Hampton Doula to the Rescue

Truth be told, for the majority of my pregnancy, I was in complete denial that I was actually going to have to give birth. Though I was pretty content living in this state of mind, I knew that I would have to accept the fact that I was going to have to physically deliver a baby…that and the fact that I needed some serious guidance, education, and support…aka HELP!

Enter, Hampton Doula, Monica Kadash, to the rescue! I met Monica early in my second trimester when I started to attend her prenatal yoga class at Ananda in Southampton. I instantly gravitated towards Monica’s welcoming personality, calm demeanor, and lighthearted sense of humor. I loved the class and attended weekly, right up until days before I gave birth. Monica incorporates lots of stretching and relaxation to get centered as well as some challenging poses to prepare the mind and body for birth.

When I was considering hiring a doula, I knew that I wanted someone who would bring out the best in me, ideally someone spiritual, but not too spiritual that I couldn’t relate. Monica is exactly that;  straightforward and realistic, yet very warm and tranquil.

The day that I gave birth was a long, uneventful one until my water broke around 2pm, when suddenly, baby came fast and furiously. When it got down to the hard labor (the part I was dreading) I was thanking my lucky stars for Monica’s presence. As a doula, Monica provides support (both prenatal and postnatal) and advocacy alongside the medical staff. (Doulas are commonly confused with midwives, who are medically qualified to deliver babies.)

Statistically, with the help of Doulas there are less interventions,  fewer C-sections, shorter labor and reduced postpartum depression. This results in a fulfilling and satisfying birthing experiences, in short, many more happy moms!

My mission is to honor, protect and guide you, so that you feel empowered to birth fearlessly and joyfully, thus starting your journey into motherhood with confidence.” ~ Monica

Monica did just that for us; I was able to stay (somewhat) strong through the worst contractions, push with sheer determination and confidence, and instantly connect with our baby girl. In the moment, all of my fears of needles, blood, and pain were overcome by sheer empowerment.

Throughout this unique process, Monica helped in every way promised. She provided literature on the birthing process and came to our house twice to get to know our family and educate us on the whole process. She prepared us with facts, stories, strategies, and support we needed to feel ready. Does that mean that everything was smooth sailing? Of course not! But when it came down to it, everything that Monica had prepared us for unraveled pretty much as predicted. It’s already becoming a slight blur (isn’t that how women keep doing it??) but I know that I would have been far less prepared, confident, and comfortable without Monica the Doula.

Here’s Monica, baby Rowan, and I at our postnatal home visit about a week after birth 🙂               If you’re interested in learning more about Monica, visit hamptondoula.com.

One Healthy Breakdown: Happy, healthy, and empowered, thanks to Hampton Doula!

Drafting Your Wellness Team

If you are what you eat, what role do the people around you play? A big one! There are a number of steps we can take to help ensure that we will be successful with our personal health and fitness goals. Writing down our goals, declaring them publicly, breaking them into smaller, achievable pieces, and creating affirmations all help to achieve success. There’s another BIG aspect to reaching goals that usually surprises my clients. That’s taking a ‘social inventory’ aka, drafting your wellness team.

Football Team in a Huddle

Whenever you set a new goal for yourself, it is beneficial to take an honest assessment of the people in your life. Who will be able to support you in your new dream? Who may ‘sabotage’ you on this new venture by challenging your new goals and measures to attaining change? These people may not actually want you to fail, but some people can be less supportive than others, and some may not understand or appreciate your personal goals.

Unfortunately, everyone in your life may not seem totally thrilled when you decide to make healthy life changes. Food and family are closely connected, which can sometimes be tough (think: the husband who dives into a gallon of ice cream every night, this month’s family birthday party, or your girlfriends at the weekly girls wine night out.) Food is central in most social gatherings. If you decide you are going to stop drinking wine every night, or not eat red meat anymore, give up ice cream, or be out of the house three evenings a week exercising, these commitments will most likely affect some important people around you. To help ensure success, I ask my clients to identify a hero, cheerleader, trainer, confidant, optimist, and accountability partner for their journey.

The HERO is the person we aspire to be like, your  This person has already achieved the goal you have now set for yourself. This person may be in your social circle, but they don’t have to be. It may be someone you admire from afar. Study the behaviors of this person. What qualities does this person have that has contributed to them achieving your goal? Copy those behaviors! Imitation is ok – if it works, it works!

The CHEERLEADER is the person who wants your goal to happen for you just as much as you do! They want the best for you, as should you! Choose this person carefully. It may be best if your cheerleader is someone who understands the journey and may have been successful at it themselves. Or, it may be someone who has simply always supported you in your life and you know you can depend on their encouragement.

The TRAINER is the person who has the knowledge to guide you in this goal. This can be a book, life coach, personal trainer, nutritionist, teacher etc. It will be the person/resource you rely on for answers and direction.

The CONFIDANT is the person you can tell about your goal. You can go to them in your most vulnerable moments. This person is an open, non-judgmental listener. They will keep your secrets. You can share your worst fears and the truth about a tough day. You can share the emotional highs and lows of the journey. Your confidant supports you in a meaningful way that enhances your spiritual wellness on this journey.

The OPTIMIST is the person we know who has a magical way of seeing the good in everything and anyone. This person does not even need to know you have set this important goal. Their positive electric energy is uplifting. These people have a powerful way of reminding us that positivity attracts positivity and negativity attracts negativity. Setting a new goal for yourself is also a great time to consciously try to move away from negativity in your life as much as possible.

The ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER is the person that will kick your butt out the door on the morning you feel like sleeping in. This person could be the dedicated, fun person that spins every morning on the bike next to you. Get to know them. People in class notice when someone is missing! It may be another friend you have that has a similar goal. This person WILL NOT let you make excuses for falling off your plan…just the thought of them knowing you traded in your afternoon workout for a slice of chocolate cake makes you shudder!

So, make a goal, take a social inventory, and start drafting your wellness team! One person in your life may fit two of these roles; however, having a team of at least three different people is important for lots of support. The more people on your team, the better the support system you will have! Develop a consciousness about the role of the people in your life and how they may support your dreams. Good luck and good company!

One Healthy Breakdown: you’re not in it alone, take Norah’s advise and draft your team today – the stronger the better!

*Norah Benincasa is the owner of Pedal and Pose Fitness Studio in Concord, MA. She is a certified personal trainer, spin instructor, TRX trainer, Body Pump trainer, nutrition specialist, mom of five, and holds a masters degree in social work!

My Challenge for You: Challenge Yourself

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Challenging ourselves is what makes us grow, physically and emotionally.  Pushing ourselves, setting goals, expanding horizons, trying new things, and accomplishing objectives make us more confident and make the world a better place.  When I started One Healthy Hamptons, I made a promise to myself that I would try more things outside of my comfort zone and take advantage of more opportunities that come my way, even if it’s something I can’t see myself doing.  I’m going to challenge you to challenge yourself this month because the outcome is amazing.

Although it’s much easier to go about our daily routines, stay within our comfort zone, and rely on the things we already know and love, it’s also pretty boring.  Yes, we should all have ongoing goals in life that we’re confident we can achieve, but what about when we’re not sure we can do it?  What about goals that may not be achievable?  Goals we may think are out of our realm of capability, goals we may ultimately fail to reach.

Why am I asking you to set a goal you may not be able to achieve?  Because the growth that you’ll experience during the process, the time spent reaching for that goal, will be priceless, trust me.  Pushing ourselves to reach a goal we may not think we can achieve takes an immense amount of work, effort, focus, planning, and, most of all, support.

This past weekend, I spent 20 hours in a small room with a few other girls for a Les Mills Body Flow training.  Seven girls with seven different lifestyles, strengths, and weaknesses, came together to push ourselves and each other.  From fitness professionals to librarian or teacher, these women all brought their own skills and personalities to the table and I honestly don’t think we could have done it without each other, at least I know I couldn’t have.

I haven’t met a more supportive group of people in a long, long time.  Most of the girls were there to go through the mandatory steps to eventually teach Body Flow, of course, but that wasn’t necessarily my goal.  I committed myself to attend the training, soak up the information, learn about myself, and do my best.  To be honest, I had little confidence that I would actually pass the course and move on to become a Body Flow instructor, but for me that wasn’t the point.  The ultimate goal was simply to take advantage of the opportunity as much as possible.  And that I did.

Turns out, I actually passed the training, but the reward for me was the experience: developing my physical skills, finding my ability to coach, gaining knowledge, and most of all, giving and receiving unbelievable support and connection with others in the room.  There’s nothing like undergoing an immense challenge, a long weekend, and a learning experience with a group of people to prove to yourself you can do something you may think you can’t.

This goal of mine really had an unexpected ending; however, the act of committing to something out of my comfort zone, fulfilling this commitment, and giving it my all gave me more satisfaction than I can even explain and I want you to experience that for yourself!

So, how do you choose a goal outside of your comfort zone?  Imagine you are completely unstoppable, that nothing is impossible. In this case, your superhuman version of yourself, what would be one thing you would take on?  Now, do it.  Commit yourself to try, to experience the journey, and to do your best, regardless of the outcome.  Whether it’s a physical goal, an emotional commitment, or a combination of the two, identify a goal and embrace the experience!

One Healthy Breakdown: our passion and commitment, in combination with support and connection with others, is an unbelievably powerful force not to be reckoned with.