What Pregnant Mamas Really Need to Do . . . .

January 13, 2012

Dear fellow pregnant mamas, You do not need to hear everyone’s horrifying birth stories. You do not need strangers rubbing (or as happened to one girlfriend POKING) your belly. You don’t need lectures from bloggers or well-intentioned friends about the “MUST dos” of pregnancy. What you really need to do is take the opportunity to self-educate. There’s so much out there on pregnancy, and every piece of advice is countered by another piece in direct opposition, that here’s my short list of what I loved to read to educate myself on birth, baby care, and raising children decisions. I’m re-reading these, and the Bradley Method book, as I’m expecting baby girl in April. If you have time and interest, I have a long recommended reading list, here. 1) The Big Book of Birth. This is by Erica Lyon, and it outlines all the medical interventions available to a laboring mother. She gives pros and cons, and is very fair and even-handed about them. She is a midwife who promotes fear-free and natural birth, but in a helpful, non-judgmental-epidurals-aren’t-the-devil sort of way. Buy it today. 2) The Baby Book. By Dr. William Sears. He and his wife have 8 children, one or two of whom are adopted. This tome covers developmental stages, birth options, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and just the good old common sense basics of the transition from pregnant mama to parent of baby to parent of toddler. Each step has unique challenges and joys! 3) The Successful Child. Another…

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Relationship Intimacy Post-Baby

December 19, 2011

  When I said to my husband the other night, “You should write a blog post on ‘post-baby marital intimacy,’” he responded in a sweet loving daddy voice, “You mean with J?” No. I didn’t mean with our son!!! I meant with ME. Hence the reason and need for this post and discussion. The irony of his response was perfect. I’m discovering a new trend (not so new) amongst the parents I know where the parents’ relationship falls a little by the wayside as children’s needs are so intense and end up taking front, center, left, and right stage. Really, the whole stage in fact. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a fabulous dad and husband. He really is. (Everyone says that, like everyone’s child is brilliant, which mine is too, naturally.) He comes home after 12 hours of being away and spends every minute playing with J, cleaning up the house, helping with dinner, and sharing about his day with me. We do go to be early, often, so that time period may only be a few hours, but it’s a great few. So, this holiday season, get a sitter. Call your mother. Find a friend who also has this problem of lack of time with their partner. Go out. It can be to look at Christmas lights, get a tea, or have an elaborate steak dinner. Whatever is in your time and financial budget. And don’t talk about your adorable child the whole time. Reserve part of…

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3 Health Tips While Pregnant

December 7, 2011

  Being pregnant a second time gives me a whole new appreciation for the amazing uniqueness of each child, and how that individuality begins in the womb. Our little daughter who is almost 22 weeks old in there is feisty, with so much movement already! And I’m discovering that I have to rest more frequently with her than when I was pregnant with little SuperBoy, despite the same amount of nausea each time. Here are few health tips to avoid bringing on nausea or fatigue. 1) Cleaning agents & environmental factors. It is highly recommended by all the experts that you avoid skin contact, or inhalation of, certain toxic chemical compounds and cleaners during pregnancy. And I would avoid contact with most of these in general, but swear them off all together while pregnant as even the best latex gloves aren’t perfect. Baking soda works really really well. Lead, Mercury, Pesticides, Solvents, Air Polution, BPA, and more here at March of Dimes website. 2) Over-activity. My sister guest wrote a pregnancy fitness post here. Health care professionals recommend maintaining a moderate amount of exercise during pregnancy. This is not the time to train for a marathon, or suddenly diet & do yoga to get in shape. If you can’t hold a normal conversation while working out when pregnant, you’re working out too hard. Definitely move your body, especially in some aerobic way, but try to keep your heart rate not too high and your internal temp not too high as…

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4 Tips to Surviving Pregnancy With a Toddler

October 18, 2011

Yesterday wasn’t one of our finest around here at the Whole Parenting household: Poor sleep with little SuperBoy’s enormous molars emerging on bottom, two rounds of throwing up for me, and a bucketload of new projects at work for AA. And it was Monday. Who also hates Mondays? But we survived and I reminded myself of a few things to help cope with pregnancy nausea and motherhood. 1) Low expectations of yourself. When you’re sick and yet simultaneously still mothering another human being outside of your womb, don’t expect much out of the bad days. Whether it means you are late to daycare & work, or you stay in your PJs all day, be forgiving! Although there were about 15 things that had to be done yesterday, only about 1 of them actually was accomplished. And that had to be okay. This is tough when you’re a type-A, do-it-all, work-aholic, attorney-type. But remembering that there are priorities and then there are actual priorities can be helpful. Feeding yourself (and your child): priority. Running all your errands after work or doing all the ironing during the day: not priorities. Delegate it out! 2) Make a realistic list of the work you can accomplish that day. This holds true for the office or the home. What can you actually get done that day when you are so sick? Keep it short and doable so you don’t feel double failure at the end of the day. It may be something as simple as one…

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Don’t Miss it! Ina May Gaskin in the Twin Cities

October 12, 2011

The midwife of modern midwifery is coming to talk about birth and her new book in the Twin Cities, Tuesday, November 15th from 6-8pm. The discussion will be held at the U of M’s Coffman Union’s Great Hall. See here for details: It’s hosted by the U of M Nurse-Midwifery & ACNM-Minnesota program. They had previously sold all the tickets, but reopened the event with 80 new seats. Tickets are $10 and selling like hot cakes! Get out the word if you want to hear a legend speak on a topic we all care about: why the birth process matters for mamas and babies. See you there!

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What We Give Up to Be Parents, and Why It’s Worth It

October 10, 2011

Parenting is the paradox of joy and challenge. We give, but receive more. We suffer, but love the source of the suffering. We rejoice, but stay grounded in the possibility of another tantrum or explosive diaper. No one I’ve met wished they hadn’t had their children in their lives. Many people prefer not to have them and don’t. What are a few things we give up to be parents? Why is it worth it? 1) The obvious ones we give up. Sleep. Time alone. Time with our partner uninterrupted. Disposable income for hobbies.  No responsibility for a dependent. Autonomy. Ease of travel. This is a lengthy but completely non-comprehensive list. Why on earth would a rational being give up all these freedoms? I can only answer for myself: love and the perspective that life isn’t about self-fulfillment. In the long run, I’d rather have memories of the little kiss my son gives me after a long battle to change his diaper than more time reading alone. I’d rather watch he and his dad play croquet in the backyard than be skiing in San Moritz unfettered. I’d rather buy organic produce and make our food than eating out whenever I wanted to. I’d rather read all morning with J than be at the barn with my horses like I was pre-J. And I’d rather we lug a cooler full of organic produce and Super Baby Food to my in-laws, a 6 hour drive, than just hop on a plane and feed…

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