Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Positive Parenting...on a budget

Thank you to Karly Randolph Pittman, who is the author of today's post. She is the founder of FirstOurselves.com.

This really hit home for me. We do a lot of rituals in our household to create a fun-filled time throughout the year for our family...we have an annual kid-friendly New Year's Eve party where we celebrate New Year's at the East Coast time, so everyone can get home before it gets too crazy on the roads. We celebrate Chinese New Year by going to the local festival in January or February. We do a tradition called Hearts of Loving Kindness that I learned being a Consultant for Once Upon a Family for the month of February. The leprecauns wreak havoc in our house, turning furniture over & leaving a die-cut shamrock trail through the house in March.We go to a St. Patrick's Day parade in March. Celebrate spring with an Easter egg hunt. The Easter bunny makes footprints throughout our backyard too! Summer is full of visits to the beach & extra time with Daddy (he's an elementary school teacher & has the summers off), as well as weekly visits to Legoland & SeaWorld (love those yearly passes!). This fall will be the 1st year of our son going to elementary school, so we'll take a yearly photo of him on his 1st day of school. We also have a visit from the Candy Fairy, the sister of the Tooth Fairy. She comes to take 1/2-3/4 of the candy away after Halloween & leaves a treat like a book or small toy. November of course if for giving thanks & December is when we go to every free Christmas event that we can. We love going on adventures to see neighborhood lights.

We like to spread out the fun throughout the year. Most of the things we like to do are free or very reasonable. It's a great way to create meaningful memories & connections with your family.

Here is Karly's inspiring post...you can read more inspiring tidbits on her website/blog: www.FirstOurselves.com. Enjoy!

Positive Parenting: How to Build a Stronger Connection with Your Children...on a Budget
What makes for strong families, and healthy, confident children? Meaningful connection. In his groundbreaking, fantastic book, Hold Onto Your Kids, psychologist Gordon Neufeld argues that many of the problems in today's children, from violence to promiscuity to low self esteem, stem from an overattachment to peers, and an underattachment to parents.
Whether you work outside the home, stay at home, or work from home, there are many ways you can build a greater connection with your children. I am a busy, working mom to four children. My family life is paramount to my happiness; at the same time, I also value simplicity and frugality. How do I meet all three of these needs---connection, simplicity, and frugality? Here are ten tips I use to create more connection with my children...on a budget:
1. Give experiences, not things. Are you a haver, or a doer? Often, what our children most want is our time and attention. Think outside the box for holidays and birthdays: what about a lunch date with Mom? Or a visit to a park, or an afternoon at the pool? We fill our children's Christmas stockings with coupons for Mom and Dad dates (see #3), and incorporate family rituals such as, "King/Queen for the Day," when the reigning child gets to choose a fun family activity and plan that evening's dinner menu.
2. Bring extended family on board. Carry rule number one, one step further and encourage the gift of connection with other family members. My husband and I both come from large extended families. Rather than fill our Christmas tree with unnecessary, cheap, China made plastic objects, we encourage our families to give our children gifts of time: a sleepover at a beloved auntie's house, music lessons, a trip to a museum, or another outing. Our eldest daughter, age 11, has even traveled by herself across the country to visit family: something she'll treasure, and remember, for more than a Barbie doll.
3. Schedule dates with your children. With a large family, it's important that my husband and I spend one on one time with our children. We schedule regular dates with each child, so they get uninterrupted, focused time with Mom or Dad: a lunch date, a few hours at a coffeehouse, or a game of chess. This can even be something as simple as going to the grocery store with Mom, or working with Dad in his office. We look at family time as something to incorporate into our lives, not as something to add to our lives.
4. Plan for alone time. This may seem counterintuitive---after all, isn't the point of having a family to be together? But just as we need times of connection, we also need periods of quiet and stillness, to be with our own thoughts. We integrated a family-wide afternoon "siesta." At 4 p.m., my children have a natural energy lull, when they're often cranky, hungry and out of sorts---not exactly prime connection time. After an afternoon snack, we retreat separately to our bedrooms, the couch, or another cozy area of the home to read, listen to a story on tape, draw, or rest. Afterwards, everyone's patience is improved.
5. Create rituals. Children naturally crave order and routine: they feel comforted by rituals, by knowing what to expect. We create rituals out of normal, everyday things---things that we were doing anyway---and made them special. Sunday mornings are Dad's famous waffle breakfasts; Thursday nights are wrestle nights; Friday evenings are homemade pizza and family movie nights (we use our library and an inexpensive Netflix subscription, as we don't have TV.) We also create rituals for our spending, incorporating regular purchases into holidays to add spark.This can mean new pajamas at Christmas (from the elves), a summer hat or rain boots at Easter, and a new sweater on the Winter Solstice.
6. Assign your children as your helpers. My children love baking, doing crafts or art projects, and even fixing broken appliances...when they feel like it's time with Mom or Dad. (I chuckle when I see elaborate, $500 play kitchen sets in children's catalogs: I let my children cook on the real thing---for free.) Think of Little House on the Prairie: how much of Laura's day was "work." And yet it didn't feel like work because she was helping Ma and Pa. Similarly, approach your home care and other chores as something to do together. I appoint a child as my sous chef for dinner preparation assistance; my son is often my husband's apprentice when he's tackling home repair projects; I anoint my daughters as my office assistants---they help file, collect documents from the printer, and do simple data entry. The side bonus? You are (slyly) teaching your children various skills as they work beside you.
7. Read aloud at meal times. We use dinnertime as a way to explore our world, often by reading a book aloud. There's something special about reading a book together as a family: you gain a shared vocabulary, a bond of language that feels like a secret, revealed to your family alone. Our family will often use favorite lines or quips from books throughout our day, and we all laugh, remembering the passage from the book. Or we incorporate a book's characters into our play: pretending we're the Riders of Rohan (from The Lord of the Rings) when we're riding bikes. 8. Use magic to create anticipation and meaning. So often we resort to buying things---things that need to be stored, organized, repaired, cared for, cleaned, washed---because we haven't thought of a creative alternative. What things bring is excitement: the rush of having something new. While there is a time and a place for gifts, you can recreate those same feelings in other ways, by incorporating magic and ritual to holidays and other celebrations. Our home is besotted with fairy folk and other magic friends: the birthday fairy decorates our dining room with streamers the night before a child's birthday; the Easter bunny weaves a lengthy scavenger hunt for the children's Easter baskets; the Halloween fairy collects our children's Halloween candy on November 1st, leaving a small gift in its place (this is fantastic for getting the sugar out of the house, and, I swear, my children love this!)
9. Have a simple way for your children to ask for what they need. Sometimes it's hard for children to ask for what they need. Sometimes they're feeling inside-out and they are unsure of what they need. We use code words with our children so they can ask for extra attention. We also have them create "Happy lists:" things that offer them comfort when they're sad, lonely, or angry. We divide the lists according to time: a list of things that can be done in 5-10 minutes; as well as a list of things that take a few hours. When they're feeling sad or wanting extra attention, we go to their lists, and they pick something, based on how much time we have at the moment. Maybe we spend 10 minutes looking at their baby book while I tell them what they were like as babies; maybe we play a game; maybe we go for a walk. Their "Happy lists" empower them to seek out ways to help themselves when they're down; a tool they can use throughout their lives. 10. Swap a notebook. I wrote about our family notebooks in detail, here: A Simple Tip to Cultivate Gratitude for Your Spouse. Here's a recap: I buy inexpensive moleskine notebooks and write positive, encouraging notes in them to my children and spouse. My husband and I keep our notebook on our bathroom counter; my children and I trade our notebooks in our in boxes. (Each member of the family has an in box in our home office.) This ritual, literally, changed my marriage. Besides creating a more loving home environment, the notebooks also serve as a chronicle of our family's history: an easy scrapbook of memories for future remembrances.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Attitude is everything

Attitude is everything. You can be the kind of person that thinks the glass is half full or half empty. I tend to be the kind of person that thinks the glass is half empty & I'm working on being more mindful of looking at the glass as half full instead. I really need to take notice of my thoughts & catch myself when a negative thought passes by. It happens so easily that sometimes I don't even notice it. But when I catch myself & change the thought into a positive one (for example...Ugh...another day spent indoors with the kids & changing it to...I'm thankful to have this time with them), I notice I end up having a much better attitude & outcome.

I think especially for HypnoBirthing moms or moms that want a natural birth, attitude is so important! What you think affects how your body responds. Therefore, positive thoughts & visualizations of birth must be what swim in your head. When & if any negative images or thoughts come up, they must be quickly replaced with positive thoughts even if you don't feel it 100%.

Here is a cute, inspiring little story:

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today?" So she did and she hada wonderful day.The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "Hmmmmm," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today?" So she did and she had a grand day.The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "YEA!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.

Be kinder than necessary...for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly,
Leave the rest to God/the universe.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass . It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Hope that inspires you to be more mindful of your attitude.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Another testimonial for HypnoBirthing

This is a testimonial that I just received from a HypnoBirthing mom. She is the mother of 4 children & used HypnoBirthing for her 4th birth.

I delivered my last two babies at home with a midwife, and used HypnoBirthing with my 4th & last birth in November of 2006. It was an amazing, quick, beautiful childbirth; what I wish for every woman. I'm so grateful, as I had a lifelong fear of childbirth, even after having several children naturally. My son's birth healed that fear, and gave me so much confidence that visualization, positive thinking, and affirmations do make a difference.

I had given birth to three children already. One with a midwife, at home, before learning about HypnoBirthing, so I assumed I wouldn't learn anything that I didn't already know. On the contrary, I was surprised to learn about a different approach to birth. I especially benefited from the focus on breathing my baby down and out, rather than the strenuous pushing that I believed delivered a baby. Throughout my pregnancy, I walked almost everyday, and I used that daily walk as a meditation time. I would talk to my baby, and visualize my ideal birth, affirming that I would have a gentle, easy childbirth. When the moment finally arrived, and I knew I was in labor, I climbed in my bathtub and rode the contractions by repeating the affirmations I learned from HypnoBirthing, such as, "I am opening up to receive my baby." My midwife arrived 20 minutes later, and my son was born 20 minutes after that.

I think there is a stigma around modern childbirth in the Western world, a view of birth as a traumatic, or even violent event. It's becoming accepted that a natural childbirth is an anomaly---why even bother when you can get an epidural? I had an epidural with my first birth, which occurred in a major Atlanta hospital. So I've experienced the whole gamut of births: a standard hospital birth, with an epidural, an IV, & an episiotomy. I've had a natural birth in a small hospital, here in Montana, which was a completely different experience; no episiotomy, no IV, much more personal. Then I've had two natural births with a midwife. I can say that my recoveries after my natural births were 100 times easier than after my birth with an epidural. While, yes, I didn't feel anything while I delivered my baby with an epidural, I also had to get an episiotomy because I coudn't feel anything while I delivered my baby, which made for a much more painful recovery. There are tradeoffs for everything. As a 4th time parent, my HypnoBirth was actually so quick and (relatively) painless that I was actually a bit sad when it was over, as I knew it was my last birth.~Karly, 4th time parent, founder of FirstOurselves.com.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Contribute to children's health & world peace--for free!

I've been doing these daily clicks for quite some time, but I thought I'd share the information so that more people can learn about these great sites. All you have to do is click on the site once each day & your click will donate food to the hungry, healthcare to needy children, mammograms for women in need, food to shelter animals, books to needy kids & even secure an area in a rainforest! You simply subscribe to the site & you'll receive a daily reminder. So simple AND free to you...just a few seconds of your time each day & you'll be doing some good in the world. I like to say a simple affirmation of thanks for what I have when I do my daily click.

Go to www.thehungersite.com to learn more.

Here is some info about some of the causes you can help:

The Child Health Site is dedicated to funding simple and very effective preventatives and treatments with the goal of robust child health around the globe. Your daily click funds the administration of Vitamin A to prevent life-threatening childhood illness and disease as well as one preventable cause of childhood blindness; the manufacture and fitting of children's prostheses so that a child injured by a landmine or other accident can still walk, run and play and still has a fighting chance to be a productive contributor in his or her society as an adult; eye surgeries that can reverse one kind of childhood blindness; and HIV testing that will alert medical personnel that a mother may pass the infection onto her child at birth so that she can be treated and the newborn spared of this terrible disease. When you click, once per day, every day, you are helping to get these types of treatments and services to the children who need them most.
On average, over 70,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the blue "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button. To date, more than 100 million visitors have helped more than 2,161,000 children.

The Hunger Site was founded to focus the power of the Internet on a specific humanitarian need: the eradication of world hunger. Since its launch in June 1999, the site has established itself as a leader in online activism, helping to feed the world's hungry. On average, over 220,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the yellow "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button. To date, more than 300 million visitors have given more than 500 million cups of staple food.
The staple food funded by clicks at The Hunger Site is paid for by site sponsors and distributed to those in need by
Mercy Corps and America's Second Harvest. 100% of sponsor advertising fees goes to our charitable partners. Funds are split between these organizations and go to the aid of hungry people in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and North America.
Hunger: Do You Know The Facts?
It is estimated that one billion people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. That's roughly 100 times as many as those who actually die from these causes each year.
About 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes. This is down from 35,000 ten years ago, and 41,000 twenty years ago. Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five.
Famine and wars cause about 10% of hunger deaths, although these tend to be the ones you hear about most often. The majority of hunger deaths are caused by chronic malnutrition. Families facing extreme poverty are simply unable to get enough food to eat.
The Hunger Site began on June 1, 1999. In 1999, a year marked by good economic news, 31 million Americans were food insecure, meaning they were either hungry or unsure of where their next meal would come from. Of these Americans, 12 million were children.

The Literacy Site is dedicated to funding free books for children.
On average, over 70,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button. To date, more than 55 million visitors have helped provide more than a million books to children who need them the most.
Access to books is essential to reading development. Yet 61 percent of low-income families in the U.S. have no books for children in their homes. Over 80 percent of childcare centers serving low-income children lack age-appropriate books and other print materials. By providing children from low-income families with books that they can take home and keep, together we target the only variable that correlates significantly with reading scores: the number of books in the home. Worldwide, there are more than 770 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds of whom are women and girls. In addition, there are over 100 million children not currently enrolled in primary school and millions of others not currently in secondary school. Education is a lifelong gift that empowers people to ultimately improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries, and future generations. Through the opportunities that only an education can provide, we can break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Another HypnoBirth story

Here is an inspiring HypnoBirth water/homebirth story:

I went to my weekly midwife appointment Monday afternoon, November 19. My midwife examined me and told me that I was 1 cm dilated with a soft cervix, but the baby was at a -3 position nicely resting above my cervix. So I am thinking "great another couple days or a week to go" even though I was already 4 days overdue. My in-laws were in town, so we went to visit some family approximately an hour away. While visiting, I felt surges. I had been having strong Braxton Hicks contractions for about 4 days, but nothing that would remain consistent past 2 hours. So I assumed these surges to be the same and did not want to alarm my in-laws with prelabor. About an hour later, we departed for home. The surges continued to persist coming exactly 3 minutes apart. Again, I assumed they would stop before we got home. They did not. We arrived home and I told my husband I could possibly be in labor. I asked him to run a warm bath for me and I would see if the surges remained after an hour in the warm water. An hour later in the tub, my surges were continuing at every 3 minutes, lasting for a full minute. So now we decided to call my midwife. She told us to monitor for another hour and call her back. Around this time my doula called, I informed her of what was going on and she said she would be over. My doula arrived and began monitoring my surges which were now every 2 minutes. She contacted my midwife and told her the update. My midwife said she was on her way. About an hour later around 1:30am my midwife and her backup showed up at my house. She checked me and confirmed I was dilated 4 cms. But the baby was still up high, so I needed to walk him down. Time seemed to slow as I walked through the house for hours on end. Talk about "walking to nowhere". By 5am, I was dilated about 7 1/2 cms. We had a birthing pool set up for me, but my midwife refused to allow me in it at anything less than 8 cms. I begged and pleaded with her to let me climb in the water, but she refused me. I continued my plea and finally won out nearly an hour later, but found the temperature in the pool to be too hot. My husband removed the tarp covering and I had to wait for the temperature to drop. He checked the pool temperature after awhile and to my dismay, told me that the pool was now too cold. Now I had to wait for it to reheat. Finally the temperature was up to 98 degrees. My midwife told me it needed to be at body temperature of 98.6, but when that thermometer said 98, I stripped down and nearly jumped in! The water felt like heaven caressing my body. This feeling, however, was too short lived as I went into transitional phase of labor. By the time I was 9 1/2 cms, I demanded to get out of the water. I had climbed out of the pool, but did not have the energy to make it to a standing position. I ended up crawling to a corner on the floor. Huddled in the corner, I was finally clear to start pushing. But my idea of "push" was not the type of "push" that is required in birthing. I was struggling and now started resisting what my body needed for me to do. My husband came to my aid. He had me focus on him and he breathed with me. After sometime, I lost focus and begged to climb back in the birthing pool. Now back in the pool, I once again attempted to regain my focus. My husband got in the pool with me and reached out for my hands to comfort me. I realized that in order to "push" I had to let go of my resistance to the pain. I finally released myself to myself in a way that I had never in my life had to. When I did, my husband lifted our son, Ifayomi Ogunsina Awojobi G_____, out of the water to take his first breath of life. Thirteen and half labor hours, 6 pounds and 21 inches later, with no tears to Mommie--my first was born. Ifayomi means "God will protect me from danger".

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Letter to My Daughter


This is a beautifully written letter by a HypnoBirthing mother to her daughter about her birth experience. Please share it with your friends who are expecting a baby & those that are thinking about having a baby. I think women need to know that they can have an empowering, wonderful, peaceful birth!


A Letter to My Daughter by Flavia Goncalves

Praising and mirroring the actions of women who are rupturing tradition, transforming taboos, or just simply excelling in their fields, helps us lay a foundation for a better, more respectful world for our daughters. The problem is that on the individual level, many women don't believe they possess what it takes to be a role model. I, for one, was one of them.

Unique women are unique because they believe in what they stand for. If I can get this message across to my daughter alone, I will consider my job done.

Dear baby girl,

Your name is Luma. It comes from the Latin word lumen, and it means light, illuminated, sparkle of life. Where I am from, to give birth ("dar a luz") means to give life. However, in our case, I believe it happened the other way around. In the miraculous moment of your birth, I was truly born. I learned that you were growing inside me a few days before Christmas. Although I do not observe any particular religious faith, I believe that you were sent to me as a gift. The motherly instincts I didn't imagine I had surfaced immediately; you became my reason to be. The first time I heard your heart beat, I shivered with emotion. When I saw you on the first sonogram, I cried. I was in a constant state of joy. My belly grew bigger as you grew inside me. I remember one particular night, when I was lying in bed reading; you suddenly slid your little foot across my belly. I placed my hand where I had felt you and you kicked again. We had discovered a game which we played quite often, for you were a very active baby. The more my belly grew the happier and prettier I felt.

Other than being very sleepy in the beginning and at the final months, the pregnancy itself was an easy one. Given that I was feeling good and everything seemed to be going well, your father and I asked the doctor about our chances of having a natural birth. The doctor was very supportive. He agreed that I was having a normal and healthy pregnancy and our chances of a successful natural birth were high.

Labor pain? Yes, I did think about it. I guess this issue crosses the mind of every single pregnant woman. It will probably cross yours too someday. Fear of pain. There was nothing I could do about the pain, but there was something I could do about fear and so I did. I found a HypnoBirthing coach and I followed her instructions diligently, every day, many times a day. I knew she could help me. HypnoBirthing, or Hypnosis, is nothing more than a deep state of concentration. I practiced meditation and relaxation. I repeated my affirmations (a long list of beliefs) morning, afternoon and evening. I worked on slow long deep breaths. My confidence grew stronger every single day and the fear vanished.

I was met with skepticism and disapproval from several friends and family. First, several people didn't know what hypnosis was all about and were skeptical of me trying it. Second, my birth choice caused alarm; after all, c-sections in Miami are expected by most. Miami's c-section rates are among the highest in the USA and the developed countries. Friends and family from Sao Paulo also were puzzled. C-section rates there are the highest in the world! To my disappointment, some people tried to discourage me by describing horrible birth stories; others would just say that I would never be able to withstand the pain, that I just would not be able to do it. The truth is, Luma, that I did not know. I couldn't know what the outcome would be. But I didn't get discouraged.

At this point, you must be thinking how brave and courageous your mommy is, but I wasn't. This is where you come in. During my entire life, I rarely took credit for my successes, or believed in my capabilities, and worse yet, several times I didn't stand up for myself when I should have. But in this case, I was doing it for you. Without blinking, I would do it a thousand times for you. The new me had been conceived. A world of possibilities opened up to me.

While my doctor was genuinely supportive of my birth choice, I found out too late that his practice colleagues were not as agreeable. Therefore, I decided to change doctors. Because the pregnancy was very advanced, no other practice risked taking me in. I was disappointed, of course, but still determined. So I took a leap of faith. You were already thirty-six weeks old when I left the practice.

I put you and myself into the care of Miriam, our midwife. I felt an immediate relief the minute I stepped in the Maternity Center. Miriam was nurturing, calm, and never condescending. She empathized with my situation and was willing to help me, even if that meant finding another doctor. Miriam just felt right and I stuck with her. To make matters even better, Miriam offered water births, an option that was very attractive to me. You were forty and a half weeks old, in position and very low, but still pretty comfortable inside.

To help you, I went on long walks, scrubbed the bath tub, and swam every day. Until one day my laps in the pool were interrupted by this tightening on my belly, that wouldn't stop. Calmly, I told your dad, who was swimming next lane over, that time had arrived. We went home, I took a long shower, your grandma gathered things we needed to take, and after Miriam checked my progress we all went to the Maternity Center. The ambiance of our room at the Birthing Center was perfect: it was calm, soothing music played, the lights were dimmed, and there were few candles flickering. I sat in bed and concentrated on slow long breaths and pretty soon I fell asleep. Yes, I fell asleep. When I finally woke up, the contractions were almost back to back and very intense. It was time to get into the water and just as I did I felt a difference. I was really aware of my body and you and the changes that were quickly taking place. Nonetheless, I lost notion of time. During the breaks between contractions, I relaxed so much that I would fall into a deep sleep and even have dreams. Grandma held my head while I drifted off. Your father was my link to a regular state of consciousness; he kept me hydrated; he caressed my belly. I never felt pain, except for a couple of times when I had to pipi, first, because the power of gravity outside of the water was tremendous, second, because, I couldn't concentrate on the surges and do pipi at the same time. Otherwise, things were happening as I pictured they would.

When I felt it was time I asked your dad to fetch Miriam. Your grandma had already positioned herself, my back towards her; she held my head and caressed my hair. Now your dad plunged into the water in front of me. He described the evolution of your birth, his voice trembled with ecstasy. Sometimes emotion took over him and all he could say was, "Oh, my God, Oh my God!" His happiness and pride strengthened me. Miriam was also a key person, as a HypnoBirthing coach herself, she knew when I was losing concentration and would bring me right back. We all worked together. When you were ready to come out, your dad's hands were there to hold you. Then he placed you on my chest. I never knew I could love so much. While I was holding and looking at you mesmerized, your grandma whispered in my ear, "You and your daughter were born at exactly the same hour: 4:10am." I smiled at the coincidence and thought to myself that you had given me a second chance to actually live. I was proud!

I was so proud and happy. If I had to put in just a few words what your birth experience felt like, I would say that it was the most intense physical and spiritual experience I have ever lived. Such an empowering experience still resonates. I am a different person. I live life to the fullest. I invite challenge, I face my fears, and I take advantage of opportunities. I am still human, though. Sometimes I am scared, sometimes I fail, and sometimes I make mistakes. So forgive me, because I will fail you. I will make mistakes, but I promise to always love you. I promise that I will work everyday to be a better and stronger person than I was yesterday. I promise to be a role model to you, so you can grow up as a strong, confident woman. I promise to live my dreams, because I want you to live yours.

Love always, Mom.

My story is an account of what we can do or what we can become if we truly believe in ourselves. It describes what happens when we free ourselves from outside judgment and pre-conceived beliefs. In my case, believing in me has caused a chain-reaction of self accomplishments. After birthing my daughter naturally, in the water and without pain, when many around me considered it impossible, I engaged in many other challenging activities. I started running and became a marathon runner and a triathlete. Currently I am training for a half ironman (a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 run event). I also went back to school and took up art classes. I plan to flourish in the art world. Lastly, after twenty years I started writing again.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Amazing 67 Hour HypnoBirth Story


I wanted to share a really amazing HypnoBirth story from one of my class participants:

Kristin & Will (July 2007 class) shared their birth story with me. I spoke to Kristin over the phone & took detailed notes.

Here is Oliver's birth story:Tuesday 11/6/07--Kristin's mom arrived in town. She had been eagerly awaiting her arrival.

Wednesday in the middle of the night--felt surges start, tried to sleep

Wednesday day--all day the surges were about 4 minutes apart, lasting 1-1 1/2 minutes. Her husband, Will, made sure she drank water after each surge. Went to the UCSD birth center/hospital & was sent to the labor & delivery floor to get checked. She had her ipod on & listened to the Rainbow Relaxation, which helped her from hearing the screaming woman next door. She was 1 cm. She was sent home & was feeling discouraged.

Wednesday night--had her weekly checkup at the UCSD birth center at 6 pm. She was 3-4 cm & was allowed to go to the birth center. When she was checked there, she was 3 1/2 cm. She was so calm, they sent her home even though she was feeling surges on a continual basis. She went home discouraged again. She was able to sleep between surges for 3-4 minutes at a time.

Thursday--still having surges but not feeling more intense.

Thursday night--layed down & felt really uncomfortable, so she spent most of her time walking & standing for surges. She found that if she stayed awake, she could use the techniques & stay in deep relaxation, whereas if she slept, she would sleep but then wake up in a panic & have a hard time getting back to a state of deep relaxation

Friday am--midwife called to check on her & told her to take a Benadryl so she could sleep for a couple of hours, which she was able to. The surges got really intense so they went the hospital again. She got checked & was 4 cms so they were admitted to the birth center. They walked, rested & sat in the shower. At 5 cm, she got in the jacuzzi for a couple of hours. She felt time distortion because she said that 5 hours went by really fast. The surges got more intense & she had Will give her prompts more frequently. She got to 6 cm after the 5 hours. The midwife/RNs said that things weren't progressing enough, so she had 3 options: 1) go home, 2) break her water, or 3) use pitocin. She didn't want to go home because she really felt like she would leave an emotional wreck. She didn't want pitocin either. They agreed to break her water. She progessed quickly after that & got to 0 station & fully effaced. She had 5 hours of active labor which she desribed as really hard & at times "awful". She said that the surges were like waves & at times she was overwhelmed due to utter exhaustion.The midwife massaged her ankles on the labor pressure point. She felt scared & overwhelmed at one point, but she remembered what I said in class...that at some point, you may feel like you can't do it anymore, but remember that means you're almost there. She kept saying to herself that the next surge, she'd ask for drugs, but she never did end up asking for the drugs. They knew it was time to push when she threw up. She tried using the birth breathing & was breathing her breath out of her mouth. She sat on the toilet, on the bed, on hands & knees, on her side with her leg up.She had an anterior lip on her cervix. The midwives encouraged her to really push with some force, so she sat on the birth stool with her mom sitting behind her. The baby's head kept coming out a little & then going back in, so she pushed really hard, put her chin down to her chest & groaned while pushing to get his head out. Then his shoulders got stuck, so she squatted & the midwives were able to help slip the baby out. She did end up tearing & needing 3 stitches & admits to doing "some" perineal massage, but not enough.

Oliver was 9 lbs 3 oz &21 1/2 inches long. He was born on 11/9/07. Will was able to receive the baby & cut the cord. The placenta took awhile to come out & she remembered what I said in class about the fact that it could take up to 1/2 an hour. It came out naturally right at the 1/2 hour mark. She stayed in the hospital for 2 days after having a 67 hour HypnoBirth...WOW!

Here is what Kristin said about Hypnobirthing: It was really amazing. HypnoBirthing was awesome! I still had lingering doubts that it would work beforehand & I have a lot a practice using meditation for other things, but it turned out to be a great experience. He's a really mellow baby & he's so alert. I wouldn't have been able to have a 67 hour birth without HypnoBirthing." She said the midwives were very impressed & said they've never seen a woman talking through the transition stage. One midwife said "I've never seen anything like that...smiling & talking while you were pushing!".

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tell food companies that you won't eat food from cloned animals

Tell food companies you won't eat food from Clones!

FDA Approves Food from Clones against the Will of Congress and the American Public

Despite scant data, congressional action demanding further research and over 150,000 public comments in opposition, FDA approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals yesterday. In addition, the FDA will not require any special procedures for tracking or handling food products from clones. It will not require labeling of any kind on food products from clones or their offspring, depriving consumers of their right to know about the origins of their food. This action comes at a time when Congress has voted twice to delay FDA’s decision on cloned animals until additional safety and economic studies can be completed.

The FDA’s bullheaded action disregards the will of the public and Congress. FDA based their decision on an incomplete and flawed review that relies on studies supplied by cloning companies that want to force cloning technology on American consumers. FDA’s action has placed the interests of a handful of biotech firms above those of the public they are charged with protecting.
While FDA may deem these products safe to enter the market, companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Organic Valley have pledged not to use cloned animals or their offspring. Dean Foods, Hormel, Tyson and Smithfield Foods have also stated they do not plan to accept milk or meat from cloned animals, but have not addressed their plans regarding the offspring of clones.

Sign the Clone-Free Pledge! Let food companies know you won’t buy food from clones. Go to this link: http://ga3.org/campaign/clone_pledge

While animal cloning has been banned for use in organic production, we need to let other companies know that we will not buy their products if they are from animal clones or the offspring of clones.

What else can you do?
1. Buy organic meats and dairy if you eat animal products. The National Organic Standards rightly prohibit clones and their offspring from use.
2. Tell Congress to Label Food from Cloned Animals! There are bills to label food from clones and their offspring in both the House and Senate. Contact your Congress members and urge them to support this important bill!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another site to raise money for autism research

The Ellen DeGeneres show recently featured a girl from Louisville, KY, who is raising money for Norton's Children Hospital and autism research. She is selling beaded bracelets to raise money, and she has already raised over $200,000 doing this! She is doing this because her younger brother was diagnosed with autism after he received his 1 year vaccinations. It's an incredible story!
Go to her website:
http://www.nortonhealthcare.com/Foundation/michala-riggle-.aspx for more info or to purchase a bracelet. It's a great cause!

Mothering the mother

I have found another great "mom" website: firstourselves.com. The site is dedicated to helping moms take care of themselves first so that they can be better parents & partners to their family members.

Here is a post that I really enjoyed called Mothering the Mother:

Mothering the Mother: How to Feel Better About Yourself as a Mother
One of the greatest gifts that we can give each other is courage. "I believe in you," is a token phrase, one that we share often and easily. But saying that you believe in someone is more than just an attempt at a pep talk. When we say I believe in you, what we're doing is
holding onto a higher image for another. We're sharing our vision of who they can be---how we see them, through our eyes---to enable them to grow beyond their own.
"I believe in you," is more accurately said, "I see you." I see who you really are. I see you through my eyes: through the eyes of love. And this love renders you wonderful.
How often do we honestly see ourselves as mothers? Do we overfocus on our moments of weakness; underfocus on our successes? I'm thinking of the times when I berate myself for not measuring up, for not being a perfect mother; for losing it and yelling at my children; for succumbing to fatigue, overwhelment, or irritation, and sputtering, "Because I said so!" instead of offering a gentle reply. Some days, these feelings pile upon one another, forming a cloud that blocks my perspective, and I feel heavy with regret. I feel like a terrible mother. My biases, regret, judgment, and experiences are tempering how I see myself.
But let's turn this perspective around: let's imagine a friend, a sister, or even a stranger observing this series of events. Imagine a loving guide accompanying you throughout the day. What would they say about you? How would they see you? Can you view yourself through their eyes?
What about your children? Have you ever stopped to ponder how they see you? Have you ever looked at yourself through their eyes?
I'm thinking that they believe you're a queen. A goddess. The most beautiful woman they've ever seen. The woman they love more than anyone else in the world. A wonderful Mommy.
(If you have teenagers, and you're laughing at this point, think about how your children looked at you when they were little. Adolescence isn't forever; this stage---doesn't every teenager despise their parents at one point or another?---will pass.)
There's a line in a Nikki Giovanni poem, "Love in Place," where she remembers a time with a former lover, and the joy she felt then: "I see the old photographs and I am/smiling and I'm quite sure/happy but what I mostly see is me/through your eyes." Isn't that beautiful? Seeing ourselves through another's eyes---through the eyes of love---takes us out of our perspective of ourselves, which is often clouded with too much self awareness; too much judgment. We're so much harsher on ourselves than we ever are with other people. Would we ever say the things that we say to ourselves to a friend, or loved one: You're a terrible mother. You're a fat cow. You're a piece of crap. You can't do anything right.
Let's try this instead: let's view ourselves through the eyes of love. You're a wonderful mother. You have a beautiful, curvy body. You're beloved, divinely created. You do so much right.
Gene Kelly once said, "You don't love a woman because she is beautiful. She is beautiful because you love her." It is love that softens the edges, that smooths our rough parts, that allows others to see the essence of who we are, to see our beauty, to see our kindness, our compassion, our selflessness---even on the days when they're clouded by stress or fatigue.
I believe it was comedian Chris Rock we spoke about "loving the crust of somebody." Not just the soft, white, chewy bread, but the hard crust, too; the crumbs.
Your children love the crust of you. God loves the crust of you. Your family and friends love the crust of you.
Do you love the crust of you? Stop, pause, and move out of your perspective. Remove your criticism,and see: Can you see yourself through the eyes of love? Can you see yourself from your children's eyes? Meditate on that perspective throughout the coming week.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Autism...watch a video & automatically donate money

Please watch this short, beautiful film to have donation made. The band, Five for Fighting, is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks for *each time* the video is viewed. The funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this> goal.



Sunday, January 13, 2008

The beautiful side of birth

This is a video of a woman birthing at home & singing while having contractions/surges. It is amazing...what a wonderful thing to see. Her voice is beautiful...what a gift she is giving to her unborn baby...the peacefulness, tranquility, the loving kindness. That's what birth is all about! Giving your unborn baby the gift of endorphins...the gift of a peaceful, calm birth.

For those pregnant moms watching it, visualize yourself being this woman...so calm, so peaceful. If you don't sing, you can hum or rock back & forth or listen to calming music...whatever brings you that sense of calmness during your contractions/surges. The more relaxed you are during your contractions/surges, the better your body & uterus will be able to do the work for you instead of against you & therefore, you'll feel less discomfort.


Enjoy! Please forward this to anyone you know who is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant so they can see how amazing birth can be.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blessing Your Life

Here is a great little exercise about blessing your life that I got from a colleague of mine. Use it for yourself, your spouse/significant other, your unborn baby, your natural birth, your children, your family & friends, any other important people in your life & your pets. Enjoy!

"There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life. With even a glimpse of that possibility, joy rushes in." Tara Brach, Ph.D.

Thoughts on Living The Heart-Centered Life by Tori Janaya, MA, MFTI January 2008

Blessing Your Life

Every now and then I decide that life isn't going the way I want it to, and I get really cranky. During a recent fit of The Cranks, a friend reminded me that I might consider surrendering my resistance and try accepting the way things were.Yeah, right. Have you ever tried to surrender? If so, you know that the opposite of surrendering is trying to surrender and that it just doesn't work. However, this wise friend also reminded me that the practice of blessing one's life just as it is helps one to cultivate the kind of surrender and acceptance that seemed so distant in that moment.The practice itself is simple: Sit quietly with your eyes closed, breathe deeply, relax, and get centered. Bring to mind some area of your life -- whether it's relationship, health, work, children, or something else. I suggest starting with an area where there is no stress or struggle, and then with practice, moving on to an area that is more challenging. Breathe deeply, relax your belly and the muscles of your eyes. Let yourself broaden the scope of your inner vision so that this part of your life has all the space it needs. As you allow it to have space, either mentally or in actuality, bring your hands together in a prayer position in front of your heart and bless this aspect of your life with whatever words or feelings come to you in the moment.

You might simply say, "May this aspect of my life be blessed so that its truth can be revealed." Or, "Thank you for the gifts you bring, both seen and unseen. May you receive from me all that you need in order to unfold in the most healing, loving way possible." Be generous toward yourself and allow the words to arise spontaneously from your heart. As you bless each area of your life, stay with the feeling of bestowing this gift for as long as you can sustain it. Invite yourself to stretch your capacity to feel this loving and beneficent toward yourself and your life. When you're done, allow yourself to transition slowly into your next activity. As always, I would love to hear how you experience these exercises that I offer. May the blessings of your life reveal themselves in ways that surprise and delight you!

"The Heart-Centered Life" is written and published by Tori Janaya.
For more information, please visit www.ToriJanaya.com, or contact

A note from Carol: For HypnoBirthing moms & dads, add a statement that focuses on feeling blessed to be having a healthy baby & a calm, easy natural birth. Focus the feelings of love & beneficence onto your unborn child. Use the 2nd statement Tori recommends & say it to your unborn child as a way to welcome him or her into the world.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Free Yoga online

I wanted to share this little gem with you...a free yoga class online everyday! Go to www.yogatoday.com & you can start incorporating a wonderful, gentle yoga practice into your day at your convenience.

It's gentle enough for pregnancy as well. Just make sure that you adjust any poses that may twist your belly & keep your head below your belly for more than a few seconds. It's great for new mommies (& even not so new mommies) because you can do it in the comfort of your home during nap time or after the kids have gone to bed. If you get interrupted, you can put it on pause. Plus it doesn't get boring since they have a new yoga class every day!

Who says you can't get anything good for free?!? Namaste!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Help save Waterbirth International

FWD: Help Save Waterbirth International!
The appeal for funds is on their homepage -www.waterbirth.org--------

Please help Barbara Harper keep waterbirth alive!
Waterbirth International may close doors.
Here is a note from Barbara Harper of Waterbirth International

Barbara Harper wrote:. I cannot yet imagine a world without the voice and work of WaterbirthInternational - we get calls and emails every day from women who need help convincing one hospital or another to let them labor or birth in water. If we die - a big part of the movement dies. Waterbirth has shown us all thatwomen know how to give birth and babies know how to be born. Waterbirth gave us "hands-off", sit back and let the baby out. I see waterbirth mentioned on Blogs every single day, not to mention Baby Story on the TV. I took Waterbirth International to ACOG two years in a row - and was the ONLY booth showing birth films to obstetricians and especially to student physicians. There were tears, laughter and outrage - just the thing to stirup those young crop of doctors. I am finally realizing a life's dream. But now I am faced with letting this dream go. Perhaps I have done enough. Perhaps it is time to quit.
About 18 years ago, maybe it was longer, when Mothering Magazine was facing bankruptcy Peggy did a heartfelt plea asking their readers to consider ordering a Life-time subscription. I think the subscriptions were $1000 or$1200, I can't remember now. I do remember that I couldn't imagine not reading my Mothering. So, I bought two and gave one to my obstetrician'soffice. How can you help us stay open to take the next phone call? - to convince the next obstetrician to incorporate waterbirth into his/her practice- to work with the nurse midwives to install pools in their facilities? To educate an entire hospital on the benefits of allowing women freedom of movement in the water. How much is it worth to see waterbirth become the norm in the US,like it is in the UK? I think we only need a few more years to make that happen. Do women really want waterbirth to be an available choice in everyhospital? I think so. Can you help us by getting the word out on blogs and lists? I had to let go of all of the staff except one person to process orders. Miraculously, we made payroll today, but we can't hang on much longer. We need amiracle. If I need to call every single waterbirth parent personally, I will. I don't want 25 years of work to end over a measly $200,000. The work that we have done the last few years has been phenomenal. How God arranged for me to teach in hospitals and medical schools around the planet- Taiwan, Venezuela, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Holland, Portugal, China, Trinidad, Croatia - I'll never figure that out. I laugh out loud sometimes when I get up in front of an audience of physicians in a medical school overseas - who all want to hear about waterbirth and the incorporation of Gentle Birth practices and principles into their routines.
Think about what you can do and call me if you want to chat or if you have some great ideas on how we can quickly move into the black and keep waterbirth alive and thriving. We need your help. Barbara Harper needs your help. The waterbirth/gentlebirth movement needs your help.

Barbara Harper, RN, CLD, CCE Founder/Director
Waterbirth International
503-673-0026 -office (out of US or in Portland)
800-641-2229 - toll free
503-710-7975 - cell phone

We LOVE helping women get into Hot Water!! And have been doing it for 24 years

Homemade baby wipes

I recently had one of my HypnoBirthing moms ask me what kind of baby wipe I use.I buy Seventh Generation & get a case of them from Amazon.com. That's the cheapest that I've found. They are chlorine free & don't have as many chemicals in them. There is also the option of making your own wipes. Here is what you can do...note that the paper towels you use need to be thicker so they don't fall apart...it's hard to find unbleached paper towels that are made thicker. Also, the 1st few weeks, you don't really even need to use anything with a cleaning/soap agent in it...warm water & cotton balls or squares works really well to get breastmilk poops off your little one's bottom. Oh...& I swear by Triple Paste Cream for diaper rash. It does have petroleum based substances in it, but it also has the highest amount of zinc oxide out there, which helps heal up the rash really quickly. You can get Triple Paste Cream at any pharmacy, but you have to order it...tube form or tub form.

Homemade Baby Wipes
You can store these solutions in a spray bottle and spray it onto the wipe at the time of the diaper changing or you can store the wipes and the solution in the same leak proof container.

1/2 roll of paper towels (cut in half to make short rolls--use a really thick type of paper towel like Bounty)
1/8-1/4 c. baby shampoo (I recommend Miessence's Sunflower Body Wash..certified organic, cold-pressed, all natural & non-toxic...go to my website to learn more)
1/8-1/4 c. baby oil
2 cups lukewarm water
1 plastic container that the rolls fit in
Cut roll in half and remove center cardboard. In Baby Wipe Container, mix liquid ingred. and place half of roll in container. Place on lid and tip upside down. To use, pull out from center.

Herbal Solutions
The basic recipe for wipe solution will do good job of cleaning your baby's bottom, but you may want to use a herbal solution to add some extra soothing and diaper rash treatment properties.The herbal ingredients that may be added to the solution have different properties that help protect your baby's sensitive skin and / or promote healing of diaper rashes.

Calendula -This herb commonly used to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. The herb is helpful for people who suffer from skin rashes and sunburn. Calendula helps to soothe inflamed tissues, reduce pain and aids in quick healing of cuts and abrasions.
Aloe Vera - The gel from the Aloe Vera leaf is great for healing and relieving burns and rashes.
Tea Tree Oil - This oil readily penetrates the skin and is useful for treating burns, scrapes, bites, stings, and various skin irritations. It may also help to prevent or treat yeast infections. Very effective fungicide, antibacterial and antiseptic.
Lavender - Lavender added to salves and creams promotes healing and as an aroma additive eases tension, tiredness and feelings of depression
St. John's Wort - Helps promote healing and has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Comfrey - Helps relieve inflammation and promotes healing.

Baby Wipes Recipe
1 1/2 - 2 cups distilled water
1/4 cup Aloe Vera gel
1 TBS Calendula oil
2 tsp. Baby Shampoo
2-3 drops tea tree oil
2-3 drops lavender oil
Mix solution together, use to wet wipes.

Anti-fungal Baby Wipes
1/2 c. distilled water
1 tbs. vinegar (helps discourage yeast)
1/4 c. aloe vera gel
1 TBS. calendula oil
1 drop lavender essential
1 drop tea tree essential oil
To prepare, use a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour all your ingredients in, cover the jar and shake to blend the ingredients.Place your wipes in a container and pour on enough solution to moisten them. Store any extra solution in the fridge. It should stay fresh for a long time especially if you used distilled water.

Rash Treatment and Prevention

Natural Rash Treatment
Extra virgin olive oil that has been steeped with fresh calendula. You can apply this oil at diaper changing time to help soothe and heal the rash.To infuse calendula: Pour the desired amount of Olive Oil or whatever oil you choose into a glass jar and put calendula into jar and shake. Place in dark place for 3-4 weeks shaking the jar every day or so. You can also place the jar in a water bath (pan with water in stove) and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a very gentle simmer and cook for 1-2 hours. After infusion is complete, strain calendula out of oil. A simple way of straining the calendula out of the oil is touse a strainer lined with cheese cloth. When all the oil has strained through, be sure to squeeze the cheese cloth to get all the oil out of the calendula.

Baby Salve © Millie Fodor
1 part St. John's Wort
2 part Calendula
1 part Comfrey leaf
1 part Comfrey root
1 part Plantain Olive Oil
Beeswax .
Vitamin E
For full instructions on how to create this salve visit:http://www.wildroots.com/salves.htm

Hope you find this helpful!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A HypnoBirth story

I got permission from one of my HypnoBirthing moms to put her birth story on my blog...so here it is:

Hi Carol:
Sorry for the delay in getting this to you. I find it hard to stop looking at Carter to get to the computer, he is just so beautiful! I am so happy to be able to tell you that our birth story is as good as they get. The experience was everything that Jeremy and I had hoped for and we have the hypnobirthing to thank for that. After only 12 hours of peaceful labor, Carter came to us at 1:47 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13th at 7 lb, 11 oz and 20.5 inches. so here it is: I started having surges around 2 p.m. and the surges were pretty intense and consistent so we started listening to the rainbow mediation and using the breathing techniques. By 5 p.m. we were confidant we were having our baby and called our midwife (from the birth center). I labored at home for the first six hours on the ball and standing up leaning over the couch. I found these to be the most comfortable positions since i had some prettty good back labor. When we got to the birth center at 8 p.m. I was 2-3 centimeters and 100% effaced. We got settled into our birthing room and started listening to the tapes again, and pretty much had them on the entire time. They were very helpful keeping me focused on releasing with each surge and not fighting what my body was trying to do. The only comfortable position for me was on my hands and knees so I was in that position the entire time. One thing that helped me was the constant mindset of, "I can do anything for a minute," and taking each surge one at a time. I got in a rhythm with my 20-20 breath count and focused more on that than the actual physical pressure. Silence was also important to me. My silence...I was able to block out all needless noise and didn't really notice others talking, I don't even remember the midwife checking me at one point! I just went into myself and I talked internally with Carter. I don't think I spoke more than 100 words the entire time, which allowed my focus to never shift. I was able to breath through all of the surges easily using the 20-20 technique and with counter pressure massage from Jeremy and my sister in law Jen. The counter pressure was imperative and my support took unbelievable care of me. They were there through each surge, massaging me, reassuring me, making sure I got enough fluids and being great intermediaries with the birthing center staff. By midnight the surges were pretty consistent and intense, and I was ready to get in the birthing tub. I had to be checked to see if I was far enough along and to get my second ampicillin shot. To my shock and delight, I was already eight centimeters along. At this point,Jeremy started giving me his own affirmations which were wonderful. It helped me relax in between and focus during the surges. And I can't say enough about the tub, it was just heavenly! It felt amazing having the water all around me and continously being poured on my back. It eased so much pressure and allowed me to fully relax. At 1a.m. I was at 10 centimeters and pretty ready to have our baby. I was told I had one flap left that needed to open and to wait it through for a couple more surges, which I was able to do. I then started feeling this crazy urge to push, so I let them know and within 30 minutes little Carter came into this world, very calm and peaceful. It was truly the most beautiful experience of my life. And it continues every day. He is such a wonderful little soul and I know this is because of the way he was brought into this world! Jeremy, Carter and I want to thank you for helping us learn techniques that allowed us to experience his birth in a way that I truly didn't think was possible before learning of HypnoBirthing. I will forever advocate HypnoBirthing to everyone who is having a baby. I wish our experience on everyone bringing a baby into this world!

Of note: Carrie & Jeremy had originally planned on having a hospital birth, but changed to a birth center after attendingHypnoBirthing classes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another HypnoBirthing testimonial

Jeremy, Carter and I want to thank you for helping us learn techniques that allowed us to experience his birth in a way that I truly didn't think was possible before learning of HypnoBirthing. I will forever advocate HypnoBirthing to everyone who is having a baby. I wish our experience on everyone bringing a baby into this world!
Jeremy, Carrie & Carter--San Diego, CA

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Shape of a Mother

I just came across this great website called The Shape of a Mother. It normalizes what all mothers experience postpartum...their body shape changes! As a mother, we will usually all lose most of the pregnancy weight, but our body shape (& very often the appearance & texture of our skin) changes. The area around our waist tends to droop a little more from the stretching of our bellies to accommodate our baby's body. Our breasts may change shape too. Some of us may have stretch marks. This site shows real women with real postpartum bodies. Truly beautiful! Check it out & see for yourself at www.theshapeofamother.com.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

What birth looks like

Here is a 3D animation video of what happens as the baby descends...more evidence of why birth is so natural!


Here is a wonderful video of a French woman giving birth in ecstacy!



Friday, January 4, 2008

Tibetan Loving Kindness Meditation

This came across my desk & I thought it was too lovely to keep to myself. It was written for use by HypnoBirthing couples/moms, but it can be used for anyone...pregnant or not. It really fits in with the HypnoBirthing concept of positive affirmations. It's also a great meditation for anyone who practices The Secret &/or law of attraction. If you're not pregnant or don't have a family, extend those thoughts of loving kindness to the world. We can always use more positive energy flowing out there.

Tibetan Loving Kindness Meditation

Tibetan Loving Kindness Meditation is wonderful because it's accessible to everyone regardless of a belief in God or not. It is adapted from a basic form of this meditation and it has been made more relavant for HypnoBirthing moms.

Directions: So with this philosophy, you always start from the inside out. Meaning you do the meditation for yourself first and then toward others. The idea is that when you are full, and overflowing, you have much to give to others.
Do this often for yourself and your baby.

May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I continue to grow and change
May I feel loved and supported (do 3 times)

Then towards the baby~,
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you continue to grow and change
May you feel my love (do 3 times)

Then towards the family unit (including other siblings)~
May we be happy together
May we be healthy together
May we continue to grow and change
May we experience love together (do 3 times)