The BECOMING Course: Amber's Story - Podcast Episode #125
Kristin & Alyssa talk with Amber Shaw, a recent student in The BECOMING a Mother online series of classes, about some fears she had with her second pregnancy and why she took this course. You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes or SoundCloud.
Welcome. You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting. Let’s chat!
Alyssa: Hi, Amber! Thanks for joining us!
Amber: Hello! Thanks for having me!
Alyssa: We’re talking to Amber Shaw today. She’s a past and current client, and then you also just completed our very first beta launch of the Becoming a Mother course.
Amber: I did!
Alyssa: So we kind of want to talk to that, and Kristin’s here with us, too, today. As you know, she teaches the first three weeks on pregnancy and birth, and then I teach the last three weeks on postpartum planning and sleep. So we just kind of wanted to get first-hand experience for other people who might be thinking – other moms who might be thinking about taking this course, and maybe ask you some things about what you got out of it. Kristin, do you have any questions to start it off?
Kristin: Yeah. So, Amber, I would love to – I know when we approached you about the concept – I would love to hear your thoughts on why, being a second-time mom, you decided to invest six-plus weeks during your busy life and pregnancy to join us in this brand new online course.
Amber: Well, I feel like you kind of black out a little bit. After your first child – you know, I got pregnant again. My son is almost four, and I feel like there was a lot that I just didn’t remember about, you know, when he was a newborn, particularly. I think your mind kind of, you know, forgets some things to protect you a little bit and make sure that you have the opportunity to have a second. And there’s so much new information out constantly and just a million different places to get it, but I think that in general can be overwhelming to a new mom or even a second-time mom. So, you know, I love you guys. I used you for my first birth, so it was kind of a no-brainer to work with you again and just kind of get a brush-up on everything, and I got a lot of new information out of it, too. So it was nice just to kind of have everything in one space from trusted sources that I can reach out to if I need to. It’s not just like you’re getting information and then that’s it; go run with it. So, yeah. I like the whole concept of it and just the fact that you guys are available for questions, too.
Kristin: And even working with doulas currently, have you found that it’s still beneficial to get that information from Alyssa and myself in different areas that maybe your doulas may not be talking to you about on the regular?
Amber: Absolutely. I love my doulas a lot, but I don’t want to reach out to them for every little question I have. I don’t want to ask them about safe sleep and kind of brushing up on that stuff, so I think there’s just some things that you kind of want to do research on your own time about. I kind of save my texts for the doulas, especially at this point, to, like, hey, is this sensation normal, not asking them about, you know, breastfeeding and all of that stuff. So it’s a different type of – like, a different type of information area, I guess you could say.
Alyssa: And added on to that, I think – you know, so you have a four-year-old, and now you’re pregnant again, but even if you would have remembered all the things, you’ve never birthed during COVID before, so I think that’s its own huge part of – you know, and until COVID goes away, which who knows how long we’re going to have parents and mothers in particular really nervous about giving birth during a pandemic, you know, that is a big piece of what your first or second week – probably your first week you go over that?
Kristin: Yeah. Well, we go over, you know, just pregnancy expectations and fears and feelings, and I think it applies no matter what stage of pregnancy a woman is at. Obviously, with anything, it’s better to join a course like Becoming early in pregnancy, but we’ve had clients deliver their babies shortly after the class started, and they still got benefit and are interacting and have lifetime access to the videos if they have more children.
Amber: Well, I think the good part about it is how you guys break it up so much. Like, it’s easy to go in and find the information that you’re looking for, which I think is really nice. You don’t have to, like, watch a whole video to kind of – you know, if you remember what section something is in that you want to brush up on or needed more information about, you can go right there. I loved that about it, and I think it really broadly covers, like, yeah, you’re pregnant. You know, now what do you do? You’re faced with all these questions and decisions, but now the baby’s here. So it’s kind of both ends of it, which I think for my first time around, being pregnant, I focused so much on preparing for birth that I don’t think I prepared enough for postpartum and what really happens when you’re bringing the baby home, and I think that probably happens to a lot of people because you’re just so angsty about the day and just thinking so much about the day of your birth but, like, that’s just the beginning of it.
Kristin: So true!
Amber: There’s so much that happens after that you’re constantly like, is this normal? What do I do if this arises? And, you know, you can’t constantly be calling your pediatrician or – well, for me, it was just the pediatricians because I didn’t have a postpartum doula, so I think that really having solid information and resources for when baby comes home is so important and something I wish I would have spent more time on my first time around.
Alyssa: You’re not the only one. A lot of parents say that. Like, oh, my gosh. We read all the books – well, it’s the exciting part, right? Like, you find out you’re pregnant, and you’re so excited, and your brain can’t even go there yet. You’re so focused on a healthy pregnancy, and then you get to the – oh, my gosh. What is labor and delivery going to be like? And then you never even get past that. Like, once you bring the baby home, then what? And that’s the hard part, right?
Amber: It really is the hard part. You’re so – it’s so overwhelming, and especially your first time around, I just questioned. I questioned every mark on his body. I questioned his baby acne, what it really was. You know, if I had enough supply; is he even getting anything out of me? It’s a really intense time. I think the fact that you guys have so much content focused on that, and also resources. That is huge, especially the second time around, I really, I think, focused on those because when I started the class, I already had my doulas and everything like that, and I knew that I wanted a vaginal birth, like a VBAC, so I kind of had a good idea of my care team and all of that stuff. So I really focused on the second half of the course and the bonus videos and being active in the Facebook group and stuff like that. That’s been really beneficial to me.
Alyssa: Let’s talk a little more about the Facebook group because that was a big part of, when we put this class together, especially, again, during a pandemic when moms can’t get together and have that community, to have a really safe and open space where you can ask these questions that you might not feel comfortable asking in a big open Facebook moms group with thousands of people in it, and to know that you’re going to get support and answers and responses from Kristin and I that are like, hey, here’s what the evidence says, or hey, here’s a trusted resource in our area or your area who can support you.
Amber: I think that’s invaluable. There is too much – there’s too much out there. It’s overwhelming. You don’t always know if you’re reading somebody’s opinion or if it’s evidence-based. Everybody has an opinion about everything when it comes to parenting and motherhood, and it’s really – like, you’ve got to really sift through all of that stuff and find clarity, especially when you are postpartum and already emotional. I remember coming across so many resources when I was up in the middle of the night questioning things that just sent me down an even worse rabbit hole of thinking I was doing something wrong or making me even more paranoid. So just to have a couple places that you go to for – where you just – yeah, you know that you’re going to get a reliable answer that’s evidence-based from somebody that you know. It’s invaluable, like I said.
Alyssa: Well, good. That’s what we wanted!
Kristin: And you’ve all helped up shape the course based on feedback from the live Q&A calls and in the group. So we added an expert video on car seat installation. We had the author of Welcome to Fatherhood do one for dads specifically, since dads are not in the group. Dads and partners, I should say. So to have something that they can look at and get involved in the pregnancy, birth, and parenting aspect of things.
Alyssa: Yeah, we were very intentional about not having – literally, all of our other classes are for couples, and we think that’s really important and we love it, but then it’s like – I think mothers wouldn’t be so open about asking specific kinds of questions or talking about, you know, especially in the postpartum one, we talk about some – you know, the nitty gritty, like what happens to a female body afterwards, and males aren’t going to want to either listen to that or hear about it, and we’re not going to want to talk about it in front of them. Like, as much as I love my husband, I’m not going to tell him about what happens to my body every month when I get my period. So we were very intentional in that, too, of like, let’s just make this only for mothers. Birthing persons only, and let them feel really safe and comfortable here.
Hey, Alyssa here. I’m just popping in to tell you about our course called Becoming. Becoming A Mother is your guide to a confident pregnancy and birth all in a convenient six-week online program, from birth plans to sleep training and everything in between. You’ll gain the confidence and skills you need for a smooth transition to motherhood. You’ll get live coaching calls with Kristin and myself, a bunch of expert videos, including chiropractic care, pelvic floor physical therapy, mental health experts, breastfeeding, and much more. You’ll also get a private Facebook community with other mothers going through this at the same time as you to offer support and encouragement when you need it most. And then of course you’ll also have direct email access to me and Kristin, in addition to the live coaching calls. If you’d like to learn more about the course, you can email us at email@example.com, or check it out at www.thebecomingcourse.com. We’d love to see you there.
Amber: I was actually just watching that one the other day because I had a Cesarean with my first birth, so in a way, I feel like this is my first birth, in a way, because I have not experienced any type of labor at all. I haven’t experience postpartum with a vaginal birth, and that was really great to hear about all of that stuff because it’s going to be my first time experiencing it, even though I’ve had a baby before. So no matter what birth you’re on, they’re all different, and I think this information is always good to have as a reminder, even if somebody has had a vaginal birth before. Just the reminders of prepping yourself to, this is what’s going to be happening because to not know – yeah, the more you know, the better you can go in and just be mentally prepared for whatever happens.
Kristin: And I know you were very interested in the sleep aspect of things, and that live call was quite well attended.
Alyssa: Yeah. I mean, every time I talk about sleep, I remind myself I need to create a class specifically for sleep, and actually, from this beta group – and I’m almost done writing it. Like, I feel like it would be great – because you all are pregnant around the same time. You’re going to have children in the three- to six-month age range around the same time. Like, this group of women who go through the course together could then, if they wanted, go through this sleep class. It’d be, like, four different sessions for four different age groups or something. I’m trying to work through how that would be, and then you could commiserate together of like, oh, my gosh, this is how naps are going. But then I could be there to be like, okay, based on what you told me, here’s what you all need to do. So I’m working through that in my head, because I know sleep is a really big issue for parents, whether first time or like you, with a toddler – I guess he’s older than a toddler at this point, but a lot of people with a one- or two-year-old at home, it’s hard, especially when they’re not sleeping well yet.
Amber: Yeah. I’m actually way more concerned about sleep this time around because I have another kid. Like, the first time, you really can nap when they nap, and doing all of that stuff, and luckily Parker has always been a really good sleeper, but man, I feel like my second time around, I want to work harder at getting to know his sleep schedule and working on that, because it’s just – I just don’t have the flexibility to just be focused on him and to be sleep-deprived all the time. So that would be so beneficial and so helpful, I feel like, for people, because I didn’t do any type of sleep training the first time around at all.
Alyssa: Yeah, you got lucky with a kid who liked to sleep.
Amber: I did, yeah. Yeah.
Alyssa: And who knows, maybe the second one will, too.
Amber: We’ll see. He’s very active at night already.
Alyssa: Well, my intention with week six with sleep was just to give everyone enough info that you go, oh, my gosh, I can do this. It’s not impossible. I can start from the beginning creating these really healthy sleep habits so that when my baby is ready, it’s not such a problem.
Amber: Right. And then too, I think, remembering that just the beginning, there is no – you’re just kind of at the whim of the breastfeeding, and you are up all the time, and you can’t even look for those patterns yet. So even just for the reminder of that, because I think you kind of forget about that time, as well, just because it’s all a blur. Like, night is day; day is night. It’s a very strange time. So even just being ready to jump back into that and setting yourself up for support, I think that, like, I’ve had a lot more conversations with Ashton this time around, and this is what we’re about to be in again, and we have another kid, so I’m fine getting up, obviously, all night long, but you’re going to need to step in a little bit more in the morning hours with Parker and letting me nap throughout the day. So I feel like good conversations have happened with Ashton and I more than they did the first time around, too, based on some of these classes and just the reminders. And having those talks now and not later when it’s more emotional because you’re just exhausted and just trying to survive.
Kristin: So true. We communicate both in my section about planning and also in the postpartum section, that communication is key and setting that expectation, especially with your partner, but also with family and what their expectations are.
Amber: Yes. Once again, something I did not really focus on the first time around, but I am now.
Alyssa: We’re so glad you took the course and that you enjoyed it. And then as you know, this course is just going to keep growing and evolving, and as videos change, and who knows, baby number three comes, you’re still going to have access to all this stuff, so we can keep reminding you, and if you want to stay in the Facebook group, you can. If you want to get out, we won’t be offended.
Kristin: And we’ve had some great conversations in the group. I’ve loved seeing birth stories shared as people are having their babies. It’d be great to do some sort of virtual reunion in the group.
Amber: It’s nice too that everybody pretty much in there at this point is local, as well. So it would be great to kind of form some play groups from it or just actually meeting each other at some point, since we are coming to some kind of normalcy in the world. So actually having a mom group – you know, I’m obviously part of a few of them on Facebook. I’ve got a love/hate with all of them. I kind of just use them when I need them and don’t scroll and don’t get into anything in there, but having women local in your area that you can reach out to and possibly create relationships with is really awesome, too.
Kristin: Yeah. We have a few students from other states and one from southeast Michigan, but you’re right, the majority in this one are local, so it is cool to have that connection.
Alyssa: As the course grows, it will have a wider and wider reach, but I think that’s maybe an advantage you have with this beta course is to maybe reach out to some of these moms and say hey, you know, now that the weather’s nice, let’s plan a meet-up. Like, let’s meet babies.
Kristin: So what advice do you have, Amber, for women who are on the fence about investing the time and money into an online program? And if they’re deciding or even looking at their budget as we go through kind of your budgeting and your goals, why would you say this would be important during someone’s pregnancy and newborn journey?
Amber: Well, I think, just like with anything, being prepared is just the best way that you can set yourself up for success, and as a first-time mom, I wish I would have had something like this. I did have doulas, so I did have support, but even with women who don’t bring doulas on, you know, just to have a place that kind of gives you a roadmap of some kind of plan to have, people, to reach out to, like a place to start, is super important because it’s all just – it’s a very overwhelming experience, especially for a first time mom, and especially during the pandemic, because a lot of in-person classes really aren’t happening anymore. Maybe they’re starting to now, but I think just having one place to be able to get all of your questions answered and that kind of touches on everything is just – you know, it’s a huge investment in yourself and your family and the future of your sanity and how things are going to go and just kind of having an idea of what to expect, I think, is really important getting into this because there’s a lot of unknowns, even if you have done all the research. So it’s absolutely worth it, and it’s nice because you can just do it on your own time, too. You know, it’s not like you have to show up to a physical class every week. I did the HypnoBirthing the first time around. I actually did quite a few classes through you guys, but this is nice because you can just kind of sit in bed at night and watch as much as you want to, so it’s really flexible, too. I really love that about it, as well.
Alyssa: Well, and when you took HypnoBirthing, you were pregnant with no other children, so you could basically – you know, your schedule was your own, but now it may be really hard to get away, as much as we would want to get away every week and have something to do…
Amber: It’s just not feasible. Not feasible all the time.
Kristin: And that’s why we break out the videos into short content so you can watch one video on this particular topic rather than doing a longer 30-minute to an hour-long video. Digest information at your own pace and access it whenever you need it. Some women got into the first couple of weeks quickly and then had things going on with spring break and so on and took some time to get back into it, so that self-paced aspect but being able to get on calls, where live, or ask questions after watching the recording, I think, has been very helpful for the group to be able to look through it and then ask questions directly versus a self-paced course where you don’t have the interaction component that we do in Becoming.
Amber: And so many things come up during pregnancy. It’s so important just to have that connection with people where you can ask those questions. That’s super important, and I think something else I wanted to say, too, that I really liked about it is I feel like all of the classes go over things, and then you have resources on top of that. So it’s like you have the breastfeeding class and then you have a lactation consultant that you guys work with. So I think everything is paired really well, too, so it’s not just like a little bit of something and then you’ve got to figure the rest of it out. You have all the resources in one place, so people don’t have to go looking for that stuff if they have more questions or need more clarification or support on something. It’s right there. So that’s also a huge added value.
Alyssa: Yeah, I feel like we tried to do that, and we probably – I mean, we – as doulas, that’s part of what we do, too, right? Like, we offer support but then also accompany that with resources because we know that the two go hand in hand. So I think either intentionally or unintentionally, it just happened in this course because that’s how we live and breathe. We want to support you in the best way we can, but we know we can’t do everything. And then like you said, there’s way too many places to get information, so we’ve already done it; we do it all the time for our clients, so let’s just put it in one place so that it’s easy for you. To take one thing off of a busy mom’s plate –
Amber: Oh my gosh, yeah. Worth its weight in gold, for sure.
Alyssa: Awesome. Well, thanks for taking the time to do this.
Amber: Thank you guys! I loved it. I feel definitely much more prepared second time around, especially for the breastfeeding, the sleeping, and just postpartum stuff in general. That was huge for me, so yeah, it was great.
Alyssa: Good. Glad to hear it!
Kristin: Thank you so much, Amber! We appreciate it!
Amber: Thank you, guys!
Thanks for listening to Gold Coast Doulas. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. If you like this podcast, please subscribe and give us a five-star review. Thank you! Remember, these moments are golden.