Reaching out and reaching in…

There’s this thing that happens to me every time I’m at a hospital birth. (In a minute, you’ll understand why this doesn’t happen at home births.)


My birthing couple and I are doing our thing, we’re dancing or resting, or massaging. We’re talking through a particular choice that has to be made… And then the mom in the next room, or down the hall, starts crying or screaming. And the midwives are telling her, quite loudly, what she must do now. And the three of us share this glance. This empathetic, “pregnant” glance that says, “if only she had a doula with her.”

Once, in the waiting area of one particular hospital, my client actually said to me, “Go over to her, Ayelet. See if you can help her.” I did a little work with my rebozo and helped her bring her baby down. Other women in the waiting area asked if I could help them too.

I started, gently, asking them if they had access to a doula or a friend or sister, someone who could be there with them through their birth. I got some very interesting answers, ranging from “What’s a doula?” and “Why would I need a doula if I’m going to get an epidural?” to “I can’t afford a doula.” or “my husband is with my other children and my sister is pregnant with her own baby.” Obviously, I couldn’t get into deep conversations with other women while I was attending my client, but with one or two words, I gave them something to think about for future births, and for discussions with other women.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my contribution to the world. If you know me, you know I dream big. So my thoughts naturally turned to, “How can I get in front of all those moms? How can I get them talking about what birth support would work for them and help them see that a support person can help them even if they’re planning to have an epidural?” But I got stuck. Every spark of an idea that went down those lines fizzled out. And then I had an epiphany. It happened when I got two phone calls in one week. One was from a woman who was asked to attend her friend’s birth. She called to ask my advice on something having to do with her friend. And the second call was from an acupuncturist who had a pregnant client with a particular issue and she called to ask my advice. I realized that I can’t reach all the mommies. But if I could somehow reach the doulas, they could reach so many more moms than I could possibly access on my own! And suddenly the ideas started flowing!

A support network with professional training and skill building workshops, a coaching program to help new and struggling doulas build their doula practices and get confident in their craft, business workshops so doulas can be successful at what they do – so they can keep doing it! I also developed a template for doulas to run outreach and educational events in their own communities, so that more women would be aware of what their local doulas have to offer!

It’s a huge project, it involves so many aspects, and to make it happen, I need your help.

Over the next few days I will be making some exciting announcements, including ways that you can honor your own doula! So stay tuned! Share the campaign, donate if you can, and help me #SupportAllTheMommies!

Posted in Birth, health, mothering, resources, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

My Big Birthday Post

Ok! Here’s the deal, my birthday is this month and I’m turning 36. That’s a pretty significant number! 18 is ח”י – “Life” and in a few short days I will enter into my 36th year – 2 x Chai!
It feels so right to be reaching this milestone at this point in my life. I feel like I have these 2 important aspects to my life.
One is my life within my family, the most precious thing! Wife to my incredible husband, I bless you all to have a life-partner as supportive, loving, understanding and giving as Yoram. Mother to five adorable, challenging, creative, growing children. Daughter and sister from afar – which is such a challenge and at the same time, the gift of having my amazing in-laws living in the country has allowed us to become much closer.doula and baby
And two is my life as a doula and birth educator. This realization
that supporting women before, during and after their births is my calling has been a life-changer. Instead of attending births on the side, just because I love it, I am making it a focus. And, instead of being frustrated at all the times that women share their birth stories with me in the playground, or on line at the grocery store, where I can’t respond to them properly or connect with them or help them heal, I developed a workshop where women can share their birth stories, and be guided on a journey of healing, validation and growth. In the past year I’ve gotten to hear so many birth stories through the workshop!

It’s a pretty exciting time! And I want to share it with you!


The Birth Stories Workshop is an intimate workshop that can be done in person locally or virtually through the internet. The workshop is a safe, non-judgmental environment where I will guide you to let go of and process the thoughts and feelings that weigh on you, while increasing the joy you feel about becoming a mom.

Normally this workshop costs $145 for the program which is 6 meetings. It also includes a private session with me, and access to a closed Facebook group exclusively for women who have been through the program.
But I want to offer it for this month only at a special Birthday rate!
Everyone who signs up in April to join a workshop, even if you sign up for a workshop starting in June, will get the workshop, the private session and access the to the group for only $55!
If your birth had an impact on you, if you find yourself getting lost in the memory of the experience when you least expect it.

If you really need to share your story in a safe and intimate environment, then you belong in the Birth Stories Workshop! And this month is the time to sign up!

If you have a friend who you feel can benefit from this workshop, you can send her this link, or you can treat her to this special program which, I guarantee, will change her life!
Don’t forget to wish me a “Happy Birthday” in the coupon code field so you can get your discount 😉
Posted in Birth, workworkwork | Leave a comment

When Your Birth Story Follows You

A few days ago, a woman shared her birth story with me. (shared here with permission)


​It happens often when I say that I’m a doula, because every mother has a story. And I love to hear them!
Here’s the short version: 25 years ago she was pregnant for the first time. She read all the books, and couldn’t wait to meet her precious baby. On her due date, her water broke! Excited and nervous, she and her husband headed to the hospital. It turns out the break was not a full rupture, but a high tear that left her with a trickle, no contractions and admission to the hospital.
That afternoon, they decided to try an enema to see if that would kickstart her labor. It didn’t. So they started her on pitocin. For three days, she barely ate, was not encouraged to move around, and endured extremely painful pitocin-induced contractions. Finally, at around 7pm on the third day, she was given an epidural. At 4am the following morning, her son was born via vacuum extraction. He was brought to her for a kiss and then whisked away to the nursery where he was under observation for 10 days due to fever.
This sweet woman shared with me a secret. She said she has always felt guilt for not falling in love with her baby. The book said she would immediately be overcome with feelings of love and devotion. And while she certainly loves her child, she felt cheated out of that experience. To the point where she found herself lying about it when friends would describe their birth euphoria. “Oh yes, of course I felt that too!” She would say, all the while wondering what she did wrong.
​We didn’t have much time, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to help her process the whole experience.​
​After listening intently without interrupting her, I asked her one question. “If I were to show you​ the physiological factors – scientifically – that caused you to ‘miss out’ on the experience you expected, would that help you?”
​She said yes.
Posted in Birth, health, mothering | Leave a comment

Talking to Kids about Consent

Trigger Warning, this post mentions abuse.

I just found this in my drafts. Not sure why I never posted it… still relevant, so here ya go! 

I shared a wonderful story earlier this week on my facebook page that I recommend you go and read right now.
It got me thinking about how to talk to my kids about consent, about respecting their own body and other’s. This is a concept that exists in our house, but I always like to get more ideas of how to open conversations about this with the kids, because these issues are always relevant.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about talking to the kids about consent, about being aware of themselves and protecting themselves, etc. Today someone I spoke to about it mentioned that often one of reasons children who were abused or assaulted don’t speak up is that they feel complicit and may have even on some level enjoyed or been excited by the experience.
I turned that over in my head this afternoon.

Then, this evening I watched a high school performance of the Lion King in Hebrew with my kids (my mom’s school, they did a really incredible job!) and I had a moment of clarity.
Two scenes spurred a very excellent conversation with the kids this evening:
1. Where Scar tells Simba about the elephant graveyard and 2. where Scar arranges for Simba to be “responsible” for his father’s death.

In the first scene, Scar “accidentally” lets it slip that the dark area beyond the borders of pride rock is an elephant graveyard. He then tells Simba that the reason Mufasa forbids him from going there is because “only the bravest lions go there.” He was feeding Simba’s curiosity and his desire to prove himself. And then he said, “promise me you’ll never go there… and remember, it’s our little secret.”

In the second scene, the dialogue was similarly conspiratorial, Scar play the role of “mischievous uncle” and of course, Simba was made to feel responsible for his father’s death because he was in the valley when the stampede occurred. The interesting part of this scene was that this time Simba was not somewhere that he was forbidden to be.

So as the kids got ready for bed we talk about this story. My children are 8, 6 and 4 (the 11yo and the 2yo weren’t involved in the conversation, but not for the same reasons! One was doing homework, and the other was busy fighting DH’s attempts to put on his PJ’s!)

How a person that Simba felt he could trust get him to do something that was forbidden. Even though we know Scar’s plan, Simba didn’t and we talked about the words that made Simba feel like it was his fault/ his idea. And we also talked about how Simba was excited to go and even though it was scary, he wanted to go check it out.

So then we role played and that was the really interesting part.

I said, “What if you were Simba. Let’s say you and Naala are on your way to the Elephant graveyard and Sarabi (the mom) catches up with you.” I took the role of mom.

“Simba, where are you going? didn’t you say you were going to the Water Hole?”
My 8yo daughter, the actress, said, “Oh, I forgot the way.” When I asked her why she would choose to say that she said, “I wouldn’t say that! But I think Simba would!” So we clarified that we were being ourselves but playing out this scene.
Then I said, gently, “Simba, you know you’re not allowed to go to that area. Why would you do this? Did somebody tell you to go there?”
My 6yo son answered, “Yes, Scar.” the 8yo looked uncomfortable. So we talked about why it might be hard for Simba to tell his mom the truth. That he might feel guilty, and that he might feel that he didn’t want to tell on Scar, or that she might not believe him because Scar is his uncle and he’s an adult. And I told them that no matter what they would tell me, ever, I would first believe them. I used a different example here, The Cat in the Hat.
“Even if you told me that the Cat in the Hat came to our house while I was out and made a big mess and broke stuff and then cleaned it all up, I would believe you! I don’t think that such a thing could happen, but I wasn’t here and if you told me it happened, I would believe you. And then I would try to find out how it could be.”

The we went back to the Lion King story, “So if you told me that Scar told you about the graveyard, I would first believe you, even if I didn’t think it was possible.”

The kids shared some very interesting insights, I got a peak into their inner world. I also got some encouraging confirmation that they know they can trust me and Yoram and that they are emotionally strong, healthy and stable children, thank God!

Here’s to opening lines of communication with our kids.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Solidarity, Sanity and Self respect

When I read about the attack in Paris, I was outraged, horrified, nauseous. I’m sure you can relate. Because you were sitting in your living room, or the office, or you were at the gym, or you were asleep in a different time zone and woke up to this horrific news. And this despicable attack happened to people just like you, who do the things you do regularly, in a civilized country where “things like this just don’t happen!”

Except that I also felt the empathy of someone who knows what it’s like to read a news report of a bombing in places where your family and friends are likely to be and to panic and pray and be grateful that this time, it wasn’t them.

At first I wanted to change my profile picture to add the overlay of the French flag, but I didn’t, because I couldn’t find the right link. And then, I applauded the Israeli Knesset for lighting the building with French colors and lowering the flags to half mast. And then I liked some of the posts of others showing solidarity or demanding protection from their political leaders, and then I opened Google and saw the French flag, and then I opened amazon and saw the French flag, and then I got, well, actually, I got upset. Indignant, and just a little outraged.

Because here, in Israel, we also go the gym, we shop in the mall, we go to rock concerts and work in large hi rise offices. And we are the victims of terror attacks every day! On Friday, one day before the Paris attack, there was an Israel attack. A young man and his father were murdered in cold blood in an act of terror! Where were the Israeli flags? Where was the “solidarity?” Where was the outcry?? So, yeah, you could say I was jealous. You could say I was feeling self-pity and then I had an epiphany.

Why should anyone show us any solidarity for our suffering? Why should the people who go about their days in relative security bow their heads and feel our pain when we don’t go about our day with any sense of security? When we accept the condition that we’re in with the sense that we are powerless to change it? Why should anyone respect the State of Israel as a sovereign state with the right and duty to protect her citizens if we don’t have enough self respect to believe that statement ourselves? Far less to act on it.

Pretty words from our ministers, more security guards frisking people at street corners and mall entrances, but a true, lasting solution? I’m a common citizen, and I don’t have any access to government secrets, but I don’t get the sense that anything like that is imminent. Certainly not based on the precedents.

I pray for the families of the victims of Muslim Terror throughout the world, be they in France, in Syria, or here in Israel. And I pray that our leaders will have the strength, the sanity and the self respect to do what is actually necessary to protect us – every single life-loving one of us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Essential oils, anyone?

Aromatherapy-bottle-WIDESome thoughts about Essential Oils: I’ve been using essential oils here and there for about 6 years. I’ve tried several brands and noticed that higher quality oils have an effect, while the cheaper oils smelled nice but didn’t do much else.
Things I use essential oils for:
– helping open stuffy noses and wheezy lungs
– relieve sore muscles
– for focusing (for me and my ADHD son)
– to calm jumpy kids and help them fall asleep and stay asleep
– help soothe tummy aches
– clean and disinfect hands and surfaces
– keep away mosquitos and lice
– keep ants out of my house
That’s off the top of my head!

oils image 1
So when my dear friend, Chana Hinda Frazin​, shared some of her DoTerra oils with me, I couldn’t help trying it. I am truly amazed at their quality and effectiveness. (not gonna lie, they are pretty pricey, but per drop – the fact that they actually have the effect that you are using them for makes up for that extra investment!)

There was a decent article, not long ago, about the safe use of Essential Oils, and these are all practices that I have always cautioned about in using and sharing DoTerra essential oils. The fact is that the company claims that some of their oils are safe for consumption and I believe them. But I still won’t use them internally and I don’t recommend others to do so.

So all that being said, if you are looking for highest quality essential oils that actually have the effect you are trying to affect (hehe! how often do you get to use that word correctly!!), I invite you to check out my DoTerra website and see what they have going on over there!

And don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, thoughts, concerns… 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More monitoring, less care

This article was posted on a pregnancy information board I follow:

Israelis develop wearable device for non-stop fetal monitoring

It got a few likes, no comments so far, but it was posted on a Sat night… At times like these, I want a ‘dislike’ button.

Technology seems to be disproportionately distributed in two main areas: social media and maternity care. As my dear friend likes to say, “when will the techies give up developing more ways to talk to each other and start working on developing a robotic maid!?” And I will extend that to, “when will medical techies stop developing more technology for pregnancy and start applying their energies to people who are actually sick??”

The device in the article is meant to allow a pregnant woman to be monitored 24/7 from home. According to the article, the fabric strap will register data such as fetal and maternal heart rates, fetal movements, and many other bits of information:

“Now you can see both you and the baby, the heart and all the data. What you are going to get in the app eventually is visualization that can tell you where the hand is, you’re going to see if the baby is awake, you can hear your baby’s heartbeat anytime you want. And, obviously, everything about you as the mom, if you are relaxed, how you sleep, your activity, your heart activity, everything about your pregnancy will be put into data,” he explained as he demonstrated the device for a mother-to-be, Michal.

Michal is then quoted as saying that this will help her be more connected to her fetus and be less dependent on doctors.

I doubt that. What I do think it will do is make pregnant women and doctors more dependent on flashing lights and electronic alerts than on their own instincts, training and care. I think it has the potential to lead to more unnecessary interventions, and concerns rather than reassurance and contentment. A device that allows care providers to keep even more distance from their patients is not a positive thing. Pre-natal care, at least in Israel, is already anything but “caring”. Most women go through their entire pregnancy never once being physically cared for by a nurse or a physician. She goes to a nurse in her health clinic for regular prenatal check ups where she pees in a cup, has her blood pressure measured in a machine (not with a cuff that requires the nurse to actually come in contact with you.) She may have blood drawn, but that would be with a different nurse. She will see her doctor a handful of times, during which her fetus is checked with ultrasound and that’s about it. In fact, women who don’t want an ultrasound at every doctor’s appointment are told that it’s not worth coming in at all! No one measures her belly, no one palpates her baby, no one touches her arm to comfort her or even takes the time to see if she needs comforting.

And what’s worse is the lack of continuity of care! When our dear pregnant woman shows up for her birth, she is cared for by the midwives on shift and the head doctor will pop in once a shift. I am in no way criticizing Israeli midwives. Most of the ones I’ve personally been in contact with have been caring, knowledgeable, competent providers. But they are operating at a deficit. They are working under conditions that do not allow them to connect and spend time with the birthing mothers. They have never met before the birth and therefor have only as much information as a medical chart can provide. And that is substandard maternity care in my book, reflective in a huge black hole in the health care system, not in the midwives themselves.

This device allows doctors an even greater measure of distance, and the “authority” to pronounce the needs of a pregnant woman based even less on actually caring for their patients. What it does perpetuate is the ridiculous concept that pregnancy is an illness, rather than a normal function of a healthy life. I agree that there are high risk pregnancies where a monitor like this one could be a lifesaver, both physically and emotionally, but it’s not being targeted to high risk OB’s, it’s being marketed all women, in the same category as a band to play soothing music to your fetus. as if the lovely sounds of your voice, your heartbeats, the internal slurps and gurgles of your healthy body aren’t enough.

I would love to see this technology applied in the medical fields of geriatrics, diabetes care, oncology, cardiology… situations where having a monitoring device like this would allow a person with real medical risks to live a more normal life without the constant disruption of doctors visits. Maybe such a monitor would have saved my friend’s diabetic father from losing his toe by detecting the infection sooner. Maybe it could have allowed my grandfather to spend his last days at home with family instead of connected to all the machines that were not supporting him, only keeping the doctors informed of his status. That would be progress!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment