I am Carla Sousa, responsible for Maternalvita project and my purpose is always to respect the choices of women and their partners, listen to them, welcome them with love and support in informed decision-making, without fundamentalism and regardless of the environment in which the baby is born and the way it is born
I am experient with supporting hospital and home births. I begun my journey in the world of motherhood when I did my first training as a Breastfeeding Facilitator in 2011. This course was followed by DGS / WHO certified Breastfeeding Counselor, Doula in Pregnancy, Childbirth and Postpartum, Traditional Techniques in Pregnancy , Childbirth and Postpartum (with Naoli Vinaver) and Water Birth (with Barbara Harper).
In addition, I am also a Thai Yoga Massage professional, having acquired specific skills in Massage and Body Work in Pregnancy, Childbirth and Puerperium. I am also in the certification process to become a La Leche League moderator, a recognized international organization whose mission is to support mothers from all over the world. in breastfeeding, with encouragement, information and education to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding, as an important factor in the development of the baby's and mother's health.
A Maternalvita history it has its genesis in the history of my own experience of motherhood.
In 2007 we decided to increase the family, after much thought and at the insistence of our oldest daughter! I started to research about information for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding ... and discovered an immense world of information, choices, decisions and learning. First decision: learn to breastfeed! Because, contrary to what I thought when my daughter was born, breastfeeding is not just putting the baby on the breast! For some mothers and babies, support and a learning process are needed. Second decision: if possible, have a vaginal delivery after a cesarean ! And for that, I went searching and looking for information that would allow me to make informed, safe and scientific evidence-based choices.
The information available in Portugal was somewhat limited at the time; therefore, the main sources of information were many online surveys, in Portuguese blogs (the few that existed), Brazilians, English, Americans and online forums ... social networks were not yet widespread at the time. Over time, the more I researched the thirst for knowledge increased! And I fell in love at first sight with the world of pregnancy, babies and breastfeeding!
Pregnancy arrived in 2009, after two and a half years of attempts. This waiting allowed me to learn a lot about informed choices based on scientific evidence, to contact and meet professionals in the area of the pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and breastfeeding support , who helped me to have an empowered and very positive personal experience. I did a breastfeeding workshop at 30 weeks pregnant, which gave me information and tools to deal with one of the most challenging phases of postpartum, and which, complemented with the support of a Breastfeeding Counselor, allowed me to overcome difficulties, anxieties, doubts and fears that normally plague all mothers.
I realized that this support was an extraordinary asset for mothers and families, and I decided to attend my 1st training in Breastfeeding in 2011, and from then on I keep on constant path of learning, and learning and growing with the families that I accompanied and to whom I am very thankful.
All stories are special and became a part of my life and remain in my memory, but there is always the first time!
And the first time I supported a mother in breastfeeding was on a Christmas day, a gift! In these cases, mother and baby need help right away - you can't leave it for another day! A baby with 3 days of life, returning home from the hospital, a situation of milk engorgement, pain, discomfort, fever and a crying baby ... 4 hours of support! Listening, welcoming, informing, supporting, listening again, clarifying doubts, exemplifying techniques to help the baby to take the breast, to help relieve the discomfort of the milk flow - I left this family's house with a full heart!
Many others followed, from mothers with breast reductions whose babies needed initial support with a supplementation system (the supplement is always prescribed by a health professional), low breast milk production due to unforeseen situations in pregnancy and childbirth, infants with special needs, among many others. And I believe that many more will follow, because the questions, doubts and desires of the families are mostly universal, varying only the unique experience of each of them, regardless of their culture and their sexual preference, because Love is Universal.
In breastfeeding support , I have already attended more than half a hundred mothers and babies, with many hours of presencial support, telephone and most recently online (including many hours of volunteering too).
My 1st doula support was with a couple from Alenquer, Thiago and Perlie, in 2014. I had the privilege of being chosed by them as their doula with full package of support, since pregnancy, went through labor, delivery and postpartum. An experience full of oxytocin (the love hormone)! And a beautiful girl! Since 2013, I have supported many families of different nationalities, English, American, Italian, French and Spanish, and I offer them all a personalized and unique support, because they are all different and unique.
All the experiences lived were unique and extraordinary, and I realized that it would be an asset for families to be able to offer integrated and complementary services. The way was made of many supports, many births, postpartum, many breasts 🙂 and babies for 3 years! And we are grateful.
This was how Maternalvita's was born, from Materna Matervita, which I co-founded in 2011 with a great friend with whom I met in my first doula training, Cristina Rosa, came about. We were pioneers and founded the first project in Portugal for integrated services in maternal and child care. Now, in 2021, this project is reborn in the form of Maternalvita, with a renewed image but with its essence intact - and much more experience in the curriculum and in the heart.