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The Bumpdate: Matrescence, Doula Support and a Halloween Party

A Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families and Friends

Oh happy day!

I love the smell of rain. Especially when it's been so dry that my cactus is starting to looking malnourished. I hope you've been able to get outside a little more with the lower temperatures.

We had great turn out for our weekend family programming on 9/24. Our guest Marlyn Shultz gave a great presentation on estate planning and even gave away a $200 gift card to H.E.B.! She was also generous enough to offer the folks in attendance a free 20min phone call to answer any questions they had after the presentation. If you missed it, fear not, we are going to offer it again in January. Keep an eye on our calendar of events for more dates.


Last week I finished Birth: Three Mothers, Nine Months, and Pregnancy in America from journalist Rebecca Grant. I actually listened to the audiobook which had different narrators reading the part of each mother. It's a great book about the history of obstetrics in the US but reads like a novel. I highly recommend it for the folks in your life who might not understand why you've chosen an out of hospital birth. In the book all three of the birthing mothers choose birth center care, all three have different outcomes. My biggest takeaway from the book was a term I was embarrassingly unfamiliar with: matresences. The word grabbed my attention when Grant described matresences as much a part of life as adolescence. Holy smokes y'all. Did you hear that? There is a name for the profound life changes you are encountering right now. All the emotional, physical and psychological upheaval you are experiencing is FINALLY seen as remarkable enough to have a name. Okay so apparently the term has been around since the 70s but it has gained popularity in the last few years. I reached out to Grant through her instagram for more information about this term and she was kind enough to link a few resources for me. She pointed me to an article from NPR which led me down a rabbit hole and I am forever grateful.

It's no secret that birthing bodies have been mistreated and misunderstood for, well... forever but as someone who has witnessed the extraordinary changes and challenges folks face when becoming parents it can sometimes feel like shouting into the void, "This shit is hard! Why isn't anyone helping?!" Which is exactly why we created Heart of Houston and The Whole Heart Collective. Because this shit IS hard and we were not meant to do it alone. We've seen first hand what can happen when this phase of life is regarded as more than just a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Our goal is and always will be holding space for you as you navigate this whole new existence. We're in it too, matresence. We are a team of women trying to figure out how to be parents and midwives or nurses or some other practitioner and we are right in the thick of it with you. And friends, we got this. Together we can do hard things.

For a deeper dive into the science of maresences check out this podcast from Many Minds.

Who's your doula?

Speaking of support, you know how much we love doulas and gush about them all the time and yet somehow there are still folks out there who don't understand the significant role they play in birth. Especially first births. A doula is more than someone who just massages your back when you labor. They are folks who are trained to guide you and your partner/support people through the labor process. As your midwives we of course we plan on being by your side during labor but doulas support you in the spaces where we do not, spaces like your home. And by we, I mean HOH midwives. There are of course homebirth midwives who will support you in your home but even they will encourage you to get a doula. Why? Because we will tell you in visits and classes and on social media and in every way we know how to REST in early labor, to pace yourself, ignore it for as long as you can aaaaaaand odds are you'll just ignore us. We get it! It's an exciting time! You've been waiting for this moment for what feels like years. AND it's important for you conserve your energy because fatigue is the number one reason for hospital transfers. **I think it's important for me to say here that we do not see transfers negatively, place of birth is only one aspect of birth. Our practice is working hard to change the narrative that transfers are somehow undesirable outcomes. Respectful, collaborative and safe birth will always be our goals, regardless of where the birth takes place**

We're glad to be able to offer continuous care in case of transfer but we know you chose an out of hospital birth for a reason. Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN. founder of Evidence Based Birth published The Evidence For Doulas in 2019. Her research found, "Overall, people who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and Cesareans. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth. There is a smaller amount of evidence that doula support in labor can lower postpartum depression in mothers. There is no evidence for negative consequences to continuous labor support."

We are excited to partner with Bee the Doula and her student doula to offer first time birthers the unique opportunity to work with trained doulas for a discounted rate. HOH and WHC members will get the chance to meet and interact with these incredible students during our monthly Meet the Doula Nights and during some of our Core Classes. Because we know the value of doula support during labor we want to make it accessible to all of our clients. We also want you find the doula that's right for your and what better way to get to know Bee's students than through our Comfort Measures class on the 15th! The doulas will be in attendance to answer questions and help guide you through our comfort measure stations. Hope to see many of you there!

Returning to Life Postpartum

There is still time to register for tonight's event with Inner Strength Pelvic & Postpartum Wellness.

Join Meghan Blumenthal of Inner Strength Pelvic and Postpartum Wellness under the supervision of Khadijah Johnson, OTR for tonight's class. This class will discuss both physical and mental activities that can be done during pregnancy to ease the transition to the postpartum period and the new roles associated with such. This will include resources about returning to daily routines, including intimacy, and the reduction of possible symptoms that may impact quality of life. Class is Free and open to the public! Please Register!

RIE-inspired Parent-infant playgroups

We're excited to welcome back Corine Noronha of El Nido Family for a new Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE). This playgroup is held at the Heart of Houston and will meet for 4 weeks. Our Parent-Infant playgroups are an opportunity for parents to gather in a safe, supportive environment with their little ones. The classes are for a parent/ caregiver and their baby (2 months - early walkers). Siblings in this age group of 2 months - early walkers can also attend. Please email about enrolling a sibling. At each class, we will begin with brief introductions and check-ins and then sit back and watch the children explore and play with safe, open-ended toys, and observe their movements and interactions. We welcome you to join our warm and supportive community of families where friendships develop and parents feel confident to share playdates together by practicing the principles we discuss and their experiences from the class. Find support and confidence in your parenting journey! Register here!

Fall is definitely in the air! Check out this cute porch setup from one of our very favorite readers.

Sending you all our love, Meema Jean!


The HOH Crew

Upcoming Events

  • Monday 10/2 6pm Returning to Life Postpartum with Innate Wisdom PT: Free and open to the public! Please Register

  • Wednesday 10/4 6pm Core Class: Newborn Care Members only event

  • Thursday 10/5 1:30-2:30pm RIE Parent - Infant Playdate $88 for 4 weeks

  • Friday 10/6 12:15 Music for Pregnancy- Free with registration and open to the public.

  • Saturday 10/7 Infant CPR and First Aid with Gail Goud $45 a person. Please register

  • Sunday 10/8 11am Birthworker Support Circle

  • Sunday 10/8 2-4 Queer Parent Circle

Save the Date!!

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.

  • 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

That's all for now! Have a great week everyone.

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