Before Alyssa and I had any kids of our own, I was skeptical of anything medical outside of a physician's advice and avoided blood and body fluid, even in conversation. Yet, when my wife was going to give birth with our first child, I wanted to be somewhat involved--but I did not know how.
I was one of those guys who really looked forward to having kids. Kids are fun, unique, and together with you and your spouse can form a loving and warm family. Sounds great, right? But at the time I didn't think about the journey my future wife would embark on in order to get the little one out of the womb and onto dry land.
With our first child, Wesley, we took a birthing class, practiced breathing, and even used visualizations to walk though possible childbirth scenarios. I'll be honest, it was REALLY boring, like using every excuse possible to get out of coming to the classes with her--until I realized how helpful it was for me to understand all about what Alyssa and our growing baby were going through, medically and emotionally. It helped create a connection between Alyssa and I that was not there before. I learned a ton through the class and became much more capable at supporting Alyssa, but we both wanted a doula for the birth.
When my wife first approached me about hiring a doula it honestly felt like an unnecessary expense and something I could take care of myself. When the intensity of labor began all of the things we learned in birth class kind of fell by the wayside. Our doula stepped in and gently reminded me of all the ways I could support my wife through labor. Because of our doula I had confidence in my ability to serve my wife effectively during the birth experience. If we have another, it's pretty obvious that a doula is a must. " Rivera
Husband + Doula?
I'm a hardworking and determined person, but when I thought about the fast approaching moment in which my wife was soon to give birth, I was SO relieved to know we had a doula that we BOTH trusted very much! Having a doula at our son's birth allowed me to focus on Alyssa's needs every moment. The doula acted as a massage guru, advocate of my wife, and overall catalyst to ensure that Alyssa's (and mine) wishes were met. Best of all the doula was able to help us stay calm whenever we'd get worried or anxious. I felt like I could be as directly or indirectly involved as I wanted, and that our doula would help us regardless.
In our case, I wanted to be involved more hands-on and our doula focused on answering questions, relaying options, suggesting labor positions, and communicating knowledgeably with medical staff together with us. In the distractions of the moments surrounding the birth, I felt like I forgot about 60% of everything I had learned about childbirth from our class. Yet, with the help of our doula I was empowered to be even more helpful to Alyssa in an environment of decisions, contractions, waiting, and uncertainty. Doulas help women have their very best birth possible while not getting in the way, and as a husband, I want nothing less for my own wife.
I originally thought that having a doula would mean that I was second-place and the doula was the real supporter of my wife. Exactly the opposite was true. Doulas believe (as does my wife, Alyssa) that first-string support is the partner's role. And even in cases where the husband or partner is a bit weary of getting hands-on with the birthing process, doula's are there to empower husbands to do their very best in supporting their wife in ways they already feel equipped to do so.
And by the way, Dads or Dads-to-be, there is nothing like seeing your own child be born!
"We've had a doula at all 3 of our births, and I would never consider not having a doula there. Having a doula makes me to look like Superdad to my wife, and lets me focus on what really matters...HER. " Lawrence Hauptly, D.C.
So much thanks to Lindsey Rrivera at Born Photography for sharing these stunning images of Guy's supporting their partners!
~Colin Moulton is Dad of two adventure loving kids and husband to the love of life, Alyssa. By day he is a software and program manager junkie and when not working you'll find him blending up a mean smoothie in the kitchen, biking with his family and dreaming up new business ideas. ~
I absolutely love watching a guy whisper sweet affirmations to his partner, sensing the strong bond of their relationship drawing them together and the positive grounding he continually provides . If this describes the relationship with your spouse or partner you might be thinking I really don't need a doula on my birth team...RIGHT???
The truth is...
A doula is never there to take the place of your husband or partner, but rather to enhance and compliment the birth experience. Some have described their husband as their left hand and their doula as their right, working together to support you. Doulas can suggest and provide comfort measures to help relieve tension and labor discomfort, are trained in light touch massage and acupressure points and have the experience of supporting many birthing Mother's. Having a doula on your birth team allows your partner to participate emotionally without having to remember everything from your childbirth preparation class.
During prenatal appointments with my couples we spend time discussing expectations for the spouses involvement during the birth and ways they can be involved if desired. I've spoken with guys who insist they really don't want an active role in their partner's labor but when the time comes they are right there, helping me with counter pressure and empowering their partner through every contraction or birthing surge. Other times, I've talked with guys who want the option to take a more hands-on role but when the moment comes their spouse needs them in a more emotional and less hands- on physical support role than what they first anticipated.
My desire is to support and equip partner's in however they feel most comfortable, sensing the needs of both Mom and Dad and meeting their goals and desires in a gentle and empowering manner.
~Alyssa Moulton is a Certified Hypnodoula who loves supporting her clients from pregnancy through the postpartum time. Her goal is to help each client feel empowered and supported in their birthing decisions. When not serving as a Doula, Alyssa loves teaching youth and adult cooking classes! From Healthy eating and meal planning to homemade pastries and baking themed birthday parties, she loves seeing her student's learn new skills and feel empowered in the kitchen! Interested in learning more? Contact Alyssa for a free consultation. ~
I've been debating writing this article and posting a picture for a loooooooooong time...so here it goes!
For months, I thought my postpartum body would one day would be smooth, wrinkle-free and no stretch marks. I told myself over and over, "once you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight" or "when your baby turns a year old" or even "maybe you just need to try harder and really push yourself and workout more".
Two babies, a lot of weight gained and lost and then gained and lost and now 21 months after my second child and I sit here finally, slowly building confidence in my post-baby body. Those stretch marks represent 18th months of pregnancy between my two children, 18 MONTHS is a crazy long time friends! 18 months of loving and cherishing my growing belly and babies inside.
My wrinkly belly skin still looks like thin crepe paper from a smashed pinata but that's okay. My ab muscles never came all the way back together after a 9 pound baby and that's okay too. The skin above my belly button hangs over a bit and even that's okay. The point is, I could stand and look at myself in the mirror everyday and body shame those "faults" or "imperfections" or I could accept them...but even more than accept I could grow to love them!
Instead of stretch marks I call them love marks. That saggy belly? For my 21 month old it's the perfect platform for blowing raspberries. And for those split abs? While they may never look like the royal Kate Middleton after her mid-drift was seen playing volleyball shortly after the birth of her son, I'm grateful that God has given me two wonderful, sweet and rambunctious fun-loving children who I get to call my own.
Being fit and desiring to be strong for our children are wonderful goals! The problem comes when we lose sight of the bigger picture and obsess ourselves into insanity over a "photoshopped" celebrity picture we see in the grocery store checkout. My kids already see enough of the body perfection craze in our culture and the last thing they need to see is that message coming from their Mom.
All that to say, thanks for letting me share a little bit of my own journey with you. Hugs!
Curious why I love supporting families as a Birth & Postpartum Doula? Visit Doula...What? You can also follow along on Instagram #DaybreakDoula or Facebook
Alyssa Moulton is a Certified Hypnodoula who loves supporting her clients from pregnancy through the postpartum time. Her goal is to help each client feel empowered and supported in their birthing decisions. When not serving as a Doula, Alyssa loves teaching youth and adult cooking classes! From Healthy eating and meal planning to homemade pastries and baking themed birthday parties, she loves seeing her student's learn new skills and feel empowered in the kitchen! Interested in learning more? Contact Alyssa for a free consultation.
Thank you Hannah for your vulnerability, wisdom and joy in sharing your postpartum story. Settling for "OKAY" isn't a solution. Getting a second opinion and pushing or answers doesn't make you weak. Follow your gut feeling ladies.
“I am going to get better!” My eyes flooded with tears as I spoke these words of hope, just a few hours after surgery, on this day last year.
The day Vivian was born, almost four months earlier, had been so joyful! Ian and I were filled with gratitude and thrilled to be starting the sweet journey of parenting, but the months that followed were not at all what we had anticipated.
Three days after my sweet baby was born, I broke out in hives all over my body... neck to ankles. My doctor let me know it could last up to three weeks -- it actually lasted for 13 weeks, and increased in severity until a couple weeks before it went away.
Along with this complication, I developed postpartum anxiety that made even routine activities feel overwhelming, impossible. I kept thinking, “I just need the hives to go away, then I'll be myself."
It was at day 5 of Vivian's life that my family realized that I was sinking into postpartum depression, and they began helping us daily in whatever ways were needed, calmly assuring me and just loving me and my little family.
I had other postpartum symptoms that are normal for the early weeks, but, instead of easing as they should have, they lasted for months. During this time, I continued going to the doctor... first for my 6 week check (where I was assured that everything was fine) and then again at 10 weeks and beyond.
For nearly four months I continued sinking deeper, with several more doctor appointments in between, getting no answers and losing hope that I would ever feel myself again.
I began researching more, and had known of one other person who had experienced similar symptoms, and hers had been retained placenta. So I went, once again, to the doctor and shared this with him and asked if I could please have an ultrasound. When the screen revealed what I had suspected, he said, "Yes, that is what it is." Many pieces of placenta which had started to calcify. Wow! I was so relieved and thankful to finally have an answer.
At 16 weeks and 1 day, I had an early morning surgery. I was so thankful to have my amazing, supportive husband by my side! Into the hospital attire, and an iv put in, they wheeled me down the hall and through the doors. Asleep and awake again in just an hour and a half. I felt groggy but comfortable, and returned home to such a great support group. I took a nap and relaxed.
Within a few hours I felt something was changing. My mind. The fog was lifting. I felt bits of joy, which I hadn't experienced in months. I had hope. “I am going to get better!” This was the start to me becoming myself again, but it wasn't overnight. It would be months before I could with confidence say that I was truly myself again, but instead of the daily decline, I sensed daily improvement. I cannot express what an amazing feeling this was!
Today I am reflecting on this with so much gratitude to God, to my sweet Ian for his unconditional love and support throughout, and to my family who poured themselves out for us during those difficult months, on a daily basis... thank you for loving us, lifting us, and helping us through the day-to-day. For cleaning our house, making meals, loving on our baby while I rested, for having faith that I would come through this and for building me up in my new mommy role -- giving me much-needed confidence. I am so grateful for all of your hours of care, your prayers and for your love!
One of the hardest parts of this struggle was feeling incapable of sharing this struggle with those outside my family. Also, the expectation I sensed that I should be "back into the swing of things", to be able to participate in outings and events, or even maintain any real level of friendship that others might hope for. Unfortunately, I know that I wasn't able to meet the expectations of some. It was work to just wake up each day and try to put one foot in front of the other.
I am so thankful for my dear friends who gave me love, grace and compassion; I will always be thankful for you! Even when I didn't have the words to express what I was feeling, you gave me care without judgment and your words of kindness and your patience were a vital part of my recovery, even when you didn't know what I was going through!
I felt like the anniversary of my surgery was a good day to reflect and share. To express gratitude to all who helped me walk this road. To give voice to the reality of postpartum depression, from my own experience.
“Be kinder than necessary, everyone you meet is facing some kind of battle.”
Autumn Alyssa, CHD is a Birth and Postpartum Doula serving women and families from Bountiful to Provo in Davis, Salt Lake & Utah Counties