Angela N. Davis, MM, MTBC
Interview: Respect My Peace, LLC
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
Greetings from Paris!
Peace to you! My name is Paris, the owner of Respect My Peace L.L.C. located in Northeast Florida. I have an authentic passion for helping others & my community. Within the realm of my nurturing spirit, I provide educational, holistic postpartum & plant energy services. I believe that postpartum care is important after the birth of a baby and vital for a mother, as she transitions herself into motherhood. After all, birthing a spirit into the physical realm is a sacred duty and a lifetime commitment, therefore I am here to nurture the nurturer during this sensitive time. RespectMyPeace.com, email@example.com
Excerpts from the interview...
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview my doula sister, Paris, owner and CEO of Respect My Peace LLC. She offers many unique services to women within the postpartum period. During our conversation, we jumped into the details of her passion and practice. Below, you’ll find a snapshot of our conversation; we enjoyed talking well over an hour, even while reigning the conversation back in repeatedly!
"I really do love what I do, and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world."
AD: It seems like you’ve taken the typical postpartum doula and added wisdom from your passion, can you tell me more about that? (the journey that led you to herbology and gardening and how it has manifested so far)
P: Gardening has been my love and will always be my love, and the postpartum didn’t come into fruition until I had my daughter in 2016. When I was in college…I’ve always wanted to help others I just didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. So after I had my daughter, I wanted to do more self-care for mamas, but I really didn’t know what it was or what it was called. I was always helping friends and family after they had a baby, what I call a check in buddy, do you need something to eat, do you need me to come clean up the house. The postpartum part, everything is important at that time but the postpartum part to me lasts the longest. And I always see moms struggle after they have baby, especially if its after the first baby. Now I’m still learning, the babies learning…
AD: …because when the baby is born, a mother is born as well…
P: Exactly…so for me, I remember sitting on the couch, remember having a dream and my dream was me in a dark room and I had wings. They were closed at first, and we had our backs on a wall and I was holding someone. I didn’t know who I was holding but I was holding someone. We were sitting on the floor in this dark room and she was crying and she was a mother. My wings began to spread like butterfly wings, when they began to spread that’s when they began to provide the light for the whole room. And I told her it was going to be ok. And at that time when I had that dream I was going through my own postpartum depression (for a whole year). I remember being home alone with my daughter. I would walk the hallways and everything was so dark in my house. I said, you know what? I need light, I need the sun to bless me. I need the sun, I need to feel light. I opened the curtains in my bedroom, and I heard birds in the fall season…so I walked outside. All the birds were communicating and talking in their language, and it sounded like music to me. The sun was shining on me and my daughter and out of nowhere I saw a butterfly, which was so rare. And I said, that is my spirit. That was me in my dream. So, if I’m holding this mother, and I’m telling her things are going to be ok, what is truly my purpose? And I started to really research and meditate more on that. Ok, a woman that helps other women after the birth of their babies…and postpartum doula came up.
…it all comes together and its all about the connection.. Everything resorts back to nature for me. Even with the continuous spiral, like the cucumber vine, it reminds me that I always need to go within. Especially if I need to clarify something or rectify something in the past or present. Nature is always a source for me to ground myself in.
"Even with the continuous spiral, like the cucumber vine, it reminds me that I always need to go within."
AD: How have you seen herbs benefiting your clients in the past?
P: Well first, it helps me and my family. When my children are sick, I use herbs. When my husband has a headache I mix some oat straw and peppermint from my garden and try to knock out his headache. It actually helps me prepare for my daughter. At that time, there was a cyst on my ovaries. I was able to change my diet, eating more plants, less meat, cut out the sugar, drinking my red raspberry leaf tea and taking my MACA root capsules. And it’s so crazy, my doctor she was like “What did you do that was so different??” Those were the only two (herbs) that I actually used to help me overcome that period in my life. And, of course, toning down the stress, but I definitely use (herbs) to help me and my family first.
Plants have allowed to me help nourish the mom’s breastmilk…they help if mom is needing any type of self-care, I like to do these small hot womb stone massages with herbal oils to help stimulate circulation. It helps contract the uterus to its normal size, helps with postpartum bleeding, the circulation in the womb and helps with the circulation in the digestive system, especially if you’re a cesarean. I learned that a lot with my cesarean moms, because the gas pains are like contractions! Nobody ever tells you, especially when you’re breastfeeding, “hey, you can’t eat in large amounts after you’ve had a cesarean” because of course you’ve been medicated and everything is clean! You need to wake your digestive system up again…and I learned that from experience. My pains had me on the floor, and I was able to drink chamomile tea for that, it’s really good for the digestive track, helps with the gas, helps regulate and it helps calm you. Also, I like to use the herbs in women who have certain womb issues. The heavy bleeding, the cramping, the hormonal imbalance, they want to try to conceive…herbs have really helped me help other women to get their womb in alignment with their lifestyle.
"...because when the baby is born, a mother is born as well..."
AD: Growing up, my mom was much more likely to use herbs rather than synthetic medicine; what can you tell me in general about the benefits of different herbs in the perinatal cycle? What are a couple more beneficial herbs without giving away too much?
P: Red raspberry leaf, I love it, love it. It is my favorite because it’s a great supporting herb. If you want to make a tea, for instance, doesn’t matter what kind. You can throw red raspberry leaf in there and it balances the other herbs.
AD: What do you mean when you say balance?
P: You can pair it with other herbs without there being an interaction. Not all herbs are safe. Herbs are plants. Not all plants are safe, there are some plants out there that will kill you, they’ll poison you. For me, I have to be really careful with certain herbs. You can’t use it for a long period of time; a couple days and leave it at that. But anytime I’ve used red raspberry leaf, I’ve used it for a long period of time…I used it with my daughter, because it increases fertility in men and women, it eases morning sickness. I don’t like to suggest herbs in the first trimester; second trimester we’re good, but the first trimester you just…kinda have to wing it out! It reduces the pain during labor, and in combination with other herbs, it can help deliver the placenta as well.
I really like it in postpartum because it helps nourish the breastmilk, especially if you want to use it with Alfalfa which is a really good herb as well to bring on the breast milk. But you can’t use (alfalfa) in high amounts because it will engorge mama. Red raspberry leaf is good for regulating the blood pressure, it helps the urinary tract, helps the uterus, helps to stop hemorrhaging. It’s really good for “moon cycle recycle,” the excessive bleeding during your cycle.
Nettle leaf is really good for asthma and eczema. It has chlorophyll in it, vitamins A, C, D, & K, calcium, potassium. It’s a light detoxifier, it relieves the fluid in your body, helps with infections in the bladder. It increases the breastmilk and nourishes the breastmilk for mama. You can also use it as a gargle if your gums are bleeding.
AD: Now does it help with inflammation, is that what I’m hearing?
P: It helps with inflammation too. It helps aid the kidneys, for instance, if you have kidney stones. It has iron in it as well, and high calcium content. You can use it during birth or after birth because it will help with the pain. Also good with hemorrhoids, which is a type of inflammation! You can drink it or you can use it in a bath.
AD: Led me right into my next question! I love drinking herbal tea for my remedies, but I’ve never heard of herbal bathing (looks awesome though!); can you tell me how it works?
P: The largest organ we have is our skin. When we introduce our skin to heat, our pores open. That’s how the herbs are able to enter into our body through the combination of the heat and water, and the skin opening. Herbal baths are a self-care treatment, and you can also use it for postpartum care…when you have inflammation, issues within your vaginal area or hemorrhoids. I like to use my herbs, bramble leaves, red raspberry leaf, avocado leaf, mother wort, I may add roses, apple mint… Get a pot of water, boil it, then add your herbs. Never boil the leaves. With the leaves, make sure the water is hot and just let the leaves steep. Strain, pour the liquid into the bath and soak. I love to add Epsom salt because that magnesium in it helps to relieve headaches, muscle pain and things of that nature. Some people like to use the dead sea salt or Himalayan salt, but Epsom salt is another way to help mama relax after baby. It’s a really good self-care thing, I do it every Sunday!
"Never boil the leaves...just let the leaves steep."
AD: Follow-up question. Would you recommend it for women who have had trouble with infections from hypersensitivity to typical bathing (soaps, bubbles, oils, etc)? If so what adjustments might she make?
P: Definitely use herbs that are friendly for the skin. One herb a lot of people use is calendula, because its really good for the skin. I actually make the calendula oil. Another one is wild oats or oat straw. It’s good for the skin, the nervous system; it can actually relax you or give you energy, it just depends on what your body needs to do. Red raspberry leaf is really good. As far as commercial bathing soup, I honestly recommend finding a small business owner that makes natural bathing products. I personally buy…Abiyah Naturals (@abiyah_naturals) makes one of THE BEST combination soaps that I have ever used. Her products, her ingredients are all natural. It feels like it hugs your skin, its nourishing to your skin, it doesn’t leave it over dry, doesn’t leave it too tight, you can actually hear the squeaky noise in it when you wash it. I would suggest to steer away from the commercial products that have all the synthetic dyes…just find someone that makes their own natural soap; quality, affordable. Your skin is your biggest organ so we have to treat it just like we would treat the inside. Same goes for your lotions, I’m really big on the shea (butter). And I’m old school, I love cocoa butter. Another one that I love that I find melts right on the skin, mango butter. Mango butter is amazing.
AD: I’m pretty heavy into the coconut oil…
P: I love the coconut oil on my hair and face, especially my daughter when she was a baby, all I used with her was coconut oil and cocoa butter. But mango butter is the truth. I can also refer you to this woman out of Atlanta. She makes her own feminine products…our skin is different from our private area so it’s important that we separate the two.
AD: We both offer virtual services for perinatal wellness, and I personally feel that it could be safer, more comfortable and more convenient for a woman in the perinatal cycle, no babysitter necessary, no jumping in traffic to make an appointment; what are some pros and cons you’ve seen so far with virtual vs in person services?
P: With the herbal work, I don’t have as much of a problem, but the postpartum side is very difficult. It’s very hands-on, very personable and a lot of times when you have different types of mothers who are in different states of mind, you’re not really there to wrap your arms around her to tell her “It’s going to be ok”—that’s the hardest part. We can talk on the phone, we can do videochat and I can try to assist you in breastfeeding or try to care for your cesarean after it has healed but it’s something different about actually touching and being there, face-to-face and assisting the mother physically. That’s one of the hardest parts. But what is also hard that I’ve noticed…is the major lack in help after (mom) has the baby. It’s always “Oh hey, how is the baby doing?” It’s never “Hey, how are you doing? What can I do to help you?” And a lot of times (woman are) trained to be superwoman, “we got this,” and a lot of us are really dying on the inside, crying out on the inside like “hey I really need help.” But it’s just the physical part of the postpartum, even when they do come to me for the virtual services I’m asking “Is there someone that can help you?” and honestly 8 times out of 10 the answer is no. “They’re at work,” or some people will say “Well I don’t really need help” when it’s clear that you do.
"...when you have different types of mothers who are in different states of mind, you’re not really there to wrap your arms around her to tell her 'It’s going to be ok'—that’s the hardest part."
AD: I understand that, especially with, I concentrate more in the therapeutic side, and I can definitely feel that. When someone opening up and you feel the urge for touch therapy or a hug, you know, I’m here. I can definitely see that struggle coming up. Maybe I can think about adding something where there is an in-person meeting as part of the therapeutic process…
P: For me, my virtual services are for women in Northeast Florida and beyond, so women out of my state. My last client, we actually cried on the phone…and it’s just like “I just wish I could be there to hug you right now.” …I always come back and say “Did I do enough, did I give her all the information, was I able to give her more and leave peace in her mind” and I have to realize I did what I could so all is well. And if she needs me, she has my number. There are some pros to virtual services, but it’s a matter of importance to be able to have that doula community where you can reach out and say “Hey, can you get to this mother in your area, same city, same state?” Very important to have that community.
AD: Where do you see the doula community going in the future and why?
P: I believe the doula community will progress. I feel that our work will be accessible to women everywhere through insurance, because that’s a part that’s really needed. With the future, I think society is really starting to see that mother are in need of help, especially in the black and brown community. It’s typically hard convincing our women that we need help, because we have that superwoman complex…I really see that coming into the light for our community. And with therapy too, I really see that we’ve been taught that therapy isn’t something that we do, you don’t invite every spirit in your house. I honestly think our community will be more open-minded to the therapy community and the doula community, especially with…the statistics with black women dying in childbirth. I really do think that it is a blessing in disguise that will allow black women to say “Hey, I really need to take charge of my health and my body and I need to embrace a doula or midwife or anyone that’s really open to making sure that my life matters and my baby’s life matters." And I do see that one day, I hope, our work will be recognized through insurance purposes. The doula community is really getting the light that it deserves, so many women in my inbox…saying “I always wanted a doula…never had a chance…do you have anybody that you can recommend for me?” I do think that women are really taking charge of their lives when it comes to birth and postpartum, and in general.
"I really do think that it is a blessing in disguise that will allow black women to say 'Hey, I really need to take charge of my health and my body and I need to embrace a doula or midwife or anyone that’s really open to making sure that my life matters and my baby’s life matters.'"
AD: SENDING ALL MY POSITIVE VIBES TO THAT COMING TO FRUITION!!! Last question: what’s your favorite song or musical artist or
genre of music and why? Details! (when do you listen, how does it make you feel, what does it exemplify, musical memories, etc)
P: There are a lot of pieces to me so I’m going to give you all of it! I love meditation music, in the morning I play it when I do my hiking, get ready for the day stretching. I play it during the morning, at night, sometimes I play it during the day. Meditation music is very soothing for me, I’m able to think clearly, clarify, rectify, I’m able to write down what I want to manifest. When I have meditation for certain things, I give praise during the music. It’s something that really helped me during my postpartum depression. Even before, I just really enjoyed meditation music. I also like Maxwell. I work from home, and when I’m done teaching from home I like to put on my YouTube mix…good vibes. I like Corinne Bailey Rae, I love H.E.R., Anthony Hamilton, Vivian Green, Emeli Sandé, oh I love her. I love Lauryn Hill, “Tell Him.” That’s my song. I love Fantasia…Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Sade, Anita Baker, Norah Jones “Don’t Know Why,” Lenny Williams “Cause I Love You”…Oh I love me some Babyface…Al Green, I’m just really into old music with a mixture of what’s out now. Jhene Aiko, my favorite song to listen to (kind of reminds me of meditation) back to back with Lauryn Hill’s Tell Him is Frequency. I listen to that on a daily basis, there’s something about that song that puts me in a different state of mind. I like to listen to the lyrics and recognize what my present feelings are as I’m listening to it. It’s really a variety of people that are on my playlist, India.Arie, Heather Headley, just a variety of people on my playlist…Andra Day. I just like that way music makes me feel…with my postpartum mothers I like to play meditation music during the herbal bath and I tell them to play something that takes them to a state of mind like peace and serenity, nothing that will irritate you or bring back negative feelings from the past or present, something that will ease your mind. I tell them to light your candles, play your music, soak in this bath and just really gather yourself. The bath is really there to help her physically, the music is there to help her spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, so she’s healing all at the same time and really easing her mind before she goes out and tries to be superwoman again. I always recommend women to take an herbal bath at least once a week, put it into your self-care regimen. Put it in there! Give yourself 30 minutes to an hour…I do it all in love. I really do love what I do, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
"...I just like the way music makes me feel..."
I just want to thank Paris for her wisdom, the work she has done to cultivate her passion, and her willingness to share it with me. This was less like an interview and more like words over wine with a big sister, delving into something we are both truly passionate about. I wish I could include all the information and wisdom she shared during this conversation, but we could write a book on it. Again, my Doula Sister, I thank you.
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