Meet Anna Barlage LMFT // Mental Health Therapist + Group Leader

1. What made you want to be a Mental Health Professional and how long have you been practicing? 

Anna Barlage LMFT

Anna Barlage LMFT

I have been working in the mental health field for about 10 years, with my first job being a overnight staff member at a long term residence for adult with serious and persistent mental illness while i was in college. I knew I wanted to be in a helping role since elementary school and even wrote that I wanted to be a psychologist in my 6th grade autobiography! My school counselor was immensely supportive during my parents divorce so I credit her for inspiring me. once it was time to choose a graduate program I was drawn to Marriage and family Therapy because of its emphasis on how to treat people with consideration for the system(s) they live in, since I know the people in my life have been immensely important to my wellbeing. 

2. Who are your favorite clients? 

This is a really hard one because I have worked in many different areas of mental health care, and have found I like parts about all of them. That being said, I would say my favorite two areas of mental health are working with those struggling with anxiety and perinatal mental health. Anxiety can be such a life altering and scary experience, so when I get to watch the transformation of seeing people get back to feeling like themselves again its pretty amazing. 

3. Is there anything else you do professionally outside of Mental Health work? 

No- but I am really good at cleaning!


4. What is the number one thing you wish for all of your clients? 

Peace.  One of my favorite quotes captures it perfectly:  Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart. (I just wish I knew who wrote it!)

5. If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? 

Brunch- eggs with some veggies and cheese, bacon, french toast, maybe some hash browns. You can cover all the food groups with a good brunch. Oh and coffee, lots of coffee!

6. If you got a whole day to yourself and you could be anywhere in the world, what would you be doing and with who? 

I have always wanted to go to New Zealand, so I would go there, to some beautiful beach with my kids and husband and just play, eat some good food and soak in their joy.

Therapy sessions available Thursday evenings 5-8pm and Saturday mornings 8-12. Mother to Mother group Saturday mornings at 10:30am. 

Meet Molly Mikacevich // Massage Therapist

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1. What made you want to be a Massage Therapist and how long have you been practicing? 

Massage Therapy and Bodywork are great ways to combine my fascination of anatomy and physiology and love of helping people.  I feel honored to be a part a client's journey towards health and wellness.  I have been practicing for almost 15 years.  

2. Who are your favorite clients? 

I feel incredibly grateful to be able to work with all types of clients.  I really enjoy working with people who are pregnant and postpartum and other care takers such as: nurses, midwives, doulas, teachers, parents,and other body workers.

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3. Is there anything else you do professionally outside of Massage work? 

I am also trained as a Birth and Postpartum Doula and take on a limited number of those types of clients.

4. If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? 

 I am a sugar addict, so if nutrition wasn't a concern, I would eat candy for the rest of my life. 

5. If you got a whole day to yourself and you could be anywhere in the world, what would you be doing and with who? 

 I would be on the beach in Costa Rica or Madeline Island with my family.

Massage Hours: Tuesdays/Wednesdays 10-7pm (if needs arise outside these hours please contact us)

birthEDucated - When the plan is "No"

It's a familiar conversation that comes up when my students are developing their birth plans.  I point to their dream birth choices that they have laid out in front of them and ask them how their current birth place and provider practices are different than the dream items they have selected. 

When the conversation begins to ebb and flow into "well, my provider doesn't do waterbirth, but..." or "my provider said they want to induce me at 39 weeks", or "my provider says that their practice monitors continuously and I can't eat and drink in labor", I gently ask more questions. 

Any good Childbirth Educator will tell you, that we don't care how you birth. I'm not being flippant or rude when I say this. What I mean is, I have already birthED my babies. My babies came into this world the way that they did because of who I am as a unique individual. I'm not interested in helping you have MY births. They aren't what is right for you. I am, however, VERY INTERESTED, in helping you align your values with your provider so that you can have the birth that matches YOU best. 

My good friend Amber Bastian always used to say, "Don't go to a Chinese restaurant if you're really looking for Italian food".  They are likely to be able to whip up some delicious noodles and sauce, but it's not going to be the Spaghetti and Meatballs you're after.  So what the hell does that have to do with birth?

When you line out your dream birth and then select a provider that doesn't customarily practice those elements on a routine basis. You are inevitably making a plan to say "NO" in labor. This isn't a workable plan for a multitude of reasons - but let's take a closer look with a good ol' TOP 5!

Top 5 reasons that the plan of saying "NO" in labor, is not the best approach. 

1.  YOUR THINKING BRAIN IS NOT USEFUL IN LABOR

Yea yea, I know somebody is gonna get up in my grill about this one, but hey hear me out. When you spend time in the part of your brain that is necessary to make decisions, arguments, and remember logical reasoning you are actually inhibiting yourself from progressing normally in labor with your natural hormones. Don't believe me? Check out Dr. Sarah Buckley's work on The Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing. 

2. YOU ARE SUPER VULNERABLE IN LABOR

I can't tell you how many times I have seen a strong, powerful, take no shit mama in labor become a sweet obedient soul. We are all trying to do the right thing, PLUS you're going through some massive sensations in your body. If someone with a strong enough confident voice instructs you to do something, even the strongest of humans can be willing to do things they wouldn't normally do given the circumstances. 

3. PUTTING YOUR PARTNER IN THE ROLE OF WARDEN DOES NO ONE ANY GOOD

Your dear partner, who has taken the classes with you, watched the documentaries, loves you dearly, is also NOW in the new and uncharted space of welcoming their child into the world. Now let's heap the role of "pay attention and fight" on to them when something comes up that is not in your Birth Preferences Letter. It's just not realistic that they will be able to know what is medically necessary at the time of birth and what simply is just a style preference of your particular care provider. 

4. TRUSTING YOUR PROVIDER IS ACTUALLY REALLY IMPORTANT

If you are able to align your values with your care provider BEFORE birth you don't have to feel any of this yucky stuff in the first place! Just imagine with me... a birth where you feel excited to call your birth place/provider and tell them you're in labor. These places and people exist, and you're gonna work to go find them NOW (prenatally) instead of not trusting your provider in labor. If your labor takes on the twists and turns you can't predict at this point, you can at least feel a sense of full trust that they have your ultimate goals and values in mind. 

5. YOU DON'T GET A DO-OVER

You've got this one chance at this birth to get it right and by "right" I don't mean some magical unicorn fairy dust birth necessarily (unless that's your jam, then by all means twinkle twinkle I'll be the first to grab the fairy dust). Don't wait til your 'next' birth to go to that Birth Center or try out that Midwife. Do it now and set yourself up for the birth you dream of. I trust you'll be able to roll with the twists and turns of what labor and birth gives you - you're smart and pretty kick-ass. 

Meredith Westin Photography http://www.meredithwestin.com/

Meredith Westin Photography http://www.meredithwestin.com/

birthEDucated - The Ultimate Postpartum List

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I love smart people. Smart people are the coolest. I had a super smart person take my class and they came up with the ultimate postpartum list - Meet Erin and her husband Dan!

Erin is a project manager by day and is used to being an epic planner. When she was taking her birthED class she asked a lot of smart questions and built the most amazing list of things needed after her baby Eleanor was born. She graciously shared her list with all of YOU! So here goes...

 

 

The ULTIMATE Postpartum List!

Hospital Birth - Helpful Items:

Rachel Farganis Photography. 

Rachel Farganis Photography. 

  • Cooler with perishable items (string cheese, beverages, yogurt, fruit)
  • Big bag of granola bars, candy, nuts, snacks
  • Slippers (for both of YOU!)
  • Comfy clothes + Sweatpants for BOTH of you (multiple sets, because postpartum is SWEATY and birth is well... birth)
  • Essential oils you like for the bath or just to smell
  • Blanket from home
  • Spray for your bottom! I like Motherlove Organic Sitz Bath Spray and if somebody is wants to treat you, or you want to really pamper - go for the Motherlove Nurturing Life Gift Box
  • IF INDUCTION: Eye Mask, ear plugs, and a big sweatshirt or cardigan that your monitors will fit under while you sleep. 

Post Baby - Helpful Items

Breastfeeding and Self Care - Helpful Items

  • Multiple nursing bras - milk gets on EVERYTHING. Make sure you aren't using any wired bras, especially in the first month of breastfeeding. Milk needs to be able to flow freely and plugged ducts can be a problem when wires are involved. 

birthED Comfort Tips - Better Sleep while Pregnant

A common complaint I hear from students in class is that they are getting really shitty sleep during their pregnancy. Hips are aching, multiple trips to the bathroom, arms falling asleep, round ligament pain, and snoring are all to blame for the sleep disruptions my clients and students report to me.  I learned this cool sleep trick from a few really smart midwives and chiropractors in my local, Twin Cities, birthy scene.  Special thanks to Willow Midwives in Minneapolis for letting me use their gorgeous birth suite and a BIG congratulations to the mama in this video for having a beautiful baby BOY just this past week!

Want to learn more about sleep and body positioning in pregnancy? Check out my favorite go-to sources:

 

Mama Natural - Sleep Safely While Pregnant

Mamaligned - The Art of Alignment

Adrienne Caldwell - Twin Cities local brilliant bodyworker

Holly Suarez - Enlightened Wellness

No discussion on body positioning or fetal positioning in pregnancy is complete without mentioning Spinning Babies. I highly recommend spending time reading and absorbing Gail Tully's ideas.

The video and tips offered are not a medical recommendation, but are offered for informational purposes only. Doulas and Childbirth Educators are not medical care providers and you should consult with your physician or midwife on any positioning or other interventions before attempting.