The magic of new parents gathering 

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I’m two weeks into the first parent group I’ve run since the spring. While I’m regularly with new parents in their homes, I was reminded the past two Fridays of the power of bringing together first time parents. While many of the folks in the group have other supports; family, friends with older kids, postpartum doulas, those supports are so different than the support they provide to each other.

They say that having a baby is the biggest life transition one can go through. I’ve also heard (and experienced) how when you are removed from the postpartum period and your children are older, you tend to forget what it truly is like.

The empathy these parents provide for each other is inspiring. The head nodding, sighs of “yes” or “me too!” create an environment of love and understanding. And when facilitated correctly, those with different experiences also feel the space to share and have their experiences validated with notes of “that sounds hard” or “wow that’s great.”

The shared experience of being thrown into new parenthood, an experience you can’t fully prepare for, no matter how hard you try, creates lifelong bonds. From my view as the facilitator, I can almost see the warm energy created in the room. It is magic.

Sign up for my next session of Getting Started here. Starts November 3rd!

November Session Registration Is online!

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Hello!

Thank you for all the amazing support. My first session of Getting Started will start next week, if you have been meaning to sign up, do it now!

I’ve also gotten many requests to set up the following session. So here it is:

Getting Started (For new parents and babies 2-14 weeks)-Fall 2

Join experienced postpartum doula Rachel Hess in a 5 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 new group.
Details:
$135 for one parent and their newborn (multiples welcome at no extra charge)
5 week 1.5 hour series
When: Fridays, 1:00pm-2:30pm
Dates: November 3rd, 17th, December 1st, 8th, and 15th (no class on November 10th or 24th).
Where: Akasha Yoga Studio in Roslindale, 20 Birch Street.
You can find the registration link here

 

Perspective

Aside

We often talk about how breastfeeding is a natural, but learned process. You have never done it before, your baby has never done it before, and it is a steep and stressful learning curve. On top of that, you are probably recovering from labor and are totally sleep deprived. You don’t recognize your body, your partner, or your messy, diaper filled house. This makes it hard to have perspective on what is going well and what still needs work. But perspective is exactly what we need in order to not get discouraged or scared. 

When I work with new breastfeeding parents who have any sort of struggles, I spend time sitting with them while they try to nurse. I know firsthand that frustration when a baby won’t latch, or falls asleep, or keeps popping off even though they are crying with hunger. And the time you have to take them off your nipple because it hurts, or the latch isn’t right. Those times can be so discouraging. But there are also moments when I sit with parents and baby latches, maybe not the first time, but after a few tries, and after a few minutes things are going so well we talk about other things (after the usual: “How does that feel? Any pain?” and “Are you comfortable? Can you relax your shoulders a bit?”) Those easier, faster, even sometimes relaxed nursing sessions are the ones we forget. Especially when the frustrating ones occur. Especially when they occur in the middle of the night.

I am not saying that breastfeeding always gets better. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Or sometimes there are longer struggles that involve more interventions. But often, for many people, even with a rough start, things do, slowly, start to get better. Progress is not a straight line up, it takes dips and curves and sometimes goes in unexpected directions along the way. When we can remind ourselves that we had successes in the past week it can make those hard times a little less hard. It is hard to encourage yourself when you are so exhausted. This is why a strong support system is so important in the early stages of breastfeeding. The people around you should be there to remind you of what a great job you are doing and validate the hard times while holding onto the good.

Updates!

Hello world,

I just wanted to share with you my summer teaching schedule. I am most excited about my new offering: a group supporting LGTBQ families with babies 0-6 months old. It will meet regularly for 5 weeks over the summer and the cost includes both parents! 

LGBTQ Parent Connections starts July 13th! 

http://www.mymamaandme.com/lgbtq-parent-connections/

LGBTQ Parent/Child Playgroup, monthly, $10 drop-in 

Summer dates:

  • Saturday, 6/7   | 3:30-5:00
  • Sunday, 7/13   | 3:30-5:00
  • Saturday, 8/2     | 3:30-5:00

http://www.mymamaandme.com/lgbtq-parent-group/

Preparing for Baby

Summer dates:

  • Saturday, May 31st  |   9:30-12:30
  • Wednesday, June 11  |  5:30-8:30
  • Saturday, June 21  |  9:30-12:30  
  • Sunday, July 13  |  9:30-12:30  
  • Thursday, July 17  |  5:30-8:30 
  • Sunday, August 3  |  9:30-12:30
  • Wednesday, August 27  |  5:30-8:30

http://www.mymamaandme.com/preparing-for-baby/

New Parent Groups, Thursdays, Starting June 19th!

For babies 0-3 months: http://www.mymamaandme.com/first-connections/

For babies 3-6 months: http://www.mymamaandme.com/growing-connections/

Child Development Classes, Fridays, Starting June 6th!

Come play with me!

http://www.mymamaandme.com/child-development/

 

If you have any questions about any of these classes, please contact me at rachelhessdoula@gmail.com