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*

birthpodcast

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

Beyond the Bio: Meet Rose

Lactation Consultnant

Meet Rose - our newest team member! Rose joined us after Laura and her family left the country to embark on their new adventure! 

Rose's work into the perinatal world began after the birth of her children, when she became a postpartum doula. While working with families during the postpartum period she saw need for support for families who choose to breastfeed/chestfeed and decided to fill that role by becoming a Lactation Consultant. Rose is incredibly passionate about her work and family - it's the first thing you notice about her! Get to know Rose better below:

WHAT DREW YOU TO PERINATAL WORK?

My interest in supporting families with breastfeeding comes from my own experience - my struggle to find good care during such a trying time.

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

MD focusing on women's health

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

Veterinarian

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

Zanzibar


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

A morning sleep in followed by lots of time to enjoy a coffee at my local coffee shop. Cuddles with my kids and a long walk in a park with my partner.

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

Red wine and a big piece of dark chocolate - they go so well together!

Name one thing...

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

I birthed and raised three beautiful children.

... THAT USUALLY SURPRISES PEOPLE ABOUT YOU:

I don't like french fries...

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

Chocolate!

What is your favourite...

COLOUR?

Turquoise

ANIMAL?

Elephant

SEASON?

Summer

TORONTO CAFE?

Cherry Bomb

BIRTH/PERINATAL BOOK?

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

 

What should you ask during a doula interview?

doula interview

This is one of the most frequent questions we get asked during doula interviews. If you google it you'll find a lot of questions to ask your potential doula - sometimes too many. Getting information is important but we suggest that getting a feel for the person you're interviewing is also important. Someone may look fantastic on paper and be a nice person but it doesn't necessarily mean that they're the best fit for you. 

During your perinatal journey you have a limited choice (if any) of health care providers. Maybe you like them, maybe you don't. Maybe you chose them for their particular skill set or location. In choosing a doula you can go with your gut feeling. Here are our tips on what to ask and do during a doula interview:

1) Think about what's important to you before the interview or even before contacting a doula. 

A while back we wrote two blog posts about what to consider when thinking about hiring a doula.  Do you want a certified doula trained with a specific organisation for insurance purposes? If you answered yes to this question than this is something you can easily find out before meeting the person - saving yourself a whole lot of time and emotional and mental energy. 

While we are on the topic of saving time and energy we highly recommend figuring out the doula is available and around for your estimate due date (if you're hiring a birth doula) before meeting them. Why meet with someone who may be unavailable or potentially away?

2) Pick a place where you feel comfortable. 

We can't stress this enough - you should feel comfortable chatting about yourself and your perinatal journey. No super public noisy rushed cafes! 

3) Ask about relevant experience and perinatal philosophy. 

A new doula might be as good as an experienced doula - there is no way to really know unless you hire them. That doesn't mean you can't ask a doula about their experience and take them into consideration. Some great questions are:

  • How many births have you attended?
  • How long have you been a doula?
  • Have you worked at X hospital/birth centre?
  • Why and how did you become a doula?
  • How do you see your role in this experience? How would you describe your support? 
  • What is your birth philosophy? 
  • Do you have additional training?

4) Ask about logistics. 

  • How would you work with my partner(s)?
  • How many births do you take a month? 
  • Do you work with a back-up? Could I/we meet them?
  • What's covered in your pricing? Does your pricing change if you are at my labour for a prolonged period of time? 
  • When do I call you if I'm in labour? What if I just have a questions?
  • When do you join me in labour? How long do you stay postpartum? 

5) Get to know the person. 

We think finding a doula so much more than asking doula related questions. Make small talk! Get a feel for their personality! Notice if they're receptive to that - mindfully listening and asking engaging questions in return. Have a meaningful conversation - this person may part of an important time in your life. 

6) Check in with yourself. 

This is the most important piece. Did you feel comfortable with the doula? Did they seem interested in you and what you want beyond answering questions? Does it "feel right"?

We know "feel right" is a hard feeling to quantify, sometimes though some people just click. If it doesn't happen, that's OK. It may build over time. 

7) Don't interview too many or too few doulas. 

Take it one at a time and sit with it a little while - unless you really clicked or you really didn't. Some people find their doula after the first interview, some find them after 2-3. We wouldn't recommend interviewing more than though as people will blend into each other. We suggest figuring out what's important to you and filtering doulas before contacting them. 

These are all our tips! Hope they help!

Love, 

The Spectrum Team