Welcoming The Doula Community House!

Today the The Doula Community House happily leaps into being to

“Doula the Doulas!”

Doulas provide tireless service to their clients, passionate about birth and doing all they can to support families in the birthing journeys for healthy, safe and satisfying outcomes.   Often their long hours are unscheduled and filled with far more time commitment than is recognized by their clients (but always by their families! :) ),  in addition to the planned prenatal visit(s) & birth itself, they are often answering questions in early pregnancy, making phone calls of encouragement in late pregnancy, researching personalized solutions for their clients all the time, making extra visits to help with breastfeeding issues postpartum, and strategizing referrals and community connections weeks or even months later.  Where do they go for renewal, for mentorship, or with questions once they’ve ‘become a doula?’

Welcome to the warm, understanding and supportive arms of The Doula Community House!

Hosted by Indigo Forest, The Doula House is committed to nurturing doulas by creating a community hub (both locally and across the web) that provides warm support, practical information, friendly networking and continuing education.  It’s The Place to go when you need a hug after a tough birth,  some perspective on a challenging situation/client, a ‘birth fix,’ or to get recharged with an inspiring class.

Doulas Circle (the verb), is our free support group for the women who support women in birth, meeting monthly on the second Saturday of the month at 10 am; if this is your passion, you are invited to our first gathering on October 13th, 2012.   Led by Beth Barbeau, Tradition Midwife and Master Educator with 30 years experience in the birth community, this groups is the safe place to let down your hair and enjoy the community of women who understand your life, loves and challenges!  Cozy tea & honey provided.

Generally concluding at 11:30, October 13th we’ll be ending a bit early because Indigo Forest’s “Parent-Doula Meet & Greet” is happening from 11:00-12:30 this day.   This will be a great chance to meet and mingle with potential clients who are coming to have the opportunity to meet a variety of doulas at one time.   Please preregister with Indigo Forest (734.994.8010) if you plan on participating.

Come ‘friend’ us on Facebook for on-going updates and birth information, as well as announcements of pending classes for especially for doulas.

Welcome Keleigh Lee, IBCLC!!

Indigo Forest is proud to announce a new collaboration with experienced lactation specialist, Keleigh Lee, IBCLC!

See Keleigh’s new breastfeeding classes offered in March & April!

Keleigh Lee, IBCLC, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant trained to support mothers meet their breastfeeding goals. The IBCLC credential is the most advanced lactation certification available and ensures a level of expertise mothers need and deserve (www.iblce.org). Much misinformation exists and can have major negative impacts on breastfeeding success. Keleigh is a mother of four children who have all breastfed and knows how vulnerable and fragile the newborn stage can be.

My goal in providing breastfeeding guidance is to empower families to solve their breastfeeding challenges and get back on track. By inviting me into your life you share a trust with me and I will do all in my ability to hear your story with respect and caring as I help to work through your problems.”

Keleigh is also an accredited La Leche League Leader (www.lllaa.org) and a volunteer Lactation Consultant for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program where she has helped hundreds of mother-baby pairs over the years. Her professional background as a medical illustrator and extensive lactation science education give her a solid medical foundation for handling a wide range of breastfeeding issues. She is a self-described “lactation geek” and will happily treat you to lactation geekery details if asked!

Our Mama Circle

Feeling isolated?  Mothering is a complex, challenging, amazing journey….and one that we often travel alone, or alone with our parenting partners & mates.   Such a lonely journey does not serve our children, our selves or our community.  Come join Jahmanna Selassie,  doula, aspiring midwife, massage therapist, mother of 6, and a growing group of fast friends and mothers all.   This free group gathers at Indigo Forest on Thursdays at 9:30 for community & tea, topic presented at 10:00am,  discussion wraps up @ 11:00 am. Children are welcome as you attend & parent them. 

Events and Topics for Fall, 2011

Sept. 15 Managing Family Illness

Come learn and share tricks to maintain family health, home remedies, and fun ways to support little ones in healing- through tea parties in the bath tub and other tips to help the medicine go down!

Sept. 22 Education Pathways

One of the most important decisions that affects our children is their educational journey, be it public school, home school or other alternative educational options. We will discuss what is out there as far as choices and all the ups and downs of each path in a light hearted discussion.

Sept. 29 Open, Share, Review, Reflect

A relaxing opportunity to share thoughts, concerns & ideas relating to recent topics and our mothering journey in the safe space of the Mama Circle.

Oct. 6 Birth Talk: Mama to Mama-to-Be

In the past, women would have seen, heard or experienced birth a few times before they themselves prepare to make their own journey.  Join the circle of mamas and mamas-to-be to discuss and share our birth stories & postpartum insights.

Oct. 13 The Work of Mama Juggling

“Every mama is a working mama,” and the responsibility of balancing nurturing both your family and your self remains whether you are a mama who works inside and/or outside of the home. Come fill your cup with warm tea, and your spirit with warm thoughts of compassion and support.

Oct. 20 Baby’s First Food After Milk

Join our discussion on the new adventures of eating solid foods, to include homemade baby food recipes and ‘tricks of the trade’.

Oct. 27 Open, Share, Review, Reflect

A relaxing opportunity to share thoughts, concerns & ideas relating to recent topics and our mothering journey in the safe space of the Mama Circle.

Nov. 3 Cool & Easy Felt Toy Projects

Creativity is the one of the nutrients that feeds the bodies of our children. Come create with us a simple felt toy to spark the imagination of your child and feed your soul as well. Modest material fee required.

Nov. 10 Baby Yoga with Carrie Honroe

Come move, stretch & rejuvenate your body while nourishing your bond with your baby, this class was one of our most popular last year.  Lovingly taught by Carrie Honroe of Evolve Yoga Studio.

Nov. 17 Seasonal Traditions & Meditations

As world citizens we have so much to share about the cultural traditions that enrich our lives. Please share what makes things special for your family as the holiday season begins.

Dec. 1st Handmade Gift Idea

In preparation for the holiday season, come exchange ideas for making meaningful gifts for family and friends, because nothing is more precious than a gifts made and given by loving hands.

Dec. 8 The Give-Me’s: Navigating Holiday Desires with Our Children & Our Relatives

Come join us for a discussion on what makes this time of year special to you, and coping strategies when for those frustrating times when things go astray.

Dec. 15 Stress Relief: Staying Cool Through the Holidays

For many, the Holiday season is about giving, friendship and family, while simultaneously a speeding of time & even more demands for mamas.  Come tuck a new coping strategy in your pocket to more fully enjoy the holidays.

SATURDAY MAMA CIRCLE:  12: – 1:30 pm

Events and Topics for Fall, 2011

Sept. 17 Managing Family Illness

Come learn and share tricks to maintain family health, home remedies, and fun ways to support little ones in healing- through tea parties in the bath tub and other tips to help the medicine go down!

Oct. 12 The Work of Mama Juggling

“Every mama is a working mama,” and the responsibility of balancing nurturing both your family and your self remains whether you are a mama who works inside and/or outside of the home. Come fill your cup with warm tea, and your spirit with warm thoughts of compassion and support.

Nov. 19 Seasonal Traditions & Meditations

As world citizens we have so much to share about the cultural traditions that enrich our lives. Please share what makes things special for your family as the holiday season begins.

Dec. 17 Stress Relief: Staying Cool Through the Holidays

For many, the Holiday season is about giving, friendship and family, while simultaneously a speeding of time & even more demands for mamas.  Come tuck a new coping strategy in your pocket to more fully enjoy the holidays.

Was Rudolph Pregnant?

Do we take things too seriously? Perhaps this will bring you a much needed laugh amidst holiday stress….

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.  Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY ‘historical’ rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a female.  And probably pregnant as well.

So, to all you multi-tasking Moms out there!   Think of those pregnant reindeer, hauling the jolly fat man and his load all around the world in one night, not getting lost, and probably cursing that baby on their bladder……   Blessings on all the hard-working mothers the world over!

Ann Arbor’s Original Nursing Cafe’

While breastfeeding may be the ‘most natural thing in the world,’ it often does not seem to come naturally to many babies & their mothers these days .  In spite of often heroic efforts on the part of mamas who read and educate themselves passionately, work to have a healthy satisfying birth, and ‘do everything right’ for their little ones, nursing mamas in our society are often left to sort out breastfeeding problems by themselves, searching for solutions and (often expensive) professional help on the web or through word-of-mouth contacts.

Indigo Forest was founded in part to help pick up the pieces in the postpartum chapter of our lives – and to support families as they address the very challenging next experience after the long-awaited birth – parenting!   Recent Nursing Cafe’ topics have included improving the latch, slow weight gain, “Helpful Relatives”, engorgement, mastitis, thrush, getting the baby to sleep, baby wearing, post-partum recovery, adjustment of older siblings, weaning the baby off the nipple shield & reflux.

Since we opened three and a half years ago, we’ve been offering a free nursing support group every Wednesday afternoon from 2-3 pm.  Ladies – come join us for some tea, some company, and some fresh ideas.  Siblings welcome, toys available.

The Nursing Cafe’
Wednesdays 2-3 pm
No Cost
Community, Support & Professional Guidance

Picking A Prenatal Vitamin

When I finally got pregnant for the first time, I became nearly paralyzed as I began to evaluate every single thing I put in my mouth.  Which prenatal vitamins to use was the beginning of what seemed to grow to a 1,000 Big Decisions!  I first splurged at the grocery and filled the fridge a few hundred $$$ of fresh, organic vegetables and wholesome ingredients for perfect food that I was going to whip up from now on.

Then morning sickness hit, and I wouldn’t even crack the fridge door!   The food that I now couldn’t stand to cook slowly turned into a slime castle.  Like most moms, I started nibbling at whatever I could stand.   And then whenever the green subsided, I worried instead about the quality of my prenatal vitamins and just how in the world to choose between them….surely there was a difference between the ‘ole “Just take a Flintstone” and the $60/month ‘Primo’ versions advertised?

There are BIG differences!

As a midwife who now owns a natural health & lifestyle store, this question that comes up a lot.  Here are some of things to consider:

1. Synthetic vs. “Whole Food” Supplements - in general, synthetic vitamins are devoid of the varied complex of nutritional factors that typically help the element be utilized by the body.   These isolated, chemically synthesized components often act more like a drug within the body, and ‘overdosing’ or toxic levels are more likely.  Pregnant woman often find that their nausea is greatly reduced (along with constipation) when they discontinue their Rx vitamins (always synthetic pharmaceuticals).  Food-based prenatals are rarely linked to constipation (think raisins,  prunes, black strap molasses.)  While whole food supplements are more expensive their insurance-supplied counterparts, this is truly a case of “you get what you paid for!”   Interested in more of the debate?  Try  http://www.whale.to/a/shea1.html

By-the-way, you’ll often find the amounts in the food-sourced to be less, because more of the nutrient is absorbed.  Only about 10% of the common form of iron in synthetic vitamins is typically absorbed!  If the vitamin doesn’t say “food-based” or “whole-food” on the label, then it’s not.

Indigo Forest carries only food-based supplements, and has several prenatal lines from which to choose!

Birthing

Beth Barbeau is a Traditional Midwife, Childbirth Educator and Resonance Repatterning Practitioner. Beth provides complete homebirth services for those families who wish to birth their babies at home, including comprehensive prenatal, labor, birth, and postpartum care. Many women also seek Beth’s thoughtful and experienced support to supplement their medical care with prenatal or postpartum consultations.  An experienced instructor in a wide range of related topics, Beth also teaches both private and group classes.

“Originally trained in the traditional apprenticeship model, I began attending women in birth in 1980 in the role of labor support.  My professional life went on to include a B.S./premed degree from Antioch College, becoming a national sales trainer, and attending births with a wide range of professionals in addition to birth education through classes, conferences and direct mentoring.  After moving back to my home state of Michigan and starting my own family, my love of teaching and birth continued as I developed classes and taught at the Center for the Childbearing Year in Ann Arbor for over six years.

“I saw parents spending enormous amounts of time preparing for the day of the birth, but ‘falling through the cracks’ and being desperate for support and guidance AFTER wards.  (One very experienced midwife I worked with used to tell the parents during long births, “I know this is hard, but it’s the next 20 years that really kick your butt!”)     For close to 30 years I have been designing and dreaming of a holistic health institute, and in 2007 the first piece of it came into being when we opened Indigo Forest, a Holistic Family Center.   Most recently, I also became an instructor at the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education in Mt. Pleasant, MI, along helping to develop their state-certified Holistic Labor Companion (HLC) program.”

Please contact Beth through Indigo Forest to arrange a consultation, private class or free 15-minute phone consult.  Resume and enthusiastic references are available!

Homebirth Services

The Choice of Homebirth

Believing that the best midwife will be “a good chameleon”, I understand that women come to homebirth for many reasons and I strive to support your needs in the most thoughtful manner possible.  For some this means water births, for others it’s meant helping the birthing mother, or father, or one time even the grandmother, ‘catch’ the baby.  It means sometimes coaching mothers through every contraction, and other times sitting quietly downstairs, respectfully available but not disturbing your laboring work.  I welcome the uniqueness of your birth, be it quiet, dark and private, or an extended family celebration complete with children and pets.

Safe birth takes many forms, and it is our responsibility together to attend to your body, mind, and spirit for the optimal outcome.   To each birth I bring my education and experience in normal birth and it’s many safe variations (and what’s not), as well as in modalities such as nutrition, homeopathy, herbology, essential oils, flower essences and more.

My commitment is to look at each situation individually (breeches and twins are not ruled out due to protocol or certification restrictions, for instance) and I see it as a strength that I do not hesitate to seek out or refer you to other community resources where appropriate.   I am constantly expanding my education, and love to learn as well as to share the knowledge through teaching.  A wise midwife once said a puzzling thing to me, that “the real work of labor and birth is done in (good) prenatals.”  She said it was much better to do that work during business hours over the course of months, than in a marathon birth because issues where not resolved for the mother’s body or mind!  I have found this to be sage advice, and to that end meet with mothers as often as need be, with the minimum being the usual obstetrical calendar (every month, then every two weeks, etc.)  Visits are usually an hour long.  My homebirth clients are also invited to partake of Resonance Repatterning with me as part of the homebirth package.

It’s your responsibility to communicate your needs, be upfront and honest about your nutrition and diet (we need to find what works for YOU), and to be willing to do what you can to prepare your body and mind for the wonderful, challenging and all-encompassing work of labor and birth.

There’s always more, let’s talk.

“The difference between you and the hospital midwives were that they had a plan, and we were supposed to mold ourselves to them.   Medicine right now asks nothing of the patient, so they don’t have to think about their health.   You helped us find our own plan, and together we developed a consensus of care. What helped (my wife) was the whole calmness of everything, the suggestions and things from your knowledge base of all you do, that we would have never thought of.  It definitely put her in a better place.  It meant a lot to us that you had the ability to even arrive at a consensus. “
Father of 3 home birthed children
Contractor, Previous Fourth Year Medical Student
October 2008

“I knew that the care would be different, but I didn’t expect the quality of care to be so different, so much better.  When I had so many Braxton Hicks contractions I was afraid to drive, you even came to my house for prenatals.”
Mother of two, after second birth (first homebirth)
September 2008

Prenatal or postpartum consultations

Supplemental prenatal and postnatal consultations

A mother myself, I believe that every woman deserves to be respectfully attended in pregnancy, with time for her questions and the support to grow confident in her abilities.   While homebirth has been proven to be a very safe (and even the safest) choice for most women, for many reasons it is not a choice that a majority of women feel they can or wish to make at this time.  Many women have chosen to work with me to supplement their medical care/hospital birth with high-quality midwifery prenatal care, expressing that they wanted

  • Time to explore all of their questions (There’s lots of Internet information, for instance, but how does it relate to you?  And is it accurate or credible?)
  • Detailed nutritional information and personalized guidance
  • Warm emotional support throughout the pregnancy and postpartum
  • Hands-on care lacking in other settings
  • Quality information to help ease fears and look forward to birth
  • Help processing & integrating past birth experiences
  • To normalize their pregnancy experience
  • To have an experienced guide educate them about the important aspects of normal pregnancy and natural childbirth
  • A place where they could “let down their guard” or allow themselves to be “high needs.”
  • A relationship with a birth advocate to help them get the most out of their birth experience and early parenting
  • Someone who would include the family in pregnancy care – showing the father how to palpate or check dilation, or include the children in developmentally appropriate ways.
  • Help strategizing postpartum recovery and support

Consultations are available by the hour ($75) or package (4 visits for $275, for instance).  Many are able to use their Health Flex Spending Accounts to cover such care.  Many consults also include related handouts and the use of teaching aids and multi-media materials.