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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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.

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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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2019 Will Be BETTER!

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2019 Will Be BETTER!

By Ashley Woolsey, Social Media Manager

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In September, Laura Macone, clinical social worker and therapist in Alexandria, came to an #ICAN meeting. When touching on the subject of #postpartumdepression she asked the question “could this be better?” This question stuck with our founder, Emily. Not just for the subject of #PPD but with all things related to motherhood, family, and even with our agency as a whole. Emily has chosen the word “better” to be our word for 2019 in an attempt to ask herself, our doulas, and our team, “could this be better?” It is a non judgmental question, which has always been one of the things we pride our agency on being. It isn’t saying things were, or are bad. It’s just asking, “could they be better?”

And what does that mean for our agency moving forward? If the answer is a simple, yes it could be, then how can we, not necessarily fix it, but change it in a way that is more efficient and overall, well, better? In the weeks to follow we will try to break this word down a little more and let you all in on how we intend to make our agency a more improved and overall better experience for everyone involved. Because we are in the business of helping families and we consider you all a part of our Doulas of Capitol Hill family. So lets make 2019 better for all of us! 

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Kaely Harrod

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Kaely Harrod

Kaely Harrod is a birth doula with Doulas of Capitol Hill and our sister company, Doulas of Prince George’s County since 2018. She is also an accredited La Leche League Leader since 2014.

Kaely Harrod is a birth doula with Doulas of Capitol Hill and our sister company, Doulas of Prince George’s County since 2018. She is also an accredited La Leche League Leader since 2014.

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

    I found my passion for helping women as a college student. I now support all birthing people in an non-judgemental way, but my passion was birthed from an inherent desire to help women specifically. I often dreamed of how to meet needs that were gaps in women’s lives, whether that was encouragement, health and nutrition, housing, abuse healing, and trauma care, etc. Out of that desire, I began assisting friends in various ways as there was the need. It didn’t birth anything organized until I decided to become an accredited La Leche League Leader in 2014. After entering the world of postpartum care I found that this specific season of pregnancy, birth and postpartum care was a specific passion that fit perfectly within my passion to help and encourage women. I find great fulfillment from offering support and encouragement to people in this phase of their lives. It is a beautiful thing to be allowed into this deeply personal and vulnerable time and given a space to participate, strengthen and advocate.

  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?

    Be kind to everyone! No matter who they are! Even if they are not kind to you. Kindness is always worthwhile and needed more than ever. Someone else’s meanness does not need to dictate your level of kindness.

  3. What makes you proud of yourself?

    I am proud of my faithfulness and loyalty to other people and myself. I am true to who I am and consistent in what I can give in my relationships. If I’m your friend, I’m your friend and I’ll be loyal and faithful in that relationship. It’s something that’s easier for me to give to others than it is to give to myself, so I’m a work in progress on that front. But I am getting a lot better at giving myself loyal love in my desires and passions and preferences without judgment or shame. That means a lot to me, so it’s something I’m very proud of in myself.

  4. What do you love about your life?

    I love that I have a loving husband who is my biggest fan ever and best friend. He supports me in all my dreams and passions and sees things in me that I can’t see in myself. He’s also just loads of fun and my favorite person to talk to! I also love that we have 3 fun kiddos that are a part of our mix.

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

    I wanted to be a ballerina or a firefighter! :) As a child, I remember my mom telling me that I could probably do both of those as neither requires typical 9-5 hours!

  6. What are your top three values?

    Honesty, Integrity, and Loyalty.

  7. Tell me about your favorite book or movie.

    “Favorites” are a thing that changes for me kind of often, so right now I’m loving The Great British Baking Show. I have also gotten my children and husband into it, which is super fun. I also really enjoy watching Master Chef Jr! Those kids are hilarious!

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

    I like to be told specifics about what was/is good. So let’s say I’m teaching my children (I’m a homeschooler as well as a doula!), and someone wants to tell me I’m doing it well. I would prefer to be told something like “I see your child(ren) acting empathetically toward others and I know that is a result of your teaching! Keep doing that! It’s slow going, but it’s taking hold!”  Rather than just saying “your kids are so smart!” Or something more generic like that.

  9. Who is your role model and why?

    My role model is my mother. She has faced many struggles and is persistent and strong in the midst of and in spite of them. I have seen her grow and develop as a mother over the years and that has been a learning opportunity for me, too.  She’s a consistent support to us all as adults now while still doing what she loves! She is also my biggest encourager in homeschooling outside of my husband. If I’m ever doubting my work with my children I can call her up for a quick pep talk that changes everything. Since we share that passion for encouraging others she is a role model for me in that as well!

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

    I’m the kind of person who can’t just answer this quickly. Many of my friends can say “Flying” or “xray vision” immediately when asked this. However, I find that there are so many pros to all kinds of superpowers, that it’s very hard to choose! I think the most practical for my life would be to teleport! Or time travel! Don’t hold me to that, though, as it may change depending on my season of life. :)

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

    I would describe my doula style as relaxed, supportive and taking my cues from my clients. I tend to want to learn a lot about who my clients are and how they operate in order to meet them in that space and not try to force them into my world of operation. I have the knowledge base to support and comfort in a variety of ways, but I want to match those comfort measures with who my client is and what they value in the birth!  

  12. Describe yourself in 5 words

    1. Fun, Honest, Loyal, Loving, and Encouraging.

Kaely, bottom right, with all of her siblings!

Kaely, bottom right, with all of her siblings!

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Winter Root Vegetable Agrodolce Recipe

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Winter Root Vegetable Agrodolce 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.

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Chef and postpartum doula, Vanessa Fowler, is sharing a warm and colorful root vegetable based dish with us that is a perfect mix between comforting and healthy!



Winter is here and staying active & healthy is still very important. As a chef and doula I work with clients to maintain a balance of staying healthy for themselves, their newborns, and the new changes coming. Along with maintaining my own self health. I try to cook seasonally. Winter brings us citrus and root veggies and abutment use of the stove so roasting and braising gets us into the kitchen, warms up the home, and feeds us well.


This is taken seasonal winter veg and roasting it, then topping it with that great sweet and sour sauce known as Agrodolce (agro-(sour) dolce-(sweet)), this sauce is commonly found in either your Chinese/Asian food or Italian.

As a chef I get asked the question “what kind of food do you cook”? Well I am French trained so I always have French foundations but I cook comfort foods that fall into the Italian & Asian category.


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Real Food for Pregnancy: A book review

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Real Food for Pregnancy: A book review

Real Food for Pregnancy should be on every must-read list for all newly pregnant people, or those trying to conceive.  The author, Lily Nichols, covers all of the bases on what to eat during pregnancy and what to avoid, taking time to explain the nutritional evidence for and against specific foods. More than that, Real Food for Pregnancy goes beyond food and tackles exercise, common pregnancy complaints and conditions, how to avoid toxins in our modern world, and even after baby is born and into the “Fourth Trimester.”  The book makes a compelling case for optimizing prenatal health through nutrient-dense foods, through a Paleo-ish diet, providing a refreshing, research-backed approach that is both referenced and an easy read for the expecting person.

The book starts out by telling us what is “Real Food” saying “in a nutshell, real food is made with simple ingredients that are as close to nature as possible and not processed in a way that removes nutrients.”  

We all know the old adage of “eating for two” but the author encourages us to “think quality over quantity,”  by focusing on macronutrients like protein, healthy fats, and vegetables.

I had an Ah-ha moment when I learned that folate, derives from the word “foliage,” meaning that dark leafy greens are a major source of an essential nutrient packed into every prenatal vitamin.   However, in prenatal vitamins it’s the synthetic version, folic acid, which can be harder for the body to process, especially the 30% of the population with the MTHFR gene mutation.  Deficiencies in folic acid can lead to birth defects and can impair brain development, making it so important for the whole population of pregnant people to get enough folate if their bodies aren’t great at processing the folic acid in their prenatal vitamin.  

In this book you’ll also get sample meal plans and several recipes!  One of my favorites was Lily’s Electrolyte Replenishment Drink, a recipe that is great for the first trimester, when many people experience dreaded “morning sickness” that often lasts all day.  This drink is also good for labor, when the body may be taking a break on digestion, but the energy needed for birthing a baby increases.

As a birth doula and postpartum doula in the DC metro area, my clients often come to me for advice and resources to guide them to a healthy pregnancy.  They tell me their doctors don’t give them much in nutritional guidance other than to avoid alcohol, too much fish with mercury, and to take prenatal vitamins.  But pregnant people are some of the most motivated individuals and are willing to learn new tools to lead a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their babies. They want to know how to avoid unnecessary and sometimes scary interventions during labor, and one of the best ways to do that is to stay low risk throughout the pregnancy.  If the end goal of pregnancy is a healthy baby and a healthy (and happy) mom, then this book will help get you to that rewarding end!

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1. Nichols, Lily. (2018). Real Food for Pregnancy: The science and wisdom of optimal prenatal nutrition. https://realfoodforpregnancy.com/




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Prioritizing Self-Care During the Holidays

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Prioritizing Self-Care During the Holidays

Emily Souder, LCSW-C, MA, MSW

Start the slow cooker at 8 am. Schedule flu shots for the littles. Order a birthday gift for the neighbor’s little girl. Clean up goldfish crumbs. Work on that business project.

Sound familiar? This is a pretty typical train of thought for me when I’m running through my mental to-do list. Carrying this mental load around is exhausting. Yes, a paper list helps, but there are still a lot of things to juggle! This list is just on a normal day, but during the holidays, the tasks stack up in a way that just doesn’t happen during the rest of the year.

Get napkins for the preschool party. Order school photos. Return boxers to the store because you bought boys’ boxers for your husband (oops). RSVP to the work happy hour. Make brownies for the neighborhood party. Do we need to send out holiday cards? Do I have spinach in my teeth?

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The topic of imbalance of emotional labor between moms and dads has been making its way around the internet, and with good reason. We carry so many of the unspoken, behind-the-scenes tasks around with us, and it’s frustrating! Even when we have supportive, present partners, it can feel that we are thinking of things that aren’t even occurring to them, and that can feel lonely. We start to think that if we don’t show up in this way, our world will fall apart. It’s scary to let go.

Let’s try something on together. What if we were able to help counteract the effects of this labor imbalance by prioritizing self-care?

Self-care looks different for everyone, but it can include setting boundaries, delegating tasks, making it to that yoga class, and saying no to the holiday happy hour.

This season, I created a free holiday challenge for moms called Rock the Hustle & Bustle specifically for this reason. Moms can benefit from their own space to practice (and it does take practice) making their wellness a priority this holiday season so they can show up for their families in a healthier, more compassionate, more energized way. We don’t have to feel depleted after the holidays!

Here are some things to consider about the holidays and caring for yourself:

  1. Missing out won’t kill you. It might be uncomfortable, but think about this: by missing out on that thing, what are you getting to participate in? What are you saying yes to by saying no?

  2. We can make choices. If the neighborhood party feels like a source of stress, can you pick up a store-bought dessert instead of making one from scratch? Can you skip it and stay in for a cozy movie night with your kiddos?

  3. Others are practicing it too. There are other moms and parents finding their way alongside of you, and reaching out and making connections with others can be a way to feel energized by friendship and to even have a reality-check partner when you wonder if you’re taking on too much.


So what do you think? Is it time to try something a little different this year? It might feel funny at first, but the benefits will have you feeling so glad you gave it a try.

Emily Souder is a licensed clinical social worker, life coach, mama, and writer in Maryland. She helps mom entrepreneurs who are feeling lost in the demands of motherhood and out of touch with themselves achieve clarity, focus, and empowerment using intuition-informed guidance, mindset work, and skill building. She is married to her best friend (so cheesy, but so true!), has two littles (ages 1 and 4), and is on her own path of rocking her authenticity.



Website: www.nestingspacellc.com

IG: www.instagram.com/nesting_space/

FB: www.facebook.com/nestingspacellc/



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Eggnog and Eggnog Quick Bread Recipe

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Eggnog and Eggnog Quick Bread 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.

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Today Vanessa Fowler, chef and postpartum doula, is sharing a little bit of a treat to kick off our December.


What better way to kick off the season then with eggnog and we aren’t just going to drink it but we are going to eat it too! This eggnog recipe is a classic but with a nice warm winter twist (Brandy) plus a tasty bonus (Grand Mariner). My family loves bread and this season is all about baking so I figured why not eggnog bread but without yeast making it quick bread!


Both are tasty as is but are very versatile as well!


If you choose to skip the Grand Mariner I still want you to add a drop of orange flavor. You can do so by adding one teaspoon of orange zest to the glaze of the bread!


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Tips for Dealing with Carpal Tunnel During Pregnancy

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Tips for Dealing with Carpal Tunnel During 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 dealing with carpal tunnel during pregnancy.

According to  this study from 2015, 4% of the normal population suffer from carpal tunnel but that number increases to an average of 35% of people during pregnancy.

From Healthline.com “carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The median nerve runs from the neck, down the arm, and to the wrist. This nerve controls feeling in the fingers.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of tiny “carpal” bones and ligaments. When the tunnel is narrowed by swelling, the nerve is compressed. This leads to pain in the hand and numbness or burning in the fingers.”

In this video, Katie will give tips on reducing pain during daily activities, simple stretches, and tips for sleeping.



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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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