A Survival Guide: Holidays After A Loss

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Survival Guide: Holidays After A Loss

The holiday season can be hard for those who have experienced a loss this year. At a time of year that people are expected to automatically be happy and be cheery and bright-eyed, it can be painful to have to pretend to be enjoying yourself while you are dying on the inside. One mother described it as “a dark place of heartbreak and anger.”

Through my work with parents who have experienced loss (or any kind of trauma), I have found that having a structure of mindsets to help you survive in high stress situations is helpful. I was considering a survival guide for the holidays for expectant parents who have experienced loss, but then I thought why not just a general survival guide to help when you are coping with loss, no matter what time of year it is.

    1. Know your limits (It’s people's’ job to respect that boundary) You have the right to pick and choose which events you attend and which events will too overwhelming emotionally. You can be honest with folks, too. It’s okay to say you aren’t ready, yet. If that’s too painful, have an excuse thought out beforehand.
    2. Share your feelings -or don’t- either way you must advocate for yourself by asking to be left alone or acknowledging the fact that you want to share is helping those around you learn how to best support you. Otherwise, you can politely tell people how they can best support you when they ask.
    3. Respect your own personal boundaries At one point or another, you will find yourself in a situation that you thought you could handle, but turns out you weren’t ready. That’s okay, but know when to take a minute to be alone. Connect with your body, begin to recognize your body’s signs of feelings overwhelmed, and begin to remove yourself before you feeling out of control.
    4. Know when it’s bigger than you Check out this blog on the “bigger than you approach” to interacting with challenging situations. We all have that one relative or friend of a friend who just won’t get it--no matter how hard you try. That’s okay. It’s not your job to help every single person you encounter understand, but it is your job to recognize when you’re causing yourself more stress than will pay off in the end.
    5. It’s OK to not be OK (and to say no) This is an important one. Refer to #1 where it says it’s okay to not only pick and choose which events you attend, but to also be honest with people. See #3 where it says recognize and remove yourself from situations. I can’t stress enough how ok it is to not be ok. Literally everyone has had moments when they were not okay and no one should expect you to be okay before you are ready.
    6. Start a new tradition to remember your baby This one can be fun and can look like anything. I urge you to make it a celebration rather than a remembrance. I used to work with a family that got donuts each year to celebrate their angel baby’s birthday. They had two kids after their loss who knew what the holiday was and looked forward to the discussions about their brother each year. It can be as formal as you’d like, if that is your style, or as laid back as a donut date.
    7. Lean on Your Partner Your partner will be hurting, too. Take some time to reflect on your individual needs, but also your needs as couple. You can find immense strength in one another if you allow yourself to be open to hurting together. Loss has the potential to bring partners together in a very strange way that can transform your relationship to depths that you never knew was possible.

                Part of the healing process is pushing yourself a healthy amount, but also recognizing the healing and work you still have to do. It’s okay to remember that sometimes the only cure is time. Surrounding yourself with those who care about you and will support you during this time is essential. Be vigilant on how much you push yourself during the holidays as it is already a stressful time of year. It’s okay to say no and to respect your own boundaries.

                Tranquility by HeHe has partnered with Organic Conceptions. Through this, HeHe is an Organic Conceptions Coach who is excited to help support you on your infertility journey and finding natural ways to start your family. We are excited to be the first Doula and Birthing Service in Boston to offer these services as part of our comprehensive approach from conception to the first few years of your child's life! Other Organic Conceptions Coaches in the Boston area are Nicole Brown (our TBHbirthing partner) and Angela Bell, both acupuncturists. Stay strong out there and remember to lean on your village when you need!

                Sign up for our Newsletter to stay in-the-loop with our tribe! Each week I will drop helpful how-to's and know-how's in your inbox! I also share savings for our village members plus you're one of the first to get word of big announcements, new services, and workshops! Get your name on the list here.

                Tranquility by HeHe, A Maternity Concierge, Birthing and Doula Service in Boston, Massachusetts
                "We can't wait to pamper you."

                The Best Holiday Gifts for Parents

                Friday, December 22, 2017

                The Best Holiday Gifts for Parents

                Tranquility by HeHe is dedicated to bringing mental health awareness into every home that we serve. We take time to have sensitive chats before the birth of your child to see exactly what fears, concerns, worries, and questions you have. This is telling of the support you might need when preparing to welcome your little one Earthside. With so much focus on the baby by most birth workers, we've created an approach that is parent centered. Our Founder, HeHe, has been an active member in the Mental Health world for years and hopes that one day the stigma around mental health will be absolved. With this, we have a focus on mental health of parents leading up to the birth of their child and support during postpartum. Headspace is a word that you will hear HeHe say over and over again in order to bring awareness to your body, your emotions, how those two are connected, and how they inevitably influence one another.

                With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start wrapping up last minute gift ideas! If your family is anything like my family, you will soon be faced with two of the most difficult questions, “what do I get [insert person] for the holidays?” and “What do you want for the holidays?”

                We live in such a gadget-crazed and electronic fueled society that the holidays can be a wonderful and refreshing time of year. You can give the gift of refreshing relaxation and you can ask for the gift of rejuvenation.

                Giving the Gift of Rejuvenation

                Giving the gift of rejuvenation is a wonderful way to support new parents. Here are my favorite gifts to give to new parents to help them start the new year feeling refreshed, resilient, and ready to take on whatever comes their way.
                • Massage This is everyone’s go-to. It’s perfect. It’s reasonably priced, it’s meaningful, and it has immediate relief, and it caters to improving parental mental health. Buying someone a package that allows them to go a few times or for a specific amount of times/visits can provide lasting results. This is a great way to intentionally carve out one-hour of self-care time for those you love.
                • Spa Day This is one of my favorites. Though, it’s a tad bit misleading, as a spa day is rarely an entire day, but it’s still a wonderful and thoughtful gift. This allows parents to escape parenthood briefly and declare a reset. They can fully relax for a few hours to hit refresh. Usually spa days include visits to the sauna, massages, facials, hot tubs, showers, and refreshments available.
                • Sleep Now-a-days, I feel like you can literally give anything as a gift. Between worldwide shipping, online ordering, and gift certificates, anything is possible. When thinking of meaningful gifts for new or expecting parents, be intentional. Think about what do parents really need? They are generally so exhausted that having one night to sleep without interruption can mean the world. Doulas and night nurses now offer gift certificates to give to your loved ones. These make great gifts because you’re giving the gift of sleep. Doulas and night nurses are professionals trained in infant care who will come to your home to take care of your child. They spend the night in your home to provide you with a full night’s rest.
                • Trip This one is more for spouses or grandparents. Giving your spouse a trip is a wonderful way to escape together and hit reset as a couple and as parents. I often hear of grandparents who give this to their children and take care of the grandchildren while the parents are vacationing. A trip can be a weekend away or as extensive as a trip to another country or a cruise.

                How To Ask for Rejuvenation

                If you want to subtly hint at what you want, you could always say, “I would really love some time to just relax.” This is a polite answer and still leaves freedom and creativity in the giver’s hands. However, if you know someone is asking because they would rather gift you something that you truly want and would enjoy, you can say just that. It’s not rude to ask for what you want if someone is directly asking for that answer. Simply saying, “I would love a massage to start off the new year,” or “I would love nothing more than a spa day to celebrate the end of this year.” Don’t be afraid to advocate for your needs or wishes.

                Pay It Forward

                I like to say, “You’re only as good as the most rejuvenated person on your team when it comes to raising children.” When it comes to finding that balance between caring for your family and caring for yourself, it is important to remember to advocate for your needs and wants. This might mean directly stating what you want or need. Help the people around you, including your support people (not just other parents), to take the time they need to care for themselves, too. Remember to hold people accountable for self-care just as they take care of you.

                Check out Gift Certificates from Tranquility by HeHe, here to help pamper your loved ones this holiday season. Give the gift that has a ripple effect of positivity.

                Tranquility by HeHe, A Maternity Concierge, Birthing and Doula Service in Boston, Massachusetts
                "We can't wait to pamper you."

                **Tranquility by HeHe is a safe space for all persons regardless of gender, race, national origin, age, mental disability, or sexual orientation.

                8 Questions to Ask During a Doula Interview

                Saturday, December 9, 2017

                Boston, MA, USA

                8 Questions to Ask During a Doula Interview 

                Ever see something on the internet that makes you cringe...

                Do you ever see anything on the internet that makes you cringe so hard that you want to scream? I can name a couple: the incessant bickering on FB, the mom's groups that everyone thinks they are a medical doctor or a licensed psychologist, and don't forget about the person who post what they are doing when they are doing it every single day (I also worry about their safety!). Whew, it's exhausting. 

                Over my time as a doula, there is one thing that still makes me cringe just as hard now as it did the very first time I experienced it. There is nothing worse than an expectant parent who shows up to an interview with printed questions from the internet. The worst questions are the ones that highlight the fact that this person truly has no idea what a doula can truly do to transform their birth experience. The questions of "How long have you been a doula?" or "How many births have you attended?" As if the number of births or the number of days you've been a doula has a profound impact on the care you can give to them. Instead they should be concerned with how much knowledge you have, how much support you can provide, the experience you've had with birth, and how well trained are you.

                When you think about your perfect birth team, who do you think of? If you know you want a supported birth with people who encourage you and believe in your body and you haven’t considered hiring a doula, maybe you should. If you have already decided you want a doula, but don’t know what to ask in the interview process, I’m here to help! When you think about support do you probably think of someone you can trust, someone who is honest, someone who is knowledgeable and able to help you advocate for what you believe in. These questions can help you learn these things about your doula. 

                8 no-non-sense questions

                Here's what to ask when you are interviewing doulas to find the best support for you. Welcoming a child into this world is a magnificent feat. It will be a life changing experience. Make sure you do your due diligence when looking into who you want included on your birth team.

                1. Are you registered as a business? In order to increase your chances of being reimbursed by your insurance for your doula costs, you can make sure you hire a professional doula who is running a business rather than attending births as a hobby. If your doula is accepting money to attend births, they should be honest about it. If your doula has not registered their business, you could be getting into a sticky situation.
                2. Do you carry insurance? Would you receive care from an OBGYN, midwife, acupuncturist, or massage therapist who didn't carry professional insurance? Let's hope not. Your doula is no different. Anyone who serves the public and cares for people in intimate settings should always carry insurance.
                3. Do you have a contract? To keep yourself safe, don't even go here. Contract or no deal.
                4. What would you do if [insert a scenario you'd like to know what she'd do]? This is a great way to judge how that doula will speak to you during your relationship. If they begin to discredit your feelings during your interview with them, imagine how they might react in a situation of intense emotions like birth. However, if you see a logical and sensitive response, this gives you a good sense of their compassion for working with people and having your best interest at heart.
                5. If you had to choose three words to describe your practice what would they be? You are going to hear a lot of information and these three words will help you understand what is important to each doula when they are forced to identify with only three adjectives.
                6. What organization are you trained through? Do your own research on the organizations that train doulas. Some organizations are better than others. "Certification" is a buzz word surrounding doulas. Certification is managed by each organization so there is no standard. Some certifications are easily attained after training and some require intense qualifications. Rather than asking if your doula is certified, ask who she was trained by and what her experience has been. A "certified doula" doesn't certify her to be a good, or even knowledgeable, doula.
                7. What is your philosophy of birth? Knowing how your doula views birth will tell you a lot of how compatible you two are going to be. If you're interviewing a doula who is off to one side of the spectrum, it may be best to continue to interview other doulas and try to find someone who is more in alignment with what you envisioned for your birth or what you had expected.
                8. What do the services/packages include? You will want to know things like when your doula will start to support you, when your doula will stop supporting you, What kind of support do they provide, what if your doula is unable to attend your birth, and what is included for the price you are paying. Make sure you ask specific questions about or mention things that are important to you.

                When picking a doula, make sure you think about having this person in one of the most intimate moments of your life. I am always careful to be intentional with the conversation that we have during prenatals so I can help encourage you to advocate for yourself. My goal is to support you regardless of what or how I feel. If feels great to know that when I asked past clients to describe me they said words like compassionate, gentle, kind, unbiased, non-judgmental, light-hearted, warm, and educated.

                Personality + Price

                After you narrow down your list to personalities that are compatible with yours, begin to look at their prices and what you get for that price. Do you get multiple doulas? Do you get exclusive deals with partners of your doula? Check out our partnerships here. Do you get “extras” included in that price? Does that support extend beyond one-on-one and give you a community to connect with? For example, all TBHbirthing client gains exclusive access to a private Facebook group that is filled with all of our clients gathered in a single safe space to support one another.

                If you find that you have narrowed it down to two choices and you are having a really hard time deciding between the two, take a minute. Take a minute to step away from this decision (and by minute I mean a day or so). When you're ready, close your eyes and imagine your ideal birth. When you envision what that looks like, who, out of the two final doulas, do you see supporting you in your ideal birth?

                Whoever that is, you should snag them up before their calendar fills up!

                { Snag your seat in our FREE TRAINING to master your mindset for birth without the fear and anxiety! }

                Tranquility by HeHe, A Concierge Birthing and Doula Service in Boston, Massachusetts
                "We can't wait to pamper you."

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