The Girls!

Man, I do love working with clients for a second (or third or fourth) time!

I get to really connect with the mums, dig deeper into what makes them (and their labours) "tick", and watch the emergence and transformation of a mother.

I love the postpartum visit, where I always manage to have a tea-party (or, in this case be presented with a wooden mixer and a plate of wooden toast, wooden egg, and a special spoon) laid on by a little sparkling one in a tutu, play a song or two, and hold a crying baby.

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Okay...so here’s an excuse to buy new bedding

When a single friend calls to say that she’s had “quite the night!” it can mean many things. But, when a client calls me post-baby...well, it means something completely different.

So, a client called to tell me that they’d had “quite the night!” She said that they had kept the night-time as low-key as possible. “Just like you said, Jacquie...lights out...no eye contact with the baby (Ed. note: If she sees you looking at her, then it’s party time!)...making sleep sounds during feedings...not waking a sleeping baby, diaper changing before the feed if needed, etc. etc.”

“Things were going quite well. Then, at 4am, I felt like one breast must have leaked all over the baby during the feed. In the dark, I used my hand and a cloth to wipe it up, then curled up with her and fell asleep.”

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Phone calls to a doula

To all pregnant clients...here’s a “head’s up”. Some time after the baby’s born...you will make this phone call. The wording and timing may vary, but the questions will be essentially the same.

“I’ve got this pile of books here. One says to get the baby on a schedule, another says to feed on demand. But what does “demand” mean? What if the baby comes off after 10 minutes. Is that a feed? When do I change the baby? Before, after, or in the middle of a feed? Am I wrong to want to grab my baby away from visitors? You know, they’ve come all this way, and brought presents, but I just want to hide...”

We’ll probably spend up to an hour on this particular phone call. We’ll laugh together...we might cry together...then you’ll hang up the phone floating on air. Why? Because you will have been reminded of your infinite strength, your inner wisdom, and your ability to trust your body and your baby.

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i carry your heart with me

If I had a newborn now, I would search for poetry to read aloud during each feeding, to calm us both and feed our souls.

i carry your heart with me 
(i carry it in my heart) 
i am never without it 
(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) 
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

- ee cummings

Tandem "Sling Girls"

My clients are so creative! Here's a recent comment from a wonderful two-time client:

"I loved reading your most recent blog entry. I haven't used a stroller in months (actually a couple of times, but just to carry the shopping bags, so that doesn't count) and use slings instead. Hannah even naps in it when we are out. Happier baby, happier mummy. I think every new mother should be given a sling (or some other carrier) when she gives birth!"

The Pact...or how to keep your family environmental footprint small

Most clients know that I like to do without too much “stuff”...evidenced by our gradual downsizing, leading to our ultimate purchase of a small loft in Vancouver. Our internal and external spaces are now filled with what we do, not what we have.

This shift wasn’t just driven by our need to find a personal solution to the environmental challenge on our planet. It is the continuation of a parenting plan that was born on the tidal flats of Point Roberts in 1982 - before our first was born, and long before the words “environmental footprint” or “sustainability” were commonplace.

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George, Entropy (and the Second Law of Thermodynamics)

I always say that we can only hope for the best on the day of labour - that the baby is the wonderful and unpredictable 'wildcard.' So, we must trust our body and our baby to give us strong clues about what needs to happen, then make the best choices on that particular day, with the support of those around us...

Here’s George, introduced by his mother:

“George was born Feb 16th - I had the induced labour that didn’t progress well and a cesarean - and he turned out to be 11 pounds! Remember us? These women who labour in the park, cooking turkey dinners...well, humbug. Not at all how mine went, although it was totally great in its own way.”

Here’s my memory:

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"Tears and Rain"

Okay, I’m going to share some secrets about what goes on behind closed doors. Before pregnancy, no one tells women that there are going to be a lot of tears. All they see are the groups of shining skinny women pushing strollers (complete with a sleeping baby) along 4th Avenue, Starbucks cup in hand, laughing. What they don’t see is the anxiety, the tears, the loneliness, and the loss that women can experience as a result of this enormous change in their lives.

I’m glad pregnancy is nine months long. It takes that long to work through the issues that crop up...family boundaries, financial pressures, relationship issues, old wounds, loss of mobility, body image, career choices, birth worries... Women look to their baby’s birth as the end of the process, only to find out that it’s just the beginning. Then all the same issues resurface, in addition to a general sense of loss and loneliness...oh, and a crying baby.

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