Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sorry, I'm Not Mom Enough...

I have followed Birth WIthout Fear's blog for some time now and I was very sad to see that the amazing mom behind the blog, January, has been getting completely overwhelmed by the disrespect that some of her followers have been showing one another.  When I saw this status on her Facebook page, I was deeply saddened,

"Yes, another post on this. It's this or I delete everything. I'm done. I'm done trying to please everyone (I know...dumb of me to keep trying). I'm done being criticized no matter what I say, try to do, etc. I am who I am. I care (too much) and I am going to try to support as many women and families as I can. I still have my opinions and am passionate about things though and will use my resources ...to educate on said things. So, you can can take me or leave me. I don't care which. Don't tell me, don't announce you are leaving, don't bring your drama here. I am cracking. I can't take everyone else putting their issues on me or bring them to my pages/groups. Thank you to those who made me realize I'm not a politician and don't need to take a stance on everything. Thank you to those who have been supportive and had my back (even if we don't agree on some things)."
This post was written as my way of showing my support for her and for ALL mothers, whether we agree or not!

With the release of the Time magazine story on Attachment Parenting it has become even more clear to me that the media and our society have no real intentions of doing anything to lessen the "Mommy Wars". The article, whose supposed intention was to normalize AP and extended breastfeeding, only served to sensationalize it and further fan the flames of the battles between breastfeeders and bottle-feeders and AP parents and those with other parenting philosophies.

The battle lines aren't only drawn between parents of opposing viewpoints,but even occur within groups of like-minded parents. I consider myself an AP parent, but I can't do everything, all of the time, but recently I've come to realize that to some that's grounds to revoke my "AP Card". I breastfed, but not long enough, or for too long.. so I didn't do it right. Or, God forbid, I couldn't nurse and had to pump or supplement with formula! Or, gasp, I occasionally put my baby in a stroller! Maybe, I choose not to cosleep... suddenly I'm labeled a "sleep trainer".

I didn't sit down one day and say, "I want to be an Attachment Parent", I consider myself an AP parent because that is the parenting style that came most naturally to me and I identified with most. One of Dr.Sears' "Baby B's" is "Beware of Baby-Trainers". This means FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS, NOT FOLLOW THESE RULES! Saying that you MUST follow a specific set of guidelines or you aren't AP enough goes against everything that AP experts teach. AP parenting is about a group of principles (note: not a group of rules) that are encouraged to create a strong bond between parents and their children with the hopes of raising them to be more empathetic adults.

My point here is that no matter what parenting style you identify with, if your child is loved and healthy, you are doing your job. Yes, we may disagree on how to raise our children (even how to give birth to them), but we can do so respectfully. I will continue blogging about childbirth and parenting from my own point of view and providing information on those points of view, and you won't always agree with everything I say. As a matter of fact, you may think I'm flat-out wrong and I may feel the same way about your choices. All I ask is that as mothers we stop being so mean and disrespectful toward one another. Yes, there are bad parents out there, but because you don't parent exactly the way I do does that mean I think you're a bad parent? No!

So, here it goes, I am going to put my beliefs out there for all of you to see. If you have problem, tell me, but please do it with respect.

I am an AP parent, but...

~ I was only able to nurse for 2 months and have had to pump and provide my son with bottled breastmilk ever since.

~ I think breastmilk is absolutely VITAL through the first year, think it is very important through the second, but honestly don't know how I feel about nursing a 3+ year old.

~ My 14 month old still spends at least part of most nights in bed with my husband and I, but he starts off every night in his own bed.

~ I put my son in his wagon for walks to the park and trips to the zoo, but always have a my carrier packed and ready when he needs it.

I my son did not ween himself, we started introducing solids at 6 months. I believe that this is the earliest babies should be given solids.

I gave birth naturally, but I did so in a Hospital Alternative Birth Center with an OB.

I think homebirth is awesome, but I am still to scared to do it myself.

I believe that 99% of the time birth is completely safe and requires absolutely NO medical intervention, but I think most women just don't have enough education and support to believe they can do it on their own.

My son is circumcised. Do I regret my decision? Some days, but most days I feel like it was right choice.  Will I do it again? Probably, but believe me I went back and forth the first time and I'm sure I'll back and forth the next time.

My son is vaccinated, well mostly. We chose to delay some of his vaccines and chose to skip some all together.  I totally understand the good that vaccines have done, but I also understand how much harm they have done.  Therefore, we chose to look at them one at a time and assess each vaccine individually.

We use cloth diapers, just not 100% of the time.  My son sleeps in a disposable and wears disposables if we will be out of the house for a long time.

I'm a "Natural Mom" who loves to eat organic but...

~ I LOVE meat!

~ I eat fast food.

~ I wear makeup and shave my legs and armpits.

~ I drive an SUV.

I'm a stay-at-home mom and I believe children should be raised by a parent, not stuck in a daycare, but I understand that not everyone is able to make it on a single income.

Ok, that's all I can think of for now, but if you have a question about where I stand on anything, just ask, I will always be completely honest.  If you want to tell me why you disagree, go ahead. 

For those of you who have had a c-section or medicated birth, don't breastfeed, aren't AP parents, or have any other difference in opinion from myself, I hope you know that you are still always welcome. I will always try to help a mother in need.  But, please know that I will continue to promote Natural Childbirth and Attachment Parenting. So, if this offends you, then this probably isn't the page for you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birth Day Thursday: Mel's Photo Birth Story

Mel, thank you so much for sharing these amazing photos with us! They are absolutely beautiful!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Birth Day Thursday: Jessica's Story

This week we have Jessica's, of http://mom-of-all-trades.com,  birth story.  This is the birth of her 8th child and first homebirth.

Here is Jessica's story, in her own words:

"When I woke up on the morning of October 25th it was no different than any other morning other than I had actually gotten some sleep the night before. I sat there drinking my coffee, wondering would today be the day that my baby would arrive? Just as I had wondered every morning for weeks before that. When I started noticing contractions around noon I thought nothing of them. They were no different than the braxton hicks I had been having and ranged anywhere from 6-13 minutes apart, very irregular. I was on the phone chatting with my friend Natasha around 3 pm and she asked me "are you having that baby yet?" to which I replied "no, I don't think this one is ever going to come out" (you know that feeling, the "I'm going to stay pregnant for 100 years" you get those last weeks of pregnancy). Ironically just a few minutes after that I feel a slight trickle down my leg……then a little more……..and quickly realized it was my water leaking. Shortly after that I went to pick up Rich from work and told him he should let his boss know he wouldn't be in the next day because the baby was on his way.

Once back home I tried to straighten up the house a bit while Rich went grocery shopping. Natasha was on her way over and we were going to go for a walk. Contractions were still very far spread and irregular and I just knew it wouldn't be until late night/early morning that real labor would actually kick in. Afterall, my last 4 kids were induced after labor didn't start after my water breaking. Natasha arrived around 5:30 or so I think it was and we went for a walk, Rich got home and cooked dinner and then I got in the shower. Contractions were feeling real by that point and were a consistent 4-5 minutes apart but not painful at all. Midwife Debi arrived as I was finishing up in the shower, I think that was around 6:30 pm and her assistant Carly came shortly after. I was feeling guilty that these poor ladies were going to be sitting around all night long waiting for me to go into labor but they kept pretty busy getting everything set up with all my kids in the way helping. Natasha had gone home for dinner and she came back around 7:30 or so. We went for another walk shortly after which intensified the contractions but I could still talk through them and they were nothing more than a little uncomfortable. We just kinda hung out waiting. Around 8pm I asked Debi if we could start filling the pool because I knew I would need it soon. She said I needed to be 6cm's dilated before I could get in so I asked her to go ahead and check me because if we wait until I'm in pain and then check and the number is too low for my liking it's just going to upset me. So she checked and to my surprise I was 6-7 cm's dilated already! They quickly started filling the pool and even had Rich boiling pots of water on the stove. I was still feeling ok but they knew time was short. I had a few contractions after that where I had to lean over the dresser and sway my hips through but the instant it was over I was back to moving around and doing whatever. Around 8:45 pm I went out to the front porch and called my sister to tell her how far along things were. I remember leaning over the spare tire on Natasha's jeep during one contraction out there, and over our bench for another one and I told my sister I was going to head inside before another contraction hit and I would talk to her later.

Once we got inside I changed my shirt then had a contraction. Then I told Natasha she should get one last belly pic before I got into the tub, she told Rich to get into the pic with me and another contraction hit (hence the goofy pic with him holding my belly). I leaned over him but that didn't help and I had to drop to my knees at the foot of the bed. During that contraction I felt my body pushing and I could feel his head coming. All I could think about was I am NOT having a baby in my underwear and as soon as that contraction was over I ripped my skirt off and said something along the lines of "I need in the water NOW" and got in. The next contraction came and I told midwife Carly my body was pushing, I hear her yell to Debi "She said her body is pushing"……….then I hear her say "I have a head!". Debi came in and told me to push the rest of him out when I was ready and with the next contraction I gave one push and my baby was here at 9:02 p.m. That's when I realized Rich missed it! I don't know why, but when I got in the tub I told Rich to get the kids out of the room (I wish I hadn't), Rich took them out of the room and by the time he got back I was holding the baby. I was in shock at how quickly and easy everything went! Aidyn let out a few small cries then just laid there on my chest wide eyed. The kids were back in the room within seconds of his birth and the smiles on their faces were priceless. After the placenta was delivered my 10 year old, Dylan, got to cut the cord which he was Very proud of. We got out of the pool and hung out in bed for awhile so baby could nurse and the midwives ran a nice hot herbal bath which we enjoyed after. Once we were done with our bath we came back to bed and did the newborn exam which he did great through. I was surprised to learn that he was 8 lbs 1 oz, 21.5 inches long …. I was guessing he was closer to 7 lbs! After all that was done he got dressed and bundled up and we spent the night in bed together. Didn't sleep a whole lot but when you have something that precious to stare at all night nothing else mattered much

I am so happy that I decided to go with a home birth this time and couldn't have asked for a more perfect birth……or baby! He didn't have a name until Friday but is fitting into it well. Debi was Awesome to have as a midwife and I am so thankful to her for being there with us through this. We had only first met last month when we moved here to Tennessee but she made me feel like she knew me well and knew everything I needed. I wish I could have spent more time with her!"

Jessica, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful Homebirth story with all of us!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Birth Day Thursday: Christine's Story

This week we have the beautiful story of Christine's second child.  Christine's NEVER wanted to have a natural birth, in fact she thought it was crazy, but with the birth of her second child, Raphael, that opion was changed forever.

Here is Christine's story in her own words:

"When I found out I was pregnant after a miscarriage, I couldn’t believe it. It had been 2 months since the loss and I was still devastated from it. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I was in denial and went about with my life like nothing was happening. I finally went to get an ultrasound and found out that I was 9 weeks pregnant. I was filled with joy as soon as I saw our tiny baby on the screen in front of me and thanked God with all my heart.

Now I had heard of women giving birth naturally in this day and age, but I thought it was crazy. Why would someone want to go through so much pain when we have wonderful things like epidurals? My husband wanted me to have a natural birth with our first and I thought he was crazy out of his mind. I thought he was so mean. why would he want me to go through so much pain?! No way was I going to ever try a natural birth. So I had the typical hospital/epidural birth with our daughter. Had no desire whatsoever in a natural birth. That was for the brave crazy women. Or so I thought.

Fast forward a year later. I met a group of moms that shared the same parenting beliefs as me. Babywearing, and cloth diapering were some of the things we had in common. Then I found out that they birthed their children at home or at a birth center with no drugs! I was amazed. This is when I started hearing about hypnobabies. A 6 week class that mentally prepares you for childbirth. Focuses only on the positive things about childbirth and encourages you to believe that you can birth your child in comfort and joy. A lot of these women had pain free natural births. I thought this was impossible! I was taught that childbirth is the most excruciating pain that a woman will ever have. Then my best friend took the hypnobabies class and had a beautiful natural birth. She said she felt no pain. Only pressure and stretching and pulling. I was amazed! This is when I decided I would take the class for my next pregnancy.

The class taught me to change my entire view of childbirth. I had to believe with all my heart soul and mind that I could have a comfortable pain free natural birth, and that I would enjoy it. I had to erase everything I had ever been taught about how painful and horrible childbirth is and replace it with only positive thoughts. I learned to erase any and all fears I had about childbirth. I used the techniques I learned during that class and soon enough, I truly believed that I would have an amazing birth and that I deserved to birth in comfort and joy.

Nov 21st 2011. 40 weeks pregnant. I had been having pressure waves all day, but I didn’t pay attention to them. I went for a walk and noticed that I had to stop walking during a pressure wave and that they were getting stronger. So I started timing them. At first they were 9-10 mins apart lasting a min to 90 secs long. My husband was at school so at around 9pm I realized that maybe I might be in my birthing time and I decided to ask him to come home. He brought home some sonic hot dogs and I sat on my birthing ball and listened to my hypnobabies tracks. The pressure waves kept getting wonderfully stronger and soon I had to vocalize through them. I kept saying OHHHHHH OHHHHHHH. They weren’t painful. Just strong. They were now 6-7 mins apart. I called my doula and gave her a heads up and also called the birth center. The midwife on call didn’t really take me seriously because I sounded too calm over the phone. Which is a common response to women who use hypnobabies. We are way too relaxed and are not taken seriously when we are in our birthing time! Then she asked me if I’m in pain and I said no. so even more reason for her not to take me seriously!

I went to lay down and during a pressure wave, my water broke! It was an amazing feeling! Like an explosion! This is when I knew I really am in my birthing time! A little part of me started getting scared but I chose to remain focused on my positive birth. We got in the car for the 45 min drive to the birth center and I listened to my hypnobabies tracks to help me stay focused. I only focused on the pressure wave I was experiencing and did not dare think about the next one until it came. One at a time! When we got to the birth center, my doula was there and so was my mother in law and my sister in law. They took our daughter who was fast asleep. Now I had to face one of the things I was dreading. A cervical check. When I got this done with my daughter in the hospital it was excruciatingly painful. But I used the techniques I learned in hypnobabies and just completely relaxed all my muscles and it wasn’t painful at all! I was so happy to learn that I was 5-6 cm dilated! I had asked for an epidural with my daughter at 3cm. I was so proud of myself that I had survived that car ride!

So they took me upstairs and I paused for a pressure wave at the top of the stairs. This is when I started feeling pushy. With each pressure wave my body was beginning to push and my noises started sounding like pushy grunts. The midwife told me it was too early to push and that I needed to resist that urge. But it felt so good to give in to it! She told me I could make my cervix swell. So I tried really hard not to give into that pushy urge. They filled up the tub and I got in. the water was soooo warm and inviting! I held on to a bar on the wall and relaxed with each pressure wave. I was so sleepy! I just wanted to sleep and I would try to between pressure waves. They were coming so close now and getting more and more stronger! They were not painful. The only way I can describe them is a very strong powerful force taking over your body. I focused on the fact that each pressure wave was bringing me closer and closer to our son. I embraced each one! I didn’t listen to any hypnobabies tracks in the tub. I didn’t want anyone to touch me or talk to me. I was in my own world, listening to my body. I couldn’t resist the urge to push anymore and I gave in. it really felt so good to just give in to that urge. Then I felt stretching! I reached down and felt the top of Raphael’s head and asked the midwife to check me!! She checked and I was 10cm! I was ready to push after only being there an hour! Hubby quickly got in the tub with me and held me as I gave over to my body. I just relaxed and my body did the work for me. I didn’t push my baby out. My body pushed him out. With the next pressure wave I relaxed and that powerful urge came over me and I remember feeling a lot of stretching. Not painful. His head was out. And I relaxed and waited for the next pressure wave. And with the next one, I felt a lot more stretching and his body came out. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life! They took the cord off from around his neck and gave him to me! I couldn’t believe that I was holding my baby in my arms! I couldn’t believe that I had just had a natural pain free birth! I felt like I was dreaming! The first thing I said was “that is the easiest thing I have ever done!” I couldn’t believe how easy it was!! I wasn’t screaming or going crazy or crying like they show on tv. I was relaxed the whole time. My husband called for his mom as soon as Raphael was born and they came in with our daughter.

Raphael was born at 2:28am. Weighing 7lbs 4 oz and 19in long with no tears! They helped me out of the tub and I was surprised at how easy it was to just get up and walk like nothing happened! With my first, I felt like I had been ran over by a truck! My husband and daughter fell asleep in bed with us. The midwives left us alone for a few hours and we just got to enjoy our new bundle of joy. 8 hours later, we were ready to go home!

I am so glad I decided to have a waterbirth. The birth center was such a nice relaxing atmosphere. The midwives let me do what I wanted to do, and I was able to trust my body to birth my baby. Whenever we have another baby I am definitely doing another waterbirth! Hopefully we can have a homebirth next time! The thing that helped me the most was changing my mentality towards childbirth. Once that was changed, everything else fell into place and I was able to let go and trust my body to do what it was designed to do. Also, my faith as a Christian helped me a lot. I know my Creator designed me to give birth, and whatever I ask, He can give to me. So I told Him exactly how I wanted my birth to be, and he fulfilled it! I just had to have a little faith! So I am here to tell you that childbirth can be a fun, wonderful, comfortable, and relaxing experience! The whole time I felt like I had the power to choose what type of experience I wanted. The mind and what you speak into your life is a very powerful thing. I thoroughly enjoyed my birthing experience and can’t wait for the next time I get to do it again!

The most beautiful and amazing event of my life!"

Thank you so much, Christine, for sharing this amazing PAIN-FREE birth with us!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"How to Love Your Labour" ebook Review/Giveaway

I am so happy to be able to tell you about this book! Tracey Rose, of  Natural Childbirth World and an old friend of Natural Mommy talk (you may remember her birth story, read it here ), has written an incredible book about her journey to 2 natural births and how you can have an amazing childbirth experience too.
How to Love Your Labour by Tracey Rose of Natural Childbirth World, is not only incredibly informative, it is a beautiful story. 

Tracey started out like many of us did, a scared first-time expectant mother unsure of what to expect from labor and unsure of how to handle the pain that came with giving birth. She assumed, like many mothers, that an epidural and drugs were her only option, but she learned that THERE IS A BETTER WAY TO GIVE BIRTH AND YOU CAN LOVE YOUR LABOR! 

In How to Love Your Labour, Tracey takes us through her entire journey from fear to informed and empowered.  She shows us the facts on the risks of inductions, epidurals, c-sections, etc. including links to more information on these topics.  She leads us through her experience with childbirth classes and how they helped her. Then, Tracey tells us the stories of her children's births, which are beautifully written and completely honest. 

How to Love Your Labour is a beautiful and inspiring book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is considering a natural birth.

You can buy your own copy of How to Love Your Labour now at Natural Childbirth World.

We are also hosting a giveaway for the ebook. Enter here for a chance to win one of 2 copies: