Find you a man who isn’t afraid to talk to his son about periods.
They were in the car together the other day and our son asked what I had been frantically looking for and why (tampons). So Daddy launched into a discussion about periods — the how, the why, the stuff. Ya’ll, without hesitating he lead this conversation. 👯♂️ Two dudes in the car chatting about periods.
We live in a culture where woman are too often shamed because we bleed (and for a million other things). This act of stepping up, pushing through any awkwardness, and NORMALIZING a vital process of the female body will help our son become a man who respects and honors women in ALL of their amazingness.
We have an open dialogue policy in our house. Questions are never “stupid”, gross, or weird. They are the gateway to expanding our minds, to learning about the tough stuff, and for growing into empathetic, understanding, and compassionate humans.
What conversations are you having with your kids at home?
Find you a man who isn’t afraid to talk to his son about periods.
We're so excited to be partnering with the team behind “More Than A Vessel”!
“More Than A Vessel” is a documentary exposing the silent truth on how pregnancy and postpartum medical practices in the United States are failing women. Women are coming away from their birth and postpartum experience traumatized, injured and overwhelmed. In the U.S. we put so much emphasis on the baby we forget about the mom, but she is more than a baby vessel.
To be considered for the documentary, email Kate at email@example.com.
Yes, you’re probably sick of seeing the term, but we’re going to talk about it again. If this topic wasn’t such a big deal then we wouldn’t be hearing it from every end of the earth right now. But it is a big deal — an important conversation because we (parents, specifically mothers) are exhausted, overworked, overstressed, and the last ones on the official “List of Shit To Do” to get any attention. So yeah, we’re going to chat about it today.
We know this topic runs much deeper than simply breathing deep and taking a hot bath. #truthbomb: we’re not set up to succeed as healthy-functioning new parents, which means that we carry the trauma and stress of procreating well beyond the fourth trimester. Parental leave in the first year postpartum is insufficient on a global level and the U.S. STILL falls embarrassingly low on the charts of industrialized countries who have paid leave policies in place. (“The US is the only high-income country in the world that doesn’t offer even a single day of maternity leave.” — Anna Gromada, UNICEF Office of Research)
So, yeah, there’s work to be done on that front, which will take time to implement. In the meantime, what can we do to lessen the blow, improve our health (and probably our lifespan), and help to ensure that we’re passing on some good old happy genes to future generations? Let’s have a look.
Get off social media. (Going to sit here quietly while that sets in.) Look, it’s time consuming, toxic, and breeds insecurity. We spend too much time staring and scrolling and judging. It’s hard to ignore research that shows a correlation between social media use and increases in mental health conditions. At the very least, set boundaries and time limits. Unfollow accounts and pages that don’t enhance your life in some awesome ways. You won’t miss them!
Talk to your people IRL. It would seem like we’re more connected to other humans right now (see #1 re: social media), but many of us are living in isolated bubbles trying to do this whole life and parenting thing on our own. Call your tribe, schedule face-to-face time, have a playdate where ya sit around and talk about the figurative mess of life while the babies and kiddos make happy literal messes. You need your people just as much as they need you. Don’t forget that.
*Bonus! We’re throwing in a few more things in case your self-care is in need of the quiet, reflective, zone out type of vibe. Here’s what we recommend:
We’re off to take some of our own advice here. What are you favorite quick and easy self-care tips?
This post includes links in which AustinBorn may earn a small commission on the good purchased.
Summer is here and we know many parents are gearing up (literally) to travel. Adventuring with babies and kids seems daunting -- especially if it's your first go at this -- but we have a few tips and tricks to help make your journey as smooth as possible.
It might sound ridiculous, but when traveling with little ones less is actually more. We prefer to take the minimalist approach when planning and packing for a family trip and here's why: Despite what society tells us about stuff, we typically don't need as much as we think even with a baby in tow. Are there essentials that we should plan to have more of in the event of an emergency (e.g. major diaper blowout.)? Absolutely. Does that mean we need 16 onesies in the diaper bag just in case. Nope.
Always inquire about family discounts when traveling. Does the airline offer a discount for a child’s fare? Does the hotel waive fees or offer any free amenities for families? You often have to call to get information on these, but it’s SO worth it.
Check to see if your destination has companies who rent gear for traveling families.* This was amazing when we traveled to Hawaii with our 9-month-old. We were able to rent a jog stroller, beach toys, and a pack’n play for our stay and we didn’t have to haul anything. They dropped it off to our hotel and picked it up the day we were leaving.
Phone a friend. If you’re traveling somewhere to visit friends and family, you best reach out to them ahead of time to see who has items you can borrow. Call on your people to lend a hand with things that can make your stay more comfortable and satisfying.
Need childcare during your stay? There are amazing companies who now provide babysitting and nanny services when you travel!** If you’re traveling domestically in the US, our favorite is College Nannies + Sitters. (We had a work event planned in another part of the state and a professional and qualified sitter was able to come to our AirBnb to watch our son.)
Sanitizing is KEY! Keep wipes handy so you can do a quick wipe down before the kids lick everything. Do not be afraid to be that person on the airplane cleaning every inch of your family’s seat area. (It could actually mean the difference between you being stuck with a sick kid in the hotel room or out enjoying a margarita with dinner. Think about it.)
Diaper stash essentials: extra diapers, 1 pack of wipes, hand sanitizer, diaper creams as needed. This changing pad is a life-saver when traveling because it keeps baby hands away from all the nasties. Don’t overpack these things. You’ll most likely be able to stock up on when you arrive at your destination.
Extra clothes for you and baby and a wet/dry bag to hold any messes. When flying, we always take 1 extra shirt for ourselves (and, TBH, a pair of undies just in case) and 4 extra pieces for baby. We find footed pjs to be the best option here. Babe stays warm and is less exposed. Pro tip: If you roll the clothes, they don't take up as much space in your bag.
A soft structured carrier. Our favorite is the Ergo 360. It works with children of different ages and sizes so it goes and grows with you. Take a carrier regardless of how short or long your travel may be. If you’ll be in and out of multiples airlines for a long period of time, then we recommend a lightweight stroller as well. Your back will thank you.
Distractions. There’s really no gentle way to say this. Whether you’re traveling with an infant or an 8-year-old, you’re going to need distractions. We recommend a mix of things your babe is used to and some new surprises that you’ll introduce along the way. Think small, light, and multi-function. (Take a look at our list linked below for some ideas.)
Self-care items for you. Rescue Remedy, rose water facial mist, and The Calm App. Calm has guided meditations, sleep stories for adults and kids, and soothing sounds. It’s great for those stressful travel hours and can help if you or your little one are having a hard time sleeping in an unfamiliar place.
We’ve compiled a list of products that can make family travel a little bit smoother. Click below to browse!
*Always check for recalls on products before renting.
**We recommend ensuring that any company you work with does thorough background checks and trainings for all of the care providers.
This post includes links in which AustinBorn may earn a small commission on the goods purchased.
As a doula, I am reminded time and time again that nothing about birth is predictable. No matter how much we plan or what we envision for the day we bring a child into the world, plans always change and sometimes tough decisions need to be made. It’s all about how prepared and empowered we are by the ups and downs, and by our team, that can really make for an awesome birth experience.
I had a healthy pregnancy and hospital birth with my son Lochlan four years ago so felt confident that I wanted, and would ultimately have, a home birth with my daughter. I picked amazing midwives and was preparing both mentally and physically to have her in the comfort of my bedroom by buying all the necessary items and reading everything I could about unmedicated births.
At 34 weeks, my daughter had other plans. I got out of bed on a Sunday morning and felt like I had wet myself but I knew that’s not what it was. I tried to take the day in stride. I wasn’t prepared to have her yet; there were so many loose ends I had to tie up and things I had to do to ensure her arrival was everything I had dreamed of. But after hanging out around our house, confirming with a simple test that I was in fact leaking amniotic fluid, and consulting with our midwives, my husband and I headed to the hospital that evening to have our daughter.
It was such a surreal experience to be back at the hospital where my son was born. It was a familiar place and somewhere I felt comfortable as I had volunteered for over a year in their postpartum and newborn care floor. But I had no experience in their NICU - a place where my daughter was sure to go once she was born. As I told a dear friend, being a parent of a premie in intensive care is a club you know exists but one you never imagine belonging to.
The staff were amazing and took good care of me. Knowing I was a doula who had planned on a home birth, they were respectful and thoughtful with the decisions I was making and left me and my husband to labor on our own (as much as a hospital can allow). While we waited for things to pick up, we watched movies, held hands, and with dry and sometimes tearful eyes talked through what life would be like once she arrived. Later the following afternoon, I had an acupuncturist come to my room to help alleviate stress, anxiety, and to hopefully kick start the labor process. My midwife became my doula and arrived that evening, about 24 hours after I was admitted.
The birthing process was somewhat of an outer body experience. I had been to 30 births and knew what labor looked like including the flood of people that emerged when a baby is about to be born and the sweet embrace that happens when mom and baby first meet earthside. My beautiful girl came fast, so when I was on the bed, I was simultaneously pushing but also taking inventory of the room to make sure all the necessary people were there. My husband and midwife were right next to me to keep me grounded, as it’s hard to be the mama and a doula all at the same time.
Of course I was so excited to meet my sweet girl but felt almost selfish about these feelings because I thought she wasn’t ready. And I was terrified that she wasn’t going to be ok when she was born, so when the sweet moment arrived I couldn’t bring myself to look down for fear that I couldn’t handle my sweet baby as she was. Aila was born and after I heard her first cry, I knew that she would be alright. For a brief few moments she was in my arms and my husband was allowed to cut the cord. The NICU staff were on hand and did what they needed to do and gave me a few more precious moments before she was taken upstairs to be hooked up to oxygen and a feeding tube.
As a birth worker, I have told countless parents that they need to take it easy and hunker down at home for at least the first few weeks to rest, recuperate, and bond with their baby. As a parent of a NICU baby, that just isn’t reality. Within hours after her birth, I was pumping around the clock to ensure she would have my colostrum and to increase my milk supply. It was eerily quiet in my hospital room without the sweet cries of my daughter. I would make the long trek to intensive care to see her all hours of the day and night to share just a few precious moments with her and by her second day of life I was finally able to hold her in my arms. I was discharged from the hospital after three days and came home to an empty bassinet and with a heavy heart. Every moment I wasn’t up there, I felt guilty and like a big piece of me was missing.
I am indebted to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin and the selfless donor mamas. My sweet daughter was the beneficiary of their generosity when I wasn’t able to supply her with enough milk within those first few days of her life. Providing breast milk to my daughter was important to me but was even more so as a tiny NICU baby. It’s something I will never forget and I hope to pay it forward in the near future.
My daughter spent 10 days in intensive care and is now home and in our safe, loving arms. Our family feels complete and my heart is full. Her birth was the exact opposite of everything I had planned for both mentally and physically and I am still coming to terms with it. I’ll never know why my water broke early and I continue to struggle with feelings of guilt that somehow my body failed her. I wept tears of joy the moment I found out I was having a girl and I’d like to think that she decided to come early because she was just as eager to meet me.
Like all major life events, birth has a profound impact on us as persons and our core being. Aila’s birth has been one of life’s biggest teaching moments and I’ll carry it with me forever. Surrendering to what has happened and those things I cannot change has been the hardest but most poignant lessons of all. My husband and midwife were a rock star team and I could not have done it without their support. This experience has further solidified my commitment to my work and I am eager to get back to my sisters at AustinBorn. I am so grateful that I’m in this field - a place where I can continue to grow, process my story, and share all the newfound wisdom I have gained.
Every week we're going to be learning more about one of our badass doulas at AustinBorn. This week we're talking to Yazmin Costopolous, aka Yaz. For those of you who know this sweet lady, you already know that she is a dear friend, a grounded soul, and she carries with her a wisdom most definitely from another life. She's our rock start facilitator of The Circle and teaches yoga, when not spending time with her beloved husband and daughter.
Everyone, meet Yazmin.
What color represents you best?
What do you do in your free time?
I have a 9 month old baby, so... free time? um... what is this thing that you are talking about? (prebaby my answer would've been: Yoga, making playlists on Spotify, book & tea combo, listening to vinyls with my husband)
What do you want to be when you grow up?
LOVE this question! A writer of the likes of John Berger or Patti Smith. A singer with a voice like Lila Downs or Joss Stone. A dancer. A globe trotter. But really, I just want to walk this Earth with a clear heart and a grounded presence.
Tell us about your last job. How has it influenced your work as a doula?
I was a faculty member for a university in Mexico City. I had the opportunity to work alongside different indigenous peoples, from whom I learned about the importance of community and the value of deep connection. These two aspects are key for me as a birth worker.
How do you describe the role of a doula?
Doulas are there to have your back, without agendas or expectations other than your own. We are knowledgeable, intuitive birth workers who are there to offer support and tools for you and your family to navigate your birthing/parenthood journey in a way that honors your specific needs and desires.
If you had 5 minutes to teach a new skill to a birth client what would it be?
One of my favorite birth mantras: Let it be big. Be open to the unraveling of the journey and the increasing intensity. If only I could teach others (starting with myself) not to resist the resistance, but rather welcome it in 5 minutes. If only...
The door to the room you're in right now opens. Who do you want to walk through it?
My husband and my daughter.
What do you think about on your way to a birth?
I chant. Most of times it's my favorite mantra, some others I just sing the hell out of whatever song will make me feel grounded and spacious. This helps me release any anxious energy, release any expectations, and helps me tune in to pick up on whatever is best needed of me.
What's one of your favorite tips to give to postpartum parents?
Nobody knows your baby like you do. Nobody knows you like you do. Do what you feel you need to do to take care of yourself and your baby. Be gentle with yourself and your people. Everybody's trying their best. And yes, it's important to acknowledge how incredibly challenging this beautiful task of motherhood is.
Your favorite song comes on right now. What is it?
Landslide, Tori Amos version and Antes de que nos olviden by Caifanes