Thursday, February 25, 2016

Breaking the Silence

Like a black cloud coming over you Postpartum/natal depression engulfs you until you can’t see clearly.  You lose track of yourself, the person you once were, the person you once loved ceases to exist.  I am a doula, I am trained to see PPD/PND in my clients.  The warning signs that signal a woman is on a slippery slope were so easy for me to see in my years as a Doula.  However when you are that person standing on the ledge its as if you are blinded by the fog.  Looking back I can see how it began.  Going to bed early, hiding in the bedroom, pulling away from friends and family.  All the signs I question my clients for in the months after the birth of a child and I had them all present yet not visible to me.  How could I a doula be so blind to the fact that I was losing myself?  How could I have allowed this to happen to me?   Shame sets in, you begin to feel as though your feelings are wrong.  How could I feel so down when I got exactly what I wanted.  A baby girl I longed for,  a rainbow baby after two early loses.  It wasn’t just my own thoughts people are so unaware of what a few simple words do to a mom.  The words “at least you have a healthy baby” or “how can you be depressed you have beautiful children”.  As if this state of mind was my choice and not my captor.  

People think PPD/PND is definable by one set of rules.  Like if you have PPD/PND you must be crying all the time, withdrawn from your baby, tired, but it’s not the same for every woman.  Where one women will feel those exact feelings others may experience it in the form of anxiety or anger.   Some women feel like their baby is in harms way not from themselves but from the world, others may feel themselves are unable to care for their child.  Neither one is more definable than the other each leads to the same fog ridden path.  When I finally figured out what was going on it was too late.  I was knee deep in the fog and my relationship was severely affected.  Where stood my once best friend a stranger now took their place.  We were so distant and so apart we could hardly see the others pain.  

Each day I lived for bedtime, I longed for the hours to go by so I could retreat to my bedroom and be alone with my kids.  I lay in my room feeding my youngest and waiting for my toddler to fall asleep.  Then I would watch endless hours of Netflix watching one series and moving on to the next.  Watching them became a way for me to be numb, to silence the thoughts in my head, to have moments of clear stillness.  These characters become my friends in a way, I longed to see them on the screen and felt safe when I was watching them.  I reached out to people on Facebook and talked to them about anything but how I was feeling.  I withdrew from my friends because I was worried that they would think I was crazy for feeling this way.  Shame made me go deeper and deeper into hiding until I was so lost I couldn’t find my way back even if I wanted to.

One night when I was sleeping it came to me, the reason my birth affected me so.  It was at that moment that I realized something was seriously wrong with me.  I wasn’t myself, I needed to find me again and maybe the way back to my life partner would once again become clear.  One simple act during birth, the breaking of my waters, triggered in me a moment in time that had taken place over 20 years prior.  A moment I had not thought about for several years had somehow consumed me in a way, and I had no idea it was happening.   Once that became clear and I was able to voice it to my partner, I thought it would be easy to return home.  It isn’t that simple though, you can’t just return to the moment in time before PPD and pick up where you left off.  In the wake of destruction so much has to happen before you an even hope to put the pieces of your old life back.  I began taking my placenta tincture, the one I had prepared for myself as I had done for many clients before this birth.  I finally started to feel like me again, if it was a placebo affect as some call it so be it, because it saved me.

The fog doesn’t leave right away, it slowly gets clearer but I can’t say you ever feel whole again.   Once it touches you it’s almost like it makes a dent in your soul and will remain part of you forever.  People need to stop shaming women for feeling this way after birth.  They need to realize that it has nothing to do with them or with the children that are born.  Of course we are delighted to be mothers, of course we are beyond the moon that we have had these precious babies, it isn’t about that.  For those that have PPD/PND due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on by the birth it’s ok to feel this way.  It isn’t OK for people to say things like at least you have a healthy baby, at least your baby is here alive and well.   I wish for once the medical world would see how important birth is not just for baby but for mother as well.  More than 50% of the women I spoke to ended a relationship after a bout with PPD/PND.  How can we then say that the only thing that matters in birth is a healthy baby?  When in the end PPD strips from you months, years of memories you could have had.  When it beats your relationship to the point where you may not ever be able to return things to the way they were before?  Birth matters of course the health of the baby matters but so does the health of the women, of the mothers of the families. 

I lost months, years of my life to PPD/PND.  I am not sure how things will play out in my life, I’m not sure if things will ever go back to the way they once were.  I’m forced to watch videos of my kids and try to remember how I was feeling when I captured those moments.  I am forced to remember a time when the love of my life was also my best friend.  I can’t change my past I can only hope that in my pain, in my sorrow you can understand your not alone.  I feel your pain and I hope you can see there is no shame in asking for help.  The shame lies in the medical staff that ignored our health, it lies in the people who instead of holding us shamed us into feeling like we don’t matter like we needed to hide.  Enough is enough we need to stand together and let others know that we aren’t going to hide from it any longer.  That were are going to fight for the rights of women everywhere to have their feelings understood, their voices heard and their mental health treated equally as important as their newborn baby.  No more silence.  To the women who took their own lives because they felt so alone I am so sorry that the system failed you.  To the children without a mother now, it was never about you and I am so sorry the system didn’t protect your family.  PPD/PND is a horrible road to be on but your not on it alone.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lamaze Teaching Skills workshop

Great time was had by all during the Lamaze Teaching Skills workshop.  It was held in Oshawa and really was an amazing learning experience.  I am signed up to the Douglas College Lamaze Childbirth Educator Program and am well on my way to becoming certified.  I look forward to the teaching career and the plans for our near future.

It has been a great winter full of joyous births.  All of the ones I attended were amazing to be part of.  The mothers were strong and the partners were so supportive.  I look forward to my next two.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Healthy Pregnancy, Naturally: Drug-free Solutions for Common Pregnancy Concerns

Today I am attending a seminar on Healthy Pregnancy, Naturally held by the Dandelion Naturopathic Clinic at the Carrot Common.  I am excited about getting information I can pass on to my clients.  Shall post more info when I get it.  Stay tunned

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baby C- It's a boy

This is the first birth I witnessed where momma did yoga as a way to calm her during the contractions and it worked.  I was called early in the morning as the Contractions had started but were very irregular.  By 6pm when I went over to their place I knew it was time for me to stay and start working with mom and dad.  So I packed my bag, picked up my camera and began working with mom to make the contractions effective.

Speaking from experience no first time mother can ever truly know what it feels like to go through labour until you experience it.  You can imagine how you will react but nothing can truly prepare you.  Well nothing except maybe having a Doula by your side.  *insert smile here hee hee*.

When I arrived after 6 the contractions were further than 10 minutes apart and irregular.  We began working with her body.  Using positioning, hydro therapy and massage as a way to help her contractions become more regular.  Though my client refused to eat her husband and I managed to convince her to eat something.  Lucky for us she listened as 10 hours later she was starving!

So we worked at home keeping mom as comfortable as we could manage.  When it was time to leave we took the 10 minute walk to the hospital.  Needless to say that 10 minute walk seemed to take a life time.

Upon arrival the Dr. questioned my client's desire for a natural birth despite her birth plan stating she wanted no offer for meds.  Her husband was able to convince the Dr. they were competent to make the decision and at this time they were not interested.  I sat quietly fuming inside... I hate when Dr's push meds when a client is confident they do not want them.

So after a good hour or so they finally moved us upstairs where we continued to use positions, water and yoga as a way to progress.  Mom was getting exhausted, Dad was sympathetic to his wifes pain.  So we continued on doing things our way.  We were left to labour on our own.

As the night progressed it was showing signs it was time.  I stepped out got the dr and nurse... not quiet there they say.  Maybe 30 minutes later mom sounds like she wants to push so again I get the nurse who promptly tells me if she is not ready to push they will have to medicate her.

Well it was time for mom to push.... they scrambled around to get things ready and then finally after 12 hours of labour Mom was able to push baby boy out in 2-3 pushes.  He came out so quick, dad was so proud, mom was amazed at her strength to endure it all.

And can I say nothing beats the Dr's face when he came in to see mom had dilated as well and quick as she had, with no need for the meds he was offering.   It was priceless!

Results... a Happy Healthy baby boy!

Congrats to family C

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Low Milk flow- Homeopathic tips

For anyone with a low milk flow please read the tips below.  Note these are from a homeopathic practitioner in India so I would advise you check with your local health store ie. Thompsons to verify tinctures.

Normally to increase mothers milk, the following can be used, safely.

ALFALFA-Q (Homeopathic Mother tincture). 30 drops in half cup water = one dose. Atleast 3 times / doses a day, for the entire period till the mother is feeding the child.

Cal.Phos.3X plus Ferr.Phos.3X, 4 tablets of each or equivalent powder is = one dose. Take four such doses daily till the mother is feeding the child.

FOR THE CHILD : Mag.Phos.6X, two tablets or equivalent powder. 3-4 times a day. Takes care of all gases and discomfort of the child. Incidentally, Mag.Phos. is a consitituent of Milk and compensates for inappropriate quantity and quality of milk provided by the mother.

Also consider reading :

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January birth complete Baby B_eautiful

So my second birth was a success for mom and dad.  They were very overjoyed with the experience which makes me extremely happy.

A short version of the long birth story :0)

It was boxing day when I got the call that baby was making her way into the world.  We met at the hospital because mom wanted to check to see how far along she was.  At that point she was only 1cm and had some time to go.  We returned home after picking up some pizza and contented to labour at home.   After a few hours we packed up the car and headed to the hospital again as mommy wanted to check the progress.  This time she was 2-3 CM and they offered her drugs.  I asked the nurse to give her some more time, maybe settle us into a room with a shower.  She looked annoyingly at me and gave it to us.

I can't imagine birthing on your own without a Doula and this isn't because I am one it is because I see the pressure out there for the instant fix.  You walk in and they pretty much tap your arm for the IV.  I am surprised they don't offer you a cocktail when you get to the parking garage.  Anyway a few hours later mom's progress wasn't moving along.  She took the epidural and tried to rest.  At this point she was both mentally and physically exhausted.

The next morning around 6am the doctors gave her some pitocin to speed up the labour and that is when the baby's heart rate started soaring up and down. They came into the room talked C-section and gave mom some time to continue to labour.  Mom was trying to sleep but I got her to take in deep breaths with each contraction *which she still was not feeling*.  After about 30 minutes baby's heart rate went back to normal and mom was able to continue as planned.  They backed off the pitocin to give mom more time in between contractions.  well not really mom more baby than mom.

Just before 11am Baby B came into the world with mom only having to push for 30 minutes.  She did an amazing job and was able to feel the urge to push because we got her to back off the epidural.  Mom, dad, grandma and me witnessed the birth of a beautiful baby girl weighing in at 6pounds 4 ounces.

Welcome to the world baby B ;0)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lending Library coming along

My Lending library has begun being built so far I have only a dozen or so books but it is a start.  It is amazing how much we need as a new doula.  So much to get so little money :0) isn't that the way it always is.  I put out a request for donations and so far the response has been great.  A few were purchased, but most came to me free.

It will take me forever to read every book but that is my intention.  I am even going to read the book most doulas do not like, what to expect when you are expecting.  I feel it is important to know what the rest of the world is reading and hearing about pregnancy and birth.

Here is the list

A Healthy Pregnancy
The Fussy Baby book
The complete book of Pregnancy and Childbirth
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful
Spiritual Midwifery
What to expect when you're expecting
Moving beyond A.D.D. (this one more for parents who have other children)
Breastfeeding made simple
The Birth Partner 2nd and 3rd edition
Defining your own success Breast feeding after a reduction
Baby Talk
The mother of all pregnancy books
The baby name bible
Herbal for the childbearing years
the labour progress handbook

well that is it for now ciao