Beyond the Bio: Meet Emma

We are thrilled to introduce you to our newest doula - Emma! A few months back, Corina had the pleasure of meeting Emma for tea to chat about all things doula related. If you know Corina, you know that she’s soft spoken and almost never talks about herself but Emma is such a gentle open spirit that she got her talking - a lot! Emma is wonderful at holding space and putting you at ease. She’s always there when you need to check in and will be your biggest supporter - no matter what you’re doing! Learn more about Emma below.

Doula_Emma.jpg

What drew you to doula work? 

I'd always wanted to work with women in some capacity, and I've been fascinated by pregnancy and birth ever since I was a kid. As soon as I began to research what doulas are and do, I knew it was perfect for me. I loved the idea of being able to provide emotional support, comfort and information to women/birthing people as they navigated their reproductive journey.

If you weren't a doula, what would your alternate dream job be? 

Probably a social worker, working with women and children. That's what I was on track to pursuing before I fell in love with birth work! I wanted to provide counselling, and have my own practice.

What did you want to be when you were in elementary school? 

An artist! All I ever wanted to do as a kid was draw, so it sounded pretty appealing as a career. I still love making art, it's one of my favourite ways to self-care.

If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go? 

I would go to a cottage on a lake. Ideally, there would be a hammock involved. I would bring a big stack of books and someone I love and go off the grid for a bit.

What would the perfect off-call day look like for you? 

I would sleep late and then make a big extravagant breakfast. There would definitely be some yoga, and then I'd spend the rest of the day outside with some of my favourite people. Maybe at a park, or by the beach. Donuts would be eaten.

What's your favourite thing (or two) that you have no guilt about indulging in? 

NAPS. I love, love, love a long afternoon nap. Also, coffee.

Name one thing…

... you learned the hard way about birth early in your doula career: 

That sometimes the best thing you can do as a doula is sit back and do nothing. I felt like I always had to be busying myself with something, but I eventually learned that sometimes just being there is all the support the birthing person needs in that moment.

... you look back on in your life that makes you feel proud: 

Doing my doula training and deciding to pursue birth work as a career! It felt like the first big decision that I made that was truly for just myself and what was right for me. I didn't know anyone else who was a doula at the time, so it felt very unconventional and a bit scary!

... that usually surprises people about you: 

I used to do competitive synchronised swimming!

... that's always in your fridge or pantry: 

Avocados. I know that's such a classic, boring, millennial answer but they really are my staple food.

What’s your favourite…

Colour 

Yellow. But it changes all the time.

Animal 

I love otters! I'm also a major dog person.

Season 

Fall.

Toronto Cafe 

Juice and Java on Queen Street!

Birth Book 

Nurture, by Erica Chidi Cohen. The Birth Partner is a close second.

What does a fertility doula do?

fertility_journey_doula

Full spectrum doulas are becoming more common in Toronto - as are folks looking for doula care beyond birth and postpartum. We thought we’d take a moment to explore fertility doula care - one of the full spectrum services we provide.

What is a fertility doula?

A fertility doula is someone who supports people in their journey to become pregnant, regardless of what that journey looks like. Whether going the fertility clinic route, at home monitoring and insemination, or a mixture of the two - a fertility doula provides you with support best suited to your needs and wants.

This can look many different ways: in person or phone check-ins to process procedures, emotions, and information. It can also include unlimited text support, attending clinic appointments alongside you, providing you with resources and referrals to complementary health care modalities, helping you in formulating a fertility plan. Depending on the doula, they may also offer mindfulness session as well as fertility yoga.

If you’d like to learn more check out this guest blog post from one of Corina’s former fertility clients where they talk about the care they received during their IVF journey.

How DO YOU BOOK A FERTILITY DOULA?

At Spectrum Doula Collective you can book fertility support hourly or you can purchase a package. Check out our prices here.

Who hires a fertility doula?

Anyone who needs and wants one! At Spectrum Doula Collective we have worked with the whole spectrum of families (including single parents as well as queer and straight couples) who were trying to conceive. 

Want to learn more? Drop us a line and in the meantime, enjoy these 5 grounding fertility practices.

xo,

The Spectrum Team

Beyond the Bio: Meet Laura

Meet Laura - our newest doula! We first met Laura in August and we’ve been smitten ever since! You see, Laura is a type of grounding person you that puts you immediately at ease and you just know deep in your bones that whatever you tell her, she’ll never judge you and will find a way to support you, no matter what. Find out more about Laura below:

Toronto Doula

WHAT DREW YOU TO PERINATAL WORK?

For the past 12 years I was actually in the world of theatre. I was confident for my teenage years that I was only going to be an actor, and nothing else. Eventually, I found that acting was not very fulfilling. I constantly felt nervous about what my body looked like. There is a lot of body shaming, and a lot of sexism in the industry. I was tired of feeling both self centered, and self conscious all the time. I realized that I wanted to make an impact not by how I looked like, but what I did to help others in times of vulnerability and change. I was always someone that worked well in a crisis, and I have always found birth fascinating. The more I started researching the role of a doula, and the more I learned about artists who were also doulas, I was confident this was the right fit. The training with DONA International was incredible, and after the first birth I went to I knew it was where I belonged!

IF YOU WEREN'T A PERINATAL SUPPORT WORKER WHAT WOULD YOUR ALTERNATE JOB BE?

Great question. I still do love writing and creating pieces of art, but I also know down the line I would like to be a midwife. So possibly a midwife who also writes books, and creates performance art...? Let's say that!

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?

Either a nurse or an actor. I'm not a nurse, but I think I got pretty close to my childhood goals!

IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TOMORROW WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

Every year I try to go camping in Wisconsin. It seems like I should be picking Paris, or somewhere in Africa, but honestly the forests and water there is absolutely breathtaking. I'm a big camper, and I would take a tent over a fancy hotel any day!


WHAT WOULD THE PERFECT OFF-CALL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Oooo, this is a great question. First off I would get a ridiculous amount of sleep. I would wake up on a sunny afternoon, and meet some friends in a park to catch up, and rant about how great it is to be a doula. The night would be complete with my friends and I splitting a bottle of wine, and singing folk songs slightly off key.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING (OR TWO) THAT YOU HAVE NO GUILT ABOUT INDULGING IN?

Smartfood popcorn. It's bliss.

Name one thing...

…YOU LEARNED THE HARD WAY ABOUT BIRTH EARLY IN YOUR DOULA CAREER:

Ooo I learned that early labour can last days and days. One time I took the whole day off expecting to run to the hospital, but it was just me waiting around in my home for a full day before I was needed. Birth is just as unpredictable as everyone says!

... YOU LOOK BACK ON IN YOUR LIFE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL PROUD:

Honestly I would say switching careers to become a doula! It was scary, and it took a lot of thought, but I've never been happier.

... THAT USUALLY SURPRISES PEOPLE ABOUT YOU:

I ate my first orange 2 years ago. As a child they scared me. Not sure why. I love them by the way.

... THAT'S ALWAYS IN YOUR FRIDGE OR PANTRY:

Smartfood popcorn. Did I mention that it is bliss? It is.

What is your favourite...

COLOUR?

Green. Green. Green.

ANIMAL?

Bernese mountain dogs. Also turtles.

SEASON?

Summer. Can't stand winter.

TORONTO CAFE?

You can always find me at Voodoo Child by Kensington Market!

BIRTH/PERINATAL BOOK?

When Survivors Give Birth! It's a very heavy read but it opened my eyes to the importance of trauma informed care.

Five podcasts we *love*

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Not a lot of people listen to the radio anymore - and a lot of TV programming nowadays is lacking (or did it always lack?). So what do you do - if you’re on a run (or on the run), driving, doing chores, or relaxing with a hot cup of something and want some mental stimulation but don’t want to read?

Well, we are big fans of podcasts at Spectrum Doula Collective - whether for work or for fun! You can learn so much from podcasts, especially as it relates to your perinatal journey and parenting journey (regardless of whatever stage of that journey you’re in).

Below are a few of our favourite podcasts on fertility, pregnancy, and parenting (with a couple bonus ones - just for fun!):

1) Evidence Based Birth Podcast

Pure gold! For those of you unfamiliar with Evidence Based Birth - it’s a fantastic project (website and podcast) started by Rebecca Dekker, PhD where she presents evidence based information about pregnancy and childbirth. This includes presenting information from peer-reviewed scientific articles in an accessible, critical, and non-biased way. We can go on and on and on about how much we love this podcast.

2) The Birthful Podcast

The birthful podcast is inspiring - both for expectant/new parents and birth professionals alike! Hosted by Adiana Lozada, every episode is an interview with either a birth professional or new parents (sometimes they’re both). The purpose of these interviews is to both educate and inspire. We’re not gonna lie - we’ve cried more than once while listening to this.

3) The Longest Shortest Time

Speaking of crying - have y’all listened to the longest shortest time?! This is a podcast about parenthood - but it’s so much more! Topics range from having babies and raising a family while trans to parenting in the animal kingdom to imaginary friends! We’ve cried and laughed while listening to these episodes - they are honest, genuine, and humanistic. Above all, they make us feel connected to people. For an extra treat, check out This American Life.

4) Unladylike (bonus)

We could spend all day telling you how much we love Cristen and Caroline - the hosts of Unladylike and the former hosts of Stuff Mom Never Told you. This is an unapologetic feminist podcast that inspires, challenges, and entertains us! For an extra treat, check out older episodes of Stuff Mom Never Told you with Cristen and Caroline as hosts! They cover a wide range of topics, with a good chunk of episode focusing on body politics, reproductive justice, and parenting.

5) Secret Feminist Agenda (bonus)

Secret Feminist agenda is a podcast about everyday feminist - with a focus on Canada! While Hannah McGregor (the host) cover a wide range of topics, some of them focus on parenting, infertility, and If you’re a Harry Potter fan, for an extra treat, check out Witch, Please!

Do YOU have a favourite podcast, or two?

Let us know!

Love,

The Spectrum Team

Get Snacking: Labour Snacks for the Birthing Person

Labour Snacks

Whether you're a snacker or not, eating during labour is mostly done in the form of snacking (it's difficult to eat a full meal while labouring)! To make snack prep easier, we thought we'd give you a list of great snacks for labour:

  • cut up fruit - we love bananas, apples, watermelon, and cold berries, stay away from citrus as it doesn't feel good coming back up (throwing up during labour is common)
  • cut up veggies - we love carrots and cucumbers
  • nuts and seeds - watch our for allergies
  • dried fruit (unsweetened)
  • popsicles - we love natural fruit juice popsicles and tea pops 
  • miso soup - fantastic umami snack! 
  • broth - veggie or meat, make sure it's clear (i.e. doesn't have chunks)
  • protein balls (see recipe below)
  • crackers, pita, naan, toast - you can have some dahl with it too! 
  • smoothie - dairy free

Recipe for Protein Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop chocolate/vanilla protein powder 
  • 1/3 cup of nut butter 
  • 1/3 cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened) or more as needed
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • add ins (depending on consistency): 2 tbsp ground flax sees/chia seeds, 2 tsp maca powder, etc.

Directions

In a food processor/blender mix protein powder, nut butter, and coconut until they are mixed well.

Add maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt. Pulse until combined - if the consistency is too runny/moist add some add-ins.

Rolls into balls - if they're still a little sticky you can roll them in shredded coconut, cocoa powder, crushed nuts, etc.

 

These are nutritious and delicious snacks for labour, but if all you can hold down is a bar of Snickers and fries have those instead ;) 

xo,

The Spectrum Team