Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Announcing Our Private Forum

A Sacred Journey is growing to meet our members, student and busy societal needs. 

A Sacred Journey Educational Facility

 As resourced from our Klusster online magazine, here is what it means for our students, certified doulas and private members in this space our members have access to: Access to a Secure and Private Online Website Forum.

  • Training Spaces 
  •  Academic Resources
  • Professional Development Lists and Resources 
  •  Videos   
  • PDF’s
  • PowerPoints 
  • Sense of Community in a Safe Environment
  • Private Communication Space  
  • Live and Face to Face Communication Ability
  • Groups to Join Based on Interests
  • Private Members Only Groups
  • Self-Care
  • Members Class or Advertisement of Services Space
  • ASJ Created Curriculum Memes or Papers 
  • ASJ Private Class Space
  • ASJ Clients Space

This is a real time area where we can continue mentoring our students, share our journeys and celebrate our successes. ASJ is conscious about our students being able to access supports, a longitude of learning opportunities and a secure base. 

We truly wish for our members to know we are here for the long journey, not just for the moment they are paying for our services. While this space is not mandatory, it does allow our members to communicate worldwide, which we feel is truly exciting. 

We are thrilled about what this space will mean to our members. We love our In Person Training, Red Tents and Doulas Supporting Doulas Circles, however, we have been listening to our members on how hard it is to find the time for self-care. 

Thanks for sharing in our excitement in our forum.
Lesley Cressman 

Monday, 25 July 2016

Our Team Keeps Growing

A Sacred Journey of Kitchener Ontario, has a new face. Please welcome Haley Greatorex to A Sacred Journey. Haley is from Waterloo, Ontario. She comes to us like a breath of fresh air.

Haley is a passionate doula in certification here in Kitchener. She has strong leadership and management skills, where she leads with her calm and quiet nature. She is passionate with support women in the journey of birth. She is an animal rights activist. She simply adores her dog and cat. She is active young women who competitively played baseball up until last year on a Waterloo League. Haley is very proud to be a doula in Kitchener, Ontario.

We would like to thanks, Sweet Talk Photography, from Waterloo, Ontario, for our incredible pictures. https://www.facebook.com/sweettalkphotog/

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Safe Practices in Placenta Encapsulation

Today, I was exposed to some situations that made me question professionalism, health and safety, and education. I live in the Waterloo region, I am formally educated at Conestoga College, where I am a graduate of the Early Childhood Educator Diploma Program. In my final year, we took some serious courses: The ECE Professional, Health Safety & Nutrition, Philosophy in Practice, and Issues in Quality In Early Learning and Care. Why I am sharing this is because I feel that sometimes we mistake experience for awareness, understanding and safe practices.

A Sacred Journey is a doula collective, servicing the families in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge area. We are a group of formally educated women, who understanding things like Air-borne and blood-borne pathogens. We take these possible contaminates quiet seriously. At this present moment we do not have a trained member who is able to do Placenta Encapsulation. We do however, have three highly skilled peers, who we have insured take the safety of our clients and themselves to the highest level of practice.

If Placenta Encapsulation is something you are looking to utilize please, please ask question, find out how the company is going to prepare your placenta for you. If you are wanting more information, please feel free to ask A Sacred Journey on Safe Practices. info@asacredjourney.ca

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Struggles in Finding Common Ground Between Daycare Providers and Parents

My name is Lesley, and I was a Home Daycare Provider for over 20 years. I have worked in daycare centres and in community resource centres. I now own A Sacred Journey, where I am a Birth and Postpartum Doula, I teach Reiki, I teach Prenatal, Birth, and Postpartum Classes, I volunteer for many community groups, and I hold monthly women’s support groups. Most importantly, I am a mom to four now adult children and a proud Nana.

In all these years and under all these different hats, here is what I have learned. Daycare Providers and Parents see things from under to extremely different lenses and they struggle at times to understand each other.... but I have found there are a few topics they will agree upon.

1.       They both agree that children need to be safe, loved, well care for, and both parties love the children
2.       They both value children and see them as competent individuals
3.       They both value children and their need to explore outside
4.       They both are aware children have physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and phonological needs
5.       They both agree children deserve and need love

At times both struggle to see each other’s sides on:
1.       Providers think they deserve more pay; which they do. Some providers feel that some parents take the time and energy, put into their children and do not value it. They feel unheard and frustrated that parents do not see all the work they do with the children each and every day.
2.       Parents struggle over the costs of daycare with the fact that want to have money left over to share time with their children. They want the very best of care for their children. Some parents feel that the provider is taking over a role that they do not want to give up.
There are of course are more issues, feelings and options, but these are the main ones. Under all of these issues, really what is happening if providers feel undervalued and parents feel taken advantage of by a system that does not help families meet the expenditure needs of having children in this world. There is funding for lower income families and higher income families are able to cover the cost; leaving the middle income families at times struggle with the daycare costs creating hard feelings between providers and parents.

Okay, simply stated...  so now what..... You have to pay for daycare or not have a job right? This matter of fact position makes parents feels like being stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Where do you go? How do you choose the very best of care? How do you keep a positive relationship with your provider, when you feel frustrated over rates and the time they spend with your children?

Where do you go and how do you choose the very best of care?
Start by creating a list of what are you most important non-negotiable for a home provider. But try and remember, no one is you, no one is going to be perfect and do the entire thing you would like done with your child. Providers do try, but they are not able to be someone they are not. Look for someone who is as close to the personality and skill set that you are expecting for care.  Find a daycare question or check list to bring to the interview. Start talking to people, ask friends, join facebook groups for providers and parents, spend some time reading the providers comments to other parents, especially when there is contention; it will shed a huge light on how the provider handles stress and how they truly feel. These conversations will also share what is important to the provider and what they will fight for.... most times it is about money, late fees, or non payment. Money issues in childcare are one of the number one problems, late payments, bounced checks, or no payment at all; all the while the provider is putting out money for food, crafts, and emotional energy.

How do you keep a positive relationship with your provider, when you feel frustrated over rates and the time they spend with your children?
Communication is huge in maintaining a positive relationship with your provider. When both parties are aware of situations and the need of each other they are able to be supportive so both are feeling heard and valued. Ask yourself some questions.... How does your provider get to the doctors? What if her child needs eye glasses or allergy testing during the day?  How does she get to the bank if you give her a cheque? When does your provider get time off and how does that look is she dealing with business at night time too? Can she stop for a coffee when she is done work? How does her lunch break work? Having an awareness of the other person’s side day helps both sides be more flexible with each other.

Paying daycare fees on time is the next big thing. There is nothing worse than having to ask a parent to pay their fees. It makes the provider uncomfortable and they worry there is going to be an argument over it. Money is one of the biggest struggles in this world.... they question I will ask parents is this... do you have to remind your boss to have the pay cheques made up for you, or is it completed like always on payday? Now here is the biggest one, would you go back to work tomorrow without getting paid?
Behaviours of being undervalued these feelings can come on both sides of this coin and make a good relationship bad in a few moments.

The best advice I can give is to keep communication with each other, if you do not like the provider or parent at the very start the feelings will probably not get better. In fact, when you are upset with someone, every little thing they do does get under your skin more and make you more upset with them.  Show each other how much you value each other, the work, energy and love that the other gives the children you both care for and love!

Best of luck to both sides in finding common ground....
Lesley Cressman, CBD, SBD,

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Acknowledging My Niece Knows What is Best for Her

Today’s blog is created because of my niece's posted on Facebook today “Membrane sweep next Tuesday, so Coby will hopefully be here on Wednesday and if that doesn’t work I’m going to be induced the week after!” My niece's post “lit a fire” under me and sparked the creation of this article.

I found myself collecting different articles and clinical reports to showcase valid opinions, you know the "Great Thinkers" on these subjects. One of the best learning, I found in my academia time was I do not need to know everything; I just need to know where to sight it from. You will find most of the links on the reports are from “US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Pub Med .gov and Ina May Gaskin, Midwife and Author foloowed by two youtube videos to a a visual expression” As I sit here, in Waterloo region,  in Ontario, I pondered, how can my Labour doula learning help my niece in Alberta as she gives birth to her son.

I know, some of you are going to say, there is a great amount of research on waiting for the baby to start the process of labour. However, being a doula also means to support women on their journey of their birthing process. There are many times when a doula needs to remember, it is not their birth or story. The birth story itself belongs to the family and to support them on their way.
                          Meet Cody, Erin, Trinity, and Tanix, they are waiting on little Coby.

As a Great Auntie, I am going to say, I value my niece enough to know she knows, her body and her family’s needs more the I ever possibly could. Here you go my dear niece Erin. I hope this helps you birth you little man. Welcome  to the family little Coby, we cannot wait to meet you!

I am sure there are other ways to natural induce labour, but these are the ones, I found and chose to write upon today.
  1. Sex: “Breast stimulation is especially effective in starting labor at term when it is combined with sexual intercourse. Unless your partner is an abysmally poor lover, this combination is by far the most enjoyable method of induction.”  Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
  2. Acupuncture/Acupressure: Report “The most popular therapies recommended by midwives are massage therapy, herbal medicines, relaxation techniques, nutritional supplements, aromatherapy, homeopathy and acupuncture.”
  3. Reflexology: Report “Reflexology services are offered to induce spontaneous labour for women with low risk pregnancies once postdates, reducing the need for medical induction of labour (IOL) and intervention…”
  4. Induction Massage/Shiatsu: Report “Post-term women who used shiatsu were significantly more likely to labour spontaneously than those who did not (p=0.038). Of those who had used shiatsu, 17% more went into spontaneous labour compared to those who were not taught shiatsu.”
  5. Sweeping Membranes / Stretch & Sweep: It is known to give a gentle push in the direction of full labour. It may not be completely natural but it is definitely drug free. Report “Membrane sweeping, has beneficial effects on labor and delivery, which is limited to nulliparas with unfavorable cervix requiring PGE2 or Oxytocin alone.”
  6. Evening Primrose Oil Report “It is often used for several women's health conditions, including breast pain (mastalgia), menopausal and premenstrual symptoms, cervical ripening, and labor induction or augmentation.”
  7. Raspberry Leaf  Report “The aim of the study was to identify the effect and safety of raspberry leaf tablets (2 x 1.2 g per day), consumed from 32 weeks' gestation until labor, on labor and birth outcomes.” I also found this from Ina May Gaskin book, “The strangest request I have encountered was that of a first-time mother who—just before pushing—asked her husband for a jar of peanut butter and proceeded to eat two heaping table-spoonfuls. She then washed the peanut butter down with nearly a quart of raspberry leaf tea and pushed her baby out. I was impressed.” Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth 
  8. Date Fruit Report “Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers.”
  9. Yoga Positions and Therapy: Yoga Positions to Induce Labour youtube video
  10. Exersise: Here is a great article on exercises to bring on labour called “8 Effective Exercises To Induce Labor Naturally” and the Yoga Ball as well as some acupress points on the second link

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Our Angel Baby Abrielle

The greatest of a families joy can turn horribly wrong in the blink of an eye.  As a family, we had to mourn our beautiful baby girl.  I learned of my granddaughter passing, when I was away on a retreat. I had to make the hard choice of listen to my Adult daughters wishes for me to stay because I could not change what was going to happen. Or listen to my mother voice within me, say my little girl has no idea what she is going to go through. I chose to come home to her. I am so glad I was there for her, her husband and the whole family.

As a mom, I was able to help and witness my daughter give birth to the most beautiful baby girl, my darling granddaughter, who sadly had passed on. This was the hardest day of my life so far. To be unable to fix my daughters problem, and allow so much emotional and physical pain to impact her. This was one of my worst fears as a mom, not being able to keep her from harm.

I was so proud of my daughter and son-in-law. They love each other so much, they love their daughter, and they love their family with their whole heart; which was apparent in how they maneuvered the journey though the loss of their daughter. They have taught me so much on compassion and the differences between sympathy and empathy. Thank you both for allowing me to share in your joy and sorrow.

A special thanks to Lisa at  Kitchener Waterloo Midwifery Associates for all you did for our whole family; specifically with my daughter and her husband, as we lost our Brie. Your gentle and caring spirit, was more than appreciated. Even after our terrible loss, you still kept a close loving eye on my daughter Mandee. Thanks Lisa,  for sharing our joy and our tears with such grace!
A loving grandmother of a sweet little angel that was far to precious for this world.


The Announcement From My Daughter, Mandee:
I have to share some terrible news today, this morning our beautiful princess was born, unfortunately we also had to say goodbye.  We named our daughter Abrielle, she was perfect.
I'll never live another day without thinking about you Brie, you were more than wanted, more than planned... We waited years for you, and this morning I finally saw your beautiful face, and it was everything I imagined it would be. I love you princess.

At 38 1/2 weeks I woke up and the baby wouldn't move, I tried everything to get her to move without luck. My fears were confirmed at the hospital, no heartbeat. I delivered my daughter about 24 hours later, in the same hospital. The Doctor told us that she had suffered an "umbilical cord accident", which occurs in about 1/150 births. We named our precious daughter Abrielle Niccia Simas, she was born at 6:10 am on May 30th 2015. A small girl with her daddy's long legs and my red hair, a perfect combination of my husband and me. She will be forever missed ♥ 

Written by a Loving Nana, Lesley Cressman, CLB, SBD and Foundher of A Sacred Jouney