Real Mom Testimonial!

Every home should have a Natalie!

Reflecting with gratitude on our amazing doula who comes to our home three times a week. First of all, sharing because I think people don’t know what doulas do, or how truly magical they are.

Also, it’s important to normalize having support! Sometimes it feels like moms are in the Exhaustion Olympics… and it’s frowned upon if you drop out by taking care of yourself by expanding your home team, instead of running around doing all the things for all the people all the time (or is that just me?).

Officially, she comes to take care of the baby but as you can see by this photo she also just folds into our family. Besides entertaining my bigger kiddos so I can focus on a spreadsheet or something. My favourite thing she does is make me drink my lactation tea (I constantly forget!) and make me nap (hard to do even though I am exhausted!).

She’s also a great sounding board for anything and everything I am working on – from organizing the fridge to changing up the baby’s sleep spot – and she is sincerely excited whenever we get the little domestic wins that make up the constant work of parenting and running a household worthwhile. I get this feeling of calm and relief when she is around and that is worth EVERYTHING.

She’s an extra pair of hands and a very capable one, but she is so much more than that! We love you Natalie. We are so grateful for the time you spend with our family!

Testimonial from Erica in Waterloo, ON

4 Reasons to Hire a Night Nanny

Night nanny, overnight doula, night nurse. Call them what you’d like – they are lifesavers! NOTE: I am not a RN, so any medical questions I will leave for your care provider. Night doula services are becoming increasingly popular. Here are some reasons why…

Rest = Healing

Giving birth is exhausting work. Being pregnant is exhausting work. After all of this, your body needs time to heal. The more uninterrupted sleep you get, the quicker you will feel more like yourself. It has been said that the first 6 weeks of parenthood are the toughest. If you were blessed with a belly birth, you’ll need extra time for your incision to heal as well.

Mental Health

There are a lot of great conversations surrounding mental health in Canada. If you (or your partner) are at risk of depression, anxiety or other mood disorders, getting enough sleep is crucial for your well being. Besides that, having a good night’s sleep will put you in better spirits so that you can enjoy your baby during the day!

Simpler Feedings

We are respectful of all types of feeding: breast milk, formula or a combo. If you’re a bottle family, then your doula will handle all of the feedings. If you’re breastfeeding, then our doulas will bring your baby to you. Doulas can also help parents set up a pumping schedule at night.

Back to Work

If parental leave isn’t an option (I’m looking at you fellow entrepreneurs), then a night nanny might just be the key to your sustainability. How can you effectively run your business if you woke up 8 times last night? Our daytime doulas can also help care for baby while you work.

Interested in learning more about our night nanny services? Call us today for a free consultation!

COVID Update

Find out the latest information regarding our doula support. As of July 2021 there are some hospitals that are allowing a second support person in labour and delivery. We ask that you please confirm these details with your hospital.

  • Our doulas continue to provide in-person support for your home birth. See below on how we keep you safe.
  • We are back in your homes to provide you with night, daytime and infant feeding support!
  • In addition to our in-person support we also offer coaching services which are done via phone and video calls!

Keeping You Safe

Our doulas have received Infection Control training and follow these safety measures while in your home:

  • Wearing a face mask
  • Washing hands immediately upon arrival
  • Wearing medical gloves when needed
  • Maintaining social distancing when possible
  • Cleaning and sanitizing frequently used items such as our doula bags and instruction tools

For the most updated information on COVID-19, please visit the Government of Ontario’s website.

Family Time During Isolating Times

This corona virus pandemic has been a rude awakening to us all. Some of us are blessed to be able to work from home. Front line workers, in healthcare, retail and distribution, are sacrificing their health for the sustainability of our society. And there are many people who have been laid off.

How to manage this stressful time while taking care of your family? It isn’t simple and there isn’t even one answer. What works for you may not work for your neighbour. The goal here is to share some ideas together.

I have always loved hiking, especially hiking with my family. Or at least the idea of hiking with my family <– TRUTH BOMB!

We have taken this isolation time as an opportunity to go for more family walks and hikes. We are usually able to go out every other day, rain or shine! This is a new activity for us and, as with anything new, it can take some time to adjust to the routine. Thankfully my kids, 5 and 9, are old enough for a hike that’s longer than 10 minutes!

Your family walk will look different than mine and that’s perfectly fine! If you have babies, try babywearing. It will give you more freedom than a stroller can. If you have toddlers with a short attention span, incorporate a fun activity (such as these nature bracelets) or opt for the sidewalk instead of the trail.

Share some pictures of your family walks and hikes in the comments!

Interview with… a Birth Photographer!

Hi everyone! I am excited to publish our first post in our “Community Feature” series! Today we are interviewing Allie, our local birth photographer, from Lysia Cole Photography. She is a dear friend of mine and an incredibly talented individual. Let’s get started and answer some of your questions!

Why do people hire a birth photographer?

You’ve been growing a baby for months and you’re finally about to meet this new little human that is going to change your life in so many amazing ways. Wouldn’t you love to look back on all the support you had throughout your labour? The look on your face when you first laid eyes on your beautiful baby? Maybe you’ve left the gender a surprise and are finding out for the first time. Looking back, time comes and goes so quickly and this is one of those life changing experiences you never want to forget.

How do you work around anyone who doesn’t want to be in the photos?

My main focus is to capture the parents and baby/babies, so I don’t tend to make the focus of an image anyone besides them. If medical staff are in the shot, they are usually blurred as focus is elsewhere or their faces aren’t really shown. While I understand and respect that not everyone is receptive to having their photos taken, I am rarely in a position where I’m asked to be aware of who is within range of my lens.

What is the hardest thing about shooting births?

Definitely the spontaneity of labour. Unless someone is having a scheduled c-section or an induction, no one really knows when babies arrive. This is why it is crucial to contact your photographer once labour starts. Some people are in labour for hours and hours while others are very quick! I have to be ready to go at the drop of a hat.

What is the spark that makes you love this job?

Having done it twice myself and witnessing it from the other side, birth is such an unreal experience. It’s unpredictable, exciting and there is nothing like seeing new life enter this world. Seeing the look on the parents’ faces when they see their baby/babies for the first is unlike any other. It’s very emotional!

What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about having a birth photographer?

I think a lot of people have misconceptions about hiring a birth photographer and it’s important to understand that YOU set the boundaries. I make a point to go through EVERYTHING my clients do and do not want photographed ahead of time so that there are no surprises. I try to ensure that I am stealthy and not intruding in any way, like a fly on the wall. As mentioned before, labour can be very spontaneous and there are a lot of things you may or may not remember afterwards. I for one know that I wanted my husband to be in the moment with me and present, not worrying about capturing pictures on his phone. You’re bringing new life into this world and that’s something you’ll want documented. Babies change so much and so very quickly. Those first moments earthside are unlike any others.

Allie has been capturing family memories for years. She specializes in maternity, birth, fresh 48 and lifestyle photography. Learn more about Lysia Cole Photography.

Community Features Series

Starting this March we will be featuring interviews with local businesses! Our first guest will be an interior decorator and we’ll share some tips with you about decorating your nursery!

Do you know a local business who you’d like to see in our Community Features series? Send us their info and we will reach out to them! We’re open to any businesses in Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and Halton regions.

Netflix, that IS NOT a doula!

Have you seen Fuller House’s season 5 premiere? Stephanie brings her baby home and she hired a postnatal doula. But this doula is less “doula” and more “viking warrior”.

Here’s my response to Netflix.

Dear Netflix,

The doula community and myself were appalled at how the postpartum doula was portrayed in “Welcome Home, Baby-to-Be-Named-Later”. We do not boss parents around and we certainly do not keep the baby away from the parents.

Let me tell you a bit more about The Real Postpartum Doula.

Doulas bring back a sense of community that has been lost for nearly 100 years. We are here to teach. We are here to listen. We are here to show you how much of an amazing parent you are! Postpartum doulas support all kinds of different families: single parents, teen parents, bereaved parents, low-income families, parents with twins/triplets/multiples. We offer support for: overnight care, infant feeding, infant care, postpartum healing, normal baby behaviour. The list seems endless.

This job is a calling. You do it because you have a passion for helping others. Doulas take time away from their own families (especially during holiday seasons), to help other families.

Some of the benefits of postpartum care include: lower occurrence of postpartum mood disorders, greater success in breastfeeding, higher self-confidence, more rest and a faster recovery for the mother, more affectionate bonding with the baby.

Studies (here and here) have shown that the more support a mother has, the less likely she is of developing postpartum depression. Sometimes doulas are the only ones that mothers feel comfortable opening up to. We don’t judge. We listen. We hold space. We hold hands. We let the mother shed her tears in safety. We let the mother rest in bed while we take care of light chores, bringing her food and water.

If a situation arises that’s outside of our scope of practice, we help parents find local, trustworthy professionals. We have a long list of resources that may include: therapists, peer support groups, lactation consultants, photographers, house cleaners and pelvic floor physiotherapists.

The vast majority of postpartum doulas agree with me when I say that our goal is to work ourselves out of a job. We want parents to be confident in their parenting skills. We educate them on how to find reliable resources. By supporting their choices, parents learn how to advocate for themselves. Parental self-efficacy isn’t just important when you have a baby, but throughout your entire parenting journey.

Now more than ever parents need postpartum support. Your episode “Welcome Home, Baby-to-Be-Named-Later” not only misinformed the public about postpartum doulas but may have discouraged families from seeking out the support they need. There are some families that only need help for a few days. But there are others that we support for months, even years if you include subsequent children.

We ask that you resolve this discrepancy. At the very least, you owe postpartum doulas and the birthworker community an apology.

Thank you,

Natalie Clark

Postnatal doula

Building Blocks of Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy, or self-belief, isn’t something that we hear about often as a parenting topic but we need to start talking about it. So, what is self-efficacy?

“It is the belief we have in our abilities, specifically our ability to meet the challenges ahead of us and complete a task successfully.” (Akhtar, 2008)

As parents (heck, as human beings!), we will make mistakes. What’s important for us to grasp is the knowledge that we will learn from these mistakes and do better next time.

Note: This blog post isn’t about a certain style of parenting. It’s about the importance of self-belief and knowing that your choices are the best for your family. I could have used any topic as an example: sleep, sun protection, etc. I am using my breastfeeding story because this was my experience towards uncovering my self-efficacy.

My self-belief began alongside my breastfeeding journey. I discovered the power of my body while I birthed and breastfed my children. I had grown these children throughout my pregnancies. And I provided them with all of the food and nutrition they needed after they were born. After successfully nursing my children into toddlerhood, I realized that I had been right all those months ago. The decision that we made as parents was the right one for our family!

My parenting journey is not perfect; far from it actually. But the lessons that I learned from exclusively breastfeeding my children gave me the power to trust my instincts. They have also taught me how to be humble when it comes to bad decisions. To be honest, I struggle with eating my piece of humble pie. That might be due to my Italian roots…

But how can you obtain self-efficacy – this belief in yourself? How is it developed?

I had the full support from my family with my choice to breastfeed. Support doesn’t necessarily mean that they followed the same path that you are traveling. It means that they respect your decisions and are interested in hearing your story. Support can come from anyone who is part of your every day life: immediate family, extended family, friends, neighbours or members of your church.

Being with like-minded parents gives you the opportunity to witness their stories, to share the struggles and celebrate the joys. Look at where your interests and values are. For attachment parenting, many communities have branches of La Leche League and babywearing groups.

A word of advice about the social media community. Use it wisely. There are a lot of pros and cons to joining the “mommy Facebook” groups, but a definite plus is the get-togethers. They are usually informal and hosted at parks, private residences, indoor playgrounds or family-friendly cafés.

If you have a partner, they are a part of the family and an integral part of the decision making. Talk to them, share good information (my next point) and discuss it together. Try to discuss the topic calmly. If emotions run too high, take a break and revisit the discussion another day. You are not going to agree on everything and that is healthy and normal. Remember that relationships are give and take. Oftentimes, compromise is the answer.

The best decision is an informed decision. Do your research! When you find “advice” online, dig a bit deeper. Where did they get their information? Are there studies to back the information up? Does the author seem biased? Just because something is online doesn’t make it a fact. Please don’t base your findings on a blog (and yes, I like the irony here too), speak with the professionals and ask them where they get their information.

How are you building your self-efficacy? Share your stories in the comments!

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi


Gender Reveals and a Funny Video!

Gender reveals have become very popular in recent years. Videos abound online – some are sweet and some are downright hilarious! I have never had a gender reveal party for either of my pregnancies; it wasn’t very common at the time. And yes, I know I’m dating myself here!

Gender reveal parties go hand in hand with the advent of social media and the improved technology of prenatal gender discernment. There is even a blood work test (done on the mother) that can confirm, with 95% accuracy, the baby’s gender as early as 7 weeks!

What do you think about gender reveal parties? Are you planning on hosting one? Do you prefer to keep the gender a surprise? Or do you just binge-watch the videos on YouTube? Come on, be honest… We’ve all done it!

Here is one of my favourite cake reveals:


Image by Marc Leos from Pixabay

Ma lutte avec ma dépression prénatale

J’ai vraiment peur d’écrire ce blog. Non seulement est-ce un sujet délicat, mais ceci est mon premier blogue en français. N’hésitez pas à corriger mes fautes d’orthographes; je suis certaine qu’il y en aura plusieurs! Mai, c’est le mois de la santé mentale et le 1er mai était la journée mondiale de la santé mentale des mères. Comment peut-on sensibiliser le public à ce sujet? Une façon est de raconter notre propre vécu. Et c’est ce que je fais aujourd’hui. Même si cela me donne la trouille.

Dans certaines régions, jusqu’à une mère sur cinq est atteinte par une forme de trouble dépressif ou anxieux périnatal.

Une sur cinq! Rappelez-vous de ça la prochaine fois que vous faites la file aux épiceries. Je suis une de ces mères, mais je ne l’avais pas réalisé jusqu’à récemment, cinq ans après l’événement. Pendant ma première grossesse, certes que je piquais des crises. Mais rien ne compare à ce qui m’est advenue pendant ma deuxième grossesse.

J’hésite vraiment à publier ce blogue. J’ai peur de mettre mon histoire en ligne, à la vue des gens pour le reste des temps. Franchement, je serais plus confortable en discutant mon plancher pelvien et mes fuites de vessie. Mais ça, c’est un blogue pour une autre journée. Maintenant, je vais combattre ma détresse et ma honte. Et c’est pour ces raisons que je vais publier cet article. Pour que tout le monde voit. Pour ce parent qui a besoin de l’aide, qui a besoin de se faire entendre, qui veut être rassuré. Moi, je me sentais toute seule. Je n’avais jamais réalisé qu’il y avait de l’aide disponible. Je croyais que je virais folle! Mais vous n’êtes pas folle! Votre conjointe n’est pas folle! Votre enfant adulte n’est pas folle! Elles ont besoin d’un environnement où elles se sentent en sécurité. Où qu’elles puissent partager leurs pensées, parler ou écrites, sans être jugées.

Physiquement, je n’avais pas de problèmes pendant mes grossesses.

J’avais des sensations nauséeuses mais je n’avais jamais eu de vomissements. Pour moi, mes plus grosses difficultés étaient émotionnelles et mentales. Je ne suis pas certaine quand que ma dépression a commencé. À vrai dire, j’habitais dans un brouillard. Tout ce que je me souviens c’est d’être couché dans mon lit pendant des heures et des heures de temps. Je ne voulais pas bouger, ni manger, ni vivre. Je priais pour le jour que ces pensées s’arrêtent. Ce petit bébé dans ma bedaine me rendait folle! J’ai considéré mettre fin à cette grossesse. J’ai considéré me suicider. De sauter d’un pont. De mettre fin une fois pour toute à ce désespoir. Je n’ai aucun doute que ceci était la période la plus sombre de ma vie. La seule chose qui m’a sauvé c’est mon mari. L’idée de le quitter était plus terrifiante que les souffrances dans ma tête. Les semaines ont passé. Peu à peu, les choses se sont améliorées. Le dernier trimestre était moins pire. La naissance de mon fils était fantastique et j’ai mis ces mauvaises mémoires de côté.

Cela m’a pris des ANNÉES avant que je réalise que j’avais souffert d’une dépression prénatale. Identique à la dépression post partum, mais durant la grossesse. J’en ai appris pendant mes études avec Doula Canada. Pourquoi est-ce qu’on n’entend pas parler de cette dépression prénatale? Il devrait y avoir des affiches dans chaque cabinet de médecins, d’obstétriciens et de sages-femmes!

Alors, je n’ai rien dit. Même pas un mot à mes merveilleuses sages-femmes.

J’étais humilié de mes émotions. Cette dépression m’écrasait. Je n’ai rien raconté, même pas à mon époux. Cela a pris des années pour que j’en lui parle. Et même à ça, je ne lui est pas donné tous les détails. Il les lira pendant qu’il révise mon blogue. Et vous voulez connaître un secret? Après toutes ces années, j’ai encore HONTE de ce qui m’est arrivée, de ma dépression. Même si, intellectuellement, je sais que ce n’est pas de ma faute. Maintenant que j’ai admis que j’ai vécu une dépression, c’est le temps de m’en rétablir.

Si vous soupçonnez qu’un de vos proches souffre d’un trouble dépressif ou anxieux périnatal, ne désespérez pas!

Il y a des soins disponibles! Certains auront besoin de la thérapie ou de médicaments. Et d’autres auront besoin du soutien des pairs. L’élément fondamental est d’offrir un environnement sécure où la mère puisse s’exprimer sans connaître de jugement. Une bonne resource française est eSanté Mentale.

Si vous voulez, je vous invite à partager vos histoires dans les commentaires ci-dessous. Une femme sur cinq souffre des ces maladies. Aidons-les et aidons-nous nous-mêmes en partageant nos histoires.