The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families and Friends
Hello again, friends. I hope you all had a great long weekend. Yesterday we celebrated the great Dr. King and his legacy of civil disobedience and calls for racial justice. And although we have come far from the time of his assassination, we still have much work to do. This work starts at home. As a queer Chicana/Latina mother raising brown kiddos, one of the responsibilities I take very seriously is raising antiracist kids, equipping them with tools to continue the fight against injustice and empowering them to embrace their cultural identities. Seems a lot to ask of a seven and four year old doesn't it? It really isn't and it's something that has always been a part of our list of family values since before we had children. We try hard to keep things as age appropriate as we can but the reality is that these conversations are not optional for us, they are very necessary. We are a household of books for every topic so I figured I would share some of our favorites on this important day. Do you have a list of books you've used to begin the conversation around race with your children? Let us know in the comments!
4 Badass board books for babies:
The world lost a bit of magic when bell hooks passed, but I love that my girls are already familiar with her work from reading Skin Again. Ibram X Kendi is also a personal favorite of mine and Anitracist Baby is a great way to introduce activism as a family. All Are Welcome and a little book about racism are both visually beautiful books to introduce language around diversity and inclusion. Check out these titles at your local library or visit a local independent bookstore to purchase for your personal library. They also make awesome baby shower gifts!
One of the things I miss about having small babies or toddlers is wearing them. Which is kinda crazy now that I think about it because I complain about being "touched out" a lot of the time. But there is something so special about wearing a baby against your body. I still have slings and wraps that I just can't let go of even though my kids are way too big to tote around. We are really excited about hosting a city wide meetups led by babywearing expert Angelique Geehan. Angelique will join us this Thursday for in-person postpartum support group to give us a lesson on the basics of babywearing. She will also lead a monthly meetup and offer private consultations the third Saturday of each month. Meetups are free for HOH and WHC members and $25 for everyone else. Please reach out if you have questions or if you are need of partially funded tickets to the meet ups. We want these to be accessible to everyone.
Our sweet friend, midwife Malea completed her six month new graduate fellowship at the end of December. In that time it was wonderful to watch her transition from student to midwife and now it's time for the next stage in her journey. In the coming months she is looking forward to pursuing her interest in global health and midwifery. We are all looking forward to hearing about her adventures and watching her to continue to grow as a midwife. We already miss your great big smile, Malea!
Meet Kate Jones, CPM
We are so excited to introduce the newest member of our team. Please help us welcome Kate Jones to the HOH family!
Kate took longer than she would have liked to find her passion for midwifery, first studying Psychology and Spanish for her undergraduate degree and giving birth to her eldest daughter (with midwives, of course) in the middle of it. This was where her obsession with birth and babies began but although she worked as a postpartum doula, in a Christian house for single moms and studied Holistic Therapies, it wasn’t until her daughter was 9 that she returned to university to obtain her Bachelor’s in Midwifery. She then worked for a year in a busy hospital in Brighton, UK before emigrating to Texas.
Coming from the UK, Kate grew up knowing that midwives are who care for you when you are having a baby. So it came as quite a shock when moving to Texas 10 years ago and finding out some people had never even heard of a midwife! When she first arrived here she worked as a doula and experienced US hospital birth which made her understand the need for midwifery here even more and she rushed to obtain her Texas license.
Her second daughter was born at home here in Houston in 2016 after which she had a few years as a stay at home Mom. She has been back working as a midwife for the past few years and is now thrilled to be joining the team at Heart of Houston.
Kate is also on the board of a dog rescue, Straight Outta Texas, which focuses on getting dogs off the streets of Houston and adopted to NE states. She also enjoys traveling, knitting and tap dancing in her free (haha) time!
Welcome aboard, Kate!
Finding your people
Sometimes I feel like a used car salesperson when I tell folks about our support groups. I even have an elevator pitch: Being a new parent is hard and can be very isolating. Finding a group of folks with similar struggles can normalize all the feelings that come with this new phase of life.
I started facilitating support groups ten years ago when I realized that my doula clients, many of whom were transplants to Houston, were struggling without extended family nearby. Some of them were the first in their friend group to have a baby while other were having a hard time finding "mommy groups" that weren't filled with passive aggressive Judgy-McJudgerson types. I've always been a middle of the road birthworker. Zero judgment about your choices because it is after all YOUR birth, your kid and you have to do what works best for your family. In fact, that became our motto. Do what works for your family. What happened next was pure magic.
Our first meetup was held at West U Wellness after business hours. The babies were all a few months old and relatively immobile. As the kids grew, we had to childproof the lobby and more than one plant fell victim to an unruly toddler. That first group of parents still hang out together today, ten years later. Some families have moved away but they still keep in contact and even vacation together. They were my mom squad before I was even a mom. And with each new crop of babies came more connections and clusters of friends spanning all of Houston. We grew out of the West U Wellness lobby and bounced around town for a while. Our last location before COVID shut us down was a library in River Oaks. I dreamed of one day finding a dedicated space to hold groups and classes and, well, all the things you see today at Heart of Houston.
We are already seeing the same type of connections in our groups here and after all my time supporting families, I know for a fact that it's because humans were never meant to do this parenthood gig alone. We might not live in close communities like we once did but we NEED other people on this journey. Sharing your triumphs, struggles, and cheering on the newest member every week can fill your cup in ways you can't even imagine. My hope is that you find your people here and together you all spread that love to other new families searching for the same.
This week's walk will be at Sabine Water Works.
January/February Upcoming events
Infant CPR and BLS: Saturday January 28th 10-12 $45 per person. Email instructor Gail Gould to register and pay.
Ask the Experts: Sunday 1/28 2-5pm Newborn parents will spend time answering questions from expectant folks in this laid back setting . Get hands on training from new parents! This is a Whole Heart Collective Members Only event.
Evening Core Class Comfort Measures: Wednesday February 1st 6-8pm. This interactive class will be great practice for game day! Bring your support person(s) and cycle through the six comfort stations set up throughout the birth center for hands on practice. This class is free to current HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective Members.
Friday night Yoga with Bee! Our friend Bee and her team of doulas are hosting another Friday evening yoga and sound bath session. Non members $20 at the door, $10 to join us virtually.
Mindful Movement: February 4th and 11th Gain essential childbirth preparation skills and natural pain coping techniques that will build your confidence in your own birthing ability and wisdom. Dance and stretch your way to a happier healthier pregnancy and a quicker and easier birth and a more content baby. Learn moves inspired by world dance forms such as Bellydance, African dance, Latin dance and interpretive movement. No Experience Necessary! Dance This class is $15 for Whole Heart Collective Members and $20 for the public Please register payment can be made at the door.
Anxiety Support Group: Every other Monday starting February 6th 12-1pm This six week circle will be led by interning Family Therapist Mary Alice Carpenter (Under supervision of Kim Jones LMFT-S). Each week will work on mindfulness and tools to help manage the unavoidable anxieties of pregnancy and postpartum. Registration is open!
2023 Baby Gear Swap!!: Bring your gently used clothing, maternity clothing, baby and kid gear to swap with fellow HOH and Whole Heart Collective members. Drop your items off on Saturday the 18th from 10am to 2pm and come shopping on Sunday 2/19 from 12-4pm. **Please do not bring items any sooner than 10am on 2/18-we do not have storage space.** All items not claimed by 5pm on Sunday will be taken to local organizations for donation.
New address 6550 Mapleridge Ste 100
Monthly Ongoing Events
Wednesday Virtual Postpartum Support Circle: Second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 10-12 on Zoom. HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. Email Jessica if you need more information.
Thursday In Person Postpartum Support Circle: 10-12 in the community room. Open to current HOH & WHC members. Feeding clinic first and third Thursdays of each month.
Queer Parent Circle: Second Sunday of every month 2-4pm Open to the public.
Babywearing Meetup: Third Saturday of each month 4-5pm
Birth workers Circle: Second Sunday of every month 11am-1:30pm midwives, student midwives, doulas, birth assistants, Obs and L&D nurses are all welcome to attend.
Mindful Movements: First and second Saturday of each month 10:30-12