January 2022 | mtparent.com
& Baby 2022
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Group classes are held in a safe and fun environment. All classes are all levels with yoga mats and towels provided – all you need is you!
Andrew Rice, DPM, FACFAS Billings Clinic Bozeman is happy to introduce Andrew Rice, DPM, FACFAS to the Bozeman community. Dr. Rice received his undergraduate degree from University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT, and his medical degree
Andrew Rice, DPM Podiatrist
For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Rice call 406-898-1200
3901 Wellness Way Bozeman, MT 59718 billingsclinicbozeman.com
from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, Philadelphia, PA. He finished residency training in Advanced Foot and Ankle Surgery at the Yale New Hospital/ VA Medical Center in New Haven, CT. Dr. Rice has been involved in academic clinical practice and teaching residents and students for much of his career at the Yale University College of Medicine, and most recently the University of Arizona College of Medicine. His practice will focus on sports medicine injuries (running, dance, hiking, climbing, skiing, ice hockey, athletic training injuries, all field sport injuries), stress fractures, shin splints, and foot and ankle injuries (excluding ankle fractures). It will also include all tendons of the foot, ankle, and lower leg; plantar fasciitis, bunions, and hammer toes. This includes those conditions requiring surgical consultation, structural deformities of the foot, biomechanics and skin biopsies, including nail melanocytic lesions. Dr. Rice has extensive experience in the prevention and treatment of plantar fasciitis. Dr. Rice, his wife and their son are excited to be part of the Bozeman community. They have relocated to enjoy Montana’s many wonderful outdoor opportunities and to be closer to family. He enjoys flyfishing and hiking.
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PHOTO KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Pregnancy & Baby Keeping it Real 14 The Most Underrated Piece of Baby Advice 15 Building Your Village 16 All Families are Good Families 17 Roots Family Collaborative: A Community, A Gift 19 An Introduction to the Roots Perinatal Resource Guide 20 2022 Perinatal Guide: Resources For Pregnancy to Parenthood 21 Modern-Day Miracles 22 How to Help Siblings Deal with a New Baby 24 Rewriting Your Story After Tragedy 25 Making Time for Yourself 26 A Baby is Not a Bad Thing 28 A Personal Journey Through Postpartum Depression 30 Breastfeeding: The Bigger Picture 32 That’s What She Did 34 The Building Blocks of Your Baby’s Best Self 36 Taking Care of Your Body 38
Winter 2022 After-School & PIR Day Activities 40 What’s Up? Montana What’s Up? Bozeman 43 What’s Up? Helena 50
Columns Family Life on the Ranch 52 4
Monthly Giveaway: Our Yoga 54
Montana Ballet Company Presents Winthrop Corey’s
SnowWhite With Live Orchestra Conducted by Stefan Stern February 19 - 7pm • February 20 - 4pm Willson Auditorium Tickets now on sale at montanaballet.org, or 406.582.8702 :: calendars, blog & more @ MTPARENT.COM ::
january 2022 Director5 Elizabeth DeFanti, Artistic
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PUBLISHER MEDIA MAVENS LLC PO BOX 11056, BOZEMAN, MT 59719 INFO@MTPARENT.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF/ACCOUNTING/OWNER LEIGH RIPLEY | LEIGH@MTPARENT.COM CREATIVE DIRECTOR/OWNER SHAUNESCY WILLARD | SHAUNESCY@MTPARENT.COM ADVERTISING/EVENT COORDINATOR/OWNER CORA DESANTIS | CORA@MTPARENT.COM ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE ALEXIS BRILL ALEXIS@MTPARENT.COM | 406-223-2775 ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE SANDRA JACOBS SANDRA@MTPARENT.COM | 406-599-6663 LAYOUT & DESIGN SHAUNESCY WILLARD & JESSICA GEARY-CECOTTI COPY EDITORS ELEONORE SNOW & LEIGH RIPLEY AD DESIGN JESSICA GEARY-CECOTTI, ANDREA HILL & SHAUNESCY WILLARD COVER PHOTO KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG JESSICA GEARY-CECOTTI & ANDREA HILL
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: LEIGH RIPLEY BLAIR FJESETH LORI JO BERG SARAH WEBB AMY MILLER JULIE ZICKOVICH SUZANNE BENDICK BEVERLY HOSFORD FLORA MCCORMICK ANDREA BLINDT CRIMSON GALLAGHER CAMI ARMIJO-GROVER ALI GEARHART KELLI STANLEY ALI SCHWEITZER MYRA HARZTHEIM KELLY KOONTZ REBECCA COLNAR * Montana Parent strives to provide accurate information and entertainment to our readers. Some content may be based on opinion of the author and may not represent our views. We want all voices to be heard, so we all can be educated on both sides of important issues. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
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WORTH THE WAIT
Your little one has been worth the wait, but did you know waitlist for child care can exceed 1 year? Planning for your family’s needs early ensures your little one will have high quality care and education when you are ready!
Visit RaiseMT.Org for resources and support finding child care. :: calendars, blog & more @ MTPARENT.COM ::
My babies are my life, my world, my everything.
And they are 18, 15 and 13.
Recently my oldest child, a freshman at MSU, told me she found a place to live…and it was not with me anymore. CRUSHED. I knew this day was coming and, to be truthful, it’s late. She just finished her first semester of college. I was lucky she chose to attend undergrad at MSU, but also delusional that she would stay home with me for all four years. Still, she is my baby. I actually call her my oldest baby. It’s amazing how I can look into her eyes and still see the newborn I held the day she came into my life. I’m going to miss so many things. The shoes she kicks off immediately just inside the door when she gets home, making it almost impossible for anyone else to open the door. Damp towels on the floor. Partially petrified cereal bowls. Four-day old lattes. Text messages for a bagel sandwich or a smoothie. Our hugs. Her car in the driveway. Her scent. I’m really, really going to miss her. All of her. She’s going to make it just fine. And it is time; time to fly; time to live HER life, without me... and I’m partially OK with that. My grandmother use to say a mother bird’s job is to teach her young to leave the nest. When it’s time to fly, they go. If they don’t, you kick them out and they learn. Well, that’s most definitely not my motto, but I get where she was coming from. It is our job to put our kids out into the world. If you have done everything you are supposed to do, they need to spread their wings. If they don’t…well, I guess you push them into it. My advice to you… Memorize that cherub face. Stare at those pudgy feet. And by all means, kiss those baby cheeks. You’re still going to see all
those things when they are 18…but they will be walking out the door to live a life you have hopefully prepared them for. YUP, you’ve got big responsibilities here, parents. Not just to keep your cherub alive, but to prepare them to leave. And to be honest, I’m not sure I did the best job there. I recently joked to a friend that I raised my daughter to be just incapable enough to need to come home multiple times a week. I know that sounds terrible and selfish. Reality check: She’s going to be fine. Because I have loved her unconditionally. Because I listened when she needed me to. Because I shared my own, deeply personal life-learned lessons with her. Not because she knows how to do laundry or cook (i.e. things she will come home for…or learn to do). She will be fine because she knows what home is. Only now, she can go where she wants. Be who she wants to be…but home will always be here, no matter what. This is a painful separation for both of us. But it’s also just like any of those other milestones you mark when your child is a baby. It doesn’t have to be right, or on time, or like every other kid. It just needs to happen when it’s time. I love you Emma Bird. Go Fly.
Spring 2022 After school & PIR DAY
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This winter cozy up with a
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Babes in Bozeman BABY EXPO Saturday, APRIL 9, 2022
10:00am - 3:00pm
at the Gallatin Valley Mall
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or SPONSOR Email for VENDOR info: BabesinBozeman@gmail.com Find us on Facebook (Babes in Bozeman-Baby Expo)
S AV E . THE. D AT E !
& Baby 2022
PHOTO KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
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Keeping it Real WRITTEN BY BLAIR FJESETH
Every mother is unique— so is every delivery. While our job is to ensure you have a healthy delivery, we want to do it your way. Let our team of experts provide you with award-winning care at our BabyFriendly® birth center. Make an appointment today! Call 406.222.3541 or visit LivingstonHealthCare.org
Just typing that makes me feel like we live in a postapocalyptic world. The one where Doc and Marty McFly voyage to 2015 like it was centuries ahead, but I digress. My favorite column each year is this one, because I once again welcome parents new and old into this fantastic community we have here at Montana Parent. Come as you are, whoever you are—we are the village you can rely on for information, events and stories that will make you feel less alone/crazy/bad on this parenting journey. The truth of the matter is: Child-raising is hard, it brings out the best and the worst in all of us, but at the end of the day, the goal is to help raise all Montana children to be the very best versions of themselves. If you are welcoming a new baby this year, you are welcoming them into the year of the Tiger. And after the last couple of years we’ve had, I’d say this is one of the best years to be born into in the Chinese Zodiac. In Chinese astrology, the entire year falls under one of the 12 signs, which is different from Western astrology, where 12 zodiac seasons all sit within one year. Think Aries, Cancer, Taurus vs. Donkey, Dragon, Rat and Tiger. Each of the signs is associated with different qualities, strengths and weaknesses. Lucky for you and your child, people born in the year of the Tiger are thought to be competitive, self-confident and brave. As a spirit animal, the meaning for the Tiger is willpower, courage and personal strength. Not bad, right? According to Chinese astrologer Tiffany Lin, those born during the year of the Tiger live to seek adventure. They also have an insatiable desire for knowledge and power. “They are bold pioneers,” Lin explains, adding that Tigers are also analytical, practical yet ambitious, restless—and a bit reckless.” I should also note that during my research, I came across many articles indicating Tigers have a lot of “big” and “active” energy. I would tell you to prepare for that, but let’s face it, you really can’t prepare for anything with children. They will join the likes of other Tigers such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Marilyn Monroe, Beethoven, Marco Polo, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Emily Dickenson and Garth Brooks, to name a few. Whoever your little guy or gal turns out to be, they will be wonderful, adorable and terrifically weird, as all kids are. As parents, we get to watch them find their way in the world, raise them to be good and kind humans, and hope that someday they will get to do the same for their children. Bring on 2022 and all that comes with it. We’ve got this.
Blair Fjeseth is a working professional and proud Montana mom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her Instagram @blair_mt for more adventures.
The Most Underrated Piece of
Baby Advice WRITTEN BY LORI JO BERG | PHOTO KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
I’m not an extreme person by any sense of the imagination. For better or worse, I’m a middle-of-the road kind of gal. But my first born changed that. For a period of time, at least. Looking back, my approach to new motherhood was a bit on the extreme side. I read all the books, had a strict sleeping schedule, planned excessively and obsessed about her first foods. Her schedule consumed me as I timed naps and took notes. And when it all fell apart, which it did more often than not, I convinced myself I was failing. I’d like to think I got a bit of my “happy medium” approach back with my third child. And yes, some of that may be that he’s simply the third child. But it’s also because I’ve learned to put the books down, turn Google off and focus on THIS…my gut instinct. As I sit here and look at the must-have gift list for a friend’s upcoming baby shower, I see the dreaded “everything you need to know” 500page book. The one full of guidelines, charts, timelines, numbers, shoulds and should-nots. The same one I looked at multiple times a day. I think there’s one piece of long-forgotten advice tossed around at baby showers or wherever: Swap the Google death spiral for your gut instincts.
There’s a reason babies don’t come with manuals and I believe a big part of that reason is a mother’s (or caregiver’s) ability to feel what it is they need. It’s that inner voice that may go against all the top-rated baby books or the opinions of others. I feel for new mothers today. The information overload they’re likely to experience must be utterly overwhelming. Whether it’s in the form of books, papers, manuals or links to popular baby blogs, every day it seems like there’s more pulling us away from our own intuition. Now don’t get me wrong, I think these resources can come in handy here and there, but should they be our end-all be-all-guide? I think there can be a healthy happy medium between the two. I personally feel if I would have listened to that inner voice a bit more, I could have saved myself massive amounts of anxiety and guilt. So, as you approach your new journey to motherhood, I hope you can learn to listen to your gut and let it have a say in the many decisions that are sure to come your way. Read the books as you see fit, but also ask yourself, what do I think needs to happen? And as always, self-given grace is necessary on this bumpy journey. We live and we learn. Lori Jo Berg is a Montana Native, mother of three and freelance writer who enjoys writing about the tougher side of life and connecting with her audience on a deeper level.
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Building Material :
Your Village WRITTEN BY SARAH WEBB
Montana State University’s beloved Chrysti the Wordsmith reported on my radio one morning that the verb “parenting” entered our collective vocabulary firmly in the 1970s. What was once a role within a family system became an action to perform. And what a performance it has been over the last 50 years. The inception of the noun “parent” in the 16th century described a role that a person either was or was not, implying an exclusively biological relationship to a child, thereby limiting the role and identifying biological connectivity as most valuable. Prior to that change, adults were referred to as “elders,” a title that endures in cultures that celebrate family and community interdependence over independence. Why the focus on linguistics and history? I get a LOT of questions from parents asking, “Why am I so overwhelmed?” Reviewing this history of the evolution of family life can help us answer this question. The fierce independence of immigrants and aggressive takeover of Native land during colonization was just the beginning of the struggle of the American family, setting the stage for devolution into disconnection, competition and pervasive loneliness. After World War II, economic stability and peace fostered a new economic reality, freeing many children from work responsibilities. Parents were charged with fostering a carefree existence, which later served as a point of advocacy, positing that American children should enjoy the right to well-being and, equally importantly, a kind of innocence. As economic stability grew into wealth, the ability to cultivate the “perfect” childhood and pave pathways to success evolved from a privilege to an expectation. As dual-income households became the norm rather than the novel, salaries 16
were prioritized to pay for all of the registrations, applications, tuitions, experiences and stuff that was supposed to lead our kids down the path to the American dream. But as we seek “the best” for children, we have developed a mindset of scarcity, where we believe there is not enough to go around, fueling the present-day environment of divisiveness and inequality. This evolution of family is more distinctly the story of white Americans. The competition and scarcity has motivated groups with power and privilege to maintain structures serving white Americans over Black, Hispanic, Native and immigrant Americans. Ironically, these disenfranchised sectors of American society have leaned into a communityfocused lifestyle from which there is so much to be learned and honored, even as evolving pressures add to the stress of oppressive systems. Parenting expectations are hard to ignore in the face of responsive rhetoric that sounds something like “Don’t you want the best for your children?” But the pandemic has distinctly taught us that these expectations are unsustainable. The truth is that we all need to closely examine the value of these expectations put upon us, and clarify and define what is healthy for our own children and family. I propose we reinvest in the value of simplicity and connectivity as core family values that build the strength of our communities. By valuing connectivity, we open the door to prosperity not only for ourselves, but also for our neighbors. Every child born is the future of that community, and we need to care about her well-being. Take a moment to consider your village. Oftentimes, those villages are not supportive or engaged enough, and some are even toxic and abusive. I invite you to consider these ideas on how to intentionally build a village that is supportive, engaged, nonjudgmental and respectful of your values and boundaries.
» Believe that you don’t have to do parenthood on your own. Also believe that you can
define that community, or even redefine family that does not need to be related by blood.
» Accept help from others. Keep a list of tasks that would be hard to complete in times of stress: snow shoveled, food delivered, laundry done, groceries picked up, animal care, etc.
» Get comfortable with vulnerability and authenticity. Honestly, we don’t have time to be small for others anymore. Being vulnerable and fully yourself can potentially be uncomfortable. Deep breaths through it. There is magic on the other side.
» Commit to the concept of “enough.” Identify and commit
to the care you need to be well. Identify where you have enough or abundance. Simplify your schedule and your consumption. Only when we experience abundance can we give to others.
» Watch for opportunities for matchmaking and opportunities to help. Connect people in your life that might be able to help each other out or enjoy each other. Watch for those whose lives seem to be off kilter and offer a specific task. Please do not say, “Let me know if you need anything.” Rather, say “What can I do for you!”
» Connect in person. I am well
aware of the possible logistical difficulty of this idea in a pandemic. However, there are parks, walking paths and front porches where small numbers of people can engage safely. Social media is not the answer.
Sarah Webb, LCSW is the owner of Webb Counseling, PLLC in Bozeman.
All Families Are
Good Families WRITTEN BY AMY MILLER
If you ask someone what their definition of family is you may receive a different answer than what you were expecting or what you believe to be a family. You might not have even thought about how you would define the word “family” before reading this. Is a family composed of only blood relatives? Are family members anyone who supports, cares for and loves one another? You might describe a family as a mother, a father and their children, or a single parent and their child. We each come from different backgrounds and thus might have different perceptions on what does and does not constitute a family. Even so, if we open our minds about how to define a family, then better connection and decreased stigmatization are possible. We should start by addressing and noticing the many different types of families. There are single parents, extended, step, foster, nuclear, grandparent, same-sex couple families and more. Additionally, family structures may change over time. Such diverse family forms are becoming more common and recognized. Yet, judging other family systems against the nuclear family is still common.
Regardless of family type, each has different hardships, needs, values and strengths, many of which we most likely cannot see from the outside. Thus, arriving at conclusions about another’s family from incomplete information can be harmful. Assumptions and judgments can feel heavy and may leave adults and children confused or feeling down about the family form they are a part of. Helping children feel proud about their family and their family’s uniqueness and guiding them in learning to acknowledge and respect people who come from backgrounds different from their own is essential. Having an open mind and having open conversations about family systems is a way to start this. By doing so, we can begin to lessen the stigmas around diverse family forms and create more acceptance. On a personal note, I am a single mother and have had to navigate judgments, stigmas and critical questions as a result. There have been times when both adults and children have assumed that my daughter has a father when, in reality, she does not. My daughter seems to handle these situations well, but I do not know how it will affect her in the future. It leads me
to wonder how children in similar non-nuclear situations or other familial structures handle speculation and assumptions about their families. It appears that society continues to reinforce the notion that nuclear families are normal and “good,” while not emphasizing the fact that many of us are a part of other family forms. There are many various types of families. We should not view those that are different from our own as inferior – family structure does not always equate to the quality of a family. Connecting with other types of families, avoiding assumptions, listening and trying to maintain an open mind about family structures is the best route to take and may lead to an increased understanding of the ever-changing nature of family. Additionally, we each might broaden our definition of what a family is in the process. Amy Miller is finishing up her Community Health degree, a Gerontology Certificate as well as Nursing prerequisites. After graduating from Community Health, Amy plans to enter into the Accelerated Nursing Program. She loves to spend her free time with family and friends, especially partaking in outdoor activities.
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Art and Nature based Preschool for 3-5 year olds
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Roots Family Collaborative,
A COMMUNITY, A GIFT WRITTEN BY JULIE ZICKOVICH
My transition to motherhood was hard. I remember lying in bed and counting the years until I could have my life back. I remember wondering for months if something was wrong with me. I filled out the postpartum depression screening, multiple times. Have I felt sad? Have I cried for no good reason? Of course, I had; why would I not? I felt like I was failing at being a mom, at taking care of my baby, and I was losing myself. I found it all hard. Breastfeeding; weight gain (him and me); watching my partner snore while I sat up in the middle of the night doing the ritual feeding; the worry about, well, everything. I would close my eyes and imagine myself on top of a mountain – my happy place, my pre-baby place. At some point during my journey, I settled into my new role a bit more and saw an ad for Moms Like Me, an event that is part of the nonprofit Roots Family Collaborative. I felt called to share my story, so I submitted mine and met with Roots. I did not get picked, but I was asked to help with the event. Still fresh from the initial sting of rejection, I decided this group wasn’t worth my time. Then my curiosity tickled, just a bit, and I wondered if the invitation to help was authentic. I went to a planning meeting feeling anxious. This group of women all knew my story—my vulnerable and slightly crazy story; and there I was introducing myself. When I said I was there because having my son was hard, every single woman in that room looked at me with understanding, a quiet nod, and nobody pushed my feelings aside to underscore how it felt for me. I remember that moment so vividly. I had never felt like I belonged somewhere more. I have been on the planning committee for Moms Like Me for the past four years. My motto has been that everyBODY has a story and every story is worth sharing. Not only have women shared at the event, but there have
been many, many more brave humans who have put their stories in writing. Every one of those stories – whether it was the storyteller writing it down, the reader reading it, or it was shared with an audience – has had an impact, a ripple. Storytelling connects the human experience. It creates a sense of belonging and it empowers us. I am now part of the team at Roots. We strive to foster a culture of nonjudgmental compassion and understanding for the human experience. A community where all parents can find belonging. Brene Brown writes, “If we deny the story, it defines us, when we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.” The programming at Roots centers around story. Moms Like Me, re:born, Blossom Mom, Pregnancy and Infant Loss, Dad’s Group and the various other happenings at Roots all invite the telling and listening of personal narrative in an environment that minimizes risk and provides safety when revealing one’s vulnerable self. The programs are focused on parents in the perinatal period and while they are helpful for navigating life as a parent, the programs are also a place where you are encouraged to be you. We believe in the love that story holds. We believe that love leads to belonging and if we belong, we can find the bravery to discover ourselves.
are in your parenting journey, to notice Roots. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, explore our website or come to one of the programs. The same storyteller who said that our systems are failing us later reflected on her experience participating in Moms Like Me, saying that she “felt an embrace from the community that she had never felt before.” Come to Roots; share your story. Help Roots to grow its community, to be a ripple and reach beyond itself to change our society—one that embraces moms and parents to and through parenthood. Julie Zickovich is a Bozeman native and the Program Assistant at Roots Family Collaborative. Two of her favorite things are finding new trails and snuggles with her son Ivan.
When my son was born, Roots was in its infancy. I was lucky to have my sister to hold me up. One storyteller from Moms Like Me 2021 said, “My story should have been different. Our systems are failing us. Mothers from all walks of life are blistering from the pressures of society.” At Roots we believe that support isn’t just important, it is essential. In the growing community of the Gallatin Valley there are very few support programs accessible to everyone and that number has become even smaller with COVID-19. As a parent I would encourage everyone, regardless of where you :: calendars, blog & more @ MTPARENT.COM ::
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE
Roots Perinatal Resource Guide WRITTEN BY SUZANNE BENDICK
I love making connections and I’m assuming, if you are one of the many people reading this magazine, you do too. Maybe you are physically growing a baby or navigating life with an infant(s). Maybe you’re trying to survive the unsurmountable grief that comes from losing a baby or are researching your options for infertility treatment, adoption or surrogacy. Perhaps you are a new dad or maybe a provider trying to understand how to better support families in our community. Any way you shake it, you are probably flipping through these articles hoping to glean some gems that could be helpful to you or to a loved one on this incredible journey. No matter what has brought you, I am glad you are here. What you will find in the Roots Perinatal Resource Guide and in the pages of this magazine is all part of our community’s dedication to caring for and supporting new and growing families. Did you know research shows the single most important factor that determines physical and emotional health is social support? I find this to be absolutely fascinating, and obviously integral to our work at Roots, not to mention our existence – especially as new parents. Despite our best intentions, it often feels as if we (totally guilty over here) throw support around like a buzz word. Support can feel empty or be potentially harmful when we don’t understand it, acknowledge its importance to our survival or know where to begin thinking about how to get it or give it. I learned recently that a model of Social Support Theory was brought into the mainstream during the early ‘80s, although we know this theory was extracted from the knowledge and traditions of indigenous cultures who have always had deep roots in social support and to which we have given no credit. For me, understanding our biology and our history—and how these are intertwined with 20
our current circumstances—gives us a greater perspective of our human experience, hopefully offering some self-compassion, and ultimately helping us feel less alone.
a major life transition, and the social support theory which, as I mentioned, is the single most important factor in determining physical and emotional health.
Being aware of this model of support, broken down into four categories, and its undeniable impacts on our health is essential for new parents and those supporting a parent we love. All parents need these aspects of support to survive.
We are social creatures who have relied and depended upon one another from the beginning, and there is nothing in the last few hundred years that has erased that fundamental biological need, especially during such a vulnerable transformation from individual to parent. For many of us though, as we have moved far away from our extended family, for more reasons than will fit in this magazine, we have found ourselves in circumstances that do not always allow for the act of finding, reaching out or getting support, all of which has been made especially difficult and pretty much impossible during the pandemic.
INSTRUMENTAL SUPPORT — tangible aid and service (i.e., a meal for a new family, a stack of wood chopped and ready for the wood stove, a box of diapers, a postpartum doula — although I think a doula could fit in each category) INFORMATIONAL SUPPORT — advice, suggestions and information (i.e., the Roots Perinatal Resource Guide, working with a provider you trust, books about the realities of the postpartum period, websites or other parenting groups) EMOTIONAL SUPPORT — expressions of empathy, love, trust, caring (i.e., participating in a peer support group at Roots or turning toward a friend’s difficulties with compassion rather than judgment) APPRAISAL SUPPORT — information that is useful for self-evaluation. This type of support should be used sparingly and should only come from a strong, trusting relationship or from a trained professional (i.e., self-evaluation research from a trained therapist or perhaps a partner) At Roots, one of our main goals in supporting parents is to help them understand that the challenges of this stage in life, although very personal and seemingly isolated to one’s unique experience, are most often ripple effects of our society’s emphasis on self-sufficiency, independence and productivity — three things that are completely contradictory to navigating
Our mission at Roots is to connect all parents to the support they need in the perinatal period. Hence the birth of the Resource Guide on the following page. I’m not suggesting just because this guide exists or because you know about social support theory, it will be easy for you; rather I hope you use this knowledge as a connection point, knowing that support for you and your family exists in our community in so many ways. As always, be gentle on yourself, knowing you are not alone and are worthy of the love and support that parents need for survival. I encourage you to give it a look, not because you are struggling, but because you are human.
PERINATA L GUIDE
Resources For Pregnancy to Parenthood READ it ONLINE now at
MTPARENT.com or rootsfamilycolLAbORATive.com
This guide was made Possible in part by:
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Modern-Day Miracles WRITTEN BY BEVERLY HOSFORD | PHOTO KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Thanks to advances in science, the way babies are conceived and carried varies just as much as babies themselves. One in eight couples struggle with infertility and one in four women have experienced pregnancy loss. Meanwhile, some people easily get pregnant just thinking about it. Being aware of the different family-building options, however, can literally change lives and so can being sensitive to the variety of journeys people are on. Most of us picture having an obstetrician and nurses on board for the pregnancy process. Some might have a midwife, doula, massage therapist and physical therapist involved too. For others, there could be a fertility doctor, a mental health counselor and even a reproductive lawyer paving the path to parenthood. In fact, Bozeman has its very own legal practice called Embaby Fertility Law, PLLC, which has handled more than 75 reproductive law matters. Katharine Hamilton, the lawyer who helps Montanans create and grow families, says that third-party reproduction is on the rise. “This means that rather than traditional adoption, more and more people are turning to surrogacy, embryo, egg and sperm donation to have babies.” Local caregiver and surrogate, Tricia, says, “A surrogate is like a super nanny who takes care of the baby while in utero and then the intended parents take over the care of the little one once they are born.” Without a biological connection, there isn’t much risk that a surrogate will want to “keep” a baby that is not hers, which is a common misconception about surrogacy. Surrogacy and embryo donation have both branched from in vitro fertilization (IVF), where an egg and sperm are combined in a lab and then implanted into a uterus. Some families need both IVF and a surrogate to have a baby, while others might want or need to adopt due to medical, biological or personal reasons. Hamilton says, “Embryo donation is becoming the new adoption. There is less uncertainty and red tape.” Hamilton explains many couples have remaining embryos after completing their family using IVF. Going through IVF is expensive and emotionally taxing, so donation offers an alternative to discarding the remaining embryos or freezing them indefinitely. “Embryo donation is a win-win. The donors know that they have helped another couple struggling with infertility and they have given their embryos a chance at life. On the other hand, the recipients have the opportunity to carry their donor-conceived child.”
Unlike adoption, embryo recipients can experience pregnancy and childbirth. There are no fees exchanged between the families for the embryos, other than the recipients’ reimbursement of donation-related expenses such as storage and shipping fees, as well as medical, mental health and legal fees to facilitate the embryo donation. Ownership of the embryos is transferred by written contract between the donors and recipients before a pregnancy occurs, so requirements such as home studies, and preplacement and post-placement evaluations of prospective parents are not necessary like with adoption. With embryo donation, the recipient is typically the birth parent, which provides additional legal protections. In adoption, the adoptive parents must wait at least 72 hours before a birth parent can consent to the adoption to ensure the arrangement is voluntary. While such safeguards protect a birth parent, a last-minute change of heart can be devastating to the other side. Legal professionals help make modern familybuilding safe and smooth. Hamilton says, “Science is evolving more rapidly than the law. It is imperative that anyone considering having a baby via assisted reproduction contact an experienced fertility lawyer prior to conception, as that is when an attorney has the best chance at protecting their parental rights.” Take “at-home” insemination methods as an example. Without a signed contract addressing key terms and all parties having legal representation, a sperm donor could be legally recognized as a parent, even if that was no one’s intention. Hamilton offers free initial consultations through her website www. embabylaw.com. While lawyers add the parties’ expectations regarding future communication in their written surrogacy and donation agreements, they don’t manage how the families proceed with staying in contact. Each family handles this differently. Some exchange Christmas cards or even go on vacation together, while others perform their part and go their separate ways. It’s a personal matter, just like parenting itself. It’s valuable to be aware of the many ways families are made and the resources available out there so that we can all support one another on our unique paths to parenthood. Beverly Hosford, MA teaches body awareness using anatomy and sleep science to help people enhance the connection between mind and body. She also loves skiing, hiking, cooking and gardening. Connect with her on Instagram @ beverlyhosford.
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2. Regression in sleep, toileting or baby talk.
How to Help
Siblings Deal with A New Baby WRITTEN BY FLORA MCCORMICK | PHOTO KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
1. Jealousy: Let’s start by standing in
our child’s shoes for a moment. Imagine your partner comes home and says, “Honey, I’m excited to tell you we are adding another wife to our home! It’s going to be so wonderful. You will love her! Think of the fun things you can play with her. You might even get to share a room with her!” How would that feel? Likely you would have some feelings of jealousy, anger or sadness – stemming from your struggle to adjust to sharing your family, your space and the key place in your loved ones’ arms. Knowing this perspective can help you understand what your child is going through. A few key strategies I have found that decrease jealousy include:
» Draw attention to siblings:
When people compliment the baby, turn attention toward siblings too: “She is always smiling because she has the best brothers in the world.” “Doesn’t she have the same wonderful spark as her amazing sisters?! I love seeing that in her.”
» Involve them in caring for baby:
It can be tempting to ask the child to play away from you while you nurse or bottlefeed. Instead, if you find they are trying to get your attention, give them a way to feel useful. They can rub baby’s feet with lotion, sing a song to baby or pick out a toy that baby can play with after eating so they feel important and involved in the process. You can even get a small diaper bag for siblings who are eager to be helpful with baby.
» Redirect irritating behaviors:
You may find yourself saying things like, “Stop climbing on me while I’m nursing the baby,” or “Don’t pull on me. I’m holding the baby,” or “Don’t scream. The baby’s sleeping.” This can lead to the child feeling more negative toward the baby and doesn’t help to build replacement behaviors. Instead, focus on how you can redirect by telling them what they can do. With young siblings especially, redirection is so much more effective than just telling a child to stop. For example: “Honey, you look like you’re wanting to jump. I wonder if you can jump from the edge of the carpet to the first square of the kitchen floor?” “Can you jump over just one stuffy or two? Show me.” “Let me teach you the ‘interrupting hand,’ so you can get my attention when you need something.” (See Sustainable Parenting’s Facebook Group for instructions.) “Wow. Your voice is creative. What song could we sing together? Let’s try it in different voices - first like a fish under water (moving our finger up and down between closed lips), and second, like a roaring tiger, saying “roar” for each word.
It’s very common to have regression, and the best thing you can do is to keep routines as consistent as possible, and know that regression is normal. If your older kiddo was sleeping great, using the potty or learning mature strategies to get their needs met, those will return. Show the child you have faith that they will use those skills again with phrases like, “Let’s try that again,” or, “You were doing that so well at Grandma’s house, remember?” Strive to not give into whining, crying or baby talk when the child tries to see if that gets them what they want.
3. Not liking the baby.
The most common complaint I hear from parents is “She doesn’t like the baby.” She may even try to pinch, hit or squeeze the baby, and say things like “I hate the baby.” I recommend doing something that is often very counterintuitive. Normalize your child’s negative feelings. This works under the principle that we “name it to tame it.” When a child feels a big, angry or sad feeling, our instinct is often to talk them out of that feeling and tell them all the reasons to not feel that feeling. This can just cause the feeling to get bigger. To tame the anger and sadness, lean into it. These phrases let the feelings get aired out (which, in fancy terms, we call validation): “You sound really sad about baby being here. Yeah, sometimes you may feel that way.” Then a silent hug for 30 seconds. “You sound mad at the baby. Tell me about that.” Pause for at least 30 seconds to listen. They may not start talking until after 29 seconds in silence. And if you’d like more guidance on challenges with older siblings, to have more joy, calm and ease in your home, more personalized parent coaching is available at SustainableParenting. com. Flora McCormick is a Parenting Coach of 12 years, who supports parents world-wide, from her home computer in Bozeman at SustainableParenting.com. When not coaching parents on ways to parent smarter (not harder), she loves to be in her backyard with her two kids, ages 5 and 7, or her husband of 10 years, Gabe.
My biggest dream of becoming a mother was ending with one of the most painful decisions I have ever made. I knew I loved them, and that I wanted to end their suffering more than anything. I also knew that I wanted to hold them and kiss them, I wanted to tell them how loved, how worthy and how wanted they were. I cherished the moments I spent holding them in my arms as they took their final breaths and then, hand-in-hand my twins died, and I was left to live, empty handed and broken hearted.
Rewriting Your Story After Tragedy WRITTEN BY ANDREA BLINDT
As a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a mother more than anything else in the world. I imagined getting married and starting a family on my timeline. I envisioned a smooth pregnancy documented by weekly bump reports and concluding with an adorable blanket-wrapped bundle snuggled safely in my arms.
complicated IVF cycle before I successfully became pregnant with twins. I thought getting pregnant would be my biggest obstacle, but staying pregnant turned out to be an even bigger task for me.
Unfortunately for me, and millions of other families around the world, the reality of having a baby can be much harder than we think. Miscarriage and infant death occur more often than people share. This can create isolation, shame and immense pain and suffering to those facing these challenges.
I was over the moon excited when I saw my twins nestled safely inside my warm cozy uterus. I watched as their brilliant hearts flickered and their perfect bodies grew day by day. I started dreaming about life with them and prepared our home, setting up cribs, buying outfits and soft blankets, installing car seats in the car I would get to drive them home in. I was excited to see my dreams finally merge with my reality.
My journey into motherhood started with an invasive eight-hour surgery to remove a mass on my left ovary that left my fertility potential limited. I had stage four endometriosis and scarred fallopian tubes, which made matters more complex.
Everything felt perfect, until suddenly it wasn’t. At 17 weeks pregnant I was hospitalized. I spent two long months holding back preterm labor, and then an unfortunate series of events led to the premature delivery of my twins at 26 weeks gestation.
Still, I was determined to become a mother and I trusted that one day I would have a family despite the medical challenges I faced.
The day they were born, my world slowed and then after five hope-filled days fighting for my babies’ lives, everything came crashing down around me. My twins were suffering; unimaginable medical complications riddled their innocent bodies, and I was faced with the impossible decision to withdraw life support.
It took multiple rounds of fertility treatments, hundreds of injections, multiple surgeries, failed insemination cycles, two miscarriages and a
I continued to pump and donate my breastmilk to other babies in need, my milk and the incision on my abdomen were the only physical reminders that they had ever existed, that this was my reality. I was a mom without any living children. I was incredibly sad and felt very alone. My family and friends didn’t know how to approach infant loss, so most of them avoided the topic or pushed me to heal quicker than I was able to. Feeling alone but deeply determined, I knew what needed to happen in order to achieve my dream. I couldn’t change the past, but I could create a different future. I chose to walk through the pain instead of allowing it to bury me further under its cloak of darkness and despair. I knew that in order to truly heal, I would need to feel the pain of their loss. Like the adventure into motherhood, my healing took time, dedication and faith. I trusted that new life would grow from the ashes of my loss, and by healing my body and strengthening my mind, I was able to successfully deliver four more living babies. My life and journey into motherhood looked nothing like I imagined it would, but through the pain I am able to see the beautiful blessings I have – all because I chose to persevere. My hope for you is that wherever you are on your parenting journey, whether it be dreaming of becoming a parent or actively working toward that dream, that you feel loved, supported in community and full of hope and endurance as you reach your dreams, even when they look a little different than you imagined. My heart is with yours and I believe that anything is possible. I know that you are worthy. You are capable, you are loved and you are deserving of having all your dreams become a reality. Andrea Blindt is a mother of six, registered nurse, storyteller, holistic health practitioner and visionary. She uses her personal healing journey to bring wisdom and hope to her patients. She understands that each person is unique, much like the root cause of the obstacles they encounter. She meets each client where they are, and comes up with an individualized plan on how best to help them reach their goals. She is also being featured in a new book titled Lineage Speaks that will be released this month.
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Make Time for
WRITTEN BY CRIMSON GALLAGHER | PHOTOS BY MARY LORRAINE
At long last, the beautiful day has arrived. You’ve just welcomed your new baby into your life. You’ve anticipated this day for at least nine months and finally your little one is here. But now what? New parents must navigate wide and uncharted waters, facing a host of unfamiliar realities both physically and emotionally. Suddenly every decision requires you to take into account that little bundle of joy, and time for yourself is massively reduced. A new baby brings so much joy and requires so much attention that it’s easy to focus an entire day on the little one, but it’s important to remember that meeting your own needs and fulfilling your own personal happiness is critical. I recently welcomed my first baby and, as I held him in my arms for the first time, I instantly felt my whole world change. I realized I could spend every little bit of energy I had on my son, and yet I wanted to make sure I held space for myself as well. You’ve heard the phrase, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” right? Setting aside time for yourself allows you to show up as the mom, wife, employee and friend that you want to be. Parenting will always be a dance of push and pull. No matter the stage you’re in, there will be days when you feel you are not doing enough. Parent guilt is a real thing. You lose yourself and find yourself at the same time. It’s almost humorous how there are days you can’t wait for a break or for the baby to sleep and then somehow you feel this internal battle any time you are away from your child. It’s truly an indescribable love and while you wouldn’t change it for the world, it is important to find a balance of self-care. 26
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I find that yoga and fitness allow me to refocus, reorganize and rejuvenate. Power yoga is a great option for self-care as it combines physical fitness, yoga postures and mindfulness in a quick one-hour format. You’ll quickly discover that dedicating time to your physical and mental well-being allows you to better show up for yourself and your family. Yoga provides a gentle reminder that all is temporary, so sit and enjoy the present. Even just one hour gives you time to quiet your mental chatter, find joy in the moment and deepen where you are before moving on to the next task. It’s a reminder that we have to allow ourselves to inhale before we can exhale. Although there is no better feeling than when your little one looks up at you and flashes that adorable smile, the feeling of peace and relaxation during savasana as you close your yoga practice can definitely be a close second. It requires a lot of courage to take steps in a new direction and work on yourself. I see your strength. I admire you as you figure out this new way of life, all while gazing through eyes that could use more sleep. And so, whether it’s yoga, movie night or even taking a quiet five minutes alone, I encourage you to find some time for yourself. Pour into your cup and nurture your personal growth. Crimson Gallagher is a Yoga Alliance 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). She’s a fitness and outdoor enthusiast, new mom and instructor at Bozeman Power Yoga, Zephyr Cycling and HELSE Lagree Fitness.
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My mom was unable to attend public school after my sister was born, but in my small hometown of 5,000 people, the high school allowed her to count night classes toward her diploma. She was very proud of herself when she went back to massage therapy school in her 40’s. It was the first opportunity she really had to invest in herself and her own future.
A is Not a Bad Thing WRITTEN BY CAMI ARMIJO-GROVER
I was talking to a friend recently about her experience having a child in her teens. She admitted being scared to tell her parents, so she told her aunt first. I can only imagine how hard her heart was pounding as she said the words out loud, but her aunt didn’t reprimand or shame her. Rather, she reassured her, “A baby is not a bad thing.” And my friend began to feel excitement about the life growing inside her. When it comes to teen parents, there are a lot of statistics about how many teen moms drop out of school or how their children are more likely to experience poverty, struggle in school and be incarcerated. These are all true, but they aren’t a complete picture. They don’t take into account that many of these teens already live in poverty, that some get kicked out of their homes, that many schools (and our culture) aren’t set up to provide teen moms with the resources they need and deserve to be successful. And the shame we attach to teen parenting can leave a young parent feeling unable to ask questions, because they are concerned that asking for help will only confirm the myth that teens are not capable of being good parents. I think we can all agree that parenting is hard, but for some, like teen parents, there are additional challenges. Teen moms are more likely to be single parents, may not yet have the skills or education to make a living wage and, without strong support from their partner or family, may not have access to quality child care. While I didn’t have a child in my teens, I am the child of teen parents. My mom had my sister when she was 17 and me when she was 18 and my dad was only a couple of years older. My parents did get married, but they were unhappy and divorced when I was 5. I was lucky because both my father, and all of my living grandparents, took a very active role in raising me. In fact, after the divorce, my father and I lived with my grandmother for several years. Even after we moved out, we continued to have dinner at her house every evening. She was a third parent to me and my child is named after her.
My father has worked part-time, low-wage jobs most of my life, and delivered lunch and mail to schools for most of my childhood. He never complained, but as soon as my sister and I graduated and moved out, he quit. He said he had disliked it for years, but they had great insurance and he needed that for us girls. Many parents can relate to that need to sacrifice what might be best for ourselves, to ensure the needs of our children are met. As I said, my parents were lucky to have supportive family to help them, a sentiment echoed by the friend I mentioned. Her child is now a bright, well-adjusted, vivacious 7-year-old and the center of her mama’s world. And my friend is about to graduate with her Bachelor’s Degree and dreams of attending nursing school. She has had to overcome some very large challenges herself, including an abusive relationship with her child’s father and being a single parent. Without the support from her parents, she doesn’t know how she would have done it. These are only two stories that I hope highlight the need to stop stigmatizing teen parents and start supporting them. Because here are some other statistics:
» 45% of all pregnancies are unplannedi – it’s not just teens
» The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world
» Over 70% of all 19-year-olds have had sexii If we can support people over age 20 who experience an unplanned pregnancy, why can’t we do the same for teens? Teen parents and their children can be amazingly resilient and, with better family and community support, we can help ensure that everyone has a bright future. Cami Armijo-Grover is the Education Director at Bridgercare, the family planning clinic in Bozeman. She was first drawn to teaching sex education because of her strong conviction that people (of all ages and genders) deserve the knowledge and resources to plan and space the births of their children. Her favorite name to be called is “Mama!” i https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/unintendedpregnancy/index.htm#:~:text=In%202008%2C%20women%20 reported%20that,higher%20rates%20of%20unintended%20 pregnancy ii
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A Personal Journey Through
Postpartum Depression WRITTEN BY ALI GEARHART
When initially asked if I would share my personal experience of postpartum depression, I was terrified. But this fear is what keeps so many women silent and unable to speak out about their own struggles with mental health. No more hiding, I decided. On a snowy St. Patrick’s Day in 2005 I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl, my first love. I was 17 years old, instantly becoming an adult. To no surprise, my brain remained stuck within the capacity of an adolescent. In the hospital, all I wanted was my mother, her comfort. Absolutely nothing felt normal; I hated it. Yet, it was my actions and decisions that put me there and, because of that, I felt very strongly that I couldn’t ask for help in any way. Which in turn, only made me feel more alone. Though I tried educating myself as much as possible throughout my pregnancy, nothing had fully prepared me for life after delivery. I was aware of the possible risks to the mother and baby, the process of labor and delivery, in-utero development, benefits of breastfeeding, swaddling, etc. I knew it was going to be difficult, but there were no words to describe the postpartum exhaustion that would often give way to throbbing headaches, an ever-changing body that ached in all the wrong places – making what were once simple tasks such as walking, sitting or standing uncomfortable. Breastfeeding was amazing in many ways, but terribly uncomfortable and painful at times. If you know, you know. I feared nightfall when the rest of my family would go to bed. In my mind, it meant that I was completely alone. Shortly after delivery I began experiencing the emotional roller coaster and newfound anxiety that was described to me as the “baby blues” often followed by, “You’re a new mom, that’s normal.” It made perfect sense. As the months went by, the emotions changed; they went away almost entirely. I went numb. Shortly thereafter the insomnia, depressed mood, weight loss and irritability reared their ugly heads. Some close to me gently made mention of my shrinking frame, and yet I didn’t care. I buried it all, right along with others’ concerns. Shame and intense guilt stopped me from reaching out and in some ways, sadly, it impacted my attachment to my young daughter. I built great walls, keeping others and my emotions away at all costs. I became cold and unsympathetic to others, but learned to superficially adapt to societal norms of motherhood. The years following were full of trials and tribulations, no doubt, but also many beautiful moments and successes. I married a wonderful man, graduated college and became a nurse, bought a home, participated in therapy, continued raising my daughter and even added two more children to our family. The perinatal period of 30
our first son went according to plan. Life was great and, following the delivery of our last child, everything was great again – victory! However, two weeks after delivery I was rushed to the hospital for delayed hemorrhaging. Fortunately, while being prepped for an emergency hysterectomy, the bleeding stopped. I made a full recovery and returned home shortly thereafter. Upon returning home, something felt off. The numbness began creeping in, along with the irritability, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, chronic fatigue and depression. Again, I yearned for the woman I was, but knew I’d never get her back. I felt restless all the time; the guilt was at an all-time high. How could I be so fortunate and yet so unhappy? Motherhood became a series of going through the motions, often concerned that I was a terrible mom. I was afraid people would think I was “unfit.” I absolutely LOVED all of my children; it was so confusing. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. With encouragement, exercise, therapy, support, medication and honesty, I began to heal. The process forced me to confront everything I had buried, which was liberating. It’s important to note that postpartum depression and anxiety can happen to anyone, from those most vulnerable and unprepared to those most stable in terms of resources and familial support. My experience has taught me to never bury what you’re feeling. A healthy, happy and supported parent is more readily able to fulfill the needs of their children. If you find yourself struggling mentally, please – no more hiding. Ali Gearhart is a wife, mother of three and a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, additionally certified in Perinatal Mental Health. She owns the Bozeman-based psychiatric practice, Grit & Grace, PLLC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about her at www.grit-grace-mt.com.
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Breastfeeding The Bigger Picture WRITTEN BY KELLI STANLEY
I walked into a La Leche League meeting feeling confident, self-aware and not really knowing why I was there. I was seven months pregnant with my first child. Someone had mentioned it would be a good idea to attend one of these meetings to talk with other moms, get information and support and prepare for breastfeeding. If you’re not familiar, La Leche League International is an organization that promotes and supports breastfeeding and breastfeeding education. Groups of women gather in communities all over the world on a regular basis to learn and grow together in their breastfeeding experience, all the while gaining guidance from the La Leche League organization. (It’s really a fantastic resource.) Ten minutes into the introductions, I found myself saying something like, “Breastfeeding is natural. It’s what nature intended. It’s what I plan to do. I don’t see there being any issues. Babies just pop right on and there you go! Right?” Except I didn’t say that last part. I wasn’t asking a question. It was most certainly a statement. I was optimistic, excited and absolutely not worried. Thinking back to that moment now, I can see the knowing eyes of the women staring at me. That “bless your heart” look that comes with experience and empathy. I’m sure they were waiting for the right moment to gently offer guidance and maybe a healthy dose 32
of reality. I wasn’t ready for it then, though. Evidently, I needed to be deep into the trenches before I could really grasp what I had missed out on at that meeting. My reality check came when my baby was born. When he latched, my nipples screamed and my toes curled. I had to hold my breath to be able to bear the pain to get through a nursing session. He cried. A lot. He wasn’t satisfied. He wasn’t gaining weight. And my nipples were broken and bleeding. Needless to say, there were tears, enough to fill a freezer full of those milk storage bags. What happened to putting my baby to the breast and him taking it easily like I had envisioned? Where were these beautiful images of me and my baby lovingly embracing during nursing? Why wasn’t my body doing what it was supposed to do? Why was my baby struggling? It was an awful place to be as a new mom. Everyone said it would get better. Some even said that this is breastfeeding. The images I had in my mind and what I was experiencing didn’t align. And now I know why. It took me three more babies and becoming a Certified Lactation Counselor to really understand this first experience and put all of the pieces together. It shouldn’t take anyone that long, which is one of the reasons why I do what I do now!
First, quite simply, I was naïve. I relied on what knowledge I thought I had about breastfeeding and wasn’t willing or ready to accept that there were variations. Granted, there is A LOT to learn! I have been doing this for almost 15 years now and there are still deviations from the norm, special circumstances, family considerations, new research and interesting personal narratives. It’s not something that most people have the time or the capacity to build in a short amount of time (i.e. while pregnant, your learning curve is already extreme given everything else you’re trying to soak in). But, having a foundation to build on is key, and knowing who to reach out to for support when you have questions or challenges creates a more sustainable and positive experience. Second, I was fully committed and focused on my image of breastfeeding. That image was of a beautiful, doting mother embracing her baby and providing nourishment with ease, anytime and anywhere. (There is a special glow about her. Maybe even hearts and flowers encircling the twosome.) You know what, that’s still the image I have in my mind. But with greater context now. When we see women out in public breastfeeding their babies, those babies are typically older infants or toddlers. We’re not seeing brand new, days/weeks-old babies. Unless mom is a seasoned one who has breastfed before. New moms and new babies are typically still figuring it out together at home or tucked away from curious eyes.
Third, I didn’t fully understand the concept of two individuals learning something each of them has zero experience or training in and having to do it because one of them depended on it for survival. (Maybe that’s a bit extreme, because we have SO MANY options for feeding babies, but this was my mentality.) Meaning, two different people, one brand new to the world, the other brand new to motherhood, trying to learn something together in a very, very short amount of time, each with their own presentations and abilities. Nipple anatomy can make a difference in how a baby latches. Baby’s range of oral motor functionality can make a difference in whether he moves milk effectively. One of them having difficulty in either of those areas alone can mean challenges with breastfeeding. Both of them having difficulty, means even more challenges.
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What it all comes down to is that breastfeeding isn’t always straightforward, but it can make sense when all of these factors are brought together in a way that paints a bigger picture and a greater understanding of the feeding relationship. If I could go back to that time and tell myself one thing, it would be to swallow my pride, seek guidance and give myself some grace. (OK, that’s actually three things, but all important.) Support groups and one-on-one counseling are available in most communities. If not, there are many virtual options through various platforms and organizations. I realize now that I probably would have benefited most from individualized support in an environment that was familiar to me, like my home. As a new mom, I felt as though I was managing too much already and didn’t realize what I was missing out on by not having the support. And I really didn’t know what options were available to me. I am here to let you know that ALL of the options are available to you. The enclosed Perinatal Resource guide in this month’s issue is a great start. Kelli Stanley is a Certified Lactation Counselor and Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula. She and her team at Tree of Life Doula Care provide loving, knowledgeable, infant feeding support in the comfort of your home or at their office in Manhattan. To learn more about their approach or to schedule a lactation consultation, visit www.treeoflifedoulacare.com.
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She Did WRITTEN BY ALI SCHWEITZER
I love the conversations with my kids but, as a busy mom, I forget a lot of them. Someone once gifted me a pack of index cards all packaged together in a pretty way and said keep these with you to write down the funny things your kids say, so you remember. Well, I’ll be honest, I threw it away, not because I didn’t think it was a good idea; I just didn’t want to do it. I always want to be present with my kids, and for me that means I don’t take as many photos as I should, and I defiantly don’t write down the funny things they say or the conversations we have. But this recent conversation I had with my 8-year-old son made me stop, laugh and decide to write this story. So here I will recount the funny conversation I had so that I can look back and remember this moment. Most days after school are the same: we get home, unload backpacks, lunch boxes and talk a bit about our day. However, when the kids are unloading their things, I’m running to my bedroom and taking off my work clothes and putting on sweats and, if I’m superfast, washing my face. Well, the other day when we got out of the car and I said, “Clean out your backpack while I go change,” my son said, “Mom, why do you always change your clothes when you get home? Aurora and I don’t.” This question made me stop and laugh. Not because it was hilarious, but because it took me back to my childhood and my own mom. She always got home and immediately changed into her sweats and 34
washed her face. In fact, I vaguely remember asking her the exact question my son asked me and thinking she was weird and that I would never do that. So, I started thinking about other things I do that my mom (or my dad) did that I was never going to do when I grew up. After answering my son, “Because I want to be comfortable at home so that I can play with you and your sister,” I sat down later and made a list entitled “That’s What She Did”…and here’s what I got (or at least my top three). Again, these are the crazy things my mom did that I was never going to do…but surprise – I do. First, I change my clothes the minute I get home from work. I don’t even wear uncomfortable clothes to work, but I love my sweats. My mom did this every weekday, and she sported the pink track suit like a pro. As a child I thought she was weird – I mean why would you change more than once during the day? Well, mom, I get it now. Second, let’s talk music. My parents both listened to the classics, so the drive to school and home was always filled with the Beatles, Johnny Horton, Credence Clearwater Revival and all the other classics. I hated this. I would always ask them to turn on 93.7 so we could listen to the latest hits, but it fell on deaf ears. So, I said over and over again that I was going to be the cool parent who kept up with today’s hits and always listen to the newest music. Umm,
guess what I listen to on Sirius XM? ’90s on 9. Today’s music has nothing on what I grew up listening to (and I still even listen to some of those classics from my parents’ day). Last, the face washing, but you can’t forget the ‘80s sweatband that she sported to pull her hair back. Maybe I never understood the face washing because I didn’t wear makeup, but now there are nights I get home and want nothing more than to clean my face, and I still don’t wear much makeup. I, of course, sport a headband (which is definitely ‘90s inspired) and I have a scrunchie in too. My 3-year-old daughter watches me a lot and chats with me while I wash my face, just like I did when my mom washed hers. I’m counting down the days until she asks me, just like I asked my mom, mid-wash “Mom, how old do you have to be before you stop getting zits?” But unlike my mom’s answer, “When you turn 30,” I’m going to be honest and say “Never!” So, I guess those shouts of “I’ll never be like you” weren’t true and I am my mother’s daughter. But I’m OK with that, she must have done something right, because I turned out pretty good. Dr. Ali Schweitzer is owner and chiropractor at Active Family Chiropractic & Wellness. She specializes in pregnancy and pediatric chiropractic care, when she’s not chasing around her own two kiddos.
YOU BELONG HERE access our FREE resources for pregnancy, postpartum + parenthood!
yoga for prenatal postpartum baby toddler kids family
classes, workshops, retreats + more | @ouryogafamily | 406.209.9954 | 407 W Main St
We specialize in creating memorable events for the Gallatin Valley! Unique Sleepovers Picnic Events Big Screen Movies Karaoke and more! We bring the party to you… and handle all the details!
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CHINESE & RUSSIAN LESSONS RIGHT HERE, IN MONTANA! Language School in the Comfort of Your Home
14 years of age and up.
Ph.D. in Chinese Language & Second Language Acquisition native speaker of Russian online lessons but always in person www.HelenaLanguages.com
The Building Blocks of Your
Baby’s Best Self WRITTEN BY MYRA HARTZHEIM | PHOTOS KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Nurturing a thriving child isn’t always easy. I can tell you that I started off on the wrong foot with my first (from lack of knowledge). My oldest and I have walked a long journey of learning and healing toward thriving, and this has allowed me to bring others toward healing and wholeness. I hope you find the direction provided here as a gift to help your family thrive from the start.
Sleep is the digestion of the mind
When babies sleep, they are taking in the input of the world and making sense of it. If they don’t sleep, they cannot digest the information they are taking in. Imagine, if you were to eat but the food skips your stomach altogether, you cannot take in the macro and micronutrients to grow and develop. Helping our babies make the most of what the world has to offer (and demands of them) requires optimal sleep. In fact, sleep is when growth hormones are released. Children and babies need sleep to continue to be healthy and grow optimally.
Ç Pro tip: Get to know your baby’s
sleepy cues: Each baby will show signs of sleepiness in different ways. For example, some babies may become vocal, yawning or grunting. Learning your baby’s sleepy cues gives you the groundwork on which to learn and honor your child’s basic needs.
Connection communicates safety
When little ones feel safe, they use their energy to thrive. When there is little to no healthy connection, little ones use their energy to survive. A loving relationship equals safety in a child’s mind and body. The challenge is for parents to stay present enough to consistently nurture connection. It may feel counterintuitive, but the best thing you can do to consistently foster connection with your child is to take time for yourself. In a state of depletion, our minds revert to the past or future. We require energy to stay present and connected.
Ç Pro tip: Make a list of ways you can
take time for yourself in the middle of a busy day. Sometimes it can be as simple as lying on the couch for five minutes with no agenda or turning on music and zoning out. The shorter the time you make for yourself, the more frequently you may need those moments throughout the day.
Movement builds the brain
One of the most important times to enable movement is in infancy. Studies have found that specific movements develop the primitive part of the brain, allowing higher-order functions to develop appropriately. Without ample opportunity to move, evidence suggests that children have a higher chance of developing
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Comprehensive Therapy Services for Independence and Growth ✦ Occupational and Physical Therapy ✦ Speech and Language Therapy ✦ Breastfeeding and Nutrition Services A warm and comfortable environment serving: Infants, Children and Women 300 N Willson Ave Suite #2005, Bozeman
learning difficulties and facing challenges in sensory development, emotional regulation, coordination and balance. The purpose of movement allows primitive reflexes to become integrated, allowing for optimal brain development. Integration of primitive reflexes is possible later in life with the help of a primitive reflex integration specialist.
Ç Pro tip: Allow time for movement
several times a day just as you make time to feed your baby.
Freedom to feed is the freedom to grow
Why can something so basic in life as feeding be so difficult for some little ones? When feeding doesn’t come easy, having the right support can make all the difference. Here are some signs that support may be helpful for you and baby:
These are a few symptoms to watch for. There can often be one or more causes for these symptoms, so I advise that you organize a feeding team to rule out any possible factors contributing to the feeding struggles.
Ç Pro-tip: Consider having a
pediatrician, an airway specialist, lactation specialist, as well as a lactation allergy expert on your feeding team. Each of these specialists bring a unique viewpoint to your challenge, which will give you the best perspective and the most options on how to address your little one’s struggles.
May 10-15, 2022
Myra Hartzheim is a wife, mother, a Gentle Sleep Coach (certified by Kim West a.k.a. The Sleep Lady) and Infant Mental Health Professional with continuing education in Perinatal Mental Health. Myra is the founder of Hearts & Dreams LLC.
» Baby arches back during feeding times » Nursing is quite painful for mom » Bowel movements for baby are painful and seldom
» Chronic and/or excessive gassiness in baby
» Baby shows signs of discomfort after feedings
» Symptoms of colic or reflux » Blood or mucus in baby’s stool
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Taking Care of
Your Body Pregnancy and
Postpartum WRITTEN BY KELLEY KOONTZ
The process of going through pregnancy, labor and postpartum is a beautiful thing. It’s also a marathon for your body. From conception, it seems your body is all about preparing for the baby and, after labor, taking care of the baby. But it’s also time to take care of yourself. Did you know physical therapy can help during pregnancy and after? From low back pain, to incontinence, to pelvic organ prolapse and so much more, there are so many benefits to seeing a pelvic health physical therapist during these times. Not sure what a pelvic health physical therapist is? Pelvic health physical therapists focus on the pelvic region, specifically the pelvic floor muscle group and treat many diagnoses related to this region. The pelvic floor is a muscle group that lives in your pelvis and helps with functions such as having continence with our bladder and bowels, supporting pelvic organs, aiding with sexual function and stability of the pelvis and spine.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Therapy
During pregnancy, your body is continually changing and adapting to growing a human. Your abdominal muscles are adapting to an expanding belly, pelvic floor muscles are helping support a growing baby and most people aren’t sure what exercises are safe. Not to mention, it’s possible your low back and hips may be speaking to you more. The postpartum period has just as many changes to work through as your body heals and recovers from pregnancy and labor. Depending on whether you gave birth vaginally or had a C-section, they can both come with their own unique set of challenges (or what I like to call opportunities of growth). The biggest thing to remember: It took nine months to grow a baby, it’ll take at least that long to recover. A physical therapist that specializes in pelvic health can help in the following ways throughout your pregnancy and after child birth:
Low-back, hip and pelvic girdle pain
No, you don’t have to suffer through back, hip or pelvic girdle pain just because you are pregnant or had a baby. Physical therapists can help reduce pain through a variety of techniques including manual therapy and exercise to get you moving better with less pain.
Diastasis Recti Abdominis
Do not fear diastasis recti abdominis. It is completely normal in 100% of women in the third trimester of pregnancy. What is diastasis recti? It is a stretching of connective tissue that runs from your breastbone to your pubic bone that is called the linea alba and it stretches out to accommodate a growing baby. Physical therapy can help manage diastasis recti before and after pregnancy.
Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period
There is so much you can do for exercise and there are many benefits of exercising during pregnancy (especially if you have a low-risk pregnancy) including: reduced risk of gestational diabetes, less likely to need a C-section, less likely to have a larger fetal birth weight, reduced risk of postpartum depression and potential reduction of the length of first and second stages of labor. Pelvic health therapists can help guide you through the unknowns of exercise during pregnancy, and they are the experts of knowing what’s going on with the pelvic floor and core. Physical therapists can help give you guidance throughout your pregnancy for when and IF you need to modify exercises. In the postpartum period, it can be difficult to know what you can do to get back to exercise. Physical therapists are the experts at helping and guiding you back to your pre-pregnancy level of fitness.
Incontinence (Urinary Leakage)
This can be common, but not normal. Maybe you have heard of Kegels for pelvic floor strengthening, but not everyone needs to do them and those who do benefit from instruction in doing them correctly. It
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995 Carousel Way Helena, MT 406.457.1800 explorationworks.org has been estimated that about 30% of women perform Kegels incorrectly. Pelvic health therapy can help figure out if your pelvic floor is tight or weak and prescribe an individual plan for you. Post pregnancy, many moms will say they can’t jump on a trampoline anymore or have certain exercises they can’t do because they might leak, a pelvic health therapist can help prevent this.
C-section, episiotomy or perineal tear care
A C-section is a major abdominal surgery. You would expect to see a physical therapist after knee, hip or shoulder surgery, why not after a C-section? With incision sites or tearing, you may need help to reduce scar tissue and get either your abdominal muscles or pelvic floor muscles working correctly during the healing process.
Pelvic organ prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse is when one or more of your pelvic organs descends into the vaginal canal. This is common after giving birth and physical therapy can help reduce and manage symptoms. These are the most common things seen in the clinic during the pregnancy and postpartum periods, and the list doesn’t end there. Pelvic health physical therapy can help with even more than was mentioned here. Even if you don’t have concerns about these symptoms, or have them at all, it’s a good idea to check in with a pelvic health physical therapist. Your body went through a lot of hard work and needs some time to rehabilitate your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Whether you just had a baby or are 20 years postpartum, it is never too late to get the care you need. Kelley Koontz is a physical therapist that specializes in orthopedics and pelvic health at APRS Physical Therapy. She enjoys treating conditions of the spine, pelvis and lower extremities, persistent pain and pelvic health conditions. She has taken multiple courses to further her education including the pelvic floor continuing education series through the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute. She is certified in Functional Dry Needling and a certified Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist. She enjoys exercising in her free time, going on adventures in the great outdoors of Montana, and is a coach at Orangetheory Fitness.
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After-school & PIR Day Activities submit listings now @ www.mtparent.com/submit-your-afterschool-activity-listing
$50 per listing featured in print montly and in the online activity finder through January 2022 spring listing registration starts Jan 1, 2022
Bozeman Barracuda Swim Club
Kids Yoga (Ages 5-11) » 407 W. Main St.
» 1121 W. Main St. » coachhans@ bozemanbarracudas.org » 830-308-8593 » www.bozemanbarracudas. org » www.facebook.com/ cudaspublic » www.instagram.com/ bozemanbarracudas
Founded in the late 1960’s, the Bozeman Barracuda Swim Team has provided children of the Gallatin Valley the opportunity to learn, engage and compete in swimming for more than 50 years. Whether your child has just figured out how to kick and float, wants to be more competitive in high school or is pursuing Olympic dreams, the Barracudas have a place for them. An emphasis on technique, graduated levels of instruction and training gives kids a chance to progress at their own pace. The Barracudas maintain a team of 80-160 swimmers, ages 5-22.
Gallatin Valley YMCA PIR Day Programs
» ouryogafamily@ gmail.com » 406-209-9954
» 3673 Love Ln., Bozeman
» www.ouryogafamily. com
» yprograms@ gallatinvalleyymca.org
» www.instagram.com/ ouryogafamily/
» 406-994-9622 » www.gallatinvalleyymca. org/ » www.facebook.com/ Gallatin.Valley.YMCA » www.instagram.com/ gv_ymca/
YMCA PIR-day programs provide students with a safe and nurturing environment where they can develop healthy relationships and learn foundational skills through leadership, teamwork, individual growth and healthy lifestyles. Each day includes activities supporting the theme of the day with an abundance of fun added in. Similar to their summer day camps, they provide quality programming with trained, caring and fun staff. Campers should bring a sack lunch, swimsuit, water bottle and appropriate clothing for activity and/or weather. An afternoon snack is provided.
This energetic, yet relaxing yoga class is designed especially for elementary aged-children. During class children will learn yoga poses, breathing and relaxation exercises to help them maintain a sense of calm, increase strength, improve flexibility, enhance gross and fine motor skills, and learn to focus. Kids also learn the power of affirmation and positive thinking—who doesn’t need that skill! Each class ends with a period of relaxation.
Montana Ballet Company » 2304 N. 7th Ave., Suite C-3 » firstname.lastname@example.org » 406-582-8702 » www.montanaballet.org/ » www.facebook.com/ montanaballetco/ » www.instagram.com/ montanaballet/
Montana Ballet Company offers fine classical ballet instruction for all ages and abilities in a fun, educational and nurturing environment. Classes are held Monday through Friday, with performing opportunities available. MBC is a nonprofit arts and education organization in its 38th annual season. Classes are taught by a professional faculty with a focus on health and wellness and the whole dancer.
Science Day Camps & After-school Programs
SEASONS AN AFTER SCHOOL GATHERING FOR GIRLS IN 6TH-8TH GRADE
to find freedom from stress by connecting with community, self, mindfulness, nature + creativity
» 2744 W. Main St.
Mountain Air Dance Aerial Arts School » The Emerson Center for the Arts » 111 S. Grand Ave. » cathy@ mountainairdance. org » 406-595-0909 » www. mountainairdance. org » www.facebook.com/ mountainairdance » www.instagram.com/ mtnairdance/
Mountain Air Dance is a nonprofit dance company founded in 2009 by Cathy Stone Werner, MFA. Their mission is to bring quality aerial arts to the Gallatin Valley and beyond through classes, workshops and performances. They strive to inspire and motivate people, help people find their inner strength and to create more joy in life through aerial arts.
» info@ montanasciencecenter. org
Montana Outdoor Science School Tuesday Science and PIR Days » bgitch@ outdoorscience.org » 406-582-0526 » www.outdoorscience. org » www.facebook.com/ MontanaOutdoor ScienceSchool » www.instagram.com/ mt_moss/
Tuesday Science - Join MOSS for two hours on Tuesday afternoons to participate in place-based lessons, hands-on activities about natural science, and instructor-led nature hikes. Each month-long session revolves around an exciting science topic, the perfect variety to keep kids engaged. Great for homeschool students or families looking for an after-school program. PIR Days - Keep the learning up, even when school’s out! MOSS PIR Camps expose kids to a variety of science careers and engaging lessons to pique their interests!
» 406-522-9087 » www.MontanaScience Center.org » www.facebook.com/ montanasciencecenter » www.instagram.com/ montanasciencecenter
Montana Science Center hosts a variety of afterschool and PIR-day camps throughout the year to add hands-on exploration in science and high-tech to the school year. Day camps take place in the classroom, outside and in the high-tech makerspace, STEAMlab. After-school programs include Ultimate Science in the classroom and Open Lab + Teen Tech Squad in the STEAMlab. Let’s connect science and play after school at the Montana Science Center!
8 weeks to gather 8 sessions in studio 2 bonus hikes $360/person ~ snacks provided ~
September-November Led by Emma Capulong of Outside Wellness
sign up today + tell a friend! www.OURYOGAFAMILY.com
Seasons Outside Wellness » 407 W. Main St. » outsidewellness@ gmail.com » 208-921-3496 » www.wellnessliving.com » www.instagram.com/ outsidewellness
Seasons is an eight-session, after-school opportunity for safe, supportive and super fun intentional connections for female-identifying girls in sixth through eighth grade. In addition to two bonus hikes, the participants will go through each season of the year together: Spring/ Intentions, Summer/ Adventure, Autumn/ Creativity and Winter/Rest. In each session Seasons Outside Wellness will offer new skills and strategies for stress management and selfcare.
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STEAM education using LEGO® bricks, K’nex, and other technologies » Snapology is held at Pilgrim Church in Bozeman and various Helena locations » steph.scott@ snapology.com » 406-438-7241 » www.helena@ snapology.com » www.facebook.com/ snapologyhelena » www.instagram.com/ snapology_of_helena/
Snapology uses LEGO bricks, K’nex and other technologies to teach more than 1,100 hours of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) education. Their lessons are very engaging and the kids are learning valuable STEAM concepts. They are passionate about sparking early interest in STEAM fields. Every child that has taken a Snapology class has had a blast!
LOCAL VEGGIES ALL WINTER!
FOOD · FUN · MUSIC
SATURDAYS · 9 A.M. - NOON
SEPTEMBER - MAY Gallatin County Fairgrounds
September 25 October 9 & 23 November 13 & 20 December 18
January 8 & 22 February 5 & 12 March 19 & 26 April 16 & 30 May 21 & 28
Greens · Vegetables · Meat · Cheese · Eggs · Honey · Bread · Jam · Tea · Coffee · Breakfast Sponsors & Partners: Broken Ground, Montana Parent, Bozeman Community Coop, Gallatin Valley Botanical, Montana Ale Works, Gallatin Valley Farm to School
Credit Cards and Double SNAP EBT accepted.
A WHAT'S UP?
WINTER FAMILY EVENTS
PHOTO KELLY KUNTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Please visit mtparent.com/calendars for the latest family events happening in Southwest montana! EVENT INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO POSSIBLE COVID RESTRICTIONS. PLEASE VISIT EVENT WEBSITES BEFORE ATTENDING.
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THE BOZEMAN PUBLIC LIBRARY
Planning local trips and beyond. Let me help craft your next experience. Designed to save you time and money.
Looking for a new hobby? Do you love art, putting things together, getting away from screens AND reusing local resources? If so, you will love the Bozeman Public Library puzzle exchange. How do I participate? It’s as easy as picking out a puzzle, taking it home, assembling it (with no time frame or deadline) and bringing it back to exchange for a new puzzle. No library card, checkout or check-in required. The puzzle exchange is available during library hours, currently 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Where are the puzzles located in the library? The puzzle exchange is at the top of the wide, stone staircase on the second floor, just to the right of the puzzle table.
Call or email to book today!
What else should I know about puzzles? Puzzle time is a great chance to listen to audiobooks and music. Choose from a wide selection of audiobooks available on Libby, CD and Playaway at the library. The Hoopla app offers audiobooks in English and several other languages, as well as streaming music with no waiting for titles. These services are all free with your library card. For more information about the puzzle exchange, please call 406-582-2410 or visit the Bozeman Public Library in person or online at bozemanlibrary.org.
EVENT INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO POSSIBLE COVID RESTRICTIONS. PLEASE VISIT EVENT WEBSITES BEFORE ATTENDING. 44
Super Bowl Fun Run Tackling Pediatric Cancer February 13, 2022
On February 13, 2022, help raise funds for Gallatin Valley families facing the unimaginable, pediatric cancer. Before indulging in tasty sips and snacks while watching the Super Bowl, come burn some calories, support The Bozeman 3 and have fun in the process. With your participation in this event, you will be supporting the families of children in Gallatin County who have been diagnosed with pediatric cancer. Dress up your self, your kiddos and your four-legged friends in your favorite football team apparel and help Tackle Pediatric Cancer!
The Super Bowl Fun Run will be live as well as virtual this year. The live event will be held at the Rocking R Bar and will kick off with a Kids 1K Fun Run. Champ and the MSU Spirit Squad will be there to cheer on kiddos on while they run. A 5K around Bozeman will follow with volunteers stationed around the course cheering runners on and helping them navigate the course. For those not comfortable joining in person, a virtual option will be offered, allowing racers to run (or walk) from any location they choose.
NOTE: 100% of funds raised go to The Bozeman 3 families. The Bozeman 3 is a Bozeman-based nonprofit organization that supports Gallatin Valley families with kids diagnosed with cancer. The organization provides financial support for assistance with expenses that are not covered by insurance, serves as a platform for families to connect and provide support to each other as they navigate pediatric cancer with their child and donates funds to research organizations focused on improving treatments for children. Since its inception in 2012, the Bozeman 3 has been managed by an all-volunteer board and has provided support to more than 15 Gallatin Valley families.
For more information, visit The Bozeman 3 and Super Bowl Fun Run 5k on Facebook and Instagram.
Community support is critical. The Bozeman 3 efforts are only as good as the support received from the community to continue providing assistance to these families and future families.
Volunteer needs for the event include: February 13 - Course Crew 15+ people, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Help runners navigate the course and cheer them on February 13 - Face Painters, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Face painting for all racers and family One month prior to the event: Super Bowl Fun Run race information flyer distribution throughout town
EVENT INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO POSSIBLE COVID RESTRICTIONS. PLEASE VISIT EVENT WEBSITES BEFORE ATTENDING. :: calendars, blog & more @ MTPARENT.COM ::
s t p m a
Billings Clinic Is your child ready for kindergarten? RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF
THE NATION’S BEST HOSPITALS for HIGH QUALITY MATERNITY CARE
Jumpstart to Kindergarten is a new kindergarten readiness program inU.S. the Gallatin This is the first year News has issuedValley. the Maternity Care report, in which
Billings Clinic earned a rating of High Performing. The list was published to help patients and families make the best decisions when it comes to choosing Our program is a three month session created prepare your 4-5 year old child for his/her kindergarten theirto maternal health provider. The report identified hospital data related to experience in a small group setting. uncomplicated pregnancies and factors that indicate high quality.
EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING Our goal is that your child leaves our program with the tools needed to be successful in their own educational “We are proud and humbled to be recognized among the best hospitals in the journey.
nation for Maternity Care,” said Celeste Dimon, Billings Clinic Director of Women and Children’s Services. “Our goal is to always provide our patients with Classes are twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with an option of an additional safe, kind and compassionate care from our highly-trained physicians, nurses and hour. staff every step of the way for their birth experience.”
We can’t wait to work with your Hospitals on child! the list, including Billings Clinic, displayed high quality metrics
with better outcomes for birth complications, lower C-section rates and various If you’re like most parents, you’ve probably delivery options. Hospitals were also highlighted for excellent support services and wondered how you’ll get your little ones ready for amenities, such 1, as private reading, writing and all of the academic challenges Currently enrolling for our session starting February 2022 rooms and breastfeeding services. ahead. Since 1999, Billings Clinic has offered private birthing suites for growing families, For more information, allowing emailfor extra privacy during labor, birth and care for newborn babies. Each We remember going through that same struggle! email@example.com suite is aesthetically pleasing with a private bathroom, a full Jacuzzi bathtub or We are two Montana mothers, Andrea Kumlien and walk-in shower and in-room sleeping accommodations for daytime or overnight Laura Roset, with professional teaching degrees and or call 406-530-5224 stay for a birth partner. backgrounds in education and we decided that the Gallatin Valley needed an alternative to the fiveIn addition to the excellent care provided by highly trained, compassionate day a week daycare programs. One where the focus physicians, nurses, and staff, Billings Clinic is committed to continuously was on the individual child’s needs for identifying improving a comfortable, nurturing environment for patients and their families. letters, numbers, words and building the skills necessary to be reading above a proficient level in In order to be recognized among the Best Hospitals for Maternity, Billings Clinic school! had to submit data from 2019 and its performance had to meet U.S. News’ maternity care standard. Jumpstart to Kindergarten is a two-day a week program near the new Gallatin High School that Just this year, the Billings Clinic Foundation has undertaken a $3.5 million capital runs in separate three-month sessions for 4-5 yearcampaign to help build a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The new old, pre-K children in a small group setting. Classes NICU will create a greatly improved patient and family experience, bring in are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 natural lighting to promote healing, enhance patient and family privacy, create a.m. with an option for an additional “enrichment” dedicated family space for overnight stays with a private restroom, outfit the hour until noon. NICU with updated technology and equipment, and build space for supplies and equipment. Jumpstart is currently enrolling for their next session, starting February 1 of 2022. For moms who choose Billings Clinic for maternity care, the nurturing experience begins before they even step through the door and extends beyond their stay Contact us on Facebook @ Jumpstart in the Family Birth Center or NICU. This includes everything from labor and to Kindergarten, send us an email at delivery services to emergency transport flights for pregnant women or newborns firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call to via the MedFlight air ambulance, from lactation support after going home to set up a time to stop by and see our classroom and continued help and advice with doctors, nurses and other highly-trained staff. meet us at 406-530-5224. Learn more about the U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals lists at https:// health.usnews.com/best-hospitals.
preschool events & Activities MONTANA SCIENCE CENTER www.montanasciencecenter.org
EARTH’S TREASURES www.earthstreasuresmt.com Where else can you see an authentic Triceratops brow horn, meteorite, Dinosaur poop AND bugs? For no admission fee! With staff supervision, kids can hold or feel the seldom seen. Staff is eager to share how the study of certain fossils sparked the invention of the submarine; or why the Morpho butterfly tends to be an introvert. Two quarters can buy a piece of history that lasts...forever. This shop is proud to be a resource of “where can we go find...?” They also stock picks, mini-shovels and gold pans needed to find “treasure.”
Preschool Science Series Monday and Fridays, 10 and 11 a.m. Fee: Included with admission/membership Join MSC each week for shared story time, a hands-on experiment in a related STEM topic and take-home craft. Recommended for ages 2-5. Child Watch: Mondays-Thursdays, 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and 4:306:30 p.m. Fridays, 8-11 a.m. Saturdays, 7:30-10:45 a.m. Ages: 8 weeks-9 years YMCA member cost: $5/hr. or 10-hour punch card for $30 Nonmember cost: $7/hr. As a benefit to valued members, the Gallatin Valley YMCA Child Watch program provides on-site child care during your visit to the facility. Staff is CPR/first-aid certified, and undergoes a background check and regular training to ensure the safety of children.
MSC Parent Meet-Up Second Saturday of the month, 9:30 a.m.-noon Fee: Included with admission/membership New to parenting? New to the Gallatin Valley? Just want to meet some other parents? MSC’s Parent Meet-Up is for any and all parents who are looking for a weekend parent-and-me activity that encourages interaction and making new friends. This program will include nametags and activities so parents can get to know each other while kids play in interactive, STEMbased exhibits. Most Saturdays will also feature our STEAM Saturdays with guest presenters. Sponsored by Dino Drop-In.
JUMPTIME Toddler Zone www.jumptimebozeman.com Jumptime’s soft, padded obstacle course gives those 5 and under their own space to test out their ninja skills. Many interactive games are offered as well. GALLATIN VALLEY YMCA www.gallatinvalleyymca.org Hawk’s Nest Early Learning: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Ages 0-5 Email Elcenter@gallatinvalleyymca.org for more information The Gallatin Valley YMCA has operated Hawk’s Nest since 2012, serving teen parents, the Bozeman School District and YMCA employees. After recognizing the need for child care in the valley, the YMCA (with support from BSD) has decided to open enrollment at Hawk’s Nest to provide more families in our community with licensed and safe child care.
MONTANA BALLET COMPANY www.montanaballet.org/academy/register MBC offers a beginning ballet/creative movement class for children ages 3 to 4. No previous experience is necessary. If your child is 2½, potty-trained and able to participate independently, she/he is welcome to enroll. Open Air STEAM Mondays, 10 a.m. Fee: Included with admission/membership Join MSC weekly outdoors (on the outdoor patio space with picnic tables) for a book reading, a hands-on STEM experiment and exploration in art — all based on a weekly theme. When the program has concluded, explore the exhibits in the Science Center. If the weather is inclement, participants will meet indoors at the Science Center. Recommended for ages 3-5.
EVENT INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO POSSIBLE COVID RESTRICTIONS. PLEASE VISIT EVENT WEBSITES BEFORE ATTENDING. :: calendars, blog & more @ MTPARENT.COM ::
preschool events & Activities MOTION ATHLETICS www.motionathleticscheer.com Tot Movement Get your toddler moving with this fun movement class. Basic tumbling movement, trampoline jumping, climbing through obstacle courses and much more. Each child athlete needs to be accompanied by an encouraging adult who can maneuver over bouncy, soft and uneven surfaces.
designed specifically for newborns to age 3½. On the first Wednesday of every month, learn a new set of signs to enhance your baby’s cognitive, social and emotional development. This popular museum program promotes learning language skills with physical and social development.
ROCKY CREEK FARM www.gallatinvalleybotanical.com/education Tours, field trips and farm visits, sleigh rides and more. Visit website for more information on upcoming events. Tours for Tots
Kinder Tumbling Introduction to tumbling. Basic skills including forward and backward rolls, cartwheels and handstands, along with strength and flexibility for kids ages 4-6.
Families with preschoolers (ages 3–5) are welcome in a limited capacity for in-person preschool programming. This series of tours examines different areas of the museum with an early education focus. Each program offers a chance to ask questions as every subject is explored with a hands-on activity, art project and related story. The same program is offered twice in one week to accommodate more families. Face coverings are required for everyone 5 years of age and older and strongly encouraged for children between the ages of 2 and 4.
SENTINEL RANCH ALPACAS – ALPACALAND www.sentinelranchalpacas.com Take a free ranch tour, pet the alpacas and learn more about them. You can take pictures with the alpacas and you can even feed them right out of your hand with their special grain blend. Special events are offered throughout the year including cria (babies) born from April-October, shearing from May-June, fiber sorting AugustOctober, alpaca herd health and alpaca “runs” all year long. Visit www.sentinelranchalpacas. com to learn more and schedule a visit.
Programs are free and for Museum of the Rockies members only. There is limited capacity for each program, and preregistration is required. MUSEUM OF THE ROCKIES www.museumoftherockies.org/education Sensational Babies This programming is temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 programming constraints. Please visit www.museumoftherockies.org/youthfamilies/early-learning to keep up to date on the program. Read, talk, sing and play with your baby through sensory awareness activities and explorations
MUSIC TOGETHER www.musictogetherbozeman.yourvirtuoso.com Kids Music (infants to age 5) In-person indoor and outdoor classes Try a class for free (ask Music Kate), take advantage of sibling discounts and make-up class options. Please visit www. musictogetherbozeman.yourvirtuoso.com/ for schedules, classes, registration and much more information.
EVENT EVENT INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TODUE POSSIBLE COVID COVID RESTRICTIONS. INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE TO POSSIBLE RESTRICTIONS. PLEASEPLEASE VISIT EVENT WEBSITES BEFORE ATTENDING. VISIT EVENT WEBSITES BEFORE ATTENDING. 48
preschool events & Activities
THRIVE GYM DAYS www.allthrive.org Thursdays, 10-11 a.m.
CHILD CARE CONNECTIONS ANNUAL COLORING CONTEST Late March, early April, 2022
Thrive offers Gym Days on Thursdays at the Willson Gym. Toddlers will have plenty of space to run and play on tricycles and bouncy balls while parents can socialize.
If your child LOVES to draw and color, enter them in this annual contest so we can share their artwork with the community!
SPIRE YOUTH ACTIVITIES www.spireclimbingcenter.com/youth-programs Saturday Morning Youth Program is for ages 3 to 5. Class includes lots of rope climbing, as well as climbing-based games and exercises. The program is progressive, and each session builds upon skills taught in previous classes. This program runs during the public-school year and is offered in six-week sessions. Preschool Youth Program exposes kids ages 3 to 5 to rock climbing in a safe and fun fashion. The program uses tons of climbing-related fun and games to keep the kids engaged, excited and will get your preschooler off the ground and scaling the walls! All gear is included. Instructor ratio 1:3.
WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD www.naeyc.org/events/woyc or www.mtaeyc.org/ One week in April, 2022 This week includes multiple activities for families with young kids. The 2022 schedule of events will be released in February or March of 2022 and includes discounts at local restaurants, a carnival, free activities and discounts in the community for music classes, art classes and more.
EVENT INFORMATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO POSSIBLE COVID RESTRICTIONS. PLEASE VISIT EVENT WEBSITES BEFORE ATTENDING. :: calendars, blog & more @ MTPARENT.COM ::
D WHAT'S UP?
is kicking 2022 off with a bang... and LOTS OF FAMILY ACTIVITIES TO GET YOU OUT OF THE HOUSE and ENJOYING WINTER IN MONTANA. WRITTEN BY BLAIR FJESETH
Lewis & Clark Library See what's happening at Lewis & Clark Library. I recently learned that our local library opened 21 years before statehood and was the first library in Montana. In addition to its book collection and public access computers, the library offers a variety of activities. "Launchpads,” which are now available for check-out, are tablets that are locked and loaded with educational apps and games for younger children. The library also has weekly toddler and baby book hours. On January 13, the library is hosting a Teen's Crafternoon where your teen will spend time building a Zen Garden. This seems like a great way to make friends, meet new people and make a fun take-home craft. If you have any Harry Potter heads in your family, the library features a monthly Harry Potter virtual book club on January 18, and on January 24 they are hosting Teen Bingo. For more event details or activities, visit lclibrary.org.
ExplorationWorks Run, don't walk to ExplorationWorks for the new giant Lite Brite exhibit, which is fun for all ages. Kids can play with an entire wall dedicated to making unique Lite Brite creations, while parents can reminisce on days gone by with their own artistic designs. ExplorationWorks is also still featuring the 35 Million Miles to Mars exhibit, which is all about robots, satellites, space travel and more. Stop in at the carousel next door for an ice cream cone and carousel ride on one of their unique Montana animals.
Broadwater Hot Springs On Tuesday, January 4, the Broadwater Hot Springs will be hosting husband and wife duo Blake & Kaci, who write and perform original music, as well as their favorite country, folk and rock songs. The Broadwater is an excellent outdoor spot for the entire family. Visit broadwatermt.com for more details.
HELENA CIVIC CENTER 40TH ANNUAL
Cabin Fever Antique and Vintage Market On Saturday, January 8, the 40th annual Cabin Fever Antique and Vintage Market will be held at the Helena Civic Center. This is a fun event to walk around, grab lunch or coffee and see all the crafts fellow Montanans are creating. While this is a family-friendly event, younger kids might have difficulty not touching everything in sight.
A Real Boy Grandstreet Theatre is opening A Real Boy on January 28. If you loved the Disney classic Pinocchio as a child, this is the perfect reinvention for you. Take your kids down to Grandstreet to watch what happens in this family-friendly adventure with sophisticated undertones. This fresh adaptation explores the joys and trials of parenthood and the importance of being true to yourself. From one adventure to another, Pinocchio approaches his life with a courageous spirit and innocent optimism, while Geppetto realizes that fatherhood is more than he ever imagined it to be.
Montana Wild If you haven't taken a trip to Montana Wild lately, now is the time to go. The center has added new features in the last few months and has increased its educational take-home materials library. Montana Wild is an excellent resource for families to learn about nature, wildlife and Montana History. Learn more at fwp.mt.gov/education/montana-wild.
Warming House and Ice Rink The Memorial Park Warming House and Ice Rink is the perfect place to spend a winter afternoon. Kids can learn to skate in an open-air rink, play on the playground adjacent or have snacks in the warming house. The ice rink hours are always weather dependent, so call the ice-line 406-443-8774 or check Facebook for current conditions. There will be no capacity limit this winter, and no waitlist, so everyone who wishes to skate can.
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on the Ranch
Just part of life for a ranch mom WRITTEN BY REBECCA COLNAR PHOTOS BY HALMES FAMILY
Being an expectant mother has not stopped ranch wife Tara Halmes from helping her husband on his family’s ranch. Tara grew up in western Montana in a family that raised cattle along with quarter horses, chickens and turkeys. While studying elementary education at Montana State University-Bozeman, Tara met her future husband, Jake. “He wanted to return to his family ranch in Cascade, so we moved there,” explained Tara. “For the first couple of years, I taught school and he helped with his family’s ranch and outfitting business. Then, because we had so many irons in the fire, I decided to quit teaching and help with the ranching and cooking for hunting camp. Once we had our first son, I decided it was best to work from home, which is on the ranch. I now have my real estate license which allows me to work from home and take care of the boys.” 52
The couple currently have two sons: Hatcher, 3 ½ and Kit, 1 ½. They are expecting their third child, also a boy, in April. Tara noted that even at their young age, the boys adore ranching. “Both of their first words was horse. Since I’m expecting, I don’t ride horses, but they get to ride with their dad. In the spring, Jake handles night calving for the ranch and his brother feeds the cows during the day. They both love feeding the cows with their uncle, and they also enjoy feeding the bottle calves.” (Calves who have been orphaned.) Tara isn’t surprised that the boys love being on their bouncy horses and even getting bucked off. Jake was a saddle bronc rider in college and she laughs that they’ve inherited their dad’s love for rodeo. “They are all cowboy,” she says.
This year Hatcher experienced his first rodeo with mutton-busting (riding sheep) at the fair. Kit moos when he sees cows. When Hatcher was a year and a half, the couple brought a very cold newborn calf into the house. “Despite doing everything we could to warm her, we didn’t think she’d make it. I had gone down the hall to do laundry and when I came back, the calf had her head up and Hatcher was feeding her his dehydrated blueberries. The calf survived, so we’re keeping her as the boys’ cow. They will keep the calves she has.” The couple is in the process of building a new house and plan to get chickens for eggs along with guinea hens, which supposedly help to eliminate rattlesnakes. As for being pregnant on a ranch, Tara admits to missing riding horses, but she still helps
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with some chores. “Some women ride when they’re pregnant, but I don’t. If Jake needs help bringing in a calf, I will help from a four-wheeler, and I can still help out in an emergency, should he need assistance in the calving barn. Currently, I mainly take care of the boys and handle the bookkeeping.”
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Beef is often on the menu at the Halmes home. The family enjoys their own beef in tacos, soups, enchiladas and other tasty dishes. “In all of my pregnancies, I’ve been sick the first trimester and don’t eat much, but I really enjoy a good burger in the second and third trimesters. I think it’s helped to have happy, healthy babies.”
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Rebecca Colnar is Director of Public Relations for Montana Farm Bureau and a freelance writer from Custer, Montana. :: calendars, blog & more @ MTPARENT.COM ::
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