2013 had its ups and downs, but overall, it was a fantastic year. Here's what made it so great:
Josh proposed on Christmas Day 2012, and the days that followed were filled with love and support, not only from my hubby, but from our close friends and family members. We want to thank everyone for your kindness and enthusiasm throughout all of the festivities. Married life does not feel any different, but I believe we have a stronger sense of community since our special day.
The Maxwell clan grew in 2013 as we added a new kitten, September, to our family!
Thanks to Colin McClain and Katie Vernon's amazing artistic abilities, I got a rad tattoo.
Josh and I traveled to North Carolina and Florida for a couple mini-vacations. A little fun in the sun, hiking and rafting, and catching up with old friends made for fabulous getaways!
I supported many new and growing families as a birth and postpartum doula. It was a pleasure getting to know each and every one of you! Thank you for welcoming me into your lives.
I had the opportunity to meet amazing families through my involvement at Bloomington Area Birth Services as a childbirth educator and volunteer birth doula.
I provided childcare to a few of my favorite families in the Bloomington area. I also helped lead the summer program at Harmony Education Center--full of outdoor activities, arts & crafts, field trips, and phenomenal little humans.
And last, but not least, I accepted a job offer as a leasing consultant at Abodes, Inc. I've been at it for a little over a month, and I really enjoy the work! This job is really the opposite from other gigs I've worked-- as I am now in an office full-time, Monday-Friday. The consistent hours are definitely different from what I'm used to, but it feels good. Unfortunately, because of my new position, I can no longer take on birth doula clients. I do believe the skills I practiced as a doula have carried over into my new profession. Being an active listener and helping people feel comfortable in their homes is a huge part of my job as a leasing consultant.
With that being said, I want folks to know that I will still be offering postpartum doula services in the evenings and over the weekends. I also hope to continue teaching childbirth education when I have free time, too. Although I am sad that I will not be attending births in 2014, I know that this community is full to the brim with compassionate birth workers who can help Bloomington families advocate for healthy, happy birth experiences. I will miss the prenatal meetings, the exciting, "I think I'm in labor!" phone calls, and seeing the look on parents' faces when their babies are born. I do hope I can return to the birth world someday in the future when the time is right-- I can't imagine staying away for too long!
Happy New Year!
Being a part of the BABS* Family Support Advocates (FSA) program is a great way to give back to the community. FSAs are scheduled for 24-hour on-call shifts, during which they may be called to support a new family any time during their hospital stay. One-on-one support immediately following birth is beneficial not only to mom and baby but the whole family. Breastfeeding success greatly depends on those first 24 hours immediately following birth--but it's hard for moms and partner to focus on this new (and sometimes daunting) task after birth, especially if it was long or complicated experience.
Molly Mendota, BABS Doula Supervisor, states in the recent BloomingFamilies announcement letter, "We’ve found that a newborn will often nurse well within an hour or two of birth, and then things go downhill. By the time the birth doula checks in a day or two later, the baby hasn’t latched, or mom’s nipples are hurting, and the stress level is high. Combine this with recovery from a surgical birth, or lack of family support, or any number of other factors, and it’s a recipe for a breastfeeding disaster."
The nurses at the hospital are fantastic, but because they often have so many women and babies to check on, it makes it difficult to provide continuous support for every family. FSAs provide the follow-up care needed after the birth of a baby. They provide emotional support and reassurance to mom and family. FSAs also do something simple, yet so important: help make sure babe gets fed and mom's milk supply is protected.
There will be an FSA training scheduled for mid-November (dates to be determined) at BABS. FSAs commit to monthly meetings and a minimum of two 24-hour on-call shifts per month (8am-8am). To be an FSA, you do NOT need to be trained as a doula, but you do need to apply and be accepted before volunteering. If you have any questions, please contact the Doula Supervisor, Molly Mendota, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave her a message at BABS, 812-337-8121.
*Bloomington Area Birth Services (BABS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping moms, babies, and families. There you can find childbirth education classes, breastfeeding assistance (at The BABS Lactation Center), exercise and activity classes, various prenatal and postpartum workshops, support groups, and parent-baby playtime. BABS also supplies new & expectant parents with resources and maternity items throughout their extensive lending library and boutique.
BABS is located at 2458 S Walnut St. in Bloomington, IN.