Each Tuesday from 12:30-1:30pm Month 10 hosts a Mamas Cafe. This is a weekly event that you can attend as a person expecting the birth of a baby or a person caring for a little one. We've people exclaim, "Charlottesville is a great place for family!" This is a fact because the Charlottesville community offers much in the support in helping you raise a family in a confident manner. Tap into the community resources by joining us at Mamas Cafe. All, and of all ages are welcome. We meet at Great Harvest Bread Co. in McIntire Plaza.
Too often, we hear that parenting is an isolating experience. It is difficult meeting others who are at the same place in your lives. This can be especially true if you are new to Charlottesville or feeling shy in your new role as a parent or parent to be. Some regular attendees of Mamas Cafe have made friendships that have lasted beyond pregnancy and postpartum and into the toddler years.
Our bodies crave a rhythm. Rhythm can be a centering point when other aspects of your life may be chaotic. Babies, like us, also thrive when there is a predictable pattern to the day or week. See last weeks blog post for more information on creating rhythms and "schedules."
How do you find time for self care when there always seems to be so much to do or someone always needing your attention? Taking care of your basic needs can be daunting during pregnancy or when caring for a newborn. Come by to Mamas Cafe, grab a sandwich or a beverage, and let us hold your baby while you take a breath. We LOVE holding babies.
4. Alleviate Mood conditions
The CDC claims 11-20% of people will experience pre or postpartum depression and anxiety (these are just two of the many perinatal mood disorders) during pregnancy or within the first year of parenting. Having a regular place to go, where you are met by supportive individuals can help alleviate the heaviness and darkness that sometimes comes with parenting.
There is so much accessible information about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, it is difficult to know where to start and what to believe. Each week Mamas Cafe is hosted by on of the Month 10 doulas. We are professionals who are specialized in supporting you during pregnancy and/or postpartum. Our practices are evidence based, non-judgmental, and we support your parenting choices.
As a postpartum doula I am often asked this question. Our lives are scheduled and one of the hardest things for new parents to adjust to is the uncertainity of living with this new memeber of the family who has none. I prefer to think of it as "bringing baby into rhythm" instead of putting her on a schedule. Below is an article I wrote for my parent child class at Charlottesville Waldorf School.
If you have questions please don't hesitate to contact me...or better yet...if you have time tomorrow (9/15/2015), for lunch join me at the Momma's Cafe at CVille Coffee at 12:30!
Rhythm and Ritual
Dianne Bearinger 10/2011
One of the things that most new parents find unnerving is just how arrhythmic their newborn babies are. Newborns have irregular breathing patterns, heartbeats, and sleep patterns. Skin to skin contact is so important at this stage. Up against her mother’s bare chest a new baby starts to tune her own rhythms to those of her mother. This process of “coming into rhythm” is something that continues for the first three years of a child’s life and it helps to form the physical foundation that she will stand on for her whole life.
Our bodies function in a rhythmic way. Our heartbeat and breath give us constant reminders of this. We have, as a culture, lost our connections to the natural rhythms that connect us to the earth. The cycles of light and dark, the phases of the moon, and the round of the seasons, have a diminished impact on us with all of our electronic devises. And yet, many people notice that they feel healthier when they, to some extent, reestablish these connections. People, around the globe, flock to the coasts, for example. Some of the refreshment they find there, I believe, is the connection to the beat of the waves and the turn of the tide. It is easy to be in tune with a kind of breathing as the waves come in and then recede; and as the tide swells and then pulls back. In fact, if we observe them, natural rhythms have a breathing quality to them.
The mood behind bringing a young child “into rhythm” is much different than “getting them on a schedule”. It is a gentle process that takes into account the need for balance in the day. A good way to begin this process can be to establish regular sleeping and eating times. It can be very empowering to a young child to grasp where they are in their day. Time is an abstract concept for him. It is much easier for him to understand that it is almost morning snack time, or afternoon naptime. Arranging the child’s day in this predictable pattern can avoid many of the power struggles that tend to happen around the age of two or three. Naptime just is. It is always at this time. “It is lunch time, you know what comes after that, naptime.” It can be helpful to organize the day with a balance of “out- breathing” activities, (like outside play), with “in-breathing” activities, (like quiet story times). I like to draw the distinction between rhythm and schedules; rhythm is alive and elastic, schedules are linear and can be unchanging. If we work in a rhythmic pattern, things come in the same order every day but sometimes lunch, for example, takes longer. This can create a sense of spaciousness to the day.
Arranging the child’s week in a similar way can also be helpful and empowering to the young child. Tuesday is “playgroup day”; Wednesday is Story time at the Library. These associations with the day speak more directly to the child’s experience and again help them to find their way around to know where they are and what to expect. One family I know has a big monthly wall calendar with certain pictures for dance classes, or play group day. Birthdays or a special play date can be noted there as well, and the child slowly understands the round of the week and where she finds herself in it.
And then, of course, there is the round of the year. In our area we have four distinct seasons. This round can also be experienced in terms of the breath; with the out-breathing being midsummer and the in-breath midwinter. Just like regular sleep and meals times are the basis of a daily routine or rhythm, celebrating the change of the seasons can be the basis of the round of the year, no matter what religious tradition you practice.
The holiday or seasonal celebrations can be very simple, sharing a special meal, lighting special candles and beautiful centerpiece on the table. These family traditions grow to be something the child anticipates and remembers.
Children thrive on the regular predictable movement in their days, weeks, and years and they also thrive on ritual and magic. One of the gifts of early childhood is that the most ordinary things seem sacred. We can enter into this mood with our children by adding rituals to their daily lives. Simple blessings before meals can change the whole mood of this time together and bring a sense of gratitude.
Earth who gave to us this food
Sun who made it ripe and good
We’ll not forget what you have done.
Ritualizing bedtime can make all the difference as well. One song that the family always sings together at this time of day can be a great comfort to a child. A simple prayer can be as well.
Guardian Angles, who we love,
Shine on us from up above
In the morning when we wake,
Show us the path of love to take.
Rhythmic and balanced days, weeks and years, punctuated by family rituals and celebrations create a firm foundation for our children to stand on and grow into.
We knew they were amazingly aware and sensitive but we never knew newborns were taking ALL of life in at THAT kind of rate! Yes, it's true: newborns make 42,000 connections in their brains per minute! And, what is even almost as incredible is that this rate of growth and cognitive functioning continues on at this kind of lightning speed for the first 3 years of life! Wow!
That being said, what better time to invest in their well being than in those first most influential days, weeks, months.
Postpartum doulas are trained to understand and comprehend the needs of the newborn on so many levels. One of their most important roles is to convey their needs and subtle nuances to their parents and then help parents know how to respond in an optimal way. When baby's needs are understood and met, mamas are happy too. Plain and simple...!
Join us every Tuesday from 12:30 to 1:30 at Great Harvest in the McIntire Plaza in Charlottesville for our weekly Mamas Café!
We look forward to seeing you at the new space - filled with light and a friendly kids' corner. Plus, enjoy some healthy sandwiches and salads while we talk and share. Older siblings are welcome!
For our first meeting in the new location, Great Harvest is generously offering 50% off every sandwich purchased by anyone attending Mamas Café! So bring a friend, child, neighbor, family member with you - all are welcome!
Mamas café is hosted by postpartum doulas who can answer your questions and provide resources as well as insight into mothering and understanding newborns. We hold this space for you mamas to share your experiences, questions, and your own knowledge with us and other moms or expecting moms.
We look forward to seeing you and getting to know you!