.”
Like the chile customer, you need to ask your birth attendant exactly what he/she is selling. Birth attendants and hospitals sell a “product” day in and day out. It’s your responsibility to learn more about their product (philosophy and services), and decide whether or not you want to wind up with a bag of it.
We’ve all heard that it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to raise a new mama. This motherhood thing isn’t exactly the most intuitive or easiest thing in the world, believe it or not. It took me until my third trimester to even step foot into a prenatal yoga class. I wasn’t sure I needed a prenatal yoga class; I had a regular home practice and that was good enough for me. I wasn’t sure how much benefit an actual yoga class, held outside my living room, would be. I also had some reservations stepping into an environment with so many pregnant women after spending many years trying to get pregnant; I wasn’t sure I would be able to relate to my fertile counterparts. I thank my lucky stars I took the leap and stepped into Kari’s prenatal yoga class when I moved to Colorado Springs.
The women I met in prenatal yoga are some of my closest new mama friends now almost a year later. We graduated from prenatal yoga to postpartum yoga and our numbers doubled (in the form of our new babies). I’ve also been able to meet women I didn’t overlap with in prenatal yoga when they graduated into our Mom and Me Yoga class. We’ve been able to talk about everything. And I mean everything from BLW to breastfeeding to sex after birth to sore nipples to everything in between. These are the women who are supportive no matter what topic comes up. When I had trouble breastfeeding my son and used a finger feeder/supplemental nursing system Mom and Me Yoga was the first place in public I used the finger feeder when my son was 6 weeks old. It was my safe place. Now when my son isn’t sleeping (very often), and I’m about ready to rip my hair out and cry at the same time those ladies have my back. Some times all you need to hear is ‘keep on doing it, mama, you’re rocking motherhood.’
Internet support groups and forums are nice, and I believe they have a place in this world. But a hand on your shoulder and a friend with tears in her eyes who really gets it, who empathizes with you so perfectly is a thing of beauty. For me yoga was the place where I connected on so many levels with my wonderfully supportive, open minded, beautiful Mama Tribe. I don’t care how you build your mama tribe, where you find your mama friends, but it is important to go out there and find those women. They need you as much as you need them, even if you don’t know it now.
And to my Mama Tribe: Thank you so much for holding me up, giving me a shoulder to cry on, and a good laugh on this awesome, crazy journey called motherhood. You have no idea how deeply and profoundly you have affected my son and me.
Michelle is mama to a sweet nearly one-year-old boy. She also teaches Baby Led Weaning at Enso.
A common concern I heard in prenatal yoga was, ‘Should I tell my doctor this?’ This concern is echoed in postpartum yoga (Mom and Me yoga) in the form of, ‘Do you think I should call my baby’s doctor about this?’ I know a lot of times these questions stem from not wanting to bother the doctor with little complaints, but there is also some general apprehension in just talking with your doctor or your child’s doctor.
I’m not going to talk about the traditional advice on talking to your child’s doctor (bring a list of questions and a friend to help). And Enso Prenatal’s newsletters have already highlighted reasons to stay away from Dr. Google (just don’t google it, mamas). No, I’m here to say doctors are regular people. Yup, I married one, and we spend a lot of time hanging out with other doctors. They are just like you and me. They’re human. It’s okay to talk to them.
It’s also okay to question your doctor. In fact, they want you to question them. Sure, some doctors love giving long-winded explanations of your diagnosis, but most doctors like to be sure you understand the problem and ways to help. In fact, the National Patient Safety Council suggests three questions to ask your doctor or healthcare professional (physician’s assistant, naturopath, acupuncturist, pharmacist, etc.) every time you visit:
If you find you are constantly at odds with your doctor, you might consider if they are a good fit for your family. In our next article we’ll discuss disagreeing with and breaking up with your doctor.
by Michelle Rodriguez
Whether you're expecting or have a new baby in your life, the internet can be a deceptively unhelpful resource. We're the most educated, informed generation on earth with access to facts, statistics, and internet flotsam, and while this can be beneficial in certain circumstances, it can also be overwhelming, confusing, and scary.
Dr. Google is not your friend.
Let me first say, I do this all the time. I google all sorts of crazy things all the time, including things I think might be wrong with me or my birds. It almost never brings me peace, usually always consumes hours of my time, and frequently leaves me feeling rather silly if I land in my doctor's office because the burst blood vessel in my eye is, “probably from looking at a computer screen for too long.”
So where do you go when you have questions and are not certain where to find the answers? First, I recommend your provider. If you're pregnant, your doula can often be a good resource for information. If you've taken an independent childbirth class, you can often email the instructor and they'll get back with you more quickly than your doctor's office, even if you're six months postpartum. And what about your prenatal yoga or belly dance class? These can be good starting points.
If all of those resources are unavailable, I recommend the following sites for good, reputable information.
Evidence-Based Birth: if you're trying to make sense of whether or not to start an induction, this can be a helpful resource that compiles the most recent scientific evidence and clearly states the difference between standard of practice (what people do because that's what everyone does), evidence-based practice (what scientific studies suggest are best practices), and opinion.
La Leche League: this site is well developed and crosses many cultures and scientific/regulatory agencies. It isn't posted by someone with a financial interest, but by a group that believes that breastfeeding is best. You can usually find tips on things like solid foods, fussy babies, and even a few things about pregnancy on their site.
The Mayo Clinic: written for consumers rather than providers, this site can help you understand your concerns in plain English. It borders on Dr. Google, but is at least fairly reputable.
Message boards, social media, and groups are fantastic for planning outings, learning baby-friendly recipes, deciding where to vacation with your baby this year. I've seen so many mamas needlessly upset or worried because of medical advice they received from an unnamed source, or casual commentary that wasn't explained well.
Need other resources? We are always reading and sharing great information on our Facebook page. And if you're up for some more academic reading, we can usually offer you a pointer or two or can help find someone who can.
Kari Kwinn, ERYT500, RPYT, Doula, Midwife's Assistant is one of Enso's co-owners.
This blog is not intended to be a source of medical information or advice. Please discuss all of your concerns with your care provider.