Another placenta discussion is coming up in Cranbrook next month. Come visit your local placenta specialist and learn more about the benefits of placenta encapsulation. The midwives from East Kootenay Midwifery are hosting the FREE evening once again, 6pm at the clinic, 1617 Baker St. Cranbrook, BC. Space is limited so rsvp to 250-427-8877 quick, to hold your spot!
This is very exciting news to finally share! Mandala Birth will begin offering prenatal classes in the new year! My Soulful & Holistic Prenatal class is a 7 week series covering all the major topics to prepare you for labour and birth. Being a holistic class I cover the physiological aspect of labour and birth, while also bringing in the emotions and soul through relaxation and mindfulness techniques.
The class will be hosted in the yoga studio of the Kootenay Therapy Center, their gorgeous space is perfect to come together as a group to learn, enjoy and make new connections with other expecting couples.
So a couple weeks ago I went on a little family road trip for Gena Kirby’s Rebozo workshop! It was fantastic, kind of life-changing. Wow! Just…wow! Gena really opened some doors for me as a doula, in how I can interact and support my clients! I’m so happy also to have brought a beautiful new LONG 9 ft rebozo back to Kimberley with me!
A rebozo is a woven shawl, they come in varying lengths and widths, and even have different names from country to country, in Laos they’re called Jias, there are African Kangas, Rebozo is the Mexican name. A rebozo is often worn by a women, used in labour by midwives and then used to carry baby by the new mama. It is not just a tool for birth, it is part of a lifestyle.
Here’s Gena, sharing a bit more about the rebozo:
What did I learn?
How to connect with my clients in new ways
Some awesome techniques for supporting labouring moms
How to get partners/dads more physically involved in comfort measures for birth
The Rebozo as a Gateway
As a doula I have mostly seen it as a tool in my doula bag until now. Now I see it as an extension of my hands and arms, and as an extension of the partners love, for a labouring mom.
I think over the years I’ve figured out ways to engage with clients to help get us up on our feet and trying out comfort techniques, but it can often feel awkward, especially if it’s the first meeting between the doula and the dad. Enter the rebozo, such a simple tool for helping open a gate way and between the birth team. It’s wonderful to have something I can hand to dad and say, you are going to be a pro at this by the time we’re done here. Giving dad something to do to feel engaged, connected and NEEDED is really important, because I never want dad to feel displaced because I was there, I want him to get all the glory.
Seeing the many uses of the rebozo now I will never leave home without it, it can be used to relieve pain and tension, used as a relaxation tool in labour, help relieve stress from partners, midwives, nurses and siblings. Create a quiet space for the couple to reconnect, it can be used to block out stimulating lights and sounds. Use it to help mom move in the case of an epidural and is a powerful tool toward effective pushing.
Here’s a couple examples of what we might do with a rebozo:
Gena demonstrating how to relieve tension in the mothers neck (or anyone who’s feeling stressed in the birth space)
Here seated is the partner or dad, then labouring mom is straddling them. She is being supported with the rebozo by her doula, standing behind dad. Shown is a demonstration of pushing so kneeling behind mom is the midwife helping to lower baby safely to the ground.
And here I am, supporting Gena through some intense contractions, this is an awesome postion for pushing!
The Partner is so important!
The workshop really lit a fire in my heart to addressing the role partners and dads play in the birth experience. I know that in each prenatal visit from now on I am going to be telling the partner how integral they are to helping mom relax. I’ve always been good at getting dads involved to their comfort level but now I will be acknowledging the importance of them being there, loving her, loving the experience and I’ll be creating space in prenatals for them to further their relationship in pregnancy and birth.
What does that really mean though?
When you close your eyes and imagine labouring, see yourself working hard, coping through an intense contraction. This image might create some stress in your body, now imagine labouring and your partner is right there next to you, skin to skin, their smell comforting you just by its presence, their arms holding you, supporting you, their heart beating in time with yours, love hormones flying between you as you open your eyes and see the pride beaming from him to you for the hard work you’re enduring. That’s what we want because if you notice, that time when you imagined your partner there by your side, everything was softer, more relaxed. That is the key to better births. And really that is what was driven home for me, how when I’m there supporting my couples I really want the partner to being doing it, because that is the where her comfort lies.
The rebozo techniques themselves weren’t all new to me but having a chance to practice them and see them in action rather then just on a hand out was so important for my learning experience. Having more hands on experience myself so that when I share these comfort techniques with my pregnant couples will be so beneficial to their learning and their birthing time. I love that I now have new ideas for situations that may arise in your birth!
If you’re pregnant in Cranbrook or Kimberley and think you could use some more labour support, please give me a shout!
March 22-29, is known as world doula week, perhaps not a well known week of the year for most, but it’s a fun time for doulas to connect, take part in lots of online seminars, and get the word out about doula care!
Last year I wrote this blog post, The Truth About Doulas which has become my most popular post to date! This year I took part in the World Doula Week Photo Challenge, each day I captured the required image and sent it out across the social media worlds with a little blurb, so here they are again in case you prefer to be social media free and missed it.
It was really fun to share a bit more about myself and my business!
My business and I have grown and transformed over the years. From my first business card taken directly from vista print, where I just threw Little Sparrow Birth Services on it cause the cute bird template asked for a biz name and I thought I had to have one. To Wisdom From Within, which felt a little closer to explaining how I want to serve but without giving any clue to what my business is about. To Darla Sparrow dot com. It’s been a journey of discovering how I want to show up in the world. How I can connect with the families I serve. Now, and (probably) forever; Mandala Birth. This logo represents so much to me, peace, balance, focus, attention. A mandala is a tool for spiritual guidance and an aid to trance and meditation. These are all qualities needed for a ‘sacred and empowered birth’ which is exactly what I hope to help bring to the families I serve.
I feel like my business and I have really blossomed since moving to Kimberley, my resources are greater, and the depth of the work and care I can to put into clients and programs has expanded. The move has given me a boost and a beautiful feeling of freedom.
Last fall I had a designer help create the logo you see now and it has given me a sense of pride and pushed me to take my business to new places, beyond my comfort zone-yet to exactly where I need to be. Birth work is my passion. I had no idea it would also be about personal growth and learning to love all the in + outs of being an entrepreneur.
I love this quote by Pamela Hunt from Birth Story. The moment I heard it, I had a flash back to the first birth I ever attended, I remember the moment I fell in love with that mama, how beautiful and strong she was. I am so proud of each women I work with and I confess, I fall in love with each of you.
This has become my most prized, trusted and adored doula tool. This is a rebozo, a beautiful Mexican shawl with a crazy vast array of applications. Every couple I work with now gets rebozo’d at some point whether in prenatals or in labour, I have seen major progress and changes take place with the simple use of a rebozo. Doulas- never leave home without it! I love teaching rebozo class and optimal fetal positioning class with it. I can’t wait for the day I rebozo a mama up in a hospital bed! Ha! Anyways, I’ll have to make a video for those who have no idea what I’m talking about.
Ps. My other favs are my hands and my voice, these are my 3 most used items.
I actually don’t have a favourite go-to-post-birth-food. My immediate thought, seeing today’s challenge was my bed, that’s all I want when I get home. But I do usually slam a pint of water with an Ener-C, so that’s my “food” of the day.
The magic of the doula bag revealed!
Small suitcase on wheels carries all this!
massage tools and scentless oil
vitamin C lollipops
The Birth Partner
change of clothes
oatmeal +frozen meal
because I don’t drink caffeine I have a bag of Kick Start made by Harmonic Arts
whatever novel I’m reading
change for parking
and these days more often then not I’m bring my placenta cooler and magic bullet for making bedside smoothies
Wheeew that’s about everything!
My very first mentors, the sweet and gentle Pamela Hunt & the very well known Ina May Gaskin. I dove right into the birth world and went to The Farm for my first training. I took the Midwifery Assistant training and discussed returning to apprentice with Pamela, only to discover upon returning home that I was pregnant with my first babe!
Finishing off World Doula week with a little tour of my office. I am a really lucky lady that I get a whole room to myself to work, my man is so supportive of me and my doula work, he even built me this desk last time he was home. Which is a big deal cuz he’s only home for 6 days at a time.
So on to the tour! Top left photo is my work space, I’ve got my goal sheet on the wall, my motivational picture I made myself with words from Leonie Dawson, lap top and doula binder and a ridiculous amount of pens, that I really need to distribute more evenly around the house. Top right is my sewing and printing station, with my color coded thread! If you squint hard you can see some art by Autumn Skye Morrison, The Wild Unknown and a framed Christmas party invite from The Atangard. Bottom left my lovely logo banner! My thank you card wall space, an enormous basket full of fabric, some art and my 8 year old coffee plant. Bottom right is my lending library which clients have full access to, soooo many good books, sorta over flowing!
I live in Kimberley BC, I serve Kimberley and Cranbrook. If you’re pregnant and interested in a doula, prenatal classes or placenta encapsulation give me a shout! This has been super fun to share a bit more about myself and business!