Virtual Work: Far and Wide

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Hello,

I wanted to update everyone on how my work has progressed virtually. My family has had a lovely summer of swimming and social distancing and I’ve been getting back to the important work of supporting providers and families.

I have found there to be both pros and cons of doing my work virtually. The good news is that I have been able to do more training and talks for providers, as virtual makes this work more accessible to many. Speaking about queerness and structural oppression brings me great joy. Last week I ran a training for a state-wide program supporting new parents in recovery. I also recorded a talk for the upcoming CAPPA conference. It was a lot of screen time but worth it. Here I am prior to sitting in front of the screen for hours:

I have also rededicated myself to making virtual support groups happen. I have been impressed and amazed by how open parents have been to share and support each other, even on a virtual platform. It is not the same as being in a room together, no, but we are still holding space and creating community in beautiful ways. I have two new groups starting September 14th, one for any new parents and another for queer parents.

I am so excited to start facilitating a queer parent group again. I used to do it many years ago, and it brings me great joy to talk about the unique strengths and challenges of being queer families in an oppressive world. I am excited to bring this group back and open it up to queer families from around the country.

My postpartum doula work has continued virtually as well. I don’t foresee going back into folks homes anytime soon, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how well my work transfers to the virtual world. I am still able to support parents, teach new skills, and help families make sense of the newborn period. Please be in touch if you are interested in hearing more about my work.

Enjoy the final days of summer and hope to see you all in real life soon,

Service Update and COVID-19

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Hello!

I hope you all are finding ways to stay calm and centered during this time. Caring for a newborn or waiting for a new baby to arrive can be an anxious time, even without the current state of the world.

Supporting new families is now more important than ever and I’ve struggled deeply with what to do to protect the new families I’m working with, expecting families, my family, and the greater world.

I’ve finally decided that it is unwise for me to come into people’s homes to do my work at this time. This was a hard decision and I will deeply miss snuggling new babies and cooking meals. Hands on support is a big piece of my work and I did not make this decision lightly. However, I do believe this is the safest decision for all of us. Here is a link to the article that guided my thinking. 

That being said, I believe much of my work can be done virtually, from talking with families through a new swaddle or baby carrier, discussing feelings, and making a plan for sleep. I will also be running my new parent groups virtually through Zoom. I’m excited by the ways in which this new approach might actually make my services more accessible to people. If you previously contacted me and I said I was booked, please reach out again because there is more flexibility in working virtually!

Thanks for your understanding, I wish everyone continued health and safety during this time. Please reach out with any questions: rachelhessdoula@gmail.com. 

CAPPA 2020

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I’m excited to announce I’ll be speaking at this year’s CAPPA conference in San Antonio in September. Please spread the word!

https://cappa.net/event/conf2020/

Speaking to providers about being culturally humble in the care they provider to new families is my hearts work and I’m so lucky to travel far and wide in order to do it.

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Postpartum Support International Conference 2019

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I recently had the privilege of traveling to Portland, Oregon to attend and present at the Postpartum Support International Conference. Folks traveled from all over the world to attend this conference and it was attended primarily by mental health professionals working with new families in the perinatal period. I saw some amazing keynote speakers, including my long time hero Trystan Reese (https://www.biffandi.com/).

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I also attended workshops on everything from black maternal mortality to birth trauma to weight stigma. I connected with folks doing similar work across the country and reconnected with a few beloved colleagues.

I was also lucky enough to present my workshop, “Supporting LGBQ/T Families” to a room full of people. We had excellent conversations about language, oppression, and cultural humility. Looking forward to the next workshop!

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Exciting Announcement!

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Hello,

Hope 2019 is treating you well so far. Things are busy in the postpartum doula and perinatal care world. I’ve added new sessions of my popular Getting Started group for new parents and now have overlapping groups starting 4 weeks apart on Mondays and Thursdays. Check out my Parent Classes and Policies page for details and to register for an upcoming session.

I’m super excited to announce that I’ve been asked to speak at the Vermont Lactation Association Conference in Burlington, VT on May 10th, 2019. I will run two sessions for IBCLCs, nurses, doctors, and others working with new parents about how to work with the LGBQ/T community. I’m excited to reach a broad audience of providers who want to do better for their LGBQ/T patients.

Registration is up now. Please help spread the word.

Lastly, I’m finally getting real head shots with the wonderful M. Davidson-Shapiro. I can’t wait to share them with you.

 

Almost 2019!

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Hello,

It has been a busy fall. My new parent groups have taken off and I had to add an additional session in November due to demand. I love spending so much of my time cultivating new parent relationships and providing non-judgmental support and information.

I have been busy building up the provider training part of my business and have spent a substantial amount of time applying to present at various conferences. Check out the Provider Support section of my website for more information and testimonials. Email me if you are interested in bringing me to your organization or workplace. I’m hoping I can impact the quality of care that lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender families receive during the perinatal years.

I look forward to sharing more about this work in 2019. I’m still taking one-on-one postpartum clients as well and registration is already up for my Winter 1 Getting Started group. I expect this group to sell out quickly, so get your spot now!  In addition, my next second time parent group is in March and registration is already online for that group. Spread the word!

Stay warm and enjoy this darkest part of our year by snuggling close with friends, family, loved ones, and, most importantly, caring for yourself.

-Rachel

 

Fall Group Registration

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Hello!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. We have enjoyed lots of library and pool time in my family. I’ve also been lucky enough to snuggle lots of babies.

Registration is up for my Fall parent support groups. I’m running two sessions of Getting Started for new parents (starting September 13th and November 8th). I’m only running one session of my Second Time Parent Group this Fall (starting October 4th).

Details and registration are on my Parent Classes page.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

I hope to see you in one of my groups!

Rachel

Update and Summer Groups

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Hello!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to present a workshop at the Partners in Perinatal Health Conference. My workshop was entitled “Supporting LGBQ/T Families: Moving from Tolerance and Inclusion to Cultural Competency.” 60 folks were in attendance and they did some good and hard work to think about their roles and the way in which they provide support. It was so fun and I can’t wait to do it again! I’ve added a “Provider Support” page to my website and will soon be adding descriptions of services to help providers who want to make their services more accessible to LGBQ/T folks.

In the meantime, registration is up for my summer groups in Roslindale square. Check out the details below and email me with any questions: rachelhessdoula@gmail.com

Getting Started (For new parents and babies 0-14 weeks)

Join me in a 6 week series with other new parents and their babies. You will find support, information, and fun in these sessions. Each week parents will have a chance to share their fears, questions, and joys in a non-judgmental environment. Every week there will be a different topic of discussion as well as time to get to know each other. Topics include: Sleep, feeding, your new identity as a parent, postpartum mood adjustment, and developmental milestones.  At the end of every class we will spend some time together in a mini “circle time,” learning new ways to play with your newborn.

Join us for this exciting group.

Details:

$155 for one parent and their newborn (multiples welcome at no extra charge)

6 week 1.5 hour series

When: Thursday’s , 1:45pm-3:15pm

Where: Akasha Yoga Studio in Roslindale, 20 Birch Street

Summer Dates: July 12th, 19th, 26th, August 9th, 16th, 23rd (no class August 2nd).

Register here.

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Second Time Parent Group (For parents and second babies 0-6 months old)

Many say that adding a second baby to your family is an even bigger transition than the first time around. Come meet other second time parents for this 6 week series.  We will spend time discussing the new challenges and joys of a growing family in a non-judgmental and supportive environment. Possible topics include: challenges with your older child as they transition to their new role as sibling, how to manage feeding and sleeping with both children, and reviewing typical baby patterns and developmental phases. We will end each class with a mini-circle time, a great way for you to bond with your new baby.

Note: I find most parents get much more out of the group if they can attend without their older child. However, if childcare for your older child is a barrier to attending, please contact me and we can discuss how to make it work.

Details:

$155 for one parent and their newborn (multiples welcome at no extra charge)

6 week 1.5 hour series

When: Thursdays, 11:45-1:15pm

Where: Akasha Yoga Studio in Roslindale, 20 Birch Street

Summer Dates: July 12th, 19th, 26th, August 9th, 16th, 23rd (no class August 2nd).

Register here.

Registration is up for Spring Classes!

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Hello,

I have dates and registration up for my spring classes. I will be running both a first and second time parent group starting in April. The first time parent group filled up a week ahead of time for the winter session, so make sure to secure your spot quickly.

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Getting Started (For new parents and babies 0-14 weeks)

Join me in a 6 week series with other new parents and their babies. You will find support, information, and fun in these sessions. Each week parents will have a chance to share their fears, questions, and joys in a non-judgmental environment. Every week there will be a different topic of discussion as well as time to get to know each other. Topics include: Sleep, feeding, your new identity as a parent, postpartum mood adjustment, and developmental milestones.  At the end of every class we will spend some time together in a mini “circle time,” learning new ways to play with your newborn.
Join us for this exciting group.
Details:
$155 for one parent and their newborn (multiples welcome at no extra charge)
6 week 1.5 hour series
When: Mondays, 1:30pm-3:00pm
Where: Akasha Yoga Studio in Roslindale, 20 Birch Street
Spring Dates: April 2nd, 9th, 23rd, 30th, May 7th, and 14th (no class April 16th)
There is still time to join for week 2. Email me to for a prorated cost. Rachelhessdoula@gmail.com
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Second Time Parent Group (For parents and second babies 0-6 months old)

Many say that adding a second baby to your family is an even bigger transition than the first time around. Come meet other second time parents for this 6 week series.  We will spend time discussing the new challenges and joys of a growing family in a non-judgmental and supportive environment. Possible topics include: challenges with your older child as they transition to their new role as sibling, how to manage feeding and sleeping with both children, and reviewing typical baby patterns and developmental phases. We will end each class with a mini-circle time, a great way for you to bond with your new baby.

Note: I find most parents get much more out of the group if they can attend without their older child. However, if childcare for your older child is a barrier to attending, please contact me and we can discuss how to make it work.

Details:
$155 for one parent and their newborn (multiples welcome at no extra charge)
6 week 1.5 hour series
When: Fridays, 1:30pm-3:00pm
Where: Akasha Yoga Studio in Roslindale, 20 Birch Street
Spring Dates: April 6th, 13th, 27th,  May 4th, 11th and 18th (no class April 20th)
Registration here.

Questions: rachelhessdoula@gmail.com

The Value of a Second Time Parent Group

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I love running second time parent groups. What makes having a second baby so interesting is the fact that, in theory, parents have done it before. They have successfully cared for a newborn. They know more about feeding, diaper changing, and sleep patterns. However, the piece that often takes most of us by surprise is how to parent both a newborn AND an older child. It can be challenging to figure out how to meet the ever changing needs of both your children, let alone yourself. Talking with people in the same boat is invaluable. It is why I love this group and why I’m excited to facilitate one starting In October.

In a second time parent group, we talk about all the new ways in which your life has changed. What I find most fun about this group is actually talking about the older child. Similar to the first time parent group, we review elements of raising a newborn: sleep and feeding patterns, postpartum adjustment, etc. But what most parents want to explore is what to do with their older child. We talk about how it feels to now be responsible for two human beings with very different needs. We talk about what normal regressions look like for the older child and how to manage them. We talk about the illusive work/life/self-care balance and how utterly impossible it feels when you add a second child to the mix.

Have you recently added your second child? Join me for this wonderful group.

See the description and registration details below:

Second Time Parent Group (For parents and second babies 0-6 months old)

Many say that adding a second baby to your family is an even bigger transition than the first time around. Come meet other second time parents for this 6 week series.  We will spend time discussing the new challenges and joys of a growing family in a non-judgmental and supportive environment. Possible topics include: challenges with your older child as they transition to their new role as sibling, how to manage feeding and sleeping with both children, and reviewing typical baby patterns and developmental phases. We will end each class with a mini-circle time, a great way for you to bond with your new baby.

Note: I find most parents get much more out of the group if they can attend without their older child. However, if childcare for your older child is a barrier to attending, please contact me and we can discuss how to make it work.

See dates and registration on my Parent Classes page.