"Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart."
~ Unknown

Monday, August 23, 2010

12 Weeks to Go! Diabetes Check...

Well I am 28 weeks now! My belly is growing and our baby is moving about all day. I am loving every moment of this pregnancy. I am also getting excited to meet our baby in about 12 weeks.

My husband and I have been busy doing some house renovations and getting the nursery ready. We decided to do a pink and brown nursery. It is going to look amazing once it is done. Hopefully I will get the room all put together tomorrow. We also made a couple big purchases for our little girl. Our stroller, car seat, playpen, and crib have now all been bought. I had the hardest time making up my mind about exactly which playpen, stroller, and car seat I wanted. Thankfully my husband was with me to help me finally make up my mind. If I can make any suggestions for a mom to be who has not yet started shopping I would say don't over look. I looked at everything, everywhere so many times that nothing seemed "wonderful" to me. I am now very happy with the purchases we have made.

Today I had to do the one thing that I heard everyone dreads during pregnancy; the diabetes check. I must say that I was told that this orange stuff I was going to have to drink would be thick like syrup and taste like undiluted orange pop. I am happy to report that I didn't find it overly bad. It wasn't thick at all! Thin like water. The taste though is not the greatest but not as bad as everyone made it seem. Sitting there for an hour waiting was the worst part. I felt very light headed and really wanted to drink some water. Even after I finally got to leave I still was light headed and really just needed some water to make me feel better. For all of you who have not yet done this test don't worry about it. It isn't the greatest tasting stuff but it is not unbearable.

Well 12 weeks to go until we meet our little girl. We now have doctors appointments every 2 weeks instead of 4. Our doctor here in Brooks does not do deliveries so we will also be switching doctors in the next couple weeks. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why I Choose to Breastfeed

“Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Month!” This is the line that I have repeated over and over to people as I have breast fed my baby anywhere that he has been hungry. What a wonderful time to be able to help raise awareness that breastfeeding is a wonderful thing for moms and babies everywhere.

Isn’t technology amazing?! It is hard to believe that I can carry with me a phone that can send pictures over it and now videos to someone across the world. The world is changing so quickly, however science has never been able to duplicate the formula that makes up mother’s milk. For more information on this check out:  What Every Parent Should Know About Infant Formula.

My body can create for my child the most advanced combination of nutritional and beneficial ingredients to sustain my child’s health. From my mammary glands I produce the most complex combination of antibodies for fighting germs and giving my son the best possible start so that he can explore the complexities of the world with his mouth and with his tongue feel the textures of whatever he can get his hands on. Unfortunately no matter how many times I remove the bits of paper, mud, and sticks from my baby’s mouth he continues to shove something else back in as soon as he can. I shake my head but feel better knowing that by nursing my babe I am giving him what he needs to fight bacteria and that he will develop a stronger immune system because of it.

I was fortunate and breastfeeding for me came very naturally and I have had three babies who have fully enjoyed their time spent at the breast. There is something so beautiful about the quiet time spent with a baby nourishing them at your breast, staring down into the deep trusting eyes of my newborn as he stares back up at me eyes brimming with unconditional love. Those quiet peaceful moments can never be taken away and carry a mother through the trials of raising little ones. Is it no wonder that looking at a sleeping child renews that love that was formed while bonding with the child as a babe at the breast?

Can you imagine what a wonderful place the mother’s breast must be for the newborn? So much of who we are is formed before we can even remember it. My sister told me that her daughter has a preference for the color orange and recalled that the nursing cover she used with her daughter was orange. I still have memories as a child of being held in my mother’s lap and feeling that it was the warmest, most comfortable place in the world. Memories that probably connect back even further than I can recall. For my own babes my breast is a place that they come to for peace and quiet, when it is time to rest, to quiet fears and comfort pain. I am so grateful for my ability to give my children so much through breastfeeding. I feel sad for those who struggle with breastfeeding and have difficulties with lactation. Remember that giving your milk to your child for the first time is something that is a learning experience for both you and your babe. The newborn is not born with the instructions for breastfeeding. It is a time where both of you must learn together and work together. Do not get frustrated if it seems that you are doing things wrong. Breastfeeding should be unforced and natural and can be difficult and even painful. However, persistence usually pays off and can benefit you and your newborn.

Our current culture is a place where breastfeeding is considered to be out of the norm. It makes me laugh to go to the beach and see bikinis with so much skin showing and yet I get thrown awkward, uncomfortable glances while nursing with my baby latched on and my skin covered by my shirt or a blanket. I feel like I need to nurse publicly to help people see that breastfeeding is normal. I hope that others will join me in spreading breastfeeding awareness. My favourite breastfeeding quote I read on a poster said, “It’s not about my right to breastfeed. It’s about my baby’s right to eat.” Every time I feel uncomfortable about being stared at while providing nourishment for my baby I remember that it is not about me and my baby deserves the right to eat when he is hungry regardless of my insecurities. My baby also does not deserve to be fed in a dirty bathroom. I would not want to eat in a place that smelled of excrement.

I have been fortunate that my babies have stood up for their rights by demanding food (quite loudly) and refusing to eat while covered with a blanket forcing me to get over my embarrassment and put my babies needs before my comfort. I have learned to be flexible and supportive of my babies needs. I have also been a mother with children who have felt the need to breastfeed for an extended period. I recently read somewhere that the average breastfeeding age in the world is three years. So I have realized that although among my peers I may stand out as being different, I am well below the average in the world since I usually wean around two years. It is hard for me to quit giving breast milk to my babies until they are ready since I cannot find anything that is as beneficial and supportive of natural growth as the milk that is produced by my breast. I have also not been in a hurry to quit breastfeeding because I use my breast milk quite frequently for other purposes besides just feeding my baby.

Did you know that because of the natural antibodies and healing properties of breast milk it can be used for many other purposes besides just the nourishment of an infant? I use my breast milk frequently on my skin as it is a wonderful and natural cleanser and helps to clear acne and prevent wrinkles. When my baby has goop in the corner of his eye I squirt him in the eye with breast milk to clean it and the immunities in the breast milk help to heal the infection. After breastfeeding I squirt a little milk to rub on my breasts to prevent nipple soreness and cracking. Breastmilk can be used for so many purposes from itchy mosquito bites to sexual lubricant. For more great uses for breast milk check out this website:  Breast Milk and Its Many Uses.

Please consider breastfeeding if you have not before and if you are not a mother then be supportive of those around you who are trying to breastfeed. If you see a mother trying to breastfeed do not make her uncomfortable by trying to avoid looking at her. Look her in the eyes and smile at her. It is so good for babies to have breast milk from their mothers. Remember that it is about the baby and the baby has the right to eat wherever and whenever they are hungry and to have the best start to their lives with natural mother’s milk. If you were breast fed thank your own mother for giving you such a great start in life.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Career or Calling?

I've never been a typical "career woman."  I don't identify with high-powered corporate scenes.  Before motherhood, I worked for two busy accounting firms.  While such employment was financially rewarding, I wasn't all that motivated to become an executive.  I longed for more meaningful work.  

Eventually, following the births of my children, I was drawn to support families throughout the childbearing year.  I wasn't immediately sure which avenue to take or how it to go about it all, but I knew I had to do something.  Our family had benefited from the support of a doula, so it made sense to look into becoming one myself.  I was struck by the selflessness of the work.  The most amazing doulas I met, the ones I would most like to have as my own, had such giving hearts. They gave not only of their time, their expertise, but they truly asked little in return.  These doulas did not view their work as a business venture or a "job."  They did not turn families away due to economic or social standing.  No, to them, such work as a doula, literally a servant or slave, was a calling rather than a career.  That is the kind of doula I wanted to be, and still do.

From time to time I am asked about how one pursues a career as a doula or in the childbirth field... Such questions make me truly uncomfortable.  If I were to speak bluntly and merely looking at dollars and cents, I would  say that it is not realistic to expect to make a living as a doula.  If I were to answer by looking more deeply at the true spirit of a doula, I would say that one should not aspire to make a living as a doula.  

The life of a doula should not be a career, it is not a job... it is work - wholistic, unselfish, work of the heart.  We care, we give of our hearts, our souls, our hands...  It is emotional, raw, and intense.  Yes, we must be knowledgeable about the physiological and psychological processes of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period; however, we must also respect and hold the space of the spiritual and emotional beauty and trials of the miracle of birth.  We must show unconditional love and support to the childbearing family.  There are times when we mourn with these families as well as rejoice with them.  

We do not punch a clock.  We serve.