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Well, hello there!  While we've seen a lot from each other through "Esali Birth," I wanted to take a moment to say a personal hello from me, Danielle from the Mid-Ohio Valley, and share a basic service and price list for all of you looking for perinatal support through the childbearing years in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

If you're new to Esali Birth you may not know my story which I love sharing throughout the many times we may meet on your journey.  Mostly, I am a modern gal living in rural WV that loves to intertwine instinctual, historical, knowledge with only the most beneficial parts of our modern world.  I wear many hats in my family and life and love the diversified options I have in this beautiful world.  I also love supporting families during the childbearing years from the most basic loving hug to the scientific ins and outs of childbirth.  Whatever you need in this moment is what I strive to provide.  Sometimes that is advice, sometimes it is research, sometimes it is nutritional guidance, and it is always understanding of your personal journey which is ever changing.

My services range from pre-conception counseling to childbirth education and doula support.  I have a variety of herbal blends available and custom blends that can be created for your specific needs from soothing foot soaks and beverage tea blends to body balancing while transitioning from medicinal birth control and perinatal support.  See my service menu below for a basic list of options in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

While I do require services be paid in full, I provide my NPI number and guidance for my clients to submit claims to their insurance to help cover doula education and support fees upon request.

Want to learn more?  See me chat with Marilee Marrow on Moms Everyday and visit my Support Page.  Find me on Skype @esalibirth for my online [free] "Office Hours."

Have questions?  Get in touch!

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/parents-pushing-swing-gently-photo-p309024

It isn't often I write a blog post where I'm annoyed... but, this is one of those...  It is one of those to make you think about your influence on other families in your community.  "Peaceful Parenting" and "Attachment Parenting" are these are titles that get circulated throughout parenting groups.  "You're a horrible mom if you let your baby cry it out."  "You don't love your baby enough."  "Your child is going to grow up to be an awful adult who can't cope if you don't respond to their every need."

Now, I totally believe that children need love... always.  I totally believe that children are designed to be close to their parents from sleeping to communication (which includes cues before crying).  I've been guilty as a new-mom-just-over-depression who thought one decision would change the world for other parents as well because that decision was easy for me... or that decision HELPED me.  Then reality hit and I found some things that didn't send me into depression, but are a challenge of my everyday life to be the parent I want to be...  Thank you God for that lesson... it was needed.  It was needed not only for my family, but for my advocacy with others.

The biggest challenge, though, is not parenting my children... but OTHER PARENTS!

So, here's the thing...  What *I* do is advocate and educate. What other advocacy *groups* are doing is [usually] just the same.  That's my job (their job), my "thing", my hobby, my focus, what I learn about, what I research, what I am "into"...  I've built a community around it.  I'm not just a mom throwing my opinion out there - I'm trying to take what I'm passionate about and reach a lot of people.  Not everyone is doing that - but, that's just what I felt called to do after my daughter was born.  What I share, is for those that DON'T KNOW. Likewise, when someone offers a tip it is for those that don’t know.

I/we want you to know what I had to scour books, people, and the internet for.  I want you to know what I had to learn over a long time.   I want you to know what is available to you for resources and what biological parenting is designed to be AND the reality of putting it altogether which includes adapting it to your lifestyle however it works for your family... and never ever trying to justify your choices to others or to me... especially in the western culture!

I want you to know my struggles, TOO!  I tend to keep these for personal conversations so I can fully explain as well as have someone face to face to me before they make a comment about my situation.

Sharing an article is NOT a judgment - it is for the ones that don't know and may actually find help within the words - through a tip, through an experience or story, or through an idea they were feeling and needed validated in this culture.  I never expect someone to follow things to a T from an article.  There are certainly times where I don't want parents to struggle or I think "oh, this would help you so much" - but, I GET what that takes and I know MY own struggles.  So, words are just that... words... they are not physical support - and that's what I want to focus on...  So, let's take a moment and look again at some of the responses from PEACEFUL parents when these articles are shared (by me, and by many other parenting communities).  You know, the ones who believe...

"You're a horrible mom if you let your baby cry it out."  "You don't love your baby enough."  "Your child is going to grow up to be an awful adult who can't cope if you don't respond to their every need."  "You're a lazy parent if you don't get down to your child's level 500 times a day for 5 years and speak with a smile on your face."

Did you notice that?  Let's do it again...  "You're a horrible mom"... "You're a lazy parent" ...  What other ones did you find?

How about the more subtle ones - maybe they're more passive aggressive - but they don't show the real mom or they still totally miss the point like, "My induction is scheduled for tomorrow.  I can't wait to snuggle my baby IN MY BED because I would NEVER let them cry it out."

Do you see the irony in these?  Be infinitely kind to your child and cater to their every need... BUT...  be degrading and don't respond with love to your fellow parents because the idea is that children have brains like adults and they need nurtured...  but because that person may not have been responded to in a "peaceful parenting" way and is now the adult we're trying to prevent... then you don't deserve love and kindness and help 500 times a day.  My choices are better than yours.  You can never experience depression.  You can never experience exhaustion.  You can never experience burn out.  You can never experience a sad or lonely look on your face.  Don't ask for help for fear of having to explain why you need it... you know, because you'll have to explain how you yelled at your child 500 times over the weekend, or completely ignored them.  Pretend like you're perfect on the "peaceful and supportive" mom groups because you know a thing or two and then cry when you're alone because you personally experience how hard it is and don't know how to make it work.  Makes total sense and is not hypocritical at all... ???

Then... if someone's child cries a lot, it’s because they _____________ (are a helicopter parent, don't parent enough, had a cesarean, had a home birth, had an OB, pushed too long, took too many meds, didn't take enough meds, gave your kids vaccines, didn't give your kids vaccines, thought you could do it vaginally, didn't have enough faith in your body, just didn't try hard enough.............)

  1. MY. GOSH.  Are we hearing ourselves????????!!!!!

Our CULTURE is not supportive of the biological needs of HUMANS of all ages.  Let's ALL see that so we can actually start supporting each other and get to the place we want... need to be.  This doesn't happen overnight.  I dare to say it can't happen in a few generations.  It's not just a belief that is needed... it's a culture shift.

Moms can't stay at home every day all day with the kids and expect to be 100% without help.

Dad's can't be the one working every day and exhausted when they come home and expect to put on the happy face and act like they just woke up.

When we *have* to *buy* our food instead of grow it, that makes these lifestyles necessary.

When we *want* whatever everyone else has (cell, house, toys, clothes, vacations, car) - it makes these lifestyles necessary.

When we have *no clue* how to treat mild to moderate ailments at home with love... or herbs... it makes these lifestyles necessary.

When you have laundry to do, the house to clean, teaching your child (whether home or public... YOU are teaching them every time you interact with them), work to do, 3 meals and snacks to make (oh, and they have to be totally organic, gluten free, dairy free, balanced, but not from this store and they should be from the garden)..... but YOU have to do it all on your own.... we make these lifestyles necessary.

I could list 100 more things about our culture that DIRECTLY influence the dynamic of the family and the actual ability to peacefully parent.  I don't even have an answer for this.  It isn't easy to just pick up, leave everything behind, and start a new community of people that actually believe in the same thing.  There are so many different belief systems in our culture it would be really hard to commit to living our lives connected like we need and feel totally supported and in sync with those helping and surrounding us.  Even The Farm didn't work out that way...  Though, I CERTAINLY encourage you to find your group.  It might take you a really long time to really find those you connect with that you can spend time with.  You may find along the way that your immediate family is your group and you don't have that totally connected feeling to others, either.  Just keep searching...  It certainly does take a village - but a village of PHYSICAL SUPPORT... not just words of shoulds and shouldn'ts.

The way people parent is, yes, influenced by their parenting - but it is ALSO influenced by 1,000 other factors in their life - including your hurtful comments... The ABILITY to change isn't always as simple as "you just choose to do it."  Yes, you can choose that...  but think about something hard YOU'VE done... now think about something hard you HAVEN'T done perfectly...  I am pretty sure you've never done anything perfectly because we're not perfect.  You may have satisfied yourself and done very well - but we're humans, and we're not perfect.  There will be SOMETHING that we influence our children with that we have no clue what type of outcome it will create... no matter how well we think we're doing and what "the studies" say.  How many of those studies follow nutrition?  Just a though.

All I'm saying is this has WAY more to do with culture and lifestyle than it does with parent's just willy nilly going against their instincts. Most of their instincts say "I'm exhausted and I need sleep and I don't like this but I don't know what else I CAN PHYSICALLY do before I go into severe depression." Not every decision is as easy for one person as it is for someone else. SUPPORT each other...

GO SIT WITH THAT MOM THAT IS "LETTING" HER BABY CRY IT OUT so that she can get some sleep...

GO COOK HER FAMILY'S MEALS...

TAKE HER KIDS TO _______________

GO listen to her... go talk to her... go understand her... go live by her... go garden with her... go help her teach her children something... anything...

And, then.... take a look at YOUR life and see how much time you have to GO DO SOMETHING THAT PHYSICALLY SUPPORTS THAT MOM IN HER DAILY TASKS who probably doesn't enjoy yelling or spanking or whatever...  Do you have that ability?  I'm not judging... I just want you to look at our culture and then think about that when a peaceful parenting *advocacy* article is shared before you comment on the moms that are doing the best they can... And, we get passionate sometimes and our hormones take over sometimes and we have to understand that, too. Remember that most moms may have someone who is there for them, but they don't share those same ideals because they had to do it all themselves, too.  They had to get all those things done and responding to every need of the baby made it not happen.  Before that, same situation.  And just a few short generations ago - those methods were SURVIVAL.  It was get the kid to bed and get the harvest in or you didn't eat. (Yes, of course we can baby wear… and these tips are also thrown out in hurtful and condescending ways).  Most of those developing America didn't come from indigenous cultures living in communities and helping each other.  It was most families living alone or in a system designed around money for everything... in cities without space to do much of anything and the toilet waste was thrown in the streets.  Native Americans and other tribal cultures did/do live in smaller communities where they are only working on survival in the natural world where they don't have the tax systems and poverty isn't an issue (unless someone like the US has come in and tried to turn them into our culture... how's that working out for us?  Doesn't work out well for them either).  But, I digress...

We can say "don't worry about the house...." or "sleep when the baby sleeps..."  And, sure, those are all great tips - but that's not the root answer.  We enjoy living in a clean and orderly space.  We thrive on symmetry and asymmetry.  When there is dirt and clutter - we feel those energies in our mind and it can actually make us a more negative parent.  When we constantly giving of ourselves in some form, we energetically need those sleep times to just take a breath.  We absolutely need sleep, too - and that is a HUGE factor with parents today... but, we need those moments to pray, meditate, and be with our own thoughts too.  Many women can't sleep with thoughts in their head.  I keep a notebook by my bed to write down things I start thinking about before I can go to sleep.  All of these things influence the ability to "peacefully parent" 100% of the time.

Studies can show a lot... but one thing is for sure - paying attention to your child the majority of the time, respecting them like you would like to be respected the majority of the time, and saying sorry go a LONG way.  While I'm not *encouraging* cry it out and all those other things - most kids that experienced that as a child are doing very well *in our culture.*  They are happy, successful, and healthy adults.  Really.  The ones that aren't doing so well are those that had poor role models.  Those that had parents and seniors that never felt like saying sorry was necessary.  Those that had parents that thought if they just pushed them to school (or homeschooled to make them work or to avoid driving them) or to their friends or whatever else instead of *creating* quality time.  It has *way* more to do with the intentional family unit than the pieces of the puzzle.  We will be affected by soooo, so many things in our life.  Not just our parents.  Let's keep that in perspective - especially if the urge to be *hateful* arises to another fellow parent.  There are goals we strive for - and I encourage you to have the ideals of "peaceful parenting" and "attachment parenting" as your goal - but while working on those goals, reality happens and we need to be able to forgive ourselves and forgive others.  We need to learn and move on and try again.  Forgiving includes understanding why someone may be saying, doing...etc. something.  I love asking myself "I wonder what they're really going through to ________ (brag, complain, degrade, support...etc.)"  It not only helps me respond better to someone, but it is a learning experience for me and helps me with my advocacy.

We don't live in a perfect world - but we're certainly not loving each other like we should... infants to seniors.

 

A lot of people have a very skewed perspective of what a professional doula is and how this differs from other birth support.  This is because doulas, like all birth professionals... and humans, are different.  Their perspective on birth is different, their practice is different, the locations that they work within are different.  This doesn't make one way right or wrong... just different.  A lot of hype has come up recently about a doula's ability to "really help" a birthing mother.
I wanted to shed some light on one perspective of this...If someone is a part of certain doula certification organizations - those organizations limit what their certified doulas can or cannot say/do. It is different for each one. It is a liability for the company if a doula starts telling moms "no, you don't need that medicine. No, there isn't anything wrong...etc...etc." It is also an issue for the women when the doula should not be providing medical care... that isn't her experience or area of expertise (as a doula).  A doula is support NOT a care provider or nurse.  An independent doula *can* say whatever she wants without risking her certification... but if she starts giving medical advice, she risks issues from the hospital or care provider regarding that... and possibly lawsuits depending on what her suggestions affect.  It will be her personal business if she offers that service or not.  (Esali Birth mentors are completely independent and accept their own personal risks for how they carry out their services.  They should, however, practice logic and understanding).
A doula can't tell a provider or hospital staff what to do... but neither can her husband. In the end, it is the MOTHER's choice to do or not do anything until she is in a position of not being able to make a decision for herself - in which case she has already signed her rights over to the care provider to make decisions on her behalf in the moment.  If a situation is not "in the moment" then a living will provides someone else rights to make decisions for her - that is, if she has a living will.  Esali Birth mentors encourage birth students/clients to make their wills when they're pregnant if they haven't already.
However, in the US, we do have laws protecting people from abuse... any abuse... and anyone can speak up about that.  We also have programs like Improving Birth that shed light on various maternity related issues which also include birth abuse.  A lot of people (doula or not) won't, however, because it can be an awful feeling to have a bully come down on you for speaking up against any form of abuse.  Right or wrong to not speak up, it is one of the reasons it doesn't happen when it could.  Additionally, not many will say when... or if... medical staff are abusive; they just go along with it believing a birthing women has to "listen to her doctor." What can a doula do in this situation?  A doula can *remind YOU* of your rights and unbiased options.  They can speak up against #birthabuse.  If they will is individual.  What your responsibility is, as with all birth responsibilities, is to interview your potential doula and ask what THEY will or will not do for you.  Every doula is different, just like every care provider is different.   An OB is not the same everywhere.  A midwife is not the same everywhere.  Hospital birth is not the same everywhere.  Home birth is not the same everywhere.
 
All this being said - the reason women hire a doula is FOR the emotional and physical support because even with a hospital that supports birth plans, there is usually not enough staff to provide continuous support to the mother - and because birth is *mostly* an emotional event (OXYTOCIN gets the baby out AND provides mom with a satisfying experience... when its natural oxytocin) - moms NEED to feel safe. For most moms, feeling EMOTIONALLY safe is often only attainable through a doula.... like a mother that *really* understands birth.... not understands birth in the past 50 years... but real, raw, birth.  Some of us have this, others don't.  This doesn't mean a doula replaces a mom or a husband...  it is just a different, often incredibly beneficial, style of care.
 
Doulas rates on increased positive outcomes (both emotionally AND physical health of the mom and baby) are because of their *continuous* emotional and physical support.... NOT because of medical or perceived medical assistance.
 
That being said. If you NEED someone telling you your provider is lying to you.... then you NEED to hire a new provider. If you NEED someone whispering that the nurses at the hospital are lying to you... then you NEED to birth somewhere else.
[heading type="h3" margintop="28px" marginbottom="28px" bordered="no" align="center"][color]Whether a doula can or cannot say things doesn't fix a choice that should have been changed because you know you're not birthing in a supportive environment. [/color][/heading]
Most doulas I know don't provide on the spot childbirth education... they either recommend/require childbirth education before taking on a client, offer classes themselves and/or won't take clients unless they've proven they're educated or taken a class from that specific doula.  This isn't just for the doula, it is also so the mom... family... can have the best birth (health and happy) possible.  It is so that the client isn't expecting the doula to be a superhero during the birth. They can certainly seem like superheros, but they want to enjoy their job, too... and they want to be able to do their job to the best of their ability. 
We wouldn't have so many issues in births as it is if providers *required* ....  offered... excellent perinatal education.  Unfortunately, again, most classes that are scantily recommended are "how to be a good patient."  Or, "you can have a great birth if you don't have an educated birth philosophy or wish to do things 'out of the norm' - just do what we say, and here is #whattoexpect."  At Esali Birth we share how to make choices and why they're important.
Knowing your options and making choices that support your birth beliefs comes *before* hiring a doula. The doula then supports you AFTER you've chosen a supportive environment. No matter what a doula can or can't say - if the mom hasn't chosen an environment (provider/location) that supports her wishes - the doula can't magically create a positive experience.  It might happen (because doula support can make that big of a difference) - but it isn't the best situation for anyone. If anyone has to fight for the mom's rights - even though that's a legal option - it makes the birth space an intense place to be for someone... often the mother or the father... and neither of them need to be doing anything other than bonding with each other and their baby!  We're trying to build oxytocin, right?  Not just because its safer for mom and baby... not just because it progresses the birth process... but also because oxytocin builds in everyone in that birth space.  This is an event from a higher power that knew that mom and baby will need a lot of love and support during the postpartum period. 
[heading type="h3" margintop="28px" marginbottom="28px" bordered="no" align="center"][color]Make birth as simple as it can be by understanding that birth is a profoundly intricate transformation.[/color][/heading]
Believe this, make the choices that support it, and birth is (in most cases) incredibly simple.
 
In an environment (location/birth team) that SUPPORTS biological birth AND a mom that has a birth partner (her husband is wonderful when they're relationship is connected and respectful, or mom, or friend...etc....... a midwife)... that truly understands biological birth and the need to be quiet and let mom instinctively do her thing... a doula might not be necessary. Or, a doula might be that birth partner that is quiet and lets mom do her thing - and giving her the confidence to do so.
 
You have to understand that [color]BIRTH IS EMOTIONAL[/color]. Almost all complications with birth these days stem from an incredible misunderstanding that humans can or should meddle with birth. If you don't believe that you can #freebirth (birth unassisted... birth alone... birth without a care provider) - then I would encourage positive continuous support... which is exactly what a doula provides.  Someone else on your birth team may already provide that, I don't know... but it isn't a black/white "a doula does this" kind of situation.  It depends on what you need, what you want, and where you're preparing to birth.
 
A montrice on the other hand is often a midwife who is providing doula services. They can do limited provider care for the mom because of their midwifery background.... but they don't intend to catch the baby as a provider nor take responsibility in that manner. Once they get into a birthing facility or hospital, their ability to act as a sort of care provider stops because of liability with the hospitals and providers in that location.  Their role moves towards that of a doula.
I hope this clears up some of the issues regarding if you should really save/spend the money on a doula.  What have your experiences been?  Can you add to this?

Perinatal advocacy can be a very difficult field to be leading. You will find yourself screaming about the beauty of birth only to have your words fall upon those that have not yet come to terms with the importance of their birth experience, and those that may never reach that point. Don’t stop! If there are no voices to advocate, then nothing will be heard, and one voice can change the world little bits at a time. When your desire is strong enough to help those around you, you will speak the truth – even if it means some mothers may feel uneasy about what you’re telling them. However, remember that you can only lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink. Provide the information and then trust that others will make the best decisions for their family – and they will believe whatever they need to believe to go through THEIR situation.

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