Friday, April 29, 2011

The Media's Influence On Our Girls

A friend recently shared this video with me. I'm not promoting Dove products, but this made me think seriously about the impact our culture and media have on young girls and women. I went through years of self-esteem issues related to my body image. It wasn't until after having babies that I really started to accept myself and my body as I am. What are we doing to build our girls up?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Do You Know About Cloth Diapers?

by Meggan Edwards

I am a mom to a 13-month-old little girl who was born in a hospital with an epidural, but I am interested in a medication-free home-birth for my future children (still researching). I am a lactivist and an intactivist; I babywear and cloth diaper; we eat mostly whole foods and as much organic as we can afford. I am a teacher in a public school, but am considering homeschooling my daughter. I try to educate people about proper carseat safety and use as much as I can. I believe in "Attachment Parenting", although I was doing it before I knew it had a name. I knew almost nothing before I became pregnant with my daughter, but I have spent the last two years learning as much as I possibly can about every aspect of pregnancy, birth, and raising children. I learn something new every day.

One of my obsessions.  Here's the whopper.  Cloth diapering!

Yes, you read correctly, and I know what you're thinking... "WHAT?  You must be some kind of hippie!

Isn't it gross?"  And here is my answer:  A hippie?  Maybe.  Gross?  Nope.  Not at all.

And it really isn't!  Cloth diapering isn't like it was "back in the day."  I did a lot of research before I got into it, and although I wasn't sure I would like it, I decided to do a two week trial.  And I loved it!!  Emmalyn's diaper rash IMMEDIATELY cleared up and it was super easy!!  There was no touching poo or folding and pinning!  Don't get me wrong, some methods are easier (for me) than others, but there really is an easy way to cloth diaper for just about anyone! 

This is the point where I absolutely MUST give a shout out to my girl Angela!  She is the one who introduced me (and ultimately got me hooked) on cloth diapering!!  Thanks chica!

I won't get into too much detail about ALL the different kinds of cloth diapering because I'm definitely no expert... but I WILL tell you about what I use!  Hopefully this info will help at least one person to understand that it IS possible to have something that is good for your baby, good for the earth, and good for the pocketbook! 

Let me start by telling you the advantages that I have found with cloth diapering so far:

1.  Emmalyn has not had a diaper rash since we started cloth diapering.  She had them frequently with disposable.s
2.  Cloth diapering my daughter will eliminate literally TONS of waste from landfills!  Even more with CD'ing the rest of our kids!
3.  With the diapers and accessories I use, I will save over $1500 by the time Emmalyn is potty trained!  And even more with reusing (most of) the diapers for our next child.  (Obviously the pinks will be out if its a boy!)
4.  I NEVER have that "Oh, crap!  I'm out of diapers!  I have to run to the store real quick!" moment.  I usually never even have the "Oh, crap, there are no clean diapers!  I have to do a load of wash" moment.  Funny enough, I actually LIKE doing the diaper laundry! 
5.  The diapers are so CUTE!  I don't even usually cover them up!  I just put little dresses or long shirts on Emmalyn and let the cute diapers show!
Okay, that being said, on to the diapers!!

The first things I use are prefolds and covers.  Prefolds are kind of what you would consider the "old school" diaper.  Except you don't have to pin them!  I usually fold mine into thirds, but sometimes I do it "old school" diaper style, but I use a Snappi.  Let me illustrate.
Prefold fastened with a Snappi (I borrowed this pic from the Snappi website)
Or I just fold it in thirds and lay it inside a cute cover!  I LOVE these covers:
Often times I will use a fleece liner on top of a prefold to make sure my baby has the softest stuff against her little bum! 
The prefold/cover system is the cheapest of all the cloth diapering systems I use.  However, it is a little more labor-intensive than other methods.
Emmalyn in her striped diaper cover with a prefold.
The next system I use is called the Flip System.  It is like the prefold/fleece/cover system, only easier!!
It has an awesome stay-dry insert that is fleece on one side and thick, absorbent cotton on the other.  You just fold it to the size you need!
Then you just lay it in the cover, and snap it on to fit baby!!
Emmalyn in her Flip diaper!
I also sometimes use a fitted diaper, which don't always need a cover for the first hour or so.  And they make really cute prints in fitteds too!
SUPER cute Kissaluvs fitted diaper!
These systems work GREAT when we are at home and out on short trips.  But I won't be sending them to the babysitter's because I want to make CD'ing as easy as possible for the sitter! 
Therefore, I will be sending pocket diapers to the sitter.  These are actually my favorites because they are super soft and super fluffy!  I use two types of pocket diapers.  Fuzzibunz and BumGenius.  I mostly use one-size pocket diapers that can grow with my baby.  Just stuff them with a super-absorbent liner (2 for bedtime) and go!  I will be pre-stuffing them for the babysitter, so then they will just go on and off like disposables!  (At least I think so... Ashley, since you're the only babysitter Em's ever had... what did you think?)
The Fuzzibunz have a fleece interior against baby's bum and close with snaps.  They have patterns AND some awesome colors!!
Fuzzibunz in Green Apple, Blue Daisy, and Grape
 The BumGenius have a suede interior and close with velcro... but they recently came out with a new version that closes with snaps too!  They are more limited in colors and don't have patters, but they work wonderfully!
BumGenius with velcro in Sweet, Twilight, and Blossom
Emmalyn in a small Fuzzibunz in Crushed Berries
One Size Fuzzibunz in Kumquat
BumGenius 3.0 in Blossom Pink
There really is a color or pattern for every outfit and occasion!!
Here is my current cloth diapering stash, minus a few that were in the diaper pail (or on Emmalyn) at the time of the picture!  This "organizer" is actually for toys (like for in a playroom) and will eventually be moved to the children's game room of our house after I am done using it for diapers!
Top row:  Pocket diapers on left, fitteds and covers on right
Second row:  liners and Flip liners on left, unbleached prefolds on right
Third row:  liners, hooded towels, fleece liners, extra elastics and Em's bathrobe
Bottom row:  burp cloths, wash cloths, large wetbags, small/medium wetbags
For my friends who DO cloth diaper:  please feel free to add whatever info, advice, etc. you may have!!
There is a TON more info available out there about cloth diapering!  Here are just a few of the resources I love:
Here is the website for the detergent I use on my diapers (and all of Emmalyn's clothes):

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pampers Ad Portrays Home Water Birth

I found this new Pampers ad through Stand and Deliver. I love that they show a home water birth, and I hope it helps open some eyes to the possibility and safety of home birth.

It makes me feel a little bit more proud about writing articles for their pregnancy site.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Toddler's Guide to Daughtering One's Parents

A Toddler's Guide to Daughtering One's Parents
by Melissa Ferland

1. It is important on road trips to occasionally remind your parents that they are cruel for tying you up in a contraption and expecting you to sit there quietly for hours, regardless of how exciting the destination might be. A good way to remind them of this is by requesting something special, something delicious, something you would normally get as a treat. Ice Cream. This is especially successful when ice cream is out of season. It is quite entertaining to watch one's mother try Harvey's, Tim Horton's, Burger King, etc. for ice cream when you know they have none. It is even more exciting to watch your mother go into a gas station off the highway, put her principles aside, and buy you the only brand available for miles, a brand that she has dutifully boycotted for years: Nestle. Of course, as we all know, Nestle is crap and one would rather die than eat it, so the only thing left to do is to take off the wrapper, throw it on the floor along with the ice cream, and yell "Bar-Gage". 

2. Should your mother have the patience and kindness to nurse you into toddlerhood and well into her pregnancy, it is important to remind her of the newborn days when your latch was horrible and recreate those days for her, should she get the silly notion that siblings are a good idea, and to get her to stop looking at infants as though they were the best thing on earth. 

3. If your mother refuses on principle to Ferberize you, it is crucial to test her resolve by whining every time she leaves your bedroom to the point where she feels compelled to sit on the foor by the bedroom door until you fall asleep. This can take a long time, so feel free to ask for countless things: water, teddy bears, extra blankets, etc. After you have exhausted these necessities (and exhausted your mother), ask for hugs. 

4. When in the midst of potty learning, remember that you can pretend to need the potty at bedtime. This delays bedtime for up to an hour. If she figures out you are only pretending to use the potty, scrunch up your face and say "push poop out!" and you're good for another half hour.

5. If you are a lean child and a picky eater, it is easy to get your mother to do all kinds of silly antics to get you to eat. Like sing Old Macdonald until she runs out of animals she knows. And let you play with play-doh while eating dinner.

6. When in the car, strapped in the aforementioned contraption, pick a song that drives your parents particularly batty. Raffi works well. Do not, under any circumstance, let them play the whole CD. Instead, ask for the same song over and over and stay consistent. They love it. Consistency is the key to good daughtering.

7. If your mother is a fan of babywearing and likes to put you in a back carry, untie the straps of her halter top in public. That way, everybody gets to see where your lunch comes from.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Attitude Adjustment for Mom

I hadn't been a very nice mommy lately. I'd been moody, stressed out, you name it, and I'd been taking it out on my family.

Then I had an experience that changed my perspective and made me really reflect on how I'd been acting. I had a day full of unexpected, unpleasant events. First I discovered mice in the house and had to completely clean out my food storage room because of it. Then I had, not one, but two grease fires in my kitchen. I felt like I spent the whole day reacting to everything around me. Nothing went as I hoped or planned. It was one of the hardest days I'd had in a while, and I was left physically sore and exhausted.

By the end of the day I was able to visit with my cousin and her kids and relax a bit, and later I chatted with one of my best friends on the phone and was able to talk and vent about my day. My friend shared some of her own experiences with me, and it helped me put things back into a healthier perspective.

When I looked back on my bad day I realized something. Even though I had a unexpected hard things happen I was able to respond calmly, deal with it, and move on. I kept my cool and never lost my temper. I didn't yell or scream at anyone. It was simply a happenstance of bad luck, if you will, and I handled it well.

As I thought about this I realized I could take the same approach to how I treated my family on a regular basis. It made no sense for me to take my frustrations out on those whom I love more than anything else in my life.

At some point during the day I came across this quote:

"Tell everyone you know: 'My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hook.' Then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they're doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel - and then you'll love them all. Because the only reason you don't love them is because you're using them as your excuse to not feel good." - Abe Hicks

It fit so well what I was going through. I realized that I'd been letting the circumstances and people around me affect my happiness, and then I'd been reflecting my frustrations back at everyone and everything around me. It was a vicious cycle of bad energy, and it needed to stop.

When I talked with my friend she shared a story about how she used to get frustrated and upset with herself for not being able to control her two year-old, until she realized that two year-olds can't be controlled, and that her child was just acting his age. She was then able to see the attitudes and behavior as a normal part of life and respond in more positive ways rather than turn them into judgment and resentment. As I talked with her I expressed my love and gratitude for my husband and my children, of how they are more important to me than anything else in my life.

So this is my resolution: to be responsible for my own happiness. To love everyone around me and treat them with the love and respect they deserve, especially those closest to me. I won't hold anyone or anything else responsible for my own happiness, and I'll let that good energy reflect back on those I love.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Video: Frank Breech Water Birth

Warning: Full nudity!

I like this video for how it shows a frank breech vaginal birth. See how the bottom comes out first, quickly followed by the legs and feet? Notice how the time between the bottom being birthed and the head is less than eight minutes. My understanding is that it's important for the head to be birthed within about 10 minutes after the body, as head entrapment is one of the biggest concerns with breech birth.

The only thing I don't like about this video is how much the midwife touches the baby. Everything I've read about breech birth, including Michel Odent's work, has said it's best for the mother and baby to be untouched. Mom should be upright and let the baby come out. Coached pushing is not advised, as it's best to let the mother's body push the baby out naturally. I was so grateful to my midwives who simply observed my breech baby's birth, and resisted the urge to reach in and try to manipulate his body. It was a truly amazing experience for everyone there.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How Understanding Fertility Empowered Me in Many Ways

I'd like to share some links about fertility awareness. The first is an article I wrote for Pampers about how I've grown to appreciate my body and its functions through better understanding my own reproductive system. It goes far beyond simply avoiding or achieving pregnancy.

Here's some great background information about natural family planning:

Below are some sites with tools to learn about and track your fertility:

I've found that charting my fertility has removed some of the tension my husband and I felt about fertility issues in the past. There's a greater sense of peace and togetherness than we felt before.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why I No Longer Have Birth Regret

I've had different experiences with different births, and each one has been unique and promoted personal growth.

My first baby's birth was the hardest. I went in naively thinking I could have a medication-free birth in the hospital with very little preparation. I knew my mom gave birth to all six of her babies without medication, and I assumed I'd be able to do the same. I didn't realize how much things had changed in 15 years and I wasn't prepared for the routine interventions that seemed to cascade out of control. My water broke, I was induced to the point that I was begging for medication, got the epidural which led to fetal distress and slow labor, threatened with a cesarean if I didn't progress, and ultimately pushed for almost two hours and was given an episiotomy without my consent.

I was grateful I'd avoided the c-section, but it had been a traumatizing experience. The childbirth classes at the county health department had not prepared me for being bullied and coerced by medical staff to receive interventions I never wanted.

The crazy thing is that I would have gone back to the same obstetrician for my second pregnancy, except that he wouldn't accept my new insurance. I'll be forever grateful for being forced to find a new doctor. I also changed hospitals, which I now realize was a huge step in the right direction. I've since learned that the hospital where my first child was born has the highest intervention rates in the area. It's the best place in the county for premature and sick babies, but the worst for healthy moms and babies and natural birth. I chose a smaller community hospital after that and never went back to the first hospital.

My second baby's birth was a result of me trying to take control of the situation. When my doctor said my cervix was favorable and offered me the option of scheduling an induction I felt like I had power over my baby's birth. I had decided I just couldn't handle birth without pain medication and made peace with the epidural. It was actually a very positive experience for me. Labor was much faster, more than two-thirds shorter than my first labor. I was laughing with my husband and the doctor during labor and pushing, and my son came out with about four pushes. The doctor was gentler than my first OB, and he was more friendly. He didn't cut me, but I tore along my episiotomy scar. My baby latched on while the doctor was stitching me up, and nothing felt rushed or pressured. I think it was exactly the experience I needed at the time.

I stuck with my second OB for the next two births, which were both unmedicated births in the smaller hospital with a doula. My doctor was very supportive of my wishes and so was the hospital. I really think I had the best births I could have had in that setting, with very few interventions. I felt like the hospital staff were just observers and I was doing everything with the support of my husband and my doula.

My fifth baby's birth at home was incredibly healing for me. It had the opposite effect on me than what I'd expected. Instead of becoming further polarized to home birth, I found myself opening up and being more accepting of the different choices women make for birth. I felt that I would personally never step foot in a hospital to give birth again, but I was more understanding of other women who chose differently than I did.

I think that shift happened because I became more at peace with myself. For years I'd been angry with my first obstetrician for the way my first baby's birth played out. Not at first, but as time slowly went by I realized there was a lot of emotional pain from the experience. I felt like everyone around me had been making decisions for me. I had no voice, and when I tried to speak up no one listened. I blamed my doctor for everything that hadn't gone according to my wishes. I had deep regrets, especially after I was finally able to have a natural birth in the hospital and was learning more about physiological birth. If only I'd been able to prepare myself better during my first pregnancy. If only I'd put some thought into which doctor I went to and where I would give birth. If only I'd been smarter, more informed, and not so quick to trust the medical professionals. I blamed myself for not making better decisions and knowing better.

I transferred the pain and blame I felt onto other women who seemed to be making the same mistakes I'd made. I couldn't understand why anyone would knowingly choose a birth full of interventions and I had a sort of self-righteous attitude about it. I felt I knew better, and people should listen to me. I took it personally when they didn't want to listen. I wished I'd had someone to tell me all the things I should have known, and my friends were dismissing this important information without a second thought.

My home birth helped me find inner peace. Somehow through that experience I was finally able to forgive myself. For the first time in nine years I no longer felt angry or pained at the memory of that first traumatic birth.

My inner peace seemed to translate outward toward others. Once I was able to forgive myself for being human and making mistakes I was able to be more genuinely loving and supportive of others who made decisions I wouldn't personally make.

I also realized that each of my birth experiences was a part of my path. When I was pregnant for the first time I wasn't ready for the information I now understand. After the disappointment of my out-of-control first birth I needed to heal, and that took time and experience. Even though it was fully medicated, my second baby's birth was very healing for me at the time. I learned that medicated birth can go smoothly and it's not always a train wreck. Through the births of my third and fourth children I learned about my own power and strength, and I was gradually growing more confident in my body and spirit. I also found great strength and support in my husband and my doula, and it was beautiful to have them to depend on. My natural hospital births gave me the confidence to move forward with a planned home birth. Through my home birth I felt I came full circle and was able to embrace every experience I'd had before that point in time. I also feel the home birth helped prepare me for more things to come, possibly a planned unassisted birth in my future.

One thing I've realized is that people can and do change, and what we each need is loving support for where we are and what we need at the time. I'm glad I didn't have someone screaming in my face telling me what a mistake it was to be asking for an epidural, or how stupid it was to schedule an induction. At those points in time I wouldn't have been able to accept it.

I needed to have these experiences for my personal growth, and I feel it will help me to better support other women in their various pregnancy and birth choices. I understand why women choose interventions because I've been there. I also understand what it's like to experience trauma and regret, and the healing that takes place. I accept that each woman is at a certain place in her path and must make the choices that she feels are best for her and her situation. Understanding my own imperfections helps me to appreciate someone else in her imperfect state. When I think about what I've been through and what has brought me to where I am now, I can more easily accept a woman for who she is today and what she chooses to do.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Prenatal Health, Breastfeeding Advice, Family Planning, Pregnancy Tests, and More!

Here are some of my recent articles that were published by Pampers, for your reading and sharing pleasure:

Good Prenatal Health is Possible Through Healthy Practices - The importance of exercise and good nutrition during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Being Pregnant Vary From One Woman to Another - How my pregnancy symptoms differed from those of my friends and even from one pregnancy to another.

Breastfeeding Advice: A Help or a Hindrance? - Filtering the spontaneous breastfeeding advice people give.

Learning About Conception and Implantation, Ovulation and Cycles - How learning about fertility and paying attention to your body's cues can be empowering.

Family Planning Without Hormones or Chemicals - Using natural methods of family planning to avoid hormonal birth control and take control of your own body.

Prenatal Cost Depends on Coverage, Location, and Care Provider - How prenatal cost varies from place to place and according to your choice of care provider and location.

Understanding False Pregnancy Tests - My experience with home pregnancy tests and realizing they're not completely dependable.

Conception and Pregnancy Can Be Elusive and Unpredictable - In which I talk about my miscarriages.

Postpartum Doulas Support Families at Home After Birth - About the roles of postpartum doulas.

The Multiple Facets of Prenatal Services - Some differences in care I noticed between my doctors and midwife.

Choosing Baby Names Through Intuition - How we used a combination of research and intuition to choose our children's names.

Birthing My Children: A Rite of Passage - My observations of how empowering birth leads to stronger, more capable mothers.

Is "False Labor" Actually False? - My experience with false labor, including being sent home from the hospital three times!

Prenatal Classes and Personal Preparation Are Very Important for Childbirth - And it's important to choose the right one.

In Childbirth, Labor Pains Were Manageable Once I Shifted My Perspective - How my perception of labor pain made childbirth easier and a better overall experience.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Giving Birth Unassisted: an Option for Me

This is an article I wrote for the Pampers website, but it was rejected because unassisted birth is not considered safe by the medical community. I was encouraged by my readers to share it here instead. Thank you for reading and for your continued support. I hope you enjoy it.
(Also published on The Birthing Site)

Giving Birth Unassisted: An Option for Me

Before I got pregnant I thought birth was inherently dangerous and all women needed to be in the hospital to give birth. I'd never heard of women giving birth unassisted, and even the idea scared me. Through personal experiences and time I've come to reconsider my previous ideas, and I now embrace the idea as an option for expectant women.

As I've come to understand it, the concept of giving birth unassisted is when an expectant mother plans to birth without a professional care provider present, but it's sometimes used to describe a situation when a woman's labor goes so fast that she doesn't get the care she planned for. I've heard stories of women who unexpectedly gave birth at home, in the car, or somewhere else, often on the way to the hospital. A friend of mine recently had an unexpected unassisted birth when her midwife didn't arrive in time for the home birth. My friend had her husband's support and gave birth to a healthy baby.

I have a few friends who planned to give birth unassisted for various reasons. Some of my friends requested the presence and support of family members or friends, and some of them chose only to be supported by their husbands. Their reasons are intensely personal, and none of them made the decision lightly. My friends felt confident in being able to give birth without professional support, but they also took precautions by educating themselves and having supplies available, as well as being close to emergency services. I've read some amazing birth stories of birth transfers under emergency situations which ended well even when quick action was needed.

The idea of giving birth unassisted doesn't scare me like it used to. One thing I've learned through my own birth experiences is that I can give birth with very little support or intervention. When I gave birth without medication in the hospital there was very little the staff did for me. They mostly watched to ensure that all was well, and I did the work myself. These experiences helped me plan a home birth with my fifth child. I knew I could give birth without the machines and other things at the hospital because I'd done it even while in the hospital. I hired a midwife to support me, and I'm glad I did. I had an unexpected breech baby and my midwife helped me through it to have a vaginal breech birth.

Because of my growing comfort level with the process of giving birth, I'm personally open to the option of giving birth unassisted in the future. My friends who gave birth unassisted had prenatal care and prepared by doing research and learning what to have ready and what to watch for. They have wonderful stories to tell about the births of their babies.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Vulnerability

This is something I've been feeling a need to write about. I've hesitated doing it for many reasons. For one thing, it doesn't exactly go with the theme of my blog, and for another it's extremely personal. It's something that's been deeply ingrained as part of my life for over 15 years now.

My husband is chronically ill.

We have five children and we struggle just to get by.

He's been diagnosed with both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. As far as we know he's had varying degrees of these illnesses for about 20 years now. I've known him for 15 years and we've been married for 12 ½ years.

He was relatively healthy when we were dating. His health goes in waves. He has periods of relatively good health and periods of severe illness. He has depression, pain on a daily basis, struggles to fall asleep and stay asleep, and working full time has become impossible. He was recently awarded disability status with the government after a two-year process of applications, three denials, appeals, and finally a hearing before a judge. He'll start receiving financial compensation for that. We think the disability income will make it possible for us to barely be able to pay our own living expenses, but we won't know for sure until we start receiving it.

We live on very little. The only debt we have are his student loans which are currently in deferment. We own one vehicle which is 18 years old and getting too small for our family, and we don't know how or when we'll be able to get a larger one. We've never owned a home and we get by on assistance programs to help us with rent, food, and medical coverage.

I do a lot of things to help make ends meet. I cook the majority of our meals from scratch. We don't eat out. I make my own laundry detergent. I clean with food items (vinegar, lemons, baking soda, etc.) that we can get through our assistance. We use cloth diapers because we can't afford to buy disposable diapers. I don't use paper products like napkins or paper towels. We use real towels and wash cloths that can be washed and reused. I use a Diva Cup. Our kids' clothes are all hand-me-downs from cousins, and most of our furniture are also hand-me-downs and outdated. If we need to go somewhere that's within walking distance I make an effort to walk with the kids. I'm sure there are other things I do that I can't think of at the moment.

I've found that these things help us save a lot of money, but they also help give me a greater sense of self-sufficiency. It sounds like an oxymoron to say that I'm striving to be self-sufficient when we're in a situation where we depend so much on assistance from government programs and friends and family. I have to do every little thing I can to feel that I'm at least doing something to contribute to our family's well-being, and these things help.

We don't have any credit cards. We don't buy anything we can't afford, and there's very little we can afford. I work doing freelance writing because I can do it from home. It's not enough to support our family, but it helps pay for gasoline and some other necessities. I make enough money each month with my essential oil business to pay for my monthly order, which is a blessing to my family's health.

I've tried to work hourly jobs, but it hasn't worked for us. My husband isn't currently well enough to take care of the kids for me to work outside of the home. We decided early in our marriage that we wouldn't put our kids in day care, and our family that live close by all have their own families and health issues to take care of so we can't rely on them to help take care of our kids. We feel strongly that it's the parents' responsibility to raise the children, and that has been a conscious effort for us.

I still owe money to my midwife for her services during my last baby's birth almost two years ago. Thankfully she's understanding and willing to work with us.

I'm not looking for pity, and I'm not really sure why I'm writing about this. I just feel a need to get it out there. Maybe there are others out there in similar situations who can relate on some level.

I can honestly say that I love my life. While it's extremely difficult, I've come to realize that no matter a person's financial well-being or circumstances, every person on the earth has something that's extremely difficult for them. When I hear about the struggles that other people go through I feel deeply sorry for them, and it helps me appreciate my own life and all the trials that come with it. I wouldn't change anything about the choices I've made and the steps that have brought me to this point in my life.

I have hope for the future. I hope that a full recovery may lie in my husband's future, and if not, that we'll be able to keep moving forward and appreciate each day. That's one thing I've learned: to try to appreciate every little thing. I get depressed at times and really feel sorry for myself, but when I think about the wonderful things in my life I feel happy.

Most of the best things are the intangible, immaterial parts of my life. Living in a beautiful area with varying seasons. The Rocky Mountains, sunshine, and fresh air. Knowing who I am and understanding that the work I do as a mother of raising my children is the most important work I'll do in my entire lifetime. Seeing my children grow each day and watching their developments. Hearing the words they speak, seeing their bright smiles, and all the crazy things they do. The kisses, hugs, and snuggles. Little hands, tiny toes. Watching them learn and excel academically and seeing their personalities continue to unfold. My religion and connection with God and my Savior Jesus Christ.

My husband spends much of his time at home and often can't go places with us. I've heard people comment that I'm like a single mom, because most of the time people only see me and the kids. I firmly disagree. Even if he can't do the physical things to support us, I have his support. He backs me up emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. He encourages me to do the things that are most important to me, and he honors me as his wife and the mother of his children. He gets to spend a lot of time with his kids when other kids' dads are spending countless hours at work.

It's not ideal, but I don't think anyone leads an ideal life. It's MY life, and I'm grateful for it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

VBAC Video: This Woman's Work

"... a three year journey that took this couple from their unexpected hospital cesarean birth to birthing their second baby at home in water - condensed into a mere 6-minute video. You, the viewer, become a witness to their very heartfelt, personal sacrifice and transformation."

I first saw this on The Beginning of Motherhood