Posts for : July 2013


Doula? Why? Is it for me?

Doula? Why? Is it for me?

This post is based on what BAI (Birth Arts International) teaches and trains. We cannot speak to other training organizations, but we know they all want to support and respect women, as we do. For more information about BAI please visit


1. You want additional support?

If you feel you need an additional support, education and understanding you may find a doula an excellent choice to assist you through the birth process. A doula can help you find answers, work with your specific needs, care plans and issues. Her work is to support you, not make you have a specific type of birth. At BAI we believe all women matter, and we train our students to react to all situations with dignity and understanding.


2. Can a doula really help me? How?

Yes, she can. Even if you have a supportive partner with you, and a caring care provider, you may still need additional education, support and someone who is only concerned with your needs and wishes. She can make suggestions to further the care and support your partner can provide and make the whole process easier for both parties.


Birth Arts International expects students to have completed hours of specialized education and client support. This education includes completing a 400 page workbook, reading 10 specialized books, 5 evaluated births, over 200 hours of specialized education and client care work, and much, much more. The education a BAI doula receives pinpoints how to be and practice as an effective doula working with woman in the birth they desire. BAI doulas receive the highest level of holistic doula education to include diversity, communication skills, client care, doula support, labor support, nutrition, holistic support techniques, business education, client care materials and resources and pregnancy care and support. Your doula will also have had education in pregnancy anatomy and physiology, breastfeeding care, interventions, C-sections, twins and other variations of birth and birth plans. Our doulas are trained to support mothers in all birth situations.


3. I am afraid of a natural birth, those are the only types of birth doulas work with, right?

No, a doula is trained to support you. If you are planning to be induced, use an epidural, etc.. you may find you have just as valid a need for a doula. With interventions come additional support needs. A doula can assist you with these needs, just as she supports a mother with a natural birth plan. She follows the mother’s direction. Doulas are trained to assist you with your birth needs. All women need support, and many find that by having a doula some of her planned ideas of needing an epidural, etc.. can be prevented by having the additional support a doula offers. Or on the other hand a doula can assist a mother who unexpectedly decides to have an intervention she was not planning on.


4. Why a doula?

History, love and support. Women from history from almost all cultures birth with the support of other women. These women offer support just by being in the room, women need to know they have support if needed. We are now so fractured as a culture, we have family potentially all over the world, and the women who historically could have supported us now are hundreds of miles away.


On the other hand you may have a family that is not able to be supportive in the way you need, and having a doula is a great alternative.


5. Are doulas costly?

They are worth every cent. Doulas charge between- $200-2000.00 dollars.

They have many costs associated with being your doula and are on call for you for two weeks before your due date, or until your child is born. They will stay at the hospital the whole time and birth can last an hour to 48 hours, and she is there, if you need her. She will stay through interventions, she will support you with postpartum care and questions and she will support you in your pregnancy. She is also available to parents throughout pregnancy for questions also.


If she charges $800 per birth, this is a simple breakdown to consider:

Time with parents – 6 hours (prenatal and phone calls)

Time at birth – 12 hours (sometimes much longer, sometimes much shorter, but 12 is a midline average).

Time in postpartum – 3 hours Postpartum visits if you offer 2 – 3 hours

Driving time – 3 hours average.

Prep and research time – 4 hours

$28.57 an hour is the rate.


Other expenses like websites, gas, childcare, business cards, etc.. She is running a business, and normal business overhead exists. The fee breakdown does not count time at birth.


Just a comparison to think about- a cleaning service is often $30-40 an hour, a plumber costs between $75-90 an hour., a mechanic is $45-60 an hour. A doula is a highly skilled professional and she deserves a living and fair wage for her work.

People do not think twice about paying monthly fees of $150.00 for smart phones, $200.00 a month for cable TV, $100 for a pair of shoes, or the newest must have tablet, smart device, etc.. These are all choices, like a doula is a choice. A doula can save thousands of dollars in hospital expenses, work to create a positive birth experience. A birth experience lasts a lifetime.


To save money you may be able to barter, find a doula with a lower fee than the amount I listed, or find a student doula. Student doulas often cost about $200.00

Tips for paying for a doula

  1. Put money away each week when you discover you are pregnancy. Even $10. a week gives you a good place to start.
  2. Ask family to contribute to your doula fund.
  3. Look at your budget and see how you can spend your money more wisely, brown-bag lunch, forgo a coffee drink, etc.. Saving for a goal is a wonderful way to also foster a positive relationship with money.

Having a doula can make your birth experience a more positive and life affirming experience.



Natural Remedies for Postpartum Depression

Natural Remedies for Postpartum Depression

These suggestions can prove helpful for managing and alleviating postpartum depression naturally. They are also great overall tips for assisting in alleviating baby blues.
Placenta Therapy- a great description is here.

Young Woman Suffering from Post-partum Sitting on Chair by Window










Homeopathic medicine

Phosphorus: applies to these issues, indifference, apathy towards loved ones.
Cimicifuga: applies to these issues, depressed for both emotional and hormonal reasons, a dark cloud has descended.
Pulsatilla: applies to women who are emotional, tearful, and sensitive when hormonal changes occur as in the postpartum period.
If a women feels like she can be violent, or self harm immediately assistance from a medical practitioner is required.
Vitamin D

I am not a huge fan of vitamin D supplementation, but if needed please give this a try. I think everyone needs 20 minutes of exposure to the sun a day, with no sunblock. This can be a few minutes at a time, but we need real sunlight, no pill can replace the benefits of the sun.

Is nature’s remedy for depression. If we have limited access to the sun we can get seasonal disorders and become depressed. Try to get 20 minutes of sun a day. Use a hammock and rest in the warm sun, or a chaise lounge and allow yourself this one on one time with the sun. Try taking a 20 minutes walk, so you then get some movement and sun and fresh air.

Eating a diet rich in niacin has been shown to alleviate depression. A supplement can be used, but I believe food is the best source of all vitamins, but do what works best for you.

“The best food sources of vitamin B3 are found in beets, brewer’s yeast, beef liver, beef kidney, fish, salmon, swordfish, tuna, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Bread and cereals are usually fortified with niacin. In addition, foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid the body coverts into niacin, include poultry, red meat, eggs, and dairy products”.1


Essential oils can play a great roll in altering and improving mood. We know lavender can calm and relax and individual, and this can be helpful for an anxious and stressed mother. If a gentle uplifting is required Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon and Sweet Orange. Lemon and Sweet Orange are stronger upflifters and work great in a room spray. If you want to feeler cleaner and unmuddled a room spray with Sweet Orange and Spearmint will do the job. It is also excellent to use mints and citrus oils together. They compliment each other  and work to uplift Sprig of rosemary, herbs and bottle of aromatic oil for aromatherapyand energize. Neroli is great for calming nervousness and anxiety. Chamomile can assist with depression that is a moody and irritable variety.

In a four ounce spray bottle add 3 oz. water and

30 drops Grapefruit essential oil
25 drops Sweet Orange Essential oil
20 drops Spearmint Essential oil

Mist the room for an uplifting scent.


Herbal Remedies

Research each remedy before using for safety and to make sure it will work for you.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea- full of vitamins and minerals, great for uterine toning.

YOU ROCK! Mamma Tea and Infusion

2 parts chamomile flower (Matricaria recutita)
2 parts hibiscus flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
1 part rose petal (Rosa spp.)
1/8 part lavender flower (Lavendula officinalis)
1/4 part rose hips (Rosa canina) 3 parts lemon balm leaf (Melissa officinalis)

Make this by the gallon. It is rich in nervines, vitamins and minerals. Mom, family and care providers can drink this throughout the day, hot or cold.

Milky Oats- great for nourishing the nervous system, you can even eat oatmeal.

Rose Hips-  They are a great source of vitamin C, nutritive and tastes wonderful especially blended with other herbs.

Motherwort- is excellent for anxiety, stress and relieving the weight on your chest, or a heavy heart.

Other good herbs are: Nettles, Skullcap, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Hibiscus, Rose, and Passionflower.

St. John’s Wort oil topically- This wonderful infused oil can assist in soothing sore muscles and nerve ending. I tell clients it is like wearing sunshine and most agree. The smell and action of the oil is uplifting.


Getting adequate rest is essential for mental and physical health. Make sure as the partner of a postpartum mother that your make sure she needs the assistance she requires. Every mother is different, and each birth experience leads to an individual postpartum experience. Take care of her, and Moms take care of yourself. Do not feel that you have to have the same recovery times as your friends or family members. Give mom a foot massage or a backrub to alleviate stress and stimulate lymph fluid. Make sure spouses and partners that you do not expect something from this massage. When I make this suggest mother’s often roll their eyes, in this instance it is for her and not foreplay unless she decides to. Excuse me for being so direct, but I am just wired that way.

Advice to Family

Family members be kind. New mothers are going through so much, make sure your actions do not make her feel less than or insecure. When visiting the new addition to the family, do a load of laundry, wash dishes, fold clothes, clean the bathroom, make a meal. Do not make the mother feel like she needs to serve you. This is not about you and your needs, it is about honoring and serving the mother. If you are great to a mom postpartum she will appreciate and remember that forever.

If you can’t do this for the mother, then talk about hiring her a postpartum doula. This is a skilled and trained professional who can assist mothers after birth. It will probably be one of the best investments you make for your family.

Give mom time to take a bath, read for an hour only stopping to feed baby, time to take a walk, nap and make sure you are supportive. This is just possibly a month or so in a woman’s life that the people around her can care for her and make sure it is not about them. Mother’s will give back for their rest of their lives, this is something you can do for her, that can shape her new parenting experiences. Do not ask the mother to travel, let her nest and recover. Be amazing and supportive!

To learn more about postpartum depression and the baby blues.

When to get help with Postpartum Depression

If you or a loved one thinks you need help, then please seek it out. Remember the people around you love you.

Postpartum depression, although as you can see by reading the links above has risk factors, it can still strike anyone.


If you think that becoming a postpartum doula sounds like the career for you, supporting and assist mothers with their now babies, please visit

If you are interested in learning more about herbalism and aromatherapy visit-

1 Source: Vitamin B3 (Niacin) | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center


Disclaimer- Nothing written here is intended to prescribe or diagnose a health condition, it is for information purposes only.


SPIRITUAL CHILDBIRTH Bringing Sacredness Back to the Birth Process

SPIRITUAL CHILDBIRTH Bringing Sacredness Back to the Birth Process  by Mary Betsellie 

Childbirth is a deeply spiritual endeavor. It is an awesome task that a woman’s body is designed to carry out. It is at this time that a woman has the honor to stand at the doorway in which life and death passes.

During labor and delivery, her senses are at their sharpest including her intuition and connection to the non-physical world. A woman is in her greatest power during childbirth. She is completely open on all levels, working with the co-creative forces of nature to allow the miracle of life to pass through her.

However, it seems as if there is a great dichotomy in the birth process. It is that while a woman is in her greatest power she is also in her greatest vulnerability. For a woman who is supported, provided for and protected from outside interferences, that vulnerability is her greatest power. It is unfortunate that for millions of women across the country, birth has been or will be anything but spiritual and empowering. It is when we do not care for a birthing woman holistically (body, mind, and spirit) that she goes from being empowered to weak and desperate. Over-dependence on technology, greed, and fear have brought a dehumanizing effect into the delivery room. Birth has been reduced to a medical event, treated more like an illness than the blessed and sacred miracle that it is.

Here are some steps a woman can take to experience the divine nature of birth, whether she is birthing in a hospital, birthing center, or at home.


Take a non-hospital based childbirth education class:There are many philosophies from which to choose. Pick one with which you are comfortable. Some of the more popular ones are Calm Birth, Birthing From Within, HypnoBabies, HypnoBirthing, The Bradley Method, and Lamaze. Interview various educators to select one that shares your birthing philosophy. Gaining the knowledge of how the body works will only reinforce that you and your baby both have the inherent wisdom needed to birth.


Consider hiring a Midwife instead of an Obstetrician:Midwives are highly trained professionals working with a more holistic approach. They typically are better equipped to support the body, mind, and spirit collectively. With a Midwife, a birthing mother is more likely to be an active participant in the birth of her child, allowing her to embrace her divine power. (Some midwives follow the holistic model of care more than others.)


Hire a Birth Doula: A doula understands that the birth process is much more than a physical event; it is a journey that will engrave deep impressions on the soul of the laboring woman and her partner. She is the one constant human being that is there for the birthing mother and has the tools to support her mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Doctors and nurses usually have several patients they are attending at once and even a midwife is not always available for the entire labor. Many doulas are also trained in other healing modalities such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Aromatherapy, Massage, and Yoga.


Have a Mother Blessing: A Mother Blessing is a celebration that is done in place of or in addition to a baby shower. The main focus of the ceremony is on the Mother rather than on the baby. It is an intimate celebration where the Mom-to-be has a chance to connect with the important women in her life on a heart and soul level and to receive empowering support and encouragement in the form of positive messages regarding birth and her strength. There is a strong spiritual element to a Mother Blessing, stirring the souls of all who attend to remember that at one time or another all cultures held birth and the act of bringing forth life as sacred and holy.


Have a Homebirth: Homebirth is safe, legal and happening all of the time in this country. For many women, home is the most comfortable place to be, providing privacy and control that cannot be had in a hospital or birthing center. At home a woman is free to listen to her body, instinctual urges, and spiritual guidance. Many women can and do have spiritually empowering births in hospitals and birthing centers but home is the place she is most likely to birth in her feminine power.


Talk to the spirit of the baby: It just might talk back! This can be done even before conception. It is called pre-birth communication. Moms and Dads all over the world have reported connecting with their children long before they landed Earth side. The child spirit may come to you in mediation, in dreams or even in full consciousness. Sometimes the communication just comes in a knowing. Take time each day to sit quietly and allow the time to connect with your baby.


Women have been gifted with the bringing forth of life through their bodies. It is an awesome task indeed, not to be feared but respected and honored for the miracle that it is.



Psychic and Astrology Readings
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Doula Support


BAI Student Profile- Echo Morris

Echo Morris

1. Why did you choose BAI?
I chose Birth Arts because I felt that it pertained not only to the physiology of birth but the whole woman. The program encourages personal growth as a doula and a person. I love that we have a a great network and support for doulas and doulas in training.

2. What did you learn about yourself while taking the program? I learned that I am capable. I am enough. I am strong and I can help other women.

3. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Echo Morris and I am 27 years old. I’m married to a wonderful guy named Jeremy. I’m the proud mama of three strapping young men: Riley age 8, Harry age 6, and Max age 1, with another on the way. I love to sing, laugh with my dear friends, and do anything creative. I am from Indiana, but moved to Maryland 7 years ago.

4. Tell us about your business, or plans for the future.
After I return from maternity leave in January of 2014, I plan on concentrating on attending more community events, spreading the word about doulas! I also would like to work on volunteering for teen moms and military moms. I would also like to focus on attending retreats and classes to expand my knowledge and network.


BAI Student Profile- Angie-Pie Valentin

Angie-Pie Valentin

I chose BAI because the programs seemed to be far more extensive and in greater depth than programs with other certifying organizations. I also really liked that there were scholarship opportunities and that once certified, I would not have to continue to renew my certification or pay more. It wasn’t until I started the program that I found that there were many, many more benefits – like a community of other birth workers at all different levels of their journeys and that the Director would be so warm and genuinely caring of each of the students and their progress.

I have learned so much about myself since enrolling in the Birth Doula Certification Program. The program curriculum pushed me to dig deep within myself to access strengths I never knew I had. I have learned to better cope with everyday life challenges and obstacles, I have learned how to better care for myself by nourishing my soul and body

but most of all I have learned to listen to others in a way I never have before which in turn enables me to care for and support them efficiently. The BAI Birth Doula Certification Program has not only taught me new skills and tools but has taught me how to apply them in everyday life and everyday situations, including those within my family and personal relationships as well as advocacy for my own well-being, not just as they would pertain to birth work. This program is truly invaluable as the impact on my life has been so great. I highly recommend every doula take this program. Hands down.

I am a single “mumma” to two children, a former surrogate, and founder/ director of Doulaville Birth Services. I absolutely love my work as a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth & family educator and placenta processor. I one day hope to become a homebirth midwife but not until my children are a bit older.

While I am passionate about birth work in general, I am

  • especially passionate about community awareness and connecting free/low cost birth service providers with families who have no/low income through Doulaville CARES! a unique program designed to do just that – link families with birth workers so that every woman can in fact have a doula should she want one. You can learn more about Doulaville at where you can meet the Doulaville Doulas in the Seattle-Tacoma Puget Sound, in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the Doulaville CARES! Directory of free/low cost birth service providers across the entire U.S. and growing in Canada too! I hope to grow the Doulaville CARES! Directory into a comprehensive resource for expecting families and birth workers alike.

    Angelina “Angie” Valentin
    Founder, Director, Doula
    Doulaville Birth Services in Seattle and San Francisco

    Doulaville Doulas in San Francisco Bay Area & Seattle Tacoma Puget Sound

    Support through the childbearing year by preparing, supporting and nourishing women and their families. Doulas in Seattle Puget Sound & SF Bay Area.