Natural Creation

Midwives and Doulas Working Together!

It is a common misconception that if you have a midwife, you don’t need a doula.  Midwives and doulas have very different roles with one big overlap – doulas and midwives care deeply about supporting families.  They are a dream team when they work together.

Midwives are trained medical professionals.  Don’t let the first name basis, the long chats at visits, and the warm caring approach fool you.  They have worked hard through 4 years of intensive schooling; they have 3 heavy bags of equipment they carry to any home births (essentially setting up a hospital delivery room in your home); they spend hours charting long after their clinic shift and after your birth; they know how to interpret your medical tests and when to bring in another medical professional for consult; midwives are watching your baby’s growth, your blood pressure, your emotional well being, your baby’s fetal heart rate, your baby’s position, your iron levels and so much more…  Midwives are watching the way your labour unfolds and supporting you in catching your baby or knowing if and when there is a need to intervene for yours and your baby’s safety.  Midwives are delivering your baby, keeping an eye on your bleeding, delivering your placenta, and suturing you if you tear.  Midwives work long call shifts and stay up all night helping one family bring their baby into the world before turning around and treating her morning clinic visit with the same compassion, respect, and professionalism as if she hadn’t missed a wink of sleep.  Midwives are highly skilled, highly sought after care providers with huge hearts and a genuine love for supporting families.

Doulas are educated support people.  Doulas take on none of the medical responsibilities.  No charting.  No responsibility (or training) to check your baby’s heart rate, your blood pressure, your iron levels, your physical well being – aside from your comfort.  Doulas will go over the options you have for your birth before you go into labour.  Doulas will help you articulate what is important to you, your partner, and your family in your birth wishes.  Doulas will guide you in preparing family and friends for the ways they can help in the postpartum period.  Doulas are there to support you in early labour (save your skilled medical care provider for active labour). Doulas are knowledgeable in tools & techniques for providing pain relief and comfort in labour.  Doulas are skilled in observing your rhythm in birth and assisting your to use that.  Doulas are excellent at guiding your partner to just the right spot for counter-pressure and massage.  Doulas provide massage oils, rebozos, TENS machines, breath mints, hair ties, cool cloths, reassurance, encouraging words, ongoing support. Doulas will setup your labour / birth pool, tidy up your house when you depart for the hospital or after your home delivery.  Doulas will fetch the food you crave and keep you hydrated.  Doulas will take the photos of those first moments after your baby is born and you and your partner fall in love.  Doulas will plump your pillow and tuck you up after the hard work of labour.

Midwives & Doulas working together (1)

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Busy Days

Today I worked with the amazing midwife Leah Seibert and another fellow car seat tech to provide car seat checks for several families.  We assisted families in exchange for donations to the Pomegranate Midwives annual Holiday Hamper.  balloonsBalloons marked our spot in the London Drugs parking lot and we were all grateful for the rain holding off and the sun shining.  It was a cold day, and we warmed up with some chai lattes and hot chocolates while the kids were entertained by some lovely volunteers and colouring pages.


Tonight I am prepping my slides for the co-teach portion of my prenatal educator apprenticeship.  Tomorrow I shadow a breastfeeding class run by a lactation consultant.  I feel so honoured to be working with families in so many capacities.  I have been a birth and postpartum doula for almost 9 years.  My heart is full with these opportunities to support families at such an important time, and important transition in their lives.

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Postpartum Doula Visits

What I do as a postpartum doula depends greatly on the parents wants and needs. I am there to facilitate a smooth transition by alleviating stressors as much as possible in the beginning, and then gradually transitioning out as they are able to take on more of the day to day themselves.  The length of time I work with a family varies greatly, as does the number of hours I spend with them each week.

In the early days after birth I typically support parents with breastfeeding, answer questions about early newborn behaviour, go over best practices for mom’s self care, and review their birth experience / birth story.  We talk about community resources, how to best use their family / friend supports if they have any in town, and establish some flexible plans for our visits.  As the days and weeks go on the family’s needs vary.  It comes down to what a family feels they need help with, and what adds to their stress – so we can reduce it!

Recently I worked with a family who had moved from Indonesia during the pregnancy.  At our postpartum visits my client would often nap, shower, chat as usual, but we incorporated something in most of our visits that I had never done before: belly binding.  I was really excited to learn about traditional belly binding and assist her with this daily self care ritual.  I plan to write more about belly binding in a future post!

At another recent postpartum visit I did, the mom really wanted help with some purging.  The piling of past maternity clothes, their previous baby items etc. were a source of stress for both the mother and father.  We went through bags of clothing and household items and decided what could be consigned or donated.  I assisted her with organizing and taking the items to the various places.

Another family was in hospital for about a week after delivery, and after a very long labour the father needed to rest at night in order to be the best support to his partner he could during the day.  I would spend the night at the hospital helping mom with their baby while dad went home to get proper sleep (dad’s are provided a thin mat for the floor in most hospital rooms), so he could return refreshed in the morning.

I show families baby wearing options, provide breastfeeding support, go over baby cues and assist with light household chores including meal prep and much, much more!

It is always a pleasure to be welcomed into a family’s home at such a special time.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After Birth – Guest Post

I am excited to share with you a guest post written by Kristie de Jong a Clinical Counsellor who completed her MA at Trinity Western University.  Kristie works extensively with families, mothers, and children who have experienced trauma.

As a birth and postpartum doula I often have clients hiring me due to a previously traumatic birth experience.  Through education prenatally, empowerment in the birthing room, attentive support postpartum – doulas aim to make this crucial time a positive memory.  For mothers that have had previous birth trauma, counselling is an imperative part of the healing process.


Life After Birth…..Trauma

Birth can be such a wonderful experience and that’s how it should be. However, as more and more couples are encountering struggles in their desire for children, birth and birthing is becoming more and more of a traumatic event. Trauma is defined as an unexpected event that leaves us powerless, helpless and out of control.  So, if there are unexpected difficulties during any stage of the conception, pregnancy, labour or delivery, our brains will in all likelihood register what should be a joy-filled time as a traumatic event.

The time during the birthing process and the immediately afterward should be one of bonding between mother and child as well as between parents and child. If there are any unexpected issues that arise, that can lead a mother to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from trauma that occurred during labour, delivery or birth. This, unfortunately, can impact how a mother bonds with her child.

I recall one mother who had a textbook delivery and things went completely as anticipated. The labour, delivery and birth were all completely normal with no complications. She was all set to take her baby home a few days later, when she woke up with a very ill baby. Her son was immediately rushed to the isolation room in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit where a number of tests were performed and repeated on her infant. Because of the severity of her child’s illness, she was separated from her infant son during this time period. In her specific situation, there wasn’t a doctor who could identify what her son was ill with. Therefore, her son had to undergo numerous procedures and they were not able to assure her that her son would live.

Now, all is well that ends well and the doctors were able to identify what her son was ill with and treat it accordingly. However, this experience forever altered how this mother parented her son, especially in the early years. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined as exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation. The exposure must result from one or more of the following scenarios in which the individual:

  • directly experiences the traumatic event;
  • witnesses the traumatic event in person;
  • learns that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend (with the actual

  or threatened death being either violent or accidental); or

  • experiences first-hand repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event (not

  through media, pictures, television or movies unless work-related).


The event then causes distress or impairment in the individual’s social interactions, capacity to work or other important areas of functioning. Behavioural symptoms include re-experiencing the event through memories, dreams or flashbacks;  avoidance of the memories, thought or feelings of the event, negative cognitions including blaming self, isolation and a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities; and mood, and arousal including the flight, fight or freeze response.

For this mother, she had trouble allowing her child to be out of her sight. She would not leave him with babysitters or alternate care-givers and insisted on being in attendance every minute of his life. In addition, she retained such guilt and self-blame over what had happened that her entire world centered on attempting to mitigate every real and anticipated need that he had. In today’s terminology she would been seen as a helicopter parent but for her it was simply the manifestation of PTSD symptoms related to the birth trauma. She didn’t trust anyone to with her child, she centred on trying to ensure he had the best of everything that he needed, she would cease social activities in order to be with her son as she attempted to ensure his safety and assuage the guilt that she felt.  She became overprotective, she rushed him to the doctor for every little sniffle as she anticipated the worst for his health, she became depressed but chalked it up to post-partum depression, she blamed herself for his illness and she believed her body failed them. Sher interpreted her body’s failure as a betrayal. This caused more feelings of having failed as a mother causing her to further blamer herself. The constant cycle caused a negative spiral of PTSD.

This constant need that drove her, in turn, negatively affected her relationship and bonding with her son. Initially, it appeared that she had a strong, secure attachment with her son but as time passed, it became evident that the behaviours that manifested from her PTSD caused a disconnect between her and her child.

And she is but one example of birth trauma. She is one story.  There are many more struggles that occur during pregnancy and delivery that manifest in the same outcome-PTSD. However, there is hope. PTSD from birth trauma can be processed with the appropriate therapy. In order to ensure that we parent to the best of our abilities, we need to ensure that we have done our necessary work to turn us into the healthiest individual’s that we can be. Far too often, we dismiss events that occur to us a just a normal part of living and we tell ourselves that we will “get over it,” and that we don’t need any professional help. Additionally, we often see getting therapy as a failure or a weakness within ourselves. Unfortunately, trauma is not something that we can just “get over” and it will continue to haunt us and affect our relationships and overall health if we don’t pay attention to it.

If you suspect that you have been impacted by birth trauma, I urge you to seek appropriate counsel. By doing so, not only will you be setting yourself up for success but you will be giving your child the best you can give them: a whole and healthy parent!

Kristie de Jong

Phoenix Soars Counselling

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Buying a Car Seat Isn’t Enough

As a birth and postpartum doula in Vancouver and surrounding areas, I frequently have parents asking me to help them setup their car seat, which car seat to buy, or “does this look right?”  While I have had my own children, and personal experience – I didn’t feel comfortable advising parents without furthering my education.

Today was the second day of my car Child Passenger Safety Technician Certification. I cannot believe the amount of information I have absorbed. It is scary as a mother, and knowing now what I wish I’d known at the beginning of my children-in-car-seats days.  It might be surprising to some that such a certification exists, and that it is such a lengthy training – but the car seat itself isn’t all we need to know about.  I have learned about Seat belts, retractors, air bags, seating positions, various anchors and child positioning within various seat types.

The shocking reality is that the laws around car seats do NOT align with best practices for keeping our kids safe. When it comes to car seat laws – they are a minimum requirement.  Though you aren’t required by law to keep your children rear-facing past 1 year, you are GREATLY improving their safety in a car if you keep them rear facing as long as possible.  Same goes for keeping children in a 5-point harness as long as your seat will allow rather than jumping to get them into a booster seat as soon as they hit the 40 lb mark.

In addition, a surprising number of parents are not using the car seats in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines (the standards with which the car seats were tested).  No judgement here!  I know I have installed car seats wrong in the past.  Can I be honest? I was a little nervous bringing my own car and seats to get checked – partly because my car is filled with toys and crumbs from 3 children wreaking havoc, and partly because I was worried I would find I’d been doing it all wrong!  But as is often the case – best to put any concerns about judgement aside, and come for the information.  Have a car seat tech do a 1:1 check or attend a car seat clinic with your car, car seat and manuals for both.  Make sure it’s installed correctly.  Most techs have kids of their own and have crushed cheerios and children’s shoes scattered across the back floor too… Better yet – come while you are pregnant, before your baby is born and make sure the seat is in correctly – then come back periodically to make sure straps are adjusted and everything is setup for your baby as he/she grows!

Lastly, the car seats are not always being installed in accordances with the guidelines made by the car manufacturer. I’ve learned more about various seat belts than I ever knew there was to learn, more about installing the seats, how a seat should fit, and what to look for when configuring multiple seats in a vehicle.  The type of seat belt you have, the weight capacity for the anchors, and the angle of the seat are all important factors to consider. The car manufacturer model is just as important as the car seat manual.  Finding the install that meets the guidelines of both is crucial.

It might not be rocket science, but it’s more complicated than most parents imagine.  This is not something you want to do on the fly, or take chances with.  Your child’s safety is the most important thing to you – and simply buying and using a car seat isn’t enough.

When it comes to taking care of your baby, I most often advise “follow your instincts”.  But when it comes to car seat safety for your baby, and later toddler and child – don’t follow your instincts – get it checked by a tech!

I will be certified tomorrow Oct 18th, and ready to assist all of my clients with their car seat needs!


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Lending Library

All of our clients have access to our lending library throughout their pregnancy and up to six weeks postpartum.


  • Preparing for a Gentle Birth by Calais-Germain & Pares

  • Mindful Birthing by Bardacke

  • The Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

  • Pregnancy and Birth by Miriam

  • Natural Health after Birth by Dr. Aviva Jill Romm

  • The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears

  • The Birth Book by Dr. Sears

  • The Essential Homebirth Guide by Jane E Drichta

  • The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears

  • The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff

  • Soothe Your Baby the Natural Way by Pamela Rhatigan

  • The Natural Pregnancy Book by Dr. Aviva Jill Romm

  • Having a Baby, Naturally by Peggy O’Mara

  • Birthing From Within by Pam England

  • The Baby Book – Dr. Sears

  • The Birth Partner – Penny Simkin

  • Buddha Mom – the Path of Mindful Mothering – Jacqueline Kramer

  • Hold On To Your Kids – Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate

  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May

  • The No Cry Sleep Solution for toddlers and preschoolers – Elizabeth Pantley

  • Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn – Penny Simkin

  • When Survivors Give Birth – Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women – Penny Simkin, PT, and Phyllis Klaus

  • Placenta, the Gift of Life by Cornelia Enning

  • Having Twins & More by Elizabeth Noble

  • The Birth House – a novel by Ami McKay

  • The Baby Massage Book by Peters Walker

  • Taking Charge of you Fertility by Toni Weschler

  • The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly

  • A Child Is Born, the Drama of Life Before Birth – Photography by Lennart Nilson

  • I Wish Someone Had Told Me–A realistic guide to early motherhood by Nina Barrett

  • Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful by Gurmukh – Yoga for Pregnancy

  • The Natural Healing Power of Placenta by Jennifer West

  • Moon Mysteries–Reclaiming Women’s Menstrual Wisdom by Nao Sims & Nikiah Seeds





  • The Womenly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League
  • Dr Jack Newman’s Guide To Breastfeeding
  • The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears
  • The Breastfeeding Answer Book by Le Leche League
  • Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin




  • Empty Cradle, Broken Heard by Davis
  • Pregnancy after loss by Carol Cirulli Lanham
  • Sign With Your Baby by Garcia
  • Kids Are Worth It by Barbra Coloroso
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman
  • Raising Boys by Biddulph
  • Hold on to your Kids by Gordon Neufield and Gabor Mate
  • Einstein Never Used Flash Cards by Hirsh-Pasek and Golnkoff
  • Without Spanking or Spoiling – Toddler and Preschool Guide
  • The Successful Child by Dr. Sears
  • The Disipline Book by Dr. Sears
  • Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham
  • Becoming The Parent You Want To Be by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser
  • Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim G. Ginott
  • Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kahn

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Expanding My Skill Set – New Certifications!

I love learning new skills, and continuing to expand what services I can offer growing families.  This fall is an exciting and busy time for me as I recertify my first aid, become a certified car seat technician, and work towards becoming a prenatal instructor.

First Aid – I originally certified with St John’s Ambulance, back in my teen years when I volunteered with their organization.  From there I did my OFA 3 certification and worked as an independent contractor for Vancouver Island Health Authority providing first aid to hospital staff when needed (I’ll be honest, I was never needed).  Today I keep my standard first aid certification up to date, and recommend all parents to do an Infant CPR course with Jill Colpitts of Safe Beginnings. Check out her schedule of upcoming classes here.

Child Restraint Systems Technician – I have chosen to do this course for SO many reasons.  I have young children of my own, and am often working with parents as they prepare to leave the hospital or on their first outing with their newborn.  Parents look to me for information on many things as they journey into parenthood, and I have never felt comfortable giving much information about their car seats without being properly educated on all best practices.  After Oct 18th I will be certified, and well educated in a variety of car seats and vehicles for proper installations.  I am excited to confidently offer educational resources and clear information about best car seats for infants, and children, and proper installation practices.  I will provide services to families with children of all ages, as well as including this in my doula package.

Prenatal Instructor – I am so excited to be embarking on this journey to becoming a certified prenatal instructor through the Childbearing Society.  I am just at the beginning of this process, and recently finished observing a class instructed by Shahrzad Tayebi.  Shahrzad is an amazing and inspiring woman!  Her class was amazing, she effectively provided the couples attending with information and there were many laughs had as well!  She is a wealth of knowledge having practised midwifery in Iran prior to her career as a lactation consultant and prenatal instructor here.  I look forward to continuing my studies with the Childbearing Society, and highly recommend attending their prenatal classes, infant massage classes etc, and contacting Shahrzad for a consultation if you have any breastfeeding difficulties!

If you are interested in my doula services, or a consult for your car seat shopping / installation after Oct 18th – please contact me!

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10 Easy “One Hand” Snacks for moms!

I love making sure my clients have quick and easy healthy snacks at their fingertips.  As part of my postpartum visits I enjoy preparing meals for the family, and encourage them to have the ingredients ready for me to make a few snacks to keep ready. The foods I’ve listed below are chosen because they are easy to eat with one hand.  This is crucial when you are breastfeeding or multitasking aka mothering.



1.Energy Balls are at the top of the list.  There are so many variations on this – you can add whatever seeds & nuts you like really!

These are easy to make (no bake), and last a while stored in an air tight container.  Some moms don’t have much of an appetite, so these are a healthy AND temptingly sweet treat I love to make available.


2.Plates of fresh cut veggies and fruit with sliced cheese.  Yes, that simple.  For some reason moms often love the fresh crisp fruits and raw veggie sticks in the early postpartum days, and the cheese provides some protein and fat! Single servings boxed in the fridge make it easy!

3.Nuts and berries.  Anything easy to eat with one hand is great! I pop single servings into tupperware containers and place them by the couch / bed side wherever mom spends time breastfeeding.

4.Breakfast Sandwiches.  I love prepping foods that can go in the freezer.  A package of english muffins, a carton of eggs, sausage patties or ham if you eat meat, and some sliced cheese.  I cook the egg in rounds, and assemble the sandwiches before individually wrapping them and freezing them!

5.Bacon & Egg Breakfast muffins are higher in fat, but also freeze well and have a good helping of protein!Bacon-and-Egg-Breakfast-Muffin-2


6.Oatmeal Protein Cookies contain protein powder.  I highly recommend using a hemp or pea protein powder over whey or soy.

7. Hummus & Pita / Crackers more protein and easy to eat.  Pre-dipping your pita or crackers and plating them before sitting down will make things easier for the breastfeeding moms!

8. Edamame can be enjoyed warm or cold!  So steam (or have someone steam) and season some and ziploc bag them in the fridge for a quick snack!

9. Smoothies might seem a bit obvious, but it’s all about the ingredients!  Mix is up with some coconut milk and pineapple chunks, add your favourite protein powder or kefir and some greens like kale or spinach.  Putting portions in mason jars means you can shake it up if it starts to settle / separate.

10. Rice paper rolls can be loaded with the traditional veggies and nuts etc, or try putting cottage cheese and fruits in there!  A great way to keep things compact and try a variety of flavours and sauces!

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Top 12 For The Doula Bag

I have a great faith in the natural process of birth.  I love supporting a couple in welcoming their new baby – throughout the pregnancy, birth & postpartum.

Achieving a positive birth experience is comes from being educated, and having an educated & experienced support team.

As a doula, and someone that likes to be prepared for anything, I take a range of natural products to aid the birthing mama.

Here is the list of items I pack in my doula bag:

  1. hair ties (for the mama)
  2. hot water bottle (you could also use a microwavable heating pad, but they don’t have a microwave.  I don’t like the plug in heating pads because they are not as easy to move with the mama)
  3. gum/mints
  4. fresh lip balm (for the mama)
  5. battery operated tea lights (candle light is soothing, and these can be used in hospitals too!)
  6. unscented massage oil
  7. essential oils: lavender, jasmine, clary sage, peppermint & whatever else mama might request.
  8. homeopathic remedies: aconite, pulsatilla, caulophyllum, chamomilla, nux vomica, arnica, carbo vegetabilis, kali phosphoricum,&  gelsemium.

  9.  tennis ball (for rolling on the back)
  10. Rebozo
  11. Elle TENS unit
  12. Postpartum Wellness Bath Tea fr making healing frozen pads, and putting in the peri bottle to speed healing.

I should add that for home births I find the Aquaborn birth pool to be an excellent tool.  It doesn’t fit in my doula bag, and can’t be used in hospital births – so that’s for another post!

I welcome any feedback – share what you pack in your doula bag, or what you found most helpful as a birthing mama!

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Chocolatey, Protein Packed Energy Balls

You can never have enough HIGH PROTEIN, healthy SNACKS on hand as a pregnant or new mama!  Keeping protein levels up keeps sugar cravings down!  So here’s it is:


1 cup PB

1 cup raw honey

2 cups oats

1 cup chocolate chips or sunflower seeds

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup ground flax

3 scoops chocolate protein powder


Mix it all up, roll into bite sized balls and refrigerate to set!

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