Viewing entries tagged
Northern Virginia

International Museum Day

Comment

International Museum Day

Looking for the best museums with kids in DC, VA, and MD? Well, look no further! The weather is warming up which means the tourists are all on their way, too!  We love our region and sometimes it’s fun to “play tourist” along with the rest. Today on the blog we share some hidden gems of things to do in and around DC for International Museum Day:

fun kids activities in DC
Doula Jacquelin Knighton with her family at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Doula Jacquelin Knighton with her family at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

  1. Hirshhorn Museum & National Portrait Gallery- If you’ve lived in the DMV for any amount of time we are sure you or your young ones have your favorite Smithsonian museum and in all likelihood it has lions, tigers, and panda bears or dinosaurs; or maybe it has Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers or space shuttles. But the National Zoo, the Natural History Museum, American History Museum, and two Air and Space Museums are just the tip of the iceberg for kid-friendly Smithsonians.  One of our favorite gems is the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, a focus on contemporary and modern art.  They have two weekly story times among other activities.  (Jacquelin Family Pic) If you’re staying with the art exploration, we encourage you to go visit Pop-Up children’s museum at the National Portrait Gallery where they have a program designed for children every Tuesday and festivals in Fort Totten neighborhood in May, June, and August.  

  2. National Building Museum- They have story time for early learners ages 5 and under weekly, however, our favorite event of the year is their Discover Engineering Family Day held every February.  Kids can expect to meet scientists, engineers, and perhaps an astronaut or their favorite PBS character!  (Kids with Curious George pic)

  3. City of Manassas Museum Kid’s Fest Spring Festival- As this post is coming out on May, 18 we would be remiss to mention the festival being held TODAY in Manassas, Virginia.  This is a small museum but offers a scavenger hunt for children and an overview of Civil War era history for the whole family including a tribute to an enslaved African American who established a school.

  4. Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA.  Not only does this facility have well developed children’s area, there’s a large playground outside with shade where your little ones can run around after you tour the museum.  A note, some areas of the museum may be intense for the youngest museum-goers, or those with sensory challenges, as one room (not in the children’s area!) walks through a war-zone with sights and sounds to create the experience.  

  5. Fredericksburg Children’s Museum- If you’re going to go as far as Quatico, VA you may as well take the rest of the day and head down to Fredericksburg. Really geared toward the preschool and early elementary aged, this small museum has tons of hands on activities for young minds.  

  6. College Park Aviation Museum- Ok, so I haven’t actually visited this one but it’s on all the lists and seems to have a good range of activities for preschool through older kids.

  7. Chesapeake Children’s Museum- Located in Annapolis, MD, they have activities for scouts, weekly story time, and be sure to check out their free festival on June 1st!  

  8. Port Discovery Children’s Museum- Baltimore, MD, So maybe not so “hidden” but still a gem for our region!  Iif you’re up for a drive to Baltimore we highly recommend this museum. It has it all and will be a fun-filled day for the whole family!  

  9. The Children’s Museum of Rose Hill Manor Park- Frederick, MD located.

  10. Last but not least we are REALLY anticipating the National Children’s Museum opening in Fall of 2019!    If you’ve taken a sneak peak at some of the plans for the museum we know a favorite will be the Bubble Room!  


Bonus:  Artechouse- An immersive art and technology experience that will impress children and adults alike!  Be sure to grab tickets now for their cherry blossom exhibit “In Peak Bloom”, which ends May 27, 2019.  

Comment

International Day of the Midwife- Melissa Torres CNM

Comment

International Day of the Midwife- Melissa Torres CNM

Melissa Torres is a Certified Nurse Midwife currently practicing in Loudoun county, Virginia. She graduated with a Master’s in Nursing degree from Frontier Nursing University in 2017 and has over nine years of nursing experience caring for women. She currently lives in Prince William County with her husband of 18 years and two boys.

Melissa Torres is a Certified Nurse Midwife currently practicing in Loudoun county, Virginia. She graduated with a Master’s in Nursing degree from Frontier Nursing University in 2017 and has over nine years of nursing experience caring for women. She currently lives in Prince William County with her husband of 18 years and two boys.


  1. What led you to this career?

 My journey to midwifery began when I was pregnant with my first son while serving as an active duty Marine.  The lack of support that I experienced during my pregnancy, labor and birth left me feeling afraid, alone, unprepared and doubting my abilities as a new mother.  These feelings resonated with me and led me to question how things could have been different. I soon developed a passion for women’s health, advocacy and empowerment.  My desire to learn how to promote improved prenatal support, education and meaningful care ultimately brought me to the midwifery model..

2. What do you enjoy most about work?

What I love the most about midwifery is empowering women to take ownership of their health and  witnessing the moment a woman realizes that she is so much stronger than she knew she could ever be as she crosses the threshold into motherhood.  


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

I have two wonderful boys, 11 and 14 years old.  My births could not have been more different. My first birth was long, hard and ultimately ended in a cesarean section.  I suffered significant birth trauma from that experience and due to the lack of family and social support I developed postpartum anxiety.  This made me feel incompetent as a wife, mother and woman.  Eventually, my husband and I developed our a network of friends that over the years  have become family. With my second son I had a successful vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC) at 41 weeks with a midwife.  My care during my second pregnancy was much more personal and I actually felt like an active participant in my care.  To say that the postpartum period and recovery with my second son was easier is an understatement.  I felt much more confident in my abilities as a mother and had a wonderful support system in place that truly made a significant difference.

Melissa torres Midwife VBAC 3.jpg


4. What resources would you want parents to have?

As a mother and a midwife I want families to have access to evidence based education and care as well as a support system that can guide them through their journey.   After personally experiencing birth trauma and suffering from anxiety I know first hand how important these resources can be for a family.  We are also severely lacking in mental health resources, let alone resources that specialize in women’s mental health.  Unfortunately, many of these services that do exist  have long wait list and even worse are not often covered by insurance which limits accessibility to those that need it most.  


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

The most unique thing about our practice is that we offer a truly collaborative model of care with both physicians and midwives working together to achieve the best outcomes and birth experiences for our families.  We also offer a 24/7 midwifery service with the option to labor and birth in a traditional labor and delivery unit or at the hospital owned birth center.


6. 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)?

As  I mentioned previously I believe that the one thing that families need that would truly improve the health and wellness of  our communities is improved access to quality health care that not only meets their medical needs but also promotes mental and emotional wellbeing.


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

The hardest part about becoming a parent is remembering  to show yourself some grace and give yourself permission to make mistakes along the way.  I work with so many families that are just so afraid of not being enough for their babies- not feeding them right, dressing them right, etc.  I want parents to know that they are enough.  One of my biggest challenges as a new mom was self care.  I struggled with this...hard! I ultimately learned that in order to be the best version of myself for me and my family I needed to do things that were just for me.  As new parents it is incredibly challenging to carve out time each day for themselves and their partners, but it is oh so necessary.

8. What products or services do you personally love?

I personally love when the families I serve chose to work with a doula.  Doulas provide education and support that is associated with improved maternal and fetal outcomes as well as decreased risk of cesarean section.  I find that when a family is working with a doula and a midwife they are much more actively involved in their care which assist them in being more prepared for labor, birth and beyond.  

    

9. How do you start each day?

Some may find this either silly or think that I am neurotic but I actually begin each day by making my bed.  By doing this it allows me to start each day by achieving something, even if it is a small task. This sets me on the mental  path to accomplish everything else I need to that day. I also spend some quality time each morning with a very large mug of coffee.  

10. What's your favorite thing to do in DC?

My family and I love being tourist in DC, there are so many great parks and museums.  We also enjoy hiking in local parks  and fruit picking at many of the orchards and farms in the DC metropolitan area.

melissa+torres+INOVA+Midwife+.jpg
























Comment

2019: Better Cooperation

Comment

2019: Better Cooperation

Each year Doulas of Capitol Hill chooses a single word to be a guide for the year ahead. Our year for 2019 is “Better.”  

We identified three specific ways in which we can be “better” than we were a year ago.  We strive to be Communicators, aim to be better at Cooperation, and intend to better at Climbing.  We chose these three target areas as they are also “milestones” reached by three year-olds and our company turns three in February.

2019_ BETTER COOPERATION.jpg

Today, we will share the ways in which Doulas of Capitol Hill plans to be better at Cooperation in 2019.

1. We’ve started 2019 out with a large team of birth doulas, postpartum doulas, placenta encapsulators, and lactation consultants. We value having a big team because it means more choices and options for our clients.  Doulas of Capitol Hill, and our sister company Doulas of Prince George’s County, can be a one-stop-shop for all things pregnancy, birth, and baby-related. You want an expert by your side and we are honored to be invited into your story!

However, a challenge to any group as it grows is continuing to be in relationships with one another where we are known and our differences are celebrated.  We need to have spaces created for us where we can be authentic, where assumptions are left aside, and non-judgmental listening is made a priority.  

To address this challenge we’ve launched our 5 Star Mentor program!  

The 5 Star Mentors are a select group of doulas who are know for their experience level and leadership qualities. They will facilitate small groups of 3-5 other professionals, meet regularly, learn from each other, connect as a community of professionals, and receive mentorship, when needed.

One of Doulas of Capitol Hill’s Three Guiding Principles is “Grow the Profession.” 2019 will be a year for us to become BETTER at COOPERATION, so our professionals can grow together!

2. The 5 Star Mentor program benefits our professionals, yes.  But it also benefits our clients in two ways.. First, each of the small groups will be hosting one of our quarterly DCH Village meet-ups. These are in-person events we hold for our clients to hang out with other parents.  Some of examples of past DCH Village get-togethers were wine and painting at Wine & Design in Alexandria, picnic at the Winery at Bull Run, cry-baby matinee at AMC Courthouse in Arlington, Brewery get-together at Biergarten Haus in DC, Baby Bar Takeover at Boxcar Tavern in Capitol Hill, and our Snowflake Diaper Drive to benefit the DC Diaper Bank.  

We know our clients choose the birth doula or postpartum doula to invite into this intimate time in their lives with a mix of experience, personality, and trust.  

For expectant parents for whom experience is the primary priority, the second way this 5 Star Mentor program benefits clients is that we’ve made it easy to identify the most seasoned doulas on our team, showing who the 5 Star Mentors are at the top of their website bios.

3.  The third way Doulas of Capitol Hill will continue to focus on COOPERATION in 2019 is with our Affiliates and Partners, who are other local business we love and who love us back!  

Shout-out to Nested, who offers all our group childbirth classes at their offices in Chevy Chase and at the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington, to Emily Souder of Nesting Space LLC, author of Birth Story Brave, and Concierge Physical Therapists, our long time affiliates offering in-home physical therapy to clients throughout the DMV.  

We’re happy to continue our affiliation with Motherhood Tabutiful, Lavender Retreat, Heidi Daniels the DC Birth Photographer, ICAN of NOVA, and Washington Pediatrics.  One new affiliate we recently joined up with is Fran Darnell of Dynamic Core, who offers her Dynamic Mama Pilates and coaching series at Rooted Pilates in Capitol Hill. Stay tuned for some new affiliates to join us this spring and later in the year as well!  

We believe when people support each other, incredible things happen.  

Doulas of Capitol Hill has an amazing group of skilled women who are passionate about the work we do supporting families. Author Paulo Coelho said “when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” We couldn’t agree more!




Comment