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thewisemom wise: (adj) informed, aware

intentions motivation and growth clearing space

before a renewal

confessions of a

breastfeeding mom Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

Š The Wise Mom, Holistic Moms Network. Issue 17, March 2014.

thewisemom 4

From The Editor


News & Announcements


HMN National Team Profiles

14 Intentions, Motivations and Growth 16 Clearing Space Before A Renewal 20 Essential Oils Bring Spring Into Your Home 22 Renew Your Home and Spirit 24 Teas for Labor, Birth and Post-Partum Times 26 Aromatherapy for Labor and Birth 28 Reflections 30 Giving Birth 32 Adoption Trials and Joys 34 Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mom 38 Processing Birth Trauma 40 One Holistic Moms Birth Story 42 Natural Spring Cleaning


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thewisemom EDITOR


Aimee Wood

For more information about Sponsorship, please e-mail us at or call us at 877-HOL-




The Wise Mom is published four times per year and

Nancy Massotto

is available electronically to members of the Holistic Moms Network. For information about membership,

The Wise Mom is a quarterly publication of the Holistic

please visit us at

Moms Network (HMN), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for parents interested in holistic health


and green living. The Wise Mom is the voice of the

Interested in writing for The Wise Mom? We look for a

members of the Holistic Moms Network as well as an

variety of submissions, from personal stories and

informative publication offering views, perspectives,

experiences from members to informative research

and wisdom from our parents, wellness practitioners,

articles based upon our issue theme each quarter. Want

and experts in the broad field of holistic living and

to share your photos with us? By submitting a photo


to The Wise Mom, you agree that you have the right to distribute the image and maintain that all people

The information provided in The Wise Mom is not

depicted agree to have their image published.

intended to replace professional advice from a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medi-

Email for details on

cal advice. The articles and information presented

submitting articles or photos for an upcoming issue.

in these pages is intended as a sharing of knowledge, information, and experiences. We encourage all of

Š The Wise Mom, Holistic Moms Network. Issue 16, December 2013.

our readers to become informed about the many healthcare and parenting decisions they may face and to make the choice that works best for their unique family.

Nancy Massotto Founder & Executive Director

The Wise Mom is a publication of the Holistic Moms Network and supports the mission and purpose of our non-profit organization.

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network


letterfromtheeditor Spring 2014 I think Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. Living in New England, I’m happy see the warmth return especially after this very cold winter. I also look forward to starting anew, whether it be with home projects or garden planning. This issue is dedicated to the theme of rebirth and renewal; something we can all take in with open arms. The articles in this issue will take you to the physical sense of “birth” with supporting new moms and babies. Tea recipes, stretch mark remedies, supportive birth stories, you’ll find it in this issue. Also, this issue will support you with articles on dusting the cobwebs from our “inner self” with information on vision boards and self renewal. And, we have essays on cleaning out the confines of our physical house with eco friendly cleaning recipes and suggestions. So, we have a little something for everyone in this issue...enjoy! Warmly, Aimee K. Wood


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news&announcements Save the Date! The 2014 Natural Living Conference is on the calendar for Saturday, October 25th. This year we’re changing things up. We’ll have a super-expanded exhibit hall, complete with live demos throughout the day and an option for exhibit hall only passes if you are local and just want to stop by for a couple of hours. We’ll also have a fabulous Keynote Speaker, a special film screener with the producer on hand, and amazing workshops for those who want to attend half- or full-day options, plus a Sunday session just for our Chapter Leaders! All of this great activity will be happening on the campus of Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey in their new Conference Center. Stay tuned for more news in our next issue of The Wise Mom!

New Chapters Forming! We have lots of new HMN Chapters in the works and have some great Leaders stepping up to re-launch our Chapters in Manhattan, NY; Chicago, IL; and the San Fernando Valley, CA! Help us grow our communities by getting the word out and encouraging other parents to build Chapters in their communities! Contact us at to learn more! Don’t have a local Holistic Moms Chapter? Get one started – we’ll guide you, provide you with resources and materials, and help make it a success.

Click here to get started! 6

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news&announcements HMN becomes Green FestivalsPartner! We are excited to announce that the Holistic Moms Network was chosen as a non-profit partner for the Green Festivals across the US! That means that HMN will have a booth at every Green Festival across the country (New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco) to help get the word out and raise awareness for our community. We will host the comfort stations at each festival and need your help to set up and manage our weekend booths. This is a huge opportunity to get the word out, find new members, recruit new volunteers, and have a fabulous time! Contact your Chapter mentor to volunteer!

living green $aving green


The 2014 Online Member Savings Book is underway! We have kicked off with a variety of offers from our Sponsors and will be adding even more shortly. Please check the Savings Book for great opportunities to try new products, get

Special Offers for Members from

our sponsors

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coupons, or save on online orders.






Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

Parvathi Kumar

Online Coordinator

Where do you reside?

Top holistic passions:

Bridgewater, Somerset County, NJ

Yoga, alternative education, environment, health & nutrition

Share your life experience: Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, raised in Montreal,

Favorite quote:

Quebec; completed undergrad in Electrical En-

“Follow your bliss” - Joseph Campbell

gineering at Concordia University, Montreal and Masters in Computer Science at NJIT; pursued

How HMN has changed your life:

photography as a serious hobby since high school

Nothing like meeting other like-minded people!

and currently has her own photo business, exhibits throughout NJ and has received awards for her travel photography; has trained and performed in Classical Guitar and Bharata Natyam (South Indian Classical Dance); mother of two sons; proud member of HMN since 2004 and co-leader of Somerset County chapter since 2010.

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


Jen Oh

Co-Director of Mentoring National Volunteers Coordinator Where do you reside?

Favorite quote:

Cupertino, CA

What does it say about me that I don’t have a favorite quote? ;-)

Share your life experience: Currently living in CA and one of the chapter lead-

How HMN has changed your life:

ers for the San Jose, CA Chapter, I am extremely

HMN has truly made me a better person and a better

passionate about holistic living and HMN. I have 2

parent. I have made lifetime friendships, gained

kids, a 7 yr old son and 4 yr old daughter who really

immeasurable support, and found a place where I

got me going down my holistic path. Last year, my

belong. I can not thank HMN enough for what it

path took a curve when I left my managerial posi-

has brought to my life and my family.

tion, started homeschooling my son, and went back to school for holistic nutrition. It has been an amazing journey so far and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming next. Top holistic passions: Food, environment, mindful relationships


Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

Karen Armas

Landau Board Member, Previously Chapter Leader Previously Conference Director

Name and position on the national team:

Favorite quote:

Karen Armas Landau,

How did Nancy put it at the annual conference last Fall (October 2013)? You’ve got to show up.

Where do you reside? Piscataway, NJ

How HMN has changed your life: HMN has affected me in so many ways, large and

Share your life experience:

small. Perhaps the most important is that I learned

Most of my life has been about learning and exploring

the very obvious: you need people, you need to be

and stretching. It feels very odd to have been living

open, supportive, non-judgmental... And when a new

in this same house for 13 years now! I’ve been learning

stage of my life started and I needed support in a

and exploring different things in this phase of my life,

different way, these friends were there for me. I have

slowly, but surely - mostly about myself...and the two

been there for them and for others I have met; it is

incredible, and very different, human beings I not

what makes the tough parts bearable and the fun

only helped create, but also have the pleasure (and

parts even more fun!

sometimes pain!) of sharing my life with. Top holistic passions: Climate change; non GMO’s; (informed) choice!

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Website Coordinator Office Manager Auction Director Where do you reside?

Favorite quote:

Resides in Nutley, NJ

“Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.” Dalai Lama

Share your life experience: Since getting my BFA in Film/TV from NYU Tisch

How HMN has changed your life:

School of the Arts I have worked in a variety of

Finding Holistic Moms as a new mom helped me

fields, including post-production, event plan-

feel confident about the decisions I was making as

ning, music education and multiple non-profit

a parent. The support, knowledge, diversity, ideas

organizations. I also spent a few years discovering

and the community are all amazing! The friend-

my roots in Cyprus and began working in radio

ships I have already formed and the things I’ve

there. I had the opportunity to host a weekly radio

learned in a small amount of time are truly appre-

show while living there and continue to host it

ciated. Holistic Moms Network has become a big


part of my life over the past couple of years and I feel so very lucky to have found this community!

Top holistic passions: Organic eating, green living, holistic medicine.


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Catarino Graphic Designer for The Wise Mom, the Savings Book and other projects

Where do you reside? We currently live in Raleigh NC. Share your life experience: I was born in Fall River MA, and spent most of my childhood there, with the exception of a few years when we lived in Portugal. My life has been very blessed. I have two wonderful children who are 5 and 8. They are full of curiosity, compassion for others, and bring joy to my life every day. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel and live in another country. That experience broadened my worldview more than anything else. I left family and friends in Portugal, but brought back priceless memories and lessons learned.

cleaning methods is also extremely important to me, as I want my children to be as healthy as possible. I’m also very interested in homeopathy and herbal remedies. We always try and treat something naturally before resorting to medication. Favorite quote: “You are what you behold.” Andrew Kern How HMN has changed your life: HMN introduced me to so many new ideas, that have completely changed our lives. Through HMN, I made many friends, found wonderful resources, and they provide me with a creative outlet. It has improved my family’s life in unimaginable ways.

Top holistic passions: I love to cook. We follow a Paleo diet, and are pretty passionate about eating healthy diets. Food quality is important to me. Using eco-friendly

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Intentions, Motivations, and Growth

by Beth Bunchman, MS


I’ve never understood the “New Year’s Resolution”. Yes,

This year I’d like to propose you challenge the idea of a

it is a new year, which may seem like the perfect time for

New Year’s Resolution in favor of a new paradigm – the

change, but it happens in the dead of winter - a time when

intention. In many cases, a New Year’s Resolution is a

our bodies are in a state of hibernation, rest, and reflection.

vague wish. Intentions, however, are the opposite and

Spring, on the other hand, is just around the corner and

include a plan of action, vision, and specific end goal,

happens to be the season for change and possibilities. So

which can be very effective. Try this:

as we sit here in limbo between reflection (winter) and

1. Get clear on what you want. Jot down thoughts or

change (spring), it is the perfect opportunity to dedicate a

draw pictures as they relate to your ideal vision for 2014.

bit of time to developing your ideal plan for a renewed you

2. Then create a detailed plan for how you will achieve

this 2014.

this vision. Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

3. Create a vision board by gathering images and

sugar, or another crutch like caffeine, smoking, etc.).

words that pertain to your goal. Hang the collage in

• Often the reason many of us are so stressed is due to

a spot where you’ll see it often.

stifled creativity (self-expression). Our days are consumed by to do lists, habits, and structure that

Do something to make your desire happen. Think baby

we rarely take the opportunity to create anything,


be free or enjoy life. However, the freedom of creativity is awesome for relieving tensions, improving your

After you’ve set your intention, it is important to discover

health and boosting your mood.

your motivation so that when you find yourself wanting

• Reducing your intake of sugar and other processed

to just go back to your old familiar habits or faced with

and refined foods helps eliminate blood sugar

setbacks that you can persevere. To find your motivation,

fluctuations, which lead to mood swings and anxiety.

ask yourself: what is it costing me not to take action? And

• Stay hydrated. A hydrated body removes toxins from

make sure to look deep and think not just of the immediate

the blood stream, prevents headaches, reduces fatigue,

consequences but keep asking “then what?” until you get

and helps the mind work more clearly.

to the bottom of it and tap into the emotions that come

• Time spent in nature has been proven to have mental

with the outcome. Ask yourself “then what?” at least 5

health, cognitive, and physical health benefits for

times and see where it takes you. When you get to the

both children and adults and it also helps develop

emotional root of the issue, you know you’ve found your

important life skills and characteristics.

true motivation, which will make you more eager to stick

• Essential oils are powerful aromatic liquid substances

to your plan and work harder to accomplish your goal!

that are extracted from plants and have great medicinal properties. Look for uplifting citrus

Next, I’d like you to label your setbacks and find support.

scents, calming chamomile and lavender, and

What is preventing you from reaching your goal? Most

invigorating mints.

likely your answer boils down to stress, which may

• Spending time with friends is excellent way to

manifest as frustration, fatigue, anxiety, or depression.

reduce stress and receive encouragement as you

Stress management can be approached holistically from

work to achieve your goals.

many angles to improve concentration, energy, mood, and efficiency. Here are a few of my favorite stress-busters:

As you set your intentions, discover your motivations and support your growth process, don’t forget to include a

• Sighing is a completely natural function. We are all

plan to celebrate your achievement! And always remember,

born knowing how to sigh, can do it subconsciously, renewed moms are the best moms. Welcome to the season and it is the last thing we do before leaving our

of possibilities!

earthly bodies. Do this several times and you will begin to notice your breath naturally comes and goes like an ocean wave.

Beth Bunchman, MS is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of Second Nature Health Coaching where she specializes in holistic mental health and the gut-brain con-

• Exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, releases

nection. Beth is known for inspiring moms to own their life

endorphins, which is a feel-good hormone. It will

experience and make self-care a priority for the betterment

take your mind off your stressors as well as your

of the whole family. Beth is also a wife, mother of three, artist, gardener, and hiker.

normal comfort “food” (whether that be fat, salt, Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


Clearing Space Before a Renewal by Maria Gavriel

I am slowly encroaching into the middle of my life’s

darkness, I am now able to offer light not only to myself,

journey and find more and more that life is throwing

but to my husband and children.

larger and harder curve balls in my direction. In the last


year I have been challenged with a fair amount of

How did all this come to fruition? We first had to clear

experiences that have stretched me farther than I ever

the way. During the spring, my husband and I always

thought possible. From all that was pouring onto me, I

enjoy the benefits of a long, clean detox. This was always

began to believe that I could never come out whole, once

on a physical level. We didn’t know that we were in need

the storm was finally over. I can now say that it was the

of a deeper detox, until we were immersed in it. This

biggest gift I offered myself and my family. My experi-

inner cleanse began at a ripe time in our lives, where

ences allowed the opportunity for personal work in areas I

it was either “do or die”. What does that mean? Well, the

never dared to travel to. And because I ventured into the

way our lives functioned at the time, was not authentic Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

enough to be sustainable. Often, we don’t realize how

about my life is making me feel this way? I must be so

important it is for us to clean our space. Sometimes we

ungrateful and blind to all that I have in my life. Suddenly,

are not even aware that there is any clearing necessary

spiritual books began flooding onto my nightstand from

and we walk through life with a bundle of garbage that

recommendations, gifts, and all sorts of ways. At one point

simply inhibits us from achieving greatness. And this

I was reading 3 at the same time. I began practicing

affects everyone around us – especially the ones we love

affirmations, meditations, visualizations, prayer, and essential

the most. The ones who get the brunt of it, are our children

oil therapy and the more I invited healing modalities into

– the next generation.

my life, the worse my life got. That was confusing….

Personally, I thought I was perfect. And anyone that met

For the sake of keeping this brief, let’s just say that I was

me called me Super Mom, Career Woman, Super Woman,

faced with unpleasant possibilities - with an uncertain

and all these awesome names that were a compliment

future in my marriage; losing the perfect life that I created

for an over achiever like me. The truth is that on the

and knew so well; and the fate of my life, my husband’s

outside, it did seem like I had it all, and it was all well put

and my children’s was to take a very different and unknown

together. I created the perfect life. Once I was officially

turn. This heart wrenching and confusing time, forced

welcomed into motherhood, I began to feel the discomfort

me to immerse myself into an abyss within me. I took the

of a mirror being held up at me all day long. My children

plunge into a rotten, ugly area that I thought had surely

grew into toddlers and they began acting out in ways that

disappeared. This reflection led me to the most painful

were somehow familiar to me. Children and the reflection

moments of betrayal caused by all the people that I loved

they offer you are a gift. You can’t escape the truth once

intensely. I had to face feelings of distrust, judgment,

they are part of your life, because they innocently show

and pain. Being in a place of “all in”, I confronted all that

you all that you may not want to see.

created a road block in my life. All the ugly moments that created a chain hold on me. All that held me back was

The way it all went downwards (before it skyrocketed

due to my unresolved human experience. Confrontation

upwards) was when my son and daughter began having

meant that I also confronted the people that played a role

social challenges at school. My daughter went from a

during the painful moments throughout my journey. I

sweet little sugarplum to an angry hitter and biter, and

then came to the most honest moment so far – that I was

my son went from social butterfly and a leader to being

not perfect, and I had lots of work to do. At the time of

impeached by his 5 yr. old friends – he was left to play

this cleanse, my experience was unbearable and beyond

alone. I got into fights with friends and other parents

horrible. I thought I would never see the light and climb

about my children and it grew into a horrible, painful,

out. I reached and I pulled out all the healing modalities

dramatic year. I kept asking in my prayers for guidance to

from my tool box that I was gifted by the universe. I need-

help my children through this time. During that year, my

ed everything I had in order to find my way out of this

marriage was also being strained but I figured it was just

spinning, uncontrollable ride. And when I finally made it

a side effect of all that was happening. Several months

out and saw the light, I was grateful to all the

later I began feeling surges of anger fester in me that were

beloved people that had “hurt” me. I realized that they

really worrying me. Shortly after that, I realized I was a

were my biggest teachers. I am grateful for their committed

secretly unhappy, angry person, but kept wondering what

love and for offering me the largest lessons in my life.

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


They challenged me in ways that allowed me to expand

I believe it is important for parents to continuously reflect

and transform into the person I always dreamed to be.

and heal whatever is tugging within them, for the sake of their children. If we all practice this as parents, we offer

It is important to mention that, by beautiful and intended

great opportunities for our children to be able to give to

coincidence, my husband was also stretched and healed

the world in tremendous ways. Through powerful, healthy

during the same year and he has expanded in ways he

families and children, we ultimately, allow for greater

only dreamed of. He is the husband and partner I always

possibilities for our world and for our future. My family

dreamed of. Because we dared to face our personal hold

has experienced a rebirth and a renewal into a new way

ups and how they created our marital issues, our relationship

of being; a way we never imagined but only dreamed and

has transformed and grown deeper roots than ever. Both

hoped for.

his work and mine still continues, and is now merging. Thanks to our challenges, we have taken our first steps

So, if experiencing a downfall in your family unit, instead

towards our life’s purpose and we are beginning to un-

of looking elsewhere for something new, try to water your

derstand what it is that we came here to do. We detoxed,

own garden and plant new seeds. The grass can be greener

cleaned out our past, cleared our path, our prohibitions

and more beautiful than you expected on your side – it

and now feel liberated and full of endless possibility.

may even transform into a spectacular flower garden!

The most beautiful part is witnessing how this all affected our children and even our extended family relationships. Healing our wounds has freed our children

Maria Gavriel enjoys a wholistic lifestyle with her husband and two children. She loves family time in nature, sharing about her parenting downfalls and triumphs, raising awareness and her own

and has brought us closer to our loved ones. Both of

downtime when she is meditating or working on

our children are now grounded, loving, caring, playful,

her new book Wholistic Parenting: Following Your Inner Wisdom and Nature’s Plan. She is an HMN

affectionate and truly amazing little souls. Our

member and the voice behind She leads educational

transformation trickled down to them. This awesome

community workshops on natural remedies, GMO events, and other topics.

change in them did not take place as a result of their own personal work, but ours. They just enjoy the benefits of mommy’s and daddy’s success. There hasn’t been any arguing in our home for over year. There’s always maintenance, and a clearing of space however. We have now acquired the tools of clean communication so that there is never any build up or any toxicity festering. Our children have wonderful, healthy friendships and are thriving in all areas of life; physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. I am grateful for the work that we have put in, because now our children have the opportunity to experience their own life’s ups and downs without our baggage weighing them down unnecessarily.


Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network


essential oils bring spring

into your home

by Sarah A. Buehrle

Spring’s first flowers are just pushing up from under crusts of frozen earth in many parts of the country. Taking a cue from nature, now is a wonderful time to gather our pure essential oils and, regardless of where we live, let spring blossom indoors. You may want to start your springtime renewal with yourself first. Some distilled water in a spray bottle with pure essential rose oil is a wonderfully refreshing astringent and toner that brings moisture to winter’s dry skin. Rose oil is known to reduce redness with its anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce fine wrinkles. It is also a mild antidepressant - just the thing to lift your mood from any remaining winter doldrums. If you don’t have rose oil, rose otto being the best because its method of extraction does not include solvents, you can purchase rose water at most health food stores. Rosewater is a secondary product of the distillation process and carries the properties of the rose oil, just diluted. It’s also more affordable than a bottle of rose oil, so feel free to spritz face and body as well as pillows, sheets and general environment. You can never have too much of such a good thing. For those who live where spring is slow to start, bergamot is another mental boost, almost always described as “uplifting” in guides because that is 20

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

this essential oil’s primary function. Use this oil in a carrier

buttocks, Roz has formulated an anti-cellulite mixture.

on skin, but be careful as it it is photosensitive and can

To four ounces of sesame seed oil (the average size found

cause minor burns on skin left in the sun too long. You

in health food stores) add 20 drops geranium oil, 18 drops

can wear it under clothing on small portions of your body

fennel, 15 drops juniper, 15 drops rosemary, 15 drops

though, or simply use it in a burner with water for a whole

cypress, 10 drops grapefruit, and 6 drops black pepper or

house effect. Simpler yet, just inhale wafts from the bottle.

ginger essential oil. Rub the target area with a stiff loofa

For a super strong lift - you can mix bergamot with lavender

in the bath or shower, then pat dry and message the oil

and/or rose oil to bring a bouquet of hope to any nose.

into the same area. Of course this will work best if combined with a regimen of exercise and proper nutrition.

With warmer temperatures comes outdoor adventures and some minor but worthwhile perils, such as sun burns

Let’s not forget spring cleaning, that annual passage from

and scrapes. You can make your own remedies for both

the stale and stagnant to open and light. Lemon is a

of these issues with essential oils by adding some distilled

wonderful oil to bring sunshine into the house. Cleaning

water or aloe.

with a bucket of 50 percent vinegar, 50 percent water, with several drops of lemon oil can disinfect, inhibit bacteria and

Roz Zollinger, founder of Heal Center Atlanta, has been

get rid of germs. Many aromatherapy practitioners believe

practicing aromatherapy for almost 30 years. A mother

that essential oils hold the essence of the the plant and its

and a grandmother, she has her own “Boo Boo” recipe

experiences. Just imagine a tree heavy with ripening bright

for those scraped knees that come with little one’s first

yellow globes soaking up the suns rays, then being released

ventures out into the warmth. Helichrysum, known for

into your kitchen or bathroom. You can also burn thyme

its anti-bruising and anti-inflammatory properties, is a

oil in the house to disinfect the air while creating your

mild, non-irritating oil with a light fresh fragrance that is

own indoor spring garden.

wonderful for use on children. Mix six drops with another six drops of blue chamomile, eight to 10 drops of lavender

Finally, there is ritual. Essential oils have been used to

and three drops Roman chamomile with one ounce of

succor the spiritual side of man since biblical times. A

aloe vera. This combination both heals and soothes.

lovely practice to welcome in the springtime is to anoint and cleanse your entire home while setting an intention,

If someone is unfortunate enough to get a sunburn on

or thinking clearly of a goal. For instance, using white

sun-starved winter skin, mix lavender and chamomile in

sage oil, 5 drops to one ounce of distilled water, open your

a spray bottle of distilled water. These oils are very mild,

home’s windows and spray the oil in every room, paying

so use up to 20 drops each in a 4 ounce bottle for a 1.5

close attention to corners and behind doors where energy

percent solution. If this is for use on a child, start with

can stagnate. A simple intention for this practice is “good

10 drops each. Then spray over the burned skin. Another

energy in, bad energy out.” And what better mantra could

method would be take a bath with the oils, but for a child

there be for renewal?

be sure to mix the chamomile and lavender (3 drops each) first with a little carrier oil such as almond oil before adding

Sarah A. Buehrle is former journalist and newspaper

to the bath.

editor turned holistic writer and aromatherapy student. She is just beginning her official journey into the world of healing oils, but is enjoying every step as a student

Of course, with warming weather comes the desire to

at Heal Center Atlanta, under the tutelage of founder

lighten up on clothing - and the desire to fix what winter

Roz Zollinger. You can follow Sarah for advice, tips and

hath wrought on the body. For those who may have too

discussion on Facebook at Sarah A. Buehrle. For more

much dimpling on problem areas such as thighs and Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

information on Roz Zollinger or the Heal Center Atlanta, visit 21

renew your home and spirit this spring by Clare O’Malley

Whatever your faith background or climate, spring cleaning in its various forms can also improve your outlook. Not every ritual will be appropriate for you and your family, but many encourage us to clear out the negative to make room for the positive. My older children go to a Chinese immersion school, so we’ve been involved with Chinese New Year celebrations (January 31 this year). Chinese New Year traditions involving cleaning, to rid your house of the bad luck of the past year, and welcome new luck and the new year. Rooms are swept from the entrance to the center, with trash going out the back door. A clean front door allows the good luck to enter your life. Many families refresh coats of paint or do small household repairs, since Chinese New Year involves celebrations and guests in the house. My kids brought home red envelopes (red scares away the negative energies) filled with gold coins (a wish for prosperity). 22

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My next-door neighbors are witches and celebrated Imbolc

In Thailand, April 13 marks the start of a two-day festival

on February 2nd. Imbolc honors Brighid, the goddess of

called Songkran. Thais use this time to give their houses

the hearth, and often involves spring cleaning. For our

a good deep cleaning, but they also clean any images or

ancestors, washing was rare and laborious, so by February,

statues of Buddha with water mixed with perfume and

a house probably smelled pretty rank. How would farmers,

fragrant herbs to bring blessings and good luck to the

the original caretakers of the earth, prepare for spring?

new year. Pouring water on others is meant to show them

They would get ready to plant seeds and get rid of items

kindness and respect. Are there any relationships in your

that weren’t useful or meaningful. We can all clear space

life in need of cleansing or greater kindness and respect?

for new seeds to take root in the coming spring. What relationship seeds can you plant today that will bloom in

My sister is Jewish so she prepares for Passover (Pesach)

your life later this year?

by getting rid of all the leavened bread in her house. In Exodus, the enslaved Israelites left in such a hurry that

Witches, along with their brooms, sweep through their

they didn’t have time to let their bread rise, or leaven.

houses clearing out old negative energies and habits and

That’s why Jews today eat the flat, unleavened bread

filling them with love and positive energy. Clearing clutter

known as matzo during Passover (April 14 this year). The

has the same effect. Let go of any negative associations,

Torah insists that no leavened products, known as cha-

feelings or situations that have attached themselves to an

metz, be present; not even a single crumb of flour. Jews

object, or the person who gave it to you. (And if you want

might spend weeks before Passover cleaning their homes

to be an authentic witch, you can clean your house naked

to remove any chametz. First, they go through their

or “skyclad.” But I live in frozen Minnesota, so no skyclad

kitchen, removing any chametz – some donate it or sell

cleaning for me.)

it to non-Jews or burn their chametz in a bonfire. Then they clean the entire house to be sure that even the tiniest

Salt is a useful cleansing tool, either in scrubbing out

speck is gone. Are there crumbs of obligations or relationships

my tea-stained mugs, or in purification. Some witches

that are still tainting your home?

might use sage to smudge the air and eliminate negative energy. Lemon smells great to me, but others fill their

No matter what you believe, cleaning your house and

houses with the scents of spring (hyacinths or lilacs), after

decluttering can have as much or as little meaning as

eliminating the stale smells of winter. Add some lemon

you choose. The work is worth it when you can welcome

essential oil to your floor wash to cleanse and freshen the

friends into and shove clutter out of your clean, fresh

air. Vinegar is a cheap, non-toxic cleaning solution, and

house this spring.

one of the essential elements in Nowruz celebrations as vinegar represents age and patience.

Clare O’Malley lives in Minneapolis. Clare’s favorite spring cleaning ritual involves decluttering her

In modern day Persia, about 300 million people will

closet. Clare reads and writes daily, despite her four young children.

celebrate Nowruz, which falls on March 21, 2014. Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. The day also focuses on reconciliation and neighborliness. People are encouraged to purge their hearts of hatred and enmity, after dusting and cleaning their houses to welcome friends and neighbors in. Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


teas for labor, birth, and post-partum times

by Elizabeth Ebinger

This is a recipe for pregnancy tea that my doula, Karen

Simply add in 1 to 2 tsps of the premixed herbs to 1 cup of

Kelly (now a midwife!) shared with me. I ordered the

hot water. And let it steep for 5 to 10 mins. Sweeten with

individual dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and

raw honey if you desire. Drink daily from 16 weeks on!

there were enough to last through my multiple pregnancies and several gifts to other expectant moms. It is much more cost effective than buying store bought pregnancy tea bags, you know that you have fresh organic ingredients, and you know that it is the right combination of herbs. This mineral rich tea is also a great tea for labor, after birth and lactation!

Pregnancy Brew

Red Raspberry leaf -used as a basic herbal foundation for all female organs and problems -decreases profuse menstrual flow (when you are not pregnant!) -strengthens wall of uterus and entire female reproductive system -good during all stages of pregnancy -relieves and prevents spotting


-tones the uterus in preparation for childbirth and postpartum

8 parts Red Raspberry leaf

-used as a preventative for hemorrhaging during labor

3 parts Alfalfa herb

-assists labor, reduces the pain of childbirth, makes delivery

3 parts Peppermint leaf

easier and faster, and relieves after pains

2 parts Nettle leaf

-increases and enriches milk for lactation, it can be combined with marshmallow tea


Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

-positive medicinal affects on men, like increased fertility

-one of the oldest and most popular remedies for simple

-good for stomachaches, bowel problems, vomiting and

colic and minor bloat in children and adults

flu in children

-promotes relaxation

-used for diarrhea in babies

-good for all digestive problems, helps stomach pain

-soothing to stomach and bowels and cankerous conditions

caused by indigestion and is soothing to the stomach,

of mucous membranes in the alimentary canal

expels stomach and colon gas

-high mineral and vitamin source and an excellent source

-excellent for fevers, flu, colds, diarrhea, ulcers, and colitis

of manganese

-strengthens nerves and heart muscles -cleanses and tones the body


-can be used instead of aspirin for headaches

-“Father of all Foods� because it is extremely rich in

-stimulates blood circulation

minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus,

-useful for relieving muscle cramps, menstrual cramps,

sulfur, chlorine, sodium, potassium, silicon, and trace

nausea and loss of appetite

elements -good source of Vitamin C, niacin, Vitamin B-1, beta-

Nettle leaf

carotene (Vitamin A, which strengthens the epithelial

-stimulates hair growth

cells of the mucous membranes of the stomach) and Vitamin

-blood purifier

K (the blood clotting vitamin which has been known to

-contains bitter compounds that increase the production

help peptic ulcers)

of urine

-has eight of the essential amino acids and the highest

-mild laxative effect

chlorophyll content of any plant

-increases the efficiency of liver and kidney function

-contains natural fluorides, prevents tooth decay and

-treat imbalances of the mucous membranes

helps rebuild decayed teeth

-used to treat asthma, ulcers, bronchitis, jaundice, nephritis,

-a folk medicine for all inflammations including arthritis

hemorrhoids and spasmodic dysmenorrhea, urinary tract

and rheumatism

infections, respiratory tract infections, inflammatory skin

-thought to be hypocholesterolemic and hypoglycemic

conditions, diarrhea

-popular as a blood purifier

-contains astringent compounds that shrink inflamed

-contains the digestive enzyme betaine, aids the process of

tissues and stop bleeding


-a significant source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and minerals

-a detoxifier of the blood, the high molecular weight

including calcium, silicon, and potassium chloride;

alcohols (octacosanol) help to reduce cholesterol and

protein, and dietary fiber

serum lipids while the coumarin derivatives provide an antothrombotic effect -the flavonoids relax the smooth muscles and alkaloids reduce blood sugar levels

Elizabeth Ebinger drank this pregnancy tea during and after her three pregnancies. She has received several accolades for her blog My Green and Natural Pregnancy where she spreads knowledge for mainstream (and

-lowers blood pressure and balances estrogenic hormones

granola) pregnant women about natural and traditional

-used to treat debility, anorexia, arthritis, weak digestion,


hypertension and gout


Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network


Aromatherapy for Labor and Birth by Demetria Clark

Pregnancy has always been a time when I have been so

Nausea Spray

thankful for my knowledge of essential oils and aroma-

In four ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle add:

therapy. I am not one of these women that carry pregnancy

20 drops Spearmint

beautifully, I gain tons of weight, swell, have heartburn,

15 drops Lemon Essential oil

gas and sleep all the time. Even though I am not the

5 drops Sweet Orange Essential oil

perfect pregnancy specimen, I feel like it. I first saw the results of aromatherapy and pregnancy when I lived with

Shake well and mist air when feeling nauseous. You can

midwives as a teen. I expanded upon this knowledge when

also try using Ginger, Neroli and Rosewood to find a mixture

I became pregnant. Another wonderful thing I discovered

that works for you.

about aromatherapy when pregnant and after the babies are born is that it gives you a reason to take the time to

Leg Cramp Oil

heal yourself and pamper yourself. What better that

This is great for leg cramps, varicose veins, varicosities

pampering “medicine”?

and sore backs. 2 ounces St. John’s Wort Oil

I originally formulated these blends for myself over five

5 drops Neroli

years ago and they have become ones used by pregnant

5 drops Grapefruit Essential oil

woman, midwives and doulas all over the country.

This leg oil is fabulous. This is so soothing and relaxing on tired muscles.


Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

Belly Balm: Stretch Mark Prevention Oil

Transition can be a trying and tiring time for the mother.

This oil feels so wonderful going on. It is smooth,

We want to support her and use a mist blend that will

moisturizing and it can really help with the itching that

ground, calm and help uplift her spirits. Add water to

often becomes present when our skin starts stretching.

mister container as above and add:

In a double boiler melt:

15 drops Mandarin

1 cup Coconut oil

10 drops Bergamot

¼ cup Cocoa Butter

10 drops Lavender

1/8 cup Apricot, Almond or Grapeseed Oil

10 drops Clary Sage

1/8 cup Kukui nut oil, Shea Butter or Mango Butter (I love using Mango Butter)

This is a strong blend and it should be used away from

When the oils are all melted, allow it to cool and add the

the mother. Never spray the mother directly. The point

essential oils and pour into another container for the

of using mists during labor is to be as non invasive as

mixture to be stored in.

possible. Every person is different and their needs are

10-20 drops Sandalwood (try to find an ethical source)

individual and different also. Make sure that you

15 drops Patchouli

understand the person you are making the blend for. The

15 Drops Sweet Orange

wrong blend can assault the senses, and we must all realize

You can try varying amounts of oils and types of essential

in our need to help, we make may something not so beau-

oils, but I love this combination. You can also use

tiful for the mother.

Rosewood, Rose, Lavender, Tangerine and Neroli. Disclaimer- Use essential oils with education and care. Massage all over thighs, breasts, stomach and everywhere

Research each oil before use, especially with pregnancy,

else that needs nourishing and moisturizing. I have also

labor, and children’s health.

used this on my face, living in the Green Mountains we get frigid winds and my fair skin often needs a protector.

Labor Mists

Demetria Clark is a practicing herbalist, and aromatherapist living with her husband and two sons, teaching and working in the luscious Green Mountains of Vermont. She is the Founder of Heart of Herbs, herbal

For Relaxing and Focusing

education programs and the owner of Goddess Garden

This is a relaxing blend to promote clarity and focus. Herbal Health, Skin and Hair Care

In a four-ounce spray bottle almost fill with distilled water but leave a little room.

Company. copyright 1999 Demetria Clark

Add: 20 drops Grapefruit essential oil 15 drops Sweet Orange Essential oil 10 drops Spearmint Essential oil Shake well and mist labor room, or you can make a compress using a wet cloth, apply to forehead or the laboring Mom’s back. This mist is great for Dad, too. Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network



by Jamie Yeager


Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

Everyone told me that motherhood would change my

I know that from this place – this in-between of being

life forever.

the hands, feet, eyes, and ears to a helpless pink bundle and waving goodbye to my grown daughter

I assumed that I would give birth and my heart

as she journeys into her unknown – greatness must

would swell, and I would never love anything more

come. A renewal of my womanly spirit, the spirit that

than that first moment with my new child. I had

willed my body through labor and childbirth and

prepared myself to become a new woman – selfless,

assured me that my instincts would keep my new

gentle, quiet, soft but strong.

baby safe, is on the horizon. My daughter and I will grow into our new selves together. Just as she

What no one mentioned was that after I was changed,

emulated my actions to master feeding herself, she

after I became a fearless mother with a soft heart, my

will begin to mimic me and reflect my light. Do I

spirit would become worn, ragged, and unfamiliar.

smile at myself in the mirror? Do I stand tall and

Not a soul warned me that I should not get too com-

hold my head high? She is watching me as I watched

fortable in my new life because sooner than I would

her all of those countless hours before, waiting for

think, my life would need to change again.

me to make my next move so that she can make hers.

Our birth story is not one that I had predicted, but

I have accepted that there is no predetermination

it was as lovely as I could have imagined. Our first

of what happens after what happens after birth. I

months together were blissful - breastfeeding challenges

became someone new when I gave new life to this

overcome, a series of firsts that came so quickly even

world. Just as my spirit enabled me to be everything

a cute baby book could not contain them all, and a

to a new life, now I must allow that spirit to grow

home filled with more love than I could ever have

within me.

imagined. Jamie Yeager is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative

Months turned into a year and a year into almost

Nutrition and an AADP board certified Holistic Health

two. Although our home continues to burst with

Coach in Louisville, KY. Her practice focuses on natural

love and joy and firsts, I feel I have lost myself in the

family wellness, with an emphasis on teaching an

process. I was finally getting comfortable as the ev-

integrative approach to mom and baby health. For

erything to my daughter, when – just like that – she

more information, visit [],

started becoming an individual. The more she owns

[] or contact Jamie at

her selfhood, the more aware I am of my missing self.


I have forgotten about myself and have become small and isolated, caring only about her needs, wants, and demands. A shift is occurring, and I am ready for my life to change forever again. Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network



birth by Jodi Green

She is standing, swaying, and breathing deeply when the surge from deep in her

She’s been laboring for hours. When her birthing time began this morning, she was antsy with excitement. She’s been preparing for this day for months, at times in

womb begins to build like a wave. As her belly

giddy anticipation, and at times a weeping ball of baby

tightens, her hands grip her beloved, her face

and impatience. Now the time had come. She was chatty

tenses, and she begins to moan. Rolling her hips, eyes closed, groaning deeply with each

and bubbling as she talked through the contractions that she described as “really strong”. The true display of her strength had yet to come, though it surely would.

breath, she works through the intensity as

The mood has shifted now, into silence. Minutes and

the wave begins to subside.

hours now move only in fluid intervals of hard work and of rest. The daylight has passed. The intensity that she feels in her body is breathtaking, consuming all of her

“That’s it, mama. Good. Just like that. That

energy. She’s hot and trembling, nauseous and exhausted.

one is done. Let that one go. Rest in between”,

The subtle shift in her breath signals the beginning of the

I whisper. 30

next wave.

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

“You can do this. You already are. Your body knows how.

My hands press her hips and stroke her back as she chants

Your baby knows how. All is well. Everything here is

“I can’t, I can’t”. She can do it, of course, just as her

exactly right.”

mother and a thousand grandmothers before her have done. This is the sacred struggle of every laboring woman.

The work of labor is to open. It is the opening of her body,

Standing toe-to-toe with her own fears, in battle with the

to make room for the baby to pass through. It’s the

monster of her own resistance, she undergoes the alche-

opening of her heart, to love this new human being deeply

my of complete transformation. Every thought she carries

and unconditionally. It’s the opening of her relationship

that no longer serves her, every story she’s heard that has

with her partner, to love one another in this new territory

undermined her belief in herself, every fear she’s never

of parenthood. It’s the wide-open stretching of all that

voiced is released; shed through her tears, her sounds, her

she is, to become born anew in the next step of her life

fluids, and her blood. She quivers with the sheer effort of


sweet surrender to the life force larger than herself.

Her moans deepen, and I know before she does that

She has reached the threshold where she makes the

transition is now drawing near. The moment is coming

inevitable choice, as women throughout time have done,

when she will reach the edge of her very being, and will

to take just one more step into the mystery. She becomes

need to call upon every resource for strength. Sometimes

all elements at once embodied; the pure channel for life

it’s loud and tear-filled cries of “I quit!” Sometimes, it

to emerge from the waters of her belly, through the ring

emerges as prayer, or happens silently in her doubt-filled

of fire, arriving on Earth to take a first breath. She returns

thoughts. I know only that it will happen. As part of her

from the brink, victorious, with her wet, squalling

labor, it must.

newborn daughter naked on her skin, and her newly-born mother-self rising up as never before.

This is a time of the sacred in-between. To give birth, in whatever form birth may take, a woman must journey

Her face, moments before twisted in pain, become alight

into the mystery of the unknown. Standing at both the

with ecstasy as she falls in love with her tiny baby girl.

verge of a new life, and at the end of the only life she has

Her tears are now those of joy. She knows, now, down to

known - it is a moment both welcome and terrifying. This

her bones, the irrevocable story of her own courage and

is the transformational process essential to the rebirth

strength. In the birth of her child, she has, as mighty

of a woman as she becomes Mother. It is an ancient

warrior, been reborn.

understanding that the midwives once knew. This meltdown is the work of her soul as she approaches the

Jodi Green is a Gratitude Activist, Birth Doula and Writer.

place where the veil between flesh and spirit has grown

She lives in southern New Jersey with her seven favorite

thin, to reach through and bring forth the new soul that

people. Find Jodi online at

she has invited into life. This is the transition of modern civilized woman into primal goddess. There’s no thinking, no pretense – just the raw, undiluted, and powerful energy of a woman giving birth.

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network



Trials and Joys

“You Get What You Get and You Don’t Get Upset” “Try to see your child as a seed that came in a packet without a label. Your job is to provide the right environment and nutrients and to pull the weeds. You can’t decide what kind of flower you’ll get or in which season it will bloom.” – Anonymous With my first child, I was in labor for two days. A hippie midwife with freckles and braids stayed with me as I sweated and moaned. But it was the midwife helping deliver my third baby who also helped me labor through the arrival of my second child. Midwives are used to tearful women, but most don’t cry when asked about their children. Kerry knew something was up. She asked, “What’s wrong?” And I whispered, “My daughter doesn’t like me.” Kerry had found the key to my pain when she said, “Tell me more.”


by Clare O’Malley

Scarlett, my oldest daughter and second child, was adopted from China while I was five months pregnant with my third child. (Both children were planned and wanted, but the timing of the adoption was out of our control.) My husband went back to work two days after returning from China with Scarlett and I was left with a traumatized child who could not communicate. At 16 months, Scarlett didn’t know how to walk, talk or eat solid food and was wearing nine-month-sized clothes. She kicked my pregnant belly and clawed my face when I carried her. Diaper changes were a nightmare; she couldn’t poop and couldn’t stand to be touched. My husband was convinced I was doing something wrong, and I was sure I was a terrible mother. I cried every day. This was more than just pregnancy hormones. I told Kerry about the food therapist and the stress of mealtimes, the family therapist who encouraged me to divorce my husband, the special education “play” teacher, the lack of help from our adoption agency, and my doubt in myself. Kerry then told me that she had also

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

adopted a daughter from China, and that her daughter

sitting patiently for that bewildered and angry little girl

didn’t like her at first either. Really?

to come to me.

Just as labor has its stages, and each pregnancy takes

Five years later, I struggle with parenting four kids, but

the time each child needs, Kerry-the-midwife told me

not all our problems relate to the adoption. “Everybody

that I wouldn’t “deliver” Scarlett until she was ready to

hates me!” She screams. “You don’t love me. You don’t!”

be my daughter. If I forced our connection, I would need

when I told her she could not do her homework with a

more and more “interventions.” Five years after Kerry’s

brown crayon. I sometimes forget and say, “She is ad-

daughter joined their family, Kerry was able to calmly

opted,” instead of “She was adopted.” I tell her that we’re

share the many trials she and her daughter encountered,

Irish when we drink Shamrock Shakes at McDonald’s.

giving me hope.

How can I forget such a crucial part of her identity? It’s because there’s so much more to Scarlett than just her

The actual labor Kerry assisted in led to a healthy, normal

being adopted from China. She’s an amazing swimmer,

baby, but what Kerry shared with me was the need for

obsessed with horses and very gentle. Sure, at times, she

patience, and to allow my child to teach me how I could

seems totally different from her blond-haired, blue-eyed

best parent her.

siblings. She’s stubborn, emotional and loves to go shopping. In short, she is completely like her real mother; me.

With a new baby in the house I simply didn’t have enough time to spend trying to make Scarlett like me, and we both calmed down. Scarlett needed to know that I would never abandon her, no matter how she acted, which is often a common fear in adopted children. She

Clare O’Malley lives in Minneapolis, yet still considers herself a resident of her home state of Hawaii. Clare reads and writes daily, despite her four young children.

still tests me even today, but now I know why. Scarlett’s resistance to me was both a protective mechanism to protect herself from yet another loss, and the typical toddler limit testing. I kept chasing after her love, instead of Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


Confessions of a

breast-feeding mom

I gave my daughter formula and she liked it

by Trish Johnson

I delivered my daughter, my third child, by myself. Not on purpose, but because she came so quickly neither my husband nor my midwife made it to my hospital room in time.

and had been in L&D twice in the previous 10 days for saline IVs and anti-nausea medication. While the treatment had helped to alleviate my sickness, delivering the baby put a quick end to the last of my symptoms.

My husband was parking the car; my midwife, was making her way through the parking lot. We – and by “we,” I mean me and my baby girl – beat them by about five minutes. It happened really fast. One minute I was in a wheel chair. The next I was guiding my baby’s head and shoulders up onto my tummy, much to the dismay of the orderlies who were insisting I “not push” (laugh with me here) and wait for a doctor to arrive.

Once she was born, I nursed her immediately, as I had with her brothers. I have never been in a rush to wash my babies in the minutes after birth, and the staff, after weighing and measuring my girl agreed that the best course of action was to keep her bundled and cozy – her temperature was not warming up as expected.

It was actually my third trip to the hospital in two weeks – I’d caught a crazy virus at the start of my maternity leave 34

I held her for quite some time, alternately nursing her and ridiculing my tardy support team. Baby Girl’s temp did not increase. After my girly parts were stitched back where they belonged and I was ready to move into my Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

recovery room, I was informed my baby would not be joining me. She was headed to the NICU, to be placed under lights until her temperature reached a number the staff was comfortable with. What a curveball. Never saw it coming. I had a full-term, healthy-weight baby whose vitals and APGAR were all great. Her temp was low, and that was an emergency? When I got to the NICU, she was laid out like a roast beef on a wedding reception buffet – kind of pink and lumpy, with a glaring, orange-toned light shining just inches above her. She had on a little diaper and a tiny pink and blue striped hat. I wasn’t allowed to take her out of her warming isolette, but I could rub her piggy toes and blow her kisses. “Girlfriend,” I called her for the first time, “catching a few rays?” The nurse who was monitoring her told me that I could expect to have my girl back for a feeding in less than an hour. When she arrived, she latched fine, dissolving the alarm that had started to gel in the back of my mind. She nursed through the night, dozing and feeding at intervals of her choosing; her wide eyes taking in everything on which the lamp on the bedside table cast its pale light. Hello, world, she seemed to say, and the whole world was that room. What an amazing fractal of time– the first night a mom spends with her baby in her arms, right? But – back to it. The doctor arrived with the sun. Doogie Houser. Approximately 15 years old. Here’s kind of how it went, as best as I can recall. He said, as he flipped pages in my chart, “I understand you’re nursing.” Me, glancing down at the infant attached by her mouth to my breast, “Yup, that’s right.” He continued, “We ran our standard tests on your daughter’s blood sample, from her heel prick, and she’s dehydrated. You’ve been hospitalized recently for dehydration yourself?”

“She’s nursing quite steadily,” I informed the child prodigy. “She’s taken right to it.” “Your daughter’s blood is thick, and we need to get her where she should be, before this starts a chain reaction that could lead to serious, life threatening consequences. “We feel,” he continued, “that she would benefit from some supplemental feeding, a few ounces of formula to help hydrate her.” I gave this guy what I consider to be the best hairy eyeball I could muster. I was an experienced mom, with 33 months of breastfeeding (and counting) under my belt. I’d read and heard about how people scoff at the health benefits of breastfeeding, and promote chemicals (I mean, for Pete’s sake, it’s called “formula” – straight out of chemistry class!) over the natural option. But I’d never experienced it. I was flat-out incredulous that I was having this scenario unfold in front of me. In a hospital. By a doctor. I pushed back. “You’re telling me that your medical recommendation is for me to stop nursing right now and to give my daughter a bottle of formula?” I said to him. This may have been the first time a patient spoke words other than, “Yes, doctor” to him. He looked back at his chart. I imagine he was looking for a notation that said something like, “difficult patient,” scrawled in the margin, but because I’d done most of the heavy lifting, there were no red flags raised by the nursing staff. He clarified, “I’m not saying that breastfeeding isn’t the way to go, but we want you to supplement by offering your daughter two ounces of formula at the start of each feeding. That way, we are sure she’s taking in the fluids she needs. Now, at this point, I’d already made the decision that I’d give her the formula. I’d never bought formula, neither of my older children had ever had it, but as a three-time mom, I was well aware that rules, standards, expectations, and successes in parenting are elastic, to say the least. Two ounces of formula? Got it. No big deal. But I couldn’t let it go that easily for Young Dr. Nosism.

Now I felt like the one sitting under the unflattering orange spotlight. Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


“Who is included in your ‘we’ when you say, ‘We think …’?” I asked him. “Did you talk to my pediatrician?” Back to the chart, his eyeballs went. A page flipped. He cleared his throat. “Your pediatrician hasn’t been here, I’m the pediatrician on call,” he told me. “I’ve reviewed your daughter’s chart with the medical staff,” other doctors and nurses, he clarified, “and the consensus is that the best way to get her on track and avoid any further medical intervention is to get her (insert medical term for whatever they use to measure the thickness of blood) back into the normal range. “This could take hours, or days.” The “hours or days” part hung in the air. I sensed an ultimatum was being issued by The Young Doctor. Or perhaps I gave him too much credit. I have no doubt the hospital – in which I birthed all of my children, and rushed each of them to on various stressful occasions – would only prescribe what it felt was a medically necessity. I love my hospital, don’t get me wrong. But there was a tone in that statement from the doctor that didn’t reverberate with a pleasing ring, if you know what I mean. “I’ll call my pediatrician,” I said. “You can send the formula with a nurse.” As I nursed, I dialed. My wonderful, responsive, thoughtful, and shrewd pediatrician answered her phone at 6:30 a.m. “They want me to give her formula because her blood is thick,” I said. “I want to breast feed.” “Do both,” she said. “Get her home, and then come and see me.” The nurse arrived with the teensie little bottle of formula and the tiny little bottle nipple, sealed up in shrink wrap. I resisted the urge to spike both on the ground. And again, maybe my memory has exaggerated this part, but I would almost swear the nurse loitered in the room, just to make sure I gave my girlfriend her two ounces, as promised. The baby slugged it back. Loved all 60 milliliters of it. Eyes closed, fists clinched against her cheeks … she rev36

eled in her bottle, and I loved watching her. A whole new perspective for a nursing mom – seeing your baby’s full face while eating! And then, as if she at a mere eight-anda-half hours old knew she needed to throw her old mom a bone, she proceeded to nurse for the next 20 minutes non-stop. My girl. My sweet girl. We did it – we being her and I. We got through that silly little moment of suspicion, distrust, and guilt, and we did it without her suffering any ill effects. She took two more ounces of formula before we were given the all clear to return to strictly breast milk, and we were discharged from the hospital on time, with friendly smiles and words of encouragement from the nursing staff. This is the first time I’ve told anybody about this. The baby’s head crowning in the wheelchair? My water breaking in the hall? Yeah – everyone’s heard those stories. But the part where I fed my newborn lab-crafted food out of a bottle? Nope. This is news. You see, the suspicion, distrust, and guilt – they were all my load to carry. And I considered, for a brief second, making them my daughter’s, too. I think that’s the part that I’m actually most embarrassed about: not that I gave her formula, but that I considered not giving her formula. That the “me” part of the “we” put myself (and those pesky expectations and standards) before my other half. I’m happy that 18 months later, I’m still nursing my daughter. We’re getting to the point where it’s dwindled to bedtime and three a.m. snuggle sessions, but I still appreciate that she turns to me for comfort and reassurance. She does that when she’s nursing. But she doesn’t do that because she’s nursing. She does it because we’re a team, and she knows I’ll always do what’s best for her, even if it’s stretching my standards and expectations to fit the circumstances we face. Together. Trish Johnston is a wife, mom and award winning marketing copywriter in Morris County, NJ. Currently hip-deep in Transformers and Legos, she aspires to rid her home of plastic, perform sun salutations with the kids and get her husband to say “quinoa” without laughing. Read more at

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network



birth trauma

by Pamm Fontana

By the time my second son was six months old, I’d penned

session of a birth trauma support group called Mothers

his birth story and shared it along with gorgeous

Healing Together (MHT) (http://mothershealingtogether.

professional birth pictures. It was an amazing, empowering Through the help of MHT group, I was

birth and easy to talk about. Writing my first son’s birth

able to do the hard work of healing.

story was much harder. I dreaded birth-related


conversations. If I opened up with anyone, I lived in fear

So, what’s the deal with birth trauma anyway? Some

of hearing, “That was your traumatic birth? That was

people say ‘healthy baby, healthy mama’ is enough when it

nothing,” or, “If you would’ve just gone along with X like

comes to a birth. For me—logical to others or not— that

everyone else does, you wouldn’t have been so upset”. Yet

is not enough. Yes, the “destination” is imperative, but

keeping my story in wasn’t helping either. As the months

the journey matters, too. It is possible to both celebrate

ticked by and thoughts about the birth were still keeping

an amazing new life and mourn the journey it took to get

me awake in the night, I knew it was time to do something.

there at the same time.

One of my doulas recommended Solace for Mothers

For example, if you completed a marathon, but got injured

( and I joined the pilot

on the way, no one would say, “All that matters is that

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

you crossed the finish line”. No, people would care about

well as from the facility. Hospital records contain

your twisted ankle; they’d want to hear your story, they’d

notes from nurses and stats, things that may not

admire your endurance. They would know that the medal

be in your provider’s records. Now, just because you

is great, but the journey also matters.

have these papers doesn’t mean you have to read

them. But, it is a step. Consider finding a friend in

Or think about college. Let’s say a professor unjustly

the medical world to help you process through

accuses you of cheating. You have to fight to defend your

medical jargon.

character; you have to prove you really know the facts you allege to know; you are judged with a suspicious eye.

3. Embrace that your story will change. As you learn

Eventually, you still walk away with a degree and go on

more about yourself, others, medical details, etc. it

to a great career. Now, is that all that matters about that

is normal for your perspective to change. Let go of

college experience the diploma you walk away with? Of

past perceptions and make room for the wiser out

course not. The story of those years matters. It shapes

look you have now. Wiser may not mean less

you. It changes you. The degree is there forever, and is

painful, but sometimes it can give the struggle

something to celebrate, but the journey to it matters.


With my first son, I walked away as a relatively healthy

mama with a healthy baby and a vaginal birth, but for

articulate what would help a provider meet other

all of those wonderful things to celebrate, the rest of the

women’s needs better. It is never too late to thank

journey still mattered. I had panic attacks for months

someone who got it right. Do what your instincts

after. I would wake in the night with thoughts racing. My

tell you: send a letter, log a complaint, make a

obstetrician confirmed I didn’t have post-partum depression,

phone call.

4. Say what you need to say. It is never too late to

but he didn’t quite know what to do with my anger, pain, and questions. Thankfully, I kept pushing for answers outside of his office.

5. Write a birth story for your child at his current

age. Putting things in simpler, kid-friendly words

and concepts can be freeing.

Over the internet and then through friends, I learned that there is a thing called Post-Partum Traumatic Stress Disorder

(PPTSD), and it fit me to a T. For some, professional help

and emotional energy are precious, so screen

is the wisest choice to move forward. For me, a support

providers ahead of time by asking if they are

group was the right fit to propel my healing journey.

familiar with a birth trauma.

Through that group, here are six things that I found most helpful:

1. Tell your story—however you see it right now— to

someone safe to you. Write it, paint it, speak it,

whatever works.

6. Contact a professional for help if needed. Your time

Pamm Fontana gently parents two boys of her own and works with hundreds of families as a director in a large and thriving children’s ministry. She is an accredited Attached at the Heart Parent Educator, Volunteer Babywearing Educator for Babywearing International, and blogs about eco-friendly living and attachment parenting at (where you can

2. Obtain your medical records from your provider as

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

read the birth stories of both boys).


birth story

One Holistic Mom’s by Andrea Newman

I woke up around 4:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom and

in and see when we should go to the hospital. I was starting

I was suddenly wide awake. I eventually fell back into a

to doubt my ability to have a totally natural labor at this

light sleep only to be awoken by what I would describe

point so I was a bit worried. Knowing I wanted to labor

as menstrual cramps around 5:00 a.m. I got up again

at home as long as possible, I couldn’t believe it when my

to go to the bathroom and noticed that there was some

doctor said “Now would probably be a good time to head

light bleeding on the toilet paper. Well this looks like

into the hospital.”

something could happen soon! By about 6:00, the cramps (which were actually contractions) were picking up in

As I bounced around on our exercise ball and worked on

intensity, so I decided I’d take a nice leisurely shower,

breathing through contractions, it was getting harder to

which ended with me yelling for my husband to time my

talk and focus. I was so worried we’d get to triage and I


would only be dilated a fewcentimeters. This was intense! We had to go through the ER first and it was crazy trying


When we timed the contractions, they were lasting 1-2

to sit there, answer questions, and sign a few papers.

minutes and were 2-4 minutes apart. Things felt pretty

Someone from labor and delivery finally came down to

intense at this point, so I called my mom to let her know

take us upstairs and we headed to triage. I thought I’d just

what was going on. My husband called my OB to fill him

be there all day answering questions. Why didn’t they ask Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

this stuff on the preregistration forms?! That sure would

After just a few more pushes, I looked down and saw my

save some time.

daughter’s beautiful face. It was the most amazing sight!! Before I knew it, her whole body was out and they were

The OB resident finally came in and said she was going

placing her on my chest. The emotions I felt at that mo-

to do a cervical check and assess my progress. That was

ment were indescribable. It was so surreal that she was

totally uncomfortable. It was the first one I had since I

actually here. It was so fantastic to have our little family.

opted out at all my prenatal appointments. She looked at me, looked at the nurse and said “She’s a 7, let’s get her

It was amazing how good I felt after the birth. Natural

into a room now.” 7 centimeters?! I couldn’t believe it! My

birth is such an amazing high! I was able to get right up,

confidence totally surged again. I could do this! I was so

walk around, and go to the bathroom. I also felt such a

close to the end already!

great sense of accomplishment for bringing our daughter in to the world exactly the way I wanted. I had so many

I walked down the hall to the room with Aron, my mom,

people doubt me - telling me that there was no way I’d

and our birth photographer in tow. I couldn’t believe this

deliver naturally and that I’d be begging for the epidural.

was all happening so fast! I labored in the tub for about an

I can now say (trying not to be too smug, of course) that I

hour or hour and a half. I’m not sure how long because

was able to deliver naturally and I will do it for any and all

I truly had no sense of time. Laboring in the tub was so

children I have. It’s all about preparing yourself mentally

relaxing and wonderful. I enjoyed that last bit of time with

and knowing what is important to you.

my daughter inside while I prepared to bring her into the world. The nurses and Aron took turns bringing me

Our little Nora is now a year old, and I can’t believe how

sips of water, and I occasionally made small talk. Mostly

fast the time is going! It’s wonderful to see her grow and

though, I was in my own little world and didn’t care at all

change every day. I feel so blessed to have her here with

what was going on around me.

us and for the doctors and nurses who helped make her birth such a wonderful experience for me. I also couldn’t

Not too long later, I felt all that pressure that precedes

have done any of it without the unending support from

pushing. I’ve heard some people say they didn’t know

Aron, who was my rock through everything and always

when it was time to push but there was no doubt in my

supported and believed in me.

mind! It was a lot of pressure and I told my nurses I felt like I had to push. One them came over and checked me again and I was at 10 centimeters. I was almost at the end of this journey and ready to meet our baby girl!!

Andrea is a former Executive Assistant turned SAHM. She gave up babying high powered execs for babying, well, her baby. Her interests include organic food, natural beauty, breastfeeding, natural childbirth, and gentle parenting. She enjoys

After a few pushes, my doctor asked if he could break my water, as he had a feeling I would deliver her any moment. Although I wanted no interventions, at this point I

spending her days chasing after Nora and her two puggles. Her struggles (and successes) include breastfeeding with flat nipples; a severe lip and tongue tie; and battling mastitis. She’s

didn’t see a big problem with it and figured I would save

passionate about helping women succeed in breastfeeding. She can be found at

everyone a trip to Sea World by letting him break it for and

me. Looking back now, I wish I wouldn’t have had my water broken. I still wonder if Nora might have been born in the caul? Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network



by Crissy Conner

Why should we use natural products which are typically everyday products that we already have in our home, for cleaning our tubs to washing our laundry? Not only is it safer for you and the environment it’s also safer for your wallet, there are so many versatile ingredients out there that it’s a shame to spend $4 to clean your tub, $4+ to wash dishes in your dishwasher, $4 to clean your windows when you can spend less than $10 and have years of supplies of cleaning products. 42

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

We all inhale and are subjected to enough toxins in our homes, work places, and outdoors. Why breathe in more

Scrub to make and keep for sinks or tough areas, especially for the kitchen.

chemicals when you are opening up your pores (which can

1 cup of baking soda

happen with spring cleaning when we are scrubbing, organiz-

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

ing, etc. when we sweat) and breathing harder because you

4 drops sweet orange essential oil

are using that amazing elbow grease we all use when spring cleaning season arrives?

Combine in an air tight container, add ingredients, and shake well to blend. Apply to any tough stains in the kitchen and

Most cleaning recipes need just a few ingredients and almost

enjoy the spicy aroma of the orange and cinnamon combined,

all are available at your local grocery store: white vinegar, bak-

you’ll find it smells a lot like our Spice Candle that was popu-

ing soda, borax, washing soda, castile soap and essential oils

lar this year.

for various cleaning options or smells.

Carpet Deodorizer One of our favorite versatile cleaners is white vinegar. We

Why buy it at the store? You have no idea what is included in

use it in our laundry for not only a safer alternative to fabric

the store bought powder, but by making your own, you can

softener but also a great odor eliminator when it comes to

even make it unscented or add the fragrance you prefer.

stinky sweaty clothes and it is also the only thing we’ve found to remove urine smell from those potty training accidents.

1 cup baking soda

It’s also a great way to descale your shower head or kitchen

1 cup borax

faucet. Simply put some white vinegar in a Ziploc bag and rubber band it to the nozzle overnight and in the morning it’s

12-15 drops of your favorite essential oil (use tea tree oil to

like magic and you’ll notice that your shower head is back to

remove bacteria, eucalyptus to disinfect, lavender for calming

spraying like it did when it was brand new.

scent or your favorite oil)

Another simple ingredient we use in our homes is baking

Combine in an air tight container. After sprinkling on carpet

soda. Baking soda is great for pet accidents (simply clean the

wait an hour or overnight if possible before vacuuming. You

area the best you can, sprinkle a generous amount of baking

can also put a spoonful in your vacuum cleaner bag to help

soda on spot, let dry, then vacuum up). It’s also great for potty

control those odors that fill the air when you turn it on.

accidents, especially on a mattress, apply the baking soda to the wet area generously, let dry, and then vacuum up with a

Natural Easy As Can Be Dryer Sheets

shop vac or vacuum attachment. Baking soda is also great to

Use old scraps of cotton (old t-shirts, towels, etc.) cut into 6

use as a shower scrub to get in grout or those tough spots that

inch strips.

need a little more than elbow grease alone can handle. You can also use it to clean toilets; it’ll help get any stains out with its

Apply 5 drops of essential oil or your choice and throw in dryer

gentle exfoliating action. It is also great for the kitchen sink or

with clothes to freshen and add a pleasant smell. (Don’t add


more or it could get on your clothes)

Now to discuss some great recipes you can make at home for

Boiled Dishtowels


After doing some research, we found that our dishtowels used

Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network


to be boiled (I used to say in the olden days, now my daughter

proves with age, so if you’ve had some for a year it’s going to

would say back in the 80’s?)...whose washing machine gets

disinfect better than what you just purchased from the store,

to a boiling temperatures these days? It may not be feasible

it’s great to know some things we may not use daily do get

to boil your dishtowels every time, but this is a great way to

better with age.

make sure the germs are gone and keep them white if that is the color you use. Use this easy recipe.

If you ever wondered what’s in your cleaning products, you probably don’t know the half of it, most don’t list ingredients,

Add tea tree oil to boiling water, remove from stove and put in

they may list an active ingredient and that’s it, be careful what

your dishtowels and allow to soak until the water cools before

you are using...not only are you exposed to it, but so are your

putting them in the washer. Do this once every 4 months

family and pets.

to kill those tiny microbes that are clinging to your kitchen towels you use for everything.

Crissy Conner makes Whole & Natural Products for your skin and home. Using quality, whole (never processed) ingredients so you get all the vitamins and benefits you can expect from the natural oils and butters in our skin care line. We have many

Some essential oils to add for various cleaning.

options available including Gluten-free, Fragrance-free, Vegan-

Tea Tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial and is perfect when

Friendly, Preservative-free and much more! All of our products

cleaning toilet seats to counter tops or any place bacteria seems to lurk.

are paraben, alcohol and formaldehyde free. Dew You Know What You’re Putting on Your Skin??


Eucalyptus oil is also a great disinfectant and actually im-


Copyright ©2013 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network



Copyright Š2013 holistic moms network

The Wise Mom, Spring 2014  

Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of The Wise Mom, the member magazine of the Holistic Moms Network1

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