Let’s Not Forget Who Went Back to School 😜

This week, my kids started back at school. Jack is about to become (pinch me, it can’t be real!!) a teenager! I can hardly believe how fast life has flown by since he was born. Desiree and Lucille are third graders, each on their own unique path but also delightfully on those paths together. My little ones are three, but that didn’t stop them from demanding I pack them a cold lunch and take their back-to-school pictures! Whew! It’s hard to believe summer is over and I’m about to tackle head-on scouting, religion classes, school concerts, American Heritage Girls, community choir, childcare needs, and so much more! God, grant me patience and lots of time for sleep!

As adults, we feel the back-to-school pressures with new schedules, instilling routines, hustling kids to activities, making sure everyone is eating a balanced diet, keeping up on homework responsibilities, and… well, you get it! But, how often do we stop and consider how are kids are dealing with all of these new things? As a mom, I know that I get caught up in making sure everything on our schedule is happening that I often forget who exactly it is happening to! This is where a great resource can help us out.

When we take time for ourselves to wind down and provide our bodies with beneficial stress relief, we feel so much more able to meet the demands of our everyday life. This is something we can offer our kids, too!

This great book, A Modern Day Guide to Massage for Children, is a wonderfully illustrated guide to offering our kids productive, healthy touch. Using this guide, you can integrate massage into your home life with pockets of time for you and your kids to bond through relaxation.

Parenting is nothing short of a marathon in daily life and long-term. Even though I want to be the mom who never raises my voice and whose kids eat carrots and hummus while delightfully reading books of poetry, instead we often find ourselves couch lounging with frozen pizza. But! I really love and savor the moments when I entice them with massage, connecting with them one-on-one while also giving them loving touch that benefits their whole being. I hope that I can offer you, my clients, pockets of relaxation this school year and that in turn, we can all reach into our families with that same healing intention. Let’s welcome fall with joy and a good foot rub!

4 stories: Doula care is Essential care

Rachel with a client’s baby minutes after birth!

When my oldest sister’s first baby was born it was my first experience of labor and delivery. She chose to labor at home for a significant portion of her birth, and I was lucky enough to support her during that experience. Her birth experience ended up not unfolding at all the way she planned because babies have their own plan for coming into this world. As I watched her path to motherhood unfold, I was amazed by how many people it took to support a woman in labor and I felt drawn to the web of love and knowledge that surrounded her.

Fast forward a dozen short months and I learned even more about pregnancy, labor, and delivery with my own first baby. As part of my web of support, I was blessed to have a Doula help me through Jack’s birth. Having her with me allowed me to labor comfortably at home for my entire labor. She supported me with massage, moving labor positions, and relaxation techniques, all while being excellent moral support during the 10 hours she was with me at home. At the hospital she stayed beside me, keeping me on track with all of these things as I was transferred into the care of the doctors and nurses on duty.

My beautiful nephew, moments after birth

My doula and my labor partner (the same sister who inadvertently introduced me to the birth process!) were my voice at the hospital. While I was deeply focused on processing my contractions, keeping my breathing steady, and finding my inner strength, I was not able to communicate any of my needs or wants, let alone answer any questions that came my way. Instead, it was Sarah and Jennifer who listened to all the medical information, relayed it to me in ways I could process, and helped steer my birth experience as close to my birth plan as possible.

Even though I knew what to expect from birthing babies by my third pregnancy, I still chose to have a Doula with me. As someone who really doesn’t like needles or medical procedures, I really wanted to have a natural delivery of my second set of twins, just as I had done with the first. But, as I said before, babies have their own plans for coming into this world. These babies were no different and one of my twins was breech, so it was medically necessary that I have a c-section. It was my Doula who offered me calming techniques and reassurance as I went into a surgery I was not emotionally prepared for. My husband and I also asked her to be with us during that experience in case there was an emergency with me or with one of the babies. Because she was present, it would have given me continued support regardless of what my husband needed to do for our new babies. It was the continual support that really made me feel as though I had a rich birth experience with my last babies, even though their birth was so different from my others.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law asked me to be with her during her labor as a support person. Being part of her birth story by supporting her through labor and delivery was both humbling and so fulfilling! My deep appreciation of the birth support web grew, even more, when I was so central to it. It was at this point that I knew I wanted to train as a Doula and support more women through their journeys. In April 2018, I completed the BigBelly DONA training and am now a certified Doula. I am working towards completing my hours needed for full certification so that I can incorporate birth experiences into my practice. I’ve already supported mothers beyond my family and I’ve loved every moment of it! If you or someone you love is on a birth journey, I’d be honored to offer them Doula support!

What Massage Means to Me: Getting to know Angela

Fix Or Repair Daily: that’s the corny acronym some loyal Chevy drivers ascribe to Ford trucks. I know this because I grew up in a somewhat rural area of Northern California, where one is apt to absorb such knowledge. Regardless of vehicular preferences, I find myself reflecting frequently on this acronym as a cheeky but useful reminder of how my body needs to be treated.

Meet our therapist, Angela

Health is a concept often presented as a static state; as homeostasis: the state our body prefers to return to if only we would get out of its way. If we could only eat enough antioxidants, do enough cardio, exert enough effort and control over our food, time, stress level… if we DO enough, we can be enough. We can have health once and for all. It’s a race we can never win.

This paradigm pits the individual against a myriad of forces outside of our control: time, our environment, those pesky genes. It leaves us striving for an ephemeral concept. And when we inevitably fail at achieving perfect health, we wind up with no one to blame but ourselves. My own experiences have shown me that control over my health drifts somewhere between tenuous and illusory. I held tightly to this idealized model of health until chronic back pain and the tumult of bearing children loosened my grip and opened my eyes to a new way of seeing it.

Angela with her kids

As a massage therapist, I offer you an alternative, dynamic view of health. One in which our bodies request and we respond; one in which we meet ourselves where we are today and develop a nurturing dialogue with our bodies. Health is a dance and a conversation. Endlessly changing, but constantly lending us the chance to know ourselves better. Massage is a way to bring a third party into that conversation between ourselves and our bodies.