Our Workshop and Retreat was such a success, we're already planning the next one!  Save the date, September 21st, and join us at the Montague Retreat Center!

“ I have never been to a workshop like this with such a mix of women from pregnancy, to new mothers, to doulas and grandmothers.”  Jennifer Hydefrost

Over twenty-five women, some still growing their babies inside their bellies, some with new babies wrapped close, doulas, a midwife, nutritionists, therapists and our speakers, converged at the Montague Retreat Center  and settled into yoga with Sam Wilde, who moved us from our cars and cares and commute to an open, calm space where we could accept the magic of the day.

“My family offered me a babymoon, and I resisted.  I know now it’s a tradition in many cultures.  I’ll do it differently next time.  I experienced the perfect storm of six months postpartum and going back to work.”


  • Postpartum is more than six weeks.
  • It’s really hard for women to ask for help.
  • There is a high interest among the women in talking about their partners and relationships after a new baby.
  • We need to allow ourselves to not know what we are doing.
  • We need help to connect to and be sustained by community.
  • Mothers need to adopt a new idea: an acceptance of being “good enough” and let go of the need to be perfect. 
  • Honor and accept who you are as a mother and ease away from comparing yourself and your baby to others. 

“Realizing that PT for pelvic floor is standard of practice in many European countries.”

Our speakers (Patricia Young, Michele LaRock, Alison Todd, Chaya Aronson, Anna Westley) provided us with information on optimal health in the postpartum time discussing physical therapy for pelvic health, food and supplements that promote healing, understanding  and nurturing partner attachments and holistic pelvic therapy and Maya abdominal massage.  We also discussed the neighbor-to-neighbor community support model of “It Takes a Village” and the MotherWoman groups that offer non-judgmental, advice-free space.

“I had help— and I felt guilty.  I valued the reminders of body awareness and appreciated knowing more about the network of support and feeling more empowered.”

In the afternoon our speakers facilitated breakout sessions on the following topics.

Patricia Young: Finding the sweetness with your other half: Sex after Birth.
Chaya Aronson: Learning basic self care massage techniques and complementary therapies to support your bringing your uterus into physical alignment and energetic balance. 
Alison Todd: Learning restorative yoga poses that support replenishment of energy postpartum.  Learning strategies for reconnecting with  partner in the "to-and-fro" of new parenting.  Mapping your own web of support to see where you give and where you get energy, and where you may need more support.

“It doesn’t have to be perfection and I don’t have to know everything.”


Your Babymoon Supported by a Babymoon Shower

So what's a babymoon anyway? It's a protected time of about two to four weeks, mindfully established and well-planned, to ensure a healing time for the new mother, a calm, nurturing environment for the baby, and a bonding time for the father or partner.  Ideally, the babymoon is organized during pregnancy.  Tasks and responsibilities are delegated to others, and sweet spaces of time are kept open for the new family.  It’s a time for parents to get to know the new baby, holding, observing, and feeding in unhurried ways; time for the mother to stay in bed and rest; and permission for the partner to slow down and be a part of the emerging family. 

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The classic Klaus and Kennell research in the 1980s showed that doula support during labor and birth shortened the length of labor and decreased the cesarean rate.  Since then, numerous other studies have supported the initial research and added to the evidence that continuous doula support throughout labor improves birth outcomes, increases maternal satisfaction, and improves maternal self-confidence and maternal empathy.

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Know Your Options -Doula Support by Nancy Madru

I support an environment of shared decision-making between you and your medical care providers—midwives or obstetricians.  You choose your caregivers, your birth place, and your birth team.  We will discuss how you envision laboring, giving birth and getting to know your baby in the first hours after birth. 

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Guidelines to Sleeping Safe with Infants:

Adapted from: Maximizing the chances of Safe Infant Sleep in the Solitary and Cosleeping (Specifically, Bed-sharing) Contexts, by James J. McKenna, Ph.D. Professor of Biological Anthropology, Director, Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory, University of Notre Dame.

Below is a summary that highlights some of the issues to be concerned with as you make your own decisions about where and how your infant should sleep.


 What constitutes a "safe sleep environment" irrespective of where the infant sleeps?

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“Birth is an everyday miracle. What is a miracle?  A miracle is something that makes you pause and think.” . . . Kindreth Hamilton, Acupuncturist.

Well the workshop certainly made us pause and think!  It was an inspiring afternoon thanks to our dynamic and knowledgeable speakers and an engaged and passionate audience.  We learned practical, cutting edge ideas for healing and support in the postpartum time, we also talked about the larger issue of the need for comprehensive, integrative postnatal support in our culture. 

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Comfort In Labor You Can Do It - Doula Support by Nancy Madru

Whether you are intending a natural birth or are planning on having an epidural, knowing some ways to cope with the intensity of labor may prove to be useful.  Use of heat and cold, changing positions, hydrotherapy in the shower or labor tub, massage and acupressure can be very supportive in labor.  As a labor and birth doula, I can help guide you through this time.  

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Nutrition in Labor  -Doula Support by Nancy Madru

You are likely to get hungry during labor. When you are laboring at home, you have a wide variety of foods from which to choose.  Eat small portions of light, nutrient-dense foods like fruit, yogurt, eggs, soups and teas when you are in labor.   Midwives and obstetricians vary widely regarding eating in labor and hospital protocols add another layer of possible restrictions such as “clear liquids only”, so discuss your options with your care providers early in your pregnancy care. 

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Postpartum Depression - Doula Support by Nancy Madru

Even with the best of planning, it is not uncommon for the new mother to experience a range of emotions from the short-term weepiness and sadness of Baby Blues to the less common, issues of anxiety and depression. Early recognition and appropriate professional help has been shown to give women the best opportunity for recovery.  There are several resources I’d like to share with you.

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After my baby is born I will:
Wash my hands a lot with good soap and ask everybody else to wash their hands, too
Pay attention to my bleeding: I will call my midwife/doctor if I soak through more than one pad in one hour
Feel my uterus: it should be firm and grapefruit-sized or smaller

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Post Natal Support - Doula Support by Nancy Madru

As a postpartum doula, my primary role is “mothering the mother,” ensuring that she receives emotional and physical support during this transformative time.  Focusing support on the mother allows her more time and energy to bond with and care for her baby.  Take a moment now to CONTACT ME and schedule a free, one-hour phone consultation.

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Prenatal Yoga - Nancy Madru


TO REGISTER: Scroll down to register for the Thursday Prenatal Yoga classes at Nirvana Yoga studio in Easthampton.

Nirvana Yoga is a beautiful studio easily accessible to the Hilltowns and the Pioneer Valley, and our students come from Easthampton, Westhampton, Northampton, Amherst, Holyoke, Westfield, Springfield and West Springfield. 

Pregnancy is a uniquely transformative time, physically, emotionally and spiritually. In offering prenatal yoga, my goal is to maintain a comfortable and contemplative environment for you to connect with the many aspects of your changing self and your changing life.  I hold open a quiet, peaceful space where you can step out of your busy life and take time for yoursel

  • Yoga strengthens muscles, increases stability, improves circulation, aid digestion, and increases overall comfort.  
  • Yoga can also alleviate many of the discomforts of pregnancy such as nausea, swelling, insomnia, hip pain, and back pain. 
  • By moving the spine and moving the breath, you'll increase energy and find more space in your body to breathe. 
  • Prenatal yoga also helps relieve anxiety and depression according to a 2012 study, offering an alternative to medications and perhaps lessening the chances of recurrence of mood disorders in the postpartum time.
  • Yoga offers the perfect forum for pregnant women, and many women take their first yoga classes during pregnancy.

If you have questions, please contact me at 413-977-8037.

Nancy completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training with Mama Nirvana's New Yoga and received specialized prenatal yoga teacher training at Kripalu with Jacci Reynolds. She is a registered Yoga Alliance teacher, a labor and postpartum doula, and is trained in prenatal and postpartum Thai Yoga bodywork.