Monthly Archives: June 2014

WW: Sweet Peas and Their Guys

In honor of Father’s Day, we asked for students and readers to send in images of their Sweet Peas with the men in their lives…be that their Bradley® Dad, grandpa, uncle, family-in-love…here are the amazing images we received.  The love that shines through all of these is palpable and heart-warming – enjoy <3

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Do you have a favorite Sweet Pea + guy moment? Tell us about it!

 

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Tuesday Tips: Club MomMe

I had the privilege of attending the Club MomMe Spring Family Fest on Saturday, June 7th.  Talk about blown away!!  You can see some of our photos from the event on our Instagram account.

Attendees got to see Dr. Harvey Karp, who took questions after his presentation and stuck around to sign books at his table after his keynote address.  There were four fantastic panels from which to glean information.  At the end of the day, there was an “Around the World” tour of baby and mama gear, from strollers, car seats and play yards through to the best and safest gear for your Sweet Pea and convenience for you as a family.

On top of all this great information, there was a pamper lounge – all MomMes in attendance were treated to a manicure from Ella Mila.  There was also a nursing lounge outfitted by Lansinoh, and the elusive Daddy Lounge – I didn’t ever find it….I guess the dads kept all the fun to themselves!! 😉

And…there was entertainment for the Sweet Peas.  The performers on stage were completely dedicated to entertaining the littles and there was a clown painting faces and doing balloon sculptures all day long!!

As I get the pictures organized, I will share an “on the scene” tour of all the amazing vendors that were there with the finest in organic baby wear and food offerings, eco-friendly gear, and all the amazing new products hitting the market this season.  I will also post links as I have them for all the speaker notes I jotted down that day.

If you are in an area that has a Club MomMe, join.  Now.  These Spring and Fall events are the big blow-out events.  Educational seminars and meet-ups happen every month.  I am excited to hear that Club MomMe might be considering a Phoenix chapter.  Count me in!!

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Thoughtful Thursday: Overwhelmed

Today I am sitting here in absolute awe of the amazing community of people we have met through our childbirth classes.  We just received and collected over 400 ounces of breastmilk from five different mothers.

THIS mama has been in the hospital for several days, and she needs to pump and dump due to the medications she is on.  Her doula was able to collect milk for the first few days of her hospital stay.  When I made the delivery today, they were literally down to the last bag of breastmilk.

God is good, He provides, and He Has Humbled me.  I need to be more grateful for the amazing people he has placed in our path, and for our incredible health that allows me the ability to breastfeed without giving it a second thought.

So, please, if you are in a position where breastfeeding is not an option, please keep in mind that you can supplement with donor milk.  There are two organizations dedicated to connecting mothers who can give to mothers who need – check out Eats on Feets or Human Milk 4 Human Babies to see which one has networking groups in your area.

If you have enough supply, and you have it in your heart to add a pumping session to your day, your precious milk would definitely be appreciated by a mother in need near you.  Eats on Feets has also created donation/recipient screening guidelines – check them out HERE.

Great news – it sounds like Mama is coming home sooner than later.  I am thrilled that she has a stash of milk. It may give her peace of mind that baby is getting breastmilk while she rebuilds her own supply, and allows herself the time she needs to heal so she makes a complete and full recovery.

Cooler full of milk - 400+ ounces for a MotherBaby who couldn't breastfeed due to a hospitalization.

Cooler full of milk – 400+ ounces for a MotherBaby who couldn’t breastfeed due to a hospitalization.

Thank you gifts for all these amazing women - to be enjoyed by their Sweet Peas :)

Thank you gifts for all these amazing women – to be enjoyed by their Sweet Peas :)

Copyright 2011 A Bunch of Smiles Photography - please do not copy image - thank you

Monday Musings: Births off the “plan”

As childbirth educators in The Bradley Method®, we attract students who want to have an unmedicated vaginal birth.  It is our goal to prepare them for Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcomes by starting with a foundation of a  healthy, low-risk pregnancy.  We stress the importance of abdominal breathing, relaxation, exercise and a healthy diet.  We share information so that they are confident in the process, have the education to ask good questions and get complete answers.  It is all with the goal for them to be able to evaluate decisions in their birth and make empowered decisions that they feel good about when they look back on their Sweet Pea’s Birth-Day.

In our evolution as instructors, we don’t teach The Birth Plan anymore.  We teach The Wish List, and encourage them to embrace the process of communication between themselves and their birth team.  We ask them to prioritize the different possibilities, variations and complications and decide how they would want to choose while they are calm and have the whole scope of the internet as a research tool without time constraints or pressure to decide *right* now.  We spend 12 weeks informing, encouraging and hopefully, empowering them, for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.

Sounds nice, right?

It’s crap sometimes.  I have watched students and/or been in contact with them throughout their births and they end up with interventions, up to and including cesarean births.  The overwhelming majority of them are for appropriate reasons – the true complications when interventions and/or surgery are unquestionably the right choice for both mother and baby to still be “healthy”.

We invite and encourage them all to come back and share their birth stories when it comes time to have their class reunion. Thankfully, those that do come back and share, still feel that the time spent preparing was well worth it, because they used the tools they learned in class throughout the birth experience.

I can’t help but wonder if they are ever “okay”.  As a regular at ICAN meetings for almost three years now, it has made me painfully aware of how powerful our words are – those we say to ourselves and those we hear from others.

I have a new goal for my classes.  Just like we switched from “the plan” to “the wish”, my intention is to focus less on the birth and more on the process.  I cannot fix the mamas who are going to have postpartum depression. I can however change the message of our classes so that there is one less pressure to have a “perfect birth”.

The lightbulb went off when I looked at my face in the picture at the top of this post.  This is our fourth child – my fourth time going through this process of labor and birth.  And I still look surprised!! And I was – after our longest labor, I was still thrilled and awed to be holding a new life in my hands – a life that up to the moment it was born, had been inside.  Now it was outside, living, breathing, beating it’s heart all by it’s lonesome without any influence from me.

My new focus is going to be on the miracle of pregnancy and the work we do to have a baby on the other side of labor.  In that, we are all equal.  We have all endured the anticipation of a pregnancy test, come to terms with the answer, and grown these little miracles for however long they reside within us.  To borrow words from the affirmation post I wrote for the SPB blog today:

“Never cease to be amazed by the miracle of life that you grew within you…no matter how you birth, take heart from the fact that the new human being you are holding in your arms was grown within you and by you with loving intention.”

The thought that our bodies have failed us can be devastating.  If we can find joy in the miracle of the life that we grew and take some of the pressure off of the way they entered the world, maybe one mama can start her journey towards healing with a positive thought about something she did do well.  Her body did succeed at growing a baby, and that is something that can be celebrated in the midst of the questions about why the wish list went completely out the window.

I encourage mamas who feel like they have healing to do in regards to their birth to reach out for help.  There is the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), Birthing From Within is training Birth Listeners (I am on the waiting list!! I hope to take the training this year), or you can speak to a counselor, therapist or psychologist who is qualified to work with women who want to work through and process their birth(s).

If I am speaking to you, please know that my heart is breaking with yours.  I know that you have a healthy baby.  I grieve with you about the birth you did not have.  I want you to know that you are a hero in my eyes.  You allowed your body to be invaded by instruments (needles or otherwise) to give your baby the birth that they needed because you have so much love for them that you were willing to be *that* vulnerable for them.  I hope you come to a place where you will believe in your heart of hearts that you are not broken.  You may need mending, and you are not broken.  You are loved.