Fresh Air

The exhilarating feeling of getting fresh air on a perfect fall-ish day is something I always forget how much I love until I get the opportunity to do it. Sometimes, I even have to be forced into it by what could be seen as an unfortunate turn of events…

Saturday, I decided to spend the majority of the day outside with the kids.  It was gorgeous.  We took a long walk/run throughout the neighborhood.  Levi asked, “Do you think Aiden (our neighbor who we’ve only seen once) wants to come out and play?”

Usually, I would say, “He’s probably busy, bud.”  But that day, the fresh air must have gone to my head.  “Let’s knock on his door and find out!”  After all, that’s how I made friends when I was a kid.

We knocked on the door and his grandma answered.  They already had plans and were about to head out for the day, but she encouraged us to try back tomorrow.  I promised we would.  Success, just delayed a bit.

On the walk back, we decided to take the long route, down the back gravel roads.  Levi asked lots of good questions about the trees, the holes that (hopefully) were bunny burrows, and imagined some rocks were dinosaur fossils from a T-Rex who used to roam in our area long ago.

When we arrived back home, off to the trampoline we went.

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Then, to the swing set.  Then, the kids got some ice pops and rode around in Levi’s little Jeep.

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Idyllic is certainly a word that comes to mind.  When I envisioned having kids, this was the dream.  A blue house on a cul-de-sac.  Riding bikes, taking walks, swinging and ice-pops.  Watching my studly husband fix things outdoors with his muscles shining in the sun.

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You know what I didn’t dream of?  Realizing I had lost my keys somewhere on that long, long walk and having to retrace my steps 2.5 miles to try to find them, only to come home and find them wedged under the sun-visor of the stroller.

Still, I had had such a good day that I managed to laugh at myself and carry on.  I think the universe knew I needed more fresh air and had to force me into it 😉 For dinner, we went out for pizza and got the kids some ice cream. After all, we burned a lot of calories with our accidental adventure!

Despite my absent-mindedness, Saturday was a blazing success, and a nice reminder to enjoy the weekend, and ignore the chores sometimes.  They can wait, and they won’t mind.  But my kids can’t, and they do. Three cheers for the power of fresh air! Go get yourself some!

What are your favorite fall fresh-air activities to do with the family? We want to hear all about it!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, closeupMargo is a financial advisor back in school again and a married mom of 2 in Maryland.

 

A tribute to preschool wisdom

My family recently relocated with the military (more on that adventure here if you missed it) which means all of our young children went through the sometimes scary and always eventful process of beginning new schools and making new friends in a new place.

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Recently, while driving through our new town to my youngest son’s new preschool, I asked him to tell me a bit about his new friends in class. We discussed his peers in the true little-boy fashion I have come to know and love, which includes standard points like their names, what activities they do together, but also (and more importantly) what superheroes they like, what ninja moves they can do, and the fantastical tales they share about pirates, dinosaurs, outer space, and legos (all of which I’m certain I still don’t completely understand).IMG_6534

But what I found most interesting was his response when I asked him about one boy in particular that he mentioned playing with a lot, even garnering him with his “best buddy” status (which this kid doesn’t throw around lightly, believe. you. me.). Being the nosy mother I apparently am, I asked him what the little boy looked like. Not because it matters at all really, but because for some reason I wanted to see if I could find my son’s new “best buddy” in the class picture, or spot him on the story carpet at drop off. I don’t really know why, I think I was just excited that my little guy had a new friend more than anything else (and I tend to inherently want to know everything about everything our kids do. Sorry in advance to their girlfriends/boyfriends.)  So, I asked our son “what does your new best buddy look like?” and I really wasn’t ready for the preschool wisdom he was about to drop on me.

“I don’t know” he said.  “When I play with him, I look at him, but I just see a buddy. I don’t matter about the other stuff”

His simple, perfect answer hit me right in the chest and actually choked me up. Maybe it was because I was a little sleep deprived from being up with our 1.5-year-old the prior night, but mostly I think it was because he was so. right. on. And I… wasn’t. Because he was telling me, Mom, I don’t care about what he looks like in the way you are asking. All I see is my friend. And just like that, my little preschooler put me back in my place. Does it matter what his friend looks like? No, it doesn’t. Does it matter if I know what his friend looks like? No, it doesn’t. I don’t need to exert one ounce of my potential parental judgment into a classroom friendship that is making him happy.

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As adults, we tend to place so much emphasis on what we look like. In fact, I would even wager to say that we miss out on potential friendships because we can’t get past all of the things we “see” when we look at someone. Clothes, hair, color, shape, size, occupation… to name a few. Just think what we might see if we all looked at each other with a non-judgmental preschool heart. Past the physical qualities that so often define us to focus instead on our commonalities and shared experiences. Like being a mother or a father, a son or a daughter, a person looking for happiness, a person that likes dogs, sports, cooking, (or of course what ninja moves we can do, if only we could be as cool as our kids) or WHATEVER. What if we could “just see a buddy” in the people we meet? I for one, am going to try harder…

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So thank you, to my son for opening my eyes. And thank you, to his friend for playing with the new kid. May they enjoy many days of Batman, shark-hunting, and ninja-kicks together. And may we all bring a little preschool wisdom into our day.

 

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3 inspiringly resilient military children, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe & wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography

 

It’s OK to Be Tired

Happy Monday, everyone!

While I write this in hopes that you had a super restful weekend with your family, I know the reality is likely that that wasn’t the case.  For most adults, especially those with children, the weekend is spent catching up on adult-y things like laundry, housework, yardwork, and even potentially work-work and school-work.

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Additionally, we all want to spend the time soaking in the wonderful little creatures who are our beloved children, because most of the time, whether you work outside of the home or not, the week is not full of cuddles and lovey time.  It’s full of errands, school, homework, cooking and transporting these little humans to various activities.

So, today I’d like to focus on an important topic – Sleep.  I have noticed lately that some of us wear this ridiculous mask, like a badge of honor.  The mask is: “I’m not tired.  I’ve got this totally under control.  I’m super happy and can handle it all.”

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The mask has virtually no purpose at all.  Saying these things and pretending they are true doesn’t make them true.  Most importantly, pretending we are well-rested doesn’t make us well-rested.

Sometimes, you need to give your to-do list a rest and TAKE. A. NAP.  I did this yesterday.  I spent the morning tidying up, after spending Saturday catching up on work and studying a bit with the kids in my lap.  Then, my dear husband spent some quality time with the kids while I snoozed on the sofa for a bit.

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And, I’m here to tell you I’m not ashamed!  I needed a nap.  I needed to recharge.  Yes, I had other things to do, but the world isn’t going to end because I took a little hour and a half break.

It doesn’t make me weak.  It makes me normal.  So, take that nap, my friends.  Recharge your body and your spirit.  Your to-do list can always wait another day.

I’m officially giving you the permission you should be giving yourself!!

Wishing you lots of good rest and snuggles,

Margo

15 Ways the Stock Market is like Online Dating

Back in my younger days, before I was lucky enough to start dating the man who is now my dear husband, I tried online dating for a short spell.  I went on a date with a guy who cried the entire time into his beer about his recent split from his (ex)girlfriend.  I went on another date with a guy who, after I told him I wasn’t interested, hid in the bushes outside of my apartment for a few days.  (Police said because he wasn’t threatening me and the bushes were on county property, they couldn’t do anything.  That’s a story for another day).  Here is a picture of Sean Spicer hiding in the bushes so you an experience how creeped out I was…

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I had a few other weird encounters as well.  So, suffice it to say, I know a little bit about the world of online dating (at least in the olden times circa 2009 pre-Tinder.  I’m old, I know).

Now, as an investment advisor, I am always vigilantly watching and analyzing the stock market.  Recently, it dawned one me:  the market, in a lot of ways, is like online dating.

So, today I’d like to share with you the 15 ways that the stock market is like online dating, and how investments are like potential suitors:

  1. History usually repeats itself.  Markets are cyclical.  Just like potential suitors, you can count on them to revert back to their (previous/true) selves for a stretch every once in a while, no matter what kind of upswing they’ve been on for a while.  How long is the stretch though?  If I had a crystal ball and could you tell you that, I’d be a very rich woman.  The great news is that the stock market usually bounces back.  Significant others, though?  That remains to be seen, depending on the individual in question.Image result for not who I used to be gifYes, you usually are.
  2. Figuring out what you don’t want and avoiding it is a great strategy for long-term success.  What do I mean?  In investing, research shows that figuring out what the worst sectors (like technology or utilities, for example) are for long-term outlook (performance) and avoiding investing in them is a better strategy for performance of your portfolio than than strictly looking for the best investments based on positive markers alone.  The same goes with weeding through online dating options.  If you can, first, sift out the ones that have traits that you really dislike (dishonesty, bad grammar, smoking, cheating, lazy, etc.), you’ll have a much easier time picking the best ones from the group you have left.Image result for bad online dating profile gif
  3. Marketing doesn’t always match the facts.  What a company (or potential suitor) says about himself/herself may not be true once you get to know them a little bit better.  For example, analysts have found that some of the self-reporting on finances from certain non-U.S. countries hasn’t turned out to be 100% fact-based.  Comparatively, many of us who have experienced online dating know from personal experience that what someone says about themselves in their profile is also not 100% fact-based.  So, doing further research is always a good idea.  In finance, we call this due diligence.  The word due diligence also works for dating, since nowadays we can look up different social media accounts and learn a great deal about someone we don’t know personally.Image result for false advertising gif
  4. You can do all of the due diligence you want, but you really don’t know the potential suitor or investment until you are “in bed with them.” Potential love interests are on their best behavior in the beginning.  So you can do all of the research you want on them, but until you spend time with them getting to know them, you don’t really know them.  This is also true with a potential investment.  You can have completed all of the due diligence in the world, but nothing is guaranteed.  You won’t know the outcome of the investment until you put it in your investment portfolio.
  5. Sometimes the performance is a disappointment.  All signs may have pointed to him or her being great, but when the rubber meets the road, he/she tanks.  Same could be said for an investment you chose, unfortunately.Image result for lax bro online dating gif
  6. Reliability of an investment (or a potential suitor) and excitement don’t usually go hand in hand.  If you are looking for reliability and stability, jumping on to the new and exciting investment isn’t usually the way to go.  Have you ever heard the saying of, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket?”  Well, I’m here to tell you not to “put all of your eggs in the bad boy basket.”  Bad boys may seem exciting, but they are a big risk because they could turn out to be a total crash-and-burn, and they definitely aren’t easy to predict.  In the stock market, take Bitcoin (crypto-currency) as an example.  Crypto currency was exciting and new and “bad-ass” but look where things are now.  With big highs also comes big lows.  Image result for bad boy gif
  7. The strong ones have a long way to fall.  Take General Electric’s (GE) stock as an example. It used to be seen as a safe, stable investment, however, it tanked big time recently.  GE is like the frat boy born into a good family whose profile picture shows him with his lax bros in college.  You thought he would always just be stable: go to work, drink beer and watch football.  But one day he gets a DUI and then he’s jobless and in jail with a long road ahead of him to get back to his former glory.Related image
  8. All it takes is one insensitive political statement or unsolicited inappropriate picture to take down the whole man/company.  This one pretty much speaks for itself.  Both in your personal life and professional life, be careful what you do.  All it takes is one misspoken word, tweet or text to go from “highly regarded” to “bottom-of-the-barrell.”Image result for unsolicited naked picture gif
  9. If an investment or a potential suitor looks to good to be true, they usually are. Don’t fall for the “too good to be true” ones.  You’ll just get your heart and/or wallet broken!Image result for too good to be true gif
  10. What their friends say about them in the beginning is usually never true. In investments, when someone who will benefit financially from your purchase tells you it’s great, it’s always important to take their advice with a grain of salt.  The same can be said for the friends of your potential suitor.  Even though they don’t benefit (tangibly) in some way as a result of you dating their friend, they likely won’t tell you the whole truth about the potential suitor due to their loyalty.Image result for not who I used to be gif
  11. Everyone has an opinion and they are all different.  Lots of people have opinions about the stock market, online dating, potential suitors, and individual investments.  However, even the ones who claim to be “love experts” or “market experts” aren’t right all of the time.Image result for i am an expert gif
  12. Sometimes the undervalued ones are the greatest dark horses in the race. In finance, we spend a lot of time trying to find “undervalued stocks” to invest in, so we can take advantage of when they reach their full potential.  The same can be said for potential suitors.  My friend’s grandma used to always tell her, “Find a man with great potential.”  Sometimes, finding a potential suitor as they are still working to be their best selves can payoff in the greatest way, as you grow and become your best selves together.Image result for great potential gif
  13. Finding one with the best potential (undervalued) is a great strategy if you are willing to put in the time and the work.  In investments, some people believe in what is called the “Buy and Hold Strategy.”  This means that they believe that if you buy a basket of investments and hold them over a long period of time, the net result will be positive.  However, this strategy isn’t suited for the impatient investor, who feels compelled to get rid of an investment impulsively depending on the day.  The same can be said in your love life.  If you are an impatient person, investing your time and emotions into someone who has yet to reach their potential may not be the right strategy for you.  However, if you are willing to put in the time, you could end up with an amazing outcome in your love life!  Don’t be like this guy:Image result for undervalued man gif
  14. Having expectations can be a dangerous thing.  This is true both for your investments and your potential suitor.  Try to enter in with an open mind, after having done all of your due diligence, knowing that it’s never fully possible to predict the future 100%.  For both your money and your heart I suggest two important things:  1. Make the best choice possible based on your goals and dreams.  And 2. engage the help of professionals when you need it!
  15. Just when you least expect it, the stock market or the online dating community can surprise you in the best way.  Some days, you will wake up and be pleasantly surprised by the performance of the stock market, and thus, your investments.  The same can be said for the online dating world.  Some days, you will wake up to pleasant messages and wonderful potential suitors, and have very positive experiences that might change your life.Image result for happy surprise gif

 

Wishing you all of the love and financial health in the world,

Margo

 

 

 

Disaster Preparedness, Baby & Child

As Hurricane Florence stares down the eastern seaboard and wildfires continue to rage in California, it would seem remiss to ignore that a natural disaster will likely touch all of us in some way at some point in our lifetime. Disaster preparedness is a major issue for everyone, but particularly for those of us with small children. Infants, pregnant/nursing mothers, and young children have particular needs that may not be covered by your standard emergency kit or checklist.

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To save a lot of googling, anxiety, and time (we know you already don’t have any…), we’ve compiled some of the best official disaster preparedness resources and thrown some emergency prep essentials from our own professional and parenting experience in the mix too. Some of these items are simply for comfort, while others could truly save lives.

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Basic Disaster Survival Kit

According to experts at the American Red Cross, a basic disaster supplies kit should include the following items:

  • A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
  • A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • A first aid kit and prescription medications.
  • An extra pair of glasses.
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
  • Credit cards and cash.
  • An extra set of car keys.
  • A list of family physicians.
  • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.

You can view and download the complete American Red Cross emergency preparedness checklist here.

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Extras for pregnant moms-to-be, infants and children:

While the Red Cross checklist is a great place to start, “special items for infants” doesn’t exactly help the stressed-mom-trying-to-pack-everything mode we all enter when trying to provide for the safety and welfare of our children in the face of disaster. Luckily, the March of Dimes created an emergency checklist specifically for pregnant moms and parents with small children. They suggest adding the following items to your family’s disaster preparedness supplies.

Pregnant Mothers:

If you’re expecting, your disaster preparedness kit should include basically what you plan to pack in your L&D hospital bag, along with some (admittedly rather scary-sounding) emergency birth supplies, as follows.

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  • Emergency birth supplies (such as clean towels, sharp scissors, infant bulb syringe, medical gloves, two white shoelaces, sheets, and sanitary pads)
  • two blankets
  • closed-toe shoes
  • maternity and baby clothes
  • prenatal vitamins and other medications
  • nutritious foods, such as protein bars, nuts, dried fruit and granola
  • extra bottled water

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For baby & child:

If you have an infant/toddler/small child, think about adding the following supplemental items to your emergency supplies to keep baby happy and healthy.

  • Baby food in pouches or jars and disposable feeding spoons
  • Extra baby blankets, clothes, and shoes
  • a thermometer
  • copies of vaccination records
  • antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer
  • dish soap
  • a portable crib
  • baby sling or carrier
  • diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • medications and infant pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • small disposable cups
  • ready-to-feed formula in single serving cans or bottles

For more information, you can access the full March of Dimes emergency preparedness checklist here.

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Additional Real As A M*ther Essentials

From our collective Real M*ther experience, the following items can also be invaluable for baby, child, and parent during extended power outages and temporary lodging situations that often accompany storms and natural disasters.

Anker cell phone charger

This rechargeable cell phone charger can provide you with extra hours of phone battery life when the power is out. Given all that we rely on our cellular devices for these days, it’s smart to have a way to access important information stored on your phone.

Nursing supplies for breastfeeding moms

Nursing pads, lanolin ointment/coconut oil, breast pump (with batteries and/or manual!) and bottling supplies, nursing pillow and extra blankets. Extra pacifiers.

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Battery powered lanterns

Candles are too dangerous, and flashlights become play-things in our house full of little ones. These waterproof Energizer lanterns are functional, bright, and provide hands-free illumination for a whole room. They also have a nightlight setting for which is great for kids’ rooms at night, and a 350 hour run time. We have three and use them almost constantly for one thing or another.

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Non-perishable kid’s protein sources

Getting your kids to eat is hard enough in perfect weather. When conditions may be challenging (OK, basically anything that involves the refrigerator not working is challenging with kids, but hangry kids won’t help) keep their bellies full with healthy, non-perishable protein sources. Some of our favorites are:

  • Earth’s Best baby yogurt pouches;
  • Nut butters like these Justin’s single-serve almond butter pouches (and don’t forget the Nutella!);
  • Larabars (natural ingredients, but soft enough for little ones to munch);
  • Horizon organic milk boxes (no refrigeration required); and
  • Snap Pea crisps (5g of pea protein per serving!)

Additional medicines for baby & child

Children’s Benadryl, Allergy/Asthma medications (as required), Simethicone drops or Gripe Water for little tummies. Band-aids, peroxide, and Neosporin for slips and falls and bumps.

Battery operated fans

In the hot summer months of hurricane season, the air circulation provided by even a small fan can go a long way to help kids and adults sleep comfortably during power outages. These O2Cool portable fans can be battery operated, no cords required.

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Battery powered sound machine

A little sleep goes a long way for everyone. A comforting song or white noise is a great way to help little ones (and adults for that matter) sleep in cramped, loud, or new environments, and when the electricity is out these battery powered machines can be a big help keeping little ones asleep without draining your phone.

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Comfort Objects and distractions

Stuffed teddy, puzzles, favorite books. Whatever makes your kids feel comfortable, along with a few activities to keep their minds active and away from potential disaster-related anxieties.

Birth Certificates

If you are concerned about damage to your home or potential evacuation, you can avoid a lot of potential hassle by bringing your child’s birth certificate along. Many times, we forget that children need ID in several situations too!

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Your Village

Remember that no matter what your circumstances, no one experiences a natural disaster alone.  Reach out to neighbors, school groups, church groups, and shelters. Get out of your comfort zone and connect. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help, and how many you can likely help as well. At the end of the day, we are all the village.

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Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone recovering from, and preparing for a natural disaster. Be safe y’all.

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe & wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography

Chipstarter: Building a Village For You

We find ourselves in a world where new technologies, social media, and digital personas have led to increased disconnectedness, mental health challenges, unrealistic personal standards and competitiveness, particularly for women and mothers. Modern day adulting, parenting and just life in general is hard. Our entire motivation behind this blog, behind each of our 100 previous posts is to make it just that tiny bit easier. 

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Not a day goes by that the 4 of us aren’t checking in with each other – venting, rejoicing, or just sharing a great meme. Ideally, we would stroll out to our communal backyard where we all share a glass of wine and hash out the day’s trials and tribulations, but that’s just not an option living in 4 separate states currently. We have realized we can use technology to our advantage to have that kind of support rather than letting it wear us down.

This blog has been the start of our collective call to share that kind of support in a bigger way. We want it to be FILLED with useful information, real life experiences and all the love for you wherever you are. But we also want to make this support even bigger.

When we share what we were brought here to give, we are in alignment with our highest, most powerful selves – Jen Sincero, You Are A Badass

We are planning a book – the encyclopedia of adulthood of sorts. A resource on all these topics we’re addressing now and more. Yeah, yeah, books are so old school now, we know. But hang in there – how many of you still picked up a copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting (and probably completely freaked yourselves out because – woah, TMI)?? How many of you are reading Girl, Wash Your Face right now? Books are still a great way to have handy resources available.

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We’re also going to start a podcast to literally sit down and have a chat, woman to woman, mom to mom (maybe we’ll let a dude on sometimes too) and really get into the topics in a verbal format. Next up, an app with information and a platform to connect us all to our own mobile villages.

We have BIG DREAMS (because Rachel Hollis told us so and she’s everything)!!!!

Nobody gets to tell you how big your dreams can be. -Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face

To jumpstart this expansion, or “Chipstart” as it were, we entered the Chipstarter 2018 contest. Chip Gaines – yes THE Chip Gaines, of Chip and Joanna Gaines, of Fixer Upper is giving out “Launch Your Dreams” grants. We all find them undeniably inspiring, from their extraordinary design work flipping houses to their commitment to family and community to their realness with each other on camera and beyond. When this showed up, we knew we were meant to go for it. Check out our video:

What we currently lack in videographic and technical skills, we make up for in passion and a drive to serve YOU! So tell us, what are the hottest topics that we can get you more information about? What do you want to know about us? This is, after all, all about you.

xoxo, Annie, Christiana, Kristy and Margo

A Modern Day Village: The Birth Worker’s Inspiration

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I recently had a conversation with a client who is about to be a first time Grandmother. As I listened to her speak about her worries about her daughter’s upcoming birth, her struggles during pregnancies with depression and Hyperemesis Gravidarium, I was completely struck by the feeling of isolation that she was describing in her daughter. She is the only one of her friends pregnant, and although she does have a Fiance, he is  not operating on the helpful wavelength that she needs.

Immediately, my head swirled with questions to find out more.

“Who did this new soon-to-be-mama have to ask questions to other than the doctor she sees once a month?

Why is no one there for her other than her mother? Is the doctor leading her to support groups, mothering circles, moms with prenatal or postpartum depression? What will she do when she actually HAS the baby? If she’s struggling with depression now, who will watch out for the signs/symptoms of it in the postpartum months? Who will help this woman!!!!!!!??????”

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A little voice in my heart spoke up right then.

You, silly. You’re a birth doula. You have all she needs. Help her.

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Almost moved to tears, the words fell out of my mouth reflexively. “I remember those feelings all too well in both of my pregnancies,” I said sympathetically. “It sounds like she could use a birth and postpartum doula.”

The only difference between this mama and me when I was going through those same terrible feelings while pregnant was, I wasn’t actually alone. I had my doula there one phone call away at any moment. I had the cohesion of care between my amazing midwives, my doulas, myself, and my team. I had created my village.

After explaining what a doula is and does to her, (if you still want to know what that is, reference my Demystifying Doulas post here) it occurred to me that in some cases, women have no idea of the need for a village.

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Photo Cred Doulamatch.net

Back in the day, we lived in literal villages that would commune together for the birth of a new village member, and either call the midwife or have one on hand. 9 times out of 10, the birthing mother had a sister, mother, friend, neighbor, SOMEONE, with her until the midwife could arrive to her. Thus, the doula is born. Even female elephants know the importance of gathering around to form an impenetrable barrier of support for the birthing mother. I frickin’ love elephants.

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While modern-day women and birthing communities are certainly bringing doulas back, there is still too large a proportion of women who go unsupported during the pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum process. Why, you ask? Mostly because, they do not know we exist. It is the lack of conversation, or the lack of clarity on our exact role, that I sadly have to believe is one of the main reasons that birth has the potential to be such a traumatic experience for some women.  Having the guidance of your doula to shepherd you into the parenting life with grace, provide you with materials to support you every step of the way, can provide you with your lifeline if when you need it.

A glorious benefit in making the choice to hire a doula is that he/she may in turn lead you to your permanent, modern village.

Truth is, the years of preconception, pregnancy, transitioning to becoming a mother of one, two, three, multiples, etc., can come with many mixed emotions. No matter what your situation turns out to be when you find out you are pregnant, the feeling of isolation can be sudden and agonizing. When hiring a doula, you’re not only receiving the personal care of a hands-on teammate in your birthing journey, you are also DSC01327choosing an expert in community, local resources, birth education, knowledge of primary care givers specific work, and access to birth related evidence, articles, and, yes, even a postpartum sounding board. The doula will, in essence, be your trail guide for navigating the rough and unknown waters of this new chapter.

It is time, now, that we stop isolating ourselves as mothers. Let’s remind our world that we have been supporting each other proudly and strongly for…well…since the dawn of humankind. We do not need to do it alone. It may feel too daunting a task going to these mothering circles full of strangers, organizing birth class dinners at your house, or even seeing a therapist to get the necessary prescriptions to aid you. What if, in lieu of uncertainty of the support you need, you could Call. Your. Doula.

We can support this adventure every step of the way. We are here, so that you can be here and present through the whole process.

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Now that I have you convinced of the awesomeness of unconditional education and no-judgement support during your birthing years, let me illuminate the steps necessary to finding your perfect doula.

  1. Ask a friend: Ask around for a connection or connect with the doulas in your area by using the ultimate doula search engine: Doula Match  
  2. Interview a few: Find the right candidate by sitting in the energy of several different people.  Remember, you are hiring for a job, so the right fit is important. Birth is a vulnerable experience, so pick someone who will make you feel completely safe, who makes you feel confident, and someone by whom you and your birth partner feel empowered.
  3. Ask all the questions: Make sure you understand their vision of care, fees, and schedule and those align with what you had in mind for your birth vision. After all, it is your birth, the team you hire should complement it in every way with encouragement and advice that makes you feel informed. Do you want a doula just for prenatal education and birth? Do you know you’ll need postpartum care? Do you even know what that means? Does this person have the resources for all of that?
  4. Contract: You should always enter into a contract with your doula. That way there is an expectation of care that is agreed upon by all parties. This agreement is key, as mentioned above, it will be the catalyst for your new life as a mother.
  5. Get excited: Your doula should help you feel connected to birth classes, books, and other materials to prepare you for your upcoming experiences and all outcomes!

We all need the help. It is up to us to choose, in this modern world, just what our helping hand will look like. Most of us consider this calling a service to womankind alike. I am here to let you know it’s out there. I am writing to speak aloud that we are everywhere. We are your friends, neighbors, sisters, mothers, co-workers and colleagues, gym members, professionals, and tradeswomen.nature.jpg

We are your village, and we are here for you.

Kristy is a doula, massage therapist, energy worker and mom of 2 in Virginia.