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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A doula is worth a bag of gold...

I recently read an interesting quotation from Ms. Indra Nooyi, chairwoman of PepsiCo, Inc. regarding prenatal care:

"Where I was born in India, pregnant women receive months of pampering from their mothers and other family members. Because my mother received this care during her pregnancy with me, she was there to give me the same treatment when I gave birth to my two children in the United States."

How interesting. Pampering and nurturing the mother, ensuring that she is well-looked after, is an integral part of Asian culture. This watchfulness, as well as good medical care in the form of access to healthcare providers and prenatal vitamins, pays off with the reward of a healthy baby and healthy mother.

Yet, many women are quite resistant to prenatal pampering. They insist on going it alone, working despite tiredness, trying to be a superwoman through morning sickness, pushing themselves when they need to rest. Many will argue that they do not want, have time for, or need any additional help.

My response is this: if you cannot accept and cherish help at this special time of your life, when will you?

Be informed. Be confident. Be empowered.
Birth into motherhood with Doula Angelita

Monday, September 28, 2009

Homebirth in Ohio

The following is an open letter to the birth community from a family that is under fire for a homebirth-even though the child was born whole and healthy. It is a terrible indictment for the birth community at large, and never think that just because this example occurred in Ohio, that it will not happen in all parts of the United States.

This issue is so important to me that I am broadcasting it on my blogs, and tweeting about it. I ask all those concerned with birth and motherhood pass this information along, and please find a way to help. The family is requesting HELP ONLY; further antagonizing the prosecutor with fiery letters is NOT a useful idea.

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As many of you may know, we had our pre-trial hearing this morning. We were hoping once the lawyers got a chance to hash things out, the charges would be dismissed. That was not the case. The prosecutor offered us a plea-bargain for the charge of disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. As much as my husband and I would love to close this horrible chapter of our lives and put it behind us, we didn't take the plea. First of all, we are not guilty of anything, and don't want a guilty plea following us around for the rest of our lives. Second of all, we felt that a guilty plea would validate the charges against us. Also, I thought that a guilty plea would give the impression that homebirth is wrong, and possibly open the door for other families to be prosecuted.
Right now, we don't have a trial date, and there is still a possibility that the charges could be dropped before going to trial. I want to consult further with my lawyer before involving the media, or unleashing a firestorm of letters and calls to the prosecutor. I just wanted to update everybody with what's going on and let everybody know what they can do to help.
This is always the hard part for me, as I'm not comfortable asking for things, but so many people keep asking how they can help, and we do need help, so I'm learning a lesson in humility. Obviously this is affecting us financially since we are a single income family, and my husband's hours at work have been reduced indefinitely. So far this whole fiasco has cost us $6427 in legal and medical bills. To pay our attorney, we took a $4000 cash advance on a credit card (at 20% interest). We have already raised quite a bit through fundraisers and individual donations, and we are grateful to everybody who has helped us so far. Paypal donations can be made to sweetchildofmine@live.com . You can also e-mail any questions to that address.
I know some people may be hesitant about sending cash, and I completely understand. Anything that saves us money on things we regularly have to buy would help too. Gift cards for groceries, gas, restaurants, clothes, etc are definitely welcomed. Also we definitely won't turn down local people who feel like dropping by with a pizza, bucket of chicken or a bag of your kids' old clothes!
There are also plenty of ways to help that are FREE!-Send us your prayers and positive thoughts!-Help out with a fundraiser.- Be supportive of other families who make choices that may seem out of the ordinary to you.
I started a Facebook group page as a means to keep everybody updated. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=140938029710
Please feel free to repost this message on Facebook, e-mail or any forums where it will enlist more supporters for our cause. Please do not alter the message in any way, except to remove anything that may be a violation of the TOS of the site you post it (namely fundraising info).
It's time for us to stand up for our rights as women, parents and law abiding citizens who don't want the government trampling on our rights to live and raise our families as we choose! If they succeed with prosecuting us, it won't stop there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to get children to try new foods!

Here are my tips for getting children to try new things:

1. Cook it the way you normally cook it. Put 2-3 on the plate. Admire the colour, texture, smell. Eat it first. Offer it to the child. This may take 5 exposures, but patienct and good humour will always help the process rather than yelling or threats.

2. Use a small amount of ketchup or other sauce to aid in the taste. I personally do not like brussels sprouts but with hollandaise sauce and or ranch, they are bearable.

3. Cook the food a dfferent way. Sometimes, cooked vegetables do not please, but raw ones taste better.

4. Tricky foods, like seafood, often do take repeat offers. One way is to use a building system: most kids like tuna fish. Then move to canned salmon. Cook a white flesh fish. Scallops often are accepted, as are mahi-mahi or chilean sea bass. Again, small portions, and the child not being tired help with the acceptance process, as do the fact that these should not be unfamiliar foods in the household.

5. Pair familiar foods with unfamiliar ones. For example, fish and chips is a good dish for introducing seafood. The familiar chips paired with a mild fish, again in small portions should brighten up most kids.

6. Eat outside and grill. Of course, weather permitting, but the smell of fresh air, combined with grilled food often induce a heartier appetite and desire to try the food.

Good luck and let me know how these tips work for you!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The recent answer to "Who Am I?"

I am a trident doula/parenting coach/nutrition guide/women's issue advocate firmly committed to helping women wherever they are along the childbearing continuum. I pride myself on being San Jose's Community Doula! and love to offer all my knowledge and expertise to them, and love working with other birth professionals to help women blossom into the mothers they secretly want to be.

Born to a Caribbean family of healers and women's advocates, I have found my path and vocation as a doula. I am also studying to be a midwife; have EMT training and nurse assistant experience, constantly learn/lecture/write about birth and have a wonderful time being both wife and mother in beautiful sunny San Jose!


As a doula/parenting coach/nutrition guide/women's issue advocate, these are the top snacks/drinks I recommend for moms on the go:

1. juice boxes. do not need refrigeration, can keep for one to two months or more, compact.

2. homemade trail mix in a ziploc bag. Fruits, berries, cereal, little chocolate chips: easy to keep energy on the go.

3. EmergenC. Keep a box or two in the car; just add water, which is also a necessity.

4. Water. A case of small bottles or one jug, whatever. Cups as well. Warm or cold, water is good for your body.

5. Cereal bars/protein bars. There is a balance of nutrition and taste in there.

6. Dried fruit. There are many varieties and they give you a quick burst of energy and health.

7. Vitamins. Many people forget to take their vitamins, but keeping them in the car usually ensures that they will take it.

8. Pita bread, especially wheat pita,can keep in the car for up to a month.

9. Natural popcorn(already popped) Low sodium, low fat, good snacking.

10. peanut butter/cashew butter. I have clients who keep some type of nut butter with them in their cars. A spoonful of these is filling and nutritious.


What pregnant women should do to avoid the flu!


Talk to your healthcare provider about any measures that you need/want to take to reduce you/your baby's risk.

Keep hydrated. Water is cleansing and a moist, cool environment does not harbour germs.

Take your prenatal every day. Your body needs all the help it can get to be as strong as possible during your pregnancy.

Have a flu shot ASAP. The sooner you take even the "regular" flu shot, the better your body will be prepared to fight off infection.

Air out your house/apartment twice daily, once in the AM, once in the PM for 15 minutes each time. Stale air retains germs.

Limit the traffic in your home in terms of visitors; the fewer the number of contacts, the decrease in the opportunities for infection.

Pack a travel kit: hand sanitizer, plenty of tissues, gloves, extra plastic bag for used tissues, mask. Put one in every bag.

Checklist yourself every day; if you have a fever greater than 100F, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose-STAY HOME.

Stay home if you feel run-down but have no symptome. Rest and fluids can sometimes turn the tide if your body is on the borderline of illness.

Wash your hands for at least one minute, scrubbing front and back, up to the wrist. EVERY TIME YOU WASH THEM.

If you do get sick, stay home for at least seven days until the symptoms disappear.

Think positively: you are doing all you can to bring a happy, healthy baby into this world!

-- Doula AngelitaResurgam BirthingWell8899760 458 7070mobiledoula4hire@gmail.comhttp://doula6angelita.blogspot.comhttp://resurgambirthingwell.wetpaint.comtwitter.com/doula6angelita

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Update on the Dayton, OH Homebirth Arrest Case

First, before I begin, I want to thank Ms. Stephanie Beck-Borden, press liasion for Ohio Families for Safe Birth, for her extreme patience and understanding as I woke her and her child up to speak about the case. She was very pleasant and helpful, and again I apologize for my brashness and rudeness! I feel terrible!

Now, for the meat of the matter:

1. The story that has been on the message boards for the past two weeks is TRUE. The woman has been charged with giving birth in her own home, even though the birth was vaginal delivery and the baby is fine.

2. The reason that I could not find information on this through the usual media outlets is that the family wants a)privacy, and b) not to antagonize the authorities any further as there is a court appearance later on in the month.

3. People in Dayton, OH who are aware of the facts and the case, are having garage sales, etc. to help raise funds for the legal defense of the family.

4. The best thing to do at this moment is to do nothing. We support the family as members of the birth community, but we do not want the prosecutors to feel that they have to make an example of this family. THIS IS ALSO THE FAMILY's WISH.

5. I will be on top of this case and will post as soon as there are new developments.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please contact me via Twitter and I will obtain feedback from the source.

Be Informed. Be Confident. Be Empowered.
Birth Into Motherhood with Doula Angelita, San Jose's Community Doula!

Checklist for Postpartum Health

I was on a web radio station tonight with Dr. Derrik Da Silva, an MD who is interested in a holistic approach to health, including the use of complementary and alternative medicine. We talked about some things to look for to make sure that you, and your s.o. are in tip-top physical and emotional shape after birth.

Here are the suggestions that were generated for those that missed the show:

1. Make sure that you both get plenty of rest. Tiredness promotes crankiness and feelings of isolation.

2. Keep hydrated. Water will help flush toxins and postpartum weight, and keeps both of you in the pink of health.

3. Keep affection, romance and touch alive. A simple touch of the hands, looking into each others' eyes, or falling asleep together on the couch sparks the feelings that attracted you to each other.

4. Ladies: TAKE YOUR PRENATAL FOR ONE YEAR AFTER THE BIRTH OF THE BABY. Many women discontinue the prenatal right after birth, or let it drift out of their lives. Maintaining the concentrations of vitamins and minerals in your body will promote optimal health.

5. Ladies and gentlemen: daily fish oil will boost your immune system and encourages organ health.

6. If you are feeling run down about 3-6 weeks after giving birth, at about the time of your 6 week checkup, ask your health care provider about routine tests to check for:
vitamin D deficiency
thyroid functioning
postpartum depression

Give your body, mind, and soul time to heal and to come back into a semblance of order. Your body has been through a year of hormonal shifts, stretching of the skin, respiratory compaction, etc. You will come back; just concentrate on keeping healthy, bonding with your baby, relaxing and caring for yourself!

Be Informed. Be Confident. Be Empowered.

Birth Into Motherhood
with Doula Angelita, the San Jose Community Doula!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Early Birdie: BOLD Red Tent Event

A red tent...mothers' voices...intimacy...truth...

After BOLD New York's hugely successful Red Tent Event in 2006, a thought struck:

"Why not have BOLD Red Tent Events around the world throughout the year?"

BOLD's Red Tent Events concept is simple: gather women under a "red tent" to listen to mothers' birth stories and then record their stories via film, written word or visual expression as part of BOLD's Library of Birth Truths.

A BOLD Red Tent Event is an excellent opportunity for communicating throughout the world to be BOLD any time of the year and to showcase every community's local birth resources.

There will be a BOLD Red Tent Event:

18 October 2009

Further details provided by: Doula Angelita

Watch this space for more information!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Destressing 101

For this Labour Day weekend, I wish all of you at least one hour of relaxation, renewal, rejuvenation and resurgance.

With all the stresses, cares and worries of daily life, it is necessary to make time for the contemplation of peace, of the beauty of creation. Did you really need more than 200 studies to prove that mind, body and soul need time to destress and detoxify?

Salons and spas make a living at pampering and beautifying our physical selves, but what time do we give to pampering and beautifying our mental outlook?

Yoga does a great job of reviving mind, body and spirit. Tai Chi, and meditation also are great for reinvigoration. But, what about building such practices into your daily care plan?

One suggestion is to have a certain spot in your home dedicated to peace, serenity and tranquility. I have a curtain, behind which I have a picture of my green Tara, a picture of Jamaica, a notebook, fresh flowers, a bowl of stones and my yoga mat. When I get stressed during the day, I take a moment to close my eyes and think about how lovely it will be to take time for myself in my little cubbyhole.

Just the thought of a calm spot is enough to lower my stress level. Here are eight more suggestions for destressing 101:

2. Take a warm bath. Remember the old commercial? "Calgon, take me away!"

3. Read a good book. Choose a bestseller, chose an old favourite, just choose one!

4. Listen to good music. Remember how good it feels to just dance and enjoy music? If it's Mozart or the Pogues, just put on what you like and let it go, baby!

5. Take deep breaths. Here's an easy one: inhale in for 5 seconds, exhale out of your mouth for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times.

6. Use aromatherapy. My favourite is lavender, but there is a world of fragrances that will calm, soothe and relax. Candles, bath beads, body scrubs...let your imagination flow!

7. Use visualization. Shut off the tv, dvd, computer, blackberry etc. Get into your comfy chair, sofa or on the floor. Close your eyes. Think of the place you would like to be most, of the person you love the most, of the best time you ever had in your life. Don't worry if you fall asleep; that means your body needs the rest and you did it through relaxing your body.

8. Spend time outdoors. Get to a place where there are trees, by the ocean, by the mountain top...just get out!

So use this long weekend to revive the inner you. Your life will thank you!

"As I continue down this journey of life, I know one thing: It's the beauty that sustains and nourishes me..."

Kate Porter, Life In Beauty