Processing Your Birth

Birth is not just a physical event. As our bodies heal in the following months from delivery, so do our minds.

There is much to process after baby is born. We continue to process our pregnancy, the stages of labor, delivery (and sometimes the complications that we associate), the journey to feed our baby-- all while our bodies heal, hormones shift, and sleep deprivation sets in (and we mentally process that too! We’re amazing).

The best way to evolve through this complex experience is through talking to someone who is equipped to listen and (when necessary, which is not all the time) provide insight.

Depending on the complexity, us doulas will sometimes refer families to a doctor. We do this when we recognize signs of anxiety, OCD, and depression. I most often see these when a mom has not had the opportunity to process her birth or there remains unresolved feelings of inadequacies, failure, isolation, and disappointment—anything outside of the normal baby blues.

To squash these feelings before they happen (and sometimes talking is enough prevention), It's important to schedule time with a postpartum doula.

The benefits to scheduling time to process your birth

  • Resolves feelings of inadequacies and failure

  • Let's you be heard and not judged

  • Allows you to gain valuable insight into ways/options you can heal (rebirth, skin to skin, etc)

  • Could potentially free you of negative feelings attached to delivery

What that time looks like varies from client to client. To learn more, give the Modern Doula a call.

new mom and baby

Exclusive Pumpers, this one's for you


Get comfortable— for the next few blog posts, I want to focus on infant feeding.

Before a baby is born, we have the best intentions to breastfeed. It's biologically normal and most people are able to learn how to do it with the right help. But it's not that simple.

There are two parties involved when it comes to breastfeeding, parent and baby. And while we get to know our baby from the inside of our bodies for roughly nine/ten months, we don't know in advanced what challenges might await until baby latches…or doesn't.

No parent, after a baby is born and says, “I can't wait to hook my boobs up to a machine to pull the milk out,” but for some of us, that's what we have to do.

From lip ties to tongue ties to returning to work, many mothers have to contend with electric and manual pumps.

I, myself, have been manually pumping for going on ten months! That's right. My hands are SO strong now (and uh…arthritic). Below is one mother's very difficult journey into Exclusively Pumping. What. A. Badass.


Exclusively Pumping; Exclusively out of Desperation

I planned to breastfeed throughout my pregnancy. I got a pump through my insurance company but I planned to nurse my baby exclusively when I wasn’t working. I was looking forward to the bonding experience and selfishly, I was looking forward to being able to say, “Hey look! Not only did I birth that but I can feed him, too! How amazing am I?” 

Then he was born. He latched right away (or so I thought). But a few hours later he was screaming. Lactation consultants were there to help and assured me we would figure it out. “Just keep trying,” they said. I hooked up to a breast pump for the first time 15 hours after giving birth. “It will help your milk come in,” they said. 

I sat in that hospital bed and pumped for the first time watching my husband bond with and feed my child with (gasp!) formula. 15 hours and I had already failed.

My milk came in and things were looking up, but he still didn’t consistently latch. He cried. I cried. Day after day. After a couple weeks and little weight gain I packed us up and we went to see a lactation consultant at the hospital. Diagnosis: lip tie + tongue tie. We had the tongue tie snipped, but he and I just couldn’t figure out the whole breastfeeding thing. 

My baby was hungry and losing weight. I actually had an oversupply of milk so I made the only decision that made sense – become an EP. Exclusive Pumper. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. My postpartum mind made me resentful. I resented my baby for not being able to latch. What kind of mother resents their baby? So I resented myself for that. I made my husband do every bottle feed and I pumped for the duration of the feed. I told myself that it was to keep a regimented schedule and maintain supply but honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to hold a bottle for my baby. So I resented my husband while he fed and bonded with my baby. These were dark times. It was months before my postpartum mind cleared enough for me to be able to forgive myself and feed my own baby with a bottle.

I returned to work and fell into a 4-pumps-a-day routine: 5am, 10am, 3pm, 8pm. I followed this strict schedule every day for 18 months – weekends, holidays, and vacations included.

There were moments I was positive my machine was shouting expletives at me with its rhythmic pulsing. “Fuck you, too,” I’d whisper back.

Please be assured that I don’t hate myself or resent my baby anymore. if you’re feeling similarly to how I felt, please get help. 

EPing is hard but it’s doable under the right circumstances.

A few things in my favor:

  1. A devoted partner. He’s seriously the real MVP

  2. I responded well to a pump.

  3. A respectful, accommodating, & understanding workplace.

  4. An office with a door/pumping room

Places I’ve pumped:

  1. Home

  2. Others’ homes

  3. Work

  4. Parked cars

  5. Moving cars

  6. Bathrooms

  7. Parks 

  8. Retail center parking lots 


First of all, thank you Brittany for your honesty and willingness to share. There are more dedicated moms like Brittany out there, silently fighting the good fight with their pumps. Secondly, it is important to get help, as a new parent, when we feel like the postpartum blues continue—like maybe what we are experiencing is more than a fog. I’m glad Brittany mentioned this. Mood disorders are more common than we think. People just aren’t reporting them! Please, get help. It’s hard enough to juggle expectations with reality. You shouldn’t have to also battle yourself .

The Shame is Real

I see you there. You read the title and started nodding vigorously. Anyone identifying as a parent has been shamed at some point in their quest for survival and joy.

Here is an exhausting list of things parents get shamed for. It's okay to laugh.

...then sigh. And remember, live and let live. We're all on the same team here.

  • Having an epidural

  • Having an emergency or elected C-section

  • Having a home birth

  • Having or acquiring a baby any kind of way

  • Not losing weight fast enough after birth

  • Losing weight too quickly

  • Dropping a bite of guac on the baby's head while you desperately try to eat your first meal in 12 hours.

  • Breastfeeding in public

  • Breastfeeding for over a year

  • Pumping at work

  • Breastfeeding at all

  • Formula feeding

  • Bottle Feeding any liquid

  • Not picking your baby up fast up enough when they're crying

  • Not letting your baby cry for a minute before picking them up

  • Holding your baby as they fall asleep

  • Putting your baby down, swaddled, to sleep

  • Nursing your baby to sleep

  • Not dressing your baby warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer

  • Not putting a towel on your baby fast enough after a bath.

  • Bringing your baby out in public too soon because you needed groceries

  • Not having a partner

  • Having a partner, but they're not standing right next to you at the moment

  • Having a child whose gender is too hard to guess

  • Having a child whose name is too “weird”

  • Having breasts

  • Not having breasts

  • Having a body with limbs and moving blood.

  • Breathing

Did I miss anything? Of course I did!

But seriously— be kind to yourself. You’re doing great, ok?

America Has a Hate Problem. Let's Talk About It.

Trigger Warning: Violence

It has been a draining weekend with news of shootings nipping at our heels. It seems that these violences, motivated by hate, have become as common as brewing morning coffee. It's hard to turn anger and fear into productivity while we are healing over and over again, especially when change seems so distant.

As a Jew, I personally worry about my daughter and what the future will bring for her, if one day someone decides that her life is not valuable. I am invested in influencing her and the children in her life towards acceptance and respect.

More importantly, it is my job as a postpartum doula, to ensure that after a baby has entered the world, they are safe and continue to be as such.

Although violence seems to be dominating our culture, there are some actions we can take as parents, while our hands are unfortunately tied in the gun reform department.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough

Though they are wonderful and healing. Calling your legislature and having a productive phone conversation is a harder push. If everyone called, voicemails would overflow with informed constituent messages. Then we might be able to push the conversation upwards! Don’t know how to talk to your senator or congressperson? Read this!

America has a problem with hatred, and men seem to be the ones most often acting out that hate. There, I said it.

It might seem overly simple, but we need to be having conversations with our sons, showing them physical and emotional love, and being an example of tolerance. We need to identify early violent warning signs and nip anger problems quickly. What to watch for?—Bullying (being both bullied and bullying--cyber and real life), violence towards animals, reclusion, acting out, visiting websites with messages of violence, etc. To learn more about how to identify the signs, read here.

Have a family plan

It can't hurt to have an exit strategy during festivals, while visiting theme parks, cinemas, and other places crowded with strangers. That strategy plan might simply be to designate the nearest safe place and how to get there as a family.

Be the ongoing eyes and ears for your community.

Law enforcement is usually the last to be alerted when a violence occurs. They are the bandaid placed over a wound that already exists. Look out for your neighbors and identify early warning signs mentioned above. Be there for your neighbors because they are the ones we turn to when times get difficult.

Get involved in your community. It's true that the actions we take ripple outwards. If we engage in showing our kids we are listening, invested, and care, we are creating a space for communication.