The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families
No electricity, no problem
Happy Monday friends! It's beginning to feel a little like spring, no? While this weekend was mostly freezing cold the sun decided to come out midday yesterday and today it's positively glorious! As my friend Magdalene (who you'll get to meet today in our newest Bumpdate feature) said this morning, "WORK SUCKS, Nature RULES!" Well, MY work doesn't suck but nature sure does rule!
Friday night into early Saturday, as we were laboring with a sweet couple, the main breaker in our unit decided to call it quits. In case you haven't figured it out by now, birth workers are absolute magicians at managing plot twists. So, headlamps and flameless candles to the rescue. And although baby Niels was ultimately born at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, we're happy to have been able to witness the quiet moments shared between his mom and dad as they worked so hard to bring all 9lbs 4oz of him earthside. Welcome to the world Niels, we are so glad you're here.
Maternal Mental Health Resources
Last week I promised to introduce you to local organizations doing the hard work of improving the maternal health crisis for black and brown birthing bodies. Four or five years ago I attended a BIPOC birthworker meet up and instantly clicked with Kay Matthews LCHW and founder of the Shades of Blue Project. Let me tell you, Kay is a force of nature. After the loss of her daughter Troya, Kay experienced first hand the lack of mental health support and resources for pregnant and postpartum families of color. She found the stigma in communities of color around seeking help from mental health experts was a barrier she was not willing to accept. As she battled through her grief and PPD, Kay documented her recovery and created the I.N.S.P.I.R.E Method of journaling. She also wrote 365 Days To Recovery: Finding Your Way Out Of The Darkness and Recovery State of Mind Daily Journal. In addition to founding Black Maternal Mental Health Week, Kay is a highly sought after speaker and contributor to the global conversation addressing cultural barriers around maternal mental health and how it affects the infant and maternal mortality rates . The Shades of Blue project offers year round support for Houston area families as well as online resources for anyone seeking support. I've never encountered a more dedicated person than Kay and I'm so very proud to call her my colleague and friend. If you or someone you know has experienced infant loss and would like to receive a Blue Box from The Shades of Blue project or if you'd like to sponsor a box for future clients, please contact me and I'm happy to help.
Over the Weekend
We had a REALLY great turnout for our First 48 of Breast/Chest Feeding and Newborn class. Looks like the parents of our spring crop of babies are eager to learn all the things. While much of our focus in March will be on moving into our new space we want to be sure that we get those important core classes on the calendar for you. Remember that these classes are repeated every three months so if you're in the first or second trimester of your pregnancy you can wait to take the Comfort Measures and When Plans Change classes until closer to your guess date.
Getting My S*it together
I appreciate all the feedback you all send me about the Bumpdate. I especially love when someone has ideas on how to improve and streamline my weekly attempts at being creative. Enter Magdalene Thomas. About a month ago she submitted her book recommendations and we chatted about much I just loooooove coming up with content every week. Magdalene, being the amazingly helpful person she is, offered to help me come up with an editorial calendar. After she explained to me the magic of actually organizing a full year of content ideas my response was a resounding, " Hell. Yes." So a couple of weeks ago we sat down and she whipped out the mother of all spreadsheets and we got to work. I'm so excited to share all the cool ideas we came up with including Mada's idea of featuring HOH and Whole Heart Collective families. We'll ask the same six questions every week so you can get to know your village. Let's jump right in!
Meet the Thomas family
1. Who's in your family? Please include first names, ages, and a picture of your family (if you're comfortable). Pets are family, too!
Hi! We are Magdalene, Kevin, Maxwell (1 year), and Brodie (6 years). (Brodie is a pup, not pictured) 2. What is your biggest challenge currently?
We're trying to psych ourselves up for a big road trip in the fall. Long hours in the car with a toddler is pretty intimidating, and everyone will have to deal with big changes to our normal routines and rhythms in a new place. Right now, my mindset is to just "jump in the deep end and learn how to swim," but Kevin isn't convinced so we're figuring out a compromise.
3. What's your best parenting tip?
Lowering the bar is a fantastic strategy for dealing with your new life as parents. Gone are the days where Kevin and I were on time going anywhere and–as it turns out–no one really cares if we're not precisely punctual. If you lower the bar (even just a little!) on the things that don't actually matter, you free up so much more energy and time to focus on the things that do.
4. What's one thing you can't do without as a parent?
Floor cushions! It's so joyful to play a baby at their level and experience things through their POV, but floors are unforgiving after you turn 30. A foam mat, play couch, or pile of pillows are critical for your comfort and make great toys for little explorers.
5. How do you fill your cup when it's empty?
My home-space is also my work-space, so I need to get outside, breathe real air, and be in a new place to allow myself to reset. Taking the dog for a walk while listening to my favorite comedy podcast with noise-cancelling headphones is low-stress, can happen almost anytime, and can be squeezed into even the busiest of days. Sort of.
6. Tell us about something (or someone) you love.
My neighborhood bagel shop is run by some New Jersey natives, and they serve an unforgettable "chopped cheese" sandwich. It's made of perfectly seasoned ground beef mixed with warm, oozy cheese on a soft-but-crunchy hoagie roll, with crisp lettuce, a bright tomato, and a creamy mayo-y sauce. I am spiritually connected to this sandwich. I think about it every day.
Postpartum Support Group: Latch Clinic Wednesday 3/2 10am-12pm. Bring your questions and join us in the HOH zoom room. Leah Jolly IBCLC will join us to answer all your feeding questions.
Take a Walk PP Support Group :Thursday 3/3 10am let's meet for a short stroll. TBD
Stretch and Dance for Labor and Birth: 3/5 and 3/12 10:30am First and second Saturday of each month join Joanna Zepeda for an hour and half of grounding, breathwork, stretching and dancing to prepare you for your big day. Please RSVP
Baby Gear Swap!!! Drop off your gently used baby items on Saturday 3/5 between 10:00am and 2pm then come back on Sunday 3/6 between 12-4 to "shop". All items are free and what isn't claimed will be donated. RSVP
Pregnancy Group Core Class: When Plans Change Saturday 3/13 2pm on Zoom Mary Love will discuss what happens when your birth plan has to change. RSVP
Queer Parent Circle: LGBTQIA+ parents are invited to join in community to share their highs and lows and everything in between. Babies 2 and under are welcome
Pregnancy Group Core Class: Comfort Measures Sunday 3/20 in person 2pm Members will gather in person to practice a variety of comfort measures. Bring your support person(s) and dress comfy. RSVP
Postpartum Support Group: Every Wednesday from 10-12ish and Thursday 9:30-11:30. Zoom link has been sent to all HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. Email Jessica if you need more information.
Queer Parent Circle: Second Sunday of every month 3:30-5pm Open to the public!
Birthworkers Circle: Second Sunday of every month starting Jan 2022 time 11am-1:30pm