Even First Ladies Have First-Time Mom Jitters

Michelle Obama recently shared some great information on The Bump  about how the Affordable Care Act can help new and expecting mothers receive coverage from everything from maternity care through pediatrician visits (you can check out the article here for more information). But, what may stand out even more is that the First Lady shared what it felt like for her to be expecting her first baby.

In her own words, she says that during her pregnancy she felt “excitement, wonder, hope… and the occasional moment of panic at the prospect of bringing this little person into the world.” In addition, she remembers asking herself: “Would our little girl be able to tell that we had no what we were doing?”

In a word, she felt overwhelmed!

How many of us can relate to this myriad of feelings? And, how great does it feel to know that even a powerful, confident woman like Michelle Obama has felt like this, too?

The important thing to take away from this is that it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed about having a new baby. This adventure is going bring you joy and love in ways that you’ve never experienced them, but it will also turn your world upside down in more ways than you can imagine. There may be times during your pregnancy, and after, when you start to wonder what you have gotten yourself into!

Let yourself experience these emotions as much as you need to and don’t be afraid to talk to your partner, family, or friends about them. If they are parents themselves, they will certainly be able to relate. One thing that can be a tremendous asset during the early days with your new baby can be adding a doula to your postpartum team. Postpartum doulas are there to help you rest, recover, and reassure you that you are being the best mother you can be! They can help you to understand why your newborn acts they way do and give you a great practical education, such as how to bathe, dress, diaper, and feed your baby. Additionally, they can give you the extra time you need to relax and spend time bonding with your new bundle of joy by taking care of your laundry and dishes, making sure you have healthy snacks nearby, and cooking you a delicious meal. Of course, they also provide you with a listening ear if any of those overwhelming feelings creep up again.

Having a new baby is a big transition – don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. And, remember that all new parents are learning as they go, even the First Family!

What Your Friends Might Not Tell you About the Beginning of Labor

Am I in labor? As this classic scene from Friends illustrates, this is exactly what happens when a woman goes into labor: She feels a twinge of what may be a contraction and that means labor has started. It’s time to panic! The baby is coming. NOW! There will probably not be any time to get out the door to a hospital or birth center, so that means anyone near her must become an instant expert on delivering babies. Oh, and, not to mention the mess! 

You can always trust your Friends, right?

Well… maybe not in this instance. Let’s talk about what labor, particularly the beginning stages, really looks like.

In many cases, deciphering the beginning of labor is not quite so straightforward. Especially if you’re a first time mom that has never experienced a contraction, it can be difficult to know when your Braxton Hicks contractions, which can become more frequent near the end of pregnancy, stop and when real contractions begin. You may also experience Prodromal labor for several days before you are in the throes of active labor.

Prodormal Labor, also known as false labor, produces contractions that feel like stronger Braxton Hicks. But, unlike true labor, these contractions are irregular. They may show up at the same time each day, and last for just a few hours, disappearing as quickly as they arrived. The length of each contraction will also vary. In true labor, contractions will not go away. Instead, they will become stronger, longer, and closer together.

This false labor can be confusing and emotionally draining! But, take heart, if you experience Prodromal labor, all that work is not in vain. It can help to begin the process of softening and dilating your cervix, which may in turn cause you to lose part of your mucous plug - a sign that true labor is coming! There’s certainly nothing false about the bloody show.

So, what can you do if you’re experiencing false labor? Take a hint from your body: just as it’s practicing for the rigors of labor, you can practice your coping mechanisms, breathing, and relaxation techniques. It may also be a good time to double that you have everything packed and ready to go, or to simply sit back, rest, and enjoy some time to yourself before you begin your transition into motherhood.

When real labor begins it’s also not usually the immediate emergency situation it can be made out to be on TV or in the movies. During the early stages of labor, you will likely have time to labor at home, take a shower, or even get some time to rest before heading out the door to the hospital or birth center. Of course, there can be a lot of variability, but an average length of labor for first time moms is between 10 to 20 hours and generally progresses more quickly if you have already given birth vaginally. So, there’s no need to start boiling water or cutting sheets at the first sign of a contraction. If you are at all confused about whether or not you are in labor, you can always give your doctor or midwife a call; they will be able to answer any questions you have and help you assess if it’s time to come pay them a visit.

And of course, one thing you can always be sure of when it comes to your labor, just like your Friends, your doula will be there for you

Doula practice sponsors Breastmilk fundraiser

Main Line Doulas is co-sponsoring film screening in Phoenixville on April 5th, 2014 of Breastmilk, The Movie to raise funds for The Birth Center's three breastfeeding support groups.

March 17th, 2014 Merion Station, PA. Philadelphia area childbirth coach doula practice, Main Line Doulas to sponsor fundraising charity event screening of the film Breastmilk The Movie. The purpose is to raise funds for a free local breastfeeding support group run by The Birth Center located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.  This support group provides the community with three locations in the greater Philadelphia area. The groups are facilitated by Registered Nurse and Lactation Consultant Patty Siegrist and are open to all breastfeeding mothers. For questions about support groups contact Patty at 610-525-6106 or patty@thebirthcenter.org

This breastfeeding group has been a staple support group in the Philadelphia area since 2007.  Patty Siegrist has been supporting breastfeeding mothers at The Birth Center for almost 20 years. She has served hundreds of women, contributing to the overall wellness in our communities.

 Siegrist said,

“Breast milk is the best gift parents can give their baby. Breast feeding isn't always easy. Mother-baby support groups allow women to connect and share the ups and downs of breast feeding so the benefits of breast milk for baby, mother, and family may go on for a lifetime.”

The purpose of this event is to raise money to continue to run the free women's support group. Main Line Doulas wanted to contribute to this important event. Main Line Doulas is the Philadelphia areas largest doula practice, providing  innovative birth and postpartum doula services to families during the pregnancy, birth and the newborn stage. More information about their pregnancy and newborn services can be found at www.mainlinedoulas.com.

Main Line Doulas Founder Aliza Bancoff said,

"When I heard that The Birth Center Breastfeeding support group needed support from local businesses, I immediately wanted to help out in some way and was excited when this idea of a film screening was presented to me. At Main Line Doulas, our primary mission is supporting new moms in our community during the transitions of pregnancy, birth and the newborn period. So supporting this event was a no-brainer for us."

The event will be a screening of the new film Breastmilk The Movie, from the film producers of The Business of Being Born and will take place on April 5th, 2014 at the Phoenixville movie theater, The Colonial Theater at 10am followed by a panel discussion and silent auction.

"With unexpected humor, with an unflinching camera, with some guilt and some pain, this film takes the unusual risk of examining what breast milk truly means. We are often told that breast milk is better. Better for babies, better for mothers, better for nutrition, health, well-being, and society. Many accept this and yet there are still very few women who succeed in breastfeeding exclusively for the recommended six months and beyond. What would it take to change?”

The event was put together by two moms directly affected and supported by the group, Rachael Morris and Rosa Bolger.

When asked why Bolger wanted to put together this event, she said,

“Patty's support group has been hugely beneficial to me, it is the main reason I am able to maintain a loving and successful breastfeeding relationship with my 10 month old, Scarlet. Other than a few early problems, we are lucky that our breastfeeding journey has been relatively smooth, but Patty and the other mothers have not only given me support, but knowledge, love, and confidence as a mother. What could be more important than that?”

The Bryn Mawr group meets every other Thursday. Support meetings are 9:30-12:00pm. Meeting location is at 1062 E Lancaster Ave. (Rosemont Plaza) Room 20.

The West Philadelphia Group meets every other Wednesday from 10am-12pm. The group is held at Studio 34 at 4522 Baltimore Ave.

The Phoenixville group meets every other Friday from 10-12. The location is at St. John's Lutheran Church in the "Fireside Room." Address: 355 St. John's Cir, Phoenixville.

Aliza Bancoff, Main Line Doulas