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postpartum doula

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placenta encapsulation postpartum doula

 The way we feel postpartum can range from person to person, pregnancy to pregnancy, and even day to day. One person's postpartum experience is not yours, just like their pregnancies and labors were not yours. But I think it’s fair to say that we will all experience some level of bliss mixed with blues. With that being said, and not being able to foresee what exactly those levels will be, it’s often good to take precautions ahead of time to help prepare you for the unexpected postpartum. 


In honor of September being Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders Awareness month, we wanted to talk about the realities of the postpartum period. What it looks like, when to ask for help, and how to seek treatment. Some of you may know that our amazing founder Emily Smith recently gave birth to her fourth baby this summer. She is currently navigating an unexpectedly difficult postpartum and wanted to share a few thoughts, tips, and words of solidarity with you.


I think we often find in western culture the need to prove that we can do it all. We can handle the hard stuff because if we admit that we maybe can’t, or need help, then we are seen as weak or failures. I’m not sure why we got to this point but it really couldn’t be further from the truth. And without trying to be dramatic, it’s quite dangerous. It’s a false facade. You can’t do it all. Literally no on can. We all need help, we all need support. And when we don’t reach out then we are not only hurting ourselves but also those around us who are depending on us. So here is the first bit of advice. 


You weren't meant to do it alone. 


You’ve heard the saying, it takes a village? Well it really does. So surround yourself with people that you trust and that you know will be there for you in the way that they always have. Accept the help. If friends come to visit to meet the new baby, let them do the dishes, or fold the laundry. Let them bring food. Let them hold the baby so that you can nap or shower. You don’t owe anyone a clean home or good company. Which takes us to advice number two.


Shoot for the shower


Another popular expression I'm sure you've heard of, shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. Listen, don’t even aim that high. Shoot for taking a shower, and even if you miss you’ll land upon a pile of laundry, so take a nap. Baby steps. Don’t expect too much from yourself so you can’t feel let down. You just birthed a baby my friend. You’re doing great. 


Hire a postpartum doula


Ok, so maybe you're not the best at letting your friends and family do things for you. And maybe you’ve found the shower is just too far to aim for. Maybe you’re the kind of person who fears asking for help like you might be taking advantage of them (you’re not by the way) Hire some help! Postpartum doulas do all the things that make your life postpartum a little easier. Small household chores, help with the baby, lactation support, overnight support. Our services and packages range from just a few hours to months worth of support. Whatever you and your family need. Sometimes knowing that you’re paying for a service makes it easier to accept and ask for that help you need and that’s ok! 


Placenta Encapsulation 


While there is no solid scientific proof that taking placenta encapsulations will help with your energy and mood postpartum, there is a ton of anecdotal evidence that supports it. From our website “One of the main benefits of eating placenta is it helps to lessen the risk of  ‘baby blues’ and postpartum depression. It replenishes iron, lends a consistent flow of oxytocin, and provides the HPL hormone to help establish an early and healthy milk supply. It also stabilizes ever changing hormones post birth, replenishes your B vitamins and energy lost during birthing, protects from infection and bleeding due to retained placenta tissue or membranes, and offers natural pain relief.” Here is the thing, if it doesn’t work, then you haven't lost out on much, but if it does end up helping you, the benefits greatly outway the risk. 


We can do hard things


You will get through this because you can do hard things. Babies are hard. Sleep deprivation is hard. But it will pass. And then you’ll have a toddler, and a big kid, a highschooler, and it all gets harder and easier in its own way for the rest of our lives. So right now, in this very moment, it may seem like you’ll never see the light but I promise you will. You’ll make it through.


Seek professional help


Sometimes the asking help from friends, or the restful nights you get with the postpartum doulas are still not enough. And that’s ok too. If you find that you've tried most of the things are you’re still struggling, talk to a professional. We all need help in some way or another. It doesn’t make you any less of a person or a parent. Find what you need to help you heal and thrive so that your baby and family can thrive too. 


Call 1-800-944-4773 #1 En Espanol or #2 English or visit https://www.postpartum.net to talk to someone or find local resources to you. 




 


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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Taylor Lichtman

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Taylor Lichtman

Taylor Lichtman is a birth doula, postpartum doula, placenta encapsulator, and childbirth educator with Doulas of Capitol Hill. She is a 2019 5 Star Mentor. In addition to her work as a doula she is a prenatal yoga instructor in DC.

Taylor Lichtman is a birth doula, postpartum doula, placenta encapsulator, and childbirth educator with Doulas of Capitol Hill. She is a 2019 5 Star Mentor. In addition to her work as a doula she is a prenatal yoga instructor in DC.



1. When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?

I always knew I wanted my work to be something that helped people in some way. I found my passion for doula work when I met a doula in my yoga teacher training in 2015. I was at the time I was working as a nanny, and yoga was a huge personal passion.  Mindfulness and meeting people where they are, is necessary to both yoga and doula work, so they have always worked well together.


2. If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! A lot of times we are taught that the best thing is to be independent and to be able to do everything by ourselves, and that to ask for help is admitting defeat. That is quite simply not true. It takes a lot of adults way too long to learn that. Everyone’s life and knowledge is unique, everyone you know could teach you something, and you could teach everyone you know something too! So being anything other than yourself is pointless.


3. What makes you proud of yourself?  

Being out as a queer woman. It’s not always easy knowing that not everyone is accepting, but it is important to me that children growing up, and all people for that matter, see all variations of what different people’s lived experiences are. If we aren’t honest about what we experience how will they know that maybe they aren’t alone in what they are experiencing.


4. What do you love about your life?

My human love Sam, and my dog love Daisy, and our adorable condo in Cap Hill that has become a home since things finally settled down after our wedding in September. Also, I really love that birth work makes my schedule irregular, it keeps me energized and means that I do get full days off in the middle of the week. I love going grocery shopping in the middle of the day when no one else is there, such a joy!

 The Pop Wed Co. wedding of Sam Lichtman and Taylor Eldridge at the Josephine Butler Parks Center in Washington, DC.



5. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Other than a Ballerina-Firefighter? haha.  A teacher.



6. What are your top three values?

Honesty, Intersectional Feminism, Compassion.



7. Tell me about your favorite book or movie.

My favorite book is The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. I have a tattoo of a quote from it. From a literary perspective it is very important, and rare in American literature to have a story to from the perspective of women. But the story is a cautionary tale of missionary work, and the effect that it has on everyone involved.



8. How do you like to be told you’re doing a good job?

If it is someone I am close with I like hugs. But if they are not a touchy person, just being told, “Thank you, what you did made such a big difference in my day/experience” is really heart warming.



9. Who is your role model and why?

As a specific person, I have always strived to be like my Mimi (my maternal grandmother). She is calm, funny, patient and strong. But generally, women who lift other women up. I just read that Brie Larson brought up her her Captain Marvel stunt doubles to accept an award with her. Like that. People that do that kind of stuff are my role model. We have been taught that success as women is a finite supply, and that is one the biggest lies that I want to dismantle. As a doula it is not lost on me that I am helping to welcome the next generation coming into the world, so I take my attitude about what I teach or project toward children very seriously.



10. If you had any superpower, what would it be?

If I had any super power it would definitely be flying or teleporting. That is always what I have said, but that is especially true now as a doula, there have definitely been some times I would have loved to have been able to bypass traffic.



11. How would you describe your (doula) style?  

I think of my style as mindfulness within hospital based births.



natural doula .jpg

12. Describe yourself in 5 words


Passion, Compassion, Quirky, Patient, Knowledgable




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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Casey Nelson

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Casey Nelson

When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?

Casey is a DCH 5 Star Mentor, birth and postpartum doula who has worked with families for 11 years, and has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since 2016.

Casey is a DCH 5 Star Mentor, birth and postpartum doula who has worked with families for 11 years, and has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since 2016.

Working with women and families has been something I have loved ever since I can remember. My mom always tells the story of her knowing that this type of work was where I was going to end up because in fourth grade, I was the only child she knew excited to rush off the bus at 4pm to be home in time for A Baby Story on TLC. I continued to love being around babies and babysat and nannied through my undergraduate degree in chemistry and my MPH with a focus on women’s health. I learned was a doula was in college, interned at a natural birth center and was hooked from there!

What makes you proud of yourself?

I am always seeking to be better and know more and am proud that I am someone who works hard to get to where I want to be. I don’t let things get me down for too long. If something doesn’t go to plan, I roll with it, work to understand why and equip myself to change it for the next time.

An example of this, in the spirit of International Cesarean Awareness month, is my birth experience with my son. Unexpectedly, I found myself needing a c-section and although I know that it was the best decision for both of us at the time, I still had to mourn the birth that I had always planned. I am now preparing for a VBAC with my second baby next month but have made a plan with my provider that I feel great about, even if this baby also needs to be born by csection.

C-section doula.jpg


If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?

That everything life is temporary. If you are feeling bad about yourself in a certain area? Change it! Don’t like how you look? Change it! Feeling doubt? Prove it wrong! You have the ability and the power to constantly invent and re-invent yourself – you are only done growing and changing when YOU decide that you are.

What do you love about your life?


I have always, always wanted to be a mom and a wife, I get to do both of these things every day and although it’s not always easy, it is rarely, if ever boring! I am incredibly lucky that I am able to do what I love and come home to my best boys at the end of the day.

Babywearing doula.jpg

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Somewhat related to the passion question – I grew up wanting to be an OBGYN!

How do you like to be told you’re doing a good job?

I am a big written words person, I keep cards that people have written me for YEARS, much to my husband’s dismay, literally though I have a box of cards and notes from high school. Another fun fact, I never delete my text messages either.

I like to know that I’ve helped make the lives of those around me a little easier and knowing that something really small made me come to mind.  I also love hearing updates from families I’ve worked with, too! I actually can’t believe that my very first birth doula client is about to have a seven year old!

If you had any superpower, what would it be?

To freeze time, hands down! I would take so many naps, get so much stuff done and DEFINITELY play some pranks on my husband while he was frozen.

How would you describe your (doula) style?

My style as a doula is pretty true to my style as a person – laid back, go with the flow, some humor sprinkled in there to lighten the mood and full of fun facts! One of the things that I value most is relationships, so I will strive to connect with the families I am working alongside, I feel like it makes everything easier, more comfortable and much more fun!

Describe yourself in 5 words

Loyal, supportive, adventurous (but not so much with food), compassionate, encouraging.

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Jacquelin Knighton

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Jacquelin Knighton

Jacquelin Knighton is a birth doula, postpartum doula, placenta Encapsulator, and childbirth educator. She has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since 2017 and is the co-owner of our sister company,    Doulas of Prince George’s County   , which also serves the entire DMV.

Jacquelin Knighton is a birth doula, postpartum doula, placenta Encapsulator, and childbirth educator. She has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since 2017 and is the co-owner of our sister company, Doulas of Prince George’s County, which also serves the entire DMV.

VBAC and breastfeeding
  1. When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?

    I decided to become a doula based on my own birth experiences. My son was born via C-section which was a horrible experience for me and I ended up with postpartum depression. When my husband and I decided to get pregnant with my daughter, I knew I was going to do everything differently. I wanted to have a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean,) so I hired a doula, started seeing my chiropractor….all the things. My daughter was born vaginally, and it was the most perfect birth experience for me. It was then I decided that I wanted to help other women have the same birth experience I did with my daughter. I wanted to educate them on their options and help them learn what they can say no to,  and become advocates for themselves. So I became a doula. Later, I opened up Doulas of PG County with Emily to serve black women like myself who are dealing with maternal health disparities and racism in birthing spaces.

  2. If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?

    Life goes on. I have found solace in these three words many of times. When life feels like it’s going to swallow you whole, one thing remains true about it... It goes on. Think about that when you want to give up, you are heartbroken, or can’t find your way. Tomorrow is a new day.

  3. What do you love about your life?

    I love that when I stop and reflect, I realize that I am happy everyday of my life. Maybe not all day but every day and I have my husband, and children for that. I have created a life for myself that brings me so much joy and it’s not lost on me that God has made it all happen.

  4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

    A lawyer and a mom.

  5. How do you like to be told you’re doing a good job?

    My love language is gifts.

  6. Who is your role model and why?

    Michelle Obama because she embodies the very essence of elegance, persistence, grace and beauty.

  7. If you had any superpower, what would it be?

    Teleportation.

  8. How would you describe your (doula) style?

    Educational and warm with a bit of sarcasm.

  9. Describe yourself in 5 words.

    Loyal, blunt, trustworthy, optimistic, Integrity.

Doulas of PG County
Doula in PG County

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Valentine's Date Night with In Home Personal Chef

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Valentine's Date Night with In Home Personal Chef

This #valentinesday Doulas of Capitol Hill is bringing the date night to you. Between February 10-16 we are offering an in home personal chef #datenight. One of our amazing team #chefs will come to your home and prepare a 4 course meal (and clean it up!) all under the comfort of your own roof. Space is very limited and we are booking now. Booking is not limited to DCH clients or even parents. All couples are welcome! For more information email us info@doulasofcapitolhill.com
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Team Member Spotlight!  Meet Kim Hawkins

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Kim Hawkins

Kim Hawkins is a birth doula, postpartum doula, certified lactation counselor, placenta encapsulator, and childbirth educator. Kim is also a 5 Star Mentor with DCH. She has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since our launch in 2016.

Kim Hawkins is a birth doula, postpartum doula, certified lactation counselor, placenta encapsulator, and childbirth educator. Kim is also a 5 Star Mentor with DCH. She has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since our launch in 2016.

  1. When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?

    I knew I liked health subjects way back in high school when I found Anatomy class absolutely fascinating! That continued throughout college as I got my degree in Kinesiology and began to work at government fitness centers in 2007 when we first moved to DC. Fast forward to the birth of my first child and a career switch into Public Health policy. As I began to hear more and more about how the biggest differences being made in health was when there was one-on-one support,  my love of health, birth and support all combined in a huge AHA moment of my life. I wanted to work in a field I knew would bring joy and fulfillment into my life. I love seeing parents change from being nervous about what to expect and then settle into their parenthood journey.

  2. What makes you proud of yourself?

    I am proud I am showing my kids that work can be exhausting but incredibly rewarding. My favorite birthday card was one from my daughter telling me she loves what I do. It was reaffirming that even though this job sometimes takes me away from them at odd hour, it’s worth it. I’m proud that I work on teaching them you shouldn’t depend on other for your own happiness and having resiliency in life is important. I’m proud that some day they will see you’re never too late to follow joy and passion in your life. I’m also proud that I am always wanting to learn and continue on a path of creating authenticity in my life.

Kim Hawkins Team spotlight 2.jpg
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3. What do you love about your life?

What I love about my life is it’s always teaching me new things. Growing and stretching can be painful but getting on the other side can be rewarding. I of course love my husband and children, parenting is hard and humbling work but the moments of pure joy can sustain for a while. And I love wine. And coffee. I’m a cliché but there is a reason they exist!

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I can’t even remember! I think they always involved some type of service (teacher, nurse, etc.). I also look back and realize there wasn’t a lot of discussion of what options were available when I was a little girl. I hope to keep changing that conversation with my kids.

5. Tell me about your favorite book or movie.

I am a huge reader, always have been, and while my ability to find time to read has changed over the years there is still nothing I love more then going to a book store and buying books. My all time favorite book is “I Know This Much is True” By Wally Lamb. I have re-read many books over the years (shout out The Baby-Sitter’s Club books all through my childhood - the Disney Cruise is their best special book and I am Dawn FWIW) and this is one I try to read every year or two. Since becoming a parent I’ve noticed I read books and watch movies through different eyes and books and movies I either re-read or watch have changed them for me. For example, in Home Alone I now just think how annoying Kevin is and feel the panic of the mom in the movie!

6. How do you like to be told you’re doing a good job?

  1. By being directly told I am doing a good job!

  2. Hearing from clients, whether it’s a week or years later on how they are doing is very humbling to know I was there when they became a family.


7. Who is your role model and why?

Women who keep fighting to find their path and stumble along the way but persevere. It’s hard work and never ending but seeing others keeping to fight help inspire me to not give up my goals and dreams.

8. If you had any superpower, what would it be?

To be able to finish my to do list every day! So freeze time? Work at super speed?


9. How would you describe your (doula) style?

I use humor to help get through parts and honesty I feel goes a long way. Women in labor don’t want to be placated or lied to, they want honestly and authenticity as they go through the humbling experience that is giving birth to your child. Even when a mom is not able to fully communicate how she feeling or what is going on I’m always remembering she is herself and it may be deep inside but speaking to her directly and honestly the entire time is important!

10. Describe yourself in 5 words

  1. Honest

  2. Authentic

  3. Funny

  4. Nurturing

  5. Fiery (my mama bear can come out fiercely and quickly!)


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