Friday, February 25, 2011


Courtesy of Rachel's button box

Yup, I jumped on the button bandwagon, so I'd be ever so grateful to follow bloggers who grabbed an applied the button on their own lovely blogs, and who let me know if they have buttons of their own for me to grab in return!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Thursday, February 24, 2011

RambleRant: "Midwife" just doesn't cut it anymore

A friend came out the other day with an idea for a directory of LDS birth workers, after reading this article over at The Gift of Giving Life.  From her Facebook Note:

I would really like to see a directory/registry/list of LDS doulas, midwives and childbirth educators that is shared on the internet for LDS women to refer to as they are looking for maternity care. In a way, it would bring back a little bit of the community that once existed in the church with Relief Society sisters literally providing relief during some of the most important and hard work of a Mormon woman's life.
I am completely on board with that idea, and there's been some discussion on how to do it, what to call it (Birthing in Zion seems to be fairly settled), and things like that.  I rang in with my (shocking!) suggestion to add prenatal massage therapists and infant massage instructors to the list, as well.  There is a whole slew of different fields related to birth that it would be wonderful to get listed in one place, all under the heading of "birth workers".

Birth workers.


I don't really like that term.  Yes, it's descriptive and accurate and it's a good umbrella term, but I find it very boring and PC and dry-sounding.  Midwives used to be the encapsulation of baby catcher/herbalist/doula/lactation consultant/childbirth educator/therapist/etc. as far as there were such things.  Granted, doulas were once the community of childbearing women around you, and chances were that you already knew a great deal about childbirth and breastfeeding because they were a part of regular life that wasn't hidden away behind hospital doors, blankets, or--Heaven forbid--bathroom doors.  (Ew.)  But if you did need the extra help, or you didn't have many examples in your life of child-bearing, midwives were there.  Now, the term still applies to the same sort of job, but there are numerous related fields that branch off of it, and the umbrella term is really unsatisfying.

The issue gets compounded somewhat when, like many people I know, a birth worker multiplies their talents and expands their knowledge.  Imagine a party...

"Nice to meet you.  What do you do?"
"I'm a CPA."

You now know this person handles money, finances, and taxes.
"I'm a CD, IBCLC, CPMT, CEIM, and CBE."

Unless you've come across a very Mom-and-baby-savvy accountant, you lost them right about "LC", because they're still thinking 'Compact Disc? IBC Root Beer?'  Once their eyes have glazed over, it's too late to explain that you're a Certified Doula, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist, Certified Educator of Infant Massage, and Childbirth Educator.  And alas, while "birth worker" is descriptive, it's still fairly confusing in a society where most people think of that as "OB/GYN, or L&D or NICU nurse".  (Letters, letters everywhere!)  I guess the confusion is a good conversation piece, but I find people are still perplexed by the whole notion.

I'm not sure I'm up to coining a new umbrella term, myself.  It takes a lot of consideration, possibly even digging into other languages (a la "doula"), and it wouldn't really change the "you do what?" part of conversations.  "Doula" has been around for a few decades now and it's just starting to become a word that people recognize and understand, though I still get a lot of people with quizzical looks and "Oh... How'd you get into that?"  There's also the fact that even a new umbrella term wouldn't simplify the multiple certification issue at all, and would just give you one more level of necessary explanation.

So, alas, I can't have everything.  But wouldn't it be nice?

"I'm a ___________."
"That's wonderful! You must love babies and moms."

I do.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thoughts on being a traveling doula

As noted, I'm in Utah, awaiting the arrival of a friend's baby. This is the second or third time I've done this sort of thing in my life. It would have been a solid third except that the last one was a very sudden "they're inducing me tonight" throw-together-a-bag-and-hop-on-a-plane affair without the prenatal waiting period. Nevertheless, I've traveled out of state and time zone three times now in order to help prepare for and attend a birth.

It's interesting. It's very different, being on-site rather than just on-call. Your life is on-hold at a much deeper level, but I find the overall experience a bit more fulfilling, really, and I'm grateful that I'm at a place in my life where I have the opportunity to do this.

You're always available for consultation and advice, without even having to pick up the phone. This makes you invariably wish you'd brought your entire doula (and massage and herb and aromatherapy) library with you, which is--of course--impossible. You have to pare down what you bring to the essentials and pray your memory and/or Google don't fail you. You get to help shop, prepare food, run errands, clean, take care of older children if there are any... it's very much like postpartum work, jut earlier. And there's a lot of waiting and the daily questions.  "What shall we do today? What still needs to be prepared? What can we do to help nudge things along?  What will help ripen a cervix and encourage contractions?"

Then there's the parallel blogging, where we're sitting on opposite ends of the couch, typing in our blogs. Always fun.  :)
Rachel working on a blanket for baby Evelyn.

Things I've learned:
  • AAA is VERY useful to have, especially in winter, especially when with a pregnant lady.
  • Bacon sushi is a surprising revelation.  Tasty!
  • Basil essential oil smells surprisingly like licorice/anise/fennel.  It's also apparently quite and quickly effective on itchy bumps that might or might not be bites.
  • I need to write notes on EVERY oil in my doula kit and keep it somewhere close to it.
  • On the same note, Labor Lab is an invaluable book to have on hand.  Not quite comprehensive, but very useful as a reminder resource.
  • I should consider investing in less bulky "doula clothes" to keep in my bag so they don't take up so much space.
  • Spending at least 30-40 minutes per day sitting/bouncing/flexing on a birth ball can apparently help ease constipation.
  • I found even an informal, small Blessingway much more interesting and fulfilling to participate in than I've ever found a baby shower, and I think they should definitely become more common in our society.  (Granted, I was just an attendee and not the honoree, but it felt much more personal and like a rite of passage and initiation--as it should--than a giggly party with silly games and gifts.)
  • There are worse ways to spend a few weeks out of my life. :)

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Doula Days: Evelyn's car seat

My friend, Rachel, is a very crafty laDIY.  Look what she did for her baby Evelyn.
COMPLETELY reupholstered

Cutest strap guards ever.
I love it.  It's gorgeous.  It's handmade.  She won't do it against for anyone but her own beloved offspring, but I've encouraged her to type up everything she learned, figure out yardage, do up a pattern if she can, make it a pdf and sell it for a very reasonable price in her Etsy store.  (Or anything in her store, but she's been a little busy with the baby-growing, ya know?  She makes adorable knit hats and headbands, though, and you should really Heart her store for later.)  I think she could use some motivation on the pdf, though, before she forgets.

Therefore, I would consider it a personal favor if you'd go to this post and leave a comment saying how adorable it is and how much you want to know how to make one of your own, or you know someone who would love to make one, or something of the like.  She's an awesome person, I've known her for years, and she deserves many more readers than she has.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Out of State: Doulary!

As of 3 PM: I am officially Out of Town/Out of State. I'm off to Utah to be doula to my friend, Rachel. I'll be gone the remainder of February, and massage business as usual will resume in March. I'll be sure to post photos and updates about the birth and such until then!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Fearless Woman: February

Pretend this was the first thing you saw on February 1st. I have a date book called A Fearless Woman. Every month begins with a quote, and I'm going to post them on the first of the month for the rest of the year.
Artwork detail ©Jeannine Roberts Royce
She Follows the Ebb and Flow
Life assigns crazy, unwelcome events and
relationships to test and torment her.
She accepts the fates and furies beyond her
control with unflappable composure (and a
serious sense of humor). 
-"A Fearless Woman" 2011 date book,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage