Pregnant and In Love – The Pitfalls of Crushing on Your Care Provider

This post is reblogged from a former post in 2011.

Several years ago a pregnant mom told me that she was in love with her midwife. I don’t mean that she was using the term loosely to describe that she was just “the bees knees”. She was serious, people.  Very, deeply serious.

This mom was not a lesbian with an erotic or partner type attraction for her care provider. That’s not what she was telling me.  She was, however, quite passionate.  Infatuated.  She had dreams about her midwife and was even bashful about how strong her feelings were.  She absolutely believed that her midwife could do no wrong.   Then here midwife induced her before her due date, “lovingly” scaring her for her own good because her baby was certain to be HUGE.  Mama lost the birth that she wanted, still trusting that her midwife would only do what’s best for her.
That mom has become much wiser, stronger and gone on to birth much bigger babies without an induction, even at home!  Awesome Mama!  I’m not so big on that midwife, though.

This is not uncommon.  Maybe the boldness to voice feelings in such a way was rare, but over and over I see women just absolutely IN LOVE and googly eyed over their OB or midwife.  They just KNOW that the care provider understand what they want and listens to them, so it does not matter that their typical pracice is not to “do” the type of birth that Mama wants. The care provider hears and knows her needs.  Mama just know that they’ll follow through with the exception to their daily norm for HER.

But they do not.  You may be telling your doula this when we know the actual statistics of your chosen care provider and hospital.  Some are so into their routine that a doula in your area can predict what their “Switch” is.
Big Baby
High Blood Pressure
Low Amniotic Fluid
Your Uterus Will Explode at 41 weeks and 1 day

While there are true cases of these complications, it’s hard to believe that a certain practice somehow has a corner on the market of all babies who have… let’s go with low amniotic fluid. Their statistic of it’s occurrence is so high that you would think the practice itself warrants some investigation, right? Wrong.  They “save” those moms and babies from the “threat” that they are under, when a second opinion would have clarified that, no actually your fluid is just in the low range of  PERFECTLY NORMAL.

These mamas end up confused, birthing under fear of a condition that they often do not have, put through the “Baby Factory” mindset where their body is expected to respond like the machinery a factory would be designed for.  When that body doesn’t kick in like clockwork a new issue is created, often legitimately now because you’ve messed with nature, and bad things happen.

But that’s ok. Your amazing OB or MEDwife that you adore is there to hold your hand and save you while they use instruments and tools instead of waiting on your body to do what it needs.  You adore them for it. As doulas we watch and encourage you to find as much joy and strength in your chosen path as possible. Sometimes that means letting you believe it and knowing that someday you will question all this. We hurt for you. We know what that is like.

Two years after the birth when you are still cringe in pain, remembering the experience, that OB or MEDwife won’t recognize you when bumping into each other at the grocery store.  You are one of many, but they were your only one.

NOT ALL CARE PROVIDERS ARE LIKE THIS.  Many chose obstetrics because it is literally the only specially that they can get to do surgery without the required extra years of residency for any other surgical specialty.  My OWN OB told me that was why he did it.  This is not a joke.
Yet some are amazing servants who see their career choice as a calling to serve women.   They will sacrifice their schedules and times, they will go out on a limb to give your body the space it needs and tell you the true statistics and risks for YOU to decide what you are comfortable with.  They are amazing. Your job is to find one of THEM.

This is not fair. Women should be able to trust and care for the person who we have hired to attend our births. It is completely reasonable for us to expect them to guard our best interests and provide real information that helps us understand and know what is happening. Unfortunately, we live in a society where medical professionals are required by insurance and specifically trained in med school to practice medicine defensively.  It’s wrong. Absolutely! But it’s the way it is.  I don’t envy them that either.

As I was saying puppy love is infatuation and it blinds you to reality.   You need to go into your birth fully aware, prepared, and with your eyes wide open.   You don’t want to be blindsided while you are in labor.
The question is, do you love  your care provider enough to have  medical interventions FOR them, to fit their schedule and charts?  Do you want them to be there for you so badly that you will have unnecessary major abdominal surgery?  Because women often do, and they don’t even realize it.

1. Shop Around– You are HIRING this person/group to provide a service. I have long, thick curly hair. I could NEVER go to someone who specializes in short thin haircuts. Even if they make me feel so comfortable, happy and mushy inside.  They can tell me I look great and make me feel beautiful in the moment. That’s NOT a good reason for a bad haircut, is it? And I’ll walk out of that appointment with BAD HAIR!! While they turn and croon to then next victim in their chair…
Find someone who has experience with the type of support you want. And don’t just listen to what they say. Ask the women who had the type of birth you want.  Find the group that has been proven to support moms wishes without making them fight every step of the way.
2. Find a Local Chapter of ICAN– Sure you don’t expect to have a c-section. Most women don’t.  But ICAN is about more than just VBAC(Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). They’re about awareness and avoidance as well!  These women are supportive and have BTDT (been there done that).  Typically they can  recommend good local care providers that are tried and true as well as help you think through other aspects of your birth.  And you may make some fantastic friends along the way. I have!

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Tuck Tail and Run!  I know women who have changed OBs at 38, 39, 40 weeks… even one who left one hospital in early labor and drove to another where she could have the vaginal birth she knew she needed instead of an automatic c-section.  You are not married to them. Don’t have a bad birth just because you feel bad about hurting their feelings. They may not even remember you in 3 months but I assure you that your body and heart will remember.

4. Choose Your Battles-   I hate the idea of women having to fight in labor. Absolutely despise it! You deserve to BE safe and feel it. You should know you are protected and have the space to relax and trust your body. You deserve to have confidence in those who are there as a safety net for what your body is doing as you birth your baby. Unfortunately, we live in a country where normal birth is under siege and the majority of women do have to fight. You may not get the support you deserve.
So, choose your battles. I’m not referring to letting them do an epesitomy  and just being happy that you got to use your vagina. Not that kind of battle.  It’s simpler than that.
You may just have to fight something, so take the time to choose what that will be.
You can choose to fight your budget and save money to hire a homebirth midwife who will support your wishes at home, when you don’t think you can afford it.

You can birth in the hospital with someone you don’t trust and fight
through labor the best you can to get your needs met.

You can choose to fight traffic and gas prices to drive to the hospital/care provider that is most experienced in supporting the the type of birth you want. That may be a 2 hour drive. 

Do you see what I’m saying here?  Staying with someone who’s close and simple is not always the best option. If it is, you’re a very lucky woman!!

5.  Listen To Your Gut – If your care provider is saying one thing but your gut is telling you that it’s going to change in labor, it most likely will. If what you’re “allowed to do” is presented differently and with more restrictions at each passing prenatal appointment… Honey, RUN don’t waddle… Go find someone you can trust!

6. Do your homework
 –  If you can afford to take a good childbirth class, DO IT! Be prepared for everything so that you can relax and birth confidently.  And I don’t mean hospital classes that simply teach you according to what that specific hospital wants you to know.  Hospital classes have a vested interest in teaching you to be a good patient.  Find an independent class. With all of the time that you took preparing for your wedding I know that you can find some time to set aside for this, right?

7. HIRE A DOULA- I do not say this simply because I am one. I want you to picture yourself 20 miles into running your first marathon. How tired you will be, the fight for every step, the heaving chest, the sudden doubts that you can make it. Now imagine someone standing next to  you asking if you want drugs, if you want a c-section, if  this, if that.. we can get that baby out in thirty minutes…
The only thing that you can predict about your birth is that it WILL be unpredictable.  A doula’s job is to be one of your safe, constant predictable factors.
She is SO MUCH more than a BFF for the day.  A doula is there to gently remind you of the decisions that you have made, to offer educational information on decisions that you did not expect to make so that you feel informed. To look you in the eye on that final mile and remind you that you ARE doing it already!!!  To bring strength to your partner by supporting them and giving  a sounding board for their fears and questions as well, so that your partner can support you better than they knew they were able to.  You paid for professionals on your wedding day.  Pay for them now.  A doula is worth it.

I want you to LOVE your birth team. I do,  but the person who you need to love enough to base your decisions are, are both inside of you.
I want you to birth with no regrets…

Gestate in peace ladies,
The Doula

Birth Announcement Etiquette: Ban The Birth “Firsts”


Birth Announcement Etiquette- BAN the Birth “Firsts”

I have been a birth doula for almost 7 years now and have attended around  250 births.  I signed up to support women and their families through one of the most amazing experiences of a lifetime and to hold them up with my own body and soul through their first moments with a new human being.
I prepared myself for the toll it would take on me.  Exhausted muscles, worn out limbs, sleepless fogs and aching of my heart from things unexpected.
You know what I did not prepare for? The trauma and hurt that I never expected to walk so many families through?

The devastation of “Birth Firsts.”

photo (27)

What is a Birth First?
It is the stealing of that moment, the first time it is said…

Our child is BORN!

That moment when new parents, whether it is their first, last or any in between, get to tell the world that their child has made it into their arms. For many it is a huge moment… like the kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony.  For some, they get the kiss out of the way and get on to the party. Others have waited for that moment, that kiss, and dreamed of it their entire lives. Neither is wrong, but it depends on the couple themselves to decide how important it is to them. Not the guest. Not the friends and family.

As a witness to births, I see couples go through deciding how, when and who to tell first. It can be a huge deal to them, or sometimes not. Often there are some politics involved, especially with the variety of family antics we all experience.  At times there are boundaries that need to be respected, maybe some family and friends need to be held off for awhile so the new mom and dad can feel ready and confident to face others after a private time of “cocooning in” with their new little person.  Some moms are taking photos and posting it to Facebook within 30 minutes, some wait until 2 days after the birth.

All of these are within their rights.  They deserve to make that decision. Often they don’t get to.

This is what I also get to see.  The moment they realize that someone else has trumped them.  A friend or family member has let out the “Birth First”.   That private photo texted to two people is suddenly sent to an entire email list or posted on Facebook and tagged.

It happens so fast.  Within minutes, cell phones are ringing, text messages pinging and Facebook page is blowing up with congratulations while mom still hasn’t had a chance to catch her breath and dad may not have even held his child yet.   The moment was taken. They can’t get it back.

Often the stealing is unintentional. It can even be well meant and come from a place of pure joy and love for the family. Actually, new grandparents, aunts and uncles are high in numbers of guilt on this one.  Their joy is genuine and the harm was not intended.  Yet it is there.  I get to be in the room and see the hurt and betrayal felt by parents who don’t get to announce their own child to their friends.  They are almost always hurt, they feel cheated. They are blindsided. Trust me,  intentional or not you do NOT want to be the one to cause that for them.

Over the years and families I have learned a great trick. You see, as a birth professional, I am even bound to not talk to others in the birth community.  I follow HIPAA guidelines.  It gets tricky when someone gives birth and their three friends, who I also served through their births, want the inside scoop.  My answer is to always smile and say, “They were amazing and the birth was beautiful. You should ask them about it!!”

It’s not my story. Not my glory.  If you have had the honor of being  in the birth room or waiting room for a birth, I encourage you to do the same.  Respecting their privacy is a great way to show gratitude for the honor of being included in the experience.

True, some parents aren’t that concerned about it. They don’t mind you telling for them. They may be relieved to have one last thing to do and feel honored that you are so trigger happy that you post before the cord is cut!

ASK THEM FIRST.  Be sure that you have clear permission to talk to others, text others, post to the world.  If not, DO NOT.

So here is a little help for you.

Birth Announcement Etiquette:
If you know that someone has given birth, but they have not announced it THEMSELVES on Facebook it is inappropriate to congratulate them, thus making the announcement that they may have been withholding. It doesn’t matter if you are family, friend, coworker or part of their fan club.

You are not Perez Hilton. No one needs to “FIRST” their birth.  Please wait until the new parents themselves have shared the information to congratulate them. It is an amazing gift to respect their time together.

Respect their privacy, please.
That is all

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Pregnant and In Love – The Pitfalls of Crushing on Your Care Provider

Losing Your *IT* vs. Saving Grace (5 Thinks I’ve Learned Through 7 Years of Poop)

When God’s Timing Turns Me Into a Two Year Old – Because Patience Isn’t My Thing

Hello, My Name Is…

How do I start…

No, how do I pick back up. What do I pick back up?

That’s the problem with juggling hats, you see. I have so many and I love them all.  I hold them close, I spin them in the air. I store them in the closet.  And sometimes, I crush them because hats do crush so easily, after all.

Woman, wife, mama,  homeschooler, friend, designer,  crunchy, fancy, creative, maker, baker, picture taker, writer, artist, trainer, teacher, chauffeur, birth doulam volunteer, problem solver, coach,  foster mom, bio mom, adoptive mom, cheerleader, realist, dreamer….


I don’t know which one to wear for you you. What comes first? What do I put up in the closet for next season?  Actually, why am I wearing a hat when I hate the way things feel on my head?

All that.
Running through my head.
For months now. Years, actually.
Stepping out in a funky hat takes some serious chutzpah.
How long does dauntless take, to become a habit?

Over the years I have had six different blogs. They have all been topic specific and  I have never just blogged as me, with my name.  As open and honest as I have always been, putting my name out there was something different. I orten did it anonymously or with a pen name.
She was braver than I, always.

It has taken until now to give myself permission to embolden from the ground up.  Let me tell you why.

I have blogged off and on for several years. Behind a keyboard pouring out my heart,  vulnerable to the point of flooding my face with tears and snot, only to panic and take it back frantically making those juicy tell-all posts private.

I’ve bared my soul, my history, and my body image. Then made it anonymous because it hurts. 

It hurts to have women and moms tell me that I inspire them,  and then have the someone I see day-to-day scoff and tell me I’m ridiculous. It’s that one that gets me, stabs and slays me, no matter if a dozen thank me. Why am I so weak?

It gets tiring to be the elephant in the room, especially when you’re the one willing to unpack your trunk. Haha…trunk. See what I did there?

The more I mull it over, the less likely I am to ever do this. So,  I’m gonna be real here and just…start typing.

But it’s ok. I’m ready.

I am not going to do fear and loathing anymore. I just won’t. I’m not going to make excuses for how people feel and worry if I am just “too much” for them. They did not even ask me to. I put that on myself.

I’m going to hash out a few things right now, before I start the baby-steps-back-into-blogging. I’ve been holding off on letting this out, trying to decide which way to go, what route to write…

I’m going to start with answering how I feel about me, before I put me in front of you on a silver platter to pick apart and mull over…in case anyone cares to do that picking business.

“You’re too intense.”

I am thankful for my God given intensity. I’m sorry if it stuns you and makes you uncomfortable. Nine times out of ten I’m thanked for being encouraging and challenging growth in someone. I refuse to take that one outlying opinion and mull it over in my head for days as a failure anymore. I’m not going to spend so much time if I have been wrong all along, over one opinion.  It’s ok. You’re allowed to read someone else’s blog. From now on, I’m me. All of me.Take me or leave me. Really… you are welcome to leave before this gets real. And I am not kidding here. Please. Feel free to read someone else’s blog.

“You’re too passionate.”

I am blessed by the gift of passion. Once in a small group we were supposed to go around the room and say what we are passionate about. I wasn’t sure. The minute I said that out loud someone piped in,
“You are passionate about parenting and family!”  
“You are passionate about supporting women!”
“You are passionate about sewing and clothes!”
“You are passionate about cooking!
“You are passionate about homeschooling and DIY stuff!”
Let’s just call it, y’all. It’s not that I have one thing. It’s everything.
I. Am. Passionate.  
There ya go.

Passion for my family. I am blown away by my husband and children and aim for growth in every day we have together. I’ve blogged about parenting  and love sharing that part of my heart. I do that because we all can do it better, not because I think that *I* do it better. I want to share that walk with you and with all the parents swimming through the sea of controversy in parenting. Staying above water is a struggle and we are constantly hit by tidal waves.
I do not share about parenting because I am bitter. It is because I am learning, and I love to learn! My mama taught me that. I do not challenge parenting standards because my parents were horrible. I parent differently than them. I absolutely do, unashamedly. When I blog about it, it has the potential to hurt feelings. They have told me so, and I absolutely understand why it would be uncomfortable. I feel confident enough to discover new ways because they taught me to. I owe that to my parents for homeschooling me and teaching me to teach myself. They are as amazing as they are imperfect, which is where the beauty lies. By that they have taught me that I can be equally imperfect and amazing, in being me.

Passion for the beauty of a woman’s body and its beauty in style,  in pregnancy and in birth.
Over the years I have had the great job of encouraging and supporting women to have a birth surrendered to truth. Truth is different for each birth. But don’t act like I’m a werewolf at a babyshower. Please. I’m ok with you loving your birth, however it was. Be ok with me encouraging others toward something that may be different. I’ve seen about 250 of them over six years. If there is one thing I know, her birth is not about YOU, and it’s not about ME. So… let me speak.
And then there’s my whole modesty mantra. Look… I’m basically a modest nudist. I like to be naked. But my spirit won’t let me. God won’t let me, ya know? I follow that still small voice that tells me what to wear. I’m going to tell you about it, and why I will champion the cause of modesty, yet dress as a “Modesto Incognito”.

Passion is a powerful part of my faith. Passion has lead me to places from which fear would have kept me. Passion left me dissatisfied with a mediocre faith based on popular Christianity and drove me to stand firm in searching for the Truth and the Light. It brought me to somewhere I never, never expected… The Catholic Church.

What?!?!? Did she just say Catholic?
She did. She said it. She did it.
She’s Catholic? What the what? Since When?
It’s ok. I love Jesus. Jesus loves Catholics.
Oh man, she’s gonna talk about Catholic.

Yep, I’m going to tell you about that… because it’s Jesus. I love to share Jesus. Stick around or don’t. That’s totally up to you. I free you from it if it bothers you. I mean, it’s all Jesus and you can read and not be Catholic… but I am. I found my freedom in it. So much freedom that it blows me away.

“You are so judgmental… “

Please understand that I make judgement calls. It’s what God asks of us, and I prayerfully try to toe the line of judging sin and not the heart and soul of a sinner, other than myself.  I’m not judging you by making a judgment call on what I believe to be a healthy standard. My choice is not about you. Also, I constantly encourage others to search their hearts and find that sound judgment that is there. It’s not what you think it is, and our culture and society is doing everything they can to destroy our good judgement.

“Nobody can make everything from scratch and do all that healthy stuff. I could never do what you do. “

Really, that’s fine. I can’t even do what people think I do. I love to make things myself. I also love ordering pizza, and I miss that option in my life. So there.

I love treating bodies well, nourishing them with whatever is wholesome and caring for them on a daily basis. But you may not believe me. You may think I’m a liar because…. gasp….

I had WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY!!!  Give me a few weeks and I’m going to explain to you in about 100 ways why that was NOT the easy way out. I promise. It’s hard. Especially when you’ve been known as a health freak for years…Yes, me. I did this… gasp…. Just wait. I’ll tell it all.

“I can’t believe you would tell people that! You know, that thing you just said.”

What, the truth?

Listen, I’m all about healthy boundaries. As a professional birth doula I am trained and experienced at following strict guidelines and HIPPA privacy regulations. It’s second nature. I was an HR manager with 900 employees when I was 22 years old. I can be diplomatic and discrete. I can poker face to the enth degree. That doesn’t mean that I can’t share failures and lessons I’ve learned, myself, in hopes that the experience can be used to help others. It’s part of who I am. To share. To support. To hold myself open to ridicule so that someone else can feel that they aren’t alone. I do that. Often.

I could go on and give you 100 things people have said to me about things I have written in the last nine years. I have the rebuttals ready. I think this is enough for you to get the idea, right? Right.

Moving on.

I’m starting fresh, from scratch and that may be with five readers instead of what I have enjoyed in the past. If you are reading this and you can see where I am going, it is worth it to me.

You want to know what all of this rambling is about? In a nutshell, it is a coming out in the light of day. I’ve spent years trying to hide ME behind a purpose or topic… every. time. I. write.

Because the real me, the whole me, was too much for people. Because Jesus wants us to see Him, not us. So I had to hide that for Him, right? Isn’t that required?
I  named blogs different things and kept them separate. At one point I had 5 at once, compartmentalized by different topics so the topic was what you saw. You aren’t supposed to see me.

I can’t maintain that. I can’t hide behind the banners and the goals anymore and say that they are what is important and I’m to be as invisible in the process as possible. I’ve refused to use my name in most of my blogging. I thought that was doing “Humility” correctly.

It wasn’t.

It was letting the fear of others cripple my heart. I let them hold back the baring of my soul, and if there is one thing I have known since I was a child, it is that God gave me a soul that is intense and passionate… that loves to DIY for everything… and he wants me to bare my soul. He gave me a crazy one… to share it. Yes.. bare… naked. Like that.

I was afraid.

Now I am not. So this is all about taking a deep breath and for the first time presenting me. All in one place. All my randomness. All my depth. It’s ok for my blog to be about me. Who I am is ok. That can be useful.

Most of all,  I want to share all that I’m meant to be… with you. To believe and know that I AM worth seeing and knowing. I don’t have to hide behind the words that flow from me, yet I don’t have to give them up to be something that I’m not. I can do both.

And if I’m worth reading.
I am worth seeing as a whole.

If I am,
That means you are, too.

But first, I have to tell you about me.

Bare and openly yours,

Talitha Cumi Seibel