Musings of a crunchy, domestic goddess

Just another mama musing about her kids, Attachment Parenting, activism, photography, and life in general

Hey big spender May 10, 2007

Filed under: Attachment Parenting,Kids,My life — amygeekgrl @ 1:53 pm

I’ve been busy the past few days preparing a bunch of my baby/kid clothes and some maternity clothes for the Just Between Friends sale this weekend in town. It’s a HUGE sale with over 300 consignors and 20,000 items.

I have never consigned stuff there before, but I did shop the sale last year and bought a ton of stuff for Julian (all of which he’s outgrown, of course).

Tonight is the presale for consignors and I’m hoping to score some good stuff, mostly some summer clothes for the kids and maybe some other things like play equipment for the yard or perhaps a double stroller. We’ll see. I was there this morning dropping off my clothes and there is so much stuff. I actually bought some HABA wooden rattle/teethers directly from my friend while we were there. The sale hasn’t even started and I’m already spending my cash. 😉 I’m sure I could spend a fortune there if I didn’t restrain myself.

While we are undecided if we will have more kids, I decided to go ahead and part with a bunch of the baby/kids’ clothes taking up room in our house. (Less we’ll have to move to a new house someday, right?) I saved some for sentimental reasons, but I figure it’s pretty easy and not that expensive to buy more baby clothes (used/consigned) in the future should we have the need. Might as well clear some of the stuff out of our house in the meantime. I also donated some of our clothes to our local Attachment Parenting International group who’s using the profits from the sale to buy AP books to stock our local libraries. 🙂

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An evening with Ina May May 8, 2007

Ina MayAs I set out driving Friday night to hear Ina May Gaskin – called “the mother of authentic midwifery” by Midwifery Today – speak, I was filled with nervous excitement. When I was about 10 minutes out from the church in Lafayette where the event was taking place, a friend of mine called me to say she was saving some seats for me and other friends of ours and she was able to get pretty close to the front. I felt like a teenager going to a rock concert. Third row seats! We got third row seats to see Ina May! 🙂

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw moms with their children in baby slings or carriers, groups of women without children, as well as some couples all making their way towards the entrance. I pulled in a spot, got Julian from the backseat and into the Ergo carrier when I overheard a woman a few cars down from me say, “I’m so glad I remembered to bring my book for her to sign.” D’oh! I never even thought to bring my copy of “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.” Some groupie I am, eh?

With only five minutes to spare before the talk was supposed to begin, Julian and I hightailed it into the building, quickly saying hello as we passed a couple of women I know from our AP group on the way. I couldn’t wait to get inside.

We made our way to the front of the registration line and we were greeted by my midwife K with a big hug. I wanted to stay and chat with her, but there wasn’t time and she had a lot more participants to check in, so we agreed to try to meet up after Ina May’s talk to chat. My excitement and anticipation grew.

Once inside the church, I spotted my friends waving me down in, yes, the third(!) row, right in front of the podium. I may have skipped a little as I made my way towards them and settled down in my seat with Julian.

We chatted for a good 10 to 15 minutes before Karen Robinson, the president of the Colorado Midwives Association (CMA), came out to welcome everyone to the event, speak a bit about the CMA, and then, the moment we were all waiting for, introduce Ina May Gaskin.

The applause began immediately and Ina May walked in to a standing ovation.

She began her talk with a bit of history both about herself and about the history of birth and obstetrics in the United States. While I have read and heard before about how women used to be treated in hospitals (drugged to the point of being unconscious while their babies were extracted from their bodies using forceps, etc.), it gives me the heebie-jeebies every time. She told us how her first birth was in a hospital, where, despite her belief that she could’ve given birth naturally and without pain medication, she was drugged and her baby was taken out using forceps.

She spoke about the path that lead her to become a midwife, as she began attending births while traveling across the country (on hippie buses) with hundreds of others who were following Stephen Gaskin on a five-month-long speaking tour across the United States. 11 babies were born on the buses during the Caravan. She has attended more than 1200 births to date.

She talked about Sphincter Law which is described in detail in her book “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.”

“The Sphincter Law recognizes the cervix as a sphincter along with the other excretory sphincters. These sphincters function best, Gaskin points out, in an atmosphere of privacy and familiarity.” —Midwifery: the Revival an Old Profession

So it is difficult for a woman to give birth in a hospital with nurses and doctors shouting “PUSH!” or making threats of “you’d better get that baby out soon or you’ll have a c-section” etc. Just as it would not be easy for any of us to shit (yes, she said shit! and ass too for that matter) on command. If you are sitting on the toilet, trying to take a crap and someone walks in on you – what happens? You stop crapping until you feel safe and no longer vulnerable. Same thing can also happen with birthing a baby.

She also talked about the mind/body connection, though I don’t know if she used that term. She described how she has witnessed a woman get stuck at 7 cm (or whatever) for hours on end with no apparent physical reason, only to later discover that this women’s mother died in childbirth, so this woman was afraid she would die too. Once the “secret” was out, however, the woman was able to dilate to completion and have her baby. She ran into something similar in another situation as well. But (and this is my own rambling here) had something like that happened in a hospital, how many doctors would stop to wonder what could be causing this woman’s labor to stall or would they threaten the woman that if she didn’t dilate by such and such time, she would need a c-section? Yes, I believe things need to change in the obstetrical world.

She talked a little bit about Ricki Lake’s new movie, “The Business of Being Born,” as she is interviewed in it. She mentioned that it received a standing ovation at the Tribeca Film Festival and that Ricki had recently been interviewed about it on “The View.” Someone asked how can we see the film and she recommended we start calling our local movie theaters to ask them when they will be getting it. Let them know there’s a demand for it.

At the end of her talk, she took questions from the audience. Questions were asked about VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccinations and breech births. I don’t recall all that was said since we were going on two hours of Julian being a happy camper in my lap and he was starting to get squirmy.

I know she said that she believes breastfeeding should continue as long as it’s mutually satisfying to both the child AND the mother. If mom isn’t enjoying the breastfeeding relationship anymore, she doesn’t believe in continuing to nurse out of guilt. She is currently in the process of writing a book about breastfeeding.

She doesn’t believe in routine circumcision, but has seen many circumcised boys in her years as a midwife, and even acted as a mohel for a while.

I didn’t get to hear a lot of what she said about vaccinations, since it was about that time that I decided Julian and I needed to move from our third(!) row seat and stand in the back, where I could sway with him and keep him contented. I recall her saying that she felt some vaccinations were OK, but she believes in starting them later than the recommended age. And that there were others (like chicken pox) that she wouldn’t recommend.

After I had Julian tucked back into the Ergo and we were swaying at the back of the room, someone asked a question about her thoughts on breech births (i.e. should they be automatic c-sections?). This, as some of you who have read Julian’s birth story* know, is a topic very dear and close to my heart. If you have a breech baby in a hospital with an OB, you are pretty much guaranteed a c-section. Of course midwives still perform vaginal breech births and believe that a woman should be able to choose to have a vaginal birth. Ina May helps educate midwives in her conferences (and through her videos) on the knowledge and skills required to successfully assist women having breech babies. In fact, one of the sessions from the following day’s midwifery conference was focusing on breech and twin births. “Vaginal birth of breech and twins has become a rarity for more and more OBs. Therefore the skills needed to assist in these types of vaginal births have begun to disappear and women are losing their right to choose a vaginal birth with twins or a breech.”

After that question was answered, Ina May wrapped up her talk and gracefully exited the room as everyone applauded with much gratitude.

Many people milled about for a while chatting with each other, meeting with Ina May or Debby Takikawa (the director of the movie “What Babies Want” narrated by Noah Wyle who was presenting at the midwifery conference held that day – by the way, it’s a great movie and you should definitely see it if you ever get the chance), etc. after the talk concluded. Yours truly was among them. I chatted with some friends for a while before realizing that Ina May was still around and signing autographs. I wished that I had my book with me, but since I didn’t, I asked her to sign a brochure from my midwife’s practice. She did.
“For Amy
Ina May Gaskin”
I talked to her briefly and told her a little bit about Julian’s birth, as he slept away in the Ergo. It was pretty darn cool to talk to her face to face. I knew she had had a busy day and another one ahead of her the next day (and still more autographs to sign), so I didn’t want to keep her for long. I thanked her and headed back over to my friends. We reminisced about how we used to get all excited about going to concerts or getting autographs from celebrities, etc., and there we were elated to hear a midwife talk and get her autograph. 😉 Times have certainly changed.

I must add that I also wished I had taken my camera with me, when I later saw Ina May pose for pictures with a few women. I guess I now know what to bring along with me to my next midwifery rock concert event. 😉

It was a wonderful evening and a great privilege to meet Ina May, a woman who has done so much to further the midwifery cause and offer women a choice, a very safe choice, when it comes to birth.

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I’m sure I forgot something from the evening and if anyone who was there wants to chime in in the comments with anything I overlooked, please do so. It really would’ve been nice to take notes, but there’s no way I could’ve kept the pen and paper out of Julian’s mouth. 😉

Salon.com has a great article about Ina May called, The Midwife of Modern Midwifery from a series called “Brilliant Careers” in the June 1, 1999 edition for those of you who’d like to learn more about this amazing woman.

*If you haven’t read Julian’s birth story and would like to, please e-mail me. It’s not currently on my blog.

 

the truth will set you free April 25, 2007

In the spirit of putting more of myself “out there,” here it is, as promised – my completely honest post.

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It recently occurred to me that because I tend to focus on positive things on my blog, that I may give the impression that I have this parenting thing all figured out. And while I do feel like I excel at baby rearing, I find myself struggling with this toddler/preschooler rearing.

It all started when Ava decided to grow up, exert her independence and have a mind of her own/free will. How dare she, right? 😉 Of course, a good deal of her gaining her independence seems to have coincided with me being pregnant with Julian and now, of course, being a mother of two. Just when I thought I had it all figured out and parenting was a piece of cake, I threw a pregnancy and new baby in to the mix. I always say I like a good challenge and boy oh boy, is that what I got.

Hmmm. I am just beating around the bush now. Gosh, delving into all of this honesty stuff is seriously harder than I thought. OK, here goes…

Over the past few months I have been losing my patience with Ava more and more. I have found myself doing things that I never wanted to do in my parenting journey – like yelling, talking down to her and (gulp. here goes the brutal honesty) physically wrapping both of my arms around her and squeezing her a little too tightly. The last time I squeezed her, she got scared, started crying and said, “Don’t do that, mommy.” And I about died with guilt and shame, sadness and remorse. 😦

What had I become? Who was this woman who has always had the patience of a saint when it came to her children suddenly causing one of them to be afraid of her?

I had a talk with Ava after that and told her that I was sorry and explained that I had been upset and frustrated and I shouldn’t have reacted that way.

Soon after that that I IM’d my husband Jody at work to tell him what happened and to tell him that I needed to do something to help myself and keep me from losing it like that again. I was scared of what I had done and knew that I needed to do something to prevent it from turning into a habit.

Thankfully, Jody was very supportive of me and never made me feel shameful for what I had done. Believe me, I felt bad enough all on my own. He was relieved that I told him what happened and said it was good that I could realize that I had a problem and want to do something about it.

Since I had had previous success with hypnosis (both Hypnobirthing and hypnotherapy while pregnant with Julian) in the past, I decided to email my friend and certified hypnotherapist to tell her what was going on with me and see if I could make an appointment. She responded and said that hypnosis could definitely help with my situation and we scheduled a time for me to meet with her.

The first part of my session was just like any therapy appointment. We talked a lot about what was going on in my life, how things are going with two kids, and more specifically about what was going on with me and my reactions to Ava. It was hard to admit that I’d scared her like I did, but it also felt somewhat freeing to get it off my chest. Of course I started crying when I told her about how Ava reacted and she could sense my guilt and sorrow at what I’d done. She immediately reassured me that while a lot of parents don’t talk about it, what I was going through was very normal. She spoke from personal experience about how hard it is to raise two young children and told me of her past struggles as well. I told her that while I figured it was normal, it was not a path I wanted to continue down. I told her I feel that I’ve inherited some bad traits – like feeling like I have to be in control and having a short fuse – and I want to do whatever I can to break the cycle. She agreed that wanting to change is good and said that there are things I can do to help me with my temper and keep me from losing my cool.

So we talked about some practical things I could put into effect to help myself.
1) Using Rescue Remedy – I used it a lot while I was pregnant but had forgotten about it since then.
2) If I feel like I’m getting close to the breaking point, put myself in “time out” for a minute or two, long enough so that I can calm down and act rationally. It’s something that Ava will understand and it will give me a break to regroup.
3) Implement a quiet time for 20-30 minutes each day with Ava and buy her a special timer. She gave up her naps before Julian was born, but I feel still needs some down time each day which she currently isn’t getting.
4) If everyone (me and the kids) seems to be having a bad day, change up the scenery. Take the kids for a walk, or go to the park or for a drive or something.
5) Call someone if I’m having a bad day.

The rest of the session was spent with the actual hypnosis, which lead to my identifying a “warning sign,” if you will, that I’m about to lose my cool, and coming up with a way to calm myself and act calmly. It was a long session, though it didn’t feel long at all to me while I was in hypnosis (funny how that works), and I came out of it feeling refreshed and thankful that I decided to give hypnosis a try.

So now I’m in the process of putting all of these things into action. I’ve already done a few of the practical things and they are helping me a lot. I also realized today that we (me and the kids) really do need to get out more during the week. We spend way too much time cooped up in our house. Now that the weather is being nicer and Julian isn’t a newborn, I feel more comfortable going out and doing more.

And the hypnosis seems to be working too. I feel much more empowered than I did before. I know this is something that I can control and fix if I continue to work on it and that is my plan. 🙂

So, there ya have it – my brutally honest post. There will likely be more in the future of the crunchy domestic goddess.

And are you up to the challenge of writing a raw, honest post too? Let me know if you do and I will link them all in a future post. Then we can all marvel at our honesty (something we need more of in this world) together. 🙂

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On a related topic, I recently learned about this great website called Enjoy Parenting. Scott Noelle, a parenting coach for Attachment Parenting-minded parents, sends a free (short) daily inspirational e-mail, called the Daily Groove, out to subscribers. I signed up for it and have been enjoying Scott’s emails and finding that I can apply so much of what he writes about to my parenting journey.

Here are a few Daily Grooves from the archive that I thought were particularly noteworthy and applicable to what I’ve been struggling with lately:

Transforming Anger, Part 1
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2006-07-27
Amongst peace-loving folks, anger gets a bad rap. This is because anger is usually present when violence is committed.

But anger is a form of energy that can be applied constructively, too. That was Nature’s intent.

Anger arises naturally whenever you perceive a loss of personal freedom or power. It’s there to energize you on your way back to your natural state of empowerment.

If you get angry about some behavior of your child, and then you scold, punish, or yell at him or her, you’re simply misdirecting the anger energy.

Just remember: the anger is there to uplift you, not to put down your child (or yourself). It’s there to help you break free from disempowering thoughts and reconnect with your Authentic Power.

Transforming Anger, Part 2
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2006-07-28
(Continued from Part 1)

The transformation of anger begins with acceptance. When you resist anger, it persists, escalates into rage, or descends into depression.

Accepting anger doesn’t mean tolerating violence. The compulsion to express anger violently is a byproduct of our “dominator” culture in which force is confused with Authentic Power.

That compulsion can be greatly reduced if you dis-identify with your anger, which you can do by observing or “witnessing” it.

Take a deep breath and locate the sensation of anger in your body. Use your intuition to sense its subtle qualities. Can you feel its “edges”? What is its “shape,” “color,” “temperature,” “weight,” etc.?

Put aside all thoughts of right and wrong for now. Just observe the physical sensation and be present with it.

You are not the anger. You are the Witness, observing the anger. Let yourself be curious and eager to discover what anger can reveal. It wants you to remember Who You Really Are.

Transforming Anger, Part 3
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2006-07-31

(Continued from Part 2)

Once you make peace with your anger, you can harness it’s energy and use it creatively.

Remember, anger always arises from a perception of disempowerment. This must be a misperception because Who You Really Are is truly powerful!

So, to reconnect with your Authentic Power, the trick is to direct the anger at the misperception. Let yourself get really pissed off that this LIE has found its way into your mind! It’s a rude, obnoxious, uninvited guest!

Most important: Shift your thoughts as quickly as you can from being angry at the misperception to being determined to perceive the higher Truth. For example:

“Dammit! I’m sick and tired of believing that a child’s behavior can shut down my heart! My heart and the Infinite Love that fills it are so HUGE than nothing can stop them! Nothing but my belief, that is, but I’m NOT BUYING IT anymore! I AM powerful!! I CAN choose what I focus on!! And I AM DETERMINED to choose thoughts that open my heart!!!”

At this point in your thought process, you can really have some FUN with your aligned anger energy! For example:

“This is all bullsh*t anyway, because I know deep down that my kid is doing the best s/he can with what s/he’s got, and the real reason I’m mad is ‘cuz I’m imagining how my parents would react to that behavior… Like it’s any of their freakin’ business!! I don’t give a RIP what my parents, or the neighbors, or ‘society’ thinks about my choices! I AM FREE TO BE THE KIND OF PARENT I WANT TO BE!!!

Of course your thought process will vary depending on the situation. The overall strategy is to transform your anger into a passionate determination to connect with your Inner Power and Freedom.

Authentic empowerment feels WAY better than the shallow satisfaction of forced compliance. And once your heart is open again, all sorts of creative solutions will come flooding in!

Detoxifying Parental Guilt
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2007-03-16

Are you plagued by guilt whenever you fall short of your parenting ideals? Such guilt may seem a natural response, but it’s not… It’s cultural.

Our culture conditions people to believe that their worth depends on their behavior, so that when your behavior is “wrong” you doubt your self-worth, i.e., you feel guilty.

But if you knew absolutely that you are worthy of love and respect — unconditionally — you’d never feel guilty. You’d simply feel “off” whenever your behavior was out of alignment with your values.

That “off” feeling would be a welcome sign that you need to adjust your course. And with your self-worth beyond dispute, you’d be confident in your ability to get back on track.

So next time you feel parental guilt, say to yourself, “This has nothing to do with my inherent worth — that’s a given. I made a mistake, but I can learn from it. I got a little lost, but I’m finding my way.”

Radical Honesty
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2007-04-25

Hiding the truth (from yourself and/or others) is a constant energy drain. To free yourself from the burden of secrets and lies, you must cultivate the skill of radical honesty: willingness to reveal any truth, no matter how “unacceptable” it is. (See recommended book and website, below.)

Withholding truth is such an integral part of our culture that you probably don’t notice when you’re doing it. So, for today, pay close attention to your thoughts and expressions, and continually ask yourself, “Am I being as honest as I could be about that? Is there a deeper truth?”

Examples of “acceptable” dishonesty include saying you’re “fine” when you’re not, and not saying how you feel about the way your friend treats her child.

When you spot a white lie or withheld truth, notice how it feels in your body — the energy and effort required to distort or ignore your true feelings.

Then imagine being radically honest — telling it exactly like it is. If you could be that honest and keep your heart open, would you?

• Recommended book: Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton

 

He loves me, he really loves me April 12, 2007

Filed under: Attachment Parenting,Mothering,My life,Parenting — amygeekgrl @ 12:19 pm

Just another reason why I love my husband, Jody. He nominated me for two “blogger’s choice awards” – Best Parenting Blog and Hottest Mommy Blogger. <blush> Isn’t he a sweetie? It’s either that or he’s buttering me up for something. 😉

If you’d like to vote for me, please click the buttons below. Thanks! 🙂

Oh, and just for the record, you can vote for numerous blogs in each category, so just because you already vote for one blog for “best parenting blog” (or whatever) doesn’t mean you can’t vote for another.

 

My honor student was breast-fed, etc. April 6, 2007

I don’t talk about my Cafe Press store – Attached At The Hip – here very often, but I did want to share a few new things that I have going on there these days.

I am now offering a new bumper sticker – “My honor student was breast-fed.” There was a recent discussion on “The Lactivist” about a Dr. Phil episode where wet nursing and breast-feeding were discussed (negatively unfortunately) and a commenter came up with the saying and said someone should put it on a bumper sticker. So I took that liberty and hope others will as well. It’s a great, fun saying!

My honor student was breast-fed

In other news, many of my designs are now available in women’s plus sizes (16/18-32/34) – like the ever-popular “I make milk. What’s your superpower?”. If you see a design in the store that’s not in plus sizes yet, shoot me an email and I will take care of it.

If you haven’t been by the store lately, please check it out. There are a variety of shirts offered now (both short and long sleeve and in different colors). And always, if you have an idea for something attachment parenting/natural family living-related you’d like to see on a shirt, send me an email. Thanks! 🙂

 

I’m only dreaming April 4, 2007

Filed under: Attachment Parenting,Breastfeeding,Julian,Mothering — amygeekgrl @ 4:53 pm

I’ve been having a lot of bizarre dreams lately. Several have involved me leaving Julian somewhere without any expressed breast milk or any way of feeding him. It freaks me out!

In one dream (the first in this series), I left him in a parked car(!) in a parking garage, while I went to an amusement park! After spending a few hours at the park I remembered he was in there and I rushed back to the car to find him crying his head off. I could hear his cries as I tried to get to him. What an awful feeling. I remember thinking in my dream that I had hoped someone called the police so that he was at least being taken care of.

I dreamt last night that I went away to someplace tropical for a night with some friends. I left Julian with my mom. While I was at the resort, I realized that I hadn’t brought a breast pump or anything to store milk in while I was there. And then I realized that I hadn’t left any milk for him at home! I called my mom and could hear Julian crying and it was, again, just awful. I told her I’d leave and be home in 3 hours, but I knew he’d be upset that whole time waiting for me. 😦

What’s up with these crazy dreams? Perhaps I have some subconscious fear that I will leave him behind?? Ugh, they leave me feeling so unsettled. I hope I can find a way to stop them from recurring.

 

“…out like a lion!” March 29, 2007

Filed under: Attachment Parenting,Miscellaneous,Mothering — amygeekgrl @ 7:04 am

I thought my parents were joking when they asked yesterday if we had any snow. Apparently they knew something I didn’t. We woke up to about 4 inches of the white powder this morning and it’s still coming down! What the hell?! I was just getting used to the idea of spring being here. Whomever said “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb” was obviously confused.

By the way, I appreciate all of you who took time to leave your thoughts and comments on my last post. It was definitely good food for thought. My mom reminded me yesterday that motherhood is a full-time job and I agree, but I still want something more. I do think that many moms need balance in their lives to feel happy and fulfilled and the last issue of the AP Journal was full of great information on this subject.

However, Ninotchka pointed out that Julian is still just a baby and that’s a very good point. Perhaps I’m trying to jump back into things too soon. My motivation for getting back into photography now rather than in 6 months is that the weather is (er *was*) getting nice again which is a plus for someone who uses natural (sun) light, rather than studio lights.

Anyway, I have lots to think about as I try to find a way to balance it all so that everyone is happy. Is that possible? Time will tell.