Thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we've all been tossed some major curveballs. One of the major stress moments for pregnant women during the COVID-19 shutdown was the fact that as a knee-jerk reaction, hospitals began limiting support people in labor and delivery. For some mothers this meant they were completely alone with no support team. For other mothers in means their doulas were not allowed to come support them and their spouse, and they had to "pivot" to virtual doula support. What on earth is virtual doula support?! And is this option right for you? I'll admit, I was hesitant to the virtual doula concept. It is true that nothing substitutes that hands on, in person, tender, immediate love, support, and care that a doula can provide to you. And for nervous partners? Nothing can replace that across-the-room gaze and smile of reassurance that this is all normal and part of the process. But as a parent you'll learn you do what you gotta do even if its less than ideal... So virtual doula became a thing... I helped prep my birth doula clients with a series of videos, video chat meetings, birth planning meetings, and much more. Available by text and phone, I helped support my clients through the end of their pregnancy like I always had. Only this time when labor kicked off it was different. There was no rushing the kids to the babysitter and making a bee-line for the hospital. Instead I had my phone on my constantly texting mom and dad, asking and answering questions, making suggestions, and sending resources. I was available for phone, video, and text communications at any moment to provide support the way the couple needed. What I learned during this time was that, as important as live support is, adequate preparation during pregnancy helps parents navigate the birth space with so much confidence. It is so amazing to "witness" these families put into practice all the things we talked about and prepared for - from partner initiated comfort measures and affirmation reminders, to mother initiated advocacy.
What I soon realized is that this option is so great for families who's perfect doula is unavailable for their birth or parents who don't want another person in the room. Preparing for childbirth is so vital... and THAT is what makes a huge difference. So of course, I'm still an advocate for LIVE doula support, and I am so happy to support mothers in person, but there is no harm in adding to that support. Preparing for childbirth shouldn't just look like reading a ton of books and taking a ton of classes that may or may not actually prepare you.... No. More importantly, preparing for childbirth should include an ability to access information AND digest it with people who are familiar with birth, the options, and the dynamics of different environments. When we live in a world of birth horror stories with an internet full of free advice, preparing for birth can become overwhelming. That's why I created The Cave - a membership program for first time moms or experienced moms who just want to have a better birth experience this go-round. The Cave offers three different levels of support and education. All Cave members will have 6 months access to Birthing With Confidence, an online childbirth preparation course taught by a Nurse and Doula ( ME! ). This online childbirth class teaches parents what to expect on the "physical" side of things - from how to monitor contractions to how labor generally progresses. Next, the course will walk you through exploring your emotions and biases surrounding birth, help you envision your ideal birth, and provide you with tools for achieving those goals. From comfort measures to options in labor, I walk you through all the important things you need to consider. All Cave members will also have 6 months access to Breastfeeding With Confidence, an online Breastfeeding 101 course that walks you through what to expect during the first days/weeks of breastfeeding, how to latch, breastfeeding positions, how to know if you're making enough milk, and how to trouble shoot common challenges and bust common breastfeeding myths. Mothers who want more personal support digesting the information and continuing support will be able to upgrade to access a Private Group where mothers can interact with each other, ask question, support and celebrate together. Additionally, this group will house regular "Deeper Dive" videos from me where I dive deeper into a conversation topic, offer insight on common questions, and hype you up to stay POSITIVE and CONFIDENT in yourself. But some mothers will still desire more personal support. These Mama Bears can upgrade to the top level membership where they will get one-to-one birth planning support, assistance navigating pregnancy, digesting classes, and practicing difficult conversations with providers. As you can see, the support comes in all shapes and sizes to meet the needs of all mothers. So, whatchya think, Mama Bear? You ready to be one confident mother-birther?! Come join me in the bear cave! Membership enrollment will CLOSE on August 31, 2020!! So if you're due anytime between November 2020 and February 2021, you should probably go ahead and schedule your FREE pregnancy chat with me now so we can start helping you plan a CONFIDENT birth.
Jaimie Zaki, owner of Little Bear Services, LLC is a Birth Photographer, Labor Doula, & IBCLC serving families in South Jersey and Central New Jersey. Mother of three, military wife, and lover of coffee, Jaimie enthusiastically supports hospital and home births in South Jersey. Jaimie is excited to also serve families from all over the United States with online childbirth classes, online breastfeeding classes, and virtual pregnancy, birth plan, and lactation consulting! Learn more about Jaimie and the services she offers!
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