The Mostly Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families and Friends.
What's New and Good?
Hello dear friends, I've missed you! How's everyone doing? Surviving the hellscape that is Houston in August? Hang in there loves, we are a little more than halfway through the summer!! (Houston summers of course being May through October.)
Things have been a little crazy over here... and by here I mean my life, not the birth center. As we approach the end of August I am -->THIS<-- close to finishing up my primary births as a student midwife. I've been on call since the beginning of May and I'll admit that I am not the best at time management, hence the handful of half hearted Bumpdates recently! The good news is that I'm almost done and can go back to a more regular schedule very soon. I'll be in clinic one or two days a week and will spend my admin days building up our Whole Heart Collective programming and training the newest member of our kick-ass team, Paige Hopkins! Our magnificent nurse Rachel will be on maternity leave soon and we've recruited our doula friend Paige to fill in while she's out. Our hope is that she loves it so much that she can eventually take over the WHC programming when Rachel returns and I become a real life midwife! I'll continue facilitating support groups and teaching Core Classes but it will be lovely sharing the load with our friend Paige. Stay tuned for some new offerings!
Last week we celebrated the birth of our Clinical Director, Co-Founder and midwife extraordinaire Mary Love! This past year has been incredibly transformative for our fearless leader and we are so proud of everything she's accomplished. We celebrated with a potluck on Wednesday and dinner with our birth worker friends on Saturday night. Happy Birthday, Mary! Thank you for all you do and may this year be the best yet!
So much of pregnancy, especially the first one, is focused on labor and preparing to bring a new baby home. In today's culture we have dozens of cleverly named events designed to celebrate the newborn and the insatiable need for, well, things. We have Baby Showers, Sip and Sees, Diapers and Drafts, Sprinkles and even Zoom baby showers! All these variations are great ways to celebrate the arrival of new baby but sometimes fail to celebrate the expectant person. Back when I first started doula work I was introduce to the concept of a Mother's Blessing, a ceremony specifically for the birthing parent.
A Mother's Blessingway, also known simply as a Blessingway, is a ceremony that celebrates and supports an expectant mother as she prepares for childbirth and motherhood. While the term "Blessingway" has been popularized in recent years as a term associated with childbirth rituals, its historical origins are tied to the Navajo culture in the southwestern United States. However, it's important to note that the contemporary Blessingway ceremony as it's practiced today draws inspiration from various cultural elements and has been adapted to different contexts. It's also important to note that while there are similarities across cultures, each ceremony is unique and reflects the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the participants. As these ceremonies have gained popularity, there has been an effort to approach them with cultural sensitivity and respect, ensuring that they are not appropriated or commodified but rather celebrated in a way that honors their origins and significance.
This weekend we celebrated our sweet Rachel as she prepares to embark on her own journey into motherhood. For Rachel's ceremony we incorporated the custom of foot washing. This practice among Christians is based on the Gospel of John (13:4-15). In this account of the Last Supper, Jesus began to wash the disciples' feet to emphasize that they were to care for each other as he had cared for them. We wanted Rachel to know how much we love her and how committed we all are to caring for HER during this time of transition.
We each prepared a blessing for her in the form of a letter, poem or scripture and we read it aloud as we washed her feet in a basin of water with oils and flowers. We also incorporated a red thread ceremony where a thread woven around each of our ankles, "connects the chosen village with one another and their maternal ancestors. It forms a deep connection of love, support, knowing and wisdom." We chose blue string for Rachel because midwives tend to associate the color red with danger! Then we all ate tacos! I wish all expectant folks were celebrated in a similar way. While a new baby undoubtedly worthy of celebration, wouldn't it be great if every birthing person was honored and straight up loved on as they prepare for such a life changing event? Tell us what you think in the comments!
Meet Paige Hopkins!
If you've taken the Comfort Measures Core Class you've probably already met our new team member Paige. She's an awesome birth and postpartum doula and we're so happy to have scooped her up before she was recruited by any of the local doula gangs...um I mean groups. Paige will be covering some of Rachel's duties while she's on maternity leave, including birth assisting. She's working on her certification as a birth assistant through the American Academy of Birth Centers. Welcome aboard Paige!!
Who are you?
I'm Paige Hopkins, Houston native and owner of Paige Hopkins Doula Services.
How do you serve/help the pregnant and postpartum communities?
I am a Certified Labor Doula, Postpartum Support Doula and (almost certified!!) Birth Assistant. My own birth experiences, both at home and in hospital, taught me that birth is never "one size fits all". I passionately believe that everyone deserves to feel supported, educated, and confident in their birth choices.
How did you get into this line of work?
My mom is definitely my inspiration! She believed so much in her body's innate design to birth that she was the second person in Houston to have an unmedicated birth, with my dad in the labor room to coach her. She was determined to be present and actively involved in her baby's birth. She is also one of the founding members of the Houston chapter of La Leche League!
As a single mom, I worked in the corporate world to support my family. I was furloughed during the pandemic, and had time to consider what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Becoming a doula was without hesitation my first thought. Birthwork feels like my life's reward, and I've never looked back!
What do you wish everyone knew about your area of expertise?
Choosing a provider is one of the most important decisions you can make for your birth. I wish more people took the time to find caregivers that align with their beliefs and birth goals. Everyone has the right to ask questions, advocate for themselves and receive unbiased support for their birth.
What is most rewarding about your work?
I love that the support I give to each family is unique. Becoming a parent is such a pivotal moment in a person's life, and to be a present and compassionate part of this transition is an honor.
Tell us about something (or someone) you love.
There is so much to love in this world. Travel, good books, animals, kindness - and definitely an outrageously comfortable bed! I love meeting new people, and I cherish my old friends. But above all, my children are my absolute greatest joy.
Still time to snag your bag!
We've added gift memberships to our website! Check out all of our membership options here! Oh, and bonus, you get a free WHC tote with any gift card purchase now through August 31st.
If you are pregnant, you and your birthing partner are invited to a fun and interactive birth preparation workshop.
When: Saturday, September 9, 1:00-4:00
Where: Heart of Houston Birth & Wellness Center
What you get:
PREGNANCY YOGA MINI-CLASS
20-minute sequence of postures that you can do daily to support your body as it changes throughout pregnancy. Suitable for all bodies and abilities. You will learn simple yet practical and impactful postures for reducing stress, resolving pain or discomfort, and making space for comfort and joy!
$99 for each couple or dyad
15% discount for HoH members email Jessica for discount code!
Complete Info and Registration:
Don't forget! This weekend is our Summer 2023 Baby Gear Drop! Bring your gently used clothing, maternity clothing, baby and kid gear to share with fellow HOH and Whole Heart Collective members. Leave what you no longer want and take what you need! You do not have to bring items to participate! Drop your items off on Saturday the 26th from 10am to 2pm and come shopping on Sunday 8/27 from 12-4pm. **Please do not bring items any sooner than 10am on 8/26-we do not have storage space.** All items not claimed by 5pm on Sunday will be taken to local organizations for donation.
26th-27th Baby Gear Drop. Learn more HERE
8/27 2-4pm Core Class: Newborn Care with Dr. Shirley Chan-Ramirez for HOH clients and WHC members please RSVP
8/30 Full Moon Dance Party! Dance naked under the Blue Moon! Just kidding you don't have to be naked but you will want to dance. Harness the Blue Moon energy with Joanna Zepeda and a few crazy birthworker. Everyone is invited!
9/3 10am & 11am Sibling Classes for ages 3-5 and 6-10.
9/3 Core Class: Comfort Measures
New address 6550 Mapleridge Ste 100
Monthly Ongoing Events
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 Beginners Series:Every Third Saturday 4-5pm Free for HOH & WHC
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
Yoga with Bee: Select Mondays from 10-11am Open to the public members donation based register here.
Various Childbirth Education Curriculums starting soon: Bradley Method with Anne Zwicky