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Thank you for visiting Mother Nurture!  Here you will find information about various services offered by me, Brandy Ferner.

My mission is to support women (and men) in their transition into parenthood with love, acceptance and guidance towards what works best for them and their family. There is not one “right” way to birth, parent or live. I have found that we can easily hold onto and follow ideals and beliefs that are not necessarily our own, but what we were brought up to think, what society thinks or what other, “better” moms believe. There is no better mom. You are it and you are brilliant. Believe that and love yourself for all that you are (instead of focusing on what you are not). Life looks and feels a whole lot better this way – try it!

If you want a customized, simple, organized weekly dinner planner so you can stop the last minute dinner scramble and enjoy making home-cooked meals for your family without the stress, click here or on the Dinners tab above.

If you are looking for information about and dates for my Birthing From Within classes, please click here or on the Birthing From Within tab above.

If you are looking for information about and dates for my Birth Story Medicine workshops, please click here or on the Birth Story Medicine tab above.

If you are looking for information about and dates for my Mamas Circle, please click here or on the Mamas Circle tab above.

If you are looking for a wonderful, supportive resource for those Trying To Conceive (TTC), please click here.

If you want to contact me, you can do so by email at brandyferner@gmail.com or by phone at 720-515-7545.

Much love,

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online viagra forumDoes this sound familiar?… You make a stop by Whole Foods for something special that only they carry (such as tiny tube of sunscreen for $20) and then you realize that you need something else – black beans, granola bars, eggs or what have you.  You think to yourself, “Ugh, I need these things, but I refuse to pay Whole Foods prices for stuff I know I can get cheaper somewhere else.”  You have to make a big decision – do you A. only buy your tiny tube of sunscreen and drive to the cheaper store to get your other things while you’re child(ren) whine and beg to go home as you push yet another giant car cart around like you’re driving a unwieldy snowblower or do you B. suck it up, buy what you need at Whole Foods cuz you sure as hell aren’t going to drag the kids to one more store, yet feel guilty and shake your fist the entire way home knowing that Whole Foods “got” you yet again?

I find myself in this debacle quite often and the choice I make usually depends upon my mood, how much time I have before one of us needs to eat and the behavior of my child.  Because my family tends to eat more organic, “healthy” stuff (don’t get me wrong, Pop Tarts are in our pantry as well), I find myself driving around like a courier, picking up one thing from one store, then on to the next, all the while having to logistically figure out how to not have all the food melt in the car (winters rule – I can go to three stores without going home in between!).  I dream of a mall where there is a Whole Foods and a King Soopers.  Okay, I’ll be honest, what I really dream about is having a Trader Joe’s here.  But let’s not get off topic…

So, I wondered, “Is Whole Foods really more expensive?”  It’s true that I often leave there $50 poorer and carrying only one bag of groceries, but could that be because they’re just more efficient at bagging?!  And what about the other stores I go to… how do they measure up?  The formulator and efficiency nut in my head woke up from their long winter’s slumber and we set out on a journey to find out if Whole Foods really did take us to the cleaners every time we shopped there and how the other stores compared.  My goal was to find out vital information that would essentially make my life easier and help me eat organic and healthily without breaking the bank.  Either Whole Foods was the devil and I would have the evidence or if it wasn’t… then what?  Would that mean I could actually shop there without having a chip on my shoulder?

With pen and paper in hand, I started my mission and went down aisle after aisle after aisle and scribbled down the prices for items that my family commonly uses.  Once I collected my data, I typed it all out in Excel and deliciously starting looking for patterns and who was cheapest and who was gouging and on what.  I then tallied up what the exact same cart of groceries would cost at each place.  Hitting the auto sum button was like Christmas morning to me.  Since, I’m in Denver, Colorado, the stores I studied were Natural Grocers (Vitamin Cottage), Sunflower Market, King Soopers, Safeway (a branch of the CA store, Vons) and of course, Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck – a checker at Trader Joe’s told me that once).  My findings are just a snapshot based on one day of price-checking.  Had I gone another week, things may have turned out a little differently, but I think overall the patterns would’ve been the same.

So, drumroll please!…… Whole Foods is NOT the most expensive of those stores!!  Who knew?  The way the data broke down was that the cart of groceries was most expensive at Safeway ($172.10), next most expensive at Sunflower Market ($170.54), in the middle at Whole Foods ($166.31), second cheapest at King Soopers ($156.73) and cheapest at Natural Grocers ($153.88).

What I also found was that things weren’t so black and white – even though Natural Grocers and King Soopers came out on top as the cheapest, there are certain items that are actually cheaper at the more expensive stores (even Whole Foods)!  Which makes me feel a bit crazy because if I really want the keep my budget in check, I am going to have to keep up my flitting around from store to store and also know what to get and what to avoid and where.  If that sounds like insanity for you (and admittedly, it does to me too), then take solace in the fact that the difference between the most expensive groceries and the least expensive groceries is $18.22.  If that doesn’t sound like a lot to you, then shop wherever you are called to shop, my friend!  But if you want to know how each store breaks down and what to avoid and where, read on…

STORE FINDINGS:

Natural Grocers (Vitamin Cottage) – I was shocked by this one.  I thought for sure they would be in the middle or the most expensive.  So much for researchers not having a bias.  One of the items that is the cheapest by far at Natural Grocers is meat.  They have a very very limited selection of it, but their organic, free range chicken breasts were $5.99 per pound vs. most other stores at $7.99-$8.99 per pound.  They also had the best price on almonds, almond butter, and frozen blueberries.  The downfall of Natural Grocers is just how limited their selection is.  They barely have a produce section, so if you’re trying to put together a dinner and they don’t happen to have the produce you need, you’ll find yourself joining me in Courierville.

King Soopers – it came in a close second and personally, I don’t mind paying the $2.84 difference between it and Natural Grocers to have the selection of King Soopers.  And, I can now stop laughing at how hilarious it is for a store to call itself the King (and misspell and misuse the word “super”) because, well, it really is the King and it really is sooper super.  What I like about King Soopers is that it offers good prices across the board.  So, that’s where I’m going to be doing my basic shopping.  I also like that King Soopers seems to stock more organic items and natural brands as well as having some items under their own organic brand (Private Selection).  At King Soopers, they have a wide selection of natural stuff and not-so-natural stuff (remember those Pop Tarts?), and their prices are just better – for example: Pelligrino is regularly $1.59 there, which beat out everyone else’s prices, even when on sale at the other places.

Whole Foods – what a pleasant surprise this was.  What I found with Whole Foods is that they are steady and in the middle.  Aside from their insanely cheap organic quinoa ($2.99 regular price while all other brands were over $4), they do not have many killer deals, but they also aren’t going to rake you across the coals – unless of course, you veer off into buying things that only they carry.  I found that they have a pretty solid, comparable price with things that you can get at regular grocery stores (many times the same price as other stores and never more than 75 cents more), but once you go for one of their local, handmade salsas, for example, you’re in for it.  Not to say that it’s not worth it – my favorite salsa is local and I get it a Whole Foods – but just know that that’s where Whole Foods goes from being average-priced to shaking you upside down and emptying your pockets.  My budget-saving strategy in Whole Foods is to get what I came for and keep my head down – don’t be lured by the chalkboard signs and the way it feels like a bustling European market – head down and keep moving.  The other aspect of Whole Foods that can have you hemorrhaging money is their produce.  They were more expensive in this area across the board.  And, they carry lots of organic produce (which is great for people who choose to eat organic and can afford to), but if you want to save some pennies and pick up an avocado while you’re there, you’re gonna have to shell out $2 – for one avocado (and it wasn’t even an organic one).  It can be a dangerous trap to find yourself at Whole Foods quickly coming up with a dinner plan and needing, for example, a tomato, basil and avocado and then you finding yourself paying top dollar for all of those things just because you’re getting them at Whole Foods.  On the upside, Whole Foods has a huge selection of organic produce (and other food), so if you are a strict organic eater, you will most-likely find what you need there (whereas you may not at mainstream grocery stores).

Sunflower Market – this one has me stumped.  I always thought they were the cheapest, after all, their (weird) motto is “Serious food, silly prices,” but now when I read that again, I see that they are right – their prices are silly (not necessarily low).  Sunflower Market is a great place to get produce, especially on Wednesdays when they have double savings (the sales from the last week overlap with sales from the upcoming week).  They have a bit of organic produce and the prices are okay, but where Sunflower shines is with its cheap conventional produce and sales.  Where Sunflower Market doesn’t shine is basically everywhere else except coffee ($8.99 per pound organic and fair trade!). Sunflower Market had the most sale items, yet in some cases, their sale price was more expensive than another store’s regular price.  That is pretty silly!  For example: Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch Dressing at Sunflower Market on sale is $3.59 but regular price at Whole Food’s it’s $2.99.  And whatever you do, do not buy Horizon String Cheese here because it’s $6.99 and only $4.99 at Whole Foods and King Soopers (that’s the biggest price difference spread out of all of these items).  The items that were the cheapest at Sunflower Market were cage free eggs, canned black beans and Luna bars when they caught on sale.

Safeway – this one is actually not a shocker to me.  When I moved to Denver, a friend told me that she had noticed that Safeway was always more expensive than King Soopers.  Apparently, Safeway is starting to be aware of this because as I was price-checking there, I saw lots of tags that said, “New lower prices!”  Problem is, they still aren’t quite low enough to get me to shop there regularly.  What did get me to shop there regularly was their own line of organic food – O Organics.  There are some items they carry in this brand that are cheaper than Whole Foods and other natural brands but it appears that overall, Safeway is more expensive across the board.  I have also found that Safeway has a limited selection of organic and natural foods (which could be because the one near me is smaller).  There were a handful of items that every other store carried except for Safeway, such as Udi’s Gluten Free Bread, Seventh Generation Diapers and Lara Bars.  The two items that were actually cheapest at Safeway were both sale items: bananas and Rudi’s Organic Bread.

My goal of this self-imposed research project was to make my life easier – to know where I should be going and also avoiding so that I can hopefully have less places to go to or, if I do have to keep driving around to different stores for different items, at least I’ll know it’s worth it and that it’s really stretching my food dollar (Airplane! quote alert!)  And even though there is a lot of data here, what I am taking away from this is that when I’m torn between King Soopers and Safeway, I will choose King Soopers.  When I am at Whole Foods and realize I need Cheddar Bunnies, I will just buy them and let myself of the hook.  When I am at Sunflower Market, getting great deals on produce and coffee, I will think twice about getting other things – even if they’re on sale.  I will remember that things are a bit silly there.  When I get a hankering for some meat, I will stop by Natural Grocers, grab some chicken breasts and pick up some almonds or almond butter for my vegetarian husband and son.  And, I will try to avoid Safeway, even though it’s my closest grocery store (shaking fist).

You may have gleaned something completely different from this, such as, “Wow, Brandy sure is odd – how could someone spend this much energy on grocery pricing?!” and you may be right.  But, as my website, writing and work conveys, my passion really is helping supporting other moms (and really, everyone – myself included) so that they/we can breathe a little easier, feel a bit empowered, not have to make just one more stop and to know that they aren’t the only ones hauling their kids to the next store just on the sheer principle that one avocado should not cost two dollars.

* ETA: I just got back from shopping at King Soopers and to my surprise, their avocados were also $2!  Two lessons here: one is that once again, Whole Foods and King Soopers have comparable prices and two is that I am no longer in California where avocados are dirt cheap (or close to it).

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I wanted to gather and share some real life stories from all different types of births that are intended to inspire, enlighten and bring up internal questions while also being mindful and useful. I interviewed a variety of friends and family – some moms and some dads – and asked them, a handful of questions.  Their answers can be found here…

What do you wish you had known before giving birth?

What surprised you most about giving birth?

What was your strongest moment during birth?

When did you feel like you couldn’t go on?  How did you?

What surprised you about post-partum?

Aside from grilling them about what I specifically wanted to know, I asked them if there was anything else they wanted to share about their journey and here’s what they had to say…

-  (Dad) Our OBGYN had a brilliant answer to one of our worrisome questions:  ”Why isn’t our baby doing X, Y or Z?”  He coolly said, “Some babies don’t read the manual.”

-  (Dad) Having a baby has definitely made me more compassionate and less concerned about frivolous things in life, helped me prioritize my life in a more healthy way I think, like structuring it around people and experiences and love more than anything else. And even on days when it’s really hard I feel like it’s always making me a better person ultimately.

-  (Mom) The further away from the birth I get, the more I idealize it. Looking back, it was exciting and almost romantic, whereas, in the moment, it was more scary and weirdly lonely (ultimately, I was giving birth on my own even though my partner was there and supportive).

-  (Mom) Full disclosure, the administration of the epidural hurt a lot.  It took my breath away and felt like I was being stabbed in the back with a knife.  But it was relatively quick and once the epidural kicked in, I said “God Bless America!”  (My native country’s healthcare doesn’t pay for epidurals.)

-  (Mom) I was so worried about my baby properly feeding and my breasts were killing me, but my milk just wasn’t there.  I called the hospital several times and asked for advice.  I even made an appointment to get breastfeeding help from a nurse, but hours before our appointment, my milk finally came in!

-  (Mom) If any of your friends are giving you too much unwelcome advice, don’t talk to those friends for a while.  Some ex-friends of mine were the cause of the most stress for me.

-  (Mom) I really enjoyed giving birth.  I wasn’t afraid of it and it was an enjoyable experience.  I was excited to see my baby, excited to know her hair color, the sound of her voice, etc.

-  (Mom) I just am glad that I talked to a lot of friends and got their experiences before my labor. I really made it a point to talk to as many mothers and expectant mothers about their labor and tricks that would help me survive.

-  (Mom) For my first baby, it helped me to walk and walk and walk outdoors during the early stages of my labor.

-  (Mom) I had meant to be in the hospital-housed birth center, but since it was Veterans’ Day, there weren’t enough nurses to staff this nice room all outfitted for a hands-off, natural birth.  So I was in the regular birthing ward, and my midwife had to keep shooing away the anesthesiologist.  I had a nice nurse who didn’t have to do anything, my two sisters and my then-boyfriend, now-husband.  I didn’t even notice the decor, or use any of the accoutrements, though I was in and out of the bath the entire time.  I just needed to do my thing, and that probably would have been just as possible wherever I was, since I was out of my head with pain.  I had IV fluids — I guess because of the throwing up? — but only intermittent monitoring.  Apparently a lot of the nurses on the floor hung around outside my room so that they could hear what an un-medicated birth sounded like.

- (Mom) It all goes by so fast. I get puddley thinking about it. Each stage is so magical. There are difficult moments not just in your birth, but in your baby raising where you think, “I’ll never get through this. I won’t make it to the other side”, and then it’s over and you think, “that wasn’t that bad.” Remember to have patience and that there is no right or wrong way to do or live through anything. There is just the way you are doing it right now and accept that that is ok.

- (Mom) I think that birth is an incredibly personal thing, and everyone has to find their way, spiritually and physically.  Being judgmental with oneself and others is totally counterproductive.  Before giving birth, I said that out loud, but I didn’t really believe it.  Now I see that one can be trying 110% and still not get “perfect” results.  We have to trust each women to trust herself and her own instincts since she knows her baby and her body best.  She will make the best decision, as long as she is informed and supported.

- (Mom) I also see how critical the support of others is to the process.  Without support, I don’t think I could have gotten through it, honestly.  I would be still be trying to push that little baby out.

- (Mom) At one point, I was really scared of being a mother.  I told this to the baby in my belly, and she told me not to be scared.  She said that there was no one else who could have been her mother since I am the one who conceived her, and that we were made for each other and that we were a perfect match of mother and daughter. That gave me a lot of strength to prepare for the birth and being a confident mother.

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If someone asks us about our post-partum experience, how on Earth do we say something useful and honest without stammering, putting our hand to our head and getting lost in the vortex of our sleep deprivation memories?  The experience is never-ending and therefore we have years of experiences to pull from when trying to give a coherent answer.  Should I talk about how long I bled or should I talk about the intensity of my love for my child or maybe about how long it took us to have sex again – no, maybe I’ll talk about how painful it was to nurse at first or about that massive blowout in public.  Refining our answer down to a solid gem could take hours – or days.

I wanted to gather some real life post-partum experiences to share with expectant moms and dads that got right to the meat of the topic.  I interviewed a variety of friends and family – some moms and some dads – with the hopes that their answers would inspire, enlighten, and bring up internal questions while also being mindful and useful.  I asked them, “What surprised you about post-partum?” and here are their juicy answers…

-  (Mom) Lots of change and drama came up with family & work the days after babe came, and I just didn’t want to deal with it.  I just wanted us to sit, stare & appreciate our little one.  This was harder on my husband.

-  (Mom) That it would take a while before I felt like everything wasn’t going to fall out afterwards!  That my stomach muscles would be useless at first, but would bounce back quickly.

-  (Mom) That I’d feel like not doing much more than laying around for about a month.  That I would want someone there to feed me and assist me, so I could not have to worry about things like how to make my dinner – I could just enjoy baby and eat!

-  (Mom) How long it took me to feel like myself.  I thought I’d be up and at-em soon after, but nope.

-  (Dad) My wife was brought to painful tears during the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding.  How can evolution be so dumb!?  The good news is it’s only temporary pain.

-  (Dad) I wish I would have known how over-protective I would start to feel, it’s taken me so long to shake some of that and maybe knowing about beforehand I would have recognized what I was feeling and could relax about things more, like I am now.

-  (Dad) Feeling over-protective.  Some of that was cool, like animal instincts kicking in but another side was clearly driven by fear of my life’s baggage that I was projecting onto our situation, needless stress and worry that I’m excited to hopefully not experience or keep in better check the next time around.

-  (Mom) That I couldn’t do as much as I expected and that it would require so much recovery.

-  (Mom) I wasn’t as depressed as I thought I would be and I was surprised to feel a connection to the baby even though it’s not reciprocating/giving back. I thought it would be hard to connect to an unresponsive lump but it wasn’t.

-  (Mom) I wish I had known about the aftercare and been told to stay in bed – I was up trying to behave like moms who had vaginal births (walking around, etc.), when I should have just stayed in bed for two weeks to recover.  I forgot to treat it like major surgery and probably hindered my healing.

-  (Dad) I think the hard part here is that since all babies are different, you don’t necessarily know what you will have to deal with. Our baby, for example, was/is a pretty bad sleeper.  Baby #2 might sleep through the night, but won’t be able to breastfeed or something.

-  (Dad) Having a baby requires much more work than I thought it would, AND it is much more rewarding than I thought it would be.  At the same time, I think I was a little surprised how natural it all came to me (even though it has been difficult).  I did not grow up with younger siblings, I had never changed a diaper, I had never rocked a baby to sleep.  With all of the prep work you do, reading books and everything, when the baby is actually there, regardless of what you have read, the basics sort of come easy.

-  (Mom) Breast feeding hurts like a bitch.  All the nurses said, “If it hurts, you’re doing something wrong,” but that’s just not true.  The first two weeks or so hurt really bad, but they got better after that.  Also breastfeeding is a cue to the uterus to start contracting/shrinking back to its former size.  That felt like the most intense menstrual pain I ever had.  Because of all my aches and pains, I was super uptight and I kept getting strained shoulder muscles.

-  (Mom) I never felt depressed before, but I had a little post-partum depression.  Four days after giving birth, I could only think about death.  What if my husband dies or I die?  Who will look after our baby?

-  (Mom) That if you’re breastfeeding, you will be hungry and it’s OK to eat. That I shouldn’t try to lose weight at this time. To allow yourself ample time to rest, heal, and feed your body what it needs and what it is asking for.

-  (Mom) The length of time you bleed after delivering vaginally. I bled for nearly 8 weeks! And passed huge clots of blood!

-  (Mom) That breastfeeding can be difficult and that having a really good lactation consultant is a huge help!   Also, that it may seem like a great idea to allow all sorts of family members come and stay with you to “help” … but, DON’T DO IT unless you are 100% confident that:  (a) they will actually be “helpful” to you, and (b) the chemistry between you will be good despite pain, lack of sleep and general emotional overload.  Both times I wound up limping around my house cleaning up, doing laundry, making meals, etc. while my “help” held my baby.  Words cannot express how frustrating it was.

-  (Mom) The “happy baby bubble” … Things around my house were really tough after both of my children were born — house guests making messes, relatives acting crazy, bronchitis and a sinus infection, boobs refusing to make milk, etc.  And, all of these things did totally upset and frustrate me … yet, not in the way that it would have otherwise because I was in such a “zen” place — in the “bubble” with my babies and untouchable in a way that I had never been before and haven’t been since.

-  (Mom) That your belly doesn’t magically go away, that you may feel jiggly and flappy and it’s soo nice to wrap your belly up post partum to relieve that “my organs are falling out” feeling.

-  (Mom) That it’s okay to not have visitors right away or call everyone right away…to sleep as much as possible and definitely take a babymoon in bed for a week or two if possible.  (Learned that for #2 and it made a difference).

-  (Mom) That I had a real, live, actual baby/person to care for 24 hrs a day all of a sudden!  Ha.

-  (Mom) It is a very fuzzy and strange period.  I’m not sure I was myself during that time.  The smallest things seem really hard–so don’t pressure yourself too much to do anything–but when you do do something hard, like go out for someone’s event, or perform in some way, or do something you don’t feel like, you will feel proud of yourself.  So it’s important to push your boundaries once in awhile.

- (Mom) I was really down for about a week after my daughter was born.  I have to say the loneliness was what surprised me most.  It only lasted about a week, but I wish I had know ahead of time that that could and would be happening.  I felt like a selfish person because I was now stuck with this baby who would take up all my free time.  I was worried my marriage would never be the same because my husband and I could no longer, just go out to eat or to a movie on a whim like we’d always used to.  Also, I felt like I would never see my husband again because I would sleep and he would be up with the baby and vice versa.  I felt so isolated and as the day wore on and it got darker outside, I felt worse and worse, because I knew night was coming and I would be all alone with her while my husband was asleep in the other room.  It was the worst kind of lonely feeling, but like I said, it only lasted about a week.

-  (Mom) I didn’t think I would be so tired that I wouldn’t be able to get up or walk around much for two whole weeks!  I think most of this tiredness was due to the birth, but also a lot of it was due to not getting any sleep during the labor period.

Want more?…

What do you wish you had known before giving birth?

What surprised you most about giving birth?

What was your strongest moment during birth?

When did you feel like you couldn’t go on?  How did you?

Random thoughts on birth and post-partum

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One of the cliches of labor is that you will get to a point where you feel like you simply cannot. go. on.  What an intense moment(s).  To feel like you cannot do it any longer, but to know that you have to.  The only way out is through.  We hear each other talk about these moments during birth where we wanted to throw in the towel and sometimes we have a laugh at how absurd we were in that foggy place of Laborland (“I’m leaving and I’m not doing this!”)  But there are little nuggets of wisdom somewhere in there that we can share with expectant moms – how did we manage to press on when we thought we simply couldn’t?  What tools did we use?

I wanted to gather and share some real life stories from all different types of birth that are intended to inspire, enlighten and bring up internal questions while also being mindful and useful. I interviewed a variety of friends and family – some moms and some dads – and asked them, “When did you feel like you couldn’t go on during birth?  How did you manage to?”  Here are their juicy answers…

-  (Mom) During the pushing and I pushed on because my body made me.  Everything was coming out – there was no turning back.  Also the motivation of a beautiful baby at the end.

-  (Mom) There wasn’t a moment I thought I couldn’t go on, but a moment I was afraid of going deeper. I felt I’d be overwhelmed, that it’d be too intense.  As soon as I said the fear, and got validation for it, I must have released it because I went for it.  Being verbal for me was very important…and not verbal to scream, but verbal to express every emotion.  To talk to babe to talk to myself to talk out whatever I needed to.  I was mostly talking to myself…not expecting a response, but sometimes it helped to talk to a friend/husband or midwife.

-  (Dad) My wife had some tearing from the last big push, and I kind of panicked unnecessarily.  I’m okay with the sight of blood, but the hospital spotlight didn’t help any, so I just looked at my new baby and hoped that the doctor would do his thing.

-  (Dad) I never really got to a place like this, I don’t think. It really felt so fast to me and then in retrospect relatively smooth, with exception to back labor and then the midwife needlessly worrying about the time that the baby had been under water suggesting my wife should push hard, but besides that stuff I never felt that kind of “I’m so spent I can’t go on any longer thing” that so many birthers go through.

-  (Mom) When I was about to have the Cesarean, I was terrified, lying on the table, shaking with fever and I couldn’t move because they were cutting me open – it was a clausterphobia unlike I’ve ever felt and I got through it by breathing but mostly because I was surrendering to the fact that I had no choice.

-  (Dad) I never did. During the first 24 hours, when the contractions were not super-super intense, when our Doula arrived, I took a short nap in the room for 20 minutes or so, but that was mainly to preserve some energy for later.  It never occurred to me that I couldn’t go on.

-  (Mom) During those contractions at the end. I listened to music that inspired me to go forth and conquer!

-  (Mom) When the decision was made that we needed to do a Cesarean, I surrendered and while I was afraid and shaking and barely able to get words out … I didn’t have a full on panic attack … I just acknowledged that I was scared shitless, gave myself permission to be scared, made a joke about my shaking hands, and tried to find a way to take my mind off things while we waited (and waited and waited) for an operating room.

-  (Mom) I threw up after every single contraction during all 9 hours.  That was so terrible–no break after the contractions, just nausea and vomiting.  I pressed on because my older sister, at a moment we were alone, told me if I made it through, she would take the baby and raise him and I could run away to Mexico to do yoga on the beach.

- (Mom) There was a moment when I considered getting an epidural.  I was in a super hot tub, with a very uncomfortable pitocin drip poking my arm, in tons of pain, and utterly exhausted.  I am guessing this was around the time I was going through transition, and having my husband there say to me, “Let’s try another 1/2 hour, then we can re-evaluate,” was key.  I could see that he believed in me, and I just trusted him.  I didn’t even think about the drugs after that.

Want more?…

What do you wish you had known before giving birth?

What surprised you most about giving birth?

What was your strongest moment during birth?

What surprised you about post-partum?

Random thoughts on birth and post-partum

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Rarely do we hear women talk about when they felt strong during birth.  We usually hear about their weakest moments, and although there is value in knowing both sides of the coin, by not talking about the strength and positivity we felt during our labors, we are robbing expectant mothers of the truth of labor – that it has moments of intense power and “Wonder Woman-ness.”  The simple act of sharing our moments of strength during labor gives mamas-to-be permission to feel confident, strong and to put their game face/red boots on.

I wanted to gather and share some real life stories from all different types of birth that are intended to inspire, enlighten and bring up internal questions while also being mindful and useful. I interviewed a variety of friends and family – some moms and some dads – and asked them, “What was your strongest moment during birth?”  Here are their juicy answers…

-  (Mom) My strongest moment in labor was the last 15 minutes before I started pushing.  I felt the “ring of fire” and crazy contractions and the things that kept me going were holding on to the bed rail, closing my eyes and breathing really deeply.

-  (Dad) I think being restrained and just letting things happen, not interfering with my wife and how strong and focused and powerful she was. Just being okay with being kind of on the periphery, giving her sips of water/Gatorade, making tea, monitoring things and just being present. Not needing a “task” to do, I guess. And then I think I take a strange pride in having had to clean the birth tub afterwards.  I feel like that was possibly my strongest moment, we were both tired, our baby was born, it was the middle of the night and it was just the 3 of us now… and I had a job to do with cleaning the tub. And it was like no problem for me whatsoever, not gross, not anything but stoked at how awesome my wife was and that I get to help in this way. I don’t know why that makes me so proud, but it does. Maybe because I knew it was something that I could actually do to make things better for us and that always feels good.

-  (Dad) I’m not sure, actually.  I tried to be as supportive as possible the whole time. During birth, time sort of moves differently than it does normally (I’m sure more so for the woman).  I suppose I was probably the most supportive during the final few hours when it was really intense.  During this time, I made sure that I was close to my wife helping her out however I could, telling her how great she was doing, etc.

-  (Mom) Pushing with my second.  I was aware and felt so much of the sliding in and out and kept it slow.  I was standing in a squat and I felt so strong in those moments…primally strong.

-  (Mom) How powerful I felt. I didn’t scared; suddenly I was powerful and in control.

-  (Mom) When I was able to joke about the ring of fire right when it arrived.

- (Mom) My strongest moment in labor was toward the end of the pushing phase.  At that point, I had already decided with the midwife and a doctor at the hospital that we were going to try the vacuum to move my baby along since labor was progressing so slowly.  They warned me that we could try it 3 times, and if it didn’t work that they would have to do a Cesearian.  Once I heard that, I found this inner strength to push that I didn’t know that I had.  I was so tired that I had been falling asleep between each contraction for hours, but I still was able to push lola enough so that she made a ton of progress and the vacuum use was really minor and worked on the first try!  Ironically, I think that knowing that i was going to get a little help (in the form of the vacuum) encouraged me and made me feel stronger.  I just knew I had to try as hard as I possibly could, and I could see the nurses and my midwife really believing in me and encouraging me, so that really helped too.  Having an experienced midwife (with over 30 years experience) and a doctor there who had been delivering babies for just as long, really gave me the confidence that things were going to be ok so I was able to abandon myself to pushing really hard.

Want more?…

What do you wish you had known before giving birth?

What surprised you most about giving birth?

When did you feel like you couldn’t go on?  How did you?

What surprised you about post-partum?

Random thoughts on birth and post-partum

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Talking about our births can be a deeply cathartic process.  And, most of us are dying to impart any sort of birth wisdom onto expectant moms and dads – don’t forget lip balm for when your lips get chapped from breathing out of your mouth so much!  It’s hard to know which part of your birth story to focus on if you are recalling it for a mom-to-be and quite honestly, it’s hard to want to hear someone’s entire birth scenario if you are that mom-to-be.  But what if you could take a tiny peek into the births of initiated moms without having to hear the minute-by-minute playback?

That was my hope in interviewing a variety of friends and family – some moms and some dads.  I wanted to gather and share some real life stories from all different types of births that are intended to inspire, enlighten and bring up internal questions while also being mindful and useful.  Here are are their juicy answers to the question, “What surprised you most about giving birth?”…

-  (Mom) How high my pain tolerance was (especially w/ the 2nd baby when I didn’t have an epidural) and how amazing our bodies are.

-  (Dad) I wish I would have known how strong my wife was going to be, it was AMAZING and I would have been less anxiety riddled knowing that, but there is no way to know that until you go through it, but that would have been nice to know I suppose.

-  (Dad) How beautiful it really is, I mean, I knew intellectually it would be “amazing” and “beautiful” but my mind was on prep and focus and worry and anxiety and excitement but it’s so beautiful to see, really one of the most exciting/interesting/surreal and fun events ever to watch and be a part of.  Second to that, I was a little bit surprised at how easy it was for me to handle all the blood, fluids, etc.!  I was so high on adrenaline I guess, it never felt “gross” or something negative.

-  (Mom) The pain of the contractions was surprising/different/worse than I expected and getting the epidural was more uncomfortable than I expected (I felt I had been led to believe it was easy/painless by other women who’d had epidurals).

-  (Dad) I guess that it was a completely new feeling and experience than I ever had seen.  I had no idea what it was like to see my child come into the world.  Also, seeing the amazing strength that my wife showed to go through labor really, really blew my mind.  It brings me to tears just thinking about it.  Going through 40 hours of labor is something which required more strength than I could imagine. Somebody could have walked in there and punched her in the head and it would not have phased her.  Seeing my daughter born was obviously amazing, but seeing my wife give birth to her was a close second.

-  (Mom) That I didn’t have a panic attack and wind up in a straight jacket.  I’ve always been the type of person who gets faint at the sight of blood, etc. … I really thought that all of the medical stuff would send me into a panic.  But, it didn’t.  There was a sense of being carried by a tide that you can’t escape and fighting it will only wear you out … so, you need to just go limp, float and ride it out.  Once the process is started it can’t be stopped and there is no use in getting freaked out about it.  I am a control freak and have never before been able to just surrender to the tide like that.

-  (Mom) That it felt great to push!  That it would end with an amazing high!  That it didn’t “hurt” in the normal sense.

-  (Mom) That I would be emotionally overwhelmed with a very short labor.

-  (Mom) How out of control I was.

-   (Mom) That it is not cerebral (my approach to too much of life), it is instinctual.  One needs to listen to oneself at the instinctual level.  This is where being a yoga practitioner really helped.

Want more?…

What do you wish you had known before giving birth?

What was your strongest moment during birth?

When did you feel like you couldn’t go on?  How did you?

What surprised you about post-partum?

Random thoughts on birth and post-partum

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Part of being initiated into parenthood is hearing the stories of those who have gone before you… whether you want to or not. You may just be waiting in line to buy watermelon and waffles (pregnancy staples for me) when lo and behold, a well-meaning stranger sees your full-of-life belly and assumes you want to hear about how much she tore during birth.  Many of these stories inspire fear rather than hope, help or sense of community.  These well-meaning strangers – and even people we know – who vomit their stories all over us, rarely have the intention to scare or offend us.  They themselves are still processing their own experiences, sometimes wanting desperately to justify their choices (be validated) and pregnant bellies just happen to be the catalyst for that.

I wanted to gather and share some real life stories from all different types of births that are intended to inspire, enlighten and bring up internal questions while also being mindful and useful. I interviewed a variety of friends and family – some moms and some dads – and asked them, “What do you wish you had known before giving birth?”  Here are their juicy answers…

-  (Dad) Even though we were warned that hospitals tend to be watching the clock, I wish I would have remembered to tell the wife to take it slow, at her pace.  (There was some tearing involved, which is not that rare.  Perhaps other dudes should know that some tearing is common and that you shouldn’t panic if you see blood.)

-  (Mom) I wish I hadn’t taken the childbirth class at the hospital – it only scared me and they should have given way more info on Cesarean birth just in case we had to have one.

-  (Dad) From a practical perspective, one thing that we indeed knew, but when the time came was something that (in hindsight) we probably should have done differently, was wait longer to go to the hospital.  (We have friends who have gone through labor in 3 hours, and we went through it in 40, so I guess you never know. ) Like I said, this was certainly something that we knew we should do, but when you are in the thick of it, it is hard to be 100% rational!

-  (Dad) I wish we had known to not settle on a Doula.  We should have only gone with one that we really, really connected with.  There were pros and cons about ours, but at the end of the day, I think it would have been better for her not to have been there, which is unfortunate. To be fair, ours did provide some great information and support, but we never totally connected. I still totally remember the “I want to punch you in the face” look that was on my wife’s face when, in hour 30 (or so) she was sitting in the bathtub, exhausted, in a ton of pain and our Doula old her (in a very new-agey voice) “Every birth is a gateway.” This was not at all what my wife wanted to hear at that moment!!!   Maybe some women would, but my wife did not.  I guess the “lesson” is that since birth is the most emotional and personal moment that a mom and dad can have, to have some “other element” in the mix can get weird.  To be clear, I am in no way knocking Doulas, in fact, I think the concept is great for some personalities as well having that “other element” of support, coming from an outside perspective, can be a very good thing, but ideally you know what they can and cannot provide.

-  (Mom) Even though I was given great advice from a birthing coach, I still ended up not taking it (and probably should have).  The advice was to not get caught up in the doctors and nurses telling you to “PUSH PUSH PUSH.”  Instead, I was advised to push the baby 2 steps forward and let them come 1 step back.  Because I had no feeling below the waist, and because the nurse kept telling me “You’re doing great!  You’re such a good pusher!”, I never felt like anything bad could happen.  (My husband also heard the advice and completely forgot it in the heat of battle.  Husband fail.)  The next thing I know, the doctor is saying, “Whoah, whoah, whoah” because I was tearing.  I feel like I should have just pushed nice and slow like I had practiced in my head.

-  (Mom) I am anal retentive, a thorough researcher, and I have a scientific mind and interest in all things medical … so, I had a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of the way things work prior to giving birth to my son.  Knowledge is no substitute for experience, though!  The first Cesarean was way more frightening than the second — fear made the first one really emotionally draining.  The second one was much calmer because I knew that I had been through it once before and survived, and I’d survive this time too.

-  (Mom) I wish I had taken the time to think a little more about how the labor and delivery ward works and the fact that when most hospitals were built the Cesarean rate was 5-10% and it is now somewhere around 30% in many hospitals.  That means that, at times, there are not enough operating rooms to go around … so, if you have an unscheduled but non-emergency Cesarean (e.g., you are in labor but fail to progress and thus the Cesarean is prudent) you may wind up waiting a LOOOOOONG time for an operating room because women who are in “crisis” (e.g., baby in distress) will get those operating rooms ahead of you.  And, it is really difficult to stay mentally strong during that wait.

-  (Mom) My husband wishes someone would have warned him that they cauterize blood vessels during Cesarean surgery and that it smells like burning flesh.  He was unpleasantly surprised and grossed out by that during the birth of our first child.  During the second Cesarean, he was prepared and less freaked by it.

-  (Mom) That lots of people desired to impose their views on circumcison, breastfeeding, vaccinating, bed sharing, etc. immediately after birth, when you are sooo vulnerable!  Keep yourself surrounded only by supportive, loving people during that time.

-  (Mom) It is possible to be caught between wanting it (the labor) to be over and afraid for it to be over–because you know the end is possibly the most painful, and because you find yourself scared to be a mother!  Rock and hard place.

-  (Mom) I wished my husband had been a little more emotionally prepared for the whole thing.  He was not ready for the entire experience even though we went to birthing classes.  The entire labor experience hit him like a ton of bricks. (That’s more his fault, but I wish I’d known how to get him more checked in during the pregnancy and labor).

- (Mom) I wish I knew how important it would be to have someone there with me during the pushing stage to help me along the whole time.  My labor was so long that my doula was practically asleep by the time we got to this stage, and the nurses and midwives in the hospital didn’t coach me much until I had been pushing for about 3-4 hours.  By that time, I was utterly exhausted, as I had been up for about 3 days at that point.  I really needed the coaching and help since I was just lost as to what to do.  The only advice that I had heard before the birth was that “pushing is like taking a shit,” but this advice was not helpful for me at all during the birth.

Want more?…

What surprised you most about giving birth?

What was your strongest moment during birth?

When did you feel like you couldn’t go on?  How did you?

What surprised you about post-partum?

Random thoughts on birth and post-partum

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where can i buy genuine viagra onlineA dear friend of mine called me up today and wanted to talk about her financial distress.  This is an issue that has plagued her, her husband and their adorable family for at least a few years, and it is a downward spiral.  They are constantly treading water, feeling overwhelmed, arguing and living off of a credit card.  Survival mode at its finest.  She feels helpless because she isn’t the one in charge of the finances and she wouldn’t even begin to know what kinds of questions to ask a financial advisor, but she is desperate for a change.  Her husband is involved in many businesses and their financial picture is very intricate.  He is playing the role of the “good man” by trying to work as many jobs as possible, stealing from Peter to pay Paul and hoping that it all works out for the best each month, not knowing when it will all come crashing down (but knowing that someday, it will).

From what I can see, it appears that he isn’t willing to look their financial situation in the face and therefore, he isn’t willing to look a solution in the face either.  He is keeping his head down and continuing on his path, scared and helpless rather than hopeful and confident that he and his family are worthy of more in life.  I know that it is not his intention to be living like this.  He’s a great guy and he’s doing the best he can and so he stays in the place most familiar to him.  My friend, on the other hand, wants to stare their situation dead in the eyes and make a bold move, she just doesn’t know what that move is and she sure as hell can’t do it alone.

My friend said she was looking for guidance, but I could hear it in her voice that she just wanted to be heard.  She wanted the opportunity to vent, for someone to listen to her without any judgment, to be validated and then a little guidance.  It fills me with such gratitude to be able to lend her an ear.  To have such wonderful friends who love you enough to be vulnerable with you is a true gift.  And although I know my fair share about finances, the kind of guidance I felt compelled to give her was not anything concrete.

It’s an all around tough (and very typical) situation – she and her husband are not on the same page.  My friend wants a change – however drastic it may have to be – and her husband wants to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even if it is down that spiral of theirs.  They have not had a meaningful conversation about what they want their life to look like.  They are too busy trying to scrimp by and stay afloat each day.  Metaphorically speaking, you could say they have been so busy worrying about their trees that they haven’t even stopped to take a look at their collective forest and its potential.

Changing the Lenses

What I felt compelled to give to my friend were some tools that she and her husband could use to sit down and get at the root of all this mess without having another argument (hopefully), so they could have an open conversation based on hope and love rather than fear and helplessness.  I wanted them to be able to come together, really listen to what each other was saying without getting defensive and to start to see their life, its potential and possible options in a different way.  I wasn’t looking for them to necessarily solve anything, but just for the wheels to start turning in a different direction that might open their eyes to something they hadn’t seen before.

Something came over me and I quickly came up with a list of 15 questions they could ask themselves together to have a productive and hopefully transformative (even if just the teensiest bit) discussion that could give them a glimmer of hope.  I’ve been in challenging situations where I’ve been stuck – there was no hope for any change in the near future – and I have to say that when there is no hope, all feels lost.  But even just the slightest bit of hope the size of a speck of sand is something to move towards, to get up for everyday.  And so finding this hope within ourselves is vital to our happiness.

A Universal Message

When I finished writing the list and re-read it, I realized that what I had unknowingly come up with was a list of questions that we might all benefit from asking ourselves and our partners! (Hence it being posted here).  Most of our days are filled with making meals, taking care of small people, working, more meals, getting said small people to bed and then zoning out (also known as reality tv – and I’m right there with ya).  We are most likely not having these kinds of conversations that can bring some clarity, focus, motivation and hope into our seemingly hamster wheel lives.  And, what a great way to reconnect with our partner and check in to see where we’re on the same page and where we’re not.  I think about a friend of mine who recently filed for divorce and I wonder if she and her ex-husband had answered these questions together a while back if things may have turned out differently.

For those of us with husbands who are stuck in what they think is the “good man” role, whose heads stay low and feet keep moving even though they’re neither fulfilled nor happy in life, let these questions be a starting point for change.  I say this only because just off the top of my head, I can already think of three people I know who have a situation similar to this and so I know there are even more out there.  For the most part, as women, we are more inclined to be flexible, to recognize where a shift is needed and to make it and and to trust that it will all work out fine.  These qualities serve us everyday as mothers and sometimes it can be more difficult to get our men to hop on board with us than it is a 3-year-old!  But that doesn’t mean we should stop moving towards the life that we want for ourselves and our families.  Perhaps we and/or our partners don’t even know what life that we want because we’re too busy living the daily grind part of it to look up around us and take an assessment.

By asking ourselves these questions below, we are not only opening up a dialogue (most likely a much-needed one), but doing so illuminates the fact that you we are in the driver’s seat of our lives.  The daily choices we make shape our lives.  Many people dwell in a victim place where they feel like life is happening to them and they can “never catch a break,” but what they fail to realize is that life is happening because of them and their choices.  If we want a different picture, then let’s make a different choice – starting today!

The List!  The List!

Before I give you the list, a few tips:

These are questions you can either ask yourself or answer together with your partner and just see where the conversation leads.  You should each answer each question and be curious where there are overlaps and gaps between the two of you.  You will probably feel more satisfied if you don’t have any expectations for any sort of outcome.  This is not necessarily to walk away with a solution, but to open the communication and be really thinking about what it is you both want and hopefully start (or continue) moving towards it.  Doesn’t that actually sound fun?!  And if either of you has a differing opinion or thought, that’s okay.  Try to both stay in a place of hearing each other out and not trying to change each others’ beliefs.  Really and truly, sometimes just having someone listen to you and really get where you’re coming from can make it so much easier to move on to whatever is needed next.

So, I give you 15 questions!  They just may change your lives (and mine too)…

1.)  What do we want from life?  If we had to describe it, what does that life look like?  What “things” are in that picture of that life which we want? (This could be anything – money, time, a different house, living in the city or country or specific place, vacations, kids, better health, good food, laughter, more sleep, etc.)  Try to think of what it is you want and not what you don’t want.

2.)  What things are we currently doing that bring those things we want into our life?

3.)  What are we currently doing that doesn’t bring those things to us?

4.)  What are some other things we could do to achieve the life which we want, regardless of if they are logical or a “good” idea?  Just brainstorm some things that even seem crazy – the idea here is to get you thinking out of the box and outside of what is comfortable for you. Putting ourselves in an uncomfortable place is the first step towards reaching our goals.  Many times, the reason we don’t meet our goals is because we don’t ever take that uncomfortable step over the threshold.  There is no progression in life without taking these giant leaps.

5.)  If we weren’t scared and we knew that the universe (or God, whatever resonates with you) would ultimately provide for us, what decisions would we make to move towards that life we want?

6.)  What are we scared of in life?  How and why are those things we are scared of a problem for us?  How might we cope with those things if they were to happen?

7.)  What might people say about us if they knew about our “situation”? (Insert a situation in here that you view as negative in your life – it could be a financial situation, a relationship situation, a health situation, etc.)  And, those things that they might say, are they true?  Just because someone might say those things, does that mean we believe them about ourselves?  Does our situation mean anything about who we are as people and our worthiness of love and acceptance?  Even if someone does have an opinion about our situation, does that make them right about it?  If our dear friends were in a similar situation as ours, how would we view them?  Would we be understanding and have compassion for them?  Are there ways in which we might be being harder on ourselves about our situation than anyone else is?  What might we do to be gentler on ourselves?

8.)  What is one little thing we could do to move towards the life we want?  Think of a baby step – something that you could do now or tomorrow.  What are some more steps?

9.)  When you think about making those steps, do you feel differently about your situation?  Do you feel more hopeful?  Do you feel more scared?

10.) How do you want your family to view you?  (List some attributes – maybe strong, smart, loving, fun, flexible, a leader, provider, etc. – go with what feels right for you.)

11.)  What things are you currently doing that might make your family feel these ways about you?

12.)  What other things could you do that might make your family feel these ways about you?

13.)  Are there things you’re doing that might make your family feel the opposite of how you want them to feel about you?  If so, what might be some things you could do differently to change that?

14.)  When you are making decisions in life, what kind of emotion are you coming from?  (Hope, fear, love, anger, desperation, embarrassment, etc.)

15.) What kinds of emotions or “energy” do you want to be coming from when making these decisions?  What kinds of emotions and energy do you want to fuel your life and your family’s life?

Please Do Share

I would absolutely love, love, love to hear feedback from anyone who goes through this exercise either with themselves or with their partner.  I will be having this conversation with my husband within the next few nights and will be posting about what happened or any insights we gained.  I am curious as to what will come up for us.  We have talks like this quite often, but I know there is always a chance for something new and surprising to come forth.

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Among other things. I have been practicing something lately that I call “lowering my own standards,” and having panty lines showing in my yoga pants is part of it. Before you call the fashion police, let me explain.

I have been going through a lot of personal growth lately and one of the things that has been of interest to me is how I judge myself, the kind of standards I set and for what reason I set these standards. I’ve come to realize that a few of these expectations I have set for myself come from wanting people to think that I am put together, organized, smart, stylish, insert any other positive trait here. I have always thought of myself as someone who does what they want, regardless of what other people think. And I am this person in many ways (attempting Warren G. and Nate Dogg’s “Regulators” at karaoke night sans alcohol, might be an example of this), but I could still use some fine tuning.

Cut to last week when I came face to face with making the choice to thong or not to thong for yoga. I knew my gut’s vote. Even my butt cheeks were chiming in – “don’t separate us!” they said. The only thing that was keeping me from my comfy cotton standbys was this voice in the back of my head saying, “You don’t want to be the woman with the panty lines, do you?” I could just see her glasses on the end of her pointy nose, a single eyebrow raised above that persecuting stare.

This voice – the one that judges and critiques everything we do – is a manipulative liar. Her only job is to keep us in check at all times and limit the risks we take and the love we give (and therefore receive). She is the one that holds us to standards that we can never meet and puts up walls so that no one can ever see our vulnerability or our true wisdom. And she is us – the part of us that is scared and insecure. She is subtle and we don’t even know she is standing in our way. It is my personal goal to stifle this annoying woman until she realizes the she is not the boss of me and quits her job. The boss of me is love, openness, strength, flexibility, trust, happiness and self-acceptance. And I am starting to only follow orders given by that me.

So, when this buzzkill asked me, “You don’t want to be the woman with the panty lines, do you?”, I told her that all I wanted to be was the woman who was comfortable and enjoying her yoga practice without going fishing for her thong every ten seconds. I wanted to be the woman who made it okay for other women to have their panty lines showing. I wanted to be the woman who did whatever I wanted without thinking for a second about what the other women (or men) might say about me.

And then I thought further, what does having panty lines at yoga (or anywhere else) mean about someone, if anything? Does it mean they’re not put together? No. Does it mean they’re disorganized? No. Does it mean they’re stupid? No and in fact, I would argue that they are ridiculously smarter. Does it mean they’re not stylish? Well, maybe a teensy bit, in that moment. But the most important question is, does it matter? Absolutely not! So what if we have a moment (or two or three or four…) of not being seam free? Having panty lines in a yoga class means nothing about who I am as a person just as having no panty lines equally means nothing about who I am.

It’s really such a silly issue and I’m slightly embarrassed that I’m even writing about it (although clearly not embarrassed enough to not post it). Trying to hide the fact that I might have underwear on underneath my pants is ridiculous, but it triggered some deep thought inside me and made me question, what other expectations am I holding myself up to just because the Voice is bullying me into doing it?

Over the next week, I started recognizing these moments when they would pop up – whenever I would tell myself, “You should do XYZ…” I knew that it was not coming from the super spectacular, love-filled me. That me would’ve said, “You could do XYZ…” and left it open rather than condemning me and making it a law.

Once I could tell the difference between these two ways of operating, I started only listening to super sparkly me and an interesting thing happened – I started lowering the bar for myself. You may be saying, “Ahhh, so you let yourself become a total slob.” Not really. I let myself be whatever I was at any given moment, without any judgement. I did anything that felt right to me. I stopped worrying about what kind of person other people might think I was because the truth is, I am everything. We all are. Some moments I am put together and organized and other moments I am a total spaz and surrounded by chaos (or so it seems). Some moments I am wearing sweat pants to pick up my son from school (and possibly no bra too) and other moments I am decked out and completely polished. Instead of striving to be the perfect, seam-free me, I am learning to enjoy being all of me and loving myself with or without panty lines.

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All childbirth preparation is not created equal.  And as you read my words, you may assume that all childbirth classes have these lovely intentions I have mentioned above.  Sadly, that is far from the truth.  There are classes that focus solely on the science of birth, there are classes that only focus on pain-coping and everything in between.  But the only childbirth preparation I know of that covers all the bases listed in this article is Birthing From Within™.  So when I refer to “childbirth preparation” in here, I am more specifically referring to Birthing From Within’s childbirth preparation.

I got involved specifically with Birthing From Within because I adore and admire the kind of preparation they give women (and couples) – and what they gave me and my husband for my son’s birth.  To me, this is true preparation from every aspect.  What other birth preparation asks you to explore the question, “If your birth doesn’t go as planned, how can you still enjoy it, be present for it and come out feeling like a warrior?”  How many women do you know of who had birth experiences that they didn’t plan to?  Birthing From Within empowers women to become birth warriors, prepared and ready for their “battle,” but also respectful of the fact that they are going into uncharted territory and will not come out on the other side as the same woman.  Birthing From Within preparation strengthens the bond between partners and helps them work as a team even before the birth has begun.  There is also a fun, celebratory focus on the mother and on her power to grow and birth this baby.  And for many moms, they leave the class with a strong foundation in which they can draw upon when the going gets tough.

The last, but not least, thing to mention, is that Birthing From Within childbirth preparation is fun as well as nourishing.  It feels good to the soul.  It is a safe place where fears and dreams can be explored without any judgment.  Couples make new friends, laugh a lot, are celebrated as newcomers on their journey into parenthood and are initiated as they should be with love and validation.  I know that when my husband and I took our classes over four years ago, we didn’t ever want them to end.  The sacred, loving space that we entered into each class was nothing like we’d ever experienced before and it inspired us to take that feeling home with us and create it for our son’s birth and our new life together as a family.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Birthing From Within classes I mentor, please click here (or on the Birthing From Within tab above) or feel free to email me atbrandyferner@gmail.com or call me at 720-515-7545.  You can also get more information by going to Birthing From Within’s website at www.birthingfromwithin.com and you can also find local Birthing From Within mentors in your area by clicking here.

* This is an excerpt from a longer post.  If you wish to read more, as in, your kids are in bed and you finally have time to read more than two sentences, please click here for the“Why Prepare For Childbirth” full post.

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