Welcome to this weeks Motherhood Chats Unfiltered. Today we are sharing an interview we had with Sarah Vogel, CD(DONA). Sarah is a Colorado mamma of three and her passion for helping women, along with her focus on her family led her to her dream career. Let's dive in with Sarah!
What has been one of your greatest challenges in motherhood?
My biggest challenge in motherhood has been practicing patience. I was really good at patience when I had just one running around but as soon as that second came along and I had two babies in different stages (18 months apart) my patience melted away. I struggled hard with postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth of my second and I know that fueled things. I feel a lot of guilt over how quickly and easily I can be triggered and wonder if it would be different had I not experienced such intense emotions in my second postpartum period.
What has been one of your greatest joys?
One of my greatest joys in motherhood has been watching the world through the lens of my children. They are so pure and unfiltered, offer such immense grace by nature, and love so dang hard. It’s incredible what children can teach us about human nature and what we are gifted innately without being taught! I wish their innocence could be bottled up and preserved - I’m so grateful their joy is so contagious!
Tell us about your home birth experience. Did you always know you wanted to take this route with your births? What helped you decide?
My homebirth was incredible. I had hospital births with my other two and honestly never had my heart set on a homebirth until I realized that no birth center or hospital could provide me with what I envisioned for her birth. I always wished I was the homebirth type but it took me two experiences in the hospital to decide for certain. My two greatest visions early in pregnancy were to birth in the water and then immediately crawl into my bed. I fought those visions at first and sought the care of a highly rated hospital-based midwifery team. When I went into the office for my 8 week ultrasound, I left and immediately hired a homebirth team, whom I had already consulted with! It was so sterile and impersonal and I knew I both deserved and wanted better for myself. Plus, I merely delivered my last in the entryway of the hospital, so why set myself up for a roadside delivery?! Home was calling my name and my husband was on board so we trusted our guts and it was worth every penny!
Tell us about your postpartum journey. What caught you by surprise? What was your greatest struggle and how did you work towards overcoming it?
Honestly, my postpartum experience was incredible. I had prepared very well for it in an effort to avoid the neglect I gave myself the last go around. I prepared myself and my support team for a good 2 weeks in bed. I educated myself on proper postpartum nutrition and handed out recipes that I wanted and needed rather than surviving off food that impeded my healing. I was strong in my boundaries, protecting my time and my energy and I said yes to help. I truly didn’t experience struggle because I equipped myself WELL. Speaking from experience, do not, do not, do not neglect the need to prepare for the postpartum. Know what to eat, know how to rest, learn to say no to the things that do not serve you and to say yes to help that’s offered!
How long have you been practicing as a doula? What led you to this career?
I’ve been a doula for about 5 years now. I've been drawn to motherhood since I was a little girl. I knew with certainty that I always wanted to be a mother and I consider that my career first and foremost. My children and my marriage are my work and I pride myself in keeping them in focus! As a way to create a solid foundation in our budget for me to eventually stay home with our children while still bringing in some income, I quit my corporate job and began teaching prenatal yoga before having kids! I fell in love with supporting moms and witnessing their transformation through matrescence. In my prenatal yoga training I learned what a doula was and was mind blown. I never had a desire for a career in medical care so to be able to have a career witnessing birth without taking in the medical side of things sounded like an absolute dream. And an absolute dream it has been! It’s been a total gift to be able to curate such a unique offering to the women in my community and to change that offering based on the needs I witness. I have a spectrum of skills and knowledge for supporting women through matrescence but can shift focus whenever and wherever I see fit.
How do you help moms overcome their birthing fears?
By reminding them of the innate wisdom they have as women to birth their baby. It’s hard work combing through decades of fears and visions that mainstream media and Hollywood have planted in our brains about what birth is like and teaching women to believe what’s actually true about birth. Knowledge really is power and I’ve learned that taking the time to really invest yourself in learning about physiologic birth, birth options, interventions, and the tools you have available to you, the less fear there is. Yes, it can be costly but you’re investing in one of the most transformational experiences of your entire life that can and will impact you for the rest of your life. It also makes a huge difference to build a birth team you truly believe in and trust. Every single person that has a hand in your care matters. Add and remove until it feels right!
What postpartum advice do you have for moms?
Plan, plan, plan. Educate yourself on postpartum nutrition, understand why it is absolutely vital to rest as long as you’re able and know who you can lean on for what. I promise if you eat well, rest, and accept help that’s offered you’ve already set yourself up for a much more successful postpartum experience. I also highly recommend handing out recipes to loved ones, having a list of local resources so that if and when any issues arise you already know who to call, and finding a provider that checks in on you prior to 6 weeks. By 6 weeks the majority of significant issues have come and have rooted deep. So, when building your support team for birth make sure your team is still going to be there for you postpartum!