Why Would I Want A Birth Doula?

To begin, the word doula comes from the ancient Greek and means "a woman who serves".  This is no doubt what a birth doula does for the expecting and laboring mama.  Birth doulas provide continuous, non-medical care which can include:

  • physical support
  • emotional support
  • information
  • breathing techniques
  • relaxation techniques
  • laboring positions
  • comfort massage
  • ensuring you are fed and hydrated
  • cues on when to travel to your delivery destination

Per a published 2012, Hodnett et al. updated Cochrane review on the use of continuous support for women during childbirth, the randomized results of over 15,000 women in 22 trials who received continuous, one-on-one support during their labor expressed that women with continuous support were more likely to:

  • have a spontaneous, vaginal birth
  • have little or no pain medication
  • experience less pain
  • have fewer epidurals
  • have positive feelings about childbirth
  • have fewer vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections
  • have shorter labors
  • lower blood pressure during labor
  • have higher success with breastfeeding

I'm having my baby at the hospital ~ can I still have a doula?

ABSOLUTELY!  Considering that floor doctors and nurses work in shifts, they may end their shift while you are still laboring.  Your doula, however, will be with you throughout the duration of your labor and delivery. 

Often times, hospital deliveries are more ideal with a birth doula present.  Hospital protocol tends to undermine a woman's confidence to give birth and a reassuring doula can help resulting in a lower need for interventions. 

I'm planning a home or birth center birth ~ is there a point to having a doula?

Birth doulas are still great to have for home or birth center births.  The medical staff (typically midwives) need their energy to focus on the medical portion of your care rather than on your emotional and physical support.  This is where a doula makes a great addition to the birth team.  A birth doula will work in conjuction with your medical staff to help achieve optimal positioning and comfort for you and your baby.  A doula can also help by giving your partner a break when they need it. 

How can a doula help my partner?

Doulas are experts with birth.  Not only can they offer information and comfort to mama, they can do the same for the partner who may be experiencing their own fears and anxieties.  A doula can also guide the partner with tips and strategies for making mama feel safe and at ease, or they can step in where a partner's strengths may be lacking.  Sometimes the doula or partner need to step away to eat or use the restroom.  Having them both present during the birth of a baby allows the option to tag team so that a laboring mama is never left alone. 

Are Doulas and Midwives not the same? 

Doulas and Midwives are not the same.  Doulas are not required to have any training, however most do and receive certification.  Midwives are medically trained and licensed by the medical board.  Unless a doula is also a medical professional (like a nurse or midwife), a midwife can do such things as:

  • take your blood pressure
  • take your temperature
  • perform a vaginal exam
  • perform routine blood work
  • catch your baby

Midwives typically arrive once a woman is in active labor or in transition and 'catches' the baby.

A doula on the other hand, is limited to the emotional, physical and informational support UNLESS they have additional training and have been hired to perform under that license.  Doulas arrive when a mama feels they are in need of support.  This can often times be much earlier that the arrival of a midwife or before heading into the hospital or birth center. 

 

Birth Doulas can really offer much needed and even unexpected support to a laboring mama.  The newness and unfamiliarity that birth brings is like no other on this Earth.  A doula reminds women to hold on to a deep trust and surrender beyond ourselves to help create and experience the most precious, memorable, and profound time of a woman's life.

I'm happy to connect with you about my birth doula services. Feel free to schedule a brief call HERE, or email me at info@mrsdancingmoon.com. 

Movement During Labor & Delivery: Good for the Mind, Body, Spirit and Baby’s GPS!!!

Have you ever just smacked at the back end of a ketchup bottle while it’s completely upside down only to become more frustrated? Then you later come to the conclusion that perhaps tilting it 45 degrees will give you better success at getting any out, and voila, it worked!

When teaching my prenatal dance classes, we discuss this very same thing. That a combination of rocking, swaying, circling, bouncing, and various other position changes help maneuver baby down and out of the birth canal.

The art of dance in particular has been a lifelong passion of mine since I was a young girl. When first becoming pregnant in 2007, I continued with what I loved and was encouraged to do so by my midwife. During the birth of both of my children I enjoyed being able to listen to my body and babies and move around freely as we welcomed them both to this Earth.

However I later noticed that dancing, and movement overall during pregnancy, labor and delivery, was frowned upon in American culture. Pregnancy and birth becomes the time to sit down, put your feet up, and birth on your back so that the doctor can have a clear view.

With a culture so suggestive of sitting and reclining as a way of luxury and convenience, we overlook the advantages of moving our bodies and being upright in a variety of positions (squatting, kneeling, standing, hands and knees). Women all over the world since the beginning of time have perfected birth by allowing themselves the freedom to listen to their babies and adjust their bodies as they give birth.

One of my prenatal dance students recently gave birth and wrote this statement shortly after-

“I danced throughout my pregnancy in class and at home with my 2 year old and finally during labor with my husband ~ and it enabled me to have this beautiful laboring experience that just felt good in my body.  Our bodies are built for movement AND stillness and Nicole's dance classes really celebrate movement in a way that empowers moms to listen to their instincts and know their inner strength.”

Movement, whether through position changes, actual dancing, or walking, can help create an opportunity for baby to not only move into an ideal birthing position, but to remain in position during much of pregnancy as well as help baby rotate appropriately when traveling out of the birth canal.

As told to us by Jean Sutton in “Let Birth Be Born Again”, shifting the pelvis from side to side as well as tilting it forward, gives more available space to use for baby's grand entrance into this world. She uses the imagery below to demonstrate how this is achieved.

Images from: http://optimal-foetal-positioning.co.nz/?page_id=25

Images from: http://optimal-foetal-positioning.co.nz/?page_id=25

An ideal positioned baby must rotate 90 degrees after birthing their head, so as to fit their shoulders through the birth canal. When we can offer them more available space to do this is, our babies have an easier opportunity to successfully be born vaginally, as nature intended.

If we dance during labor- using basic movements such as swaying, rocking, hip circles, shifting hips, changing positions, etc. - we can achieve more relaxation, less physical tension and are more likely to avoid the desire for drugs and interventions. 

Mentor and teacher of mine, Stephanie Larson, founder of Dancing for Birth™ also points out that by using gravity and positioning (movement) we can also reduce the risk for interventions and shorten labor lengths.

“The first step to a satisfying birth,” says Larson, “is to listen to your baby via your body—and move accordingly. For many women this means laboring and birthing actively, in a forward-leaning vertical position, out of bed.” By moving instinctively, using gravity and positioning to their advantage, women can temporarily enlarge the dimensions of their pelvis for the baby’s passage, help their babies rotate and descend, help reduce unnecessary interventions and enjoy natural pain relief. Studies confirm that this shortens labor, reduces epidural requests, and reduces c-sections.

Dance has so many other benefits on so many levels as well. It benefits the body, mind and spirit.

As a producer of oxytocin, the love hormone needed to start labor, dancing can assist with the flow of oxytocin allowing labor to start naturally without the use of pitocin, the synthetic form of it commonly used in hospitals, when both baby and mama are ready.

Dance as a cardio workout helps build stamina, endurance, strength, and cardiovascular and respiratory health, as well as keeps our minds sharp and fluid as we learn and practice choreographed sequences.

The warm up, cool down, and improvisational practices we do also assist with flexibility, relaxation, and trust in one's body, enabling for a more confident mama in labor and as a new parent.

Overall, we leave dance class with our hearts and spirits feeling full, ecstatic and joyful knowing that although we may not be in charge of our birth process (baby is), we can have an impact and help our children have a more easeful transition into this world.

I interpret this quote by birth pioneer, Penny Simkin, to ultimately say the same thing that I've been describing here- “If you can’t move the baby, move the mother.”

Many women fear the so called “pain” of birth. But as Ina May Gaskin tells us, “If there is pain, it is not something to focus on.  It is part of nature and therefore not to be feared.”  By using movement, we can navigate and even avoid a painful experience by using it as a distraction and as a guidance tool to listen to our baby's needs as they journey to greet you.

Find your groove, know that the “pain” of birth is temporary, not to be the emphasis of the birthing experience, and help your baby navigate their own GPS.

(Pre/Post natal dance class offered Tuesdays at 3:45pm at happy baby in El Segundo.  More info HERE)

New Year, New Me

Feeling into 2017 as we all are, and wondering what this new Gregorian calendar will bring for my life.  Where will my growth lie?  Where will my inward reflections and lessons happen?  Part of me wishes to do some lengthy introspection and a different part of me already knows and feels what and how I should manifest for myself.  Sometimes, many times in fact, our gut already knows.

 

I definitely have a mental checklist of things I’d like to improve on ~ with my Spiritual practice, physical, emotional as well as a TO DO checklist for my home and business.  A notebook for this, an electronic list for that.  Mind you when compiled, the list is LONG… and being a Virgo does not help keep it short. There is always something to adjust, tweak, fix.  

However, I know how I DON’T want to walk into 2017.  Often knowing what we DON’T want brings clarity on what we DO want. 

I don’t desire to feel overwhelmed or exhausted.  

I don’t desire to feel or live from a space of lack or limitation.

I do not want to feel like a failure.

I don’t want a cluttered house.  

I do not wish to endure any health challenges.  

 

I desire to feel balanced in all areas of my life.

I desire to feel and live from a space of positive abundance.

I desire to be and feel successful in all of my endeavors.

I do want organization in my home and work.

I want to be out in nature more.

I desire to feel continually grounded and grateful for each moment, each day ~ no matter how challenging or trying.  Each challenge is a lesson for me to learn from. 
 

Now these are all generalizations, affirmations, and intentions.  There are more details around each one as to HOW I wish to achieve all of this.  And with each day, the details may change.  The main reminder I must hold onto for myself is that I CAN do it all ~ in baby steps. 

One step at a time, I can do it all.  I can honor my Spirit, body, mind, home, relationships, money, and business. 

So where do I start?  That’s an easy one for me.  I always start with grounding my Spirit ~ the rest will follow.  :)

Happy New Year everyone!  May we all be blessed with joy, vibrant health, and an awareness of the truth of our sacred selves!  

A World Without PMS

Mainstream first world culture today has us so far removed from our bodies, from our connection to the Earth.  From our material makeup, the foods we ingest, and the medicines we take to heal our bodies, there is little regard to hold our connection to Earth in tact.  This can be seen in the popular food of North America that expands worldwide (fast food, dairy, starches, few fruits and vegetables), to the products we put on our bodies that contain mass amounts of chemicals not supported by our material makeup, and lastly to the ways of our medical system in pharmaceuticals that are widely used for many ailments including headaches, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), belly aches, allergies, as well as ailments like cancer, depression, and heart conditions.

The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, PMS, occur in the phase after ovulation, the luteal phase.  For many women this is usually the week before menstruation, but for some the onset occurs even earlier.  Recognizing the cyclical nature of its symptoms clues us in on what is not working in our bodies.

To preserve us as a species (and particularly as women who birth life to our species), we must bring ourselves back to optimal health; we must learn to be more in tune with our bodies to continue the preservation of homo sapiens as we have known.   Not only is healing PMS naturally a wonderful option for those who suffer on a month to month basis, but it reconnects us to the Earth, her powerful healing gifts, and will encourage our preservation.

Utilizing products, medications and foods for PMS relief that are not supported by our body’s systems, can possibly mask other medical conditions that need to be addressed and ultimately lead to greater health issues over a long period of time.  There seems to be a vast hyper dependency upon pharmaceutical drugs for ailments that can be resolved with using the elements of nature- fire, water, air, earth.  Our disconnection to and independence from Earth can encourage other ailments to arise, as our bodies are not designed for processing these foreign substances.

Healing PMS can be empowering, as well as a great joy and hallelujah moment for many.  Even Mary J Blige states in her song, “PMS” that – “The worst part about being a woman is PMS”. This doesn’t have to be so when we take natural, mindful steps toward our healing.

Because PMS has a broad range of systems to qualify for diagnosis (over 100), without proper cognizance of when they are occurring during a woman’s menstrual cycle and whether they are dissipating with the onset of one’s bleeding, it can be confusing to pinpoint the true cause of such symptoms as headaches, abdominal bloating, food binges, fatigue, and back pain to name a few.

The quote below demonstrates the alternative health issues that have been found when the seemingly initial complaint was PMS.

“Organic causes of PMS-like symptoms must be ruled out. Marked fatigue may result from anemia, leukemia, hypothyroidism, or diuretic-induced potassium deficiency. Headaches may be due to intracranial lesions. Women attending PMS clinics have been found to have brain tumours, anemia, leukemia, thyroid dysfunction, gastrointestinal disorders, pelvic tumours including endometriosis, and other recurrent premenstrual phenomena such as arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, and pneumothorax (24).”¹

There seems to be non-PMS disorders that need further attention but get brushed off as ‘normal’, part of a woman’s cycle, or found relief with an over the counter pain pill or birth control pill.  Adding false hormones, or suppressants of pain can merely mask a possible other issue that is crying out.

Help is possible.  Healing is possible.  Alissa Vitti, author of WomanCode, speaks to this when she states – “…the only way your hormones can achieve balance is if your body does the job– and only if you safeguard and nurture it, with every meal and habit, every day, to optimize endocrine function.”

 

Embodiment/ Self Care Practices

A few options for healing PMS naturally include cycle charting, dietary adjustments, exercise, rest, point of view, as well as a spiritual practice.

Cycle charting would indicate whether there is a cyclical nature of symptoms and therefore most probably related to one’s menstrual cycle. Paper charting is one effective way to notate when one menstruates, when one feels like they are ovulating (usually a heightened sense of libido, more watery cervical fluid, and a heightened position of the cervix), and when one experiences any symptoms that arise prior to menstruation and whether or not they halt at its onset. There are also apps that have been created to help this process as well.

Some dietary adjustments that have shown to be effective are:

  • Increase water intake
  • Increase dark, leafy greens
  • Increase whole grains
  • Increase fruits and vegetables
  • Decrease sugar
  • Decrease caffeine
  • Decrease alcohol consumption
  • Decrease dairy
  • Decrease starches

Shortly after ovulation, creating more spaciousness with one’s schedule, allowing for more down time, self reflection, time with girlfriends, journal writing, connecting with nature, and meditative, healing baths with Dead Sea salt or Epsom salt with added essential oils of choice, and candles, flowers, and relaxing music in the bathroom can make the transition smoother as menstruation time approaches. Treating one’s self to romantic dates at home are a powerful tool to viewing our menstruation time as beautiful and natural.  Additional self care practices might be a warm compress on the womb, a womb massage or even a full body massage!

Another ‘small’ yet powerful embodiment practice would be to practice one’s deep breathing. This also creates spaciousness, pause, ease, and down regulation during a time when we might feel more agitated and irritable. The practice of one’s deep breathing can be as deliberate as during a meditative practice- in a quiet space at home for a comfortable amount of time, during a yoga, qi gong, walking, or other movement practice, or less deliberate during any point of one’s day – while driving, pausing while at work, or while gardening, etc.

Breathing can also allow time to pause and reflect the value of one’s triggered emotions- are they fully warranted and valid? What is truly the trigger for any agitation, anger, irritability, sadness, isolation, or flustered feelings?  Pausing to breathe can allow us a moment to recognize the source as well as the opportunity to release it, address it, or return to it when we have more time.

Pause and breath can also allow for perspective on how one views their menstrual cycle. Expert Joan Chrisler shares in an interview the impact on social learning with regards to how women view PMS.  If what one has been taught and constantly sees perhaps via media that menstrual cycles are hard, painful, challenging, and dreadful, then that can come to be one’s socially learned experience as well. And the same is true for the exact opposite. If one learns, sees and practices embracing their menstrual cycle as beautiful, reverent, sacred, and special, then that can be the experience received.

Being aware of, and naturally healing our PMS, not only creates more ease, joy, flow and freedom in our lives, it also cleanses our bodies of other stressors and illnesses, and creates better health for us as women, mothers, sisters and daughters for generations to come.  Our connection back to our bodies, back to Mother Earth~ who gives us life through her foods, herbs, oceans, seas, mountains, and rivers can leave us PMS free!

You can regulate your levels of PMS. You have ownership of your own body. You can manifest your world of less PMS!

*If your symptoms are debilitating, or are not on a cyclical nature, please be sure to seek the help of your medical provider.*

Sacred Mama Support Circle + Restore Your Core to Wellness Workshop

I've been plugging away continuing to learn and grow my private practice as a Certified Women's Holistic Life + Sexual Wellness Coach.  I'm so excited to currently be seeing clients on issues ranging from diastasis recti, weak pelvic floor, low libido, time management, life balance, career change, and self-care.  

My focus is with moms who feel ready to make transformations in their lives and who are committed to creating a better lifestyle for themselves as well as their entire family.  Through holistic guidance, I help empower women to become their own healers and leaders of their lives.  

I have availability for 2 more private clients this month.  If this interests you or someone you know, please reach out and we can hop on a call to see if it is a good fit and begin your journey toward wellness right away.  
 

Sound the horns!  I am so thrilled to be able to share with you 2 new classes I'm offering!  Both are near and dear to my heart as they've been tools that I've personally needed during my journey as a mom.  Please read more about each one below.  


I've been intrigued by diastasis recti, weak pelvic floor and associated low back pain for over 5 years ever since I've had to personally address these issues with my own body.  As a former dancer, I have always been in touch with my body and had control over virtually every muscle you could imagine.  However, after having children, it's been a long road to feeling like myself again, feeling in control of my body.  I admit I have not been able to spend THAT much time on it, but there have been some fabulous tools that I've learned along the way that have truly made a difference.  In particular, the Restore Your Core Method from Lara Catone, one of my mentors, has been a pivotal resource, which is why I'm excited to now share this material with you!  


Secondly, I'm ecstatic to be able to share my new Sacred Mama Support Circle!  Yay!  As a new mom, it was REALLY challenging for me to embrace my new role in life.  Social circles and support groups really helped me feel integrated back into the world and into this new life.  

My desire is to create a space that honors each of us uniquely as women and mothers.  We are all serving a divine purpose through raising our children.   I look forward to witnessing and holding space for you all as we support, listen, honor, and respect one another.  

Check out details on the PURCHASE page and please feel free to reach out with questions. 

 

In gratitude,

Mrs Dancing Moon

Incontinence and the Pelvic Floor Post Baby

I was inspired to write about incontinence today as this cool chill in the air has me sneezing. I recall a bit of uncontrollable leakage of urine every time I sneezed and coughed post babies. Although I was the only one who knew it was happening, I remember feeling a bit embarrassed that my urine got away from me!! It was obvious that my pelvic floor muscles had weakened, or more accurately, no longer supported my urethral sphincter as it had previously.


I know I am not alone in my experiences of urinary stress incontinence (too much intra-abdominal pressure on the pelvic floor). Kegels can be the answer for you, but if you're experiencing pain when performing kegels or not utilizing all of the muscles involved in the pelvic floor, this may not be your answer.


Let's clarify. Kegels are an exercise for the pelvic floor muscles- this includes 3 muscular layers as the parts 'down there' are all so closely connected and interwoven. The pelvic floor muscles intersect at the perineum (the area of skin between the anus and the vagina). This means that kegels involve more than the vaginal walls. It also involves the sphincters of the anus and the urethra. So if performing kegels, one must be mindful to work from the intersection- utilizing the muscles surrounding the anus, vagina, AND urethra.


Many of us may already be aware that we can perform kegels virtually anywhere, anytime. I prefer elevator kegels that lift higher with each 'floor' then reversely, lower/release with each floor, particularly in a low squat position. If this position is troublesome for your knees, one option is to roll up a towel or small blanket and place behind the kneecaps. If your heels disengage from the floor, feel free to fold up a yoga mat, blanket, or towel to place under your heels. Remember to keep the feet no wider than a 45 degree angle.


Other simple exercises to re-engage the pelvic floor are pelvic breathing and chair squats with a block.


Pelvic breathing is truly all in the name. I prefer this exercise seated upright in either a cross legged position or while sitting on a physio (yoga) ball. Think of breathing into the bowl of your pelvis, feeling a gentle expansion or downward press at the root and also noticing a slight space between the sitz bones on the inhale.


Lastly, the chair squats with a block can be seen in the photos below.  Some cues for this exercise are to stand with your feet hip distance apart, gently squeeze the block between your upper thighs to engage the adductor muscles which in turn helps engage the transverse abdominals and even pelvic floor. Neck long, shoulder blades hugging the back, and ribs hugging the front of the body. Remember to breath and keep the spine long and neutral. Arrive in this position and then return to standing with the arms down at your sides. Repeat a few times taking notice of what you feel moving and engaging in your own body.

Chair squat with block

Chair squat with block

Chair squat with block, side view

Chair squat with block, side view

Each of these exercises can be done with 1 minute of time or if you have more to dedicate, then so be it! The more you practice visualizing and intentionally working the pelvic floor, the better you will become. Be gentle and patient with yourself as you've just had a baby! Your body has transformed and needs to now re-learn some of what it knew before. It is a process and urinary incontinence will not go away over night. Again, patience and persistence is key. You are not alone! I've been there and I'm sure many other postpartum women are right there with you!


For additional support, feel free to join our Facebook group HERE.


Essential Oil of the Day!

If you don't know yet, know you do. I'm an essential oil geek. So I'm committed to sharing essential oil wisdom with you all. As with everything in life, including the exercises shared above, healing takes place on a small, micro level and takes time and consistency for results to be seen.

Today I'd like to share about a Young Living Essential Oil blend called Release. This oil holds a frequency of 102 mega hertz (MHz), and can be used specifically to release emotions of anger and frustration. For me, this ability to release memory trauma from the cells of my liver where negative emotions are stored is so powerful on my own healing journey. I'm committed to not being my traumatic events and situations in my past as they are NOT ME. I am a higher, elevated individual that learns and grows from my experiences.

Some oils contained in Release are:

- Ylang Ylang: balances male/female energies to help focus thoughts and bring feelings of self-love, confidence, joy, and peace
- Lavandin: anti fungal, antibacterial, strong antiseptic, and tissue regenerator
- Geranium: helps with hormonal balance, liver and kidney functions and the discharge of toxins from the liver. Opens the solar plexus. May help foster peace, well-being and hope.
- Sandalwood: increases amount of oxygen around the pineal and pituitary glands, helping improve one's attitude. Alleviates depression, assists in the removal of negative programming from the cells of the body.
- Olive Oil

Release can be applied directly over the liver, or as a compress over the liver, on the reflexology points of the foot associated with the liver, as well as worn on the body as if applying perfume. And it's absolutely YUMMY!!!

For more info on oils click HERE.

Thank you for reading. If you feel anyone you know would enjoy or could benefit from this information, please feel free to share the love!

I offer birth and postpartum doula services, life and sexual wellness coaching for the postpartum woman, and group and private dance lessons.

Happy holidays to you and yours!!!

 

Body Butter Recipe

Shea butter (or cocoa butter)
Olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil
Essential oil(s) of choice
Medium pot
Glass measuring cup
8 oz jar with lid (be sure it's been thoroughly cleaned/ steamed for sterilization)


Fill pot about ½ way with water. 
Add glass measuring cup into pot. 
Set fire of stove to low. 
Place pot on fire. 
Measure out approximately 1 cup of Shea butter and 1 cup of olive oil. Place both into pot, creating a double boiler. 
Allow the butter to melt. 
When it's about ½ way complete, add essential oils of choice, approximately 30-50 drops total, depending on how fragrant you wish your butter to be. 
Once the butter has completely melted, turn fire off, remove pot and pour into jar. 
Allow jar to cool at room temperature. 
For faster cooling, jar can be placed in the freezer or fridge. The freezer can harden the butter if left too long, so I suggest room temp cooling or fridge.

Remember to have fun, get creative with your selection of oils and label your jar so you know what's in it!!! 

Enjoy!!! 

How To Make A Castor Oil Pack

Quality Organic Castor Oil
Flannel
Hot water bottle or heating pad
Plastic wrap
Towel or other barrier for your furniture or floor, etc 

These can all be found at your local health food store, pharmacy or online at Amazon.com

Lay the towel down on your chair, bed, etc wherever you are going to sit and rest yourself for this treatment 

Cut 2 layers of clean flannel to cover the area.
Put a couple tablespoons of castor oil on the first layer (lightly saturated but not soaked or dripping)
Place the wet flannel on the desired area of your body
The second dry layer of flannel should be placed on top of the first layer
Place a layer of plastic wrap on top of the two layers
Then cover all 3 layers with your heating pad or hot water bottle 

Rest mindfully for about 20-30 minutes
This can be done as often as once per day for 30 days. The effects are cumulative. 

*Remember that you can be allergic to castor oil. Please be sure to test a small amount on your skin prior to use. Also, avoid castor oil packs during the first few days of menstruation as it can increase bleeding. Lastly, if you are trying to conceive, avoid castor oil packs during ovulation and premenstruation. 

Dancing For Birth™ In My Own Words

What is Dancing For Birth™?  

Dancing for birth™ is a wonderful mix of iced tea and lemonade, bitter and sweet, sweet and sour, yin and yang.  i think you get the idea by now.  Essentially, DFB, is a pre/post natal dance class that includes childbirth education tips and tools, community among women at such a crucial time of their lives, parenting and new mother tools and support, and fun while getting fit!

Who is DFB for?  

DFB is for any expecting or new mama looking to feel good in her body, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation.  Women looking to feel empowered and be reminded of their own innate wisdom will find it in DFB class.

Why DFB?

As a former professional modern dancer, and now mother of 2, why did I choose to become a Certified Dancing For Birth™ Instructor?  Well, the connection may seem obvious, and yes, I would agree.  I also really love how DFB doesn’t teach women HOW TO DANCE, but rather - reminds women to listen to their bodies and offers movement vocabulary to respond, to have this unspoken conversation, to dance with ourselves and our babies.  

I truly believe that we know how to birth our babies but our culture has greatly reduced our mammalian connection to Mama Earth, decreasing our successful, natural childbirth outcomes.  Even as new mothers, we often long to find our tribe, our community of women, that are walking this new life path with us through all the tears of joy, pain and diaper changes.  DFB classes offer such a space for all of this magic to occur.  This is part of how I wish to positively impact the world - by offering an educational, safe, loving and fun space for pregnant women and moms/babies. 

More info on my weekly DFB class can be found here: https://www.mrsdancingmoon.com/dance-moves/pre-postnatal-dance-classes

More info on Dancing For Birth™ HERE: http://dancingforbirth.com

I Can See Clearly Now!

image.jpg

I've been toying with a topic for my first round of group coaching sessions. I posted on a couple of coaching groups as well as moms groups to see what type of feedback I get, and woah nelly!! Not only do I have clarity around a topic for this series of sessions, I've got the next series topic as well!!! I'm so excited, I've been doing the happy dance for days- in between more brainstorming, that is. 

It seems more and more, many people can't get enough self care. I mean really and truly and wow. Folks overall are working harder yet seeing less reward for their work, therefore taking less time out to provide care for themselves.  How frustrating is that!!!  Me personally, I certainly love to see reward. Whether that's a pat on the back, with words such as, "I appreciate you.", a huge hug from my kids full of unconditional love, or a day at the spa getting some relaxation and rejuvenation- I NEED some love for me to show up as my best self. Whether as a friend, wife, daughter, mother, or mutual driver sharing the road. When I'm not receiving what I need, not only do I suffer, but everyone around me suffers. Y'all feel me? 

Self care was easier and not even a thought in my mind before having children. Ponder on that mamas! Who's with me there? I didn't have to think about when I was going to get some "me" time. It was ALWAYS me time.

Well, fast forward 7.5 years and what do we see? Reminders on the calendar for exercise, meditation, painting my toes, and on and on. What I'm speaking on is definitely all for my benefit and my enjoyment, but man-- I just want to throw that phone away sometimes!!! 
However, many folks aren't scheduling the mediation, massage, or lunch with a friend opportunities into their lives at all. Now this is where it can get detrimental. I'm not saying you HAVE to plan out these moments on your calendar, but NOT taking the time at all for doing what you love, doing what brings you joy-- Watch out world! We eventually have a firecracker walking around. That is certainly how I can feel when I neglect myself. 

I refuse. I refuse to live my life out of whack, unbalanced, not giving to myself and feeling empty- like I give to others but what about me? Nope. But I did need clarity and perspective on what is most important to me. If, for example- I only have 1 hour of time in my day when I am not in a job, or not caring for my family, how do I want to spend it so it's most meaningful and rewarding? What do I need in that moment to help me feel relaxed, rested, alive and thriving?!?!  It's different depending on the day but now I KNOW what I enjoy and how best to serve myself. It might be easy and intuitive, for some, but I've repeatedly seen mothers wonder what to do when they don't have an immediate TO DO list or someone under their arms that needs caring for. 

Since I was once one of those moms, I know the feeling. And now I want to help other mamas feel supported, validated, and clear on how they too can have balance and enjoy time of self love! 

This is why I decided for my first group coaching series (if you haven't figured it out already), the topic is "Self-Care and Balance for Busy Moms". 

In this series, we will create a plan that is designed for YOU. Whether you feel you have 5 minutes a day, or 5 hours to your day alone- you can create and enjoy time for you that leaves you feeling present, loved, elated, confident, and excited to show up in your life! 

I'm offering FREE 15 minute discovery calls for anyone who wishes to discuss more. 
Registration is now OPEN and I can't wait to get started!! 

https://mrsdancingmoon.squarespace.com/dance-moves/group-coaching

Let's Dance!

I'm a dancer. I'm a wife. I'm a mother. I'm a doula. I'm a dancing doula who teaches Dancing For Birth™ classes to expecting and new moms. Why would anyone want to dance while they're pregnant, or while they're toting around a newborn? Or at all for that matter? 
Well, if you have never experienced it for yourself, let me tell you first hand that dancing is FUN! I don't mean Dancing With the Stars kind of dancing- that's fun too, but I mean just listening to your body, listening to the music and just grooving. Yeah. Letting go and getting lost in the flow. 
In Dancing For Birth™ class, we make time for listening and flowing and so much more. 

For the expecting mama, classes are great for--

- building and maintaining pelvic mobility
-strength and stamina for ease of labor as well as
- learning how to use our own powerful birth instincts. 

Now isn't that just awesome?!?!?!

For the new mama, Dancing For Birth™ classes are great for--

- toning those lovely stretched and expanded areas as well as
- creating and maintaining energy needed to tend to your baby. 
- There is opportunity to get guidance on any parenting concerns from sleeping to nursing and lots more. 
- Plus-- baby also benefits by creating a time for bonding and the movement helps develop their vestibular system which affects their vision, hearing, balance, muscle tone and equilibrium. 

Wow! Everyone wins!!!  

Come on down and join me in some bump 'n boogieing or some baby wearing boogieing!!

Tuesday's, Fox Hills Park Culver City, 2-3:30pm.

Click here for more details and to register: www.mrsdancingmoon.com/dance-moves/pre-postnatal-dance-classes

Let's dance!!!


www.mrsdancingmoon.com

Day 1 to a 5 Day Journey of Self Care

5-Day Journey of Self-Care

Day 1

Welcome to your 5-day journey of self-care.  In these 5 days, I will guide you through practices to utilize during your day to help leave you feeling like the loving, beautiful, strong, divine woman that you are.  Feel free to mix and match any of the suggestions as you see fit.  They are merely suggestions and meant to serve as a guide.  Feel free to leave your feedback on our facebook community: http://www.facebook.com/groups/dancingmoonpostpartumselfcare

 

Day 1- 7am:

Affirmation: “I AM WORTHY.”

Before going about all the do’s of your day, begin your day by Reciting this 10 times out loud to yourself.  Write it down 10 times in your journal.  Write it on a few different, cute index cards and tape up in your bathroom near your mirror, next to your bed, above your kitchen sink or on the refrigerator, and even tape it At the front door so you see it as you leave.  As you recite and write “I am worthy”, breathe into your worthiness, knowing that you are deserving of all of life’s amazingly wonderful blessings- big and small.  You are truly worthy.

 

10am- Essential Oil Support:

Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the palm of your left hand.  My suggestion for day 1 is Frankincense for its sacredness, ability to increase spiritual awareness and meditation. With your right hand, circle the oil 3 times in the palm of your left.  Cup your hands over your nose creating a tent.  Breathe deeply and slowly 3 times, taking in the essence of your oil.  Then place your right hand over your heart, left hand over your belly – being sure to contact your hands with your skin.  Add the morning affirmation “I am worthy” mentally or out loud, making sure to breathe deeply and fully 3-5 times or as long as it takes for you to feel your worthiness fully embodied.

 

1pm- Movement:

Usually around the lunchtime hour, our bodies get a bit drained and tired.  This is usually the time for an afternoon coffee.  Instead, try some movement.  Let’s keep it simple.  Find a comfortable space and shake.  Yes, shake.  Bobble your head, shimmy your shoulders, shake your arms, hands, torso, hips, knees and feet.  If you wish to add some jumping with it, go ahead.  I’d keep it to about 3-5 minutes total.  Notice the sensations you receive, where your energy is flowing and overall how you now feel.  This exercise leaves me feeling tingly and energized, ready to continue on joyfully. 

 

4pm- Meditation

As your day begins to slow down, take a moment privately inside or outside in nature.  Find a space where you will not be disturbed for the next 5 minutes.  If you have any special meditation music you enjoy- Tibetan or Native American meditation music, for example- to help achieve a more relaxed state, feel free to use it to assist you.  Find a comfortable seated position.  Rest your hands on each of your legs palms face up, allowing you to receive energy as you release any energy that is not serving you.  Begin to slow your breath, breathing deeply and fully.  You’re welcome to return to the affirmation “I am worthy”.  Another option is to focus closed eyes toward the center of your forehead, at your 3rd eye.  Simply rest.  Simply be.  Be present to what is.  Present to letting go any negative energy and receiving only positivity.  When your 5 minutes is up, slowly begin to blink your eyes and take in your surroundings, slowly moving parts of your body before standing and returning to your day.

 

10pm- Gratitude

Before you lay it down for the night, take some oil- massage oil or kitchen olive or coconut oil.  Add a few drops of frankincense oil.  As you did in the morning, place the oils in the palm of your left hand and circle your right hand 3 times.  Begin to massage your feet.  Rub the tops of your foot where the toes end, the pads of the toes, balls of the feet.  Don’t forget the arch, heel and the inner achilles.  If you have the space, add your calves and shins.  While massaging your feet and legs, tell them ‘thank you’.  They’ve helped you walked through your day and have helped you return to a placed of rest.  Take a few moments to think of your day and express gratitude for each opportunity, each encounter- no matter how unbearable, frustrating, and yes of course, beautiful and amazing.

 

Remember this is a guide.  Feel free to tweak as you desire.  Enjoy your day to the utmost because you absolutely are worthy. 

I DON'T DO BATHS

I don’t do baths.  Plain and simple.  I don’t feel comfortable.  Literally.  I’d prefer to soak with my feet raised, a cushion on my bottom and one on my back.  Plus, I feel soooo unproductive.  Really, that’s what it comes down to for me.  Not being able to sit still. 

However, for mother’s day, my son made scented bath salts for me, which meant that I HAD to take a bath.  Plus he kept asking and noticing the salts sitting around the house for a few days. 

Dancing Moon's Bath Salts

Dancing Moon's Bath Salts

So, as part of my commitment to self-care, I gave in.  I put it out to the universe that I would take a bath this weekend.  And yes I did!  What a HUGE deal for me.  And although short (20-30minutes), I did enjoy it very much.  I enjoyed the love with which my bath salts were made and the love with which my bath was drawn by my husband.  I enjoyed doing nothing, being non-productive, and allowing myself the time and space to have healing, relaxation and to just be

I was sitting in joy, in confidence, in pride, washing away all that does not serve me, and renewing my strength to continue to serve my family, my community and myself. 

Now get this!  After my bath I performed a ritual I haven’t done in a long time.  Now when I say long, I mean long.  I mean like maybe 8 years ago long.  I vividly remember giving myself a massage nightly when I was pregnant with my first.  I remember the feelings of patience, calmness and grace that it helped evoke from me.  So somehow, after this said bath, I felt compelled to give myself a rub down. I rubbed down my feet, calves, thighs, belly, arms and neck.  Sometimes I’ll include my scalp, face and ears as well, but today I needed more legs and feet. 

Dancing Moon Massage Oil 

Dancing Moon Massage Oil 

I used almond oil and added Idaho balsam fir and bergamot essential oils.  Now I chose these oils simply because I like them, however Idaho balsam fir can be used for aiding muscle fatigue while bergamot can aid in creating emotional balance and physical stress—all of which I REALLY needed.  I guess I needed the bath too.  Sometimes you just don’t know until you try. 

So, do I now enjoy baths?  Eh, not necessarily but I think they are a necessary part of my commitment to honoring my extraordinary self.  So, if you can muster up 15-30minutes, try it.  Take a soak and enjoy!  

And if you'd like some of my home made massage oil or bath salts click HERE.