What’s with the new name?

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Today is the re-launching of Offbeat Doula! (formerly known as Earthy Birthy Doula)

I know many people will wonder why I have decided to completely rebrand, so here is a little explanation.

When I first started the Earthy Birthy Doula blog, it was not meant to be my business name. It was initially just meant as my personal blog, and I thought the name was super cute and rhyme-y. And if you know me (which maybe you don’t), I love super cute and rhyme-y. But here is what happened. When it came time to make business cards, I couldn’t think of a business name, so I just went with the name I had already been using for years personally. Yes, that happened. I chose Earthy Birthy Doula as my business name because I literally could not think of anything else.

A couple months ago I went to an advanced business training workshop, and they spoke quite a bit about personal and business branding. This really got me thinking. I am Earthy Birthy, yes, for sure, but I am also so much more. I think when people picture Earthy Birthy Doula, they likely envision someone with flowers in her long wavy hair, wearing a long flowing dress, dancing with her eyes closed, and waving around a peace sign. Maybe? Maybe not. I can’t read minds (contrary to some’s belief). Well, that is simply not me. While I am most certainly a hippie at heart, I don’t like being pigeonholed in to any one stereotype. Hence, Offbeat Doula was born.

Andi2I consider myself to be a little unconventional, and quite different than what most people picture when they think of “Earthy Birthy”, or even “Doula” for that matter. I have an unconventionally large family, I am inclusive, I play roller derby, and I love tattoos and bright coloured hair. I am a feminist, and I am pretty academic. I bring so much more to the table than just knowledge about birth. I bring experience. I bring the sort of experience that took me many years to attain. I bring empathy and understanding. And above all, I bring a badass confidence and know how that cannot be adequately explained in this blog post. But trust me, it’s there.

So I think that sums it up. Yes, I am most certainly part Earthy Birthy (that will never change), but I am¬†definitely 100% Offbeat (in a good way). ūüėČ

In celebration of my re-launch, I will be posting two rad giveaways for you!

Stayed glued to the Offbeat Doula Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss your chance to enter.

 

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Babywearing for Doulas

I wear many hats in life. I am a doula, a placenta encapsulator, a mom, a roller derby player, and a babywearing educator. I have been teaching babywearing from the time I initially taught myself how to do it nearly a decade ago, and I am still heavily involved with the local babywearing group.

I am excited to announce a new and improved workshop that I have designed specifically with¬†doulas in mind.¬†Babywearing for Doulas! The workshop is 3 hours long and covers everything you will need to know to help your clients confidently and safely wear their small baby(ies). The workshop has also been approved by DONA International for 3 credit hours. That means if you’re working towards recertification, these CEUs count towards that.

Here are some things that you will learn in the workshop:

  • the benefits of babywearing
  • how to size carriers for various body types
  • appropriate carries for newborns
  • how to safely wear a premature baby
  • communication skills
  • hands on teaching practice

The first local class that I will be offering is on December 1st here in Calgary.

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If you are a doula, and you would like to book this workshop for your local doula group, please contact me for more information.

Top 10 Maternity Halloween Costumes

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There are two things I love in this world probably more than anything (not including family of course!), and when the two of them collide, I get pretty excited. The two things are beautiful pregnant bellies, and Halloween. So in celebration of all those who are expecting during this wonderful spooky holiday, I have compiled a list of my top ten favourite “with child” Halloween costumes.

10. Wrecking Ball

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Okay, this has got to be one of the easiest and funniest Halloween ideas for pregnant bellies. And now you’re singing “I came in like a wrecking ball…” in your head, aren’t you? You’re welcome.

9. Disco Ball

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This is great for maternity, but hell, I would wear this even not being pregnant! This is definitely how to be the life of the party, and I bet people will be telling you all night that you glow… are sparkle… or something cheesy like that. Anyways, if you want instructions on how to make this beauty, head on over to Instructables.

8. BB-8 (Baby 8)

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Any Star Wars fans? Well, we happen to have a couple in our house, so of course this is a hit with me. In fact, we recently acquired an actual BB-8 droid, and it can often be found getting its cute little head pawed off by our kitties. But man is it fun to watch roll around.

7. Death Star

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And of course there is the infamous Death Star. You can put the death star on a shirt like this photo, or you can even get it painted right on your beautiful belly. I think you can even get a large body tattoo for this, but maybe don’t quote me on it.

6. Thing 1 and 2

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Aside from the immediate issues I have with this costume (being that women are not things, and Thing 1 did not birth Thing 2), I think it’s pretty damn cute.

5. Baby peeking out of shirt

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Okay, this is just cute. I would likely wear this all the time, and not just on Halloween, but if you did yourself up all over, you could probably make this look like a mummy costume too. Either way, cute idea. You can find this shirt in a variety of colours on Etsy (go figure, of course you can).

4. Mummy (to be)

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Or you could go the DIY route and just straight up be a mummy. I would still vouch for scary though, and maybe cover the face and add some blood. But that is just me.

3. Beer Belly?

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Men spend years working on a beer belly, but for this “special” Halloween costume, you should only need to invest about 6+ months! Keepin’ it classy.

2. Nun

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Always a classic… the pregnant nun. So scandalous, and yet so hilarious if you are expecting. I always wanted to be a nun for Halloween when I was expecting, but I was never really far enough along to have a costume that utilized my belly.

  1. Alien!

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I can remember clearly watching “Alien” when I was a kid in the 80s, and being scared half to death when the alien baby came bursting out of John Hurt’s stomach. It has become such an iconic scene, and thus is my number 1 pick for maternity Halloween costumes. With a little creativity, you can actually make this costume pretty gory, but I decided to post the kid friendly version. ūüėČ

But wait!! I have a bonus favourite!

Pregnant Unicorn!

  

As a lover of unicorns, and someone who may or may not own several unicorn costumes (I do BTW), I love this. I love it a lot. 

I hope you enjoyed the costume ideas posted here, and if you have any unique costume ideas yourself, I would love to hear them! Happy Halloween!

happy halloween

**ps. if any of these pictures are yours and you would like them taken down or given credit, please let me know. I posted credit where I could, but otherwise could not find the original source

Viva Las Vegas – Doula Edition


Last week I travelled to the ABC Kids Expo, which is held yearly in Las Vegas. It is the world’s largest trade show for baby, kid, and family products. There were thousands of businesses exhibiting with interesting, fun, unique, and straight up odd products on display for buyers to look at.

  ummmm, what? I don’t even know.

I was in a unique position, where I went to help my partner set up and take down, but otherwise had no ties to any one business. I was not really an exhibitor, or a buyer. I spent the four days floating around, wearing my various hats of doula, babywearing educator, and former baby business owner. I met old friends, new friends, and talked more in those four days than I have all year. It was exhausting… and amazing.

While walking around the massive convention centre, I thought it would be fun to bring some things home and organize a giveaway for those people who could not make it (but who would have loved to). Some of the exhibitors were giving away some really cute swag, so I made it my mission to collect goodies for the giveaway. I am running the giveaway over at Babywearing Calgary, so please head over there to enter!

I have been to Vegas many times, but this was the first time I went to the ABC Kids Expo. I must say, although I was technically in Vegas, it didn’t really feel like it. We spent a bit of time on Fremont Street, some time laying by the pool, and some time eating and drinking. Overall, it was a pretty chill Vegas trip. Yes, I will be going back next year, but this time I’ll bring business cards!

Here are a few more pics of my trip, just for fun.

  
  
  

So you want to brew at home…

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I have been brewing my own kombucha for about two years now. Surprisingly, it’s actually incredibly easy. The hard part is going to find a flavour that you like, but with enough trial and error, and some tips from this post, I trust you will love it in no time.

First, let’s go over what kombucha even is. Kombucha is often referred to as “mushroom tea”, but don’t be alarmed, it is not a mushroom at all. It is a fermented tea beverage, chock full of probiotics, B vitamins, and antioxidants. It is made by adding a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacterial and Yeast) to sweetened tea, and allowing it to ferment between 7-14 days.

kombuchaSCOBY

Steps to brewing kombucha at home:

  • boil roughly 1 litre of water and pour it over 1 black tea bag in large glass jar
  • stir in half a cup of sugar (I use unbleached sugar, but you can use a various types)
  • let steep until tea is at room temperature, then remove tea bag
  • add one cup of starter and SCOBY
  • cover jar with clean cloth and let sit for 7 – 14 days

Once your brew has been fermenting for a while, you can taste it by dipping a straw in (trying not to disturb the new SCOBY growing on top), seal the top with a finger, and lifting a small amount of liquid out to taste. If it tastes sweet, it likely hasn’t fermented long enough. A fully fermented brew will taste a little tangy.

After your initial ferment is complete, you can start the process all over again to start a new batch, and begin on a second ferment with the original batch. The second ferment is where you’ll be able to play with flavours and find something that works for your tastebuds. You can add almost anything to flavour kombucha. Play around, add what you like. You can add apple slices, ginger, strawberries, peaches, raisins, dates, cranberries, and even numerous herbs! Leave the second batch for 12-24 hours, or to taste really.¬†I¬†dilute my kombucha with water right before consumption if it’s still too tangy for me.

Here’s the recipe I usually make:

Raspberry Chia

  • add a small amount of lemon juice (maybe a Tbs)
  • add a handful of frozen raspberries
  • let sit for 12-24 hours¬†(to taste)
  • dilute with water if it is too tangy
  • add pre-soaked chia

If you want some more options for fabulous tasting kombucha, check out the recipes at Homemade Mommy!

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Lastly, if you are pregnant and/or nursing and wondering if this fermented beverage is safe for you to drink, the short answer is yes, with cautions of course. The long answer can be found here.

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P.S. if you’re in YYC and in need of a starter, contact me, that just so happens to be something I sell on the side.

International Babywearing Week 2015

IBW2015

International Babywearing Week runs through October 4 – 10, 2015. They’ve made it pretty awesome this year with various themes and hashtags to use throughout the week. It’s all about embracing, like #embraceyourlove and #embraceyouradventure just to name a couple. You’ll have to go to Babywearing International to see the full list.

embrace your world

“International Babywearing Week is an annual outreach event sponsored by Babywearing International. It is a week-long opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate for, and focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing.” ~ Babywearing International

General-IBW-Logo-FC

Babywearing Calgary has various events organized to celebrate IBW2015, including mall walks at CrossIron mall, Market mall, and Chinook. They also have a zoo date planned for Friday the 9th, and are organizing a carrier drive.

Carrier Drive

The carrier drive is pretty awesome actually. Babywearing Calgary is accepting donations of quality carriers and will in turn be taking them to the Elizabeth House (home for pregnant teens) and hopefully the Louise Dean School (school for pregnant teens) as well. With the carriers, Babywearing Calgary will also send in a couple co-leaders to facilitate a small workshop and teach the moms to be how to use their newly acquired carriers. I cannot even begin to say how excited I am about this initiative. For those of you that don’t know, I am one of the co-leaders for Babywearing Calgary, so this is extra exciting.

If you’re in YYC and you want to take part in the events we have planned, look us up on Facebook, or check go take a look at the Babywearing Calgary Blog!

Happy Babywearing!

Yurtbirth

You’ve heard of a homebirth, and you’ve heard of a waterbirth… but have you heard of a yurtbirth? Or even a yurt for that matter? Let’s start with “yurt”.

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A traditional yurt (from the Turkic) or ger (Mongolian) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs (poles, rafters), and a wheel (crown, compression ring) possibly steam-bent. The roof structure is often self-supporting, but large yurts may have interior posts supporting the crown. The top of the wall of self-supporting yurts is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs. Modern yurts may be permanently built on a wooden platform; they may use modern materials such as steam-bent wooden framing or metal framing, canvas or tarpaulin, Plexiglas dome, wire rope, or radiant insulation.” – wikipedia

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Yurts are popping up all over the place, well, maybe just in our friend circle I guess. But either way, they are becoming a more popular structure here in western Canada. In fact, I want a yurt. Lucky for us, a good friend of ours has a yurt we can stay in sometimes. And double lucky, some friends of our friends build yurts, and teach workshops on building yurts!! So if this is a dream of yours too, please go check out Bird Creek Yurts.

So now that we have yurts out of the way, I’m sure you can imagine what a yurtbirth is. One of our friends recently birthed her baby in to the world, in her yurt. Yes, she has a yurt on her property, and she had a yurt waterbirth. We’ll hopefully share a birth story from her view in the near future, but right now I’d like to share the view of the photographer, Michelle Wells. Michelle took some amazing photographs of the process, and I encourage everyone to have a little lookie, and then feel honoured to even be able to look at them (I know I do).

LINDSIE‚ÄôS HOME WATER BIRTH ‚Äď IN A YURT WITH BABY IN HER AMNIOTIC SAC . | CALGARY BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY

yurt birth

“So I have to say, this is one of the coolest births that I have ever seen.  It was unique in every single way. By unique, I mean incredible and perfect.  Knowing that Lindsie was planning to have her baby in her Yurt with lots of wonderful windows, I jokingly asked her if  she would have her baby during the day.  Amazingly enough, she contacted me at about 4 in the morning to give me a little warning.  I arrived there at around 6:30 am just as the sun was rising upon a beautiful warm spring day. I peeked in to the Yurt…read more

PS… You definitely want to click “read more”, that is where you’ll see all the amazing yurtbirth pictures.