Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Importance of Knowledge

I am currently working on a post for the blog that's pretty intense. It's a controversial subject, but one that is close to my heart and that many people aren't informed of, which is sad considering how important a subject it is. I'm extremely nervous about posting it, because my worst fear is offending someone.

As I write, I know that I do not mean to offend. My aim is to inform, educate, and encourage people. Unfortunately though, people will often take offense to anything that they disagree with or have heard bad things about. Our culture is one that believes what others say and do what others do without much research on their own part.

Until I got pregnant, I was one of those people. I just assumed there were things you just did or just listened to the doctors about. But even doctors are taught things that are not thoroughly researched, or their education on certain subjects are not in-depth, so they give the mainstream advice. For instance, pediatricians regularly give advice as far as supplementing breastfed babies with formula or rice cereal, when in fact they are not gastroenterologists and most had a very limited course in their medical curriculum about digestion, and the effects such things have in an open gut.

When I lost my first pregnancy, my mind went into overload thinking about all the things I didn't know. All these questions flew into my mind. What about this, well.... what about that? So I began reading everything I could about birth and babies. It is a tiresome process reading things and discerning what is true and what isn't, what is propaganda and what is real. I am incredibly proud of how much I have learned, and it's saddening when I talk to other moms and they tell me things like "oh, I didn't really read anything, it doesn't matter."

It does not matter how much schooling you've had, where you live, what you make; you have nothing without knowledge. It is extremely important in parenting. And once you're pregnant, you're a parent. You have to start making choices with another life to consider, their health, their future in your hands.

That is my purpose in this blog. To be a place where mom's can learn things they may not have known, to talk about subjects they may not know enough about, and to support one another, so that we can raise our children up to be the amazing people that they are.

I end this wanting everyone to know, whatever I write, whatever I say, I do so with nothing but the best intentions. No matter your parenting style and choices, I only hope to inform and uplift, and never to offend. There are things in life we will hear that we may not always like, but they may be for the best. That is what education is all about really, opening your mind to things you've never considered before.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tattoos, Faith, and Parenting

I've decided to get a tattoo. While this has nothing to do with parenting directly, what I've decided to get relates to it for me.

Everyone in my husband's immediate family has tattoos. He has some, his sister, one brother, and mom do, and his dad and oldest brother have sleeves. I've always been a fan of people with tattoos, I think they look great, but while I would have liked to get one, I never really had anything I wanted on my body permanently.

This week something in me changed. I suddenly very much want a tattoo. I was torn between getting "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" or "The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still," and I may still get those some day. But while I was trying to choose between the two something dawned on me. A verse came to mind that means a lot to me, and that has helped me get through a lot, and I honestly couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it yet.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the world runs after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25-34

Read that verse helped me survive an abusive and isolated childhood and get through my teen years. It encouraged me when I wanted to move but didn't have a job, when I had a not-so-ideal living situation, when I eloped and had rocky family ties and little money, when I found out I was pregnant and didn't know how we could support a child.... Time and time again this verse has been incredibly encouraging to me. It still is. It reminds me to rely on God in my parenting journey, to remember that He continually blesses us and our income, and leads us down the many paths we venture in life. We are important to Him and we shouldn't waste time worrying when He is going to take care of us. He knows our needs and supplies them! And sure enough, in all of those situations, God took care of me and provided.

In one way or another, my needs have always been met. Perhaps not necessarily when or how I wanted, but Christ has never let me down. Rent is made, groceries are bought, we are warm and have a cozy apartment, Bree is healthy and growing and fed as well. I am so thankful for my life, my husband, my child, and my home. I owe it all to the Lord, and this verse will always remind me of that.

Naturally I will not be getting that entire passage on my body, I will be putting "Therefore I tell you, do not worry..." and the address "Matthew 6:25" on my forearm, just as a reminder to have faith that God will always take care of me and my family, and will continue to bless us with not only our needs, but the strength and wisdom to parent our child (and future children) as well.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mommy Support

As I've made mention before, I gave birth to my daughter at home. I chose to do so after a lot of researching and praying, and it was the right decision for me. I didn't want drugs, or even the option of drugs. I didn't want to be pressured into interventions I view as unnecessary unless medically needed. My labor was 16 hours long, and the hardest thing I've ever done, but I wouldn't change anything about it! I absolutely loved my birth experience.

One thing I noticed after I gave birth was how many women, when I explained I did a home birth, seemed to feel the need to defend their birth. "I needed pitocin." "I'm just not strong enough to do it without drugs." "I didn't progress and had to have a c-section."

While I am a huge advocate for homebirth, natural birth, and such, I also believe you shouldn't have to make excuses. Whatever birth you choose, you should OWN that birth. I know mamas who had to have c-sections. And their births are just as amazing as mine, and just as amazing as the woman's who had an epidural.

Which ever way you choose to birth, my only wish is that women would make educated decisions. I do not like the risks and effects of the many drugs often used in hospital birth. I feel before making any decision you should research it and learn the positives and negatives about it as opposed to just doing what the mainstream do, or what doctors say. If you have done all that and decide an epidural is for you, or perhaps you are one of the few women who do need artificial oxytocin (pitocin) or should an emergency arise and you need a section... We should ALL feel supported and encouraged in our birth experiences.

The fact that I birthed at home, had a baby with out drugs, this shouldn't make a woman feel bad for her choice. If you had a bad experience and don't feel good about your birth, that's different. In the many "mommy" pages and groups I'm a part of on Facebook, women so often bash each other for different births and parenting styles. This is not something we should do. We are mommies! We should support each other and build each other up in our parenting.

The same thing that happened with my birth, happened with my breastfeeding journey. "Oh I couldn't make milk." "My baby was allergic to my milk." "My milk never came in!" Many women have unsuccessful breastfeeding journeys, often due to stress, lack of support, belief in nursing myths, not eating or drinking enough, traumas to the baby, or in the case of NICU babies, being unable to nurse enough to build a supply. Being unable to physically breastfeed or actually make milk is actually quite rare, and is an actual condition (I know a mommy who does have this). When mothers hear that they feel bad or don't want to believe it, when it wasn't their fault they couldn't continue. Women need support and learning in that area as well.

Sometimes, a parenting or birthing decision is made because of lack of knowledge of some part, and women should not be judged by that. Even if someone makes choice knowing the negative (or dangerous, depending on the situation) effects, our job is not to scream "BAD PARENTING!!!" it is to continue to support, and then educate to the best of our ability. Share your views, your opinions, the facts you know. Sometimes you'll talk to someone who is totally accepting of what you have to say, and others will choose not to listen. All you can do is hope to help. Other times, you are the one who may not have known something. If you hear something that makes you go "Whoa! I didn't know that, is that true?" Don't feel like a bad mommy. Research it to the ends of the earth to see if its true and works for you.

Mommies join groups to be a support to each other, to get and give advice, and to share stories. No one needs to be told they did a bad job or are bad mommies, and you shouldn't feel that way either.

"When you know better, you do better."
-Maya Angelou