Oh My God, I’m pregnant!


OH MY GOD!!! Those are the only words that made it out of my mouth for about ten minutes.

I just kept saying it. Over and over and over.

I yelled for my husband, who was playing Call of Duty in the living room, and by the time he heard me I had gotten pretty loud, so he busted through the bathroom door to see what in the world was wrong. I didn’t move from the toilet seat, just held up the pregnancy test so he could see and said “O MY GOD!” several times in different inflections and volumes. I was clearly freaking out.

With his eyes glued to the test in my hand, and without saying a word, he slowly sat on the edge of the tub in front of me. Sitting on the toilet, in my mother-in-law’s bathroom, looking down at those two pink lines, with my husband either surprisingly calm or in shock in front of me, my mind was in a state of chaos.

With every worry that my mind thought of, my mouth could only articulate out loud those three little words, while internally I had so much to say, so many what-if’s, how are-we-gonna’s and we-aren’t-ready’s.  At 19, and married only a year, the furthest we had gotten on the plan of growing our family was making jokes about how we could make some really cute kids together.  We lived in a tiny duplex apartment in East Texas and we did our laundry at his parents’ house on the weekends.

Was this really happening? After a while, I was able to get quiet and when I looked at my husband, he was still there, still silent and…smiling? Was that really a smile on his face?

Yes. He was smiling. And I melted. I realized that my husband and I were sitting alone in the bathroom, with a baby on the way and he was happy. We had made a family!

When I asked him what he thought, he simply said, “Ok.”  And that was everything I needed to hear. It was the answer to all the questions in the web of crazy in my mind.

What if – It’s going to be ok. Where are we gonna – it’s going to be ok. How are we gonna – it’s going to be ok.

Flash forward five years. We have a beautiful little girl, who is smart, strong, silly, challenging, and a joy – a joy that chases the grey away, and now everything is so much more than “ok.”

OH MY GOD, who would I be without this little girl that made me a mom??

How did you and your partner react when you found out!? How long did it take for your shock to turn into excitement? Tell us in the comments below!
Blog authored by Kasey Schoof, No Barriers Birth Labor Doula, provider of belly casting services in East Texas, and amazing mom of two totally cute kiddoes

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Beat-the-Heat Blueberry Ice Cream

Summer in Tyler, Texas came on hot and heavy this year! It’s the kind of thick, sticky, heat that fogs up your sunglasses when you get out of the car. The kind of heat that has you darting from shade to shade as you zip through the Rose City Farmers Market, quickly grabbing your fresh loot before rushing back to the air conditioning. The kind of heat that begs you to slip your own baby bump and your cute toddler into a swimsuit and go to the Faulkner Park Splashground!


However you prefer to beat the heat in Tyler, a dish of this blueberry ice cream will hit the spot. We picked up some fresh, local blueberries at the market this Saturday and cranked out this amazing, creamy batch of homemade ice cream. It’s low in sugar, relying on the fresh berry goodness for its’ yummy sweetness.

It takes all of 20 minutes to whip up ahead of time. So fast and simple! Pair with mint or basil for an extra special treat.


Beat-the-Heat Blueberry Ice Cream


1 pint of fresh organic blueberries, rinsed

1 cup organic whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla

9 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

  • In a large saucepan, bring your berries to a low simmer, gently mashing with a fork or a potato masher to help them break down. Gently simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, pulse a few times to get a nice, berry mash.
  • Add milk and cream and bring up just to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly whisk half of the milk-berry mixture into egg-sugar mixture. Pour back into the sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, just a couple of minutes. Add vanilla at the end of cooking time.
  • Pour into a bowl and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. You can run through a sieve to remove bits of pulp, or leave it in. Refrigerate for an hour or two until cold. You can also do all of these preceeding steps up to two days ahead of time.
  • Pour into ice cream freezer and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy!

What are your favorite summer ice cream recipes? Share in the comments below!





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Mean Girls & Self Love

Comparison, judgement, self-doubt, insecurity

I want to tell you the stories that I have been told from real women here in East Texas. These stories reveal a toxic problem in female culture that I just have to address.

“I heard her say “If my kids acted like that…”

Of being judged by others

“The lady just glared at me from across the store while I [breast] fed him, but he was literally screaming, and I couldn’t wait!”

Of people not-so-quietly criticizing their choices

“The waitress said to her coworker ‘Did she order all of that food just for her?’ It’s none of her business anyway, but I ordered for my whole family.”

Of people even intentionally trying to hurt a woman’s self-worth with their words

“A mother told her teenage daughter (while laughing!): “Honey, if you ever get fat, I don’t want to see you wearing shorts like that.”

Telling half-truths, or building a narrative that fits their ill-informed perception

“Within earshot she told her kids, ‘do you want to have to work a job like that? Well that’s why you go to school.’ When the truth is, I AM in school and I love my job!”

Good grief! You would think that as we grow older that we would also mature, right?

Wait, aren’t we all adults here?

How common is it for someone to observe a tiny piece of our lives and then craft a whole narrative of assumptions and judgement based on that one tiny piece of information?  It happens all the time.

Here are some thoughts I have on the inner-workings of these types of mean-girl behaviors:

There is this strange thing that happens when someone makes a decision that, deep down, you judge: the little voice of comparison and self-doubt taps on your shoulder and whispers “who does she think she is?” This initial judgement is actually often synonymous with “she must think she’s better than me” or “she needs to fall in line with the tribe.”

Let’s not even get started on the perils of herd mentality, but rather, lets take that train of thought another step deeper.  If this hypothetical person isn’t falling in line or following tribe rules then here’s the root fear motivating the judgement: “she must think my choices are wrong.” And if the person can get really honest about that root fear, we can boil this all the way down to an underlying core truth they don’t want to face “I am insecure in my choices, and my judgements are only a reflection of me”.

Ok, ok, that got really deep, really fast, but I’ll toss in some examples:

Ask yourself how you feel when someone talks about polarized parenting topics with you, something that matters to you like choosing to birth fully un-medicated vs. with an epidural. Or the choice to vaccinate or circumcise. Or maybe you don’t have strong feelings about these birth or parenting topics but you can think of another relevant issue. Sometimes people can really get their hackles raised just by seeing other people’s choices.

For some women, when they see a choice someone else makes, the temptation creeps in to believe that it somehow threatens their worth and value. The way one woman chooses to live, birth, parent, etc. is not a critique of how you live, birth, parent, etc!  Don’t be fooled:

Other people’s choices are not an attack on your choices.

If someone is criticizing, bad mouthing, trash-talking, taking personally, or is otherwise unsupportive of who you are or what choices you make, their issues are their own. They may not know it or believe it, but it has really got nothing to do with you. It’s on them, baby.

What other people think of you is none of your business

It takes self-awareness, humility, and maturity to be able to see that our judgments are really about ourselves. Women doing the hurting probably aren’t at a place where they can realize they are operating out of insecurity and self-doubt. It’s all a journey, right?

As I have grown in confidence and authenticity (thanks in large part to my trainers at ProDoula) I’ve learned that releasing others from your judgements releases you from self-judgement as well.

And as wise Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you will be criticized anyway.

Does judgement-free support for your birth and parenting choices sound like something you’d like a bit more of?   Drop us a line!

Eleanor roosevelt

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Postpartum doulas: instill confidence and strength (part 3)

Helping hand part 3(1)

Wait, no one told me how to take care of a baby!

Your baby was just born and you’re riding on an endorphin high, filled with love and amazement for your partner and your newborn.  You’re overwhelmed with joy at the sight of her and every sound she makes brings you delight. And then it starts to sink in…”They’re actually going to send us home with her?” Quick! where’s the operating manual!

How do I give my baby a bath without her screaming?

What do we do when our baby won’t stop crying?

Is breastfeeding supposed to be this painful?

Is any of this normal!?

Before that baby arrives, you don’t know what you don’t know. There is a steep learning curve when you become a parent, as you rapidly learn loads of new skills and find yourself diving head-first into a new relationship with this tiny, fragile life. Some doubts and worries are to be expected. But the reassuring, knowledgeable presence of a doula brings peace to your heart and mind as she guides you through you learn the new skills of breastfeeding, infant soothing, and newborn care, helping you feel reassured and confident as a new parent.

There is no such things as a dumb question for your doula. You can have a sounding board while you get your feet under you. You can let her be your confidant while you figure out your baby’s personality and preferences.

Let’s face it, sometimes it can be really difficult being a new parent. Breastfeeding doesn’t always come intuitively. Babies are sometimes extra fussy. Sometimes you may wonder if you’re showing signs of postpartum depression or anxiety. She can help you gauge how things are going. If something seems out of the ordinary to you, she can help you decide if it’s just an average struggle of early parenting, or if it is something that merits the guidance of a professional like your pediatrician or a lactation consultant.

You know what else she does? She gives the useful and helpful information that is just right for you and your baby.

The reality is, there are a lot of hot button issues in parenting circles these days: breast vs. bottle, intact vs. circumcisionstandard vaccinations vs. delayed vax or non-vax.  Can I just set the record straight right quick?
YOU are the parent of your child.

Every child is different. Every family is different. We trust you to know what is best for your family and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

So here’s what this looks like: If you ask us which formulas are least likely to cause gasiness, we aren’t gong to remind you that “breast is best” because that, my dear, would be a bit rude and judgmental. And if you are curious about common delayed vaccination schedules, we won’t send you an article that vilifies non-vaxing parents. Because, again: rude. This goes for any choice you make. We are up-to-date on research and trends. and we know where to go for information on all the above topics.  We can help you find the path that resonates with you.

At the end of the day, we know that you are the one who needs the skills and confidence to do this life-long work of love. Your doula will not take charge, or call the shots, or parent your baby for you. We will provide you with the tools you need to be an amazing parent. We are your helper. Your support. And we make you GREAT at your new job of parenting your newborn.


To check out more info on postpartum doulas, head back to part 1 and part 2 of this series, all in celebration of World Doula Week.

And to get a great visual of postpartum work in action, search the hashtag #postpartumdoulasdothat on your favorite social media platform. You’ll find East Texas Doulas on Instagram and No Barriers Birth on Facebook, as well as loads of other professional doulas sharing pics of their valuable postpartum support.

Does this sound like the kind of support you desire for after your baby arrives?  Drop us a line!

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Postpartum doulas: Keep the craziness in check (part 2)

Helping hand part 2

Frequent Visitors, Toddler Messes, Dishes, Laundry, Cooking, Cleaning, Crying, Diapers, SLEEP!

These basic realities after baby comes are pretty much universal.  You know what else is universal?  New moms face a lack of support and understanding from our workplaces, partners (Lord knows they do their best!), family members, and friends.  We have a harmful cultural dynamic that forgets the needs of the woman in the early postpartum time and leaves parents woefully under-supported in the months following having a baby.

Yesterday I shared about how we foster a strong family bond with your newborn. But we do so much more.  We help keep those external factors of life from getting out of hand.

So here’s part 2 (part 3 coming Monday!):

We help keep the crazy in check

When you arrive home from the hospital with a baby that needs so much from you, and a body that is utterly worn out from the challenges of birthing your little one, the responsibilities of keeping the home intact, keeping your other kids alive, and remembering to feed and care for yourself, are all a lot more difficult. Your newborn will wake about every 1-3 hours. But you need to rest. You just birthed a baby, after all, and your body deserves to heal.

…But life continues on around you.  And there is so little time in the day for everything else when you’re recovering from birth and caring for a newborn ’round the clock.

Maybe you had great assistance from your partner for a week, and from your mom until she had to return to her responsibilities. And maybe now you’re flying solo, juggling it all on your own… and dinner from two nights ago is still splayed out on the counter, and laundry mountain grows ever taller, and it’s all feeling just a bit…crazy.
When our spaces feel out of control, we start to feel out of control.

You know that voice in the back of your head? The one saying, “Why is this so hard? I should be able to handle this!” That’s our culture speaking. That’s the barrier of pride and individualism. It stands in the way of letting you accept the help you need and deserve.
We all want to be great moms.  But guys, Super Mom does not suffer through life’s difficulties until she’s forgotten herself. Super Mom does not decline support when she just needs a leg up. Super Moms are always supported from below by others.

Your postpartum doula can help. We can come by daily, for months if you need it, or we can come by just a couple of times to help you catch your breath. Or maybe what’s best for you is some overnight care so you can sleep! Or what about a short-term live-in doula until your mom arrives next week and you have the continued help you need? We can get you nutritious food on the table, a jump on the dishes and laundry that were piling up, older kids given some special time and attention, help with bedtime for the toddler (who you were hoping would be potty trained before baby came,) and then you get the time you need to nap, shower, and be refreshed for another day.

We are the practical support that helps you keep your brain on straight and your heart focused on what matters most, so internally, you are okay.

A happy mom is a better mom, and we make moms happy!


To check out more info on postpartum doulas, head back to part 1 and over to part 3 of this series.

And to get a great visual of postpartum work in action, search the hashtag #postpartumdoulasdothat on your favorite social media platform. You’ll find East Texas Doulas on Instagram and No Barriers Birth on Facebook, as well as loads of other professional doulas sharing pics of their valuable postpartum support.

Does this sound like the kind of support you desire for after your baby arrives?  Drop us a line!


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Postpartum doulas: a helping hand (part 1)

Helping hand part 1

Discover the foundational support we offer to families transitioning to life with a new baby.

So you’ve heard of a birth doula, right? They help you out during birth, helping you to come out the other side victorious, proud, and feeling whole. They’re basically the magical unicorns of birth, right?  But what exactly is a Postpartum Doula? “Is that like, for postpartum depression??”  If a birth doula is the magical unicorn of birth, a postpartum doula is the magical unicorn of transitioning to life with baby!

In East Texas, folks are often unaware of what a postpartum doula does because there is a general belief that doulas are only for the crunchy moms. People don’t realize that what we do is for the normal, modern woman. Also, we offer some of the only postpartum doulas serving in the Tyler and Longview areas, so world of mouth hasn’t traveled very far.

But this work is vitally important. We have a cultural dynamic that ignores the needs of the family in the early postpartum time and leaves parents woefully under-supported in the weeks and months following having a baby.

So allow me to explain in three parts (parts two and three are coming this weekend!):

We foster a strong family bond with your newborn

Your new baby needs your time and attention as she adjusts to life outside of your body, and you want nothing more than to focus solely on her. Soak her in, nourish her, soothe her.  And your partner needs to bond and connect with this baby too. That will strengthen his connection to this child for life!  So let’s say you planned ahead for your partner to stay home from work for a week to help out and rest after the long birth, right? Great! He will benefit so much from that time to bond with and learn how to care for the new baby.  But as it should be, he will naturally be shouldering more of the responsibilities around the home for those first few weeks, and he is going to get worn out too, especially after he returns to work.  Let us tag-team caring for the household with your partner, (or mother-in-law, or best friend, or whoever wants to offer their assistance!) so that you can develop that deep connection to your new baby.

“But my mom is coming to stay with me for a few days. Would having a doula be overkill when she’s already helping me?”

A postpartum doula should never replace or detract from the important role your loved ones play, and our professionally trained postpartum doulas never will. Your mom can connect with you and her new grandbaby while your doula sets up the new baby swing and stroller and washes all the pump parts. Your closest friends can come snuggle the baby and listen to your birth story while the doula loads the dishwasher and folds the laundry. You and your partner can enjoy dinner together while your doula gets the baby bathed and put down to sleep.

We encourage you to receive the benefit of emotional support from those who love you most. You will transition easiest when you’re surrounded with the love of those who matter to you and know how to serve you. We’ll be here in the background, taking care of anything else you need.

If you’d like to check out more of what a postpartum doula does, check out part 2, and part 3 of this series. And to get a great visual of postpartum work in action, search the hashtag #postpartumdoulasdothat on your favorite social media platform. You’ll find East Texas Doulas on Instagram and No Barriers Birth on Facebook, as well as loads of other professional doulas sharing pics of their valuable support.

Does this sound like the kind of support you desire for after your baby arrives?  Drop us a line!

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Our Doula Difference

ETD Difference

In the East Texas area, you have a lot of options when it comes to selecting who will be on your support team for birth, whether you’ll birth at a local birth center, or in one of our great hospitals like Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler or Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview. From year to year we may have as many as 15 or as few as 5 doulas offering their services in this region. So why should you hire us? Well I’ll tell ya.

We’ve been serving families for 8 years. We’ve learned a lot in that amount of time and have excelled in providing families with a professional service that makes a difference. Our unmatched professionalism, customer service, availability, and flexibility gives you peace of mind and makes us the #1 choice for expectant families in East Texas.


First of all, No Barriers Birth is a fully legitimate business operating under the growing parent company, East Texas Doulas, LLC (due to launch it’s new website this spring!) We are licensed to operate in the state of Texas.  Our company and affiliated doulas are insured and fully trained to serve in their role as birth doulas, postpartum doulas, educators, or placenta specialists. We are trained in adult and infant CPR, Blood Borne Pathogens, and Texas food safety handling and we take our role seriously.
Loads of doulas get into this work for the “feel-goods” and emotional pay-off of doula work. I’m first to admit that this job is certainly, unbelievably rewarding, but it’s also very hard work that takes great skill and a certain amount of personal sacrifice.  The usual length of a doula’s career is less than 2 years. We’ve seen lots of doulas come and go over the years and our repeat clients are thankful that we have no plans of going anywhere any time soon.

Customer Service

Unfortunately, doula culture is rife with a very laid-back style. A week to answer an email. Calls heading straight to voicemail. When you treat your job like a hobby, your work suffers. Your clients suffer.
This is our career, not our hobby, and how well you feel supported by us starts from the very first phone call. This means when you need to contact us, you can reach us. We have office hours, we return emails and messages, we treat your need for support like the important and urgent matter that it is. When you you hire us, you have no doubt that you matter to us. Your needs come first for us, and you will sense this difference in the relationship you build with your doula.


You came home from the hospital 5 days ago. You’re boobs are swollen, your baby crying, you feel like you and your partner haven’t seen sleep for days. You call us to see about whether or not a postpartum doula could help.  When you need help, we know you need it now, not next Tuesday. That very evening, your new doula is in your home serving you intuitively, caring for your baby tenderly, alleviating your discomfort and setting you up for a night of success. You take a 3 hour nap and get a shower and feel like a new mom when you come downstairs to dinner ready and waiting for your family at 7. Our turn around time is fast because your needs don’t wait.

You’re 34 weeks when, at 3am, you awake to a gush of fluid between your legs and mild contractions. You give your on-call doula a ring and find that she is completely available and ready to serve you, even though you’re not technically “due” for another 6 weeks. When birth happens outside of the norm, a brief on-call time between 38-41 weeks won’t provide the support you need. Our experience shows that sometimes babies can be unpredictable. To best serve families, we go on-call for your birth the day you sign a contract with us and we ensure you have professional doula support with a money-back guarantee.


We offer something for everyone in East Texas, with a wide array of services to meet each family’s needs. Mix and match your package to benefit from all the services you want, and none that you don’t. Private childbirth classes, labor support, postpartum doulas, placenta encapsulation, lactation support, cesarean recovery, overnight care, short-tem live-in doula, we’ve got you covered.
Do you believe that doulas are only for a certain kind of mom? When you hire No Barriers Birth, you don’t have to worry about someone judging the choices you make in pregnancy, birth, or parenting. Do you want to birth with an epidural? Are you seeking a fully unmedicated experience? Do you want all the bells and whistles the hospital offers or do you prefer to birth in your own home? Returning to work or staying home with baby? Swaddle? Pacifier? Or maybe you’re not sure about any of this stuff and hoping for some help to figure it all out!

That is all a-okay.

We will walk with you on your journey, with your birth preferences and parenting style leading the way. With our wide background of experiences, we can help you reach the decisions that are just right for your family and you will never doubt that we support your choices.  You should have the peace of mind that your doula is always in your corner.


If this sounds like the kind of difference you’re looking for, chat with us about the perfect support for your journey of birth and parenting! Drop us a line!

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