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Posts Tagged ‘experience’

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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Experience in all aspects of your life is based on your perspective, your past history, the way you view the world. Everyone has, at one time or another, believed what was repeated most often or with the most sincerity. Birth is no different. You come into pregnancy with ideas about what is involved in birth and must discover what you believe so you can let go of what is not serving you.

How do you identify what you believe? That is the big question.

Most people are not going to sit quietly in meditation, hoping your beliefs mentally rain down upon you. And anyone who practices regular meditation will assure you it wouldn’t work like this anyway. 🙂

So to make a beginning, I have created an experiment. It’s a simple word search puzzle with words that are connected to birth. But I don’t provide a list of what you’re looking for. That’s the part that comes from your head. What you see will generally represent something of your belief.

Of course, sometimes words are just obvious within the puzzle. So I’ve created three different versions. The Intermediate version is the most popular (with words going forward & backward but not diagonal.) For those who don’t frequently do word search puzzles, there is a Basic puzzle, with words going only forward and down. And for those with lots of puzzle experience who want a challenge, an Advanced version, with forward, backward and diagonal orientation.

The Intermediate version is available on the website. For a limited time, you can use coupon code “puzzle” (without the quotes) and you’ll get it FREE. Go to: www.intentionalbirth.com/content.html and select Expectations Experiment. (If you would prefer the Basic or Advanced versions after viewing the Intermediate, email me at karen at intentionalbirth dot com.

Enjoy! And let me know what you find out about your beliefs.

** Note: Please don’t post any of the words that you find in the comments section here, as this may alter someone else’s experience with the experiment.

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I never thought I would breastfeed past a year.

I had made a personal commitment to breastfeed for the first year during my pregnancy, and knew whatever I had to do I would find the support I needed to follow through. Perseverance was my key word.

It didn’t come as easily as I thought it would. It honestly took about 3 to 4 weeks before I figured out what I was doing and began to feel successful. And nothing about the initial experience made me consider why one year seemed like the “right” cut off age.

I dawns on me now that one year is the cut-off for formula- when families can “safely” switch from formula to cow milk, being assured that the bulk of a toddler’s nutrition is now available via solid foods.

So as I became a breastfeeding mom and considered some of these ideas, it seemed less natural to simply stop breastfeeding at a relatively random age based on an idea that really didn’t fit my situation. I figured that there was not going to be a magic age, where breastfeeding isn’t necessary. Because I know understood breastfeeding was more than simply nutrition.

She expected (because I taught her) that nurture would come through breastfeeding; closeness, cuddles, reassurance, stability- all this demonstrated in our home through the act of breastfeeding.

So since J wanted to keep nursing, we kept nursing.

When I got pregnant, my nipples became very sore. It got to a point where I was so uncomfortable, I wanted to do anything but breastfeed. With some help and guidance from LLL Leaders, we started stop timed nursing, followed by cuddles. I explained that it hurt. I asked J if she would be willing to stop until the baby was born and my milk came back. (By this time it had begun to change to colostrum preparing for the baby.) J said yes, she’d wait. She told me it didn’t really taste right anyway.

Even with communication and understanding, I felt guilty for stopping. I had shifted from the invisible cut-off of one year, to the intention of allowing J to self-wean and choose her own terms, and now I had changed again. I felt very sad at the change and missed nursing her.She was 2 years, 4 months old when we stopped.

Her sister was born 2 months later. And when J asked to nurse, we’d tandem. But she didn’t really remember how to latch. So she’d try and then stop. I could see that she missed it too. After a time, she stopped asking.

Once in a while, she’ll mention it. Yesterday she asked to nurse. (She’ll be 5 in November) And although I want to support her, I wasn’t able to say yes. Because I’m ready to stop nursing.

K and I are winding down our breastfeeding relationship. (Ironically she is 2 years, 4 mos now.)

I wanted to be the mom who allowed her children the benefits of full-term breastfeeding and the opportunity to self-wean. And today, K and I have reduced to nursing 1-2 times per day. It’s a gradual process. I don’t intend to pick a date and go cold-turkey. But I can see the direction we’re headed and I’m glad to be moving that way.

I know I will miss this chapter. It is an amazing part of my experience of mothering. And do I feel guilty? No, but maybe a bit of regret that my girls won’t be little forever; insecure that mothering will manifest in new ways with which I’m not familiar; and there’s a part of me that will always cherish holding my little ones (even with long toddler legs) and giving them a part of me that was nourishment, nurture, and connection all in one.

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