Where in the World is Jasmine? An Update...

   How much can change in a month? Nothing feels the same around here!

   The day after Easter I was expecting a phone call in the morning. It was the hematologist who was going to call with the results from my bone marrow biopsy and blood work.

   When my phone rang I was still sitting in bed, sipping tea. When I answered, the doctor immediately asked me if I was sitting down. Were my kids around? Was I home alone? Did I have support nearby?

   I didn't want to hear anymore after that. I wanted to hang up the phone and resume my normal life. The homechool plans I had for that week and the grocery shopping. I felt a cold sweat break out all over my body and waited for her to say what I now knew she was going to say. I had cancer. And I had to start treatment right away.

   The next few days were terrifying. My diagnosis was Acute Meyloid Leukemia- something I had never heard of before. I wasn't given much information at first except that it is a fast-acting cancer and I needed to have my butt in a hospital bed sooner than later. I couldn't look at my kids without the threat of tears. I looked at the wall and told them to pack a bag- they'd be going to grandma's for a few days.

   I had clients emailing me. Placentas to pick up for encapsulation, a podcast I was going to be interviewed for, potential business opportunities waiting on the sidelines. I didn't know what else to do besides awkwardly email everyone and let them know that I was going to be in the hospital. I didn't know when I'd be out.

   Everything felt surreal. Over the course of a few days I had more procedures and tests done than I had ever had in my entire life. I cried silently when I was told that my IV would be placed directly into my heart.

 

   It has been a little over 6 weeks since those first scary days, and a lot has changed. Externally I am minus 15 pounds and some hair. Internally I could have never anticipated the changes that are continuing to take place. I also could have never anticipated that many of the changes would feel so good! Cancer became my mirror and gave me nowhere to hide. I was forced to shed old habits and beliefs, stare my bullshit in the face and confront the things in my life that were no longer serving me or the people around me. It was an intense process, and one that continues to unfold.

   All of this to say, that if you've noticed my absence, had an email or message go unanswered, or have been curious as to my whereabouts... this is what has been going on! My treatment continues and I will be hospitalized for another extended period of time. I obviously won't be working for the next several months, and I'm already missing it terribly. But I hope to update my blog more often as I find a new sense of normal in all of this.

   If you are local to us, the meal train that has been set up by Phil and Sandrine from Inner Evolution Yoga has been such a blessing for my husband and kids. You can sign up for a day that works for you here.

   And if supporting us financially is available to you, I'm sure you can imagine what that means to us these days. You can donate to us here.

 

   After working through the initial fear of hearing "the C word", I've found myself in a good place. Somehow I've found peace (I'm sure yoga and my meditation practice has something to do with it) and a sense of calm as I navigate this phase of my life. You can follow me on Instagram (@jasmine.rose.doula) where I try to update as often as I'm able to!

Much love to all of you!

xoxo

 

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Recipe Share~ Steamed Cod or Tempeh and Veggies

This meal is great for your digestion, full of healthy protein and a wonderful dish for pregnancy and the postpartum period that the entire family will enjoy. This is a recipe adapted from my days at Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Institute. Print this recipe out and give it to a friend or partner and have them make it for you, or put this together for someone in your tribe who is pregnant or just had a baby.

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One of my favorite things about this meal is that it contains dandelion greens. You can replace the dandelions with any leafy green, but I highly recommend giving the dandies a go! This underutilized green has so many health benefits. According to the Dr. Mercola website, "folk medicine claims the dandelion plant is a powerful healer, used to purify the blood, settle digestion and prevent piles and gall stones, among other maladies. The fact is the greens of the humble dandelion provide 535 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, which may be the most important source of any other plant-based food to strengthen bones, but may also play a role in fighting Alzheimer's disease by limiting neuron damage in the brain." Vitamin K is also an important nutrient in the weeks leading up to giving birth for you and your baby.

 

Steamed Cod or Tempeh with Veggies Recipe

You can click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Everything You Need For A Minimilist & Natural Medicine Cabinet

   The first time my oldest baby got sick I had never felt so helpless. She was tiny and I was brand new at just about everything. I have always leaned toward natural remedies for myself, but when it came to my tiny baby sneezing and burning up with a fever the fear and helplessness was so strong that I was willing to do just about anything to take her pain away. I dosed her with the tylenol that the pediatrician had given me every few hours per the instructions I was given and waited...

   It hadn't occurred to me that I could actually feel empowered and take charge of my family's health. Especially with the pressure and judgement I felt from those around me, "natural remedies" felt a little too uncertain. Until one day I read that tylenol was actually terrible for growing baby brains, and many pediatricians were recommending that parents stop using it completely. And it made me think... why not try to treat my kids with things that have no side effects? Fear had thrown me off my "crunchy" path, but I realized I had missed the mark.

   Now I don't fear illnesses and we rarely get sick to begin with! But I remember the uncertainty and the fear, and it took me years to confidently build our home first-aid kit. So today I am sharing with you the things that I have found to be the most helpful and effective.

   Books

- NATURAL BABY AND CHILD CARE by Lauren Feder, MD

Simple but incredibly effective treatments such as the old-fashioned sounding "wet sock treatment", hot and cold compresses, and easy to understand home remedies are all laid out in this reference book and guide. It has been essential to my family.

- HERBAL FOR THE CHILDBEARING YEAR by Susan Weed

- HERBAL HEALING FOR WOMEN by Rosemary Gladstar

- HERBAL HEALING FOR MEN by Rosemary Gladstar

The Basics

- MUSLIN CLOTH for compresses

- HOT WATER BOTTLE is an underutilized and effective means of breaking up congestion and treating ailments during a cold or flu

- THERMOMETER for obvious reasons. But don't panic if a higher temperature arises! Fevers can be functional.

- BAND AIDS for the little boo-boo's that just won't stop hurting without a cartoon, colorful bandage

- GAUZE

- MEDICAL TAPE

- WITCH HAZEL

Kitchen Must-Have's

So many natural remedies can be found in the kitchen, and they work! Before you roll your eyes at me, keep these simple things stocked and try them the next time you catch some cooties.

- DESIGNATED BOWL FOR HOT/COLD WATER

- EMPTY GLASS JARS OF VARIOUS SIZES WITH LIDS for herbal decoctions, teas and infusions

- LEMONS speed up healing when ingested, and can be used in a wet sock treatment for fevers or fast recovery

- RAW HONEY

- CAROB is not commonly known as a treatment of illness, but it can be a fast-acting and safe treatment for diarrhea, which can be dangerous for small children because of dehydration

- ONIONS for compresses, fevers and killing bacteria in the air

- POTATOES for coughs and congestion when used as a compress

- GARLIC is an effective and natural antibiotic

- VARIOUS HERBS (see the herbal books for specific herbs to treat everything from fertility issues to headache)

Essential Oils

There is so much information on the internet about using essential oils, that I almost hesitate to try to add to it. They are potent and effective, and a major part of my arsenal.

- LAVENDER is so simple, but so full of uses, it would probably be the oil I would choose if I could only have one. Especially for small children, it can treat everything from cuts and scrapes to fever. Plus, you can't beat that smell.

- LEMON similar to using fresh lemon in a wet sock treatment to speed recovery, lemon essential oil can be used on the bottoms of the feet for faster healing

- PEPPERMINT is a must for nausea. I diffuse peppermint when anyone is feeling queasy and it perks us all up immediately

- ONGUARD is just pure magic. A little goes a long way and it has proven to me time and time again that this is a must for the medicine cabinet. I even used it to successfully treat my mastitis, along with the age-old trick of cabbage leaves in the bra.

To shop oils or sign up for your own wholesale account, you can visit here~

Homeopathic Remedies

I LOVE homeopathic remedies! But they can be a little bit more time-consuming. Meaning, the remedies are very specific, and require you to monitor symptoms carefully so you can choose the right remedy.

This kit is the one I purchased when my kids were little, and it was worth every single penny. It includes a booklet with dosing instructions so there is never any confusion, and the remedies work quickly. They are safe, natural, and they never expire.

Preventative

Part of living a healthy lifestyle is preventing your family from getting sick in the first place. I've had people actually ask me directly how I keep my kids so healthy. It is our daily life habits that keep the cooties away!

- THE FAMILY SMOOTHIE is an easy daily ritual where you can hide all of the crazy powders and foods that your kids normally wouldn't touch. Spirulina, powdered mushrooms, leafy greens, healthy fats and antioxident-packed berries are some of my favorite add-in's.

- PROBIOTICS for the whole family are a supportive daily ritual

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- SO. MUCH. WATER. I am always reminding my kids to drink more fresh water from our Berkey

- MUSHROOMS and mushrooms and more mushrooms. I am a huge fan of Four Sigmatic and their easy to use packets of various superfood mushrooms. I give my kids reishi and chaga mushrooms during cold and flu season

- ELDERBERRIES forever and for always. Depending on my schedule and my mood I toss back and forth between making my own syrup from scratch and buying elderberry sprays and syrups from the store, but we take this daily.

- HERBAL TEA is a daily occurrence in our house. Nettles, red raspberry leaf, chamomile, mint... tea doesn't just taste good, it is plant medicine and I love it

 

 

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3 Things To Have Your Postpartum Doula Do For You Today

It is unfortunate that so many birthing people feel that hiring a postpartum doula is an unnecessary luxury reserved for the elite. It's just not true, and with more families feeling depressed, depleted, run-down and isolated I look forward to the day when most have a postpartum doula the same as most write up a birth plan.

The long-term benefits of having a postpartum doula are immeasurable. The immediate benefits can be seen by the relief on a birthing person's face when they know their doula is showing up on Friday and they will be getting a much needed break and a massage.

If you are unclear about what a postpartum doula is, you can imagine that the same as your birth doula supports and encourages you during labor, a postpartum doula encourages and supports every area of your new life after baby is born. This can look like cooking, cleaning, offering breastfeeding or bottle-feeding support, massage for achy muscles, listening and processing your birth story, brewing supportive herbal teas, filling the bath and holding baby while you soak...

Sound amazing? It's because it is!

I could go on and on writing out the benefits of postpartum doulas and support during the fourth trimester, but I think Kimberly Johnson did an incredible job covering all of the bases in a recent podcast interview with The Birthful Podcast. You can give it a listen here~

I myself did not have a postpartum doula, mostly because I did not know that it was a thing that is available. I heard about these unicorn doulas after my youngest was born, and although I'd had a beautiful and healing birth with Isabelle, I knew there was a lot of room for improvement in the way I cared for myself postpartum. Now postpartum work is some of my favorite work I do! I try to provide everything for my families that I didn't have but wish I did after my own kids were born.

After I had Surro-baby I set myself up for the ultimate stay-cation and fourth trimester laying around to restore my health and well-being. Armed with better knowledge and resources, I knew it would be important for my recovery and that I'd come back healthier and more radiant than ever if I could only take exceptional care of myself in those first weeks after birth. But still, I didn't hire a postpartum doula. I wrongly assumed that because I wouldn't be coming home with a newborn that I wouldn't need one, but looking back and even in the moment, I knew that no mother or family, no matter what their birth or postpartum experience, could ever have too much help. I absolutely would have benefited from a postpartum doula in many ways.

I hope that you are able to invest in your health and long term vitality by hiring a postpartum doula, and when you do, you may want to consider having her do these 3 things~

 

1. Clean Your Bath Tub

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Many postpartum doulas are happy to run you a bath, and will even go the extra mile to fill the tub with herbal brews for healing. I took a bath every night after having my kids because it just felt so good! But I was careful to clean my tub really well before soaking. I didn't want to soak in a dirty bathtub obviously, but there is also the thought that a dirty tub can cause an infection in your very open body. I would rather err on the side of caution and keep it clean~ but who wants to scrub a tub when you are supposed to be relaxing? Even if you aren't planning to take a bath during your postpartum doula's shift, ask her to give it a good cleaning so you can enjoy later.

 

 

2. Prep Healthy Snacks

One of my favorite things in the world is receiving love from others through food. Even having a friend drop off take-out makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and as more and more communities create meal trains for their newborn families, I am happy to see that dinner is very often covered by caring friends and neighbors after having a baby. But have you ever noticed that there is never anything in the fridge to just munch on? Sometimes you want to snack, and as well know, you will reach for what is available. Have a friend or your partner shop for some healthy snack ingredients, and your postpartum doula can prep them for later munching. Think chopped fruits and veggies, protein balls, broths, wraps, etc.

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3. Create Your Happy Spot

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Most likely you will find yourself gravitating to one particular spot in the house after baby is born for feedings, reading, snuggling and just overall comfort. This might be your bed, a cozy corner of the couch, a special chair, or even a little spot on the floor. You might have no anticipated this before the birth, but now it's your throne. You deserve to be surrounded by beauty and it can do wonderful things for your emotional and spiritual well-being to have this space reflect this serene and sacred time you are currently in. Ask your postpartum doula to clean and arrange this space. Set you up with a basket or two of supplies for yourself and baby. Think snacks, drinks, reading material, books, etc. for you and diapers, creams, feeding supplies, etc. for baby. She can arrange flowers, candles, hand lotion and others things nearby to give you something lovely to look at it. This kind of cozy corner is wonderful for everyone, and I find it to be especially comforting for those who are pumping breastmilk. Even if the rest of the house is not as clean or tidy as you like it, it will be okay because this happy spot will be clean and organized just for you.

 

Curious to learn more about hiring a postpartum doula? You can leave a comment below or contact me here! Did your postpartum doula do something for you that you really loved? Tell us below or share with me on Instagram: @jasmine.rose.doula

5 Ways to Get The Most Out of Prenatal Yoga (and my favorite online resources for at-home yoga)

I have lost count of how many times someone has told me in an excited whisper, "I'm pregnant!! Nobody knows yet... where do I start, what do I do? I should go to a yoga class, right?"

Many women and birthing people want to enjoy every moment of the pregnancy, especially if it was much anticipated. They also feel the expectation and pressure to be as healthy as possible for the growing life inside of them. A lot of the time fingers are pointed at prenatal yoga as a way to cover all of the bases: healthy movement, attention to breathing, calming meditation, and even better food choices. But how do you get from here to there (wherever that perfect pregnancy and OMazing birth is?)

A lot of people don't know what we actually do in my prenatal yoga classes. Often I've had women show up for class, looking a little more than lost or unsure, and when I ask them what brought them through the door I get an answer along the lines of, "My doctor told me I should come."

"Oh, okay great! Why is that?"

"I don't know... he just thought it would be a good idea."

Or the script goes similarly for the person who answers, "I just thought I should come and you know... be healthy."

There's nothing wrong with any of these answers at all, and yoga IS a great way to connect to your body and your growing baby in a healthy and supportive way. If you find yourself in that place between a positive pregnancy test and grabbing your mat, here is what to expect and how to prepare to get the most out of your class.

* Side note: I would also like to add that my prenatal yoga classes (and I can't speak for all of them, but I hope I am here!) are open to every family bringing a new life home. You better believe that every family who has adopted a child has had months and months of their own type of pregnancy. Surrogates, foster parents, seahorse Dads, both Mommy's, people who are a size 5 or 25.... don't overthink it. We will see you on the mat! Because you need this practice too~

 

1. Honor the pregnancy that you are experiencing, not the one you wish you were having

It would be amazing to have zero morning sickness, tons of energy and a little round bump for 9 months, and some people do! Good on you lovelies! I was not one of those people, and most of us aren't. Yoga is about meeting your body where you are at on that day and in that moment, so if you are really struggling through the first trimester, don't beat yourself up about starting a yoga practice in the 2nd trimester or even the 3rd. Yoga will be there when you are ready. But I do recommend gentle walking every day to help your body distribute and flush out any excess hormones that might be making you feel that way. Walking around the block in the sunshine is a great time to recite mantras or listen to an uplifting podcast. One of my favorite kinds of yoga.

2. Be a smart Yogi

Piggy-backing off of number 1, you really want to listen to your body right from the very beginning. Did your favorite Instagram influencer do inversions, twists and backbends throughout their pregnancy? Cool. I don't recommend that you do that. In the last several years of teaching I can count on one hand the number of students I have seen in my class who could probably have continued their pre-pregnancy practice. The reality is, your practice might never look the same.. but neither will the rest of your life. Roll with it and see how much richer and better it actually becomes.

3. Invest in Comfort

Yoga pants sounds super comfy when we aren't pregnant, but for many of us the lower part of the belly is the first place to grow, and before it is even noticeable from the outside, we can feel the added pressure of tight yoga pants. Suffering is optional in a yoga class, and yoga pants designed for pregnancy can be worn for a long time after. (I still teach in mine!) There aren't a lot on the market, but I love Beyond Yoga's line called Beyond the Bump. Be frugal everywhere else if you like, but buy at least one pair of good, comfy yoga pants, and you will thank yourself every time you come to class. (And every time you where them for your next Netflix binge.)

4. Plan Ahead

A prenatal class is usually an hour long, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. It doesn't sound like long, but your body is changing rapidly. I often encourage my students to bring more than just water to class. If you anticipate that you will be hungry, nauseous, dizzy, cold or hot, or any other number of crazy things that happen to use within the span of one hour, don't get caught unprepared and miserable. This is maybe one of the most understanding groups of people you will encounter! Some of my recommendations are to bring peppermint tea or essential oil for nausea or feeling slugglish, Nux Vomica tablets for feeling yucky, protein bars for sudden I-have-to-eat-right-now hunger, and even magnesium spray for cramping.

5. Expect to work, but take breaks when you need them

The balance of knowing when to push yourself and for how long while pregnant changes week to week. My advice is usually this:

If you need to take a 3 hour nap or get a headache after exercising, you pushed too hard.

If you are only reaching for the advanced posture because everyone else is but you can't catch your breathe... stop.

There will be competition in so many other places, so let your yoga practice be a safe and supportive space. But only YOU can really define your own boundaries and enforce them for yourself. I will guide you into some pretty challenging stuff! Sometimes that is a lot of fun, and sometimes even necessary to build helpful muscle. But if you are following every que at the risk of your own safety, then we've fallen off course. Think of this as your first opportunity to practice boundaries for your little one as well~ let those protective instincts take over and don't worry about what everyone else in the room thinks.

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And of course, the reality with any yoga class is that not every class will be for you. The first prenatal yoga class I ever took as a first time mom was a hilarious horror story that I suffered through for a couple of months before finally throwing in the towel and sticking to my yoga DVD at home. You may need to shop around and find "your person". If you find yourself at home and looking for a way to practice yoga consistently, I have found these online classes and websites to be great!

For the daily feel good all over practice~

This practice is just under 30 minutes and can be done in any trimester whether you have any yoga experience or not.

For the seasoned yogi~

Bri has a strong practice and she speaks to those that do also. Her flows for the different trimesters on the Cody App are challenging in a good way.

You can find her class bundle here

For all yogis~

I really fell in love with Yoga Work's online prenatal classes during my own pregnancy for their variety and teachers. I especially enjoyed shorter sequences taught by Patti on days when I knew a stretch would feel good but I wasn't energized enough for a long practice. If you are in the area you can also check out Yoga Works schedule and Patti's own schedule at Uma Mother.

For Yogis in Southern California~

If you are looking for a treat near the beach, check out U & The Mat in Lagina Niguel and their amazing prenatal yoga teachers and various workshops. With a Whole Foods right across the street and the beach just minutes away, it really covers all of the bases for a perfect day!