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Dear friend,

First, you are very smart to explore what Labor of Love Doulas can do for you. I applaud you for making the effort to have an informed and empowered birth.
Second, I hope you will explore more than hiring a doula.

My husband and I invested in classes and services with LOL, and I want you to hear me when I say, it was worth every cent.

Matt (husband) and I took the FUNdamentals class and Wisdom for Breastfeeding class, and I took Aligned and Ready on my own. We invested in Kristen to be our labor and postpartum doula, and I had my placenta encapsulated. Of the investments we made, not a single one is something I feel I could have done without. My top 3 list goes like this: 1) FUNdamentals class, 2) postpartum doula, 3) placenta encapsulation. Matt’s goes, I think, like this: 1) FUNdamentals, 2) labor doula, 3) Breastfeeding class. That’s right, my husband truly appreciated a class about breastfeeding!

Hiring a doula is a great step as you try to have the birth experience of your dreams, but a doula is not a magical creature. If you go into labor with a doula but no knowledge, you’ve greatly limited her ability to help you. If you go into labor with plenty of knowledge and a doula by your side, you will have the best possible outcome for your birth experience, in my humble opinion.

I had a fantastic benefit of a prenatal nurse, provided at no cost by my insurance company, that I could call at any time during my pregnancy. When I told her that I was planning to use a doula and attend classes offered by the doula group, she was thrilled. She told me that she expected I would have no questions that hadn’t already been answered accurately in my classes, and she was right. On occasion I asked her opinion on things just to check that it was consistent with what I had learned in class, and it always was. I feel that what Matt and I learned in the classes we took was more accurate and  balanced than what we would have learned in a hospital class, and certainly far more accurate than “Dr. Google” could ever have told us. We went in to our birth experience with eyes wide open, and emerged whole and satisfied. I credit the classes we took with giving us that peace of mind.

I sincerely hope that you, reading this letter, make the choice to invest in your birth experience. Invest in the right knowledge and the right support staff so that you experience birth in the way you desire. Remember, you can get all kinds of advice on the internet for free, and it will prove its worth, or you can invest in classes with birth professionals who have done the research and know the answers. I’m glad that I chose to use Labor of Love Doulas, and I had an empowered and informed birth thanks to them.

Best Wishes,
Sara Gard

“I just wanted to convey my gratitude towards Teresa and Charlotte.

katherine and babyThe services provided by Labor of Love extends beyond a gentle birth. I believe having Charlotte present during my long labor and birth made a world of difference. The Birth Circle classes and Charlotte gave me the tools I needed to make informed decisions. As someone who is extremely left-brained, I approached birth from a very analytical view. I had a doctor and hospital lined up and I thought I was set. After attending the classes, I switched both my doctor and hospital to a midwife group and North Fulton. I believe this decision helped me avoid a c-section because at any other hospital the doctors would have pushed for one. The classes also helped me view birth from a much more natural point of view. I was able to step away from all the numbers and facts and simply enjoy the fact that I was bringing a beautiful life into the world and that this process extended beyond the science. They helped me bring my wonderful son into the world and I am forever grateful!

I also cannot say enough about the breastfeeding classes and services offered by Teresa. I had my heart set on breastfeeding but between a lip and tongue tie, my son and I had an extremely rough start. After 3 different lactation consultants, it was Teresa who pointed out the tongue tie. It was Teresa who managed to get my son latched. It was Teresa who referred us to a lactation consultant who confirmed the lip tie. After a full month of tears and feelings of hopelessness, my son became exclusively breastfed. It made a world of difference. I love breastfeeding and I hope to continue with it for as long as possible. I’m so glad I continued to fight for it and I know without Teresa’s help I would have given up a long time ago and my son would have ended up formula fed. Teresa helped us give our son a healthier and natural start to life that I would not have been able to achieve on my own. She took time out of her day to help us through meetings, phone calls, and texts. She was nothing but a godsend in a situation where I felt nothing but despair. Obviously, I highly recommend the whole package because you never know what you will need help with. The doulas are there to ensure that your baby grows healthy naturally and happily.?

Katherine

 

Shelia Matthews's photo.

Recently I posted about our upcoming classes and Shelia Matthews responded with this generously sweet recommendation. I wanted to share it on our blog!

I very highly recommend this class for all parents-to-be. My husband and I were well-informed and very prepared for our son’s birth as a direct result of the BOLD classes. This course taught us a variety of laboring techniques, very important early decisions we would make regarding our newborn, and most importantly- this course provided a channel for us to comfortably explore each other’s expectations and perceptions so that there were no misunderstandings during my birthing experience. Seriously, just take the class because it covers so much more than that and you’ll both enjoy it!

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Jeni Stansbury-Clark is an amazing doula!! I knew it from the moment I met her. She’s so friendly, I felt like I was talking to my sister!

She has been there for the birth of my last two babies. The first one didn’t go exactly as planned but she stayed with me, was calm, helped me make informed decisions throughout my entire labor and beyond. I never felt judged like I thought a doula might, when I opted for pain meds. She helped me latch my son on to breastfeed after he was born. She even had resources for placenta encapsulation!

My second birth she assisted with, she helped me through making decisions after my baby went breech at 39 weeks, and knew which Drs to have me talk to, and what my birth options could be.

The labor and delivery of this one was much different and much faster than the last. But she was there, praising my breathing, encouraging me to continue, giving me other methods when labor became more intense, doing and saying all the right things. I can’t say enough good things about her or the way she helped empower me!

I will forever be grateful that Jeni was there for my births, and recommend her to everyone I come across who is interested in hiring a doula. I consider her family.

Jen Asay

We received another sweet note from a student!thanks too
We know that the reason my son arrived so happy and healthy and smoothly was thanks to you and Charlotte. You helped me discover how I was already designed for such a beautiful process and how I could really train to have the focus and stamina for a natural birth. We tried to keep an open mind but as I had struggled with fibromyalgia tendencies I really wanted to avoid any interventions if possible. In addition to the physical worries I wanted to overcome I suffered from PTSD after a series of unfortunate events during my early 20’s. Rather than turn away from all my worst fears, listening to yours and Charlotte’s words and opening up my mind to embrace all that I was holding within enabled me to overcome it when I was in labor. Because I had taken the time to talk all of this through with my husband and doula, there were no surprises. What you shared through the couple’s classes enabled my husband to really step in and be a part of bringing his son into this world as well. He told everyone that he thought it was the coolest thing he had ever done! This from someone who was not going to be in the delivery room …You taught us how to laugh and talk to each other and depend on each other, again!
Thank you for everything as we have had an incredible year! I continue to recommend A Labor of Love as I have had many friends and colleagues begin their families in the last few months.
Katherine

We have taught nurses and even medical physicians and gotten recommendations from them. But today when I opened up my email and found these kind words, I asked if I could share them with you. They are so kind.

gee thanks

I routinely recommend the BOLD weekend with Teresa and Charlotte from Labor of Love, and knew well before I got pregnant with my first that I would want to attend one of these weekends myself.  Being a midwife with a deep trust in birth and the journey of motherhood, I still felt that this weekend was a gift that I was giving to myself and my unborn child.  It was an empowering time to get connected with mind, body, soul, and a community of women sharing something special.  Women lead busy lives with much to do, and don’t often get the opportunity to discover, or re-discover the sacredness of this time with child. Different than any partner/couple based birth classes, which I also think are helpful, the BOLD weekend can really help women reveal their deepest wishes and innate desires, not just for birth, but for life.  We never know what the future will hold, but we deserve to live life without fear, and further, to welcome it with eager joy and anticipation. I have been quite impressed with the peace and power women come away with after they attend this weekend.  I cannot recommend it enough.  Thank you Teresa and Charlotte for all that you do for families.

Anjli Aurora Hinman

Co-Founder/Certified Nurse Midwife at Atlanta Birth Center, Certified Nurse Midwife at Intown Midwifery and Provider/Volunteer at Community Advanced Practice Nurses, Inc.

 

It was a pleasure being her guide as she increased her BOLDness with our BOLD Women’s Weekend. Thanks Anjli!

Jana wanted a different experience this time than her two previous medicated births. She is one of our postpartum doulas. She decided to have Renee, not only her friend but now her doula at her birth and she decided to take our BOLD Women’s Weekend to prepare. This is what she shared.

jana and baby

What I loved about the class:

  • I loved that it pushed me over the edge from thinking I might be able to go without drugs to believing that I absolutely could.
  •  I loved the group aspect and the different perspectives. I learned so much from each person even if their situation was very different from mine.
  •  I loved the feeling of empowerment that came through in the different exercises in various ways.
  •  I loved feeling supported in a bigger way. I had always viewed support as an almost tangible and very obvious thing.
  •  Through the Bold weekend I learned that the feeling of support from generations of women or from women all over the world that I don’t even know is just as powerful and necessary.
  •  I loved the calming nature of the weekend.
  • At first I was sort of put off that it was an entire weekend of my time away from my family. I realized after the fact that I needed that time in it’s entirety not only to calmly and slowly understand myself and this birth, but to also take a minute in a very hectic life to be still.
  •  I loved the wealth of knowledge that you both have in similar and different ways. It made everything feel very well rounded.
If I’m being honest, I’m not sure I would have done the weekend if I didn’t work for Labor of Love. I think that many women would see it as unnecessary to spend a whole weekend at a birth class. In fact, on Sunday I left the weekend and met some friends for dinner and they were very confused about what I was doing and why I did it for the whole weekend. I know that’s not the case for everyone, but in my world and my circle of friends you just go and have a baby and you don’t put much into yourself and your birth as you should. But this is not only being a birth class but a time to evaluate, reflect, and learn about yourself AND your birth. It’s unfortunate, but in this day and age women just don’t do things like that for themselves nearly as much as they should. Also, I did not know what to expect by the term birth circle, but I loved learning about birth not only from the instructors but also from the other women in the group. Many birth classes are teacher led and the Bold weekend is very different in that regard.
Jana went on to indeed have the birth that she had visualized, an unmedicated birth supported by her doula, Renee and her husband.

 

Dear Labor of Love,

I would like to write a short letter to express my gratitude to your practice and especially to my doula, Renee Wymer.   I had never heard of a doula’s prior to a friend’s suggestion when I said that I desired a natural birth, but I am very thankful that she made the suggestion.  From the moment I first called Renee, to the group meeting, to the classes, my husband and I felt welcome and that all my fears, joys, and emotions were justified and valid.  As many of you may know, when you are expecting, I craved a non judgmental person to tell me that I was normal as well as a person that I trusted to tell me if something was wrong.  In addition, my husband was included in all aspects and treated as a valued and necessary entity, which was more important than words can express.  The classes were comfortable and informative, and prepared me and my husband well for delivery.

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Now, I should address Renee.  To begin, my pregnancy story was not the typical.  Instead of date nights and vacations to get pregnant, mine involved IVF injections, many ultrasounds, egg counts, disappointment, and fear.  Needless to say, I had a lot of fear and stress when getting pregnant, which to my dismay, did not totally dissipate once pregnant.  I had so many questions, but felt awkward calling the doctor’s office, and while my husband tried to help, he did not have answers to my fears.  Enter Renee.  From the first phone call to the last push during delivery; she was warm, well spoken, understanding, and able to give the answers that I needed.  She took every text, phone call, and email and responded in a straight forward way to keep me as level headed as possible.

On the day of my delivery, nothing happened the way we expected.  My labor was very short and the contractions were difficult to time.  Renee was with us from the first inkling that something was happening to the minute she told us that we had to get to the hospital quickly.  I remember bits and pieces of the rush of the delivery, but one moment sticks out clearly.  We arrived just in time and there was a lot happening to set up the triage.  I had just begun pushing and was relying on the doctors to tell me when because I could not tell when the contractions were happening. Thus as you can imagine, things were crazy and I felt like I was getting lost in the mess.  Renee ran in, and immediately leaned in close to me and told me to focus and that I knew my body best.  Immediately I felt more calm and in charge.  Three pushes later, my son was born. 

After delivery, she was an advocate to get things started in the right direction.  As soon as possible, my son was on my chest and latched on.  I truly believe that this immediate introduction to breast feeding taught him a proper latch, which has helped me to have pain free and enjoyable nursing.  Something few of my friends has experienced without a lot of work.  Renee was also available after we were home for questions and to help us adjust through the initial days.  She truly is a gentle soul, who has a gift in reading personalities, working with them, and finding a good solution.

In short, through the services of Labor of Love and Renee, I was able to have a good and totally natural birthing experience.  I am truly grateful for everything that you have provided and suggest your services to everyone that I know who is pregnant for doula services or classes.  Your company helped us to feel empowered and fully educated during this process so that we were able to bring our son in to our world with confidence and based on decisions that we were able to have made and debated prior to delivery.

Julia Boyd

Recently we posted some comments some of our students shared http://alaboroflove.org/2013/02/women-are-becoming-bold-about-their-births/ but today we got another great letter that we felt we had to share!

“Thank you so much for offering these trans-formative classes.  I truly believe the work you are doing is making a difference.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in on the first day but I can tell you I got what I needed even though I had no idea I needed it!  It was the missing link to fully preparing my mind and body for birth.

For any women who are looking for a great way to prepare for their upcoming birth, the BOLD method as I experienced IS:

  • IT IS the exploration of your feelings, beliefs, and attitudes towards birth.
  • IT IS the release of any fears, worries and judgments that may hold you back in labor.
  • IT IS building a vision for your birth.
  • IT IS practical hands-on preparation including pain coping techniques, optimal labor positions and guidance for partners.
  • IT IS creative and fun while providing a deeper, connected understanding and confidence in your body.
  • IT IS about trusting your intuition, being your ultimate guide, and taking responsibility for your birth.
  • IT IS empowerment at its core.

Both Charlotte and Teresa are inspiring women to learn from.  They get down to the nitty gritty, are passionate about birth and give you a safe space to unleash, get clear, re-build and create the birth of your dreams.  My favorite analogy of the weekend was that labor is a lot like running a marathon.  If you don’t train for it how can you expect to be allowed to compete?  Marathons are not just physical training but mental as well.  Being a runner, I can relate to “Hitting the wall” when you physically can’t go on, it’s your mind that pushes you through.

 

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I feel prepared, confident and excited about my upcoming birth.  I am so grateful to you both for all that you have shared!

Thank you!”

Rebecca

 

I received this note today:

Dear Teresa,
Happy Valentine’s Day!! I hope you are having a lovely day (off) and hopefully enjoying time with your Valentine. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the help and support you gave me during Sophia’s birth… 2 years ago today! It truly was exactly the experience I wanted… and I often think about how well it went and am positive that one (HUGE) reason it went so well was that you were there. That was such a wonderful experience… and the elation I had that evening after she arrived (and I really was so thrilled), continues two years later. Thank you so much for doing what you do and touching my life in such positive and indelible way. Your spirit is so happy and strong… it is such a blessing that you share that with women… and that you shared it with me. Thank you!!
Love, Mindy

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I loved that she thought of me on her daughter’s birthday. I loved that I have great memories of her birth. I think I have spent at least every holiday with a family in a birth over the last twenty years. I do love my job and love notes like this that remind me that my work is helping to bring about great experiences and memories both!