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Filtering by Tag: mom

Postpartum Sex 101

Chelsea Gonzales

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In the weeks after giving birth, you probably aren’t going to be thinking too much about having sex. Your newborn and a distinct lack of sleep are both responsible for this—but really, it’s just as well, all things considered.

You see, just as you might imagine, intercouse is not usually very comfortable immediately after giving birth. This is true if you gave birth vaginally, of course, but can even be true for those mamas who’ve had c-sections. On top of that, postpartum bleeding can make intimacy quite difficult, and your care provider will probably want you to wait awhile before jumping back into things anyway.

Still, the time will come when you and your partner are ready to get back into the swing of things, so to speak. It’s good to know when you can do so, and what to expect when you do.

Wait It Out

First and foremost, you will need to allow your body to heal a bit. Failing to do so could lead to infection. In most cases, six weeks should be plenty of time. However, in some cases you might need to wait longer. Therefore, it is always a good idea to get permission from your care provider.

Tone Up

While you’re waiting for your time to arrive, you might as well make use of your time by toning up a bit down there. Doing kegels every day will help strengthen your pelvic floor, making sex more enjoyable for both you and your partner when the wait is over.

Not sure how to do kegels? Check out this article to learn how.

Know What to Expect

Even after waiting a full six weeks or more, your body will still be healing. Because of this, and because of hormone fluctuations and physical changes in your body, sex will likely feel different. When you consider what your body went through to bring a baby into this world, this isn't at all surprising. Still, this change in the way sex feels does come as a surprise to some women.

If you go in knowing that things will feel different, at least for a while, and that you might even experience a small amount of discomfort, you’ll be much better off.

Get Protection

Women can and do get pregnant immediately after giving birth. This is even true for breastfeeding mamas. Therefore, unless you want two babies back to back, and unless your care provider has given you the go-ahead to get pregnant again, you will want to ensure you have some sort of birth control before hopping in bed.

Relax and Warm up

Having sex for the first time in weeks or even months might make you feel a bit uptight. This isn’t fun for anyone. Help yourself relax by having a glass of wine beforehand.

On top of nerves, hormone fluctuations can cause women who have just given birth to be quite dry down below. A bit of lube can solve this problem in a jiffy. Add in plenty of foreplay and you should be good to go.

Communicate Your Needs

Don’t be embarrassed to communicate your needs to your partner. If you need to go a bit slower than usual, let them know that. If something hurts or is uncomfortable, put a stop to it. Remember that you can stop at any point if you need or want to.

Tips for a Successful VBAC

Chelsea Gonzales

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There once was a time when mothers were told they would never have a successful vaginal birth after having a cesarean. Fortunately, times have changed, and more and more mothers are making the choice to give it a try. After all, if it can be carried out safely, a vaginal birth is almost always the best option in terms of a mother’s comfort, recovery times, mother/child bonding, and so much more.

If you are considering having a VBAC, you may be wondering what you can do to increase the chances of a successful birth experience. Here are my top tips.

Build a Strong Birth Team

First and foremost, you will need to have a good, strong birth team. This is one of the most important steps you can take, as an unsupportive birth team will be discouraging at best.

Be sure to pick a primary care provider who is willing to attend a VBAC birth. If you are birthing away from home, the hospital or birth center your care provider is associated with must also be okay with your choice. Ensure you trust your midwife or OB completely. If you feel at all uncomfortable or concerned with your care provider, make a switch. Even if your feelings are apparently unwarranted, feeling comfortable during labor and delivery is imperative to a successful VBAC.

In addition to a good doctor or midwife, you will also want to hire a doula. A doula will help ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout labor, and may even make the process move more quickly. Additionally, a doula can help you work through any fears that may arise.

Go Natural

Inductions, epidurals, and other interventions increase the likelihood of a c-section. Considering this is the very thing you are wanting to avoid, you will also want to avoid intervention as much as possible, letting nature take its course throughout the birthing process.

While this make take more time and patience, and while it might require seeking out natural pain management options, it's so worth the end result.

Educate Yourself

Confidence plays an enormous role in the success of any birth. The more confident you are, the more likely you are to be successful.

This is probably due in part to the fact that the more confident women tend to be the more educated women. Therefore, these individuals have a good understanding of their bodies, leading to less fear. They are also better able to make educated decisions throughout labor, meaning they're less likely to be pushed into doing things they don't want to do.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that all pregnant women—and especially those wishing to experience a VBAC—do everything they can to boost their confidence and educate themselves. The best ways to go about this include attending quality childbirth classes and reading as much as possible. Finding books about VBAC specifically can be especially helpful.

Banish Fears

Another step toward confidence that every potential VBAC mother must take is banishing fears. Traumatizing birth experiences stick with us and tend to fester, growing into paralyzing fears. These fears are strong—so strong in fact that they can stall labor, something that can lead to interventions.

Fortunately, you have the power to banish these fears. Find a therapist to help you work through your unwanted thoughts, hire a doula to help in case these fears surface during labor, and repeat uplifting and inspirational mantras to yourself throughout your pregnancy and your labor.

Many women also find it helpful to hang posters or flags with inspirational messages throughout their home and birth space.

Expect a VBAC, Prepare for a Cesarean

In some cases, it just isn't possible for a mother to have a VBAC safely. Because of this, it is always best to go in expecting the best but prepared for the worst.

What does this mean for you? Here is what I suggest:

  •  Know where to go — If you're delivering at home or in a birth center, know in advance where you'll be transferred should the need arise.Prepare for postpartum — Obviously, you'll want meals planned and help in place no matter how your birth goes. However, having extra assistance lined up in case of a c-section is a smart move.
  • Speak with your care provider — Ask your doctor any questions you have about what will happen should you need a cesarean. Have a midwife? Find out what her typical procedure is in these cases.
  • Create a birth plan — You've probably already thought about your birth plan should you have a vaginal delivery, but have you considered what you'd like in the case of surgery? Think about it, write it down, and make sure your birth team knows your plan.

Following these tips is not a guarantee of anything. They will, however, help you achieve your dream. Why not get started today?

 

Self Care for Mothers

Chelsea Gonzales

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Motherhood is hard. Ask any mama you know and she is bound to agree that juggling housework, kids, personal relationships, and sometimes even a job is no walk in the park. In fact, it can drain your tank really, really quickly, leaving you running on empty.

Unfortunately, because motherhood is a never-ending job, finding the time and energy for self-care and a tank refill can seem impossible. It’s likely that you go to bed nightly with an unfinished to-do list, and getting your hair done, curling up with a book, or even just showering in peace are far-off fantasies that you can’t imagine actually coming true.

That said, in order to maintain sanity, you simply must find some time for self-care. Luckily, this doesn’t have to mean hiring a babysitter for hours and hours of alone time. A few simple changes in the way you live can make an enormous difference, and will leave you feeling refueled and ready to take on the world.

Eat Well

Yeah, yeah, this is one we all hear (but never get around to implementing). However, it is also one of the most effective ways to care for yourself and make sure you are able to function as the wonderful mother and woman you actually are. So stock up on fruits and veggies and ditch the chocolate bars—you’re worth it!

Drink Water

Coffee is great on those really rough days, but it simply cannot replace water. Carry a water bottle constantly, and keep it filled up throughout the day. You may be surprised how much better you feel when you’re well hydrated.

Exercise Daily

You may read this tip and laugh. Who has time to exercise, right? Well, I’m not necessarily talking about going to the gym. If you can’t find time to pack up the kiddos and get to a gym, seek out exercises you can do at home. A YouTube channel that teaches yoga is a wonderful option. Walking with the babies in a stroller is also ideal. Figure out what you can manage and do it. You won't regret it!

Get Outside

There’s nothing like some good old vitamin D to leave you feeling great. Therefore, spending some time outside, soaking up the rays of the sun each day is a wonderful way to improve your overall mood and health. The best thing about this trick is that it can be done while working on the computer, nursing a baby, making a grocery list, or even folding laundry.

Schedule in Some “Me Time”

Remember how I mentioned that getting in self-care time can seem impossible? Well, it’s totally possible, but you need to make it happen. Add a bit of “me time” to your schedule each week, and hold onto it for dear life. This means that even if the house is a mess and the kids all need baths, you go. Leave the house and head to the spa, gym, coffee shop, or movie theater for a few hours of peace.

Find Mama Friends

Stress is magnified when we must keep it to ourselves. Finding mama friends who can relate to your situation may be just the thing to help you fill your self-care tank. Set up “playdates” and chat with these other mothers while the babies babble together, or talk on the phone after bedtime, or sign older kids up for a class together and chat in the lobby. Talking about your day, joking about ridiculous situations, and sharing ideas can be hugely helpful for stressed-out moms.

Express Your Feelings

Being a mom comes with tons of emotions. Keeping these pent up inside is never a good idea. Be sure you are talking to your partner and friends about your feelings. Additionally, you may want to express yourself through written word in a journal or through art. If negative emotions become too much to handle even while using these methods, seek out professional help as soon as possible.

Let Go of the Little Things

Nobody’s perfect, not even mom. Let the little things go, forgive yourself when you make a mistake, and move on. Skipping the dishes one night, ordering takeout on occasion, and leaving the floors unswept will not hurt anyone, and letting these things go might just save your sanity.

Seek Out Help

Last, but certainly not least, there is always to option of seeking out assistance. For older kids, babysitters and nannies are a great idea.

However, babies under one year of age—along with their parents—may benefit more from a postpartum doula. A doula can be available to give you that “me time” you need so badly and will gladly hold your little one while you shower. This is perfect for moms who need help while their partner works, for single mamas with no helper, and for couples who are just feeling overwhelmed.

Would you like help as you adjust to being a mom and figure out your self-care routine? I would love to help! Please contact me for information on my postpartum doula services and what they can do for you.

Tips for Bonding With Your Adopted Baby

Chelsea Gonzales

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Adopting a little one is a huge step. After all, you are bringing a new person into your family. This is clearly something to celebrate and feel joyous about. However, it is also important to recognize the amount of responsibility you are taking on, as well as the fact that some hard times may lay ahead.

The first important task of an any parent is bonding with their new little one. However, this step can be a bit more difficult for adoptive parents. While those babies who are placed within the first few months of life will likely bond nearly as quickly and easily as a biological baby, those who are adopted after 4 or 5 months of age may experience separation anxiety and other related problems.

Of course, this does not mean you cannot or will not have a good relationship with your child. It only means you will have to work hard for that bond. However, the fact that you must work for your relationship makes it even more incredible and strong.

So, how do you go about bonding with your adopted baby? Try these tips and tricks.

Be Ever Present

Many adopted children have problems trusting a caregiver to stick around. This means it is highly important that you are ever present as a parent, giving your little one a chance to adapt to the situation and develop a sense of trust and understanding that you will always be there for them.

Even if your baby was adopted before they were old enough to experience separation anxiety, this is important because it gives the child a sense of security as they grow older and learn more about their family history.

Respond Quickly

Besides always being there for your child, you must also be quick to respond to their calls for help. Whether your child is crying for food, comfort, or for some other need to be met, be sure to respond as quickly as possible.

Remember, crying is your child’s only form of communication, and allowing the baby to cry for too long can cause them extra stress. By scooping the child up as soon as he or she calls for help, you are establishing the fact that you will always be there to meet their needs, laying the foundation for a solid parent/child relationship.

Offer Comfort and Touch

Children who have been neglected—or those who have spent time in overcrowded foster homes—may be accustomed to being ignored. Unfortunately, without the typical hugging, cuddling, and comforting that most children receive, these children can develop serious psychological problems.

Because your baby may not have had their cries for comfort answered in the past, it is possible they won’t seek out comfort at all. Therefore, you will want to be sure to offer snuggles, back rubs, and other forms of comfort on a regular basis whether the child seeks these things out or not.

Even if your baby never was in a neglectful household, it is highly important to hold and cuddle them on a regular basis. Try baby wearing as a way to keep your little one close while you carry out household chores.

Play Games

Sometimes the best way to grow close to a child is to play with them. Therefore, it is best to make plenty of time for play throughout your day. Sing songs, play peek-a-boo, and show them hand clapping games. While the child may not participate right away, keep playing near them and encouraging them to join in.

Create and Maintain Routines

Slightly older babies and young toddlers thrive on routine. If you are adopting an older baby, try to maintain whatever routine was in place for them before the placement. Not sure what that was? Develop a routine that makes sense for your family and stick to it. This consistency will help the baby know what to expect and offer them some comfort in their uncertain little world.

Be Patient

While the transition to parenthood is likely to be hard on you, remember that these big changes are even more difficult for the newest member of your family. Whether your new addition is a newborn or a year old, be sure to practice patience as your family adapts to the new situation and finds a new normal.

Care for Yourself

Last, but certainly not least, you will want to be sure to take small breaks from caring for your new baby so you can care for yourself. After all, an exhausted parent is not going to be the best parent they can be.

Of course, in order to take those breaks, you will need some help. For this reason, it is a good idea to line up some assistance before the placement happens. This help might be from family or friends, or it might come in the form of a postpartum doula who can help with older children, chores, and even baby care when needed.

If you are in need of a postpartum doula to help you through the huge transitional period after adoption, I would be thrilled to help. Please contact me today to learn more about what I can offer your family.

4 Reasons Your Significant Other Might Want a Doula

Chelsea Gonzales

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There are plenty of articles out there that list reasons for birthing mothers to hire a doula. However, very few of these articles take much time considering the reasons a birthing woman’s spouse or partner may like to have a birth doula around.

This is unfortunate, because while the birthing experience is a deeply personal one, it is also something that your partner likely wants to be a part of. Therefore, it is important to take their feelings into consideration while making preparations for the birth. This does not mean you should allow your partner to pressure you into a negative birthing experience, but it does mean you should listen to what they have to say and consider what your decisions may mean for them.

In this post we are going to examine a few of the reasons your partner may appreciate having a doula during labor and delivery.

#1: Help Getting Involved

Most people don’t know all the ins and outs of the birthing process. Additionally, most significant others will not have experienced birth themselves. This leaves the birthing partner pretty clueless when it comes to helping their laboring loved one.

While birthing classes and plenty of pre-baby reading can help with this problem, they don’t generally include solutions for all scenarios. This is where a doula comes in. Doulas have an enormous amount of childbirth information and experience that can help the birth partner become involved in the process by giving suggestions and explaining various happenings throughout the labor and delivery of their little one.

#2: Assistance When Needed

Even for those partners who are fairly confident in their abilities to support a birthing mama, assistance is always appreciated. Doulas are on standby throughout the birthing process, and they are always happy to help in any way they can.

Therefore, when the supportive partner needs a wet washcloth, or the laboring mama would like something to eat but doesn’t want to be left alone, the doula can offer a helping hand.

#3: Ability to Take a Break

Giving birth is incredibly hard work. However, supporting a laboring woman is also taxing, and while it may not be quite as difficult as actually giving birth, supportive partners definitely deserve some credit. Not only that, but these helpful individuals deserve to have a bit of a break if they feel they need it.

  • Unfortunately, when a loved one is in labor, it can feel insensitive to leave her alone to go find a cup of coffee, use the restroom, or just take a quick breather. This means the partner is often unable to take care of his or her own needs.

That said, this issue can be easily avoided by hiring a doula. Because a birth doula is with the birthing mother throughout her labor, she is able to take over for a tired significant other and give them a short break from time to time.

#4: Peace of Mind

Seeing someone you love go through the labor and delivery process can be stressful. There are many things that could happen during labor to cause worry. However, with the help of a doula, supportive partners can have some peace of mind.

This is because a doula is able to let the couple know when to relax about certain situations that may otherwise seem worrisome. She is also able to offer bits of hard-earned advice no matter what situation may arise. Finally, the partner can rest easy knowing that doulas decrease a woman's chances of having a less-than-satisfactory birth experience by 34%.

These are the top four reasons your partner may appreciate a birth doula. You may use this article to better understand your partner’s point of view, or you may use it to help sway your significant other’s opinions on the matter. Either way, I hope it helps you on your journey to a beautiful birth.