Category Archives: Breastfeeding

The Top 25 Things NOT to Say to a Pregnant Woman

The Top 25 Things

 

Pregnancy is a time of many things. Joy, peace, wonderment, angst, and so many other emotions rolled into one. What it is also, is a time of realization that people have no filter. And say stupid shit. Why people feel the need to be unabashedly candid while speaking to a pregnant woman is beyond me. Below is a top 25 list of things NOT to say to a pregnant woman:

1. You’re SOOOOO big!

2. Are you having twins?

3. Why would you find out what you’re having? Life’s greatest surprise; ruined.

4. How do you not want to know what you’re having?! (Followed by: I could NEVER do that. I would NEED to know.)

5. Heard those hemorrhoids are a bitch.

6. So it’s true: daughters do steal their mother’s beauty.

7. Two under two. That’s going to be torture. You’re never going to have time for both.

8. Say goodbye to your body! Say goodbye to sex! Say goodbye to time for yourself! Say goodbye to your life! <Etc.>

9. I tore from my vagina to my asshole. I still can’t sit right.

10. What if your epidural doesn’t work? You’ll be able to feel everything.

11. How are you going to lose all this weight once the baby is born?

12. You’re barely showing. Are the doctor’s concerned? You need to eat more.

13. You’re having a natural delivery? You’re insane.

14. You’re getting pain meds during delivery? I heard they damage your baby.

15. You’re going to breastfeed your baby boy? Gross. Aren’t you worried he will be obsessed with breasts?

16. You’re going to poison your baby with formula? Don’t you know breast is best?

17. Breastfeeding is torture. Just use formula, save yourself the trouble.

18. Where is he/she? I’m so sick of waiting! Come on out (spoken to stomach or, for the really self-UNaware, vagina)!!

19. You’re naming him/her ____ (insert literally ANY name)?!?! Oh, I knew a ____. Total meth head. I’m sure your baby won’t turn into a meth head, though.

20. OMG you look bigger and bigger every time I see you! That baby must be running out of room in there!

21. Sorry, I forgot you can’t drink. I feel so bad for you.

22. You just look so exhausted. I’ve never seen you look so tired.

23. When I was pregnant… (insert unwanted story about how that person did something better than you).

24. You’re going to eat your PLACENTA?! That’s so gross. You’re like a cannibal.

25. You’ve really filled out everywhere this pregnancy.

In conclusion, unless you have something positive to say, PLEASE keep it to yourself. Chances are she has answered the same questions 29,845,729,845 times, and, if you’re a stranger, she doesn’t want to talk to you.

Please feel free to comment below with your “favorite” unwanted comment you received during your pregnancy.

Publisher’s note: the idea to write this blog post came to me after seeing a series of snapchats from laurmcbrideblog (that’s her snap personality if you want to follow her, and her blog is here) of stupid shit people had said to her just that day. Originally, the post had started with the top 10, but after reaching out to a few previous and current clients, the list grew rapidly.

A Year in Review

Today is my first MCMaternity baby’s first birthday. Where the HECK has the time gone?! I can’t believe I am lucky enough to have been doing what I love for a year. And, I can’t thank the families who put their trust in me to be a part of their birth stories enough. Without people believing in what I do, there would be no MCMaternity. So again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

What has this year looked like? Below is a little summary of highlights:

  • Completed my DONA International Doula training workshop in Albany, NY
  • 7 vaginal deliveries
  • 1 Caesarean section delivery
  • Helped an additional 5 families prepare for birth (education, birth plan design)
  • Became a Certified Lactation Counselor
  • Took classes in childbirth education, reflexology, and breastfeeding
  • Had my services auctioned at the AGC Scholarship Foundation Gala for Hope

What do I have planned so far for this year?

  • Twins! Multiple sets of them :) :)
  • Experience with same-sex couples
  • Infant CPR certification
  • Learning more tips for the blog, first-hand, by babysitting my favorite 4 month old baby girl

What are my goals for this year?

  • Help a lot of people
  • To finish all certifications I have started
  • Figure out better ways to market myself
  • Write more blog entries
  • GET PREGNANT. For crying out loud.
  • At least 12 deliveries. At LEAST.
  • Complete the “Packages” section of my website
  • Learn more about the business side of business
  • Find a good, reliable back-up doula (anyone interested??)

Long-shot Goals (if I make enough revenue to support):

  • Start the process of becoming a certified Childbirth Educator
  • Become a certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (that’s right, folks! It’s time other people hop on board the placenta-loving train!)

I am very excited about this coming year. Now that I have some great education and first-hand birth experience under my belt, I certainly need to learn more about the business side of this business. Have suggestions? Don’t be shy! I thrive off of constructive criticism, and I created this website for you. Let’s make this business work, together :)

Interested in joining my team? Contact me. Know of anyone who could benefit from my services? Please, let me know. Want to give my services as a baby shower gift? I have the certificate ready :)

And, if you see this handsome, happy little one-year old (who absolutely ADORES his older sister), wish him a Happy Birthday!

Posted with permission

Posted with permission

 

What Does a Doula Actually…Do?

Recently, I was able to meet up with my brothers for lunch in Boston. It was a beautiful spring day, and amongst the lively conversation, my business came up. We discussed how I was searching for ways to make this a thriving business so that this is the only job I have to do, and still be able to provide for my family. And then, my brother shed light on a fact that I had not thought of:

“What does a doula actually do?”

He told me that he often shares with people what I am doing, but when they dive deeper and ask him questions about it, he is unsure of how to respond. He usually says something like “she does stuff with pregnant ladies and their babies” and the conversation usually dies there.

Well, I am certainly glad that this has been brought to my attention. Because if my own brother is unsure of what I do, who else is wondering?

So, here is my best way to describe my role as doula: I provide labor, delivery, and immediate postpartum support for any family who wants it. To delve deeper, I first meet with potential clients for a non-binding, relaxed interview**. Next, I meet with my clients at least twice (but as many times as the mom/couple wants) to better understand their birth wishes. I help them design a birth plan, and explain medical interventions that may arise, and what their options would be in those situations. I touch upon L&D terminology they may hear, so it is not so foreign during a time of high stress and emotion. I educate the family about the birthing process, but do my best not to overwhelm with information. I show them prenatal exercises that may be helpful, and demonstrate comfort measures that may be used during their labor. I really try to get to know the mom/couple so that I may best understand their wishes during this beautiful time.

When it comes time for labor, I am on-call and ready to go any time of the night or day (just ask ANY of my clients :) ). I come to the hospital, birthing center, home, or wherever you have decided to labor and provide continuous support throughout. When desired, I do everything possible to get the partner involved in mom’s care. I demonstrate what the partner can do to help, and then take a back-seat and allow them to enjoy the experience together. My support throughout labor takes on many forms. Some that come to mind are relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, making sure mom and partner remain hydrated, coaching helpful movement, providing massage and/or reflexology, and understanding when, and coaching how, to change labor positions. When necessary, I also facilitate communication between the family and medical staff. I will never speak for you, but rather make sure you understand the information being presented to you, and refer you back to your birth wishes during times of high emotion.

PWP Photography by Fiona Johnson

PWP Photography by Fiona Johnson

When it is time to push, I take on whatever role the couple wants. Those roles include (but are not limited to): leg holder, coach, counter, encourager, hand holder, gentle touch provider, hydration coach, photographer (though quite amateur!), re-focus-er, masseuse, breathing control, reinforcement for a tired partner, mirror holder, cold towel dabber, intervention explainer, and, on rare occasions, placenta courier…really ANYTHING the couple wants or needs I will do.

PWP, Photography by Tiffany Farley

PWP, Photography by Tiffany Farley

My care does not stop here. After delivery, if mom and baby for any reason need to be separated (emergency or routine), it has been my observation that her partner stays with the baby. Well, after delivery mom still has work to do. I stay by her side, and support her through fundal massage and placenta delivery. In the rare transfer of baby to NICU, I stay with the family as long as they want, support breast milk expulsion when desired, and help the family communicate with medical providers. When mom and baby are not separated, and the Magical Hour can be observed, I often become photographer to capture tender moments between mom, baby, and partner. If desired, I also facilitate breastfeeding support to help embark on a positive breastfeeding journey. I usually stay up to an hour after birth, but I take my cues from the family on when to exit so they can bond together, uninterrupted.

People often assume that I only work with women who desire to have natural home births. This is simply not true (although women should know their amazing bodies are certainly capable of this feat). If pain medication or medical interventions are desired, that is perfectly fine. I adapt my care to the desires of the family. My main goal is that the family has a positive birth experience, however that may be.

I hope this entry has shed some light on what I consider my role as the doula to be. I also hope dads and partners understand that my role in no way diminishes theirs, if anything I strive to get you more involved. Below are some tidbits from clinical studies from the DONA International website for people who choose to work with doulas. If you have any more questions, please post them below and I will be happy to answer them <3

Information from DONA International

Information from DONA International

**It is EXTREMELY important for the doula you chose to be a match so you can feel comfortable with the whole experience. If I am not the doula for you, I can provide you with a list of referrals, with no hard feelings at all.

Big News at MCMaternity

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who reached out about my big news! Second, considering all of the pregnancy inquiries I received, my news is going to be anticlimactic for some. But as far as my business goes IT IS HUGE!

So, here goes:

You know that exam I was so concerned about? The ANCC-accredited Nursing Skills Competency Program Certified Lactation Counselor exam?  Well, I FREAKING PASSED IT!!! And, I didn’t just pass it, I freaking nailed it. Turns out, I know more about boobies than I thought I did :)

CLC1

I took the exam through the Healthy Children Project, Inc. which is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s COA.

Now, I am Mary Choquette, CLC. Has a nice ring to it, eh?

CLC2

So, what does that mean for MCMaternity? It means that I can now make house calls to women struggling with breastfeeding, or provide phone counseling. Also, even more so than before, I can help initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth. I can assess a latch, determine feeding issues, offer guidance, and really counsel women to be successful with their breastfeeding journey. To anyone who has struggled with any aspect of breastfeeding, imagine how different your experience could have been with a little support.

It also means I now have the “authority” (if you will) to help change breastfeeding views in my community. I have the education necessary to “get some attention” from local hospitals and legislation writers. I can speak intelligently about the ’10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’ in hopes that hospitals with staff who are “set in their ways” to be re-educated with this research-based evidence of how to bring the success rates up. And, I plan to do just that. With the right support, so many more women can be advantageous in their nursing journey.

Did you have trouble with breastfeeding? If so, what were some ways you worked through the issues at hand?

Are you having trouble now? If so, call me :)

My Breast Week of Learning – Ever

As many of you know from my Facebook page, I recently attended the Healthy Children’s Center for Breastfeeding Certified Lactation Counselor training course. This course was a 45-hour, non-stop, fast-paced, research-based training to become a CLC. At the end of the course we all took an exam that consisted of video competencies, visual diagnostic questions, and a multiple choice exam. My reaction to the course as a whole: wow. I am completely blown away. I had no idea there was so much to know about breasts, lactation, latch, hormones, feeding issues, methodology, etc. etc. While I will have MANY more posts in the future about breastfeeding (as soon as I can wrangle up some brave mamas who will consent to being photographed!) below are my “Top 5″ favorite topics covered in the course.

1.  First and foremost, learning about “The Magical Hour”. I could have spent 45 hours on this alone. I was in tears after watching the video, and hearing people’s personal experiences. The gist here is that all babies, when allowed to be skin-to-skin right after birth, go through nine distinct stages. In the eighth stage, or the “Suckling Stage”, baby learns how to self-attach to mom’s breast and suckle. This lays the foundation for a successful breastfeeding experience, and My God, it is so beautiful to watch a baby go through these steps. (To learn more about “The Magical Hour” visit this site.)

2.  Next, learning about all of the benefits of breastfeeding made me a little sad. Why? Because I feel like they aren’t all “public knowledge”. I feel like if women knew all of the benefits, they would only choose not to breastfeed if they physically could not. Before the course I knew breastfeeding was beneficial to mother and baby, but I did not know of any concrete-evidence-based facts. I didn’t know that it was so important the Surgeon General released a Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. I will certainly get more in-depth about these benefits in another entry, but man. Boobies are amazing.

3.  I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. That means that since high school, I have taken one “science course” which was “Physics for the Humanist”. Aside from the little tidbits from my doula, baby planning, and childbirth education courses, science has pretty much taken a back seat. The picture of me below is my “oh shit” face after realizing the first whole day was about the science and anatomy of the human breast and stages of lactogenesis. I soon realized that just knowing “milk comes out of there” was not going to cut it in this course. As I sat between nurses, midwives, nurse practitioners, etc. who were nodding along, already familiar with the terms, I sat there frantically highlighting, making notecards, and turning to my glossary. The science behind breastfeeding is truly fascinating, and I am so pleased that something of this nature finally interests me!

CLCtraining

“Oh shit” face, after-class study station, Alex&Ani inspiration

4.   Learning how to properly assess a latch, understanding feeding cues (not just the obvious ones!), and being able to determine whether or not the baby is thriving are very important tools I learned in the course. I feel confident in my ability to assess a feeding, and how to guide mom when things aren’t going well.

5.  I really learned how to counsel women. I think that some of the breastfeeding campaign has become a scare tactic (like, you MUST do this if you want the best for your baby, rather than giving women the tools to succeed) and I feel I learned some good tools to help women succeed, rather than bully them into trying it.

While I found the course extremely challenging, mostly due to my lack of biology training, it was certainly my “breast” week of learning – ever. I left the class feeling empowered to help women (and their partners) be successful in their breastfeeding journey. I also felt empowered to take as many steps as possible to normalize breastfeeding, promote it, and establish best practice within my community.