"I'm so exhausted."
Joy. Energy in.
Fear. Energy out.
Fear is one of the most powerful draining agents of the postpartum period that I know.
I have worked with numerous families.
Fear of the unknown, the known, history repeating itself, and even the far fetched or irrational fears are a tremendous DRAIN ON ENERGY.
Here's the deal. We can go throughout our day doing things that are "GOOD" for us. Yet those things could be draining energy from us if they are motivated by fear.
The whole idea of "self-care" is to deeply replenish emotional, mental, and physical energy that is sustainable.
How do you know you are filling your energy up or allowing energy in?
Do you know that feeling when you feel super cozy and safe? Warm, soft, and purring like a small kitten, we should feel like laying still is just fine. There is food and water in our bellies. We do not feel the need to run, be productive, or even move.
Maybe you feel so inspired and excited with your energy that you feel like the sun seems to sparkle and giggles of children give you goosebumps.
You feel fully safe, protected, and sheltered if you prevent your energy from leeching out. That feeling of groundedness does something for our brains and nervous system. When a new loud noise occurs, we don't jump out of our skin in fear or anger.
Yet! I often hear about constant ruminating over an imagine or thought-- that's draining.
Imagining what you'd say in a pretend conversation-- that's draining your energy too.
When you snuggle a kiddo or read an enjoyable book-- you are required to be IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. Sometimes this is really hard when modern parenthood is distracting, demanding, and exhausting.
Parenting can actually invite us to be in the present moment with equanimity to enjoy the fleeting peaceful moments- HA!! I acknowledge that it's really freaking hard to be in the present moment as a parent and seems just about impossible. Yet, I work with clients all the time who say it's impossible and we steal moments of joy together in a way they never imagined possible.
As a doula, I'm constantly pulling my clients into the present moment to make every moment count. I see them wrapped in the tentacle thoughts of fear for the future.
Most importantly: I listen. I hear your story. Your fears. I hold them. It's ok to have them. It's ok to share them.
I say: "Be here with me. In this moment, you are doing a great job loving your kids. Join me. It feels really good to just be. Let's be here."
I ask: "Does this choice feel like it is serving you? Are you in autopilot? How can I help you feel safe, grounded, and energized? What actions are draining you- and how can I help you right now in this moment to increase your calm?"
I'm just like you. I put my leggings on one leg at a time. I buy my midday coffee to try to make it to bedtime some days. I hide in the bathroom to get a break and struggle with guilt for taking time for myself. I worry for my children and my choices.
But after hard losses and true trials in my life, I have discovered bravery in making every moment count. Making at least half the moments count most days.
I invite you to find reasons to make these daily moments as a parent more joyful and energizing. Join me. Be here.
Can I just say… sometimes life sucks.
It punches you in the gut. Knocks the wind out of you. Then you are drug through the mud. And that was just Monday.
My heart knows what it is to suffer. To really suffer with a hardship as a parent. I have girl scout badges in suffering. It got REAL.
The good. The bad. The ugly. The really shame filled and ugly stuff I told no one. Yeah. That was no fun.
What's my point?!
Well... SURVIVAL. Who does it? How do they do it? What does it cost them? Are there ways to do it well?
Is it possible to THRIVE?
DOULAS GET IT. IT IS OK YOU ARE STRUGGLING. GET A DOULA FOR HELP.
*** Doulas have experience- They have been in the trenches with families during some of the bad, ugly, and ugliest times. In fact, that is when a doula can shine. A doula provides loving kindness with no judgment because it can make clients feel safe during times that feel really scary. Experience with babies, education, and physical support- boom! You are covered even when you feel like it's a whole lot to handle.
*** Doulas have training for the hard days- It is important to me to be a professional and trained emotional support person. I have Mental Health First Aid Training. I prioritize going to a regional Maternal Mental Health Summit annually with professionals who see women who struggle every day. I am trained as a Peer Support Group Facilitator. Hey- kids having a bad day too? Doulas get it. What can I do to help?
*** Doulas help carry the burden- It never hurts the candle to share the flame. Your heaviest burdens are far lighter for me to help carry when I am with you. I know the power it can have to sit with you and listen. I know the pressure it relieves for you to know laundry is put away and dinner is made. Lean on your doula.
*** Doulas are connected- A doula can get you connected with your local resources. It is really REALLY hard for some people in times of crisis to search for help, pick up a phone, and ASK. It is downright impossible for some. Yet, with a doula, she can connect you to therapists, support groups, baby classes, mommy groups, county health services, specialists, lactation consultants and more.
***Doulas bring peace- If even for just one day it feels regenerating to borrow someone else's peace when you are in the middle of a crisis. Humans mirror other humans nervous systems. Instead of sharing chaos, a doula provides her steady peace to help you recalibrate for the week. Crisis and survival mode can make us forget to let in the joy out of protection. Doula days can remind you to smile, sing a little, dance with your children, and BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
***Doulas are not therapists- Hear me out. Sometimes the first step is talking to someone you trust. A doula can be a nonjudgmental person in your circle that is all about helping YOU. A therapist provides a different level of care. Doulas specialize in infant care, birth support, and postpartum support. Education, skills building, and building systems in the home to help life work more smoothly. A doula can even help you seek out therapy if that's what you are needing. Doulas don't treat you. They support people physically, emotionally, and educationally!
***Doulas will not fix your problems- Though, a doula sees you as more than your problems. Your struggles and trials are NOT a reflection of your worthiness for support. You deserve support. I'll type that again. YOU. DESERVE. SUPPORT. Compassion for your struggles. A gentle reminder than these times will pass and the sun is here to warm you. A hug. A hug from someone who isn't crying for you or needing you. You are a whole person. It's ok to have problems.
***Doulas are kind- Are you hard on yourself???? Yeah! YOU! I am asking you. Enough said. I believe in the power of words said and words thought. When I am around my clients, we talk positively about ourselves because sometimes that is the only time of the week they are able to. I role model positive body talk, positive parenting, and positive thinking. It's science. The brain easily is biased toward negativity in order to protect itself. Yet, positive thinking rewires the brain and provides all types of happy feeling hormones. It feels good to think good.
I can go on... but really, when life is not going great it's ok to call a doula.
When life is feeling downright awful, go on- call me. Email me. I can help.
I get it.