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Austin, Texas
USA

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: support

The Gathering: For Loss Support

Austin Born

Sometimes our work at AustinBorn includes layers of support for families who have experienced the loss of a child. It's vital for parents to know that their pain is understood; that they are not alone; and, that there are safe spaces to engage in open dialogue about their loss. We hold space for the journey, validate the intricate and unique ways that grief manifests, listen without judgement or agenda, and provide resources for support. With that in mind, we have created The Gathering: For Loss Supportour community group for parents.

The Gathering is an evening of support surrounding miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss, and is appropriate for any parent, no matter how recent or long ago the loss or whether it was spontaneous or elective. Our professional facilitator will guide parents through processing and normalizing grief, finding support, preparing for pregnancy after loss, and will open the space for families to share their journeys. This group is a space to share if you feel compelled, or to simply be in the space with others.

Come fold in to a community of people who care deeply for your experience and, in many instances, share in similar joys and struggles. 

The Circle: A Gathering for Mothers

Austin Born

The weather is a little cooler (Well, not THAT much in TX, but it's not 90 degrees so we'll take it.), we made it through our annual October birth storm, the holidays are upon us, and we're preparing to wrap up an incredible year at AustinBorn. As our community continues to grow, we are welcoming some big changes to make our mission even greater for you.

We've been working hard this year to ensure AustinBorn is an inclusive community and that the language we use represents that. One shift we're making in this realm is to change the name of the Breastfeeding Cafe so that all mothers feel welcome to come for feeding support. There are many variations of infant feeding and the name of our group must represent that. 

So we're making both of our weekly support groups The Circle: A Gathering for Mothers. This group remains a same safe space to give and receive support regarding all things motherhood and our members will see the same lovely and professional facilitators each week. Our hope is that this change further opens our door to the greater ATX community. 

We have a few more big announcements to make over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

 

On Birth, Death, Loss and Healing

Austin Born

Usually what we do at AustinBorn is all about preparing for and coping with the joy of parenthood--of bringing a new little person into the world and finding our way along the journey of loving and caring for a baby. But, sometimes, our support of new parents looks different.

One year ago one of our doulas went to the funeral of an Austin Born client whom she had supported in giving birth. This mother had been a delightful combination of fierce warrior mama and tender-hearted girl. She brought her beloved teddy bear to the hospital to cuddle in labor, and then pushed her baby out without an epidural in front of a gaggle of nursing students who had never seen anything so beautiful and raw. Several months later, she died suddenly and unexpectedly. The doula sat in the pew, looked at her baby sitting in her uncle's lap, and cried her heart out.

A few months ago, another of our doulas attended the birth of a sweet little baby girl whom we knew had some significant health problems. Unfortunately, as time passed, it became clear that there were no adequate treatments for her.  She lived for one month before her parents sang her to sleep, tucked in with her Princess Leia doll and lamby lovey. The mother told us that day by day, week by week, she had held out hope that her baby could somehow thrive. She also said that her own physical recovery from birth had been very easy, with her body quickly returning to its pre-pregnancy state, and in the days following her baby's death, she found herself wondering, "Did I really have a baby?" Sometimes she goes into her baby's nursery to remind herself that her baby existed, that it all really happened. The Austin Born doula team attended her funeral, weeping with and for this beautiful family. 

And then just a couple of weeks ago, one of our families at full term called our Labor Line (the phone number we ask our parents to call when they are in labor) with the surprising and unbearably sad news that they had noticed less movement from their baby and had gone into the hospital to be checked, only to find that their baby's heartbeat could no longer be found. They immediately began the process of inducing labor. One of our doulas went to them the next morning and stayed with them throughout the day as they labored to bring their baby into the world. Each of our team of doulas visited them that day, bringing gifts and encouragement, hugs and tears to this new mom and dad who were in a much different kind of labor than they had ever expected. It was a little like sitting shiva--each of us in turn coming to sit with them in their mourning. Once their baby was born, their doula was honored to take photos and to have a turn holding their sweet little boy.

We are so honored to be able to cross over from supporting families in birth to supporting them in death. But this is some of the heaviest work we ever do.

As doulas and as friends, and as women who have experienced infertility and loss ourselves, we wanted to be able to offer some way to help these families and many more like them in our community on their journey of healing. So we dreamed up a ceremony, a time of sharing and ritual and support for families who have experienced loss. And so The Healing Group: Ceremony for Loss was born. It is an evening of nonjudgmental support, processing and ritual surrounding miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss and is appropriate for any parent who has lost a pregnancy or infant, no matter how recent or long ago the loss or whether the loss was spontaneous or elective. The loss of a pregnancy, whether early or late, spontaneous or elective, can bring on a wave of intense and overwhelming emotions. We want anyone who has experience such a loss to know that you are not alone. The Healing Group: Ceremony for Loss will be offered on the 1st Sunday evening every April, August and December of each year. Please join us, and/or extend the invitation to those you know in and around Austin who might find comfort in this kind of ceremony.

Rest in peace, Lisa, Chloe, Corsin, and the many others whose lives, no matter how brief, are cherished so deeply. You and your families are loved, and remembered.

 

Parts of this post were originally published on www.revdoula.com.

What to Say When Someone has Lost a Pregnancy (and the one thing to never say)

Austin Born

Let's get right to the heart of the matter: whether you realize it or not, you probably know someone who has experienced pregnancy loss. Miscarriage, defined as the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy in the first 20 weeks of gestation, happens to approximately 1 in 5 women. A full 20 percent. Stillbirth, defined as intrauterine death after 20 weeks, happens to approximately 1 in 160 pregnancies.

We're not telling you this to scare you. Promise. We're telling you this because we're firm believers that a) for something so common, not enough people are talking about it and b) awareness is the first step in empathy. 

So what do you do when someone you love has lost a pregnancy when it can be so painfully awkward and uncomfortable not knowing what to say? First, recognize that the loss of a pregnancy, whether early or late, spontaneous or elective, can bring on a range of intense and overwhelming emotions. Your friend might be feeling shame, anger, confusion, grief. She probably feels alone. 

If your friend confides in you that she's lost a pregnancy your role is simple: 

Hold space for her. 

Okay, we know. This is a term that gets thrown around a lot and it actually mystifies most people. What does it mean to "hold space"? It means to listen without judgment. To honor what the other person is experiencing (without trying to fix it heck, you don't even have to fully understand it!). It means to let that person know they are not alone. What are comforting things to say when holding space? 

  • I am so sorry: This might not seem like enough but these simple words let mama know that you not only hear her but you see and feel her struggle and you are acknowledging her loss.

  • I don't know what to say, but I'm so glad you told me: The importance of these words is beautifully explained by Brene Brown; completely honest and, again, reassures your friend she's not alone in her vulnerability

  • You're a good mom: Many women will, at some point, feel inadequate or even blame themselves for the loss of a pregnancy. It might take them a long time to believe these words but hearing it from a loved one is a sweet reminder.

 Often, we want so badly to fix a situation or make things better. With loss, this simply isn't possible. The only thing that helps heal is time and support. Listen to your friend tell her story, cry with her and tell her you're here for her. That's it. Whatever you do please don't say this:

  • At least you know you can get pregnant: or the similar variation of "you can always get pregnant again." There is never a good reason to say this so don't. Ever. We don't mean to sound harsh but it's true. Your intentions are good --you just want to make your friend feel better!-- but really all it does is completely invalidate her feelings.

When we're in pain, we want to know there is someone walking beside us. If your friend loses a pregnancy stick with her. Sometimes the simplest act, holding space, is the most sacred and even if it doesn't feel like you're doing much to help at the time --oh, how we love to be doing things-- your presence, your being with her, could be just the thing to carry your friend through <3