Local Mom Spotlight: Lyndsay O’Neill of Sublime Motherhood

We’re so excited to bring you a wonderful Mom for you to meet for Hampton Roads Moms‘ Local Mom Spotlight — Lyndsay O’Neill, a local Doula who owns Sublime Motherhood. Sublime Motherhood supports Hampton Roads Moms by offering Doula services, placenta encapsulation and yoga instruction to local Moms.  Not only is Lyndsay a “Miracle Worker” by empowering and helping Moms not only to bring their children into the world, but also by providing services to help mothers while they are pregnant and recovering postpartum.

In addition to Lyndsay helping local Moms through Doula support, she is also a Mom to two adorable kids.  Be sure to read more about Lyndsay and Sublime Motherhood in our Mom Monday Piece, but be sure to also visit her on Instagram and Facebook.

1) When did you start Sublime Motherhood?

When I first started working as a Doula in 2015, after the birth of my son, I called myself Susquehanna Valley Doula for the local area I resided in. Sublime Motherhood was born in 2017, when I added Placenta Encapsulation and Yoga to my support services.

I wanted a name that would embody Doula support but also that I personally loved and reflected my philosophy. When a client sent me a review that included the phrase “My experience with Lyndsay as my Doula was nothing short of sublime,” I knew I had my business name!

2.) What made you want to become a Doula?
Training photo from DONA.

The birth of my daughter was very traumatic for my husband and I. As a first time mom, I listened to everything my care provider said without question. I consented to induction at 38 weeks for a reason that I know now is very low risk. I had a very difficult induction. Coupled with allergic reactions due to the medication, I ended up passing out between contractions, even while pushing. I barely remember the first few hours after birth and my husband left with our daughter to go to the nursery. I felt so alone. I ended up suffering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, which was incredibly hard on my family.

When I became pregnant with my son I was completely terrified. I was fearful of having the same experience again, so I educated myself by reading everything on natural birth I could get my hands on. I was shocked to learn about the relationship between interventions during birth and postpartum depression. My quest for a natural birth began and I trained as a Doula with DONA International in 2015.

I hired a Doula who I trained with and she was a lovely support person, never leaving my side during labor. I gave birth at the same hospital and went through the same OB/GYN practice, but it was a fulfilling and amazing experience. I attended my first birth for a client that same year and fell in love with supporting birth in every capacity. I could never have such passion for another career!

3.) What benefits do Moms receive from adding a Doula to their Birth Team?

When you hire a Doula, you’re hiring an expert in childbirth to support you and empower you every step of your journey, whatever that looks like to you! As an example, I offer invaluable educational support as private childbirth education where you can ask all your questions in the comfort of your own home. This is fantastic for you ( and your partner!) to learn about all of your options, discuss what you want for your experience, and plan the upcoming birth of your baby.

Many of my clients desire hands on support throughout pregnancy, and call me multiple times a week for advice and unbiased information. Some women love the personalized care I will put into their concerns. For example, a client once called me complaining of swelling and edema, so I whipped her up a quick sugar scrub and asked if she would like a visit from me just to chat. She was so thrilled! Other families hire me and are thrilled with just a few prenatal visits and then support at the birth, and it’s the exact amount of care they need from me. If you hire me as a Doula, you gain a birth guru and a friend to call at any time. You will be educated to your comfort level, informed of your options, and listened to every step of the way.

4.) How many births have you attended?

I’ve attended 20 births since 2015.

5.)  Any exciting birth stories you would want to share?

I recently attended a beautiful VBA2C, or Vaginal Birth after 2 Cesareans. We were in the hospital for a few hours working through active labor, and things were quickly moving into transition. She had been upright and walking throughout labor, but now was asking to sit on the bed and kept saying she was unsure of what to do. As we were discussing how to keep breathing and working through this, she was sitting cross legged on the bed and circling her hips. I thought to myself that she did know what to do, or her body did, and she was already doing it!

My thoughts were confirmed as she said she felt her baby moving down. I knew we were getting very close, so I stayed at her side and began to brush her hair back from her face. A lot of women find this very soothing, and it worked like a charm. She relaxed and rolled around on the bed in a circle even more vigorously. All of a sudden, she caught her breath. She put her hands down on the hospital bed and (I have never seen this before or after in any birth) flipped her legs from underneath her to all fours on the bed and said “I have to push, I don’t think I know how!”

Again, I wondered if her body knew something she didn’t, and again, this thought was confirmed by her next actions. She scared the life out of her husband and let out two loud, low moans and pushed out her baby in two contractions! Her midwife had to physically lunge behind her to catch the baby! It is one thing to know that women can birth and innately know how, but it is another thing entirely to be witness to that power.

6.)  How can a Mom be empowered by birth?

This will be my personal opinion, but I believe so many of us are uncomfortable in our bodies, unknowing of the power we hold. In today’s society the feminine power, the intuition, the magic of birth can be viewed with distrust and fear. It is an incredible thing to witness a woman reach down and deliver her own baby, and yell “I did it!” It’s even more powerful if she has fought for that right or known a painful birth experience.

It doesn’t stop with that mother giving birth. This is a generational blessing of empowerment, as mothers who birth in power and love know how to pass that on to their daughters and granddaughters, friends and extended family. I believe birth can change the world.

7.) What is your favorite part about being a doula?

No matter the circumstances of birth, seeing the new family in love with their child and the mother in awe of what she just did is always a humbling experience. It is absolutely the best part to see them succeed in what they desired.

8.) What advice will you give an expecting mother about birth?

Trust yourself, listen to the little voice inside. Be open with your partner and birth team to help you the best way they can. Finally, choose a fantastic care provider who supports whatever birth plan you choose.

9.) What other services do you provide?

I offer Fertility Doula support to parents who are struggling to conceive. I offer emotional support, accompaniment to visits, and holistic conception support. Other services include Postpartum Doula support as mentioned below, Placenta Encapsulation and Keepsakes packages, and Private Yoga Instruction for all levels of practice.

10.) What are the benefits of a postnatal doula?
Lyndsay and her beautiful family.

A Postpartum Doula replaces the role of the village that most of us are missing in the first weeks at home. I offer daytime and overnight shifts to help the new family in whatever areas they need. Support can include baby and sibling care, companionship or emotional support, meal preparation, light housework, one on one peer breastfeeding support, and expert referrals to get you assistance with anything I can’t help with right away.

I also offer parenting education to your comfort level, including babywearing or cloth diapering information and infant massage instruction. I am experienced in many issues new families face and help you navigate this new and exciting time in the best way for you. I personally hired a Postpartum Doula for help getting a shower without anxiety, having a meal prepared for my family in the evening, and keeping up with housework while I wanted to rest and bond with my baby.

Now for the FUN…

Lyndsay and her family.
11.)  As a mom, who or what inspires you?

My children. They see the excitement and beauty in every little thing, and even though it drives me crazy at times they are always teaching me to slow down and smell the roses.

12.) Favorite kid snack that you secretly enjoy?

Pizza. Give me all the pizza.

13.)  What is your favorite show to binge watch?

I love binge watching old episodes of Forensic Files or Unsolved Mysteries with a glass or two of red wine.

14.)  As a Mom of two, what is your must have item when you go out?

Emergency hidden snacks in the diaper bag. They’re always hungry!

15.)  And finally, we’ve talked about how you help other Moms relax, but how do you relax?

I need to practice yoga daily, it’s a moving meditation for me and always calms me down when I need a quiet break. It’s great to just sweat it out!

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