October 11, 2016

5 Minutes with Megan

Welcome back to our 5 Minutes With segment, where we spend a bit of time getting to know the individuals of this incredible doula team!

This month, you get to meet Megan. She is one of our doulas in Toronto, and she has a huge passion for evidence based birthing information, and supporting women throughout their journey to motherhood.

So tell us about the woman behind the doula - what do you like to do on your days off? 

On my days off from doula work, I love to explore Toronto with my toddler. Some of our favourite places include the zoo, Riverdale Farm and the Science Centre. I also enjoy doing theatre in my spare time, just for fun. It's something I have been doing since I was a kid, and I recently reignited my passion for theatre as an adult.
What is your favourite birth support and why? 

My favourite birth support is the rebozo, not only for it's practical use but also for it's rich and meaningful history. It can be used to support birthing people in so many ways, both physically and emotionally that I find it to be an indispensable extension of both my hands and my heart. 

 Why did you want to go into doula work? 
I wanted to get into doula work to help families know that they are the decision makers in their birth experience, and to provide any support that they might need to feel empowered and positive during their birth. 

What other areas of parenting and birth are you passionate about? Do they influence your work as a doula? 

 I am also passionate about babywearing. I found that wearing my son made my life as a new parent so much easier and helped me bond with him. I bring that passion into my doula w by being able to help clients sort through all of the (many!) babywearing options to find what might work best for them and providing information about our local babywearing groups' meetings, if babywearing is something that interests them. 

What advice do you have for a new (or new again) mom as she nears birth?

The best advice that I have for a mom preparing for birth is to trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, ask questions, get second opinions, feel free to say no. You are the prime decision maker in your birth, trust your gut and do what feels right for you and your family.

To get in touch with Megan and schedule in your empowered birthing experience with our Toronto team, email megan@sweetstellas.com


October 3, 2016

Your Postpartum Body

We are so very hard on ourselves, especially shortly after having a baby. There is an intense amount of pressure in the media to strive for perfection....

a clean house
kids in designer clothing
well kept yards

and after having a baby, there is pressure to have an incredible body. We see it all the time. Post-baby bootcamp. Workouts and eating plans that place strict rules on what you can and cannot do...that don't necessary take into account (some of them do!) sleepless nights, hormonal changes, the demands of breastfeeding, your pre-baby body and lifestyle, your post-baby lifestyle (or lack thereof).

Be gentle
Be kind

It took 10 months for your body to change. On one hand, that's not a whole lot of time for your body to make all of these incredible changes. On the other hand, 10 months is a long time for things to shift and move and it's difficult to expect that within a few weeks of having your baby, your body will be back to its pre-pregnancy state.

Be gentle
Be kind

Your body doesn't undo all of that 10 months of change in a few weeks. It takes time, and while it can certainly be frustrating, we encourage you to love your new body and take it day by day. The scale does not define who you are.


October 1, 2016

birthPrep: Prenatal Education for the Modern Mama

When you hear the words prenatal class, what's the first thing that comes to mind? For me, I think back to when we took classes leading up to Owen's birth in 2010. They were riddled with birth videos from the 1980's, conversations of time mapping, and holding ice cubes during breathing exercises.

Times have changed, and so has parenting. In birthPrep, you can expect an open, conversational type teaching style wherein we talk about all of your options, and help you map out what works best for you. We know that these transitions can be scary and that there is a lot of information out there to sift through, so we've taken it all and wrapped it into one neat and tidy course.

We will cover topics such as.....

later term pregnancy development for both mom and baby
the signs and symptoms of labour
talk about when to call your doctor, doula, midwife or when to head to the hospital
reaffirm your plans and birth wishes
standard hospital procedures

And we will empower you to make confident decisions. This is your process; all of the items that we talk about in birthPrep are optional (under normal circumstances!) and we encourage you during the course to consider all options and outcomes, then make a decision based on what is right for you, your body and your baby.

You know best! Let birthPrep guide you to the end.


September 30, 2016

5 Minutes With Lisa

A new feature that we are starting on the blog is a 5 Minutes With.... article to give you a bit of insight into the life behind the doula.

First up is Lisa!

So tell us about the woman behind the doula! What do you like to do on your off?

I'm an active mom of two boys, Ronan is 7 and Keegan is 5. When I'm not hanging out with them, I enjoy sewing (all crafting, really) and playing soccer.

What is your favourite birth support, and why?

I love the yoga ball or peanut ball. It's so versatile and can be used in a variety of ways, even if you've had an epidural.

Why did you want to go into birth work?

Ever since Ronan was born, I've been fascinated by birth. His birth was very quick and I wasn't really sure of what was happening at each stage. It would have been so helpful to have someone I could rely on to normalize the process for me.

What other areas of parenting and birth are you passionate about? Do they influence your work as a doula?

I'm passionate about breastfeeding and car seat safety, and I'm actually taking my certification as a Car Seat Safety Technician this month! I am also fascinated by the family dynamics and how they change when a new sibling is added to the family. I love helping people navigate this time and help ease the transition for the entire family.

What advice do you have for a new (or new again) mom as she nears birth?

Take time for yourself and don't be afraid to say no. Some people think they are entitled to know everything about your pregnancy (gender, name, choices, etc.) and you are absolutely allowed to say no. The same goes for people wanting to touch your belly or even medical decisions that you may be uncomfortable with.

To book your consultation with this fabulously knowledgeable doula, you can email Lisa or get in touch with her by phone!


September 27, 2016

Stress Relief During Pregnancy

As hormone levels are out of whack during pregnancy, so are stress levels. Things that were never a trigger for you may cause an extreme amount of stress during pregnancy, so being prepared and filling your toolkit with stress relief exercises is a great thing to do in the early stages of pregnancy.

The first step in creating your stress relief toolkit for pregnancy is to think about the activities that you enjoyed prior to becoming pregnant. Maybe it was going to the gym or hitting the trail for a hike. Perhaps it was exploring a local bookstore or coffee shop. Maybe even a trip to the salon or spa for some pampering. Whatever gave you stress relief prior to pregnancy is a great place to start for what will give you relief during pregnancy.

Take it day by day. As your body and hormones change, so will your needs.

Then, think about the foods that you're loving right now that give you all the good feels. Chocolate, ice cream, pickles, salads, fruit, cake, cheese. Whatever it is that you're craving, tuck a few things away in your fridge or pantry so you have emergency stores for when your stress levels are high.

Finally, practice your breath and visualization. Breathe in evenly for a count of four and picture a place that brings an extreme amount of calm for you. It might be a beach, or wherever your partner proposed. It could even be your own home! Wherever you feel calm, grounded and centred, bring that place into your mind and breathe.

When all else fails, there's always Netflix, ice cream and napping!

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