An Exciting Announcement!

We have an announcement!

The Iowa City Birth Services family is growing! We are pleased to share that ICBS doula and co-owner Grace Swartzendruber is expecting her second child in September.

Thankfully, because of our teamwork model, Grace’s pregnancy, birth, and maternity leave will not impact our ability to support clients. Both Emily and Hannah will continue to offer birth, postpartum, placenta and childbirth education services during Grace’s absence. We are so thankful for a sustainable business model that allows us to prioritize our families during major life transitions and events.

Below, Grace shares some reflections on her second pregnancy, as well as strategies for preparing her son to become a big brother this fall:

Being a doula, and having been pregnant and given birth before, I (wrongly) went into this second pregnancy assuming I knew what to expect. Prior to even conceiving, I had chosen my care providers, support system, prenatal vitamins, exercise classes – you name it! I thought this time around would be smooth sailing.

But here I am, rolling into the 3rd trimester, experiencing a completely different pregnancy than my first with a number of unexpected changes. While I also am hoping and preparing for a different birth experience, the reality is that I have very little control of how things will actually unfold when it’s time for #2 to be born. For the type A, control freak in me, that is a very hard thing to come to terms with. I am thankful for a supportive partner, business partners, friends and care providers who have held space for me as I process what has turned out to be a more stressful pregnancy than I imagined, and also try to accept and embrace the unknowns of birth.

Along with the ups and downs of pregnancy, this time around brings the added component of preparing my son, who will be 3 when his sibling is born, to become a big brother. Transitions are hard on everyone, but especially for toddlers whose emotions can be very overwhelming. We’ve found several books that have been helpful for introducing the concept to our son, which are linked to below. Additionally, we try to include our son in conversation about the new baby and what it will be like when he or she is born, as well as include him in activities to help get ready for the new baby, like washing baby clothes and bottles, setting up the co sleeper, and more. I’ve also brought him along to a few prenatal appointments so he can see the ultrasound and hear the baby’s heartbeat. One of my son’s favorite activities is to sing to the baby in my belly, which is definitely as sweet as it sounds.

One of the books we used to help introduce our son to the concept of a new baby and being a big brother is “I’m A Big Brother” (there is a “I’m A Big Sister” version, and also Spanish language versions of this book available as well).

We are also using “Waiting for Baby” and “My New Baby,” which work for both big brothers or sisters. “My New Baby” does a nice job of depicting what breastfeeding might look like as well.


What tips and tricks do you have for introducing a big sibling to a new baby? We’d love to hear your experiences on our facebook page.

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