Babywearing: Health Benefits for Parents and Child

Hello, my name is Kara and I am an occupational therapist and one of the new WMC trusted community members. I am very excited to share my journey, both professionally and personally, with this community of moms in SETX. By … Continue reading

New Year, New Baby: The Birth of Hazel Addie

The day before Hazel was born I had a midwife appointment at 1pm. Jackie, my midwife, checked me and I was 4cm dilated. She stripped my membranes and stretched me to 5cm. I was 10 days overdue and she suggested I … Continue reading

Confidence is Key: NIP Without Fear

Tis the season to be running all over the place in a frenzy of percent-off sales, bustling strangers and un-napped, discontented children… Or something like that. It’s easy to forget when you’ve had about 12 hours of sleep… collectively.. over the … Continue reading

How To Take Your Baby On Vacation, In 5 Incredibly Difficult Steps

Some moms are amazing. They can take their children on vacation, expand those little minds, make memories, take pictures, and even manage not only to survive but enjoy their family vacation. As a part of the WMC Nation they’ll have read blog posts … Continue reading

Mothering In The Middle

After extensive research into comments sections and Facebook statuses, I have concluded there are only two groups of mothers. You must select one cult in its ENTIRETY. No picksy choosies. Group 1:  Dirty hippies. They love ebf, bwing, blwing, ap, … Continue reading

Listen To Your Mother – Auditions

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2015 Southeast Texas ‘Listen To Your Mother’ show! If you haven’t heard of Listen to Your Mother, then take a few minutes to check out their YouTube channel, here. The show is a … Continue reading

Kiss it and Make it Better

My youngest daughter recently fell and hurt her hand and what immediately ensued was her crying that cry that told me that even though she was going to be fine and we weren’t looking at an ER trip, she had really hurt herself and the only thing that was going to fix it was some snuggle time in my lap. I was doing some computer work but forgot all about it and went into auto-Mommy mode, a state that I know all you mamas are familiar with. “Come here and let mama kiss it and make it all better, Baby”, I told her. she climbed up in my lap and got some mama snuggles, I kissed her hand over and over and all was immediately right in her world again. In an instant, I snapped straight out of Mommy mode and I had one of those moments where some auto-piloted task that has been previously taken for granted suddenly becomes very, very profound.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Oxytocin. Much googling ensued and the information I turned up was exactly what I expected it to be. I already understood the power of oxytocin for laboring women and the oxytocin “high” that happens during many intimate situations like breastfeeding, childbirth and even love-making but this oxytocin release had done something for my baby that I’d never thought about before. It had helped to reduce her pain in a very real and tangible way that had offered her almost immediate relief.

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Oxytocin, in layman’s terms, is known as the “love hormone”. It’s released in our bodies anytime we have a pleasant encounter including skin-to-skin contact with another person. It’s also the primary hormone that controls labor and childbirth and that helps to establish the bond between a mother and her child in the postpartum period. There are so many postive effects that happen as the result of an oxytocin release that they’re almost to numerous to list. For today, though, I want to talk about it in regards to pain relief:

“Amazingly, oxytocin can also be used to heal wounds (through its anti-inflammatory properties). Studies have also shown that a rise in oxytocin levels can relieve pain — everything from headaches, cramps and overall body aches.”

If oxytocin and pain were WWE fighters, oxytocin would be Alberto Del Rio and pain would be some loser WWE fighter that you’ve never heard of. (Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a list of lowest ranked WWE fighters, by the way? Let me just tell you it’s hard. VERY hard. Even google doesn’t know. It must be some industry-guarded secret.)

Oxytocin is one of the hormones that are responsible for our monogamous nature as humans. When oxytocin is released, chemical pathways are formed in the brain which are similar to those that drug addicts form. In essence, oxytocin creates a state of “addiction” and over time, bonds us chemically to the people who are involved with the release of the hormone. This process is otherwise known as “falling in love”. Our brains are hardwired to pair-bonding as the result of this amazing stuff.

For more information on the amazing abilities of  oxytocin, check this out:

http://www.ahaparenting.com/ages-stages/pregnancy/oxytocin-pregnancy-birth-mother

Oxytocin, in regards to the story I told at the start of this blog post , was at work as I snuggled my baby girl and comforted her after she hurt herself. I’m not sure I’ve ever quite heard it talked about in this way, but as mothers, we can  literally “kiss and make better” our children when they’re hurting. Kissing and snuggling them causes an oxytocin release in us and them and oxytocin is linked to an increase in pain thresholds. Of course (and I hope I’m just paying lip service here and not actually surprising anybody with this), I’m not suggesting physical contact in the absence of necessary medical treatment. If your kid has fallen and sliced open his noggin, hugging them won’t make a fine and dandy substitute for heading up to the ER and getting sewn back together. It might just be one of those tools we can stash away in our mommy tool boxes for use while we wait, though.

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Mamas, your bodies are the result some of the pretty amazing evolutionary twists and some of their abilities achieve almost superhero status. Any of you who have ever used nursing your baby as a way to calm them down after a minor accident has seen the beneficial effects and the healing powers of oxytocin first hand. Keep those in mind as you snatch up your sweet little ones up the next time one of them encounters a minor bump and use it to your advantage – even if they do deserve it because the were doing the exact thing you’ve told them a hundred times would  hurt them for the hundred and first time!

WMC Doula, Amy Jones

Amy is one of WMC’s Founding Mothers with four children of her own; her oldest graduated high school and her youngest started Kindergarten in 2014. She’s currently rocking Southeast Texas as Founder, Chairman and Peer Counselor with the Beaumont Breastfeeding Coalition, a Breastfeeding Counselor with Breastfeeding USA, and waiting on the final exam to be the only Certified Professional Midwife in the Beaumont area and preparing for her upcoming role as a pregnancy surrogate. She is a DONA-trained birth and postpartum doula, welcoming over 100 babies into the world over the last few years. 

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At the Expo: a FREEBIE, a Seminar and other fun!

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Whole Mothering Center made an appearance at The Cumulus Baby and Family Expo this past Saturday. WMC doulas, Amy Jones and Emily Ochoa, were there to meet and talk with new and expectant parents along with WMC founding mother, Heather Thomas and our featured blogger, Anna Sites. This was Whole Mothering Center’s first year participating in the event and we were so honored to have been asked to present a seminar on “Preparing for Birth and Beyond”.

We drew for and gave away a $575.00 value doula package during the expo. Lots of hopeful familes entered to win and a very sweet first time expectant mom, Dorian Chapman, won the package. Emily and Amy are looking forward to working with her as she prepares to meet her new baby girl in a couple of months. We will be following Dorian in our blog as she gets closer to her due date and updating you all with frequent blog posts after our meetings with her and her husband. Dorian is planning a natural, intervention-free birth in a Beaumont area hospital with Dr. Kevin Waddell, who just happens to be one of our favorite local OBs. Dr. Waddell stopped by our booth at the expo and spent a bit chatting with us and we were all so pleased to see him. Dorian’s going to have a great birth with him and we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with her and offer her support in achieving her goal of a natural birth! As a bonus, we’ll be photographing her birth and we’ll share those photos in our blog as soon as we can get them uploaded once her baby arrives earthside…all of us at WMC are eager to meet Miss Avery Ryan sometime in October!

During our seminar, we began with talking about Whole Mothering Center’s history and services that we offer to the local community. We moved on to speaking about birth plans, including how to write one, why they’re important and how Whole Mothering Center helps our clients work through writing a birth plan. We discussed different pregnancy and labor providers like doulas, midwives and obstetricians, how each of those providers serves pregnant and birthing women, how their roles overlap and how to integrate each into pregnancy and birthing experiences. Informed consent was a primary focus of our seminar and we defined it, talked about how it is obtained, how to revoke consent, what the responsibilities are of the provider who obtains informed consent from a patient as well as what the responsibilities are of a patient granting it, and how doulas can help their clients as they grant their medical providers their informed consent. We also presented birthing location options available to local women. For Southeast Texas, these include birthing at home, at a birth center and at area hospitals which have labor and delivery units. We talked about the pros and cons of each location and what services providers who work in those locations can provide to birthing women. Finally, we stressed the importance of women surrounding themselves with a supportive community as they move through pregnancy and into new mommy-hood. Finding a tribe is such an important part of becoming a mother and Whole Mothering Center offers several free opportunities for local women to find like-minded mama friends who can mentor them and offer advice as they navigate all the scary “firsts” that come along with becoming a new parent! For more information, visit our services page!