Q & A – The Belly to Baby Expo

Twice a year Green Bay Doulas brings 50-70 of their best resources under one roof for an amazing event called the Belly To Baby Expo.  I sat down with Emily Jacobson the creator of the expo for some Q & A.

 

Q: What is the Belly to Baby Expo?

A: It’s a grassroots effort to bring local businesses and community resources to expecting mothers and their growing families in the Green Bay Area. It’s run by volunteers and the host, Green Bay Doulas.

 

Q: When was it started?

A: In September of 2012 in the Streu’s Pharmacy  parking lot, we had 17 vendors and about 25 people attended. Now we see upwards of 400-500 families pass through the doors each expo. Former locations included The Art Garage, Rasmussen College, St Mary’s Roller Rink, The Marq- Lineville Rd and the fall expo will be at The Meadows Conference Center. 

Q: Why was it started?

A: I lived in Madison for 10 years and did my initial doula training there. When I moved back to Green Bay in the summer of 2012, I realized unlike Madison, no one knew what a doula was or let alone the resources that are available to them outside of the hospitals. If newly engaged couples had wedding expos, why didn’t they have baby expos? I’m not one to sit back and hope someone would create such a thing, I went ahead and did it.

 

Q: Who should attend?

A: Everyone should attend. Those thinking about growing families find they learn ahead of the curve about local resources including those looking into adoption or medical professionals. Those who are currently expecting find cute crafts, baby gear, and an array of  professionals who can support them during their pregnancy. Those with children already find great resources from breastfeeding support to crafters and perinatal health professionals and a chance to meet other mothers, exchange stories perhaps even make a new friend or two.

 

Q: What should we expect?

A: Expect to have fun, and meet new people, all while supporting local businesses! We have amazing raffle prizes from local and national companies. New this year we will be hosting a free prenatal Yoga class before the expo. We also have added a lactation and quiet lounge for those mothers who need a break or to feed their child with less distraction. 

Q: What is so special about the Belly to Baby Expo?

A: Money raised by the vendor fees provides fee assistance to families in the Green Bay Area for bereavement and other support services through Green Bay Doulas, Green Bay’s premier doula agency. It’s another way beyond our annual diaper drive – No Child Wet Behind we can give back to our community.

 

We hope you will join us for the 11th Belly to Baby Expo and if you can’t make this one, you are in luck, the next one will be March 2018.  We hope to see you there!

Adoption: Answering Common Questions

November is National Adoption Month, which is a topic near and dear to my heart, as I was adopted at just 9 weeks old from the Milwaukee area. Growing up I actually had a lot of friends who were also adopted.  Believe it or not, we were often asked the same common questions and I thought I would share those in hopes of bringing awareness throughout the month to many of our readers.

What are the different types of adoption?

There are actually three different forms of adoptions!

Open Adoption:This is where your family may have access to the biological families information or even remain in contact with them.

Closed Adoption: In this case, records are sealed about personal information on the biological family. Once you reach adulthood you can do a records request to see if the biological family would be interested in meeting. Sometimes this information is available and sometimes it’s not. In my case my request was denied, but I was able to get a ton of paperwork about my biological family and medical history. That was informative, but what was most significant and even more special were the papers my parents filled out as they waited for my adoption to be finalized, what they did with me, my milestones, things I never knew existed on paper.

Domestic vs International- Simply means were you born in the USA or adopted from overseas?

Was it difficult to family trees or family related school projects and activities?

Sometimes yes, and others no. My family was my family. I tailored all of my presentations to my family. My grandpa was of syrian descent and my grandmother german. I knew I was german and hungarian, but that’s about it.  When you don’t have the information it’s hard to go off of, but I did my best with the info at hand.

And of course, my friends always wanted to know…

Do we really have two birthdays?

Sorta! We celebrate our birthdays and also my “gotcha day” growing up. I called this my special birthday, but others call it a Gotcha Day. Gotcha Day is the day we came home with our parents.

How do you explain adoption to children?

My mother always said it best. “You grew in my heart not my belly.” My outlook on being adopted is different then others may feel. I’m a firm believer that I was meant to be with my family and just needed a way to get there. So, yes, I grew in my mothers heart.

What local support is out there for children who are adopted?

The Post Adoption Resource Center of Brown County is a great place to start! 

Also having playdates with other children and classmates who were adopted as well was probably the most beneficial part to me as a child.

So on this national adoption month do you know someone who’s adopting, was adopting or has adopted? Reach out, let them know you are glad they are in your lives!

So the all important question,

How do we, as doulas, support adoption?

Before Baby: We are available before baby is welcomed as Antepartum Support Doulas. We can help create an amazing space in the home of the family adopting the newest addition by setting up furniture, the nursery and helping you talk through feelings and emotions. We can also provide support to the biological mother or surrogate by talking through or going with her to doctor appointments and supporting her emotionally.

Throughout Labor: We support the biological mother or surrogate on her journey to birth in whatever capacity she may need, whether that’s physically or emotionally.

Once Baby Is Born And The Postpartum Period : We help with the transition when parents bring home baby with the use of postpartum care. Working with them to set up a routine or settle into their new parenting roles. We can also aide in the support of the biological mother or surrogate once home helping them with self care for healing both physically and emotionally. We can assist with general recovery, lactation support to either stop or pump, an ear to listen, and our extensive list of referrals. We have even encapsulated for a surrogate who was planning on pumping for the baby.

If you would like to hear more about the support doulas can provide during the adoption process I would be more than happy to answer questions! Feel free to contact us at info@greenbaydoulas.com

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