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What is Doulas Etc.?

Doulas Etc.'s mission is to provide an ongoing discussion on issues relating to pregnancy, birth and family life; offer information on local resources; and maintain a presence in our community in order to promote the well-being of moms, babies, and families.

Winter Veggies

March 4, 2014

This winter has been rough! Between the record-breaking cold and the snow day after snow day, I have retreated to comfort foods to get me through. Many times comfort food ends up equaling meals that aren’t so great for me (Mac’N’Cheese, anyone?) Well, I have discovered my new comfort food. Or, maybe it is a whole comfort way of cooking – ROASTING!


Here I am with two of my boys “roughing” it through this crazy winter.


My three guys. Probably saying, “We want more veggies!” Okay, maybe not 😉

I will admit, it is so much easier for me to eat healthier meals in the spring and summer. During that time of year, I enjoy taking walks in my neighborhood when I can actually see the lovely, healthy food springing up from my neighbors’ gardens. Not to mention my weekly stroll through our Farmer’s Market- all of the in-season food just asking to be made into something yummy! Well, we are a long way off yet until my neighbors’ gardens and the Farmer’s market start giving me meal inspiration but thankfully, spring and summer aren’t the only seasons that offer us delicious and good-for-you food.  Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, apples, leeks, mushrooms, cabbage, cauliflower, parsnips, oranges, tangerines, carrots, beets, onions, as well as winter squash are among some of the great offerings that the colder months have to offer and so many pair extremely well with my new “cozy-blanket” of cooking- roasting.

Out of that list of fruits and veggies, I have roasted every single one of them except for the oranges and tangerines (will have to give that a try next!) and, so far, I haven’t met a roasted food that I hadn’t liked. Even vegetables that I thought I didn’t really like before, like Brussels sprouts, were amazing roasted. Roasting food brings out the natural sweetness- giving you a browned, caramelized, crispy treat that seems to be, now that I’ve tried it, the only right way to prepare these foods 🙂 I don’t really have a roasting “recipe” per se and there are many great how-to’s on how to roast vegetables (and yes- you can roast fruit as well. Be sure to try some apples!) but let me just encourage you to not give up on delicious, healthy eating in these cold, winter months!


Doula Workshop

October 7, 2013

Malory Teegarden and Jessica Poppe of Doulas Etc. are very excited to offer a two-day workshop just for doulas! Whether you are someone just starting off, trying to figure out if becoming a doula is right for you, or you’re an experienced doula who would love more hands-on instruction – we have seen a need for training for this amazing profession in our community and have made this workshop for you! We have split this training into two-days:

  • On Friday, December 6th we will be focusing on offering support. We will cover a summary of pregnancy; nutrition; pregnancy exercise; common prenatal care; and pregnancy discomforts and comfort. We will learn about the labor process; comfort measures/tools; your “doula bag”; providing care in both a hospital and home setting; the role of the doula; offering emotional, physical, informational, support; supporting the partner; advocacy; positions for labor/birth, etc. There will be lots of hands-on practice in a fun environment.
  • The second day (Saturday, December 7th) we will shift gears to discuss running a doula business. We will explore breaking down your fee; finding clients; keeping records; organization; communication; handling being on-call; partnerships and back-ups; writing a contract; using social media; marketing; professional development/continuing education; etc.

You will receive a packet of forms you may use with your business (including client intake form, initial phone inquiry form, and previous birth experience worksheet) as well as a binder with tons of great information. The cost for the two-day workshop is $150

We understand that someone who is not necessarily wanting to go into business as a professional doula but still hoping to provide labor support as a person “trained” to do so for a family member or friend may want to only attend the Friday session. Likewise, someone who may have already attended several births and is comfortable with providing support but would like more help when it comes to running the business side of things may only want to attend the Saturday session. That is fine! You may choose only one day of the workshop for $95 (you will still get a binder with great information specific for the day you have selected. Only those attending the Saturday workshop will receive the packet of doula forms)


WHAT: Doula Workshop

WHERE: Normal, IL ( near BroMenn Hospital. You will receive the exact address after registering. )

WHEN: Friday, December 6th – Saturday, December 7th
9:30a – 3:30p (with a break for lunch)

COST: Two-Day Workshop $150 (included: a binder with tons of great info and a packet of doula forms you may use for your business)
Friday Only $95 (Your binder will only include materials covered that day and you will not receive the doula forms)
Saturday Only $95 (Your binder will only include materials covered that day. You will receive the doula forms to use).

Doulas and The Golden Hour

September 25, 2013
Photo credit: Amanda E. Photography

Photo credit: Amanda E. Photography

The first hour of your baby’s life is often referred to as “The Golden Hour” because of the importance of maternal-infant bonding right after birth. Having a doula can be a great way to protect this special time. A doula’s job is to offer emotional support, physical comfort, and assistance in obtaining information. During prenatal visits a doula will help you envision your Golden Hour and how you would like this immediate postpartum period to look.
Certainly, a great reason to have a doula is to ensure your preferences for this period are communicated to the hospital staff, but here are 5 other things a doula can do during this transition that you may not have thought of:

1. A doula is encouraging.
It is pretty common for a new mom to feel a full array of emotions all at the same time: extreme joy, concern, relief, disbelief, excitement and awe. Sometimes a mom will feel exhausted after the hard work of labor, but more often she experiences a rush of adrenaline and renewed energy. A doula can be there to reassure you that these feelings are normal and that “You did it! Your baby is here!”

2. A doula helps keep the focus on the MotherBaby dyad.
I was first introduced to the idea of a MotherBaby dyad in a breastfeeding course. The definition of a dyad is, “a group of two people, the smallest social group’ and “two persons involved in an ongoing relationship or interaction”. It is easier to recognize the dyad during pregnancy- which is the epitome of “two persons involved in an ongoing relationship or interaction.” But birth is not just the process of moving a baby from inside of a mom to the outside. It is a transition for the dyad and the best way for this transition to occur is with mom and baby as close as possible. Evidence shows that this immediate skin-to-skin contact stabilizes and regulates baby’s body temperature, blood sugar levels, breathing, and heart rate. Also, having baby placed on mom’s chest will stimulate mom’s uterus to contract and aids in delivery of the placenta and controlling postpartum bleeding. Most hospitals (especially baby-friendly ones!) have responded to this evidence and try to ensure early skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby. Even so, hospital staff have to focus on the separate clinical assessments of mom and baby. But a doula, not having to worry about clinical care, is free to view mom and baby as one and care for them as such.

3. Doulas recognize that you are the expert when it comes to caring for your baby.
The most qualified person in the room to care for that new baby is not the doula, or the care provider, or the nurse- it is the mom. Her baby has instincts and is capable of communicating their needs to her and she has the ability to listen to and respond to her baby. Babies left alone on mom’s chest for an hour typically self latch, nurse better, and for a longer duration of time than other babies. A doula understands that by not interfering with mom and baby during this time but instead offering information on a newborn’s cues and capabilities, mothers experience increased confidence in their mothering, are more responsive to their babies, and have a more positive perception of their infants (Nugent, Petrauskas & Brazelton, 2009).

4. Fewer interventions during labor/delivery can mean fewer interruptions during the Golden Hour.
Research shows that the presence of a doula can lower instances of regional analgesia, anesthesia, vacuum or forceps-assisted deliveries, and cesareans. If we can lower the instance of interventions that may add discomfort to mom or baby, cause mom or baby to be drowsy or disorientated, or impact baby’s ability to latch on or suckle than we can offer mom and baby an easier transition from pregnancy to parenthood. Sometimes these interventions are medically indicated, beneficial, and necessary. In those cases, a doula still recognizes the importance of the Golden Hour and can help facilitate moms and babies being together as soon as possible. In the rare times that mothers and babies cannot be together, a doula can be an invaluable support during what very well can be an upsetting time. She can help ensure you have access to resources such as a breastpump, a lactation consultant, support groups, and information on relevant topics such as kangaroo care.

5. A doula can attend to the “little things” so you and your partner can focus on your new family.
Whether it is grabbing bags out of the car, requesting warm blankets for you and baby, or locating a meal for you or your spouse; your doula will be happy to attend to all of those “little things” so that you and your partner can spend that time bonding with your new baby.

If you are interested in locating a doula for your own birth, give one of us a call! Not local? You can check out:

World Breastfeeding Week

July 29, 2013

BFF Flyer-Final In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, Doulas Etc will be joining a host of other BF supporters at the 5th Annual Breastfeeding Friends Fair in Bloomington-Normal!!

This year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme is ‘BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT: CLOSE TO MOTHERS.’ Even when mothers are able to get off to a good start, all too often in the weeks or months after delivery there is a sharp decline in breastfeeding rates.  Traditionally, support is provided by the family but as society changes support for mothers from a wider circle is needed.

The Breastfeeding Friends Fair will give you an opportunity to meet other mothers, community groups and alternative care providers who want to help you meet your breastfeeding goals!

Stop by and see how we can support you, prenatal to postpartum, to set up what’s best for you and your baby.

This event is free and open to the public: Tuesday August 6, 10am-2pm at The Baby Fold 612 Oglesby Ave Normal, IL.



Happy Father’s Day

June 16, 2013

We here at Doulas Etc. want to wish a Happy Father’s day to all the dads out there- but especially to those dads we’ve been able to work with over the years. The chance to witness a dad support a laboring mom with the kind of love, familiarity, and tenderness that only he can offer is such a beautiful thing. Thank you for letting us be a part of your story!

This is my wonderful husband, Matt, supporting me through labor. Photographed by doula, Malory Teegarden.

This is my wonderful husband, Matt, supporting me through labor. Photographed by doula, Malory Teegarden.

Mother’s Day

May 12, 2013

As I type this out, I am holding a sad sick toddler and listening to my other two children coughing in the next room. It’s hard for a mama to catch a break!

Amazingly and thankfully I was able to get out for pedicures yesterday with my sister and was reminded again how vital it is to take care of yourself. What a treat yesterday was! The best part is that I came home two hours later, refreshed and ready to jump back in caring for sick littles.

As a doula I often remind mamas to make sure they are putting on their “oxygen mask” first, just like they instruct you to do on an airline flight. The reasoning is that if you aren’t taking care of yourself you will not be in the best position to be caring for your child. It really does go against our first instinct, doesn’t it?

I think as mothers the hardest thing to remember to do is to care for ourselves! Mother’s Day is a great reminder to do just that. We let our children and family pamper and love us, with cards, flowers, breakfast in bed.

But what about the rest of the year?
We need to remember that it is not only okay but important to put ourselves as a priority.

How can we do that?

•Basics like getting adequate sleep, food, water, and a clean shirt (can I get an amen? Clean shirts are hard to come by! Or maybe mine have just been overcome by snot the last week, ha!). Many days I find that I have neglected these areas!

•How about our minds? A night out with adult conversation, reading a good book (that is not about parenting!), beautiful poetry, meaningful lyrics in a great song, learning a new skill, etc.

•Spiritually too. Reading your Bible, worship songs, or whatever fills your soul up. Being out in nature and just soaking in the sun can make my spirit rejoice. It doesn’t have to be religious, but I strongly believe that no matter your faith, we are spiritual beings and so it is important not to forget about this aspect!

What are some ways that you have been neglecting yourself? How can you remedy that so you can be the best mama you can be?


Everyone here at Doulas Etc are wishing you a very Happy Mother’s Day! No matter where this day finds you, we wish you joy and sweet memories.

To the mamas who are unable to hold their sweet babies or their own mother’s hand, our hearts and thoughts are with you today.

Much love to you all!

International Doula Month

May 8, 2013

Well, here we are- May! I cannot believe that April flew by so quickly and May seems to be in just of a rush. Well, let’s slow down just one minute! It is International Doulas Month and we certainly don’t want to pass that by 😉 We would like to post a little bit this month more than usual on posts for our fellow doulas. We’ll kick things off by reposting this oldie from August 12, 2010: Being On Call

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After taking a little time off I am extremely excited that I will be “on call” starting tomorrow.  The on call aspect of the job is one that people ask me about a lot.  They are curious how I manage it, especially with three young children at home.  It has certainly been an adjustment over the last couple years (and not just for me but my family as well) but I have learned from others and picked up a few things on my own along the way that has made it a lot easier.  For those of you who are curious or you other doulas out there- here’s what I got:

Eat well. Of course I should be eating well anyway but when I’m on call I try to be extra conscious of this.  Every meal counts- that could be my last one for a while

Drink Lots of Water. This kind of goes along with eating well.  Attending a birth takes a lot of energy (sometimes emotional as well as physical) and I really need to be well hydrated.  I also make sure to bring water with me to a birth.

GO TO SLEEP! No, I shouldn’t stay up until 1:30am to watch scary movies with my husband because the one night I do I’ll get a phone call at 2am.

Plan ahead. I know who I will call to watch the kids at different times and days of the week and I make sure to talk to them ahead of time to give them a heads up.  There are also logistical things to plan ahead for. How will Matt get the car seats to pick up the kids if I’m the one that dropped them off? Which vehicle do I need to take? etc.

Be Prepared. Even though I was never a boy scout I have tried to take a page out of their handbook and strive to “Be Prepared” at all times.  This means keeping my phone charged and my bag packed.  I also need to have all of my client’s information (copy of birth plan, directions to house, etc.) organized and in a handy place.

Say thank you- a lot. The only way that I am able to do this is because of the amazing support I have from family and friends.  First, there is my incredible husband who has had to be woken up at three in the morning by an unfamiliar male voice asking “Is Jessica there?”  He is my biggest encourager and champion and a constant reminder of God’s provision and love.  My mom has also had to deal with strange phone calls… from me asking her to log into my e-mail and get me a phone number or address because I was still learning that whole “Be Prepared” thing and my brother Pete has received an early morning house call from me and then watched the boys for an entire day while I attended a birth. There are also the fabulous women in my life who are willing to take my kids at a moments notice.  Being able to leave my children with people that I not only know will take excellent care of them but who also love them means the world to me.  So to all of you who have supported me on this amazing journey- thank you!  I love you all ❤

I am sure there are some other great tips out there and I would love to hear them- whether from other doulas or anyone else that has ever had to be “on call”.