Pregnancy can be such a busy time - appointments with your provider, researching baby gear, baby showers, planning your leave from work, finding a daycare provider, reading ALL the pregnancy books, turning your house into a home for baby, and so on.
The thought of adding one. more. thing. can be overwhelming - I know I've been there.
There are also financial concerns to balance - anticipating the bill from the hospital, making adjustments for maternity or paternity leave, buying ALL the baby things, and so on.
Given the time and financial pressures of this moment, perhaps it seems like investing in childbirth education - especially outside the hospital classes - is something that can't quite fit.
I hear you. I do.
But, birth matters. Not just birth in general, but YOUR birth matters. You matter.
We often emphasize the importance of a healthy baby, but I maintain there is room for valuing a healthy and happy birthing parent in that equation, too.
As a childbirth educator who offers classes outside the hospital environment, I can share with you all the options and choices - the full birth buffet - rather than a menu limited by policy or staff preference.
As a childbirth educator who is also a doula, I believe in the importance of nonjudgmental support, and I carry this with me into the space and community of my classroom. There is room for your hopes and your fears in my classroom as well as your birth choices, whatever those may be.
Childbirth education shouldn't just tell you about birth, it should prepare you with a confident knowledge of labor and birth. It should support you as you craft a full toolbox particular to your desires to meet birth's challenging moments. And, it should inspire you with a fire to advocate for what is right for you.
And, birth is just the beginning. As a breastfeeding educator and sleep educator, I offer a series of classes to prepare you for life after baby and strengthen your partnership ahead of time to meet the ebb and flow of life with your new little one.
If you're feeling ready to invest in your birth with more classes, I give you a big high five. Come check out the full range of classes offered by Nested Mama, including group classes, webinars, and private classes to meet your busy schedule needs.
***update *** I've recently learned that Madriella removed their advisory board, including the midwife who created their rigorous curriculum. They also closed the Madriella-sponsored Facebook group, which created the rich sense of community support when I went through the program. If you are considering their program, I encourage you to make sure it is the right fit for you by asking any questions you need directly to the organization as this review may no longer speak to the current experience of students in the program.
Are you considering becoming a doula and completely overwhelmed by the options for training and certification? I know I was when I started looking into the education I wanted to build my skill set as a doula.
Because I field this question so frequently from prospective doulas, I'm sharing a bit about my experience with training and certification with Madriella Doula Network. (And if my review makes you jazzed to get started, you can use my affiliate code* TOMLINSON154 to save $50 on the Professional Membership - woohoo!!)
If you've already made a foray into the many large doula groups on social media, you'll know that people often feel VERY strongly about their choice of training and/or certification program. While I am pleased with my training and experience, I tend to be a little more tempered in my recommendations because I think that your individual fit with a program is more important than my personal experience. You want a program that is the right fit for YOU.
So when asked about my recommendations the first thing I point out is that in my community, doulas have trained and certified with a variety of different certifying bodies. Because the doula industry isn’t regulated, my general recommendation is to look closely at the philosophies and method of training offered by those that interest you and find one that aligns with your values as well as learning style.
As I searched various doula programs, Madriella's philosophy resonated with me. (You can read about their philosophy, code of ethics, and history here.) Specifically, I like that the organization didn't seem invested in the divisive language that I found in some other programs. I also appreciated the efforts made to keep their training affordable.
When I dug into the program, I was thrilled to learn that the Professional Membership included not one but TEN courses including birth doula, postpartum doula, professional development, massage for labor, breastfeeding education, childbirth education, loss and bereavement, and placenta specialist (note: this course does not teach encapsulation). More recently, Madriella added two more courses to help better prepare doulas to meet the diverse needs of their clients: Understanding Developmental Disabilities and Young Parent Support Specialist.
If you know me, you know I am a serious serial learner, so the opportunity to have all of that knowledge accessible to me was a huge draw. A little over a year into my professional membership, I've completed five of those courses, and I'm currently in the midst of my sixth.
I also wanted to know that the courses were rigorous, and I would emerge from my training with the knowledge and skill I needed to feel confident in this work. Madriella's curriculum is written by a midwife and the birth course, in particular, is a major deep dive into what you need to know.
Because I was an avid reader about birth before my doula training, I wasn't expecting to be challenged as much as I was - but I was certainly pleased that this was the case. Because Madriella requires all members to complete the first three courses in order - birth, postpartum, and professional development - the courses naturally build on each other. Once you complete those three, you can move onto any of the other courses in any order you wish. I found this really helpful, because it naturally developed my knowledge and meant the other courses didn't feel repetitive.
When you look at doula training programs, it is important to consider your learning style and what course design can help you succeed. For me, reading and writing is my jam, and Madriella's course design works well for this. If I was a different kind of learner, however, Madriella may have not been the best fit - so here is where I really emphasize knowing yourself and what works best for you.
The other thing I needed from any training program was flexibility, and because Madriella is self-paced it fit this need quite well. As the primary homeschooling parent to three little ones, I knew I'd be fitting in this training into the nooks and crannies of life. Because I wrote my dissertation that way after having my eldest, I knew I could make it work if the program was flexible enough.
The flip side of that, of course, is that a self-paced program requires motivation on the part of the learner to complete it. Here, Madriella's online community can be a great help in finding accountability partners or engaging in the community as you move through the program.
In a nutshell, a rigorous program, a supportive community, and a self-paced course design made Madriella the right fit for me.
Is Madriella Doula Network the right fit for you? Jot down my affiliate code* TOMLINSON154 and you can save $50 on the Professional Membership - how awesome!
Got more questions about my experience? Feel free to reach out! And, I'll be following this blog detailing my experiences with another doula training organization - Bebo Mia - soon.
*One of the ways Madriella succesfully keeps the program so affordable is by utilizing affiliate advertising. Please note that as an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you use my code to save on the membership.
If you are anything like me, all thoughts of jewelry beyond stud earrings and the occasional silicone teething necklace went out the window once I had little ones. I didn't like the feeling of a necklace being yanked as I held and wore my kiddos, and the thought of them mouthing most jewelry motivated me to keep it all in a drawer. That's why I'm beyond thrilled to share about a local-to-me, super stylish mama whose "mama metal" creations make beautiful and practical jewelry for parents of little ones a reality.
I know you are full-time working mom with two beautiful little ones. How did you come to start designing jewelry in addition to that?
I was looking for some uniquely shaped centerpieces, as well as different options for chains. Fox + Bear offers a variety of options to personalize your chain including adding semiprecious gemstone beads, fine silver charms, and multi-strand chains. I love the addition of a charm because you can adjust the length of the necklace by changing where you clip the clasp.
Anyone interested in purchasing jewelry by Fox + Bear Designs can visit my page on Facebook @FoxPlusBearDesigns and send me a message. I have in-stock and ready to wear pieces listed in albums, and I’m happy to work on custom pieces. With Mother’s Day fast approaching I’ve set aside 10 custom spots for anyone interested in treating the special mother in their life or treating themselves to exactly what they want.
When I talk about baby or toddler sleep with sleep consultation clients, we always talk about parenting.
While the larger baby sleep industry may want to convince us that the path to rest as a parent is paved with an array of swaddles, self-rocking bassinets, and baby sleep training programs "guaranteed" to make our babies and toddlers not need parental support 12 out of 24 hours of the day, I believe that any approach to baby sleep worth having begins with and fully supports a heart-centered, holistic look at what truly matters to each family.
So, we talk about parenting.
We don't talk quick fixes. We don't talk gadgets. We don't talk training.
We talk parenting. But, what does that mean?
We talk long-view, big-picture family goals. We talk about how to support those goals in the here and now with how we respond to our children day and night.
We work to move away from a child vs. parent approach to sleep, one in which we see children as standing in the way of rest and self-care for the parent.
We work to see the myriad of possibilities for finding rest, getting self-care, and supporting our children through the phases where they need us intensely day and night.
Because, that's the wonderful, exhausting, bring-you-to-your knees beauty of parenting - it is day and night and forever and for always.
When I offer workshops and work one-on-one with clients, I support my clients' vision for who they want to be as parents and the values that shape their parenting choices. I provide the information they need to make choices that feel authentic to who they are as people and who they hope to be as parents. And, I provide them support such that they feel confident parenting from a place of love rather than fear.
So, yes, we talk sleep. But, we always talk parenting.
Looking to talk parenting and sleep? Join Nested Mama's next sleep workshop or schedule a one-on-one consultation. Want more on pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting? Connect with Nested Mama on Facebook and Instagram.
Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.