Community

The Struggles of Being a Mom

It has been said that motherhood is the hardest and most rewarding thing you will ever do. An anonymous quote says, “Motherhood: The only place you can experience heaven and hell at the same time.” There are days you want to pull your hair out and counting the minutes to bedtime; then once your child is peacefully sleeping you look at them and feel an overwhelming sense of love and actually miss them! Those days when you think you could not possibly do another day; you do indeed!

j4e6cdhnwyeaztjkbxrg.jpeg

There are some common things that are more frustrating than others. Have no fear! You are not alone!

Mornings are the WORST! Mornings especially are stressful once kids are school age or if you are a working mom. Getting everyone out the door on-time and making sure everyone has all that they need can be the definition of insanity. Kids are running around screaming, you are yelling, no one is listening then you may start crying too. Sound familiar? Take a deep breath mama. Or at least try. One way to try and help ease the pain of morning stress is prepping the night before or getting up before the kids do so you can can some things done in peace.

Tantrums can be mind blowing! Mini tantrums can start early, even before the age of one. For some children they continue to get worse and around the age of three or four it can peak. For families with more than one child this can be extra overwhelming. Especially if it happens in public. I know there have been plenty of moms who have left a full cart in the middle of a store, barely holding onto a toddler or two, sweating, red faced and on the verge of tears. All the while you feel that the entire store is staring at you and whispering. Some of them probably are but trust me, there are more that are thinking, “that poor mama”. Again, you are not alone.

Lack of sleep can leave you feeling un-human! Once you become a mother your sleep will never be the same. Unfortunately sleep deprivation enhances every emotion and makes life feel even more intense. In those moments when you haven’t slept a wink and your child won’t cooperate by sleeping, it can feel so frustrating. To top it off your partner can probably sleep right through it. For many mamas naps are not an option because of other children or work. You are not alone. Reach out. It is ok to feel sad and angry.

You may feel like you have lost YOU! Showering feels like a mountain to climb some days. Doing your hair and putting on make-up? Forget about it. Getting up early and exercising? Too tired. Eating healthy and shedding extra baby weight? No energy. Going to see your favorite musician with friends? The kids freak when you leave. Sound about right? Pick one thing at a time and do it anyway. You will feel better after you do. And guess what? Everyone in your family will survive!

For some mothers this is just the tipping point. Talk about it. Find other mamas that are supportive. Laugh about it; sometimes that is all you can do. Have a good cry; it’ll do the body good. Allow yourself to enjoy self care. Whether it is 20-30 minutes after the kids are in bed or a night out with friends. If you have a partner, share with them what you are feeling. They may be feeling the same way. Find a good routine for your family. Kids thrive with routine; even though it can be tough to stick to!

Empowering Woman to Make Informed Choices: EVERY WOMAN CAN, December 09, 2016

Photo by Dany St-Arnaud/iStock / Getty Images

Health Foundations is thrilled to announce our upcoming special event this December 9th, 2016, EVERY WOMAN CAN. This night of community, celebration, empowerment, great music and honored speakers will take place at Aria and will feature keynote speakers, Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein and the musical stylings of female folk singers, Indigo Girls.

The EVERY WOMAN CAN movement was founded by our very own Amy Johnson-Grass of Health Foundations and its mission is to empower and support women in making informed choices for childbirth and their bodies. EVERY WOMAN CAN is a community for every woman, throughout womanhood, pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and beyond. No matter what choices you make for your body or childbirth, we strive to support one another in recognizing the incredible strength and potential we have as women.

Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein

To celebrate this powerful mission with us, we welcome Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, creators of the raw and thought-provoking documentary, the Business of Being Born. Lake is a well-known advocate in the birthing community having served on the board of the nonprofit organization, Choices in Childbirth for many years. In their keynote address, these seasoned advocates of the birth community will address informed decision making and natural birth. Lake and Epstein’s work and life’s missions embody the spirit of the EVERY WOMAN CAN movement, seeking to empower women with knowledge and choices and to recognize the extraordinary potential of our bodies.

Indigo Girls

The grand finale of this special evening will be an exciting performance from none other than Grammy Award winning folk rock band, Indigo Girls. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are not only known for their hit albums and timeless ballads, but their profound political and environmental activism and support for women issues. Ray and Saliers will close the evening with a performance following the key note speakers and a social hour to allow us all time to connect and celebrate.

Health Foundations is proud to partner with Free the Girls, Nurture Project International and Esther’s Home to bring you this incredible night to remember. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go towards supporting these organizations and their commendable causes. Here’s a little bit about the work of these partnering organizations:

Free the Girls provides a unique opportunity for victims of sex trafficking to rebuild their lives through operating their own business selling secondhand clothing while going to school, establishing a home and caring for their families. Joined together with fellow survivors, these brave women sell second-hand bras to other women in need around the world. Health Foundations is honored to be an official drop off site for bra donations that benefit the Free the Girls organization.

Nurture Project International is a US-based, nonprofit organization that provides resources for communities impacted by crisis and disaster. Through the organization and support of volunteers, Nurture Project seeks to provide tangible services to those people whose lives have been negatively impacted by crisis and who are suffering the most.

Esther's Home is a support center for victims of domestic violence that provides shelter, programs, education and counseling to women and children as they rebuild their lives following abuse. Esther’s Home seeks to equip women with the tools and support necessary to reclaim their lives and well being following the traumatic experience of domestic violence.

Together with Health Foundations, these organizations eagerly await the EVERY WOMAN CAN event at Aria on December 9 th , 2016. Please join us for this momentous, once in a lifetime opportunity to join hands with women from around the world to celebrate a woman’s right to choose. To purchase tickets to EVERY WOMAN CAN, please visit the website at http://www.everywomancan.co/ or contact Health Foundations directly with questions. We look forward to celebrating with you!

Baby Friendly Activities for New Moms

Baby Friendly Exercises

Being a new mom can be isolating at times. Even though you are home and loving snuggling up to the new love of your life, you may also be itching to get out of the house and interact with other adults! The good news is that there are so many activities available now for moms and babies in the community. From swim and exercise classes to play groups and mom and baby yoga, with a little effort to get out of the house, you and your baby can be social butterflies in no time. Here’s a list of ideas and local options for new moms in the Twin Cities.

  • Breastfeeding Support Groups: Breastfeeding support groups are a great first social activity for mom and baby as you will find the littlest of little babies at these gatherings and you can gain valuable help and knowledge from a lactation consultant. This is a great way to get help with baby’s latch or transitioning off the nipple shield and many other breastfeeding challenges that may arise. You are also usually able to do pre and post-feed weigh-ins to determine how many ounces your baby is getting per nursing session. Here are some local options for moms looking to connect with other nursing moms.
  • Mom and Baby Yoga: Mom and baby yoga is another wonderful bonding activity for you and your little one in those early months. Most mom and baby classes are open to babies as young as 8 weeks of age and involve small motions for baby that can aid in digestion, sleep and soothing while providing a relaxing way for mom to distress. Mom and baby yoga classes are anything goes as far as breastfeeding, diaper changes and crying babes, so do not worry if your baby isn’t having a ‘Zen’ day. Check out these locations for mom and baby yoga classes in the community.
  • Story Time: You are never too young for the joy of reading. You may have even read to your baby in the womb! Now that your little one is here, baby story times are a great way to get out of the house, meet other moms and enjoy a story or two with your baby.
  • Baby Signing Classes: Baby signing classes are a great way to jump start excellent communication between you and your baby. Although your baby may not be able to return sign with you until 8 or 9 months, they understand well before they are able to communicate. The earlier you begin signing with your baby, the earlier he will be able to communicate his needs to you. Baby signing is associated with earlier ability to communicate, decreased crying and even possibly a few extra IQ points down the road. Here are a few options for baby sign language classes in your area:
  • Music Classes: What better way to connect with your sweet baby than through music, movement and play. Music classes offer the opportunity to expose you baby to different sounds, songs and instruments as well as meet other moms and babies in your community. There are a few great options for music classes in the community including:
  • Swim Classes: Parent and baby swim classes are the perfect opportunity to expose your baby to the water for the first time and begin to learn some basic safety skills like back floating, flipping over from back to front and brief submersion. Most swim schools will allow you to take your first parent and baby swim class around 6 months. Typically the classes will be short to accommodate baby’s needs but will allow time for some simple instruction, games and singing. It is never too early to begin educating yourself and your child on water safety. Here are a few options for baby swim classes in the area:
  • Baby Friendly Exercise Classes: Once you’ve been cleared by your midwife or OB for exercise, you may be wondering how in the world you will find time to work out with a baby. Fear not though, there are actually many options these days for the moms who love fitness. From stroller exercise groups to babywearing barre,  these are fitness classes where moms can actually bring baby along for the ride while she gets her sweat on! Here are just a few options in the area:
  • Mom’s Groups: Lastly, mom groups are a real thing these days. They are born on Facebook, Meetup.com, through churches, birth centers and friend groups alike. Some mom groups are brought together by certain parenting philosophies or interests and others are created simply by location. Whatever the theme or lack thereof, joining a local mom group will be one of the best things you can do in that first year of being a mom to connect with other moms who are going through the same phase of life and have children that are the same age as yours. These moms will become your buddies, the ones you can talk poop and breastfeeding with without batting an eyelash. Their kids will be your kids’ playmates and hopefully your spouses will even get to know one another during family activities. There are many ways to get involved in a local moms’ group but here are just a few ideas.

As you can see, although you may feel as though you’ve been one with your couch and the Boppy pillow since baby was born, there are MANY options for you and your little one to get out of the house and connect with other new moms and babies. Give different types of activities a try to see what works for you and your baby. Try out a couple different mom groups until you find your people. Being a new parent is one of the most exciting, wonderful, terrifying things you have likely ever gone through. Why not make a few friends to join you on the journey?

For questions about natural birth, pregnancy, postpartum opportunities, classes and more, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

When Your Birth Doesn’t Go As Planned

Woman Contemplating Feelings

Whether you had hoped for a home or birth center delivery and needed to transfer to the hospital, or had prepared for a natural birth and ended up having a C-section, births that do not go according to plan can be disappointing. Many mothers spend their pregnancies preparing for and creating a detailed birth plan in the hopes of having the experience they’ve always envisioned for themselves and their baby. Despite the best laid plans, birthing classes, and providers, sometimes our bodies and our babies have other plans in mind. When your birth doesn’t go as planned, it’s not uncommon to experience some negative emotions along with the excitement you’re feeling about the new baby. Many women who have experienced some form  of birth trauma  or unexpected intervention report feeling disappointed, angry, guilty, frustrated, indifferent and sometimes even resentful towards their baby or their body. These feelings usually follow birth experiences that felt out of their control, traumatic or unexpected such as having an episiotomy or emergency C-section. If your birth experience has left you feeling as though your body failed to do what you had hoped it would do, here are some ways to cope with those negative emotions and acknowledge the strength and courage in your journey.

Writing Birth Story
  1. Acknowledge your feelings: This can be difficult to do when everyone is expecting you to be overjoyed by the arrival of your new baby. However, if you are experiencing disappointment, sadness, guilt or anger about the way your delivery unfolded, it’s important to take the time to allow yourself to experience those feelings without judgment. Giving birth may be the single most important event in your life thus far and it is okay to feel sadness about any part of the labor or delivery that was traumatic or upsetting to you. If you try to push away your negative feelings about the experience, they will likely resurface at a later date as unresolved issues. 
  2. Take steps to process your grief: It is perfectly normal to experience grief following a traumatic or upsetting birth experience. It is important to allow yourself to experience the grief so that you can move forward feeling as though you have processed your feelings. Talking to your midwife or doctor and asking questions so that you can better understand and process your experience is one way to work through what you may be feeling. Two cathartic ways to process grief following birth are: telling your birth story to a trusted friend or family member or writing down your birth story. Writing or telling a detailed account of your experience can help you process your feelings of disappointment or guilt and also help you identify  all of the moments (there are so many!) of great courage and strength.
  3. Surround yourself with loving and supportive people: Limit visitors in the early weeks following your delivery to people who can be sensitive to your feelings and your experience. While not intending to be unsupportive, people may make comments suggesting that the only thing that is important is that you have a healthy baby. You can gently remind them that the experience was important to you and you are not ready to discuss it further at this time. You can also ask your partner to help play gatekeeper in the early days staving off unnecessary visitors and unsavory comments.
  4. Acknowledge the strength and courage in your story: Even if your birth didn’t end the way you had hoped, do your best to remember the amazing work that your body did. Whether you labored for 18 hours before ultimately having a C-section, endured hours of natural labor before electing to have an epidural, or had to undergo any number of interventions that were frightening or upsetting to you, your body has done an amazing thing. There is also an incredible amount of strength and courage in having to let go of your birth plan and have a birth experience that feels completely out of your control. Whatever your story is, whatever the intervention or unplanned turn your birth took, your body has done a miraculous thing.
  5. Ask for help: Whether you would like extra support from your partner, your provider, a friend to listen or to seek out a new moms’ group in your area, make the effort to reach out for help and comfort. The postpartum period, despite the awe and excitement of a newborn, can be an isolating and overwhelming experience. Adding grief from your birth experience to this mix may be too much to handle on your own. If at any point your grief begins to impact your ability to function throughout the day or seems to overwhelm the joy you have for your new baby, see your doctor or a therapist for an assessment for Postpartum Depression. Although the baby blues are a normal experience in the weeks following delivery, moms who have experienced a traumatic birth experience are more likely to develop Postpartum Depression. Ask for help right away if you feel like you might be experiencing Postpartum Depression. Click here to learn more about Postpartum Depression

If you’ve experienced a traumatic or disappointing birth experience, don’t suffer in silence. There are many women out there whose birth plans have not gone according to plan and who are left feeling guilty, angry and even depressed. There is no shame in a birth that does not go as planned and no shame in grieving the experience you did not have. Remember that you gave it your all and that is enough; that you are just as strong, powerful and amazing as all of the other mamas before you. At Health Foundations, we are here to support you throughout your pregnancy, delivery and postpartum period, regardless of whether or not your delivery took place with us, in the hospital or in the operating room. We are here for you. Contact Health Foundations to schedule a free consultation with a midwife or to find support.

 

Health Foundations Unique Model of Care

Your body. Your baby. Your Birth. Your Way. 

Your Body Your Baby.jpg

This statement is more than just our slogan—it is the cornerstone of our philosophy of midwifery care for pregnant women and their families.  Our families are truly at the center of everything that happens here at Health Foundations.  We exist to serve you—to empower you to make the best informed choices for your family and your future. 

While it’s true that we offer comprehensive midwifery care for expecting families, our center is unique in that we combine mainstream medical therapies with complimentary and alternative medicine—the best of both worlds, all under one roof.  We serve individuals and families through a variety of healing modalities.  We also serve our clients beyond the pregnancy, birth and immediate postpartum stages.  

This integrative care model is unique in the Twin Cities, and the nation. It is truly a rare birth center that offers so many healing services in one place.  Health Foundations is renowned nationally as practicing a model that many strive to emulate.  

We believe this model of care best meets the needs of our families and our community.  And we are so thrilled to offer so many wellness services under one roof that we wanted to tell you all about them today. 

In addition to our top-notch midwifery care,

We help couples via fertility and conception support.

We help couples before they get pregnant.  Conception support can set up a couple for the healthiest start to a pregnancy.  The couple need not have any prior difficulty with conception to seek this service.  This is all about optimizing the health of both future-parents so they can have the best start.  Think of this like preparing the soil before a seed is planted—a little preparation can go a long way!

We also help couples that have been trying to conceive but perhaps have encountered bumps along the road. 

Our fertility and conception support combines the best of conventional medicine—blood work and other diagnostics, for example—with naturopathic and other alternative medicines, as well as nutritional support.  This combination offers couples comprehensive support as they begin (or continue!) their journey into parenthood. 

Read more about our preconception planning services here.  

We also offer intrauterine insemination (IUI)!  Read more about IUI here.

We offer naturopathic care.

We offer naturopathic care for all adults and children.

Naturopathic physicians, or NDs, combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Founded in traditional healing practices, naturopathic medicine values holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic doctors promote the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health.

NDs treat all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family health care.  Here at Health Foundations, Dr. Amy specializes in women’s health, fertility and pediatrics. You can learn more about our naturopathic care here.    

We offer comprehensive women's health care. 

You don’t have to be pregnant, or even of childbearing age, to utilize our women's health services.  We offer pelvic exams and Pap smears, as well as serving women who have specific health concerns that may benefit from gynecological, obstetric or surgical care.  Currently our staff OB-GYN (Dr. Dennis Hartung, MD), our nurse midwives (Katrina & Rachel) and women's health nurse practitioner (Ann) offer women's health care.  You can learn more about our women’s health services here.  

We offer pediatric care. 

Whether or not you birthed at the birth center, you can take advantage of our pediatric services.  The well-loved, compassionate, and skilled pediatric nurse-practitioner Lindsey Deeb of Dakota Pediatrics sees patients at Health Foundations every week.  We offer well child visits as well as visits when there is a specific health concern. 

We offer chiropractic care.

We offer chiropractic care for pregnant women, as well as children and other adults.  The amazing Dr. Amber Moravec of Naturally Aligned Family Chiropractic see patients at Health Foundations weekly.  Dr. Amber is dedicated to helping women have comfortable, pain-free pregnancies and efficient labors. Dr. Amber sees women in pregnancy, will attend labors to help mom’s body function optimally and see both you and baby after you deliver. She offers terrific care at an affordable price and can make a huge difference in your family’s health!

We offer acupuncture. 

We offer gentle and intuitive acupuncture for both pregnant and non-pregnant members of your family. This even includes kiddos!  We offer non-needle techniques that are excellent for little ones. Our acupuncturist specializes in pediatrics and women’s health. 

We offer craniosacral therapy.

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a very gentle technique that works to help the body’s natural healing mechanisms by relieving stress on the central nervous system. Using extremely gentle touch, the practitioner evaluates the craniosacral system for restrictions and initiates a release to allow the body to correct itself.  Craniosacral therapy is great for pregnant women, newborns and children, and adults with a variety of healing goals.

We offer yoga.

We have offered yoga here at Health Foundations for many years.  We have partnered with Blooma yoga to offer yoga classes in our beautiful upstairs gathering space.  Call us to learn more! 

We are a full-service lactation center.

We have a full product assortment from Bravado nursing bras, to pump parts, to breastfeeding supplements and much more, that allows you to "one stop shop" for all your breastfeeding, lactation & educational needs. We offer free nursing bra fittings and can order those difficult to find nursing bra sizes! 

We offer classes, support groups and community events.

Building and supporting community is one of our highest values at Health Foundations. We offer childbirth education classes as well as two support groups that are free and open to the public: Mama’s Milk hour for mamas and their babies, and New Mom’s group. We frequently host community events including holiday and seasonal celebrations. 

We are here to serve and support our community in a variety of ways that all seek to empower and heal individuals and families.  Please call us to learn more about any of our services: (651) 895-2520.

 

Candlelight Yoga @ Health Foundations Birth Center

Attention Health Foundations Mama's & Mama's-To-Be! Health Foundations Family Health & Birth Center has teamed up with Blooma Yoga to bring you candlelight yoga @HFBC! Our first class will be February 18th from 6:00-7:00pm (and then the 3rd Wednesday of each month). $12 per class.

Sign up and our coordinator will be in touch with you shortly.

Phone *
Phone



Meet Alicia Smith, Acupuncturist!

Aliciapic

Aliciapic Fast facts Specialties: pediatric conditions, women’s health Styles: Five Element acupuncture, pediatric acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Where are you from? My home town is Appleton located in Central Wisconsin. Although, I feel I am from northern Michigan too.

Where do you live currently? I live in St. Paul in the same neighborhood as the clinic with my husband Rudy and dog Chewie.

Tell us a little about your education. I completed my premed course work at Northern Michigan University and earned an Associates Degree. Then I studied at Bastyr University in Seattle and completed a Bachelors of Science in Natural Health and a Masters of Science in Acupuncture. I have completed specialized trainings in pediatrics and women’s health, and other complementary modalities such as hypnotherapy and flower essences.

I love my school, Bastyr! It is so fun to work with fellow Bastyr Alumnae here at Health Foundations.

Why did you become an acupuncturist? To offer healthcare that I feel is needed to balance out the healthcare system. It is my mission to provide my clients with a broader understanding of health and a more lasting sense of wellbeing. Instead of the traditional disease-centered approach of conventional medicine, natural medicine applies a client-centered approach that addresses the whole person rather than simply her symptoms.

Tell us about your practice. I specialize in pediatrics and women’s health. This means that as an acupuncturist I am intuitive and gentle. If you are needle-shy or just need to feel supported and comfortable, I am your practitioner.

What do you enjoy most about your work? I love seeing my many kids and their mamas laugh and enjoy their treatments. I also deeply respect the practitioner-client relationship.

When I am not in the clinic, I do a lot of public speaking and writing articles. Currently, I am working on creating a radio show.

What is the biggest misconception you hear about acupuncture? Acupuncture is not for kids! Acupuncture hurts! Acupuncture can’t help with that.

You treat kids? Yes! I trained in non-needle techniques and gentle natural medicine that works great for the kiddos. Believe it or not, most kids really look forward to their sessions.

How do you stay healthy in your own life? I try to stay happy! I first realize that I am human. We can be our best friend that is understanding and compassionate or we can be a judgmental and negative. When I start hearing negativity in my thought process, I make it a point to stop. Then say a couple of positive things.

I love to dance. I am looking into getting back into some local dance classes. Lastly, being by water is healing for me. Water on my skin, watching rolling waves or feeling the rainwater does it for me!

Learn more at www.acupuncture-office.com. Make appointments online or call  651-239-5856!

Meet Amy Johnson-Grass!

BlogIcons_MeetStaff Today we get to know Amy Johnson-Grass, founder, director, midwife and naturopathic doctor at Health Foundations Birth Center.

Amy_birth_BabyName:

Amy Johnson-Grass

Family:

Husband Tim, and two kids, Liam (7) and Isla (5).

Amy_FamB&W

Current residence:

Saint Paul, in the same neighborhood as the birth center.

What is your birth story?

I was born in February in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  My mother always spoke warmly about her pregnancy; she loved being pregnant and always gets a glow when she talks about it.  At the time, they didn’t let dads into the labor room, so women spent much of their labor on their own.  It’s so interesting; it’s such a difference from most women’s birth experiences today.

And of course, it was February, in a snow storm…the snow always brings the babies!

Where else have you lived besides Minnesota?

Everywhere!  Growing up, my family moved about once every year and a half to two years, so I have lived lots of places.  As an adult, I lived in Seattle for many years and Tim and I moved back to Minnesota in 2005...living in St. Paul is the longest I will have lived anywhere!  While I wouldn’t change my childhood, I love the idea of building roots in one place for our children.

What is your favorite Saint Paul restaurant?

We love Salut, just down the street from the birth center on Grand Ave.  It is our neighborhood hangout.  They know us there, know our names, our order, everything.  We love that it is walking distance from our house and their patio is the best in the summer!

If you could travel anywhere tomorrow for free, where would you go?

I’d go somewhere warm with a beach.  I love adventure and going to new places, so I am not sure where I’d go exactly, maybe somewhere new.

Amy delivering babies in Vanuatu, an island in the South Pacific

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

I’ve always wanted to have the nose-wiggling power from the show Bewitched!  Just wiggle your nose, and poof!  The house is clean!  Food is made (and cleaned up after)!  The laundry is washed and folded and in the closet organized (and all the socks match)!

What do you love to do when you are not at Health Foundations?

Well, I am here a lot!  But when I am not, I really enjoy running, it is very calming.  I also really love to spend time with Tim and the kids.  The kids are really active and we spend a lot of time outdoors, year-round.  In the summer, we especially love being in the water, being on the boat, and just being outside in the sun.  I love the sun.

Amy at the Dirty Girl Mud Run-- HFBC has a team every year!

Great, let’s shift now to Health Foundations…

What is your role at Health Foundations?

My husband Tim and I own the birth center.  I am also the director, a naturopathic doctor, and a midwife in the practice.  As a naturopathic doctor, I specialize in pediatrics and women’s fertility.

Amy_atBirth

What is Health Foundations' ‘birth story’?

Tim and I moved back here in 2005 from Seattle.  When we returned, I opened a private practice on the other end of Grand Avenue and I was a homebirth midwife, serving local families from about 2005 to 2010.  And at the same time I was in a three-year postdoctoral fellowship with the National Institutes of Health for Complementary and Alternative Medical Clinical Research.  I also worked at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis in their Integrative Medicine Program.

In 2008, Tim and I began looking for the perfect space for the birth center.  It took a while, actually, to find this space.   We were also the first birth center to open in the Twin Cities [in February 2010] so we had to work with the city on zoning.  It took several months to work with the city on not being zoned as a hoptial. The birth center has grown in so many ways since we have opened!  We are going on our fifth year, turning five in 2015.

What is your educational background?

I did my undergraduate work at Saint Olaf, in Biology and Environmental Education.  I always knew I wanted to go into medicine, so I was initially a pre-med student.  Even though St. Olaf is small, one of my early memories of the pre-med program was sitting in a big auditorium, they said “these are the numbers you need to get, these are the tests you need to take…” and it was just a big numbers game.  That is just not me.  So I looked into other majors, such as sociology and anthropology, but everything kept bringing me back to the medicine.

At the same time, I was volunteering at a surgery unit in the hospital and we would see the same patients back again and again.  There was such a lack of education for patients so that they would make the changes needed and not have to keep coming back; so they could actually be healthy and not need so many surgeries.  So that is really what got me into naturopathic medicine, it was the philosophical difference of that education piece and the finding a root cause of things that are going on with people so that you can really make a positive and lasting difference in their health and well being.

After my undergrad, I pursued and completed a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, a Masters of Science in Nutrition and a Certificate of Midwifery at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington.  I am also completing a Masters of Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota.  My Clinical Research masters thesis is on the statistics of Health Foundations Birth Center for the first four years in operation!

What inspired you to get into your field?

Really it was women’s choice, and women knowing their choices and their options.  And then as time has gone on, it’s been more and more about women’s empowerment.  I see how much pregnancy, and labor, and delivery, and birth can really change a woman—who she is and how she thinks about herself.  It’s more of a self-perception than an “anyone else” perception.  But in turn how a woman thinks of herself impacts the type of mom she is, the type of partner she is… that’s a big deal.

And the other piece is the education.  That has always been huge for me.  It’s a partnership so, in our practice at least, we give our patients the information and then our families digest it, ask lots of questions, and make the best choices for them.

Amy_LaborCoach

What makes Health Foundations unique?

I think it is really unique to the Twin Cities that we are an integrative practice.  So we are in both worlds.  We understand the complementary medicine piece of herbs, homeopathy, botanicals, and counseling, physical medicine, nutrition and diet & lifestyle counseling—because that is huge.  But we also understand the conventional side of it too—medications, prescriptions, specialists and surgery.  We offer both worlds under one roof that is specifically serves women & children.

Also, I don’t think the community knows we offer fertility counseling and education for GLBT families and surrogates.  Low-tech (IUI) inseminations are done in our office, including both known donors and cryobank specimens.  This is such a special time in families lives that The Center is a welcoming and relaxed environment for these families to be.

Amy_swaddledbaby

What is your favorite thing about Health Foundations?

Truly, the community here.  It’s just amazing to see how moms and families connect with each other, either through the classes we teach, the HFBC events, Moms Group...  There is a big sense of community here.  That is really why Tim and I built the birth center was to create community.  And, as a choice for women.  Giving women choices in birth.

I also LOVE the HFBC staff of women I get to work with everyday.  I am so thankful for such an amazing group of women!

Also, I’ve been practicing in Minnesota since 2005. The first baby I delivered here was born in 2006.  So to see those kids and families grow, is the best.  I just ran into a mom at a coffee shop and her son just turned four—not so little anymore—it is wonderful to see families grow.

Amy_Birth_babybed

What is your philosophy on birth?

You know, everybody always says birth is normal, and it is—our midwives, we are truly experts in normal birth.  And that is so important today because normal is a rarity.  And knowing that birth, labor, and delivery don’t look the same for every woman is so important, to really know the range of normal and respect and allow for that.  I believe in woman’s right to have mobility and be able to eat in labor, to be in the positions that are best for them in their labor.  Its really about women and their experience.

What do you love about Health Foundations families?

The proactive role they take in their health.  And the energy and enthusiasm they bring to their care and their experiences.

What do you wish all Health Foundations families knew?

Well {laughs}, I am famous for the unpopular but important “no ice cream in pregnancy” rule!  Really, ice cream is not good for mom or baby!  It’s been so funny, because lately moms who’ve given birth with us have come back in and joked about the no ice cream rule!

Also, for new parents, I suggest choosing how you want to handle sleep before your baby hits 9 months!

Know that really, you only have so much control.  Your job in pregnancy is to exercise, and eat right, and get good sleep, and do everything you can do.  But ultimately, babies decide where they are born.

Amy_BirthBaby

Happy 4th BIRTHday Health Foundations Birth Center!

Image In February, Health Foundations Family Health & Birth Center is celebrating its 4th BIRTHday! Thank you to all of the wonderful families we have had the privilege of helping! Over the past four years, we have been able to help over 400 women and families! Not only have we been able to help give families individualized birth experiences, we have grown to offer various wellness services, classes & support groups. We've also started a lactation center and a breastmilk donor program!

To help us celebrate, please answer our special birthday question, " What is one word you'd use to describe your birthing experience (or care experience) at HF?" Please post here or send your responses to info@health-foundations.com

Share YOUR BIRTHday images and stories! The story of your journey and BIRTHdays make our BIRTHday possible!

Stop by the Birth Center on February 14th from 10-11am and enjoy a piece of BIRTHday cake and say hi! We will also have fun materials to make Valentines!

Happy Halloween from Health Foundations!

Happy Halloween from your friends at Health Foundations! Today at Mom's Group, we had lots of festive little ones..and tons of fun chatting and enjoying treats.  The pictures are just too cute not to share!

Mamas, join us at Mom's Group each Thursday from 11-12.  All moms are welcome at this free gathering and you don't need to sign up.  Coming up in November we will have:

  • FREE Mom & Baby Yoga (11/7),
  • mama and baby clothes/books/toy SWAP (11/14)
  • Infant Massage (11/21)

IMG_0144 IMG_0168 IMG_0156 IMG_0172 IMG_0164 IMG_0167 IMG_0160 IMG_0175 IMG_0173

Why Write your Birth Story?

WritingBirthStoryCoverArtGrowing, birthing and caring for a new baby is one of the most joyful times in our adult lives, and also one of the most demanding.  During the postpartum period, so many peripheral tasks may be vying for our attention (and, for many of us, all we really care to do is stare at our beautiful new baby…and sleep whenever possible.) Making time to write your birth story may seem like one extra thing on the to-do list, but there are many reasons to make this task a priority.

Writing your birth story is a transformative, cathartic experience, with the power to help you process, make meaning from, heal from, preserve, celebrate and honor your unique experience of birth.

The following are eight great reasons to write your birth story.

1:  To remember

Writing your birth story preserves your memory of this important event for a lifetime (or longer!)  In the early days, you may run through your birth story again and again in your mind, remembering all the little details of this amazing experience.  But as time goes on, these details inevitably fade.

While it is ideal to begin writing in the early postpartum, it’s never too late.  If it has been months or longer since the birth of your baby, it is still very much worth your time to write your birth story (you surely remember more of it now than you will ten years from now!).

Memory-joggers, such as labor playlists and pictures, can help you recall fading details.  Talking to your partner or others present at your birth can also help to fill in the details of your birth, so you can write and preserve these memories.

TIP: If you can’t sit down to write out the narrative of your story, at least jot down some notes in those early hours and days after your baby’s arrival.  In the last weeks of pregnancy, consider getting a small bedside journal or type notes into a phone app or email to yourself.  (This can be helpful not only for jotting down birth story details but also for remembering the questions you want to ask your care providers—midwives, doulas, pediatrician, etc).

2:  To process and reflect

The experience of giving birth is one of the most profound, transformational, and emotionally rich experiences we will have in our lives.  In fact, how we gave birth can have a profound effect on how we see ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, and how we interact with others—including our baby.  For many women, it is imperative to their well being to talk about and process their birth stories.

Given the intensity of the birth experience, our memories can be jumbled or even chaotic-seeming until we have a chance to process them and assemble them in narrative form.  Writing can stabilize our experiences.

Writing your birth story enables a unique mode of processing that can’t necessarily be achieved through talking alone.  Writing accesses different parts of our brain—it is a reflective and reflexive practice that can help you process your story on a deeper level, helping you to explore and understand your experience in a particular way.  People often discover how they feel about something or find feelings transmuted as they begin to explore them through writing.  New perspective can be reached as you process and reflect on your birth experience by writing it down.

3:  To Heal

Along those same lines, writing your birth experience can be a healing experience.  One woman, reflecting on writing her birth story, commented: “At first I felt disappointed and angry that I didn’t not get to have the natural birth that I wanted.  But as I wrote about our transfer, how I ultimately delivered my baby, and how I felt when I held her, the anger changed and I felt like I was speaking not just for myself but for other women that don’t get to have their ‘perfect birth.’ I also realized that though the birth didn’t go as planned, I was surrounded by support of my husband and midwife. I ultimately felt strong and like I did my best in a situation I couldn’t entirely control.”

Both writing and storytelling are time-honored methods of healing from challenging life experiences.  While writing can’t always take away the trauma of difficult childbirth (or any experience), it can help us to express how we are truly feeling—it can give voice to the grief, disappointment, shock, and sorrow—and may help us come to terms with what happened and begin to make peace with it.

When we share our story on paper or maybe with others, we can find support, feel less alone, and become more empowered.  Saying: “this happened to me and this is how I am feeling about it” is a powerful exercise on the healing path.  Remember, while you can’t always change the past, you always have the power to change your connection to the past in this moment.

If you are struggling with aspects of your birth experience, you deserve to have the support you need to continue processing and healing.  In addition to writing, speaking with a counselor, having body/energy work, making birth art, healing through movement, and other measures can go along way to helping you find peace after difficult childbirth.

4:  To share

When we write about our birth experiences, we can share them with others—which has a number of potential benefits.  Sharing our story can help us bond with other people and find support.

When we share with our partners and other support people, it helps them gain insight into our perception of the birth, which can increase empathy and understanding and invite conversations about aspects of the shared experience.  When we share with other women, especially other mothers, we can find support, understanding, and camaraderie.

Sharing can have an unknown or unanticipated ripple effect.  You never know how your story will help someone else.  But it probably will.

5:  For your child

And let’s not forget our little ones (as if we could).  Writing down your birth story will enable you to share this story with your child and family for decades to come.

Consider for a moment what you know about how you were born.  Do you know the details?  Did your mother document your birth in some way?  Do you wish you knew more?

People whose mothers have a written their birth story often report gratitude for having such a treasured account of how they came into the world.  It can make your child feel special and important to know that you took the time to document their birth.  Whether or not it was an ideal situation, this birth was how they came into the world and it will always be special for them to know about it.  The experiences you had and the lessons they teach can have a profound impact on your child, both when they are young and when they grow up (and perhaps have children of their own).



“I printed out our birth story and placed it in my daughter’s baby book so she can look back and read about the day she was born. I can only hope that it will inspire her to have a birth without fear when she is ready to birth to her own baby someday,” reported one mama. 

6:  To preserve the beauty and spirit of the birth process

Many women (and men!) are profoundly affected by the stories of birth.  Birth is a sacred and primal process that connects us to our roots and to something greater than ourselves.  Author and healer Tami Lynn Kent calls birth the process of coming to the spirit door.

Like the beautiful children we birth, each birth story is completely unique and all have elements of the extraordinary in them.

Some women are driven to write their birth stories in an attempt to capture that beauty and power in words.  It can take some courage to do this.  While it may be “safer” to stick to the medical facts, writing about one’s full experience of birth—the physical, emotional, and spiritual—can be a powerful act.  Being honest about the deeper layers of your birth experience can be a true gift to yourself, your family, and anyone fortunate enough to hear your story.

7:  To help and inspire others

For most of human history, storytelling was the most potent way to transmit knowledge among kin.  In the past, we had a much greater connection to the world of birth and babies than we do today.  By the time we reached adulthood, we would have likely heard many birth stories, if not witnessed many births ourselves.

One woman writes: It’s sad that we don’t live in a culture where women gather post birth, removed from responsibility and routine, to sit around the fire under the stars with our female clan (including the elders and the young) and share our birth stories. Too many of our stories get lost in our hearts.”

While we are less connected to birth and birth wisdom today, telling our stories can be a way to reconnect to ourselves, each other and the wisdom of birth.

Telling your birth story can help other women in your life.  We can learn so much from each other and our mothers; and our children can learn from us when we take time to talk about our birth experiences.

When things don’t go as planned and we are brave enough to share our story, we can help other women who have or will experience similar situations.  Likewise, when we have a positive experience of birth, sharing our story can be a way of showing other women what it looks like to birth naturally, or without fear.  Hearing positive birth experiences is a powerful antidote to the mainstream perceptions of birth as a risk-laden, painful medical event.  In this way, the personal can become political, as we spread the truth that birth can be a positive, fearless, beautiful experience.

8:  To change our collective perceptions of birth

It was not so long ago that women were put under anesthesia (“twilight sleep”) during labor, completely disconnected from the experience of their births.  It is not uncommon in many parts of the world for women to have few options or control over their birthing experiences.  Even those with more choice may feel like it’s not acceptable or desirable to speak about their birth experiences.  It can almost feel taboo to speak candidly about birth, much less celebrate and honor this experience.

Writing and sharing your birth story can be a political act.  It can be a way of saying “Birth is important.  The WOMEN who birth are important.  MY birth is important. “ Regardless of how you feel about your birth, putting words to your experience is a powerful way to show that your experience matters.  Because it does.

Some women may feel reluctant to write their stories.  Maybe they don’t know where to start, are afraid they aren’t going to tell it right (impossible!), or get stuck in the practical limitations of sitting down to write with a little baby to care for.   But nothing worth doing is ever easy (cases in point: pregnancy and childbirth).  While not easy, these labors of love are worth it.

If you’ve written your birth story and want to share it with others, please consider submitting your birth story to be posted on our blog (with pictures too if you wish!)
If you need a little help carving out time, want to receive some guidance and feedback, or just want to write and share your story among other mamas, please consider joining us for our upcoming Write Your Birth Story Workshop in September 2013.
For information about either birth story submission or the upcoming workshop, contact Jaime@health-foundations.com.

Write your Birth Story Workshop!

WritingJoin us for a special two-part workshop during which you will have time and space to reflect on, process, write about, and share (if desired) your birth story with gentle guidance from Health Foundations’ blogger-writer-professor-mama-doula-in-training, Jaime Fleres-Mizejewski. We will gather at Health Foundations on two Fridays: September 6 and 20 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM

This birth story workshop is for you, whether you:

  • gave birth a few weeks ago or many months ago
  • love writing or get sweaty palms at the thought
  • have a draft of your story or wish to start from the beginning
  • had the birth of your dreams or a different journey than the one you’d hoped for

No matter where you’ve been or where you are, your birth story is unique, important, and sacred—and deserves to be expressed and heard! Just like birth itself, writing your birth story is a profound and cathartic experience, the results of which you and your child will cherish for a lifetime.

Workshop Details:

Our first time together, September 6, we will:

  • talk about the importance and benefits of writing your birth story
  • gain insight into how to write (or edit) your unique tale
  • go through a guided meditation/reflection time to evoke memories and emotions from your birth experience
  • have time to write or edit your story
  • enjoy tea and treats

Please bring a journal and a writing instrument (crayons, colored pencils, pencils, or pens) or your laptop.  To help evoke memories, you may also wish to bring birth pictures, your birth playlist, any notes you may have taken in the postpartum, or any special objects that hold meaning to you and your birth story.

womentalking

Between the first and second gathering, you will have time to edit and polish your writing, getting feedback from Jaime via email if you desire.

On our second evening, September 20, we will have an opportunity to share our birth stories or listen to other’s stories, as you feel comfortable.  We will celebrate your accomplishment (with chocolate)!

Babies are welcome to attend both of our gatherings.

The cost of this two-part workshop is $40, including a round of editing feedback from Jaime via email, if desired. Please register by emailing Jaime@health-foundations.com.

Writing, like birth, is a transformative experience with the power to help you make meaning from, process, heal from, celebrate and honor your unique experience of birth.  Come honor yourself, your story, and your child; and connect with community.

Calling all new and expecting Dads! New Dad's Group

Gals, encourage your partners to consider this fantastic new Dad's Group forming in the Cities for expecting and new papas.  Their first meet up is THIS Friday August 9th at 7:30 at Psycho Suzi's.  

Here is what organizer Jeff Hellenbrand had to share with us about this awesome new group:

There are several groups in the Cities for expecting mothers, but I couldn't find any equivalent for guys. As an expecting father, most of my friends do not have kids yet. Instead of boring my friends with all of the details and anxieties of the pregnancy and birth, I decided to create a meetup group just for new and expecting dads.

What makes this group awesome is that we have no agenda. It's an excuse for new and expecting dads to meet, hang out and have fun. We're guys. So we talk a lot about work, music and sports. But we also end up talking about pregnancy and fatherhood. And I think that's a conversation that's too important to not be having. But none of us wants to feel like we have to talk about that stuff or that we can't talk about something else when we feel like it. Anybody who considers himself a new or expecting dad is welcome.
Our next meetup is coming up fast! Since this is our first meeting for most of the guys, I wanted to have something fun and low-key.
We're meeting at Psycho Suzi's on Friday, August 9 at 7:30pm. Here's the link to the event: http://www.meetup.com/Dudes-Becoming-Dads/events/130418752/
It's important that guys RSVP for this one (preferably early next week) so a large enough space can be reserved at Suzi's.

Interview: Sarah Longacre of Blooma

SLongacreBloomaSTPWe recently had a chance to catch up with the lovely and phenomenal Sarah Longacre, owner of Blooma, a fantastic Twin Cities birth hub offering yoga, fitness, education, wellness and more for pregnant and new mamas and their families.  If you haven't heard of Blooma or been to one of their amazing classes, we recommend learning more about their many, many class offerings and workshops.  Read on to hear what Sarah shared with us on her business, the benefits of yoga during pregnancy, her advice for mamas, and much more.  A big thanks to Sarah for taking time out of her busy life to chat with us!

sarahHeadshot

Name: Sarah Longacre, owner of Blooma, yoga instructor, and birth doula extraordinaire

Hometown: Minneapolis

Current Hometurf: Minneapolis

Family: Married (Brian) with two step children, Levi (7) and Phoenix (4), and a baby due Fall 2013

How did you find your way into yoga?

I’ve been practicing yoga ever since my college years at Arizona State University.  I continued my personal practice through my 20s and I started integrating yoga into the births I attended as a doula.  I began attending births in 2000 in Portland, Oregon.

How did you incorporate yoga into the births you attended?

Really just the basic, basic fundamentals of yoga—mind, body, and breath—having breath be the foundation of a mother’s birth.  And then from there it is physically getting out of bed and moving and stretching and using really easy, gentle, basic poses to help moms open up space not only in their physical body, but also in their minds and hearts for the birth of their baby.

Can you tell us how Blooma came to be?

So I had been teaching prenatal yoga in half a dozen yoga studios in Minneapolis and I started realizing the priority of prenatal yoga for many studios was just not there.  You know, it’s challenging—you are working with an audience, a special population, that has a very short span of time and the turn over rate is extremely high.

But I felt very strong that there needed to be a place, a center, for women—not only to come and get education on yoga, but also education on childbirth and wellness.  And really connecting with others.  And at that time, in 2007, there were no birth centers or out-of-hospital childbirth education courses except for a few Bradley classes in churches and whatnot.  There was the amazing Childbirth Collective but, what the Twin Cities really needed with a home, or hub, for all of the resources women need during pregnancy.

s6

So we opened the doors of Blooma in October 2007 (this year we will be six!).  Our first location was on the edge of Minneapolis and Edina (44th and France). We were there for five years and we literally grew out of the space.  We just needed more and more yoga space and more childbirth education.  Our classes were growing.  The childcare we have at Blooma is one of our biggest perks.  Between all of those things, we knew it was time to expand and change locations.  Really what it came down to was looking at the demographics of our clientele and they were coming more from southwest Minneapolis as opposed to Edina.

We also used to offer classes out of Health Foundations’ amazing upstairs gathering space, but grew out of that as well.  So in 2012, we opened two new studios—one on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis and another on Selby Avenue in Saint Paul.  We also serve mamas in Shakopee at St. Francis's Hospital—we love to have the support of a local hospital!

What services does Blooma currently offer to pregnant women and new moms?

In terms of yoga, we offer prenatal yoga, BYOB (Bring your Own Baby) yoga for postpartum mamas and their babies, Vinyasa yoga for everyone, Barre classes for everyone and yoga for tots, kids and teens.  We also offer New Mama groups, which really support and provide community for new mothers as they make this huge transition into motherhood.  We also have baby weigh-ins and childcare offered during many of our classes.  This summer we’ve been offering yoga camp for kids.  We regularly hold special yoga workshops.

s2

In terms of childbirth education, we offer classes and workshops in Bradley Method, Birthing from Within, HypnoBirthing, and offer our own courses titled "The Blooma Birth Class," "Blooma Again, Childbirth Refresher," and “Blooma's Birthing Intensive for Couples”.  We hold workshops on diverse topics, including but not limited to VBAC, breastfeeding, postpartum, prenatal nutrition, and more.  We rent space for Mother Blessingways and offer personalized coaching for pregnant women and their partners/labor support.

Beautifulbellies

As far as wellness, we are proud to have many amazing practitioners offering acupuncture, chiropractic, massage (including Mayan Abdominal Massage), and belly + body art.

What are you most excited about when it comes to Blooma these days?

I’m hands-down most excited about our childbirth education.  We have the most incredible doulas that teach our classes.  And the thing I love most is that these doulas are at births every single day.  These women are literally out on the “front line” helping women at their births.  So when they teach childbirth education, they are teaching from such a real place and such a place of passion, and trust and intelligence for and about birth.

s7

Unfortunately, one thing I see way too much is women and families coming into childbirth education who are really full of fear.  I believe our teachers are so passionate about birth that they teach in a way that is so full of knowledge, but also really respecting every parent’s unique needs.  And parents do have such personal, individual needs.  It is hard to teach the masses as many hospitals do—you know they often have 20, 30, 40 couples in each class.

And so I am really very thrilled about our childbirth education.  We have a team of educators and classes coming up this fall that I feel very strongly are the best available in the Twin Cities.

What are some of the benefits of yoga for pregnant women and new mamas?

The physical benefits are unparalleled—when you are talking about your body changing and growing (gaining anywhere from 20 to 60 pounds) our bones, our ligaments, everything is adjusting and there is not a better way to learn how to strengthen, but also soften and breathe into, the places where we are feeling these constraints.

In my own pregnancy, at 30+ weeks, I can tell you I have never felt better physically in my whole life, but I have never needed yoga more in my whole life until now.  I’ve known the power of yoga, and I know the power of birthing, but until this part of my journey, I’ve never been so 100% sure that prenatal yoga is the best physical activity for pregnancy.

s4

While these physical benefits are huge, to me, one of the biggest benefits that people don’t often talk about is coming together in community.  With all the pressure moms have in 2013 in being mothers—from how to give birth, to cloth diapering, to "do we breastfeed?"—the pressure that is put on women to raise children a certain way!— to "do we go back to work?", to "what do we have to give up?"—it’s a very scary time and it’s a very isolating time.  I felt like I was the only pregnant woman on the planet during the first 15 weeks of my pregnancy because I felt like no one else could be experiencing what I was going through

Until I go to Blooma.

When I go to Blooma, and I get on my yoga mat, when I look around at all the other women in our classes, I see women who absolutely have the same fear, the same excitement, the same challenges in their marriage, and challenges in their own hearts, and I realize that I have a tribe, that I have sisters, and that I am not alone.  And that, in itself, is worth stepping onto your mat.  It is worth coming and taking a deep breath in a circle of other women.

s5

Whether you take a class that is mostly talking or more of a movement based class, Blooma is a place for all women to come and connect with their breath, their body, and their community.

What are your favorite poses for pregnancy these days and what are the benefits of such poses?

{Laughs} Hands-down, savasana!  Resting pose at the end—I mean, to me, it's like birth—that feeling women get towards the end, after all the hard work...“I just want my baby in my arms!” in yoga it's similar—“I've worked so hard, I just want to lay down and relax!”  I say this half-jokingly but I also think it is so important to take the time to relax, especially in pregnancy.

But personally, for me, I love standing poses—I love warrior poses.  Because warrior and goddess poses make me feel bigger and larger than life, they open up space for me to extend and expand, but also really get grounded.  Getting grounded is key, I think, in pregnancy to having a sense of being in the present moment.  To get super grounded to the earth through your legs and then open up your heart to the sky—those poses have become so beneficial to me in prenatal yoga.  So it’s a good balance of standing poses, and yeah, I SO look forward to the end of my yoga practice when I am soft and curled up and I can feel my baby—there is just nothing better than that.

And for postpartum mamas, what are some juicy poses?

Definitely heart-openers—we spend so much time as new moms hunched over—whether we are breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, carrying baby, etc.  So poses that lengthen out the side body, draw the shoulders back and engage the core, help to lift the heart in a way that moms need more than ever.

Do you have any advice for expecting mamas? 

The biggest advice I have—and I feel like I have said this before but I mean it now more than ever—to be so loving, and so kind, and so gentle to yourself.  The pressure that is put on pregnancy and women—it’s huge.

One of the big things for me in my first and second trimester is—you know, people would say to me “Oh my gosh, are you so excited?! Are you so excited?!” and “This is such a blessing, this is such a gift” and it didn’t feel that way to me.  Because I was really starting to wonder, “How am I going to do it all?” And I was already mourning the loss of the life I have known.  And that is when I am called into the present moment and to trust that this child 100% chose me, this child wants to be with me and this child was given this opportunity to come into my family.  And I get to learn. I get to learn from my baby—I get to learn so much. 

Overall, I think that we don’t teach ourselves to love ourselves unconditionally.

I feel nothing but compassion for the pressure that women feel.  I can be in a class of 30 moms and ten of them couldn’t be more excited about being pregnant—they’ve been waiting and trying for years.  Another ten of them, they are scared out of their minds.  And ten of them, they go in between.  And there is nothing wrong with any of that.  I taught just this Saturday and half my class was in tears because they couldn’t even wrap their heads around: “What is it like to be a mom??”  And I am not just talking about first time moms, for some this could be their second, third, or fourth—and you know, they need the yoga more than anyone.  And many of them know the importance of stepping onto their mat to take care of themselves.

The other thing I would say is not to feel intimidated by yoga.  A lot of women are coming to yoga in pregnancy or even in postpartum for the very first time, which is awesome. So many women are intimidated, they think they have to be a certain way or look a certain way or be able to do certain poses—but I just want to break that myth down—you don’t have to be decked out in yoga name brands and look perfect throughout the entire class.  Here at Blooma, you know, we are all about crying babies.  It’s important not to feel ashamed or discouraged from coming onto your mat after having a bad day—that is actually when you need it the most.

And for some moms in the postpartum, they don’t love being a mom, they don’t know if they chose the right path and they are struggling with their relationship with their child—and how normal is that?  But we don’t talk about that.  We DO talk about that at Blooma.

At New Moms group, this is a key place, because there is more talking and sharing.  And this is a place where it's okay for new moms to say, “I am scared” or “I feel alone” And if you do BYOB yoga before that, you open up a place in your body where a lot of that energy may otherwise get stuck.

s8

Any other advice you have for new mamas?

I would say New Moms group is the best place to start, especially after a C-section or otherwise difficult birth, for mom’s that aren’t ready yet for physical movement—New Mom’s group is a wonderful resource.  And, hey, come back in November and I’ll give you more advice for new moms.

Do you have anything else to add?

Yes! I want to extend a BIG thanks for the Birth Community of St. Paul and Minneapolis. My staff of 60+ and I could not be here without all of the unconditional love and support they give… and I pray we give it right back to them!

Grand Old Days 2013: Celebrating our Community

Image

Grand Old Days volunteers: Thank you!

It’s Monday and we are still basking in the glow of this weekend’s fun festivities.  So many wonderful Health Foundations moms, dads, and kids took time out of their busy lives to make this year’s Grand Old Days Festival one of the best yet!  We want to share our gratitude for all who helped make this year such a success:

Thank you to the families who came out on Saturday to build our fantastic float and fabulous new sign. Thanks to the many parents and kids who woke up early on Sunday morning to join us for the parade walk. And thanks to all who stopped by The Lactation Station to nurse and mingle with us throughout the day!!

Image

Health Foundations Building Community

Beyond fun, this weekend's community festival encouraged us to stop and reflect on what Health Foundations IS to our team, the families we serve, and our larger community.

Health Foundations is so much more than a place to give birth or receive quality health care—it is a place where people’s dreams are made possible, where families grow and where community is built. 

While the core of our work is helping families have a healthy and empowering birth experience, we also strive to cultivate a vibrant birth and parenting community.

Whether it’s…

…expectant moms in the waiting room swapping pregnancy stories…

… parents who entrust us to help deliver their babies…

… Milk Hour and Mom’s Group mamas supporting each other through early motherhood…

…or the new friendships we saw forged amongst moms, dads and kids at Grand Old Days…

…Health Foundations is about nourishing relationships and creating a supportive birth and parenting community in the Twin Cities.

And we could not do that without you.

Whether we got a chance to see you this weekend or not, we are so glad you are part of our Health Foundations family.  Thank you!!!

Upcoming Events

If you were not able to partake in this year’s Grand Old Days festivities, don’t dismay!  There are lots of fun upcoming events we hope you’ll be part of.  Our Family Picnic will take place in just a couple weeks on June 22, 2013.  Hope you can join us~ stay tuned for details!

Image

Image

Image

Image

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Photos by Annie Wiegers Photography