Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pomegranate Salad

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pomegranate Salad

The holiday season is filled with so much joy and celebration. But we know that it can also bring on a lot of stress and heavy comfort foods. For the months of November and December Doulas of Capitol Hill is celebrating how to have a healthy holiday season. One of the ways we want to encourage you to participate in the holidays, while minding your health, is by providing some easy and delicious recipes.

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Today we have another one of Doulas of Capitol Hills amazing chefs, and postpartum doula, Muriel Vanderpuye, on the blog sharing a healthy recipe with you. A warm brussels sprout and pomegranate salad.

Muriel shared, “my children just decided they wanted to choose a healthy lifestyle and traditional African food was no longer welcome in my home.

As a mom I had to make some changes and I bumped into this recipe, I tweaked it a little and we just love it.

The Brussels sprouts vegetable comes from the cabbage family very popular In Belgium and I believe the reason for its name, Brussels. Brussels sprout is quite controversial either you love it or you hate it but this recipe made me fall in love with this unique vegetable.

The first time I tasted a sprout was in culinary school in England. It tasted quite bland with a little bit of a bitter aftertaste. Last year I found this recipe online and added some personal touches.

I love the taste of caramelized outer leaves with the toasted crunchy pecans with sour/ sharp pomegranate seeds and of course the sweetness of the honey all mixed together. This dish should be served warm

Healthy, delicious, inexpensive and easy to make. My kids just love it and I hope your family will too!”

Here is a link on tips to help peel a pomegranate

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Tips for Lower Back Discomfort in Pregnancy

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Tips for Lower Back Discomfort in Pregnancy

Staying Healthy for the Holidays includes taking care of your body physically. Today our wonderful affiliate and friend, Katie Bayer of Concierge Physical Therapists shares with us tips for lower back discomfort in pregnancy.

In this video she talks about how to reduce stress in your lower back, breathing and relaxation techniques, and offers simple and effective stretches that are safe for the pregnant person.



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Business Spotlight: Interview with Fran Darnell of Dynamic Core

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Business Spotlight: Interview with Fran Darnell of Dynamic Core

As a part of our Healthy for the Holiday series, we’re excited to share this interview with instructor Fran Darnell of Dynamic Mama and Dynamic Core classes at Rooted Pilates on the Hill.

Dynamic Mama is an intimate group program that combines Pilates, mindful movement, and coaching to help mamas and mamas-to-be reconnect with their bodies, reclaim their strength, and gracefully move through the miracles of motherhood from prenatal to postpartum.

To find out more about upcoming workshops starting in January and April 2019 please check out Dynamic Core for information.

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What led you to this career?

Ever since I was young I have loved movement, and I have found that it is an incredible resource to help me feel uplifted, present in the moment, more centered, connected with myself, and capable of doing things with strength and grace. My mom was an occupational therapist and through witnessing her work I first learned that movement is healing. In college I studied dance and kinesthetic anatomy which lead me to realize that embodiment is healing. Now more than ever we need to become more present in our body, especially in today’s world we are often more up in our heads than we are engaged in our body. Right after graduating college I began my Pilates certification.

I was inspired to teach Pilates because I have found it to be a movement practice that supports anyone and every body. From focusing on creating healing and rehabilitation to strengthening and functional fitness, and any combination in between, Pilates helps you develop more strength and resilience. I am passionate about working with mothers through pregnancy, postpartum and beyond as motherhood is a truly transformational experience of body, heart, mind and spirit. Pilates is a powerful practice to help mothers mindfully strengthen their core, pelvic floor, and feel centered and connected to your new sense of self. I offer a holistic approach to wellness that combines Pilates, coaching, and energy healing to help women reclaim and restore the harmony of their dynamic core.

What do you enjoy most about work?

I really enjoy getting to help women feel more connect to the core of who they are and helping them to feel tapped into the strength and power they hold within their body. At whatever stage of motherhood we work together whether it is pre-conception preparation, prenatal, postpartum, or many years beyond the power of just showing up for yourself and feeling a commitment to your wellbeing is transformational in itself. I love seeing women shift from the inside out becoming more stable & strong as they connect to their core in a whole new level. Especially when working on managing diastasis recti or healing pelvic floor imbalances, it is so exciting when a woman feels a more whole and integrated sense in her core, when she feels aligned, and can sense her muscles responding. I love helping women build upon the strengths they have inside and out and feel even more capable to do all they want to do, and choose how they want to feel as they move through their life.

If you are a parent, how was your birth and postpartum?

I am not yet a parent, and very much look forward to making my own family. With over a decade of supporting women through pregnancy, birth and beyond I have seen women through so many different birth experiences. I trust my own journey will be a great teacher to me, and that this will deeply inform my work.

What resources would you want parents to have?

I would want parents to have a resource of breathing exercises to help release anxiety, feel more present and grounded. I also wish that all parents could receive a basic understanding of their anatomy & how the pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, back muscles and your diaphragm function together harmoniously- making up the core of your body. The knowledge of your body is a powerful tool to understand how some simple movements can help you feel stronger, let go of tension, and feel more supported from within. This can help you know how to carry your child accessing the strength within yourself rather than straining your back or overworking in yours shoulders and neck. Numerous times my clients have shared with me how they’ve taught their partner what we’ve been working on so they too can feel stronger and more ease in carrying and caring for their little ones.

What is one unique thing about your business that your customers/clients love?

My clients really appreciate my gift of active listening which allows me to tune in to the parts of a person where they need to foster and connect their mind with their body so that they can achieve what they are really wanting. They love how I am then able to guide them through a movement practice that helps them feel more strength, alignment, and a clear body memory of what it feels like to be tapped into their whole self.

What's one thing you think the world needs to do to improve the lives of new parents (or people living in our service area)?

One thing I think that needs to be improved upon in particular in the US is providing more integrated care for new moms. Too often women are feeling isolated and alone, tolerating pain, silently experiencing incontinence, sometimes not even realizing they have pelvic floor imbalances, instability in their core, or diastasis recti. Every new mother should be able to receive a women’s wellness visit with a pelvic floor physical therapist, receive therapy or some sort of emotional support, and feel the presence of community. There is so much connection and checking in preparation to bringing a child into your life. When a woman is expecting a baby there are frequent check-ins, and then after birth there is often only one checkup for the mom. Mothers need more support, and all too often have to advocate for themselves. We really need to expand upon access to maternal care for new moms.

What do you think is the hardest part of expecting baby or becoming a parent?

One of the hardest parts I see women facing in expecting baby and becoming a parent is letting go of control, or rather accepting that even with the best plans things may happen in a way that you can’t control. This is really true in all of life, it just gets magnified in a big way in the transformation of becoming a parent. This can lead to anxiety, and I find that movement and simply breathing is a powerful tool, to help you get present in the moment, accept what you can’t change, and be guided by your body’s wisdom and intuition to focus on what you can do, and how you can choose to feel as you move through it.

What products or services do you personally love?

I personally really love using therabands and the foam roller. These are two props that don’t take up a lot of space and are incredible for either stretching and massaging your body, or giving you some extra resistance or challenge to help you strengthen even more. These are the first two props I would suggest any client purchase, and the ones I personally reach for and the Therband is so easy to use on the go!

How do you start each day?

I start each day simply thinking how fortunate I am for waking up and how grateful I am for this day. I then take a moment to think of gratitude for my health, the love I share with my husband, our home, nourishment of food, and love from family & friends, and my gratitude for the work I get to do and all the incredible people I get to work with and support, I give my husband a kiss good morning and depending on my day the rest of my morning routine unfolds. On simple mornings I’ll dry brush, shower, have breakfast, and then off to client sessions. On more spacious mornings I like to choose any combination of what my body is telling me it needs from dancing to a song, journaling & meditating, my Pilates practice & reiki practice, drawing oracle cards, going for a walk outside, or sometimes a morning swim.

What's your favorite thing to do in DC?

My favorite thing to do in DC is take advantage of all the incredible access to nature and being active outdoors by using the bike share bikes to get around the city, visiting the arboretum to check out all the different groves of trees in bloom throughout the year, paddle boarding on the river, or hiking in any of the parks in the area.

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Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes Recipe

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Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes Recipe

The holiday season is filled with so much joy and celebration. But we know that it can also bring on a lot of stress and heavy comfort foods. For the months of November and December Doulas of Capitol Hill is celebrating how to have a healthy holiday season. One of the ways we want to encourage you to participate in the holidays, while minding your health, is by providing some easy and delicious recipes. Our team chef and postpartum doula, Vanessa Fowler, is sharing one of those recipes with you today.

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Here is another recipe this time though... Thanksgiving! And because it is Thanksgiving, we’ll splurge just a little bit.

This recipe calls for half and half to make these potatoes extra creamy, but substituting milk works too and you still end up with a delicious batch of mashed potatoes without it being quite as heavy. (check the recipe notes on tips to make it vegan as well)

This is a classic mashed potatoes recipe but instead of adding flavor directly it’s being infused in other ways so you don’t get the herbs throughout your creamy golden potatoes.

Yukon golds are a little less starchy than russets and I just favor them.

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Ergonomics for New Parents

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Ergonomics for New Parents

Staying Healthy for the Holidays includes taking care of your body physically. Our wonderful affiliate and friend, Katie Bayer of Concierge Physical Therapists shared with us ergonomic tips for new parents.

In this video she touches on the safe and proper way to carry and install a car seat, breastfeed, and change your baby. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup and it’s very important to spend the time taking care of yourself so that you can care for your baby and your family.

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Chicken and Butternut Squash Chowder Recipe

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Chicken and Butternut Squash Chowder Recipe

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National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day is observed each year on November 12.  According to the National Day Calendar, this day was created to celebrate who you are, where you have been, where you are going and who you will be thankful for when you get there.

Chicken soup has earned a reputation for being the perfect meal to enjoy when you’re sick, or feeling down, or wanting to warm up on a cold day. We wanted to combine celebrating that feeling and warmth with our Healthy for the Holidays series.

Today we are sharing with you our twist on the traditional chicken soup recipe with Chicken and Butternut Squash Chowder.    

From our team chef and postpartum doula, Vanessa Fowler:

No backstory here. I wanted to create something for this series that is also healing for postpartum mothers. It’s family friendly and warm for the season while still, for the most part, being healthy and giving you the control to make it quick during the week or with slightly more time on the weekend.

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How to Talk to a Mom (About Postpartum Depression or Anxiety)

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How to Talk to a Mom (About Postpartum Depression or Anxiety)

In April of 2018 the Association of Certified Nurse Midwives held a symposium at George Washington University Hospital. The event drew a diverse group of professionals, from Certified Nurse Midwives who work labor and delivery, or even in private practice at birth centers or attending homebirths, MD’s, physical therapists, mental health professionals, and a handful of non-medical professionals, including doulas from Doulas of Capitol Hill and our sister agency, Doulas of Prince George’s County.

Of the many topics and guest speakers at the symposium, Dr. Pooja Lakshmin came to speak from her expertise in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD’S). Dr. Lakshmin is a board certified psychiatrist specializing in women's mental health and reproductive psychiatry.

Today on the blog we share this list of questions Dr. Lakshmin included in her talk because we feel that one of the most challenging barriers a new mom can have toward getting mental health attention is that those people nearest to her don’t know what to say or how to talk about it. Breaking the stigma around mental health can start by asking any one of these questions.

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For more resources and tips on supporting someone you think may be experiencing a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, please check out Doulas of Capitol Hill Resource Guide.

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PMAD's and the Role of the Doula

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PMAD's and the Role of the Doula

Doulas of Capitol Hill was founded on three guiding principles: Support the Family, Build the Community. Grow the Profession. Today on the blog we are sharing this resource from Dr. Emma Basch PsyD, a psychologist in Washington, DC, who specializes in women’s mental health with a focus on perinatal and reproductive concerns.

Dr. Basch was a recent guest speaker to one of our team meetings and she shared her expertise with our birth and postpartum doulas, as well as our lactation consultants, to help our professionals continuing education and growth. She provides this useful guide for doulas to support clients and their families.

Recently the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) updated their recommendations that women see their health care provider sooner than 6 weeks to screen for physical and mental health complications. Having a doula during pregnancy and in the first year after birth is an additional layer of support to see you through this transitional time between leaving the hospital and seeing your health care provider.

Dr. Basch acknowledges that “reaching out to a therapist can feel like a daunting task.” She recognizes the valuable role that doulas can play in screening for PMAD’s, as we often spend many hours with a client over weeks or months, whereas a doctor or nurse may only spend a few minutes.

PMAD’s are common and also treatable. You are not alone.

PMAD’S and the Role of the Doula

by Dr. Emma Basch PsyD

  • PMAD is an umbrella term that refers to the spectrum of emotional challenges that may arise during the perinatal period (from pregnancy through one year postpartum).

  • There are seven different perinatal mood and anxiety disorders including Perinatal Anxiety, Perinatal Depression, Perinatal Panic Disorder, Perinatal Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Perinatal Bipolar Disorder, and Postpartum Psychosis.

  • PMADs are the most common complication of pregnancy with 15-20% of people who have given birth reporting symptoms. While PMADS are most common in people who are pregnant or who have given birth, partners and adoptive parents can also develop symptoms of a PMAD.

  • Risk Factors: A personal or family history of depression or anxiety or other mental health concerns, Medical problems including diabetes, thyroid disorders, or PMDD, Difficult pregnancy, birth complications, Financial stress, Lack of social support, History of Pregnancy Loss, Infertility

  • Typical Symptoms of PPA/PPD: Irritability, Difficulty sleeping, Lack of interest in pregnancy or baby, Sadness, tearfulness, Shame and guilt, Feeling hopeless, Worry or feeling like something bad is going to happen, Racing thoughts, Restlessness, “Scary” or upsetting thoughts which may include thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby

  • VERY Common: Ego dystonic scary, bizarre or violent thoughts, Thoughts are terrifying to sufferer, Person does everything possible to resist the thought or neutralize it, VERY low risk of hurting baby

  • Psychosis/Emergency: Ego Syntonic scary, bizarre or violent thoughts, Thoughts are ego syntonic and connected to delusions. There is a risk of hurting baby or self

  • PP Bipolar/Psychosis:

    A rare illness that occurs in about 1% of women

    Symptoms generally emerge in the first 2-3 weeks postpartum and are thought to have a hormonal link

    Symptoms include: Delusions and hallucinations, Can include violent commands, Hyperactivity and decreased need for sleep, Mood swings, Paranoia

    Risk Factors: Personal or family history of bipolar disorder or psychosis, 5% Suicide Rate and 4% Infanticide Rate so should always be treated as emergency

Role of a Doula

  • ASSESSMENT (PREGNANCY AND POSTPARTUM)

    • Pregnancy- what to ask

      • Ask about mental health history

      • History of pregnancy- infertility, losses?

      • Prior births- listen for trauma

      • Worries/mood (frequency, intensity, duration, distress)

      • Sleep

      • support system

    • Postpartum

      • Sleep (#1) question- if birthing person is not sleeping, not tired, racing thoughts, this is an emergency

      • May look “well” but not be coping well

      • Watching baby breath

      • Feeling disconnected from baby

      • Not caring for self

      • Tearful and overwhelmed

      • Feeding challenges

    • Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EDPS)- you can administer and score

    • Birth trauma

  • BRIEF INTERVENTION


Dr. Basch has advanced training in the treatment of postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS), infertility, perinatal loss, and birth trauma

Dr. Basch has advanced training in the treatment of postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS), infertility, perinatal loss, and birth trauma

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Resources For Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, and PMAD's

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Resources For Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, and PMAD's

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According to the research, between 15 and 20% of new moms will experience some sort of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMADs) after giving birth.  PMADs are the most common pregnancy complication. Having a baby can be very isolating and suffering from a mental health problem on top of that can cause even more problems. PMADs might affect a woman’s ability to care for herself and her children.  These illnesses are common and treatable.

Signs and Symptoms

Healthy New Moms.org

Crisis/ Suicide Hotline

Suicide accounts for 5.3% of perinatal deaths, or approximately 1 out of every 19 deaths in pregnant or postpartum women during that time period.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Crisis Text Line

Screening Tools

Mental Health America.net Online screening for depression, anxiety, psychosis, and other mental health disorders

Maternal Mental Health Now- Self-screen toolkit

Edinburgh Scale for Postnatal Depression Easy to use screening tool for postpartum depression used by doctors, nurses, and health professionals


How to Set Up a Postpartum Depression / Anxiety Plan

How to talk to a Mom, by Pooja Lakshmin, MD at the American College of Nurse Midwives DC Affiliate Conference on Women's Health and Wellness in April 2018, Doulas of Capitol Hill blog (coming soon!)

Mother Mag blog post How to Prepare for Postpartum Depression

National Institute of Health Mom’s Mental Health Matters (website down)

Postpartum Support Virginia PDF The Postpartum Plan


Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders; Healing Outcomes, by Laura Macone, MSW, LCSW, Doulas of Capitol Hill Client Portal, resource accessible for Doulas of Capitol Hill families (requires password).

PMAD and the Role of the Doula, by Dr. Emma Basch PsyD,  Doulas of Capitol Hill blog (coming soon!)

Talking with Women about Postpartum Depression and Anxiety,  by Laura Macone, MSW, LCSW, Doulas of Capitol Hill Client Portal, resource accessible for Doulas of Capitol Hill families (requires password)


Local Resources

Healthy New Moms- Maryland’s Maternal Mental Health Campaign

Postpartum Support DC

Postpartum Support Maryland

Postpartum Support Virginia


Local Mental Health Professionals

Catalyst Counseling, Laura Macone LCSW, Alexandria, VA

Center for Maternal Wellness NW DC

DC/MD/ VA Guide find a specialist in perinatal mental health

Dr. Emma Basch, PsyD NW DC

George Washington University Five Trimester’s Clinic- low fee medication evaluation and management

Mary’s Center- lower fee therapy and medication

The Spring Project low fee psychotherapy

Washington Anxiety Center SE DC


Local Support Groups

Dr. Emma Basch PsyD NW DC

P.A.C.E Moms groups many small groups throughout the DMV

Postpartum Support Virginia Fairfax and Alexandria

Emily Griffin LCSW NW DC

Online Resources

Center for Disease Control

Climb Out of Darkness  The world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and OCD, postpartum post-traumatic stress, postpartum psychosis, perinatal bipolar mood disorders, and pregnancy depression and anxiety.

National Institute of Mental Health

Postpartum Depression.org Tips for partners, Take a quiz

Postpartum Progress The world’s most widely-read blog dedicated to maternal mental illness.

Postpartum Support International

TED Talk on one woman’s experience and her TED Talk to bring awareness and reduce the stigma of postpartum depression

Medication During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding/ Chestfeeding

LactMed online catalog of medicine and it’s safety rating for breastfeeding/ chestfeeding parents

Reducing stress and anxiety while breastfeeding, by Kim Hawkins Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Doulas of Capitol Hill blog
SSRI’s, Pregnancy, and Motherhood, by Katie B, Doulas of Capitol Hill blog


For Partners

The Postpartum Husband: Practical Solutions for Living with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum for Fathers from Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Men for fathers who have postpartum depression



Trainings for Doulas/ Birth Attendants

Mary’s Center DC based trainings

Maternal Mental Health Now “Community Provider Toolkit” pdf download

Maternal Mental Health Now “Online Training”

Postpartum Support International webinars for families and community

Postpartum Support International Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for Women of Color created to fill a gap in support services for professionals and communities of color around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

Seleni Includes a free 30 minute training and course bundles


Supplementary Methods

Acupuncture Lavender Retreat SE DC

Fertile Living Alexandria, VA

EFT tapping/ Hypnosis

Flower essence (Bach Rescue Remedy ™) study on use of flower essence to assist in depression treatment

Yoga- published study on the use of yoga for treatment of depression


Research

Sleep and Perinatal Mood Disorders: A critical review

Recent Advances in Understanding Maternal Perinatal Mood Disorders

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Postpartum Depression treatment for Low-income Women of Color




Information on this web site is for educational purposes only. It may provide some self-help relief. However, it should not substitute for a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed mental health professional.




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Physical Therapy for the Pregnant Person

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Physical Therapy for the Pregnant Person

Our "Healthy for the Holidays" campaign doesn't just include delicious recipes. It also means taking care of your body with small exercises and taking moments for yourself to breath and pause. Today we are linking you to a #youtube video with Katie Bayer from Concierge Physical Therapists. In todays video Katie will be talking about #physicaltherapy during pregnancy. She touches on easy exercises for your transverse abdominis and your #pelvicfloor These exercises will help with pain and stress on the body during pregnancy and can also help proactively strengthen your core for your #postpartum period.

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Winters Granola Recipe

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Winters Granola Recipe

The holiday season is filled with so much joy and celebration. But we know that it can also bring on a lot of stress and heavy comfort foods. For the months of November and December Doulas of Capitol Hill is celebrating how to have a healthy holiday season. One of the ways we want to encourage you to participate in the holidays, while minding your health, is by providing some easy and delicious recipes. Our team chef and postpartum doula, Vanessa Fowler is sharing one of those recipes with you today.

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By Vanessa Fowler

I decided to come up with different kinds of granola, mainly for my husband, and I love this one in particular. He is not a big breakfast person but I am. I think it makes for a better day because it makes for a better you. He does eat cereal so I wanted to make it a bit healthier. Plus, I always find him getting frustrated down the cereal aisle because it’s often all sugar or healthy but no flavor. Winters Granola came about with the thought of just wanting to bring warmth and flavor of the season to my husband during the winter while he is at work. It’s brought us so much joy!

Now I am able to share my Winters Granola with all of you. May it bring you warmth and flavor of the season and as much joy to your family as it has to mine.

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One of our wonderful Instagram followers suggested adding some dates if you're towards the end of your pregnancy, and we love that idea!

There have been numerous studies that show the positive effects of dates on the outcome of labor.

According to Mama Natural A study published in 2017: Date fruit consumption at term: Effect on length of gestation, labour and delivery.

Published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, this study supported all the initial findings. The authors concluded that:

“Dates fruit consumption during late pregnancy has been shown to positively affect the outcome of labour and delivery without adverse effect on the mother and child.”

So go ahead and get the go ahead from your provider and then pile on those dates!

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Resources for Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss

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Resources for Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss

We started out the month of October sharing the personal thoughts and experiences of people who have been through a miscarriage or infant loss. Today on the blog we are sharing resources for individuals, partners, friends, and support people if they or their loved one has experienced such a devastating loss.

Our culture often tries to put a bandage on grief and offers to “fix it.” Author Megan Devine says in her book It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok, “Grief no more needs a solution than love needs a solution.” It’s with this in mind that we share this list of resources, acknowledging that the loss of a baby is not one that can ever be “fixed,” “gotten over” or “moved on from” but that the experience can be witnessed and supported by loved ones and community as people grieve.

Online/In-person Support Groups

Compassionate Friends online and in-person support for loss of a child, at any time, for any reason

Embracing Grace: Coping with the loss of an infant Northern Virginia Christian resource

L.A.M.P.S- Life After Miscarriage, Perinatal loss, and Stillbirth Fairfax, VA support group

MIS Share (Miscarriage, Infant Loss, and Stillbirth) Falls Church, VA support group

MISS Foundation Counseling, Advocacy, Research, and Education for families experiencing the death of a child

Postpartum Support Virginia grief and loss resources

Postpartum Support International postpartum depression, anxiety, PTSD, grief, and trauma resources

Star Legacy Foundation HIPPA (privacy compliant) video support groups


Local Therapists

Dr. Emma Basch has advanced training in infertility, perinatal loss, and birth trauma, Washington, DC

Greater Washington Therapy Julie Bindeman, Psy-D, Bethesda, MD

Heather McMillian, LPC- Telemental Health for Virginians, specializing in infertility, perinatal loss, postpartum depression and anxiety, and trauma

Stillbirth/ Infant Loss Photography

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep free gift of professional portraiture

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Books

Meeting the Needs of Parents Pregnant and Parenting After Perinatal Loss by Joann M O’Leary and Jane Warland, “develops a helpful framework, which integrates continuing bonds and attachment theories, to support prenatal parenting at each stage of pregnancy. Giving insight into how a parent’s world view of a pregnancy may have changed following a loss, readers are provided with tools to assist parents on their journey.”

Coping with Infertility, Miscarriage, and Neonatal Loss: Finding Perspective and Meaning by Amy Wenzel “Here, well-known psychologist Amy Wenzel applies the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy a thoroughly-researched approach for treating mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and stress-related disorders to the experience of reproductive loss. She offers strategies for coping with loss and provides a step-by-step guide to reengaging in life. With warmth and compassion, she helps readers journey toward healing.”

Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for Grieving Mothers by Alexa Bigwarfe “book of hope, love, and support for other parents suffering pregnancy and infant loss, or even the death of an older child. She contacted other writers known in the grief and loss community, and invited them to participate.”

Trainings for Doulas and Birth Attendants

Amy Wright Glenn’s Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss online and in-person trainings

To Labor Perinatal Loss & Traumatic Grief: The Gift of Full Presence for Birth Attendants



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Health Care Quality Week: Interview with Dr. Nicole V. Lang MD

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Health Care Quality Week: Interview with Dr. Nicole V. Lang MD

October 21-27 is Health Care Quality Week and Doulas of Capitol Hill is honored to feature one of Washington, DC’s most loved pediatricians, Dr. Nicole V. Lang, MD, and her practice at Washington Pediatric for this month’s Local Business Spotlight.

Dr. Lang is a board certified pediatrician with over 22 years experience in caring for children in the Washington metropolitan area.  She is the Founder, President and CEO of both Washington Pediatric Associates and the specialized extension of her practice called, Premier Pediatric Concierge Care.  The Concierge Service provides an even more personalized convenient and comprehensive approach to health, education and wellness. 

She is recognized locally as one of Washington DC’s Top Pediatric Doctors according to Washingtonian, Washingtonian Mom, Washington Parent and the Washington Post

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What led you to this career?

My life’s calling, since the age of 7, was to be a pediatrician. I am the first doctor in my family and greatly value taking care of “my children.”  I am truly living my dream. 

What do you enjoy most about work?

I absolutely enjoy helping new parents navigate parenthood and watching the evolution of growth and development of my children over 21 years.  I also love being able to positively influence children during their formative years. My motto is to help children make “Smart, Healthy, Safe Choices in Life” and encourage them to reach their full potential. 

If you are a parent, how was your birth and postpartum?

I am the proud mother of my daughter, Nia. I had a wonderful natural child birth experience in a hospital setting. I needed a lot of support with breastfeeding during the postpartum period and ultimately did find balance with supplementing with formula. I always say that my baby had the best of both worlds and is thriving today. 

What resources would you want parents to have?

I want all parents to have the book Touchpoints, written by my mentor and world renowned pediatrician, Dr T Berry Brazelton. This book focuses on a child’s social and emotional health, which is just as important as a child’s physical and cognitive well being.  He stresses the importance of having a holistic look at a child and supporting the family in any way possible. 

What's one thing you think the world needs to do to improve the lives of new parents (or people living in our service area)?

New parents need longer maternity and paternity leave to be with their newborns. We need to be a family centered society to help foster the love and support a new family needs in order to thrive. 

What do you think is the hardest part of expecting baby or becoming a parent?

The hardest part of becoming a parent is the amount of pressure parents (especially mothers) put on themselves to be the perfect parent. There is not just one way of parenting. It is a process of trial and error. It is important to trust your gut intuition because it will always lead you in the right direction.  Trust the process and remember Self-Care along the way. (Remember the airplane rule: parent put your oxygen mask on first then help your child).

What products or services do you personally love?

I am a wellness advocate for the company, Doterra.  I utilize a wide variety of their products personally and in my practice- from essential oils, soaps/lotions to vitamin supplements.  There is a new baby/kid product line now available too, that I love. This company also has a wonderful humanitarian mission that helps support poor communities around the world. 

How do you start each day?

My mother always taught me to count my blessings. I start each day with a prayer of gratitude for the gift of life, family, friends and nature.  I ask God to guide me and give me strength for the day.  I also tell my husband and daughter that I love them dearly. 

What's your favorite thing to do in DC?

My favorite thing to do in DC is to spend time with my family and friends—i.e. hiking in Rock Creek Park, visiting the Smithsonian museums or trying different ethnic restaurants (Cher Cher Ethiopian restaurant is our favorite)—as long as I am with my loved ones, I am filled with JOY!



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October is Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Awareness month

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October is Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Awareness month

For the 1 in 4 women to experience such a loss, it can be a difficult time.  The people in our lives try to be there for us, but often times the results are less than helpful.

After reaching out to a number of women who have been open about their experiences with loss, many of them had similar unhelpful things said to them during a time they are grieving.  

For those of you who wish to avoid such awkward or potentially hurtful statements, have a listen to those who have lived through it.

On this loss in relation to other children-

"At least it wasn't your first child"  - after confiding about miscarriage, a baby we had tried 1.5 years to conceive.

"At least you know you can get pregnant." - said after same miscarriage. Currently been unable to conceive for over 6 years now. (secondary infertility)

“You have two healthy kids, be GRATEFUL for what you have.”  - I can be grateful AND sad, you can have both emotions BRENDA.

“You’ll have another one.”

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Platitudes.  Avoid them like the plague.-

“It will happen when it’s right”- what does that mean?

"It wasn't meant to be” and that “we could just try again." It's not like I fell off a bike or ruined supper. Please don't imply I'm wrong for grieving by saying just make another one.


Comparisons Syndrome-

“It happens to everyone.”

“It’s more common than you think.”  

“It’s not that bad.”

Never say any sentence that begins with, "at least". -

“At least you lost the baby early. At least you have other children. At least you'll have more. At least you got to see the baby once before saying goodbye. Etc.

On this loss and the timing of it-
“It wasn't a real baby yet.” -18 days there's a heartbeat. That's pretty real.

“See the silver lining that you didn’t go full term.”  

‘So you weren't that far along, you were only 8 wks.’- I cannot say whether this particular woman was trying to console me or marginalize my loss but in the moment where the pain is constantly in your throat and the idea of loss is besieging your heart; it felt like a dismissal....The thing is we don’t lose a pregnancy.. it’s not a matter of getting to 40weeks gestation, it’s a matter of having a family member, it’s a matter of an entire life, with ideas, hair color and temperament joining your world; the world. Loss can be difficult for people to sympathize with; even people who have experienced loss and all the more when the loss is only physically felt by one person (mom). Loss is loss, and losing your unborn child is complicated because their body is part of your body; and you essentially lose a part of yourself no matter how many or few weeks they were there.

Anything religious.  Especially if you don’t know their faith or religious beliefs-

“The baby is in heaven now” or variation “the baby is in a better place.”

“God needed her to be with him.”  

“She is an angel now.”

“You will have another one.”

“It was Gods will and he knows what’s best.”

“You will be with her again someday (in heaven).”  - So many of these are related to religious faith and unless you’re talking to a deeply religious person it’s terrible.  And we don’t usually know how religious a person really is.

“It’s a blessing in disguise.”

Unhelpful advice-

“Give it some time and you’ll feel better.”  

“Just relax.”  -are you f*@#ing kidding me?!

Avoiding-

I think mostly for me it was the silence that hurt the most… when people didn’t know what to say or do, so they pretended nothing happened or that I’m not really a mother.


What was helpful-

“I’m sorry for your loss” -The only thing to say.

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The most helpful, honestly came in the form of someone being there to listen, or just to be present with me in silence and support, the general act of gently moving forward in the present even if it's to visit them for three weeks and just being loved and needed. But what also helped was that someone just admitted, "I don't know what to say, but I am here to listen if you want to talk to me.

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NICU Awareness Month part IV- Let's Tell Your Story!

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NICU Awareness Month part IV- Let's Tell Your Story!

By Summer Mobley

In the Social Media world, Tuesday’s are known as Transformation Tuesday’s. So, in honor of #transformationtuesday, here are some pictures to show how much the triplets have changed since they were born and in the NICU.

They have come so far and grown so much!


Birth Pictures. (Left) Xander @ 4lbs, 6oz; (Middle) Isabella @ 3lbs, 13oz; (Right) Elly @2lbs, 15oz

Birth Pictures. (Left) Xander @ 4lbs, 6oz; (Middle) Isabella @ 3lbs, 13oz; (Right) Elly @2lbs, 15oz

8 days old. (Top Left) Elly; (Top Right) Izzy; (Bottom) Xander.

8 days old. (Top Left) Elly; (Top Right) Izzy; (Bottom) Xander.

4 months old. (Top Left & Bottom Right) Isabella @ 11lbs, 9oz;(Middle) Xander @ 12lbs, 1oz (Top Right & Bottom Left) Elly @ 8lbs, 10oz

4 months old. (Top Left & Bottom Right) Isabella @ 11lbs, 9oz;(Middle) Xander @ 12lbs, 1oz (Top Right & Bottom Left) Elly @ 8lbs, 10oz

2.5 yrs old at their Early Intervention Graduation. (Left) Xander @ 34lbs; (Middle) Elly @ 22lbs; (Right) Izzy @ 35lbs.

2.5 yrs old at their Early Intervention Graduation. (Left) Xander @ 34lbs; (Middle) Elly @ 22lbs; (Right) Izzy @ 35lbs.

I talked about how life in the NICU and life outside the NICU can go at different speeds. As parents to NICU babies, we tried to pause one (life outside) and speed up the other (life inside). It didn’t work.

What did work, was the astronomical amount of support we received from family, friends and even strangers before and after the triplets were born.

When I was 24 weeks pregnant, (TMI WARNING) I lost my mucous plug. I will spare everyone the details of this, but the after affect meant that I was put on home bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. I wasn’t allowed to walk or stand for periods longer than 3-5 minutes. I wasn’t allowed to sit for longer than 10 minutes. Basically, I had to lay down all day long. The amount of reading I did…who am I kidding?! The only thing I read in the 6 weeks I was on bedrest were emails and FB posts. The amount of Netflix I watched, on the other hand, was a lot.

Anyways, Ray took the brunt of the keep life moving and care for the outside of the womb child responsibilities. But when I say we had an ASTRONOMICAL amount of support pour in, I’m not kidding. My MOPS group scheduled visits and meals while I was on bedrest. The staff at our church brought us meals every other night for almost three months after the triplets were born. We had friends cook for us, clean our house and do our laundry; while others did our grocery shopping. My mom flew in to help us with Braelynn, my in-laws came to help us celebrate Christmas, my grandparents ordered our Christmas dinner and other family came to help once the girls came home, so I could still go see Xander in the NICU. Others took Braelynn for playdates and sleepovers while others helped pick her up from school. My triplet moms group sent us cards and words of encouragement. We met strangers who became friends. And so many people prayed for our kids to grow and thrive and come home.

NICU life, especially when it’s an extended stay, can be lonely and isolating. And at times it was just that, at least for me. But, it was so amazing to know that so many people were supporting us in a variety of ways. We had a tribe (we still do). Our tribe pulled through in so many ways.

Saying thank you 6,398,120,093 times would never even chip away at the mountain of gratitude we have for every.single.one.of.you.


Isabella on CPAP, 5 days old

Isabella on CPAP, 5 days old

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