Voice Over: (00:00)
You’re listening to the slumber Party podcast with your host, Amanda Jewson, a mom of two girls, a child and infant sleep expert in general sleep lover. If you’re a tired parent who is desperate for answers or just someone who loves sleep, this podcast was created just for you. Each episode is packed full of tips and tricks to help you maintain your sanity as well as your social life during the early stages of Parenthood so grab your headphones, it’s time to get comfy!
Speaker 2: (00:35)
In this episode I sat down with Kristin Mundy, who is the organizer and creator of The Doula Life. We talked all about what being a doula is like, what you can expect before, during and after the process and a little bit about beauty counter. Hope you enjoy the episode!
Okay, Kristen, are you there?
Kristin, guess what I’m wearing right now!
What are you wearing?
I just realized I said it…When we’ re offline, I’ll have to tell you another totally ridiculous thing that I honestly said. I will. I will repeat it to you, not on here. I love it. I am, I am wearing the jellies. A lip gloss that you sent me.
Oh no way!
It’s so good. I have it right at my desk. I wear it every day. So if you are watching this on YouTube, you are seeing my glossy lips and it’s not going anywhere. It’s so good. And it smells, so good.
It tastes good too right?!
It does? I don’t know if I actually have tasted it. Let me do it right now. That is good.
Which color is that?
You sent me orange cream.
Sorry, say that again?
Yeah, it’s yummy! Oh, orange cream.
Oh, so I think, Oh, that one’s really good, love it.
It is good. So before we just start talking about lip gloss, Kristin, you are a Doula. You’re also a beauty counter representative. So if people can get all their beauty needs from you, how wonderful are you, right? You just had a baby, you show up, you’re helping them during the birth, you help a little bit after and then you’re like, here’s some tinted moisturizer! Talk about a one stop shop!
That’s amazing. So I wanted to have you one because, you know, I, I still deal with newborns, but I used to do one on one consultations with families about newborns and I just felt like that, I think that there is something that when you pay someone money and there is a transaction, they’re like, “okay, you’re going to solve all of my sleep problems. It’s going to happen today. It’s going to be amazing.” And for some clients they did. For a lot of clients, you just have a newborn. Right? And I think that people had the expectation that like, “Oh, I’ve done this. My baby will sleep 12 hours.” Not everyone, but it was to the point where I, I, I took my program online and I just wanted it to be like, let’s take the pressure off this parent to make this sleep thing happen. Really! And let’s set some realistic expectations of what a newborn can do, with sleep. And I’m really happy with how that’s gone. I’ve, I’ve put my program totally online. What I love about it is that when you buy the program, you are connected to every other newborn parent that also bought the program. Cause I think that support is key. And like being in the trenches together is key. But this is a long way to say the reason why I had you on is because you are a Doula. And when I think, when people think of a Doula, they think of like your coach in the delivery room. I had a Doula, she was like a wonder woman. My Cinderella. Like she was unbelievable. Actually, my fairy godmother maybe.
I was actually gonna ask you about that!
About my doula?
Yeah! If you had one, I didn’t even know if you had one or not. That’s awesome!
You know, I didn’t have one for Winnie. And I didn’t even, like I had a midwife and it ended up that like Winnie was exactly 14 days late. The absolute latest they’ll ever let you go. We did everything to make this baby come, including midwife supervised castor oil – did not work. It just made me sick, I know so bad. Don’t recommend, don’t recommend, do not do castor oil unless you talk to your doctor or midwife. It is messy. I will not get into it.
Yes I agree!
Yeah, don’t do it. So I did that. I ended up having, I had to be medically induced, which I didn’t love. And then I felt like it was a lot of sitting by myself. So then when I had, when I was pregnant with my second, a friend of a friend was learning how to be a doula, she was in her student life and was looking for some practice. So I hired her and it was amazing. Like it was just a night and day experience in terms of like your support in the, in the hospital, just the postpartum support, she visited us, she called me every day. It was really, really helpful. And so sometimes I think, when I had those newborn clients who are really in the shit, they, they don’t need me – like down the road for sure, when they’re feeling good. They need you! And they need some sort of support, and I kind of wanted to have you on to kind of just speak to what you do and what someone can expect when they’ve hired a doula.
So I love that you said “in the shit” because that’s literally what I have written down on my, on my screen here, like in the shit. So I loved that you said that. So as Amanda said, I am a doula. I’m actually a birth and postnatal doula, so I do both and there are different types of doulas. Like Amanda had, some focus on labor and delivery and some focus just on the postnatal period. But I personally work with mama’s from pregnancy all the way through labor and delivery and then during the fourth trimester as well, which is the first three months after baby is born.
Yes! That is such a good definition. Sorry, go ahead.
So this is usually the time when moms get into the shits. So I love that you said that. Both of my roles are pretty different. But they do have the same underlying values and focus and that is love, respect and unbiased, nonjudgmental support. So I can tell you a little bit about what I do. Do we want to talk about birth doula or would you want to focus on postnatal?
I think, I think both. Like I have a lot of second time moms who are listening cause they’re terrified and they’re pregnant right now. So give me both!
So I will say that the first time like, or the majority, actually it’s a little bit 50/50, but a lot of my clients, I do end up seeing them the second time around because, you know, the first time they had their baby and it really didn’t go the way that they envisioned it. They weren’t really a part of the experience and the experience kind of just happened to them. So they often come to me the second time around because they really just need a different experience. And you know what, sometimes even the first experience causes some trauma and it’s just not what they envisioned. And it’s not also what society kind of makes birth look out to be. You know what I mean? Usually like on the movies, you know, someone’s, I always think of Sex In The City when Charlotte’s standing on the corner and she’s yelling at Big and her water breaks and they go to the hospital and like two minutes later there’s this beautiful baby. And that’s not how it happens! You know, I’m, I’m sure we wish it did, but that’s not usually how it happens. So with a birth doula, you’re going to get a different experience with that. A birth doula really is an investment into one of the most transformational moments of your life. And you know, a birth doula is going to help you listen to your body and learn how to trust it, to reduce any fears. The biggest aspect that a doula does is give you informational, physical and emotional support and not just for you, but for mom and dad. One of the like preconceived, one of the preconceived things that I just wanna, you know, knock out right away is that a doula is gonna come in and replace, you know, the partner. And that’s just simply not the case. A birth doula is gonna come in and make dad or partner feel empowered and kind of give him the tools to best support his beloved. It’s not just the birthing parent that’s becoming a parent, it’s the partner as well. And sometimes, you know, we’re not ready for that huge moment and we need support too. Right? So a doula is going to come in and support the birthing parent and the partner. You know, and no matter how your birth does end up going, as long as you are feeling supported and respected and listened to or just made to feel special, it will make a big impact on how your baby comes into this world. And a doula’s job is just that.
Yes, I know I could like talk all day about this and I don’t want to leave you here all day!
No I mean, our experience was very much like that. I mean, at the very least, what we don’t want is, I mean I felt like there were times where maybe one of us wanted to talk to a nurse or go get something and then basically, you know, the birthing parent is hanging out in the hospital room alone. So at the very least, it’s still great to just have a person being with you, you know?
And not just that but like, have someone there to tag off with because you know, if you’re seeing your beloved in pain, that is a big experience. Like, and that is, you know, you’re going through that too. And it’s lot harder, especially if you’re a first time parent, you’ve never gone through it before. You’re not really prepared and just having that extra person there to give you love and support you and to tag team off with you so you can go to the bathroom or get a sandwich or whatever it is that you need to do is really comforting
And I would love, yeah, and I mean, I think it, it, even the pre-process of, of working with our doula was really helpful. So I think with my first, I had a medically induced birth, I found it painful. I ended up getting an epidural, like literally right at the end. Maybe I shouldn’t have, I don’t know. But it was wonderful. So I started off thinking with, with my second, I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to get the epidural.” And I was worried that my doula would judge me. And she was like, great, that’s awesome. Like I’m going to support you with that. And then she was like, if at anytime you don’t want to do that, you can tell me that too, or let’s just, you know, if you get to the end…basically she just made it clear that she was my advocate for whatever I wanted and I felt like very supported. And in the end I had such a great labor that I didn’t end up having the epidural cause I was like, “Oh, I’ll get it when I need it.” And then I was like, “Oh, I need it.” They’re like, the baby is here. It’s right here and I was like “Ohmygod!!”
You made it!
Yeah, I did. And I totally, it was, an unintended, natural birth. But I mean, I hate that word ‘natural’ all births are natural.
Whatever it is, it’s all a baby comes out. It’s all natural.
Yes! This is one thing I really wanted to say is like, a doula, if you find, you know, there’s different doulas for different people. Every person has their specific doula. But for me personally, I support all and every type of birth, whether it’s medical or unmedicated or a vaginal or a belly birth. A doula will be there, you know, beside you and support you with any choices you have. And they’ll also like what you said with the prenatals, one big thing that I focus on in my, my prenatals is creating birth preferences. And I love using the word preferences because it’s not a birth plan. The only thing we really can plan for, for birth is that it’s just not going to go that way. But by making preferences and going over your options, you know, it’s a really great opportunity to gain knowledge and to become empowered about all your options. So when things do change, which they will, you can feel confident to pivot, you know, and to make the informed decision. Yeah.
So that sounds amazing. So, you know, as I was alluding to when we started, so you, you have this baby, the baby is here, you are in the shit or you know, I like to even call it the haze. It’s like there’s just the hazy time and you have a baby. This is where I think, you know, if you’re a first time parent or maybe your first baby was like an awesome sleeper and your second is not, you, you might underestimate the impact of sleep deprivation. And, you know, a lot of parents have good reasons, you know, a lot of the time it falls on the birthing parent because the, you know, other parent is maybe working and so they sleep, and they support mom during the day or there’s, there’s a variety of reasons. And people are pretty desperate and just for some relief. And what, what can a postpartum doula do to kind of relieve that parent?
Oh my goodness, a postnatal doula, and like, I know for when I have children, this will just be non-negotiable for me. The way that I like to explain it to parents is that this is an investment in your sanity and your mental health. And what you just said is, you know, your partner goes back to work and you know what, your visitors stop coming and then you’re left at home and you have this new beautiful creature and your world has just been totally turned upside down and you’re by yourself and you’re isolated and you’re overwhelmed. And really like a postnatal doula can come in and just make that transition so much easier. I always say this and it’s a kind of like a corny saying, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. And you know what a doula is going to come in and help you, we’ll help take care of you so you can take care of your babyto the best of your ability. Right? So, you know, I’ve been described as like a magical goddess angel fairy, and I love that! That’s amazing! Or like Mary Poppins, but a postnatal doula can do a wide variety of things. And you know what, there’s no one size fits all approach. Every family is different and every family has different needs. And my days as a postnatal doula can vary so much. Some days I just take baby, you know, put them in a wrap and just get to work on the house and doing food prep. While other days I’m just sitting at the island with mom and you know, drinking coffee and crying. And both of those have equal value and both are really important. So I do, as a postnatal doula, I do a lot of feeding support. Whether you are breastfeeding or you’re bottle feeding or you’re formula feeding, it doesn’t matter. You know, light housekeeping. Food prep, food prep is a really big one that I focus on because, you know…
It’s so important! You know, especially if you’re breastfeeding, right? And I also like a doula will help you have permission to just be sad and emotional and to grieve if your birth didn’t go the way that you wanted it to. It’s really important, your birth matters and sometimes you really just need an unbiased person to kind of debrief that with you. I help with, you know, baby care and help with what to buy and what not to buy because there’s a lot of stuff in the market that you just do not need.
Oh I know!
A lot of doulas do overnight support. I don’t focus on overnight support, so, but some, for some people that could be, you know, a godsend, you know, having someone be there overnight so you don’t have to get up every two or three hours, um, to feed your baby and just have that support. And there’s, you know, laundry, emotional support. And the biggest thing is evidence-based referrals and resources. In the day of like Google and Instagram and Facebook groups, you know, I’m a huge fan of Facebook groups in the sense of moms having community. But sometimes I see some of the, you know, recommendations on there and I can’t help but cringe a little bit. So you know what the doula you’re going to get evidence based research and or referrals to things that if you might need some more help with something and you’re not just going crazy trying to figure something that, you know, you might need some more support with like, you know, latch or breastfeeding, breastfeeding or even sleep. Maybe you need a sleep consultant. And a doula can help you kind of navigate that and give you some great referrals.
I love that. So I’m sure you’ve seen it all as a doula, you know, what, from your perspective, what is the, the biggest thing that you wish parents knew before becoming a parent? Like if you could jump in before baby arrived or jumped in, you know, to, to kind of fix something, what would you say or what would you advise or?
That’s a good question. So one of the things I do work because I am a birth and postnatal doula, I get the benefit of being with my birth clients before they have baby and sometimes walking with them through postnatal. And one thing I really do like to pay attention to is that, you know, we all really focus on birth. There’s so much focus on birth, there’s so much focus on baby coming out and you know, a postpartum plan sometimes falls by the wayside. So if I can encourage parents to do anything, it’s to make a plan. What are you going to do when baby gets here? How is mom gonna feel best supported? Especially if, you know, she’s sore or she does have the caesarean, like these are things that we need to prepare for. So like filling up our fridge. Who are we going to connect with? Connection is so important. Are we gonna need some extra support, you know, with sleep or with a postnatal doula. And just for them to know that no matter what happens, it’s okay to not be okay. Becoming a parent is the most transformational moment of your life. And it’s sometimes it’s not easy. And a lot of people that we see, you know, media and we don’t really see, you know, the shit. And there’s a lot! And it’s okay that if you are feeling overwhelmed or if you are, you know, struggling. Like a lot of that is normal. But also having the resources to know when to bring in someone else for help and to ask for help, that is okay. And that’s one big thing. Like it is okay to ask for help
100% and I think it’s okay to, yeah, I think that you sort of said it, it’s okay to not be okay. And I think that what we get into is this mindset of failure when I need help. You know, for a lot of my clients that are like, “I can’t believe I’m hiring a sleep consultant. I can’t believe I had to hire a lactation consultant.” And it’s like, well we don’t live in the same conditions. I always say this, we don’t live in the same conditions we did even 50 years ago. Everything is different. The amount of support a new mom has in those first four months is next to nothing.
I was going to say like, especially these days with society, right? Society like has this expectation for mom to kind of be the perfect mom and to bounce back and to have all her shit together and like that is just not normal. And in other cultures this is something that we’ve really stepped away from in other cultures or even like you said 50 years ago, it was totally different. Like the first 40 days a mom, after mom gives birth, this is like when community comes together and everyone’s serving the mother and taking care of her. And these days like it’s just not like that anymore. And having a postnatal doula, that’s like kind of bringing that tradition back and like you said, like it’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to ask for help.
1000%. And I think they, even to surround yourself with people that are not judging. Like I, I have clients who are like, “Oh, we hired a nanny to help us. Like, I know that I don’t…” And it’s like you don’t need to apologize or say that, like nowadays we have to hire our village and it’s okay to hire that village and you are a part of that which is amazing. Okay Kristin, how can people get in touch with you? How can they reach you?
So you can find me on Instagram. Instagram is where I am most active and you can find me at, @the.doula.life Um, I do have a website coming and maybe by the time this is released it will be up, but it’s www.thedoulalife.ca, and you can also find me on Facebook at Kristin Elizabeth Mundy Birth and Postnatal Doula.
Amazing. That’s so good. We’ll include all of that information in the liner notes. If you’re in, you’re looking to just clicked and connect.
Amazing. Kristen, it was such a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for joining today.
Thank you for having me!
Thank you so much for having me.
See you later!
Voice Over: (23:54)
Thank you so much for joining us for another episode of Slumber party. If you’re ready to help your little one, get the sleep that they need and get your nights back while you’re at it, make sure to check out Amanda’s signature DIY sleep training courses or work with her directly. For more details head over to babysbestsleep.com. Don’t forget to hit subscribe, like and review! Happy sleeping everyone!