MIDWIFE SPOTLIGHT: Midcoast's Maud van de Wiele

MIDWIFE SPOTLIGHT: Midcoast's Maud van de Wiele

Why did I do it and why I do it now have likely evolved. I do it now because I can think of no greater privilege in supporting and empowering women and families then being a part of such a treasured and personal journey. I'm sure there is a selfish component; it is I think as close as we get short of death to being a part of whatever great spirit or God you believe in.

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The Way Birth Should Be - The Maine Doulas Difference

So, you're here because you've been thinking about a doula for birth or early parenting. Maybe you've talked to friends or your OB, done a Google search, clicked through Doula Match, and right about now you're wondering: What's the difference?


Here at Maine Doulas we pride ourselves on the professional service we provide to families in the Pine Tree State. We're always happy to share information about our model of care, our services and our history. However, when you're barely pregnant or just starting this adventure as a new parent, a doula may be a new concept. Here are three reasons we're the cream of the crop:

A Modern Doula for a Modern Family

  • You've always known you were unique. And we know it too. Every family design is different and has individual needs. Whether you're currently a family of two or ten, whether you've come to parenthood through chance, trying or trial; we understand your dynamic life. Maine Doulas does doula a little differently.
  • Through our organization, in birth support, you have a two doula team on call for you from the moment you sign a contract. You will feel connected to your team, like they're part of the family. You won't ever have to wonder about a mysterious "back-up". 
  • With our postpartum care, you will also have an expertly trained doula on call for you. She will be ready to meet your family when you bring your baby home, or whenever you need extra support. Our doulas have short term, long term, daytime and overnight availability. Personalized, practical and compassionate care. Your family is worth it!

We are Recognized and Appreciated By Your Provider

  • Chances are we've worked with your OB or midwife. They know us by name or by face, and they have probably seen us in the delivery room. We find these relationships allow for a greater sense of cohesiveness with everyone present. Our experience enables us to build deeper connections with local practices, ensuring that communication is clear and supportive. Providers and nurses have often expressed relief at knowing that we're with you, because they know you'll have the attention you need to feel confident in your labor while they're busy with hospital tasks. 

No Philosophy but Yours

  • We are often asked "what's your birth philosophy?". Quite simply, our philosophy is yours. We are always the number one supporter of Team You. You want a natural birth? We support that. You want to circumcise your son? We've got your back. You want an epidural when you arrive at the hospital? We're on board. You want a VBAC? We've seen quite a few. As long as you have all the information you need around any aspect of birth or parenting, our sole mission is to make you feel completely embraced in your decisions. We understand that any choice a parent makes comes from a place of love and an eagerness to do the very best to ensure a happy, healthy future for their baby.  

These are just a few ways that Maine Doulas is leading the way for doula care in Maine. We invite you to give us a call. We can't say what difference you'll personally find; we can only be sure that you'll see it clearly.



This blog was written as part of the World Doula Week blog challenge.

Why We Care About Kim Kardashian's Birth (And You Should Too)


On December 5th, Kim Kardashian gave birth to her son, Saint West. It's her second child with singer Kanye West. This may or may not be of significance to you. When you hear either name, you might have a connection to them or you might roll your eyes. 

But this birth matters.

Here's why: 

In our HypnoBirthing class, we talk about the history of birth. In the mid-1800s, Queen Victoria requested chloroform for the birth of her eighth and ninth children. This was a very new technique administered by physicians in a time when most women were still having their babies at home. When the social elite in London heard about this augmentation, they all started requesting chloroform for their births. 

They wanted to give birth like the Queen.

So here we are, centuries later. As we prepare for our own births in the modern age, we turn to trusted sources for information about where, how and with whom to give birth. We ask our families and friends. We seek trusted doctors and midwives. We listen to podcasts and read bestsellers. We see the headlines and read about our modern kings and queens. Like it or not, people like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are the royalty of our times. We may not emulate them or their lifestyle, but when they are having a baby, the world pays attention. We learn about the latest "fad" around how to give birth. We note if it was "natural". We hear about expensive suites and exclusive doulas. We may not want to care, but our subconscious is listening.

From everything In the news, it seems that Kim was clear on her preferences for birth: 

She had clearly thought through her options. She expressed her fears and knew the risks associated with her particular pregnancy. She secured a doctor and facility who supported her choice to have a Version and attempt a vaginal delivery. She exhibited a level of sophistication around her preparation.  

By all accounts, she had the birth she was hoping for. We'll see how it plays out if the cameras caught any of the action, but all reports say that she had a vaginal birth and is in total bliss with her newborn baby.

The more positive stories we hear around birth, the more normal it will become. Care that focuses on the individual experience rather than the pathological potential of pregnancy will become more standard. Kim Kardashian, and the royalty of our times, can change the face of birth. Big task! Let's hope they do it justice.


For our thoughts on a true royal's birth, check out our post on The Duchess Kate's birth back in May!

Ariel Bernstein - Birthwise Midwifery School

Ariel Bernstein - Birthwise Midwifery School

Ariel Bernstein is a doula, CLEC, placenta encapsulation specialist and, most recently, has completed her training to become a CPM. This included studying at Birthwise Midwifery School in Bridgton, ME as well as a preceptorship at the Birth Cottage in New Hampshire. She has been on a rich and diverse path to becoming a midwife, spanning continents in her birth work. She gave me a chance to share in her unique perspective and her journey to midwifery care. 

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Celebrating National Midwifery Week in Maine

Honoring midwifery care is not only easy, it's a pleasure.

First, the country is celebrating National Midwifery Week which is sponsored by the American College of Nurse Midwives. It's a week-long event that celebrates the contributions and care midwives provide here in the United States. 

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6 Ways Travel with Children is Like Birth

I recently flew across the world with my two young children, from Boston to Thailand. Somewhere around the 30th delirious hour of travel, I realized how similar international travel and childbirth can be!


There you are, sitting with magazines, looking at pictures of the bliss in your future. You write out an itinerary, how things will unfold on this adventure. Then your first day on the trip you realize you weren’t made for trekking in 95 degree weather and book a flight to the beach. 

Planning for your birth can be exciting and intimidating. There are many options, and many questions to ask! Knowing that you are in control of all those choices can be empowering. You can make a plan and you can change that plan.


In the ad your airline promised you were their first priority. You are entrusting them with your experience, your hard earned two week vacation. Maybe you have a friend who flew with them and raved. Maybe you have flown with them before on a shorter, regional trip and they were fine. Does this mean they are going to give you the experience you’re looking for on a 30 hour, multiple plane trip? 

The same reasoning can be applied to choosing your care provider. Perhaps you’ve been with the practice for your well care and have been happy with them. But, when you start talking about how you’d like your birth to go, their philosophies aren’t quite lining up. Maybe it’s worth exploring your options. It’s never too late to change your provider if they aren’t the right fit. After all, you want to feel confident that this practice is as invested in you having the birth you want as you are!


When I was younger I traveled the world with only what would fit in my backpack. On my international trip last month; I brought no fewer than three suitcases, two car seats, a pack n play and multiple carry-ons. Different journeys, certainly. My life is far more complicated, rich and full of little people in diapers than it was on those solo backpacking trips. LITTLE PEOPLE IN DIAPERS WANT SNACKS! Lots of snacks. 

Consider what you will need to feel comfortable as you transition from laboring in your home to laboring in the hospital. Consider what elements, clothes, smells and tastes make you feel cozy. Creating a packing list and putting essentials in a bag in advance can help you feel more prepared. (DADS WAITING FOR BABIES TO BE BORN LIKE SNACKS TOO!)


This is it! You’ve done the work and made it a reality. This is a big deal. You are excited. You are anticipating every moment. Now, remember your breathing. Savor the details and memories, even the painful ones when your feet are swollen and you just want to lay down in your own bed. These times will fly by, so find the beauty and the joy in the journey. It’s there no matter how you travel (or give birth).


You guys, the struggle is real. You have been on a plane for days. Your feet don’t fit in your shoes. The sun is setting but your circadian rhythm says “it’s breakfast time!”. Once home, after our most recent trip, there was a week that my three year old woke up at 1am saying “I’m hungry!” Every. Night. For. A. Whole. Damn. Week.

Much like readjusting to your time zone, bringing home a new baby can be exhausting. They seem to be confused about what times of day it’s appropriate to eat and sleep. They want to sleep in places you never imagined a baby sleeping. Embrace this new normal and get some help. Newborn babies are designed to eat and sleep when they need to. Some babies will begin sleeping through the night around three months, while some won’t until closer to a year, or later. Every baby is unique. With a little extra support at home through the fourth trimester, you will learn your baby’s rhythm. You will sleep again!


You've succeeded once and think, "that wasn't too bad". You’ve been through packing and repacking your suitcase to meet the airline's weight restriction. You’ve been through security, eight times. One agent in Chicago let you keep your toothpaste, but suddenly in Tokyo you have to throw it away?! Really?! You’ve been in the cab that took you to the wrong hotel.

But then again, you’ve watched the sun set over the ocean after you lounged by the pool for an entire day sipping drinks from coconuts. Isn't life beautiful? Where are we going next year?

You’ve been through the labyrinth and out again. Through childbirth and all it’s mysteries. Through parenting and all it’s challenges. And now you’re back, third trimester here we come! Big sister is waiting! 

Or maybe not. Maybe this year you’ll just enjoy the view from your own backyard…

How to Have a Royal Birth in 6 Easy Steps


If you haven't heard the news: There's a new royal on the scene; Princess Charlotte. The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Windsor, emerged from the Lindo wing at St Mary's hospital just ten hours after giving birth looking, well, royal. When I saw the footage of her descending the stairs with her husband and brand new daughter my first thought wasn't "Oh that poor girl in her Jenny Packham dress and Jimmy Choo heels". I saw a proud, confident mother who was absolutely shining in the way only a new mother can. She was introducing her baby to the entire world. Did you see her beaming? She was showing the world that birth can be beautiful. In her way, she was telling every pregnant woman her positive birth story and sending a ripple of change across the pond. 

If you've been dreaming of welcoming your own prince or princess in royal fashion, here's what you need to know:

1. First, you'll want to FIND THE RIGHT SUPPORT. In this case, we're talking about a real live duke. Sometimes your co-parent makes you feel like a queen in labour. Sometimes they need a little guidance and support themselves. Either scenario is fine, just know their personality and be prepared. Perhaps this would be a good time to...

2. ASSEMBLE YOUR ENTOURAGE - You can bet your silver spoon Kate wasn't in that room doing her own make up just a few hours after giving birth. She had a group of trusted people pampering the hell out of her. As you begin writing your birth plan, give some thought to the fourth trimester. Think about writing a postpartum plan, including a list of people who can make you shine as a mum; whether that's coming to the hospital to wash your hair and put on make up, or preparing meals in your house, or taking the princely big brother for a walk so you can nap. Doulas are expertly trained to meet all these needs and take care of everything else you haven't thought of. 

3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CARE PROVIDER - This will mean something different to everyone. Are you thinking you might like some medication along the way? Have you been imagining a natural birth? Waiting to see how everything unfolds? Choose a provider who will have your back. Kate called for her midwives, and had several OBs waiting in the wings. She knew which team and birth place would make her feel most comfortable. For you that might fall anywhere on the spectrum between a homebirth with a CPM or a hospital birth with an OB. (And there's a wide range of care from here to there!)

3. TAKE ROYAL CARE - This falls just outside the "get an entourage" category. When pregnancy is not a fairytale, get some help. Every pregnancy is different, so this will mean something different to every woman. In the duchess's case, she suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum in both of her pregnancies. Hiring an antenatal doula could be a huge help. A doula can help you with self care, tending to other children, keeping up with the household, as well as normalizing your experience and being an emotional support. (Are we seeing a theme here? One thing a royal has in spades is support.)

4. PREPARE FOR THE BIRTH YOU WANT - Both Princess Diana and the Queen herself are rumoured to have used a method of hypnobirthing to prepare for birth. In royal tradition, Kate also used hypnobirth techniques in anticipation of her births. This type of childbirth preparation can help bring relaxation, calm and confidence, as well as decreasing painful sensations. Sounds good enough for a queen! There are many ways to ready your body and mind for labour, so research and find the philosophy that resonates most with you. 

5. STAY IN YOUR PALACE -  Keep the oxytocin flowing and stay in your home as long as you're comfortable.  Kate laboured at home before going into the hospital, where she was admitted just two hours before the princess's birth. Staying in your home allows you comfort in familiarity and to be more flexible in how you labour; including eating and drinking, position changes, having a bath or shower, or walking outside. It will also mean you have more privacy and are disturbed less, which can help to establish active labour. 

6.  MOVE TO THE UK - Seriously though, there are certainly imperfections in any government healthcare system; but the NHS encourages that, when mum and baby are doing well, the best place for rest and recovery is in the home. The UK also encourages parents to take paid leave from work (get with it, US!). Midwives offer care both in hospital and then postpartum to ensure you are getting any help and encouragement you need settling in with your new baby. Kate was out of the hospital less than ten hours after giving birth to Princess Charlotte. 

What else would you add to this royal recipe for a great birth?