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Austin, Texas
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512-222-5655

AustinBorn is a modern parenting center in Austin, TX offering classes and services in an inclusive atmosphere. We offer birth + postpartum doula care, group prenatal classes, childbirth education, loss support, postpartum support groups, breastfeeding support group, lactation counseling, breastfeeding education and special workshops. Come say hello and check out our cozy space. We can't wait to meet you!

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Filtering by Tag: pregnancy

Take Care: 2 Self-Care Things to do NOW

Austin Born

via Annie Spratt

via Annie Spratt

Self-care.

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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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:

this journal, because not giving a shit might be what you need

Honey Talks podcast

rose water spray: mist. breathe. repeat.

the calm app for meditation and sleep (good for kiddos, too!)

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.

Ask the Doula: Yazmin

Austin Born

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.

AustinBorn Doula

What color represents you best?

Burgandy/Teal

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

5 Tips for Staying Healthy This Season

Austin Born

We're in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in nearly a decade. #thanks2017 And even as the temps are slowly increasing in TX, we are not out of the woods yet.  February is the peak month for flu activity.

There is increased risk of getting the flu while pregnant because the immune system is not as effective at fighting off infections. So if you're not willing to lock yourself inside for the next two months, what are your options for boosting immunity and staying safe? (Hint: It's not rocket science.)

1. WASH YOUR HANDS. We're going to put that one in CAPS because it deserves some extra oomph. Just in case you need a reminder of the process, here is Jimmy Kimmel getting a tutorial on proper hand washing:

2. Stay Hydrated. We know you're already being extra vigilant about your water intake during pregnancy, so keep it up during this flu season. It's helpful to carry a water bottle with you wherever you go, filling it up as it reaches the bottom. Don't let it sit empty! If you have trouble remembering to drink water, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to have a glass of water every hour throughout the day. 

3. Rest Up. You need more sleep when your body is growing a baby, so don't let a lack of it put you at risk for getting sick. If your day doesn't allow for a quick nap, then make it a priority to get to bed early every night. Put down the phone, take a bath, and crawl into the sheets with plenty of time to score a solid 8-hours of dreamy sleep for you and baby.

4. Take Your Vitamins. There's a reason your care provider asks about your vitamin intake at every appointment. They're vital in boosting your immunity during pregnancy! Take those prenatal vitamins and also consider adding in Vitamins C & D*, as well as a probiotic for good gut health.

5. Get Those Nutrients. Yes, you are what you eat. A diet filled with fresh nutrient-dense foods will help to ensure optimal health for you and your growing baby. Did you see our post about a delicious soup recipe for this season? (It's even better and healthier with homemade bone broth!)

What other tips do you have to share for flu prevention in pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below!


*Always refer to your care provider for appropriate dosage of all supplements and medications. 

 

My Bold Birth....?

Austin Born

By Juanita Sawyer

I wasn't the girl who grew up dreaming of an ornate wedding and tiny toes in satin cradles. I wasn't ever sure what I wanted in my adult life. It took many years lived as a pseudo adult, learning from mistakes and falling in to incredibly obvious traps before any sense of self or future came in to focus. I don't think my story is unique but it helps set the stage for my current life and this quickly evolving pregnancy of mine. I got here by feeling it out and making decisions based on gut checks informed by a life of very real experience. 

I came around to my role in the world as a doula through some very tough self exploration. I had waited so long for any sense of calling that I wasn't about to take this journey lightly. I realized that I'm capable of standing at the gates and crossroads in life with folks and offer some true connection in those times that can be a miasma of emotion. What a relief to know my purpose and have something to walk boldly forward in to.

When I met my current husband, while living in Eastern Asia and imagining a life of autonomy and travel, I wasn't even sure I wanted children. My ethic base and global consciousness was in over drive and I wasn't sure I deserved the luxury of having my own child. He was certain that we were to be together and make babies and I have to admit that there was something very sexy about his certitude. When he asked me to marry him, I promised to do my best and walked boldly forward.We returned to the states and started life here; he in nursing school and myself as a doula exploring birth work. We agreed that putting pressure on baby making wasn't going to offer either our marriage or our pursuit to be parents any help so we went forward in the spirit of 'not not trying' and trusted synchronicity and biology to do the rest. Starting a new life in a new inter-cultural marriage in a place completely new to both of us proved stressful enough. We finally found our way to my husbands graduation day and some traction in my work enough to move in to a home that provided a greater sense of stability and comfort. We were pregnant a month later. And so we walk boldly forward. 

You may have started wondering why I'm telling you all of this... By no means am I trying to paint the picture that big life decisions come easily for me or that 'walking boldly forward' is always been my go to in life. I'm also plagued with seemingly insurmountable fear when heading in to the unknown. Here's the thing though... this 'having a baby' business has, in many ways, thrown me for the biggest fucking loop of my life. It doesn't help that I'm a doula and can't unknow the things I've seen and learned. It also doesn't help that I'm not able to pursue a blissful, natural midwife guided home birth due to some health issues. So... here I am, walking into a medicalized birth having been trained in the natural model. And, ya know, that's all fine. I'm game to do whatever I have to do to bring a healthy baby in to this world. The problem is that I don't want this experience to be wrung of all of that beautiful, empowering juice that all momma's and babies deserve. So.. I'm on a mission. I'm gonna make this a beautiful birth. It may not be ecstatic or surrounded by candles and chanting while I moan my baby in to the world through water. There will be beeping machines and harsh lighting and perhaps scalpels and masks. There will be drugs and a hospital stay and rules. But there are things that I can do to advocate for that will draw me back in to the deep truths of the transformation that my baby and I are having together. And ya know... fuck some of the rules. Cause that's how I do.

I say all of this BUT you'll notice that I didn't invoke my catch phrase in the last paragraph. The truth is... I'm not feeling so bold yet. And I am hesitating in my steps forward. I'm on the hunt for the right OB and boy has that been an adventure so far (more on that later). In short, I've found that a practitioner that isn't the right fit can really throw a wrench in to any bold, birthing empowerment one tries to summon. Also, I'm looking for the right doula, although, that process hasn't started ardently yet. I need someone who can help me to completely honor my birth for everything that it is. So often, doulas come with a set of bias that our training can instill in us. And, though it's true that a natural birth is, as shown by a lot of evidence, the best for both mom and baby, what matters most is what remains in momma's memory and baby's bones. What was her work and how did her brave show up?   How did she invoke the deepest parts of herself to bring this life into our realm? What are her memories of those redefining moments? Was she treated like the warrior she brought? Was she given a warriors welcome? 

Sharing these thoughts with you is emboldening my outlook. Let's get this conversation started and keep it going! What do we need from our birth workers to make birth ours again even when they happen in an environment that can be alienating? How do we bridge the gap between the perceptions of a medicalized birth and a birth modeled after midwifery standards so that honor is showered upon every birth? When we give birth, we are approaching the very vale between life as we know it and the beyond. We are encountering the very essence of what makes us human and links us with the ancient and posterity. What do we need to avoid a complete irreverence of that? What tools do we need to walk blindly and boldly forward into the deep unknowing that makes life a miracle?

I know now, through experience, that life's big moves don't happen because I have calculated every thing perfectly. It happens because something larger than me moves me forward into some potential shit storms only for me to emerge a more complete version of myself. Never has that been truer than now as I bring this child into the world. And so, one bold step at a time, mommas. 

Juanita is a birth and postpartum doula, supporting families in Austin, TX. To read more of her work, visit her website Vine Doula Services.

Meet Yaz!

Austin Born

Yaz arrived to doulahood by the way of (postnatal) Yoga and her Mexican lineage. As a yoga teacher trainee in the United States, she observed a class where a group of women in the trenches of brand new motherhood would hold each other with sweet solidarity and fierce kindness. In an instant, all the tales of women caring for each other and their babies told by her mother and grandmother back in Mexico were happening in front of her. Even in another country, in another language, it was still sisterhood in the rawest and most empowering form. She was hooked!

Yaz is a lifelong student of Yoga (with a passion for Ayurveda), a lifelong student of birth, of mamahood, of sister/brotherhood. She strives to offer what she honors the most: the space to feel heard, held, supported and loved.

Yaz has experience working alongside women of different cultural backgrounds. She’s doula’d (love this verb) in different settings for a wide diversity of women and families. She loves listening to people’s stories, using her rebozo, her oils for mean foot massages, and her newly acquired belly binding skills.

9 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Yaz

  • Was born and raised in Mexico City

  • Is part Mexican, part Greek, part American (good food is in her genes, guys!)

  • Has been a vegetarian for 17 years, but secretly wishes she could eat gyros and tacos al pastor

  • Is hopelessly in love with the 90’s (where have all the grungers and Lilith Fairs gone? *sighs*

  • Wants to be a dancer, violinist, and spoken word artist when she grows up

  • Has loved owls and sloths WAY before the hipsters discovered their magic

  • Has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s in Education Development

  • Left the life she had built in Mexico, and moved to Austin to marry her best friend. #EpicWin

  • Hates routine but needs it

  • Loves coffee. Coffee doesn’t love her back. True story.

  • Learned to ride a bike in her 30’s (never too late to be humbled by gravity, right?)

  • Loves and fosters sisterly/brotherly bonds with people

  • Has a special interest in working alongside underserved populations

  • Worked with indigenous communities in both the North and South of Mexico, to design and build intercultural learning environments

  • Loves to binge on TED talks (nerd alert!)

  • Loves to photograph glimpses of beauty in unlikely places

  • Sings in the shower and on her way to births pretty much always

  • Loves to hug, but has total respect for non-huggers (however, if you are a hugger and see Yaz, make her day and hug away!)

Prepping Your Dog for a New Baby

Austin Born

This blog post comes from Tina Zarate, owner of Ain't Misbehaving Pet Training. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and is certified by the Certification for Professional Dog Trainers. 
 

Tina currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter, and three dogs. 

Having a baby can be a wonderful, exciting new adventure but you may be worried on how your four legged baby may react.  Start early and follow our tips to help prepare your dog for a new member of the family:

1.       Introduce new baby equipment in a positive way before baby arrives.  Many of these things can be bulky, loud, and move erratically.  Learn how your dog reacts to them prior to your baby’s arrival in order to nip potential problems in the bud.  Pair the appearance of these items with yummy treats.

2.       Teach your dog to spend time away from you in a positive way.  Put your dog in a crate, behind a baby gate and/or another room with a tasty Kong or marrow bone.

3.       Refresh your dog’s basic manners.  Practice these skills while you are seated or in bed (like when you are breastfeeding) or pushing a stroller.

4.       Take your dog to the veterinarian and get him updated on his vaccinations and get his blood work checked.  

5.       Change your dog’s feeding and walks schedule gradually so your dog doesn't expect dinner or walks at an exact time every day.  

6.       Interview potential dog walkers and introduce your dog to them before your due date.  Having a dog walker come in and take your dog out, keeps your dog happy and gives you time to bond with the baby.

7.       Learn to recognize signs of stress in dogs.  Check out this blog post on problem prevention and dog body language from Ain't Misbehaving for more on what to look for. 

8.       Download baby sounds (Baby Sounds for Pets CD) to get your dog gradually accustomed to these new sounds.  

9.       Carry a doll and practice how you will interact with your dog when you are holding the baby, changing diapers, going for a walk. This enables you to see how your dog responds and how you interact with your dog when your hands are occupied. 

10.   If your dog has any behavior issues (food guarding, reactivity, touch sensitivity, etc), consult a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) prior to your baby’s arrival.