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Resource Guide for Black Moms in the DMV

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Resource Guide for Black Moms in the DMV

The creation of this resources guide was a collaborative project by some of the black women who work with Doulas of Capitol Hill and our sister company Doulas of Prince George’s County. Spear-heading the project was Charissa Young, birth and postpartum doula, prenatal yoga instructor, and owner of Luxe Mamma, a company which creates luxury gift boxes for new moms as well as services for pregnant moms.

Additional resource collaboration came from Jade Hillery, birth doula with Doulas of Capitol Hill and reproductive health champion. Jade has her Masters in Public Health in Health Education and Promotion.

It was important to all of us at DCH and DPG that this guide be created for black women and by black women and have only auxiliary support by those who are not black women . We did try to include as many resources of businesses owned by women /people of color in the DMV or for those national organizations or resources whose purpose is explicitly to further the health, well-being, and support of black women.

Thank you to both Charissa and Jade and all the providers on this list!

The guide is by no means exhaustive, and we are sure to have missed some fantastic resources and providers. If you have a provider you think we should know about please send us an email or message us on Facebook or Instagram. Additionally, if there is a category you think we omitted, please let us know! This is YOUR story.

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Acupuncturist-

Fertile Living- Njemile Carol Jones

Mahlia Joyce, L.Ac.

Safiyyah Camara

Advocacy-

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

Black Women Birthing Justice

Center for Reproductive Rights

Mamatoto Village



Birth Trainings-

Doula Training International- includes “cultural humility” in all their trainings and have scholarships for doulas of color

Shafia Monroe Consulting- doula training, cultural competency, motivational speaking



Birth Doulas and Postpartum Doulas, Placenta Encapsulation, Overnight Newborn Care-

Doulas of Prince George’s County, serving all of the DMV

Blog-

Mocha Manual

Books-

Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis- Julia Ophara, Helena Arega, Dantia Hudson, Linda Jones, and Talita Oseguera

Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth- J. Chinyere Oparah and A. Bonaparte

The Body Is Not an Apology- Sonya Renee Taylor

Breastfeeding-

Black Breastfeeding Week

Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association

Black Women Do Breastfeed (non-profit org)

Hospitals more likely to formula feed children of black mothers, study says.

Charnise Littles Doulas of Capitol Hill and Doulas of Prince George’s County

PG County Breastfeeding Coalition, coming soon!

DC Breastfeeding Coalition

Chiropractor-

Palmercare, Dr. Ted Davidson, Dr. Aldwin Martin, DC location

TruCentered Chiropractic -Bryant Harris, Annapolis, MD



Documentary-

The American Dream: Birth in America for Black Mothers

Groups-

Mocha Moms Northern PG County Chapter

Mocha Moms Inc Members in DC, MD, and VA
Mocha Moms Inc Waldorf

Herbal-

Ancestral Wisdom of Medicinal Plants

Luxe Mamma- Charissa Young

Mama Luvs Herbals- Jamila Talbot

Massage

Kim Stinger- Doulas of Capitol Hill,  Licensed Massage Therapist providing prenatal, postpartum, and induction massage.

Midwives

Anaya Sangode-Ayoka, GW Medical Faculty Associates

Claudia Booker Birthing Hands

Kandace Thomas GW Medical Faculty Associates

Dr. Kai Parker DC Midwife, Natropathic doctor

Ebony Marcelle- Community of Hope Family Health and Birth Center

Mental Heath-

Akoma Counseling Concepts- Silver Spring, MD

Diversified Lifestyle Counseling Services

Sunflower Wellness, Lindsay Vick, hypnotherapy, reiki, Alexandria, VA

Therapy for Black Girls Directory

Naturopathic Doctors-

All Things Natural Wellness Center Dr. Veda Johnson and Dr. Paula Stewart

Dr. Kai Parker DC Midwife, Natropathic doctor

Nutrition-

TaKisha August, nutritionist

Muriel Vanderpuye, personal chef and postpartum doula with Doulas of Capitol Hill

OBGYN-


Charlene Carter - George Washington Medical Faculty Associates

Moore OBGYN

Podcasts-

Therapy for Black Girls (by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford)

Pediatricians-

Healthy Home Pediatric Dr. Jalan Burton, Capitol Hill

Washington Pediatrics- Dr. Nicole Lang

Pediatric Dentists-

Children’s Choice Dental Dr Jonelle Anamelechi

Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry Dr Avionne Hill

Yoga-

Charissa Young- Luxe Mamma


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International Children's Book Day: book clubs, book stores, and baby books, oh my!

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International Children's Book Day: book clubs, book stores, and baby books, oh my!

At Doulas of Capitol Hill we love to celebrate all the things, especially those related to mothers and their children.

Today is International Children’s Book Day so we wanted to share some of our tips for this wonderful day of fun and reading!  

local bookstores for kids

Our founder, Emily Smith, started a Mother- Daughter book club when her daughter was in preschool with the hope to continue through the end of high school! The book club was inspired by reading an article in Mothering magazine when her daughter was an infant.  

Emily loved the idea to create and gather a group of girls and women together to tackle challenging topics such as peer-pressure, menstruation, and even death, in the context of classic and contemporary literature, and with the safe space of their friends and their friends’ moms, who they would grow to trust.

Here is a list of the Top 5 Books for Mother/ Daughter Book Club:

Preschool/ early elementary (age 4-7):

  1. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

  2. Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

  3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

  5. Black Beauty by Ana Sewell

Middle to late elementary (age 8-10)

  1. Recipe for Adventure (series) by Giada De Laurentiis

  2. Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

  3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

  4. Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacquelin Kelly

  5. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba

Middle school (age 11-12)

  1. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

  2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

  3. Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera

  4. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

  5. Seraphina and the Black Cloak

Top local and on the web sites for books and book clubs:

2nd and Charles, Woodbridge, VA and Chantilly, VA

A Mighty Girl .com

Bonjour Books DC, Kensington, MD

Hooray for Books, Old Town Alexandria, VA

Literacy World Wide. org

Novel Books, Clarksburg, MD

Politics and Prose, Conn. Ave NW, The Wharf SW, Union St Market NE

Reading with Lauren VIP (local Usborne distributor and also a former doula client of Emily’s!)

Solid State Books, H St NE Washington, DC

Wonder Books, Gaithersburg, MD


Top 5 books to prepare big sister (or big brother) for the new baby on the way:

best books to prepare for baby
  1. Where do babies come from?  (a lift-the-flap Usborne book)

  2. Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers

  3. Baby Born by Anastasia Suen illustrated by Chih-Wei Chang

  4. Contemplating Your Belly Button by Jun Nanao, illustrated by Tomoko Hasegawa

  5. Baby on the Way by William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN,, and Christie Watts Kelly, illustrated by Renee Andriani

mother daughter book club

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Business Spotlight: Dr. Jalan Washington Burton of Healthy Home Pediatrics

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Business Spotlight: Dr. Jalan Washington Burton of Healthy Home Pediatrics

Dr. Jalan Washington Burton   Healthy Home Pediatrics   Pediatrician and Founder

Dr. Jalan Washington Burton

Healthy Home Pediatrics

Pediatrician and Founder

We are happy to celebrate National Doctor Day today by sharing about Healthy Home Pediatrics, based out of Capitol Hill. Dr. Jalan Washington Burton provides exceptional primary care for children and young adults in the comfort of home, serving the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. 

Dr. Jalan’s visits take place in the patients own home. Her health plans are personalized and tailored to each individuals needs. Her patients have the consistency of building a long-standing relationship with their pediatrician and work with her each time.

We hope you’ll reach out to her today to learn more about her unique practice model!

  1. What led you to this career?

    I have always wanted to be a doctor. Every single school report and every career day, without fail I researched becoming a doctor.  Growing up in Buffalo, my parents signed me up for countless enrichment programs and I was always drawn to biomedicine. I spent most summers shadowing doctors and other healthcare workers. Before medical school, I studied public health with a concentration in health promotion as a way to understand the complex realities of my patients. Looking back, I realize that I have always loved working with others, learning the facts, listening to people’s diverse stories, and then collaborating with those most affected to come up with a plan.

    Ultimately, Pediatrics was the specialty in medicine that most spoke to my heart. During medical school, I saw children heal from life-threatening injuries and thrive! As Marian Wright Edelman says “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life . . . ” The time I have spent working directly with families has always been the most rewarding and it is my life-long calling.

  2. What do you enjoy most about work?

    I love working with children and their families! From brand-new newborns, to spunky toddlers, to feisty teenagers, I love kids! No matter how challenging my days are, I get to work with amazing families every day, it energizes me and makes my life exciting.

    I launched Healthy Home Pediatrics after gaining over a decade of experience in kids’ health as a way to work directly with families free from the red-tape and bureaucracy imposed by health insurance companies and large hospital systems. I went into medicine to work directly with patients because it is what I was called to do and it’s what I love to do.

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

    Honestly, I am still reflecting on my two births, one 7 years ago and one 1 year ago. They were complex and ultimately triumphant, but unfortunately each time I didn’t completely feel “listened to.” Our first was in a hospital our second was at home, each time I had a care team involving my husband, family, midwife, and doula/birth assistant. My youngest just turned one and even though he has experienced some complications, the postpartum period has been a truly fulfilling one. I have a great support network, including my family and a dedicated group of girlfriends. I also worked with postpartum doula for traditional eastern medicine belly binding and compresses. In spite of the challenges, these were beautiful experiences.

  4. What resources would you want parents to have?

    Where do I begin?!? From a systematic perspective, I am a true advocate of paid maternal and paternal leave. I wish that all parents had intergenerational support, that they didn’t have to decide between being a parent and working while their baby is an infant, and that they had communities that truly supported them. From a care perspective, I wish every family had a trusted Pediatrician who they could reach out to when they needed and that they didn’t have to worry about being able to afford the services they need. This is why I started Healthy Home Pediatrics.  

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

    One thing that is unique about my practice is that I am able to be responsive in a way that busy parents need and want such as house calls, video, text, webinars, and email. I love the fact that I truly get to know my patients, by spending time with them in their homes and over time, I am able to develop a comprehensive understanding of what my patients need. Sometimes all a busy parent needs is a quick video chat to have a rash diagnosed and know that a child can return to school or a quick text exchange to ask a nagging question. I love it and my patients do to.

  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)?

    I think we need more high-quality and personalized health care options for everyone! And by access to care for children I mean, access to a trusted health care provider that coordinates primary care and specialty care, not just access to health insurance.  I know far too many people (including me) with access to health insurance who feel like their needs are not being met in the traditional system. Far too many of us feel too rushed and never really know who to ask basic questions. It is rare, but I love when I meet people and they say “oh I love my Doctor and have been with him/her for years!” It warms my heart when I meet people and they tell me that my patients have said this about me - the testimonials my patients provided on my home page truly warm my heart.

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

    I never would have imagined 8 years ago before becoming a parent that a brand new little human being could change my heart so much or that I could be so tired. In a blog post I wrote in March 2014,  I wrote about how I developed my “big ole fierce mama heart” after delivering my first son. Birthing, nursing, and loving my first little human changed me so totally as a wife and Pediatrician. The hardest part for me was how difficult it is to “balance” work and family life. Thankfully my “village” includes a dedicated husband, my father who watches our youngest and picks up our oldest from school daily, and a host of beloved family and friends. Even with that support, it is a daily juggling act that has been fun to experience! When I working with patients I am able to be fully present due to all of my support and when I am at home.

  8. What products or services do you personally love?

    I love getting my hair done, manicures, pedicures, and facials - but honestly I don’t do them nearly as much as I’d like. After being inspired by a close girlfriend with amazing hair, I faithfully get my hair professionally styled every 6 weeks and it has been a game-changer. I have been scaling back on products as a way to declutter our lives and try to use natural, organic products. I love good smelling whipped shea butter and handmade artisan soaps (love Ohene Handmade soaps made by my dear friend Pharmacist Dr. Kofi here in DC).

  9. How do you start each day?

    That depends! I used to be a morning person, but we are deep in the midst of sleep training our 1 year old.  Now, I find myself trying to catch up on sleep and many mornings I am tired and awake to the sound of my husband telling me it’s time to get up. Then begins the dash to get the oldest off to school on time or change the baby’s diaper before handing him off to my father (who is our Granddad-nanny)!

    My goal (someday soon) is to start each day with a few minutes of silent meditation, reflection, and prayer. My favorite inspirational books are Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Iyanla Vanzant’s Acts of Faith. Fingers crossed the Little One consistently sleeps through the night soon!

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

    Our family tries to spend as much time outdoors as possible. We love all of our national parks, recreation centers, and playgrounds!  We live on Fort Dupont/ the Fort Circle Parks and try to hike as much as we can in the spring. I love running or walking along the riverfront at Anacostia Park. Also this is my fourth year as an Urban Gardener and I am so excited to increase our growing of peppers and fruits this year!



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Business Spotlight: Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry

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Business Spotlight: Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry

We are SMILING today as we share a guest blog by Dr Avionne Hill for Children’s Dental Health Month.

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One of the specialties provided at Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry is tongue tie and lip tie laser revision, or frenectomy. This can be a simple, but often necessary procedure for some newborns if the tongue or lip tie is causing restrictions making it more difficult for the newborn to remove milk from the mothers’ breast. We encourage all our clients to be evaluated by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant if they are concerns their baby isn’t getting enough milk. Whether the mother is breastfeeding , formula feeding, or combo feeding, a tongue or lip tie which goes uncorrected can contribute to later concerns such as cavities, reflux, and speech problems later in life.


February is children’s Dental Health Month.

This month is dedicated to focusing the spotlight on the dental health of children and the important role it plays in their overall health.

One of my favorite highlights as a pediatric dentist is witnessing the joy, the relief, the gratefulness I see in parents who have had a first successful dental visit with their baby. 

For many parents the anticipation leading up to their child’s first visit can be stressful. Many times this may be heightened by their own past dental experiences. At Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry we consider the facts and documented statistics regarding childhood cavities. Even though it is a preventable condition, cavities in children remains one of the most common childhood diseases.

The current recommendations of both the Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics Dentistry, collectively advise parents to seek dental care for their baby by the time their first tooth arrives and no later than their first birthday. Understanding this, is the reason why we form a partnership with our families to focus on early intervention to aid in the prevention of cavities. We make every effort to make sure our parents and their little ones feel at ease before and during their visits with us.

Though a child’s full complement of baby teeth may not be present in their mouth by their first birthday, it is important to educate parents on how to properly care for these teeth. We also give parents tips on how to brush their baby’s teeth effectively and safely as more teeth erupt into their child’s mouth. We understand that brushing a young child’s teeth can be challenging and we give parents helpful tips and techniques to help them be successful.


During your visit with us at Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry your child’s diet will be discussed . We will examine your baby’s teeth, gums and oral cavity to check for cavities and discuss any concerns you may have. We will also make toothbrush and toothpaste recommendations suited for your baby.

February, is Children’s Dental Heath Month, which is a great time to visit us at Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry and start your baby on a lifetime of healthy smiles. We look forward to seeing you.

Best,

Dr Avionne Hill

Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry 

Washingtonian Top Pediatric Dentist

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More on Dr. Avionne Hill

Dr Hill is a Washingtonian top pediatric dentist and has been listed in every top dentist Issue of the Washingtonian Magazine since 2013 . She was born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago and migrated to Northwest Washington D.C. to further her education .

She received her Doctorate in Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland Dental School . She then completed her specialty training in Pediatric Dentistry at Howard University College of Dentistry .

At Rose Park Pediatric dentistry she surgically releases soft tissue oral restrictions (tongue ties) with compassionate care to infants, young children and teenagers to aid them in feeding , eating and speaking .

She is devoted to educating parents and other health providers about the effects that oral restrictions (tongue ties )can have on infants and children. These effects can last well into adulthood if not diagnosed and treated at an early age .

Rose Park Pediatric dentistry also provides preventative dental services and interceptive orthodontic treatment to children and teenagers. Dr Hill has the advantage of recognizing early dental and orthodontic problems in children and teenagers and addresses them as soon problems are identified.

She has furthered her training and continuing education to ensure Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry offers the latest technology and techniques in the field of pediatric dentistry.

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2019: Better Cooperation

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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.

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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!




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2019: Better Communication

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2019: Better Communication

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

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In February of 2019 the company will celebrate its’ third birthday and with that came some reflection on what milestones and abilities three year-olds are reaching.

When compared to two year-olds, who are notoriously marked as “terrible,” three year old’s seem to be light-years ahead in their abilities. Not YOUR two year-old, of course, but all the others!  

We identified three specific ways in which three year-old’s are “better” than they were a year ago.  They are better Communicators, they are better at Cooperation, and they are better at Climbing.

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

  1. In January 2019 we have added to our client evaluation form a survey of our clients success rates getting reimbursed by their health insurance for services.  Additionally, if they had success, or lack of, with payment or reimbursement through a Health Savings Account or Flex Spending account to pay for doula services or to pay for lactation support, we want to know! Is my doula covered by insurance?  And can I pay for my doula with my HSA or with my FSA? These are questions we know people are asking, so we’re making it our intention to get some answers!

  2. As a team we are going to be communicating Better as well, by adding in a weekly behind-the-scenes Zoom call for our professionals to communicate together about the challenges and the wins we experience in supporting families through pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and the newborn period.  

  3. And lastly, we plan to see some new and unfolding ways of communicating with our clients by continuing to add things to our Client Portal, which is a password protected page on our website created exclusively for our clients, past, present, and future.  The Client Portal is a special collection of resources combined with DCH and our Affiliates and Partners. We can’t unveil all the goodies 2019 has in store, but one we are excited to give a hint about is a Birth Affirmations Printable. When our Birth Affirmation Printable is released we’ll be sure to practice good COMMUNICATION and let you all know!  

We want everyone to know that BETTER doesn’t mean that things were bad in the past.

It’s just an acknowledgement that we’re still learning and improving in the ways walk out our Three Guiding Principles: Support the Family, Build the Community, and Grow the Profession.  As always, we welcome your comments and feedback how we can be BETTER!



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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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Best Nursing Bras Available For Well Dressed Mammas!

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Best Nursing Bras Available For Well Dressed Mammas!

We are very excited to bring you the first blog in an anticipated ongoing series that focuses on awesome women in and around DC! We look forward to highlighting some of the fantastic work they are doing, enjoying the stories about their children, and doing what doulas do best- supporting women!  Today’s blog features Concetta Aires, owner of Well Dressed Mamma, an in-home nursing boutique that allows you to be fitted for and purchase nursing bras in the comfort of your own home. If you are reading this from an area outside of the DMV, visit her website and order her products online!

   Tell us your story-how did you get into this line of work?

After I had my daughter, I had every intention of going back to my financial reporting job. I loved the company but wasn't in love with what I was doing or the amount of hours I was working. I had recently gotten my MBA and was interested in taking a leap of faith and trying to start my own business. After chatting with a Mom friend, she gave me the idea of doing nursing bra sales after she had such a bad experience finding the right bra for her. I immediately related to the horrors of finding a well fitting, good looking bra (among other necessary nursing items) after I ordered a few terrible nursing bras online and had grabbed others from Target and Buy Buy Baby that were uncomfortable. I knew that if I was going to nurse for the long haul, I needed to be comfortable and feel beautiful so I started doing the research to find quality, good looking products. After a few months I found companies that I not only believed in but loved their products and Well Dressed Mamma was born.

 Tell us about your daughter!

My daughter just turned one which is so hard to believe! When people say you will never feel love like the love you have for your child, I was cynical (maybe because I'm madly in love with my husband) but boy were they right. She's funny and beautiful and so much fun to be around. Her smile and giggle light up a room and she's always happy. She is laid back, like her father, and also extremely determined. I feel so lucky to be able spend every day with her and to learn from her! 

Well Dressed Mamma's Guide to Selectinga Nursing Bra

 You mentioned having a hard time finding a good nursing bra. Do you have a favorite?

I love all the bras I carry but the two I wear the most are the Cake Cotton Candy Bra and the Bella Materna Plunge Bra. I absolutely LOVE the Cake Cotton Candy Bra as a light exercise bra. It is insanely comfortable and cute; I have to hold myself back from buying one in every color! I wear it around the house, to spin classes and I'm almost always wearing it when I'm out in my active wear. I'm also always wearing the Bella Materna Plunge Bra. I love the fact that it turns into a racer-back which is perfect for my summer wardrobe and it also gives a great shape without a wire and is a perfect everyday bra. 


What is the most stressful thing about running your own business?

The most stressful part of owning a business is finding the time for the paperwork and to do all of the behind scenes work such as advertising. I have always been a finance professional with a love for sales so it's been a big switch. I try to capitalize on Kennedy's morning nap but sometimes it feels like there are just not enough hours in the day! Trying to have it all is stressful and at times it means some things have to give.

What is the best thing about running your own business?

I love the flexibility of running my own business. Although I still work a lot of hours, I can usually fit them in while Kennedy is napping or after she has gone to bed. My favorite part of my particular business is definitely the clients. I love meeting and helping new moms. I have met many of my best friends through selling them bras or organizing events for my clients. It is such a rewarding experience leaving a mom's home with them feeling confident, pretty and COMFORTABLE in their new (or expanded) role.

What do you think is unique about running a business as a woman?

I think running a business as a woman is challenging especially because we tend to not promote ourselves enough or feel that we are worth the service that we are providing. I also feel like we tend to take on too much. Trying to take care of a household and run a business ensures I never have down time- as I'm sure most parents can relate to.

What is your plan for the next year?

I would love to expand into clothing. Look for some clothing beyond tank tops as early as the spring! I would also love to grow and share my experience with other moms that could benefit from selling the bras. It would be a chance to make new connections and receive income from a part time job while still being flexible for a baby or toddler at home!

 Taking the plunge into motherhood is such a challenging time in every woman's life. Being able to provide them with a service that takes the stress out of shopping for nursing bras no matter where they live is taking one small thing off of their plate. It is such a special time and breastfeeding is such an extraordinary thing that I feel all woman should have the opportunity to feel and look beautiful doing it.

 How do we tell everyone to purchase bras from you? 

If you're in the market for nursing bras, I guarantee you that I carry at least one that you love. I come to you with a crate full of goodies and allow you to try on the items in the comfort of your own home. I'll give you honest feedback because the most important part of my business is having satisfied customers. All nursing bras fit differently so it is important to get measured and to try on a few different sizes to find the perfect bra for you!

 Thank you, Nicole, for giving me the opportunity to tell my story! 
 

Please visit Concetta’s website at  www.welldressedmamma.com to schedule an appointment/make online purchases or email her at welldressedmamma@gmail.com

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