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I met the lovely Monica Bizier at the Meet the Doula event in the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre. Her warm welcome was contagious! I am honored to share her story, as I believe every woman and baby deserve a thoughtful and friendly experience before, during and after pregnancy. A doula provides so much more than the physical help but can help you navigate the emotional side too. Watching new moms over the years struggle with the adjustments before and after birth need a woman like Monica by their side. I wish I had met someone to this scale after the birth of my son, as those first months were hard and life changing.

Here is Monica's Story, in her own words.

I am a military wife and mother of two children, who are three and two years old respectively. I became a doula given my own experience and my resulting desire to support others in similar situations (i.e., often on their own, including, at times, for enormous life events such as the birth of a child). I decided I wanted to be there for other women in need of extra support.  By becoming a doula, I could be that person for them - someone who listens, advocates and informs these families so they can then make the best decisions for their families. To me, it is an absolute honour to be part of such a special moment in the lives of my clients.

Since I commenced working as a doula, I have quickly become increasingly passionate about the importance of working with my clients postpartum. As powerful and magical as labour and childbirth are, I quickly realized how important it is following a child’s birth to support new mothers and their families. As parents, we all know becoming a new parent is not easy. There are lots of misconceptions and/or preconceived notions/expectations around breastfeeding, sleeping and what a “new” family should look like or behave like just to name a few. As a result, I decided to explore my options as to how I could better serve the families with whom I work, which includes self-care, which mothers often neglect. After all, to care for others one must also to care for oneself.

I, subsequently, decided to offer belly binding, which is a traditional way to help mothers heal after childbirth. It is a Malaysian practice which consists of wrapping a long strip of fabric around the mother's stomach. It is also presents an opportunity to discuss with new mothers the challenges they may be facing, how they are doing, as well as assist them with breastfeeding or other feeding preferences. Belly binding has many benefits, including the following:

Supporting the internal organs;
Assisting in abdominal wall retraction and diastasis recti recovery;
Reducing the postpartum "pooch" that many women experience
Encouraging good posture;
Improving circulation;
Reducing water retention;
Closing and reshaping of the hips and rib cage;
Decreasing postpartum bleeding time;
Supporting the pelvic floor;
Lessening after pains;
Encouraging spinal realignment to a pre-pregnancy state; and
Preventing slouching while feeding or holding your child.

The transition into motherhood can be significantly eased through postpartum care as it is during this time you can get to know your baby, and learn to take your new lifestyle one day at a time. To become a mother is to follow our instincts as there is no better person to know what is right for your baby then you and I can guide you on that journey.

It is something I do not believe I can ever say enough times, and I know how difficult it can be to maintain that mind set because we are, as new moms, oh so tired, BUT always remember to cherish these early moments. They will never come back and, when you look back, you will be happy that you stopped what you were doing to notice things as small as realizing you have been gazing into each other eyes, or just listening to your new baby breathing.....simply enjoying each of these amazing moments on your new life long journey!

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