Pregnant during the pandemic - what's a catholic mom to do?
Pregnancy during the Pandemic – What is a Catholic Mom to do?
By Julie Larsen
I keep hearing stories in the news of moms not being able to give birth with their spouse present or a doula. If the hospital allows a mom to give birth with a spouse there – they have all kinds of protocols – may have to wear a mask, gloves, gown or whatever. Even stories of baby being taken away from mother after birth. What is a Catholic Mom to do?
First of all, do not panic. Talk to your doctor and hospital before the due date. Clarify what they allow or not allow. Please insist on at least your spouse being there if at all possible, adding in another support person as well – doula or sister or family member. Ask questions!
Second, be prepared for the hospital policies or consider other options for your birth. If you are pregnant right now and have time to consider home birth with a midwife and you are not super high-risk pregnancy – you really can consider this option. If you want to learn more about home birth options, I plan to put some links at the bottom of this article. If you are going ahead with hospital – ask what their policies are right now and if any of them may change before your baby is born. Ask to consider letting you have that “birth hour” with your baby – where you get to hold the baby skin to skin, breastfeed (if doing this), and no bath till after this hour is up. I do not think the hospital should stop this kind of thing – if you are not covid positive then there should not be an issue. Even if a mother or baby has covid – the baby will benefit from breastmilk. Insist on informed consent for any procedure done at the hospital. There is one thing they cannot do – force you to do anything you do not want. Find another hospital, do home birth, find a way that works for you. If we do not do this, then we are allowing the hospital to dictate the way birth happens. Remember you can always say “I do not consent” and they must listen!
Third, no matter what your birth plan or wishes are – God is in control. Leaving the birth in His Hands is so important in this time of pandemic. Repeating positive affirmations to yourself and your baby will help you get through this. See link at bottom to grab some free affirmations I am offering to moms.
Fourth – birth story share! Remember your story for you and your baby is a birth story worth sharing and remembering. No matter what policies are in place – get that story written down -share your story with others! Let other mamas know that you were empowered at your birth. That you can do this journey and so can other mamas!
Fifth: This gift of life that you are giving a newborn baby is awesome. We thank you for choosing life in time of pandemic. Many mamas are scared even more on how to get ends to meet. If a mother is not sure reading this article how she can continue on her pregnancy journey, reach out to Christian or Catholic pregnancy help centers and see how they can help. There is also the Project Gabriel Angel that helps pregnant mothers as well. http://www.gabrielproject.org/
Sixth: Pray during your labor. Pray at home, pray at the hospital. Bring a Rosary and pray. Put on some light music if need to focus. Get that birth room the way you want it. Keep your strength in God and Mother Mary. One of my recent clients said – and Mary is going to be with me. I thought she was referring to a family member. And then she said, “No, Mother Mary!” I finally got it. I was like “Wow, the confidence you have in Mary is so special.” I even lack this confidence. I felt like this client understood a special devotion to Mary that perhaps I lack. I am glad that this client taught me something about relying on Jesus and Mary during pregnancy and labor. I learn something each time I help a new client as a doula!
Final words, I am starting up a new podcast for mamas – pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, topics like this will be covered. Right now, I have a podcast site and name. The podcast name is Angelic Bellies – Life Bearing Mamas. View here: https://anchor.fm/juliana-larsen So, episodes will be coming soon – if there’s a way to subscribe please do so!
Another idea – hire a virtual long-distance doula! I offer this service for a small fee compared to many other doulas. A lot of mamas are hiring doulas to be there “virtually” during labor and such. However, we also offer preparation time – work for the birth time. So, this for me is usually two sessions – but I can do more. I also offer childbirth classes online as well – so this helps if mama wants more information then I suggest signing up for the classes as well. If you want more info contact me here: Ave Maria Doula & Mother’s Knot Breastfeeding https://www.facebook.com/mothersknot/ I also do not mind referring you to someone in your area if you are looking for an in person doula or doula that is closer to you for online services. There is also this doula finder that might be helpful: http://findacatholicdoula.weebly.com
So, Catholic moms here is your takeaway:
1.Be prepared for your birth – home, hospital, birth center.
2.Ask questions of your doctor or midwife.
3.Understand policies before arriving at the hospital.
4.Insist on at least husband/partner be at birth.
5.Let go and give it to God.
6.Pray! Give your pregnancy and labor to Mother Mary!
7.Grab some free affirmations here: https://doulacon.weebly.com/resources.html I’ll add them to this page on our Doula and Mama conference that we had this month.
8.Do not forget to subscribe here to Mother Marian newsletter: https://go.reachmail.net/SubscriptionForm/f03fafed-2d36-4294-a43f-ab0c012312a9/fullpage And I’ll send reminders about our podcast!!
9.Home birth resources – Free birth plan resource: https://homesweethomebirth.com/gift and this site: http://www.spiritualbirth.net/
10.So, what do you want to know more about for your upcoming pregnancy and birth?
Do you hear what I hear? Do you see what I see?
I am not believing what I hear or see in this trying time. Do we really believe all the news?
The “virus” seems to me to be a very big pandemic and scare. However, one friend of mine
pointed out if we did not have social media or TV “telling us” what to do. If we were maybe
only with a radio, we probably would not be as scared. We probably wouldn’t be hoarding
toilet paper and other necessity items like hand sanitizer, etc. I think some areas are sold
out on pain medicines as well. Yes, it is okay to take precautions. Maybe, we should re-
consider what we need to have on hand instead of what is panic buying.
Schools are closing and sending hundreds of children home to “home school.” This may scare some parents since they are not sure how to homeschool - no worries we have some links below - but first let's go over the virtue of perseverance...
Anyway, I wanted to write about perseverance in this trying time and I also plan to give a
few links to parents who are stuck at home with children that normally go to regular school. I’ll give you some items they can find to do online. Also, I will give parents a couple of links that they might want to look over to educate them on their own health.
So, first, perseverance – this is a type of virtue. Here’s a definition:
“Perseverance is the will to see things through until the end in spite of fear, obstacles,
discouragement, and opposition. With perseverance, we can accomplish great things.”
Taken from: https://www.virtuesforlife.com/perseverance/
This sounds like a good virtue to meditate on right now.
Second, we should do self-reflection right now. How are we doing in our spiritual life?
What can we do to encourage a sense of peace in our life? Are we in the state of grace?
Maybe, take the time to get to a confessional. If that’s not possible. Reciting an Act of Contrition with very sincere contrition and making penitential acts can help. (Note: If you
are in mortal sin, do try to get to confession as soon as possible).
One type of penance act could be helping your neighbor. Perhaps, the neighbor needs help picking up their yard, or getting some groceries. You may have an older neighbor that does not need to get out or exposed to this “virus” – help the neighbor out and offer to pick them
up something at the store.
Third, getting up each day and making a goal for yourself is important. Make a goal or two
for each day. I know for me, making one goal is an accomplishment when I have children to attend to, meals to make, etc. Today’s goal was this blog post. Another day, might be my mom’s newsletter, etc. If you have more time on your hands, you may want to make 3 goals
for the day and try to accomplish them.
Fourth, now what do I do with the kids? You may be wondering this if you are a mother and are use to your kids being at a public or even private school. I found out that some companies are offering some free apps for children to use like Adventure Academy, ABC Mouse, etc. You will need to contact them about your school and closure in order to obtain a free code.
Here is one link to some fun free apps: https://www.familyeducation.com/fun/21-free-
Here is another resource: https://www.messforless.net/free-kids-learning-resources-for-
Fifth idea – mothers and parents may want to learn more about health and healing.
There’s a nice neat herbal class online that could help parents out some – though the focus has been on fertility herbs to postpartum herbs – Catholic Doula Program is offering in this herb class an extra module on how to make some homemade supplies for emergencies
with the current March class. So, check out the Herbal course information here which is currently half off the normal price: http://www.catholicdoula.com/herbal-course.html
Essential Oil resource: If you are seeking some fun essential oils – we recommend Simply Earth Box – they have essential oils in a subscription box and non-subscription boxes as
well. www.simplyearth.com – I do have a “enrollment” code if you want to get that message
me at firstname.lastname@example.org I don’t mind if you signup without my code.
I love Simply Earth Essential oils as they are all natural and they also give money towards other charitable organizations.
I hope you all stay well. I think one thing that helps also is getting out in the sun and getting fresh air. Vitamin C and Vitamin D are recommended to stay healthy.
Drink lemons and limes also can help as they have natural vitamins in them!
I hope you will stay positive in this trying time. God Bless!
Worried about being sick...tips...
First of all this virus can get someone sick - so be prepared.
Second, it is like a bad flu - but the incubation period can vary. I read on average 5 days.
Mild symptoms can be serious for others (maybe not yourself so much if you are healthy). If you have mild symptoms of what might be this coronavirus - stay home. Don't go out and spread it around.
(Mercola's website - symptoms:
Read up more at this link: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/02/04/novel-coronavirus.aspx
OK, we hope this article was helpful above.
Now what to do to stay well?
Sounds like from above article children are less likely to get this - so we should make sure our elderly are being cared for and make sure they are staying inside or away from crowds as much as possible.
If you are like me- well middle age - then your immune system might be just "down" thinking about this stuff.
Here's a few tips:
1. Don't panic - golly buying out toilet paper is kind of silly.
2. Don't panic again - stay calm stop reading all the news - anyone who has gloom and doom on my Facebook feed - I am putting down "unfollow" for the next 30 days.
3. Think positive thoughts - "I am well, I am fine, I am energetic, I am going to live through this." If you say this to yourself 10 times a day or more - you will get through this a lot better than gloom and doom thoughts.
4. Stock up on what's important to you - feel like you would not have to shop for the next 30 days - then go get groceries for the month - that seems like a reasonable idea if you like.
5. Buy items that make sense, hand sanitizer, wipes, diapers (if you have a baby), soaps, candles, batteries (golly might need that), etc.
6. Take vitamins -Vitamin C is good for any kind of health issue. Garlic supplements, sinus supplement, etc.
7. Take Elderberry syrup. I am going to be making my own soon!
By the way I am hosting an herbal class online soon - and right now - I am going to offer anyone reading this post half off - instead of the $99 I was going to charge - it is now $49.95 for the class - Email email@example.com and tell us 50-OFFHerb class - you can learn to make your own things in the course. I am going to extend enrollment out through March 20th - however if you sign up today - you get in today - I will be posting new videos in the classroom as part of the special event. This is a six module class over 6 weeks - but you can do it faster if you like. The class covers fertility herbs, pregnancy herbs, how to make herbal things, to postpartum herbs.
Last but not least- 8. Just stay calm and pray. Prayers can help any disease go away - I truly believe this. One of my friend's had bacterial meningitis and our whole parish prayed for her healing - she won out and beat it. Thank God - He must have had other plans for this wonderful woman. I really believe in the power of prayer. So, ask God to bless your community and to keep it free from disease.
9. Also, I personally recommend - stop traveling outside USA. Also, boycott China made products - this is probably hard to do - but we should try to boycott as much of their junk as possible. They start these diseases and never get punished for it - we need to show China we don't rely on them! We should also write the President or Congress to stop travel . This would have spread less if travel had stopped - so all I can suggest is if you can not travel - then don't. I understand if someone has a job, work, etc. See if you can work from home some too.
Anyway, let's just pray for our nation now - thanks!
See our next post about an online conference!!
Get in on early Tax season savings!
Why wait for the government to get in on savings? Deals? Well, we have a deal for you.
Would you like to start learning about doula work right now? !! Imagine waking up tomorrow and starting your doula classes!
I bet most of you can have a $50 bill available? Right! Great - put down $50 on a birth or postpartum course right now and don't pay anything for 30 days - you get the first module, fun trial classroom and learn about doula work! This also locks you into our special deal for the class saving around $100!! Wow!!
This tax season special offer is from now thru March 7th - read more about it on our special sale page.
New year and new course layouts!!
Birth doula course is re-edited to give you the best links and information! Your doula class is getting an uplift! We also have a new PEACE project and Community project requirements - learn more right here!! Book list is here.
Postpartum course - new and improved for 2020!!
We wanted to make our postpartum classes even super special - so this year we are going all out to give you the SMART Mother Model and including the new book "The Mommy Plan" By Valarie Lynn - she's a great author! We also include our favorite book "The First Forty Days". The rest of the class is information from previous books - but you only need one more the breastfeeding book if taking St. Anne breastfeeding class!! We throw that in for minimum down or full paying students.
Learn more about our postpartum course here!
Looking for other classes? We are launching our new Childbirth Educator (previous Blessed Womb) under a new name "Take Charge of My Birth" information will be up here: http://birthschool.weebly.com
A lactation counselor/educator combo class will be available soon as well - we are hoping for April or May - so stay tuned at same location above it will be "Take Charge of My Breastfeeding". We will have an option to add in a Catholic edition! We also only preach NFP for non-Catholic version.
So, get in on our "secret" special sale savings of up to $100 or more - you get in on some extra book if you pay in full!! Signup here!!
Parent course launches in a week!
Saint Zelie Parent Program launching next week!
Are you a parent who is looking for some help either for pregnancy or postpartum time frame? We are creating a wonderful new website with childbirth classes for parents (couples), breastfeeding classes, and more! We also plan to have a dad boot camp class just for him too!
We also plan to have a Pregnancy Club and Postpartum Club - the club will be a monthly fee - (coming soon) - special resources and more! (We hope to gain enough interest first).
The Childbirth classes are all online - want to working your pajamas?!! Great!! We aren't going to know what you wear - just come over and join the special Catholic based childbirth classes online! Breastfeeding classes online as well.
So, would you like to join our Facebook group of support in the meantime? This group is free - you get in on special deals if you join our Facebook group and we will have "secret sales" available only for members of our group. The group is open to pregnant, breastfeeding or those seeking to get pregnant. We hope to offer or host fertility trainings too! Join the new Catholic Moms of St. Zelie - If dad's are interested in a group - let us know and we will make one for you all too! Go here to learn more!
Week One - Simeon's Prophecy
Our Lady came to the Temple to pray and to do her duty as to being "purified" as an act of humility on her part since she was "full of grace" (Gabriel Angel confirmed that she was always full of grace during the Annunciation). So, Mary did not need to be purified after the birth of her son. She performed all rituals of the Jewish rite as an act of humility!
So, Mary goes to the Temple and Simeon asks to hold baby Jesus - it is like he recognizes the baby as God's son! Simeon's prophecy is this: "And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted;"
Mary now writes or tells us.. from Your Sorrow is my Sorrow book:
"For awhile Simeon's words just hung their in the temple. I was stunned not believing what I heard. Then the devastating news came home to me. My son was going to be harmed. "Oh no," I thought, "this cannot be." All joy drained out as fear and trepidition rose...What did this mean?
Then Anna at the temple came by and she held Jesus in her arms. "As I began to ease, Anna also spoke highly of Jesus and how she would help others. She too, promised Jesus would make a great difference in people's lives."
OK, back to me the editor writing...so Mary is also surprised about Jesus' possibly suffering in the future. Her first sorrow of her first sword in her heart starts. She will have six more throughout the life of Jesus and esp. at his death.
We will be covering most of these sorrows this Lent. We hope you will walk with us!
Another short story the book mentions (Your Sorrow is my sorrow) is the diagnosis of a baby being Down Syndrome.
The parents were not expecting this - so it is like the surprise or sorrow of Mary - however, after the baby is born the parents realize how much a blessing of a Down syndrome child can give to them. That they are indeed blessed to share the love these children can only seem to give to the family.
Book writing: I am gathering stories of bereavement, surprise stories (like above) or anything like this such as miscarriage, stillbirth or even a loved one gone - to be shared in a bereavement book honoring Our Lady of Sorrows. If you have something you wish to share with us please email firstname.lastname@example.org and send us your story to share - this week we are looking for any stories that would go with the theme of Simeon's prophecy.
Another type of prophecy would be a diagnosis that means the fetus/baby inside the mother would not survive. (Like a stillbirth or later miscarriage).
We also have an optional Facebook group you may join if you need extra help in your journey this Lent at here:
Lent is beginning - Mini-Retreat
I will try to post here for my first post - however, I want you to join our newsletter for mother's so I can share with you in your inbox.
Before, I get into the retreat, what would you think if I sent you a text message once in awhile? I hear there is away to send SMS messages to a group for not much on my end - and would you opt-in for this idea? I want to reach people more - mothers, etc. The message would probably be short and prompt you to come to the blog or a page for the longer message - it could be to our blog or a sale - anyway, if you like this idea - let me know! I am just wanting to find out interest in this idea...
OK, so Lent is starting and I am terrible at planning for Lent-however, this year I want to walk it with Our Lady of Sorrows -so we will be going through her meditations and posting a passage about her Sorrows for each week - and if there's an extra week - we will wrap things up.
I also am trying to write a book about Bereavement and Our Lady of Sorrows. I wanted it to be kind of specific to miscarriages, etc. However, if you have a story to share under bereavement and it is not quite miscarriage category - I may still add in your story. So, send it to us via email@example.com and let us know to have permission to print it. We are not trying to make money off this book - but I may have to charge a small fee - I'll see about the publisher that I am working with right now.
So, we have two options for our retreat - you can sign up for our mother's newsletter and get in on it there or you can go to Facebook group and join it there and I"ll post something once a week.
I may also post here at the blog too. However, more info will be in the newsletter or group.
I like the group idea because we can talk about what we struggle with if so desired during Lent.
Go here to join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MiniMomRetreat/
OK, well, I hope you join our mini-retreat - most posts will be on Wednesdays!
A virtual doula helps a mother long distance and serves her via email, chat, phone, Raidcalll, Skype or other forms of communication - whatever works best for client and doula together.
A virtual doula will offer prenatal sessions - sometimes this can be done by emailing information or other times it can be powerpoint slides of instructions that help the mom know what to expect for her baby's birth.
During labor, the mom will probably call first to let doula know she's in labor, and either continue calling on/off or texting or other forms of "phone communication" that work for mom and doula - if you are real fancy "Face Time" or other apps. The dad may also text doula some during labor as mom maybe too busy with the contractions and such. The doula is there as a 'virtual assistant' so to speak. Also, the doula makes sure dad gets attention - she may actually be communicating more with him during labor - so this is a great way to be part of both parents as a virtual doula!
So, where do you find a virtual doula?
Glad you asked!
I offer these services as a way to reach out to Catholic or Christian mothers. These services maybe more affordable for mothers to try out instead of having a hands on doula - esp. if you are in an area where those doulas charge $1,000 or more a birth! Perhaps, you don't want that much hands on help - you have your spouse - so this is win-win . Your doula can listen to your fears, be your prayer partner, and help with seeking the best birth friend you have!
I offer various birth packages that include a special surprise box after birth.
I also can offer postpartum support - I know this may sound strange, but many moms need someone to talk to after birth - well I offer this kind of support as well.
Anyway, if you would like to know more information: http://avemariadoula.weebly.com to book me.
I offer free consult to see if virtual doula is the right way to go for your upcoming birth.
I also only take 2 clients a month - so get your request in early! God Bless!
Why a doula?
The researchers found that overall, people who have continuous support during childbirth experience a:
Holy Family and Doulaing...
Today's feast - at least in the Traditional Latin Mass is the Feast of the Holy Family.
I think this is a great time to consider what the Holy Family went through.
Mary and Joseph couldn't find "room in the inn" so they had their first born son- Jesus and laid him "in a manager" in "swaddling clothes".
I love this one - we like to train our doulas to know about swaddling the baby - so it is right here in the bible too!
So, the shepherds come and worship.
I believe the Holy Family must have also did the circumcision in the manager most likely. This is when Jesus was named as well. They must have gone to the temple to "purify Mary" though she was 100 percent holy - this was tradition and Mary submitted to this ritual. Then I believe the 3 wise men came sometime after this - that's just how I would see the order of things. It mentions that the three kings came to a "house" find the verse. So, the Holy Family did have a place in Bethlehem somewhere - now it could be that the cave/stable was near a house - so I don't know for sure if they were in a real house or still in the stable area when the wise men came - but the did see a star. However, remember in the Bible, the Wise Men even stopped in Jerusalem - it seemed the star had disappeared for a short time - they found out that the prophecies suggested the baby would be born in Bethlehem. They did seem to find the star again and find Jesus!
After the wisemen left their gifts, an angel told them to go home a different way. Then, another angel appeared to Joseph to go fly to Egypt as Herod was after killing all the babies ! So, Joseph obeyed and took Mary , Jesus and went immediately in the middle of the night to Egypt! Imagine the Holy Family being "homeless" in a way for a few years in Egypt. I am sure they did find a place to live, etc. Joseph was a resourceful man! Then finally, they hear from an angel that it is safe to return - but to go to Nazareth a safer region to live in. So, this is why Jesus is called a Nazarene.
So, what does all of above have to do with being a doula. First of all, we should meditate on life of Jesus - it is good for our doula souls! Secondly, we are reminded by this narrative, that no mother is perfect - she may have moved around 100 times or not be in the best place at this moment in her life - but she's having a baby and needs your best support. Don't judge a mother because of her circumstances. Look at the Holy Family they were even were homeless!
Third, the Holy Family shows that no matter what God is with us. If we are feeling discourage in our doula business - then pray and God will provide our needs and desires. So, think about above and pray to God for your doula business needs. Pray to the Holy Family!
Juliana Larsen is the author of the Catholic Doula Blog.