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Archive for the ‘Consciousness’ Category

Ever get the feeling you should (or shouldn’t) do something? It might not seem to fit; it might mean making others unhappy or disappointed; it may mean going back on a commitment because you’ve changed your mind; it may mean doing something you’ve never done- maybe something a little scary.

It might not be convenient in the moment, but usually the feeling (or little voice) inside proves right in the long run.

It’s difficult to justify decisions that come from your inner voice, especially living in a world that is defined by comparing yourself to others on the outside. Your sense of defined logic and reason don’t always match this inner voice. Sometimes it may even seem a little crazy!

But when you learn to pay attention to what your inner wisdom shows you, and to trust and follow that guidance, you’ll find a limitless source of information available to you (at your mental fingertips) that you can access at any time, for any situation or circumstance.

This means that with practice you will intuitively know what to do. The practice then becomes learning to follow this guidance and learning to trust yourself.

Learning to access your inner guidance can change how you approach pregnancy, birth, parenting and life.

So where do you find this voice?

Begin by tuning in to Monday’s show at 1pm ET here: A Labor of Love

The topic is Body Wisdom 101, where I’ll share some basic information about connecting with your inner guidance that you can begin to use right now. Even if you’re not a parent (and have no plans to be one) this information can help you connect with your inner guidance system.

(Don’t worry if you can’t catch the live show. The podcast is generally available for download within 24 hours after the show airs.)

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Your life is super-busy. You may have heard about additives in food, pesticides, etc that make you wonder a little. But it seems so time consuming to figure it all out now. If you don’t have the time to sort it all out now, check out today’s show with Super Natural Mom(c) Beth Greer. She’ll be joining me at 1pm ET today to talk about her wake-up call and the steps she took that anyone can take (even busy moms) to improve their health and limit their exposure to harmful chemicals.

I’ve been on a quest for a long time to be more aware of my surroundings- to really understand the impact different choices have on my life. In my memory, the first book that made me really think was “8 Weeks to Optimum Health” by Andrew Weil. I learned about food coloring, high fructose corn syrup and trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) and how these assaulted my system. That was 1995. It was more difficult back then to find processed foods with more natural ingredients. Now even my small town has a healthy market.

Somewhere along the way I learned about organics, reducing or eliminating animal products, genetically engineered foods, and labeling requirements (rather the LACK of labeling requirements). So we joined a local organic coop a few years ago and do our best to stick with organics and shop the local grocery store with Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” & “Clean 15” in mind.

We’ve eliminated most household cleaners in favor of vinegar and water. We keep trying different choices in dishwasher detergent, but haven’t had much success- but we’ll keep trying. For laundry soap, we use soap nuts (sustainably harvested) and occasionally a perfume and dye-free detergent. We’ve stopped using fabric softener at all (about 3 years ago) and the clothes still feel nice. I also use vinegar in the rinse cycle for some hot loads.

We don’t buy polyester pajamas for the kids- no matter how cute they are. I’m not willing to have my girls sleeping, curled up with a chemical flame retardant. We use other natural fiber PJ’s that don’t require additional chemical treatment. I expect as we replace worn mattresses, the new ones will be organic.

The whole family has been (nearly) water-only- meaning no shampoo- for 18 months or so. I was very skeptical about this- how would our hair get clean?! I was using spiking glue on my very short hair at the time. Would water actually get that out? It did- and now, in addition to being shampoo-free, I also don’t use conditioner because I don’t need it. I figured out a secret – shampoo is why I needed conditioner, because it stripped away the natural moisture in my hair. So I’m saving money, too!

There are other small changes- I go to CosmeticsDatabase.com before I buy makeup or creams or new/different bath soap, just to check out how the ingredients will possibly affect us. I use the EWG.org safe sunscreen guide and generally opt to go with the recommendation of long sleeves and a hat when we’re in the pool.

There are more small changes, but you get the idea. There are a lot more things I want to do, too.

This didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a process for over 15 years. But one small change at a time I became more prepared for the next change and the next. And now, with my girls and their health at stake, it’s even more important to me.

(If you miss the live show, you can download the podcast here.)

What changes have you made in your life? Do your thinking change once you became pregnant or now that you have children?

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A question was recently posed, in honor of Mother’s Day, “What was the best advice your mother ever gave you?”

Although my mom had lots of wisdom to offer, it only took a moment to know what classified as best.

Even back in elementary school, the kids I knew were divided- the popular, in-crowd and the others. To be in the “other” group wasn’t difficult: if you were overweight; didn’t have as much money; wore hand-me-downs; weren’t athletic; if your parents were divorced; if your mother worked; if someone popular didn’t like you.

The trouble was, I wanted to be in the popular group but I didn’t always like how they treated other people. One friend’s mom told me I had to be friends with everyone. This made me confused and worried. I really didn’t like everyone (not even all the popular kids). How could I be friends with everyone?

So I asked my mom. And she gave me words of wisdom I still carry and apply today. She said, “You don’t need to be friends with everyone. You don’t have to like everyone. You won’t always agree with everyone- even people you do like.”

“But you have to be kind to everyone, no matter how you feel about them. You have to treat them with compassion and kindness.”

So, years after her passing and years into parenthood, the lesson still applies. I may never understand the weight someone else is carrying, but I can do my best not to make it heavier, even if I can’t make it lighter. I can consider others feelings and circumstances before I react. I can also remember I’m generally not the reason someone is irritated, even if they are acting irritated with me.

By treating others with kindness and compassion, even when I don’t want to be friends, I end up being the kind of woman I really want to be. And I also model the behavior I want to help my children learn.

Thanks, Mom!

Please share what your mom taught you or what you teach your kids that you hope they’ll always remember.

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Today’s radio show will focus on information about circumcision that parents need to know- information that hopefully will help parents keep their newborn sons intact. The more I read, the more I hurt for baby boys (and girls) who are circumcised; and the more I hurt for parents who made the decision based on misinformation, cultural bias or blind trust in their doctor. Parents simply don’t choose to permanently injure their children without the belief that it will somehow help.

Here’s some info to get you started:

Although at one time it was only a religious rite, in the early 1900’s circumcision was promoted to eliminate or cure many diseases including hernia, nocturnal incontinence, prolapse of the rectum, syphilis, cancer, epilepsy, chorea, hysteria, and masturbation. These are the main “conditions” that moved circumcision into the medical realm. In our modern era, circumcision is not recommended by any medical or health association, although myths still circulate widely, many suggesting circumcision reduces risks for penile cancer, HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer in women, and urinary tract infection.

The most important fact to understand relating to these myths (once you get over the absurdity of some) is that not one of these conditions is caused by the foreskin or cured by circumcision. And for women- the fact that nuns have a similar rate of cervical cancer as sexually active women should be enough to conclude circumcision is irrelevant to that health concern.

With no medical reason to circumcise, most parents still need to be educated about reasons to leave children INTACT. Because currently parents in the US are from a generation of very high rates of infant circumcision, so many husbands/fathers and wives/mothers don’t know what the foreskin is for. Ignorance of what is missing, and the desire to see our bodies as ok and acceptable and same, is part of what propels tradition. To counter tradition and cultural bias, we need to learn the reasons to oppose tradition.

  1. The Foreskin is not a birth defect. It has a purpose and is necessary for normal sexual function and sensitivity. It protects the glans and maintains proper pH balance, moisture and cleanliness. The foreskin contains glands which produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins to defend against infections. In many ways, it works like the eyelids do to protect our eyes.
  2. Protect your child from needless pain. Even when anesthesia is used (which is not 100% of the time), babies feel an extraordinary amount of pain. Watch this video of a circumcision to understand how babies suffer.
  3. Children have the right to bodily integrity and can’t give informed consent. Parents don’t have the right to consent to surgical removal of healthy tissue for no medical reason. Men and women deserve to remain whole unless they choose to alter their own bodies. Legislation was passed banning Female Circumcision in the US in 1997, but similar protection for boys has not yet been passed.
  4. Long-term consequences, psychological and physical, have been identified including sexual dysfunction and impotence.

Parents and doctors can work together to eliminate this unnecessary surgery. Consider this: do you really want a doctor caring for you or your child who would needlessly (and for profit) remove any healthy organ from your baby- a kidney, for example- just because s/he can live without it? Should we remove the appendix at birth? Why not?

If doctors put the welfare of your baby first, they would find no practical or logical reason to remove the foreskin. So then, why do doctors perform this unnecessary surgery on babies?

Join me with Marilyn Milos on A Labor of Love at 1 p.m. today or catch the replay HERE.

A great resource for parents to understand current information applied to your specific questions is available at CircumcisionDecisionMaker.com. A list of resources is available HERE. You can also learn more by watching this video of Dr Dean Edell.

Your comments and stories are always welcome.

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As much as I talk about myself, I know I don’t always often tell people much about my past. I don’t usually get down to the nitty-gritty especially when it’s a sensitive topic. I think I feel especially sensitive about a lot of my past. So today’s post may be a bit unusual, but I’m drawn to write it out anyway.

Today marks the 19-year anniversary of a car accident that claimed the lives of my parents. I was 17, nearly 18, so this particular anniversary means more of my life has now been lived without my parents, than with them.

Here is the story of that day:

We were visiting University of North Carolina, Greensboro. (I had applied based in part on an areal view of the campus- all that green drew me in.) I’d been accepted and offered an academic scholarship, so we were going through the motions of making the final decision. But it had really been made, because without a scholarship, I knew we couldn’t afford college.

We had toured the campus with our separate groups (kids with kids, parents with parents) and then run into each other in the quad- when each of us were supposed to be listening to some lecture inside and instead decided to duck out and explore. This apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, I guess. We wandered around together, and all knew it was the right place. We went out to dinner to celebrate.

On the way back from dinner, after getting off the interstate, my dad made a wrong turn at a confusing intersection. He incorrectly turned across another lane exiting from the highway. Our car was broadsided by the rig of a tractor-trailer. I remember seeing the headlights and then waking up with a blooming Forsythia coming in my window. The car had been catapulted across the road and down an embankment.

When emergency personnel arrived, they asked me to wiggle my fingers and toes. Neither of my parents were conscious. My mother died in the car. I remember the EMT checking her pulse and speaking with someone outside the car, saying she had died. I don’t think they were going to tell me. I started to scream and cry. It just couldn’t be happening! How could this be happening? (I still wonder sometimes.)

My dad and I were transported to a local hospital. He died within a couple of hours. I was badly injured but was able to give the emergency phone number that had been drilled into me since I was a little kid (our neighbors, who were also my parents best friends.) My brother and sister were at home in Pennsylvania. Someone had to tell them what had happened. My sister was 19, my brother 22.

It took a long time to really absorb that they had died. I was in denial for a long time, a really long time- with occasional breakdowns in between. I made it look like I was moving on. Appearances were very important to me back then. Everyone else’s life went on and I felt like mine had been irreparably broken. After 6 months people stopped asking how I was- so I figured I was supposed to be ok by then. I didn’t want people to know I wasn’t ok. I didn’t want them to think there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t better yet. And I wasn’t anywhere even close to better. I was broken.

It took years to get my life on the inside shaped like a life I wanted to live. Even after I met and married my husband, I hadn’t healed completely. But when my daughter was born, something inside me shifted. I realized the love I felt for her, how powerful it was. I knew in a way no one could have explained that love was more powerful than anything else- even death.

Becoming a wife with my parents absent, becoming a mother without my mom around to help- these were bigger challenges than I knew going in. I still find it hard to explain sometimes when people tell us we should get away for the weekend & leave the kids with our parents. (Jim’s mom died shortly after we were married.)

Every day is not a struggle like it once was. But some days, and some milestones, are hard- even after all these years.

What I am most grateful for within this experience is that I know better than to let issues with friends go unresolved, thinking to take care of it later. I don’t wait for the right time to apologize. And although I do wonder and worry sometimes about what people think, I know there isn’t enough time to please everyone- so I listen to my heart.

I’m glad to have found my heart again. I’m glad it wasn’t broken beyond repair. I’m amazed at how much love is birthed with such a tiny baby. And I’m more than grateful to understand the gift I’ve received.

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How did we go from what was once Woman-Centered Birth to Protocol-Centered Delivery?

I have my own rather cynical view.

Once there were women who learned to support women during birth. They witnessed the power as women brought their babies into the world. Midwives offered skilled hands, in addition to a reminder of the power already present in each woman.

But in a patriarchal society, women had a rightful and dutiful (and humble) place to fill. And removing power from women, via birth, would help this cause. But how?

We’ll tell you we’ve got a way to save your life. Birth is dangerous – fact is women often die from infection after birth (because there were no antibiotics at the time). And if we tell women we can make it safer, that will definitely get them thinking. And if we can convince the men, their husbands will insist we take charge.

If we’re going to make an impact, we have to change how birth is viewed- starting with how we talk about it. We’re going to call it a delivery. There. That’s better. Now it doesn’t really even involve women, except that they’re present.

“We’ll deliver your baby.” There’s action in that phrase. We are doing this delivery!

And it sounds a bit like a rescue doesn’t it?

Oooh, what a great idea! We’ll make every delivery seem like a rescue! Then women will believe that everything that we do is important. Really, really important, and necessary to rescue them from themselves. After all they got themselves into this mess…

Moving into more modern times with some women actually asking for choice, a patriarchal view continues.

You may think you want to avoid certain procedures or protocols, but really, we know what’s best for you. We’re the experts. You can’t possibly know what we know. You’re not a doctor (and even if you are, you’re too emotional to think clearly.)

And as long as you understand what we do is for your own good, we get to have it our way. (Wait that’s a different ad…)

We do lots of things that work well for us, but may not work as well for you. Most of us aren’t doing those things because we want to make you uncomfortable. We’re not really thinking specifically about you at all. We’re focused on the outcome- keeping you and your baby safe.

We believe that our place is to rescue you. We’ve been taught that birth is dangerous. It’s a crisis waiting to happen. And we’re here to avert that crisis. We have learned the best way to keep you safe is to protect you from yourself.

This is important enough to repeat: We’re the experts here. You’ve been here once, twice, three times? We’re here every day. We know what goes on. The stories we could tell if HIPPA regulations were not in place. (Well, we tell a little bit, but not enough to identify people. We don’t want you talking to those patients anyway- we’re using the story to prove our point, not as a reference for our services.)

We know the best way for you to deliver is on your back, so we can see. I mean really, how are we supposed to see anything if you’re squatting? Ok, the bed does allow for that. But that’s a selling point the marketers wanted. We don’t actually use that stuff. We use the stirrups. We can see; a light can be positioned to shine directly on the baby as it comes out; and who doesn’t like lying down?

I don’t think doctors (or men in general) are malicious. Men are goal-oriented thinkers. Attention to the life-process of birth may not even make sense to them.

But I know managed delivery and I know powerful birth. And as a life-process, powerful birth (the opportunity to be supported in whatever choices you make for your body and your baby) has a profound and lasting positive impact, that patriarchal society should fear a little.

I know what I’m capable of now.

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I read a fabulous post today on keeping children intact- choosing NOT to circumcise. This is an upcoming topic for the radio show and in the meantime, readers can click here to read an especially important post on Dr. Momma’s Peaceful Parenting Blog.

Thanks for an educational post with information parents need to make decisions that support children. Because the choices we make for our kids DO matter, especially when the implications are life-long. And with solid information, it’s easier to stand apart from the crowd.

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