September 17, 2012 by Twin Cities Midwifery
Margaret is quite the wealth of knowledge, and she has helped quite a few of our TCM mamas during labor, and even more so, during their postpartum time. She is a birth doula, postpartum doula, lactation consultant, placenta encapsulator, and also offers cranio sacral adjustments for babies. She is a kind of one-stop-shop person for all things postpartum. I feel so lucky to have Margaret in our community as a resource, as she really fills a need for postpartum support. Plus, she is just a wonderful person and ever enjoyable to be around. Read below to find out more about all of the services she offers, and find her at her website, Mothering by Mom, for even more information.
Margaret McKinley Owens
Postpartum Guru (Doula, Lactation, CST, Placenta Encapsulation)
Charlie is my loving husband since 2002. I have 1 son named Tyler who is 16, and 3 daughters, Alicia 14, Alexa 10 and Carlie 7. I have a Scottish Terrier named Nessie and a new kitty named Willow.
Born and Raised in SW Minneapolis.
Shoreview (Just 15 north of Minneapolis and St Paul)
Favorite weekday dinner:
Our family loves Mexican food. Taco Bake is my favorite.
Favorite downtime activity:
Paddle-boarding in the summer and Snow Shoeing in the winter (which are both exercise as well)
Kate: When did you know you wanted to be a doula?
Margaret: How about a postpartum doula? Which came first? I first knew I wanted to be a doula right after my daughter Alexa was born. She arrived in October of 2002 and by January I was signed up to take Gail Tully’s Birth Doula training that coming summer. I did my Postpartum Doula training immediately following in Milwaukee WI. with Ann Grauer. I love birth but my true passion is supporting moms and babies in the first few weeks following birth.
Kate: Tell me a bit about your practice.
Margaret: I currently have an office in St Paul with is right on Grand Ave near Fairview Ave. I see clients there for Lactation support, and Carniosacral Therapy, but I am mostly working in families homes with them directly following the birth of their baby or babies. I joke with partners and say, “I’m your wife’s wife!” I do the laundry, dishes, prep a meal, keep the household flowing normally (how ever that looks to that particular family). I also do in-home lactation visits if the mom has given birth within the month or if she has twins. One of my newest passions is doing Placenta Encapsulation. I really enjoy learning about each mother, and about each baby. I am learning so much about this amazing organ that we create new with each child. It is truly incredible. Plus all the benefits of ingesting it are truly remarkable.
Kate: What is the best part of your job?
Margaret: I would have to say the best part of my job is seeing the love on the face of the moms and dads that I serve. I really do think that it is a calling, as blissful as this time can . Seeing the glow and satisfaction on their face when they figure out their baby’s cues. One of the most wonderful things a mom of twins said to me was, “with you supporting me I was able to enjoy this time with my baby boys, not just survive it.”
Kate: What are the general benefits for a mom who decides to have a postpartum doula involved in her postpartum recovery time?
Margaret: The benefits are immense. You are supported so you can rest! Research shows that new moms (the first 4 weeks following a vaginal birth, 6 weeks for C-section) who are supported recover faster and feel a closer connection to their babies than women who are not supported. Women who have postpartum support are more apt to breastfeed for longer periods of time. In general, rest, rest and more rest! Plus who wouldn’t love for someone to do your laundry and dishes while you snuggle with your new baby.
Kate: Often moms and partners are concerned that a doula or postpartum doula will take over the partner’s role. How do you respond to that?
Margaret: I am always showing parents how to better support each other. I am only there a few hours a day. I do not “move in” or “take over”. My ideal is to empower partners and support them to be the best partner and parent they can be. I have a commitment to showing the partner how they can bond with the newborn in their own way and support the new mother. I explain to the couple that I am always working myself out of a job. I want them to feel comfortable and satisfied.
Kate: If a family would like a postpartum doula, how should they “schedule” that with you before baby arrives?
Margaret: As a postpartum doula, I am aware that baby’s rarely arrive on their guess date, however it is so much easier to support and “schedule our time together a few weeks or even months in advance. Just like birth doulas it is so important to feel like you can have a positive chemistry or connection to the postpartum doula who will be supporting you. Ideally I meet with families sometime very early on in the pregnancy, but most of the time is happens somewhere in the 25-33 week range. I sign an agreement with the family that I will be setting this time aside especially for them and they pay a small deposit for the time that will be applied to the services I provide. Great tip: I do have Gift Certificates available so grandparents, in-laws, friends can purchase as a gift for the expectant family. (Great for showers and blessing-ways)
Kate: You also have quite a bit of training in lactation support as well. Can you talk about how lactation visits usually work, how often you see moms, and how long you usually keep working with them?
Margaret: I do have lots of experience with Lactation. I was trained 6 years ago formally as a Certified Lactation Counselor, however my experience started in 1996 when I had my son. Breastfeeding was not that popular in the mid to late 90′s. I was determined to breastfeed my son at least six months and I did. I actually nursed him until he turned one. I have nursed all of my children an average of 18 month.
When I do a lactation visit I talk with the mom to see how she is feeling about he experience thus far. I try and find out what her knowledge base is and if she is just needing information or if she actually needs hands on help. Most of the time it is (again) about empowerment! If she is feeling encouraged and empowered then she is going to be more successful. I check to see if the latch is correct and if baby is swallowing. My recipe for a great start to breastfeeding is to room together and be skin to skin for 72 hours minimum. Feed as often as your baby wants. Most of my visits are between 60-90 minutes. I follow up with the mom and baby as much or as little as they need. In the first few days that could mean a visit everyday, or every-other day or just a one time visit.
Kate: How would you say that you are unique from other birth professionals in the community?
Margaret: After working in this field for 10 years, I can say I am unique because of the vastness of the clients I have supported. I have supported, singletons, twins, triplets, single moms by choice, same sex couples, traditional families, adopting families, along with many many culturally diverse families. Every family is unique and scenarios are vast. I am flexible and comfortable in most situations.
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our pregnant readers?
Margaret: My favorite quote is “Don’t just plan for the wedding, plan for your marriage” I turned that quote into my own… “Don’t just plan for the birth, plan for your baby. Hire postpartum support, A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY!”
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our post birth, new mom and new dad readers?
Margaret: Be easy on each other. Love each other and accepting of each others shortcomings. This is such a tender time and your relationship can only grow and flourish if it is fed. Keep lines of communication open and ask for what you need and be clear. Always kiss goodnight!
See the original interview on Twin Cities Midwifery’s Blog