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thewisemom

wise: (adj) informed, aware

Renewal & Rebirth Focusing on the Positive

Interview with Actress Mayim Bialik Twelve Ways To Grow A Happy Child Compassionate Partings Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network

Š The Wise Mom, Holistic Moms Network. Issue 9, March 2012.


thewisemom 4

From the Editor

6

News & Announcements

8

Interview with Actress Mayim Bialik

10 Holistic Moms Poetry 12 Law of Attraction 14 Healthcare and Wisdom of the Ages 16 Twelve Ways to Grow a Happy Child 18 The Power of Mother 21 HMN Leader Profile 22 Returning to Renewal 24 HMN Chapter Profile 26 Birth From A Dad’s Prospective 30 A Perfect Natural Birth 32 Renewal and Balance 38 Compassionate Partings 40 Does SpongeBob Hold The Secrets to Life and Money? 42 Establishing a Rhythm 44 Happy Family Gardening 46 Embracing the Unexpected 48 How Yoga Can Help You and our Kids Defuse Stress by Tapping into Your Natural Body-Mind Wisdom 2

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


thewisemom EDITOR

SPONSORS

Aimee Wood

For more information about Sponsorship, please e-mail us at sponsorship@holisticmoms.org or call us at 877-HOL-MOMS.

DESIGN/LAYOUT Emma Catarino

CIRCULATION The Wise Mom is published four times per year and is

HMN DIRECTOR

distributed electronically to members of the Holistic Moms

Nancy Massotto

Network. For information about membership, please visit us at www.holisticmoms.org.

The Wise Mom is a quarterly publication of the Holistic Moms Network (HMN), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit

SUBMISSIONS

organization for parents interested in holistic health and

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

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

variety of submissions, from personal stories and

of the Holistic Moms Network as well as an informative

experiences from members to informative research articles

publication offering views, perspectives, and wisdom from

based upon our issue theme each quarter. Want to share

our parents, wellness practitioners, and experts in the

your photos with us? By submitting a photo to The Wise

broad field of holistic living and parenting.

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

The information provided in The Wise Mom is not intended

their image published.

to replace professional advice from a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. The

Email wisemom@holisticmoms.org for details on

articles and information presented in these pages

submitting articles or photos for an upcoming issue.

is intended as a sharing of knowledge, information, and experiences. We encourage all of our readers to become

Š The Wise Mom, Holistic Moms Network. Issue 7, December 2011.

informed about the many healthcare and parenting decisions they may face and to make the choice that works best for their unique family. The Wise Mom is a publication of the Holistic Moms Network and supports the mission and purpose of our non-profit organization.

Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network

Nancy Massotto Executive Director

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editorsletter Renewal, Rebirth, and Positivity Springtime seems to put that extra glimmer of hope into my eyes. The days lengthen, the sunny days increase, and the fresh spring air seems to usher in a sense of renewal. We’ve got an amazing issue filled with articles on renewal, rebirth, and positivity. It is truly one of those issues that you sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy. Soak in the positive energy. May this issue inspire you to reexamine something in your life. Are you on the verge of embarking on something new? The inspirations from these holistic mamas (and dad!) are sure to spark that sense of joy in you! Additionally, I’m looking for some HMN bloggers who would be willing to be on a writing rotation for The Wise Mom. If you are interested, please email me at: wisemom@holisticmoms.org. As always, comments and suggestions are welcomed. Sincerely, Aimee K. Wood

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Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


news&announcements Welcome New & Continuing HMN Sponsors!

The Holistic Moms Network is proud to partner with companies and organizations who share our mission and purpose, and to connect our members with these amazing Sponsors and their visions! We welcome two new Sponsors this quarter and honor two ongoing Sponsors who continue to share our passion for holistic living. Do you try to limit sugar with your kids? Did you know that the average child ingests more than 15

Breastfeeding may be natural, but that doesn’t mean it is

teaspoons per day in added sugar?

always easy. Many new moms struggle with supply issues

Fortunately, there is Little Me Tea,

and new HMN Sponsor Divine Mama Bars has created

new HMN Sponsor! Little Me Tea

some fabulous products to lend a hand. Divine Mama is a company committed to improving quality of life for nursing mothers. Their products are designed to help women adjust to the physical and emotional

was created by a small family company with a big mission: to improve the health of children everywhere. A healthier alternative to sugary juice drinks, Little Me Tea is the first organic tea beverage for kids—a unique blend of caffeine-free teas infused with organic fruit and vegetable juices

challenges of caring for an infant. Divine Mama offers

and fortified with organic Acerola berry. It’s rich in antioxidants

lactogenic food bars, which are convenient, nutritious

and super low in sugar. Some full sugar juices have as much

snacks created from ingredients that help to build and

sugar as a candy bar! Little Me Tea has only 7 grams of naturally-

maintain a healthy milk supply.

occurring sugar per serving, with a light, refreshing taste that

Visit www.divine-mama.com for more details!

kids – and parents – love. Visit them at www.littlemetea.com.

HMN is honored to continue to partner with Boiron and Organic Valley, two companies whose dedication to serving families through natural living is evident in their ongoing support of Holistic Moms! Boiron is the world’s leader in homeopathic medicines, is best known for its top-selling flu medicine, Oscillococcinum®, its Chestal® cough syrup, and its Arnicare® line of pain relievers. Organic Valley is a cooperative of more than 1,300 family farms that produces organic foods to satisfy the primary health concerns of their citizen-partners: good nutrition and protection from exposure to toxins. Visit their websites or check the Online Member Savings Book to receive special offers from these Sponsors, as well as our other partners! 6

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


Feeding Our Future Calling all Holistic Moms members: We need your favorite foodie photos! As a sequel to our popular video, Nursing Our Future, HMN is creating a new video to showcase our shared passion for real, whole food and nutrition. From growing your own to shopping your local farmers’ markets, we want to see your favorite nutrition photos. Gardening, cooking, eating, and more! Send your JPG or GIF images to us at photos@holisticmoms.org to be included in our project.

New Chapters Forming! HMN continues to grow! We have had several new Chapters kick off since our last issue of The Wise Mom, including our new Chapters in Ann Arbor, MI; Eastern Suffolk County, NY; New London County, CT; North County Coastal San Diego; South Bay Los Angeles; and Northwest Arkansas!

Coming soon – new Chapters forming in Charlotte, NC Western Monmouth County, NJ; Central San Diego; Ulster County, NY; and re-launching Chapters in Hartford, CT and Passaic County, NJ!

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.

2012 Online Member Savings Book! Save some green on healthy, natural products! One of the many benefits of being a member of the Holistic Moms Network is taking advantage of special offers from Our Sponsors! Our 2012 Online Member Savings Book is now available on the Online Member Community, with some great discounts and coupons from brands you love, including Organic Valley, Motherlove, Frontier, and Vital Choice. Additional offers and Sponsors are on their way, so check back often for updates and special deals! Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

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an in

May We are excited to learn of the release of your book, “Beyond

As a holistic, attached parent, many of the parenting

the Sling”. What inspired you to write a parenting book?

choices you make are considered controversial. How do

After writing for Kveller.com, armed with my HMN parenting

you manage the stress of being scrutinized or even criti-

tips and experiences, I was interviewed separately by celebrity

cized for your choices?

mama Ali Landry and then Theresa Strasser. They both noted

Getting educated about why our choices are supported by

that although they would never practice AP, I made it sound

medical fact (such as natural birth, breastfeeding, and

logical, non-judgmental, and purposeful. Theresa’s book

carrying your baby). Finding your tribe is crucial, creating

agent asked to talk to me and told me he thinks we have a

the sisterhood that mammals need (I found HMN and would

book to write…4 months later we had a proposal ready.

have lost my mind if I had to hear one more “mom’s group” tell me I was spoiling my baby!). Learning to stop caring what

How is your book different from a “how-to” parenting

others think of you. It has to work for your family, and you

book?

will never please everyone. Trust me, I have tried!

The book is more of a memoir and anecdotal than instructional. You may not want to do what I describe, but the principles of

Sometimes it’s hard to parent holistically. What advice

what we do (such as the neuroscience of bonding, the facts

would you give to that seasoned holistic mama when they

about interventions in labor, etc.) can be applied to any

feel like throwing in the towel?

parenting style. With the exception of hitting children (which

Know where to bend and where to break. When my patience

I never would advocate), it’s not my business if any one

runs low and I feel overwhelmed and touched out and like I

person breastfeeds or co-sleeps; that’s their personal

am running on fumes, I remember that the dishes don’t need

decision. I only talk about what works for us and why it

to be done today. The meal doesn’t have to be picture perfect

makes sense evolutionarily and practically.

today. And I may need to serve non- whole wheat pasta if that’s all there is in the cupboard and that’s ok too! I need to

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Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


nterview wit h

yim Bialik, Ph.D. find ways to reclaim patience, love myself in my imperfection, and give my kids a break. How would you respond to the tenet that parenting holistically is truly a journey and each of us are on our own various different paths? I think no one gets to tell other people how to parent. You never know what someone has been through, what’s hard for them, why they do things differently than you do. Every one deserves respect and support, and education and resources. But I have learned (the hard way) that judging others and not having compassion and assuming the best about them only makes me bitter and resentful. Attached parenting doesn’t necessarily mean green or healthy. Has finding support through organizations like the Holistic Moms Network helped you on your parenting journey? It’s a really special kind of parenting to do it the green way, and it’s true that it is separate from AP. HMN was literally the only place I felt totally understood: from natural birth, breastfeeding, bedsharing, and gentle discipline to reducing toxic chemicals in the home, living a simple (and beautiful!) life free of consumer madness, and eating in a way that honors our bodies and the earth. If I could have created a parenting group that was made for all of my proclivities, it would look pretty much exactly like the HMN. What is one of your biggest parenting challenges? Balancing my needs and my kids’ needs; not taking any time Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

to recharge my batteries. I don’t mean elaborate spa retreats away from my kids; I mean that I need to do the little things to remind myself that I exist separate from being a mama. Any words of wisdom for expectant parents? Trust your intuition. You don’t need a book: the baby is the book. The baby’s needs and the baby’s wants. Ignore anyone who judges you or questions your authority as your child’s best protector and guide. Find your tribe! 9


poetry

Holistic Moms The Peel By Jane Hewey White paper birch, fringes and bark sheets unfurling, lets the sharp spring breeze loosen old winter’s wrap. “It’s this easy,” she implies, “to release what is already complete.” Jane Hewey is a mother of three children ages 26, 10, and 7. Owner of Health through Self Awareness, a Seattle based Reiki and energy work practice, she regularly assists parents and children in the life-long process of self-discovery. Check out her Facebook page, “Moma Oma Om”, designed to encourage parents on a daily basis, by sharing anecdotes, stories, and class information.

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Our Home By Sandra L. Willis, Morris County, NJ HMN member

When I walk through these doors I smile, I pause, I feel the warmth, the love here in our home The nooks, the crannies Every inch of space a part of us The colors, the calm, the serene, the joy, the light This is us, who we are, who we want to be . . . We walk these walls and floors, in our journey together Every day we feel our spirit and reach beyond our open doors Knowing, loving, caring What each of us feels What each of us wants We love each other and this is our home So lying our heads down to sleep, Wrapping ourselves in blankets of warmth We rise up, held together by all that is . . . Each step, Each Moment A step together A step apart A step up to the door Of our home We smile again Sandra Willis, holistic mama, is a member of the Morris County, NJ Chapter.

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


Finding Brilliance

Love

By Carrie Lee Ferguson

By Aimee Wood on her homebirth of her daughter Maya Grayce

Yesterday I sat with the sycamore in my backyard Yet nothing brilliant came. That is, if you don’t count sitting with a sycamore brilliant in and of itself. Yesterday my daughter sat on my lap. Nothing brilliant came. Only the sweet sniffs of her hair, a blend of her four year old self and the salt air.

The day was dark, The air so cold. You awakened me early, That late December morning. With confidence and strength, We prepared for you all day. The ebb and flow, Surges waxing and waning.

Nothing brilliant happened except that it did when I noticed how her little body forms against my lap. I suppose my definition of brilliant is changing. And only just in time.

Into my space, I went to wait for you. I was alone but yet I wasn’t. Our support was there, in the shadows it waited.

My daughter is changing as subtly as the sycamore. This little girl who will come home today carrying the scent of cinnamon and baked bread, who will run to greet me. This little girl will not always be.

Evening left and the nighttime fell, You graced our hearts with your pureness of love. Welcome sweet girl, sweet soul of this world. Swaddled and nursed, forever loved.

How brilliant, if only I notice the brilliance. Aimee Wood, MS is the Editor of The Wise Carrie Lee Ferguson is a mother, writer and

Mom e-zine created for HMN, a regional chap-

doula, living in a seaside community in North-

ter mentor, and former leader of the Rochester,

east Florida where she enjoys an unhurried

NY chapter. She has her master’s degree in Ho-

rhythm of life. Drawing from the essence of

listic Nutrition and enjoys helping people heal

her own experiences, she creates new perspec-

from degenerative diseases along with assisting

tives around motherhood and childbirth and is the co-author of A Child’s Way: Slowing Down for Goodness Sake. She blogs at www.carrieleeferguson.com. Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

parents in helping their children on the autistic spectrum. She resides in upstate New York with her husband and three wonderful children. 11


the law of attraction

aNd LiviNg iN guaM by Shelley Brown

© Shelley Brown

Have you ever had one of those days, where you wake up, and it seems as if everything is going wrong? The car won’t start, the kids are fighting, the traffic is heavy, someone cuts you off in the parking lot, you have an argument with your spouse, etc.? On another day, you wake up, and feel great, your kids are happy and laughing, your breakfast tastes better, someone you don’t know does something nice for you, you and your spouse have a nice evening together, and you go to sleep happy. We have all had those days, and although they are both different, they share something in common. The Law of Attraction. 12

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


© Shelley Brown

The law of attraction, in essence, means that we can control our destiny. We actually create our reality, by attracting back to ourselves what we put out into the universe. We attract either good or bad, positive or negative, by putting out positive or negative energy. The good news is that we can control whether or not we are going to attract positive or negative. This is not to say that unpleasant things won’t befall the positive person. However, with a positive attitude, an unpleasant experience can turn into a positive one. For example, a number of years ago, my husband’s aunt’s car was rear ended, while parked in front of her home. After the initial shock, a family of five emerged from the offending vehicle. My husband’s aunt went out to see if everyone was okay, (they were) and then invited them all in for lunch, while they waited for the police to arrive. The aunt and the family had a nice time together, and still keep in contact today. This situation could have gone in a completely different and negative direction, but instead turned into a positive experience and formed a lasting relationship. A couple of years ago my husband and I knew we needed a change in geography. While we enjoyed where we lived and had many friends, the lure of new experiences (adventure), people and places was a hard thing to ignore. We began to search for a new place to live, and “put it out there,” if you will, that where and what we wanted would present itself. We were looking at staying fairly close to where we were

You have the power to make your life positive or negative. Put out positive energy, think positive thoughts, and you will attract positive people and positive experiences. When things are not going how you want them to and are leading you down the negative path, stop what you are doing, take a deep breath, and focus on something positive. The law of attraction works both ways. We all want happy and fulfilling lives. We can use the law of attraction to attract the “positives” we need to make that a reality.

currently living, but then, in the middle of this quest, an

Shelley Brown is a former HMN Nation Team

opportunity to move half way around the world presented

member, and former Union County NJ Chap-

itself. Was this the law of attraction? In fact it was. We took

ter co-leader. She is graduating from The

the leap, and left all that we knew and were comfortable with

Institute of Integrative Nutrition as a Holistic

behind, and what did we find? Families with similar interests

Health Coach next month. (She is busy at-

and values, from all over the world, and all walks of life, who

tracting positive energy for her final exam).

had established a weekly get together, all on a small island,

Shelley spends the rest of her time “island

in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far from anything familiar.

schooling” her two boys, traveling, being the “Island Vegan Ice

It was almost like they were just waiting for us to arrive, and

Cream Queen”, and trying to surf. She resides with her husband

were wondering why it took us so long to get there. The Law

and two boys on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

of Attraction!

She can be reached at shelleybrown@gmail.com.

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

13


The Best of Both Worlds

Healthcare and Wisdom from the Ages:

Common Sense: The Result of Integrating Logic, Faith and the Inner Voice by Lauren Feder, M.D.

Increase your options, enhance

tioner during my medical training. Astounded that I was able

your family’s health

to discontinue my thyroid medication after two surgeries, my

In the pediatric world, whether our viewpoint is conventional

professional journey began to take a different course. Eventually

and/or holistic, we all share the same aim: to have healthy

I was led to study homeopathy and holistic health, both of

and happy children who are given the potential to blossom to

which have expanded my medical perspective.

their fullest. Although we live in one of the most developed countries in the world, diseases still exist. Specifically, many parents are concerned about the rise in chronic illnesses such as autism, allergies and eczema in our children.

Tr aditions from Other Cultures: Ethnic Medicine From a multi-cultural family, I have always been interested in medicine from around the world and the unique attitudes

Most medical models focus primarily on the health of the

towards health and well-being. I cherish the many treasures I

physical body, including treatments aimed at alleviating

have garnered from the families in my medical practice who

various aches and ailments. However, no comprehensive

come from various cultures, religions and spiritual viewpoints.

understanding of health can exclude the intangible realm of one’s spirit and inner wisdom. Despite the advancements in

In the past, the world of medicine was different than it

medicine, there is little emphasis on a holistic model which

is today. Life was more simple too. Without the modern

integrates use of age old traditional remedies with contemporary

conveniences of electricity, running water, and autos, our

standard medicine.

ancestors depended on the environment and lived in rhythm with the seasons and moon phases. Most people resided in

Standard Medicine

smaller communities with grandparents, parents and children

The current model of standard medicine emphasizes the

living together under the same roof, which meant there was

scientific method based on facts compiled from double blind

more human contact as well as support especially during

studies, clinical trials, and exams such as CAT scans, MRI and

the childbearing years. The young respected the elders, and

blood tests. The focus is on health and disease primarily of the

heeded their advice.

physical body, but also includes that which can be explained scientifically about afflictions of the mind and emotions. Not

People were more religious and spiritual, as death was

uncommon, medical science is fickle, and changes with new

commonplace amongst the young. Having a closer relationship

discoveries about diet, exercise, to latest trends in medication.

to God brought consolation in times of difficulty. Explanations of causes of Illness and health conditions differ widely with

14

Being raised in a medical household, I did not consider other

various cultures. For example, cases of influenza were attributed

options in healthcare until I consulted with a holistic practi-

to the ‘influence’ of the stars. To treat illness, use of home Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


remedies, folk medicine even prayer were passed down from

approach with its over-emphasis on ‘the science.’ Pope John

the generations.

Paul II wrote, “The scientific and technological progress, which contemporary man is continually expanding in his

Intuition and Gut Feelings

dominion over nature, not only offers the hope of creat-

Our ancestors also placed more reliance on their gut feelings

ing a new and better humanity, but also causes ever greater

for guidance. Also known as intuition, faith, inner voice,

anxiety…” As researchers produce the newest generation of

etc…these feelings cannot be substantiated by the rational

medications to outsmart Mother Nature, our anxieties are

mind nor are they based on scientific research. From generation

increasing as we end up complicating our health by such

to generation, family members passed down practical tips

conditions as MRSA infections (methicillin-resistant

and use of home remedies from birth to various ailments.

staphylococcus aureus) and antibiotic resistance, (3)

With regards to childrearing in recent decades, the family

Ultimately, I am a fan of using the best of ‘both worlds.’ As a

unit is shifting and moving away from familiar traditions. As a

physician and mother, I credit the wonderful guidance I have

result, many new families find themselves feeling isolated and

received from the wisdom from the ages: past to present,

lacking confidence in making sound choices. From antibiot-

medical to non-medical, standard medicine to holistic. At the

ics to vaccinations, it is not uncommon for me to hear about

crossroads, lies common sense; the sense common to all.

people who made quick decisions out of obligation to the doctor despite the fact that it went against their ‘gut feeling,’

References:

Living in a mixed cultural society such as the United States,

1. Meckel RA. Save the babies: American public health reform and

many families are interested in reviving some tried-and-true

the prevention of infant mortality, 1850-1929. Baltimore, Maryland:

parenting customs from around the world. Movements such

The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

as Attachment Parenting embrace a more intuitive way of raising

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4838a2.htm

children, which also includes a more natural approach to healthcare when possible.

2. What We’ve Learned about Autism Spectrum. CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/CountingAutism/

Best of Both Worlds Although the ways of our ancestors have been passed down

3. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA Infections

for generations, neither the present nor the past models

http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/

are perfect. One hundred years ago, 10% of children in the United States died before reaching their first birthday. (1)

Lauren Feder, M.D. specializes in

Fortunately, mortality rates have fallen substantially with the

homeopathy, pediatrics and primary care

advent of modern medicine and improvement in environ-

medicine. Known for her holistically minded

mental factors. However, according to the Center for Disease

approach and combining the ‘best of both

Control, conditions such as autism are now escalating to 1 in

worlds, Dr. Feder is a frequent lecturer for

110 (2) Many parents are wondering how they can have the

parents and professionals and has been

healthiest children possible.

seen nationally on various health-oriented television and radio programs. She is the president of the Holistic

Standard medicine has saved many lives. However, success

Pediatric Alliance, author of Natural Baby and Childcare and The

has led to excess. Although our current medical model has

Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations, and serves on

made great strides, it lacks depth in its one-dimensional

the Advisory Board for the Holistic Moms Network.

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

15


twelve ways to Grow a Happy Child by Jan Hunt

“The first real choice a human baby must make is whether to trust or mistrust other humans. This basic trust-versus-mistrust stage is the first building block upon which all later love relationships are formed.” - Dr. Ken Magid 16

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


1. Fall in love with your baby through a positive birthing

three or four year spacing between children reaps enormous

experience for baby, mother, and father. Then strengthen that

emotional benefits for each child.5

love by breastfeeding your child until he or she no longer needs it.1

9. A breastfeeding mother and her infant share sleep cycles and dream in unison, so the mother is less likely to be

2. Keep your baby with you as much as possible. Separations

awakened by her baby during dreams or deep sleep. A

and changing caretakers make it harder for your child to learn

refreshed mother is a patient mother!

trust and to grow into a loving and trusting adult.

2

10. “Bad behavior” is a sign that a child’s basic needs have 3. Breastfeed your baby until he or she no longer needs

not been met. Remember to give your children undivided

it.3 Breastmilk contains immune mechanisms which help

attention, eye contact, and touching, and try to see things

keep your baby healthy. Any other food, even sugar water,

from their point of view.

permanently destroys many of these important substances. A healthy baby is a joy!

11. A close bond between mother and child, naturally achieved through breastfeeding, holding, and shared sleep, is

4. Share sleep with your baby. This makes nighttime

the best prevention of child abuse.

parenting easier and can help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Your child’s need for your presence does not

12. The best gifts you can give your child are your time,

magically disappear at bedtime.

patience, and understanding.

5. Responding quickly and compassionately to your baby’s cries, both day and night, reassures him that he is important to you. Picking up your baby will not “spoil” him. Carrying

1 Excerpted and adapted from Barker, Elliott. Film Guide to CSPCC Video-

him increases brain cell connections. You can’t love a baby

tape “When You Can’t Feel No Love.” (1991).

too much!

2 Ibid. 3 Ibid.

6. Breastfeeding has many benefits for babies, and it’s also

4 Valusek, John, Ph.D. “People are Not for Hitting and Children are People

good for mothers. A nursing mother produces hormones

Too.” Empathic Parenting 22, no. 1 (winter 1999).

which help her to be patient and loving, making parenting

5 Barker, op.cit.

easier. Jan Hunt, M.Sc., offers telephone counsel-

7. Remember that punishment teaches violence, destroys

ing worldwide, with a focus on parenting,

self-esteem, creates anger, interferes with learning, and

unschooling, and personal matters. She is

damages the relationship between parent and child. “People

the Director of The Natural Child Project

are not for hitting, and kids are people too!”4

and author of The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart and A Gift for Baby,

8. Allow your child’s sense of trust plenty of time to grow

and serves on the Advisory Board for the

strong before having a new baby to claim your attention. A

Holistic Moms Network.

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

17


the

POWER of Mother

on her family by Carissa Leventis-Cox

I remember a few months ago, a Facebook question was posed: “What does the word “mother” mean to you? How about “power”? How does it feel to put those two words into the same sentence? What IS the true power of mothers?” 18


This question just spoke to me and I immediately responded: “I feel as a mother, I have the power to influence my family’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health for the better… and for the worse… So I would like to make sure I use my power intelligently, proactively and deliberately.” As I typed my comment on my computer, I thought: - physical health (check) - mental health (when my son’s not driving me crazy, check) - spiritual health (check, but if tied to emotional health, maybe not), and - emotional health (hmmm…. definitely cannot check, big fat red X). WHEN MAMA’S NOT HAPPY, NOBODY’S HAPPY What? Here I am, the advocate in my family for a healthier lifestyle. Sure I was emphasizing healthy foods, but I was totally disregarding emotional health. I knew that emotional stress could wreak havoc on one’s physical health, but in all honesty, I didn’t want to face the fact that I was causing ill health in my family. Admittedly, I was influencing my family’s emotional health for the worse. You see, for the past 7 years, I have hated my motherin-law. When we were in the same room, the tension was almost unbearable, for me, my mother-in-law, my husband, my parents. And, I’m sure my young son felt it too. It wasn’t always like this though. Before getting married, my motherin-law was a friend, a good friend. And the words ‘good’ and ‘friend’ can’t even begin to describe the bond we had had from the very beginning. Let’s just say, if I didn’t have a mother, she would have been the woman I would have loved to be mine. But after I married her only son, things changed. I don’t know how it all got out of hand, but it did and it was ugly. EFFECTS OF EMOTIONAL STRESS ON THE BODY At the height of my rage, the emotional stress was so intense my heart would pound and race, my teeth would chatter uncontrollably, my whole body would shake and, in the summer, I would feel so cold. Not a picture of health, is it?!? I don’t know about you, but Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

19


food doesn’t affect my body as traumatically as anger or

and my subjective point of view. As Thich Naht Hanh says,

hatred does. “When some persons cause me to suffer… I should ask if According to the American Institution of Stress, emotional

I myself, in fact, may be one of the causes and conditions

stress affects our immune system, gastrointestinal tract, skin

which makes them what they are.”

and other organs, “hormones, brain neurotransmitters, additional small chemical messengers elsewhere, prostaglandins,

HEALING

as well as crucial enzyme systems, and metabolic activities

For the past 3 weeks, my mother-in-law and I have had the

that are still unknown.”

most open, the most energizing, the most rewarding and the most loving experience we have ever shared together. What

Yes, I was poisoning my own body. And at the same time, I

seemed like an irreparable relationship has been healed. Now,

was bringing my family’s emotional health down with me.

when I communicate with her, my heart jumps for joy, my whole body is energized and I feel warm all over. I can talk to

FEAR IS POISON

my husband and my son about her with love and joy. Gone is

I had thought that taking the time and the energy to forgive

the tension, the heaviness, the fear, the anger, the hatred, the

my mother-in-law, freely accept her for all she is and just

suffering, the poison.

letting go of the hurts between us would be extremely difficult for me. I thought taking the time to intelligently, proactively

I feel emotionally healthier, physically lighter and spiritually

or deliberately try to heal our relationship would completely

lifted. I know my family has felt the change too. I am blessed

drain me. I thought it would expose my ego’s vulnerabilities to

with a mother-in-law who kept her door and heart open,

her, which I was too eager to protect. So I just completely

ready and waiting for my return. Her kindness, forgiveness

ignored her instead, which just added to her pain… and mine.

and love for me has taught me in turn how to love and how to live. Through my mother-in-law, I am beginning to really

THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM IS ME

understand what it means to be a Mother and how to use

I was watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with my son a few

the power we have as mothers to influence our family for the

weeks ago and loved the song Truly Scrumptious. We would

better.

youtube it and watch it a few times a day. I don’t know why the song grabbed my attention so intensely, but it did. And

Carissa is a passionate Mama in the

the more I watched it, the more I envisioned my mother-in-

Kitchen. She believe in fresh, organic, local/in season, unprocessed

law’s face on Truly’s. It was a bizarre experience, but all of

Vegan food. A Culinarian with cook-

a sudden, it moved me to see my mother-in-law in a whole

ing school, restaurant and catering

different light. I saw a woman’s utmost joy expressed in the

backgrounds, she is also a certified

company of the children, the love she gave to them freely, her

Ayurvedic Nutrition Therapist and

total present state of mind while she was with them and her

co-author of Yoga for Cancer: Eso-

sensitive bond with the children. Suddenly, I saw all the positives in my mother-in-law, where I once saw only negatives.

teric, Yogic and Dietary Remedies. Her family believes they are healthier both short- and long-term because of the addition of more and more unprocessed and unadulterated Vegan foods into their diets. Through her blog, she

In my epiphany, I realized that the burden of the past 7 years

hopes to share information with other parents on how to create a

continued to weigh down on me, because of no one else but

disease-free, healthy life by adding more raw fruits and vegetables

me. It was I who needed to change my attitude, my behavior 20

into their family’s diets. Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


March 2012

leaderprofile

Kelly Poland

American River, CA

Why did you decide to become an HMN leader?

Our group has meant a lot to me since its beginning 7 years ago. When our original leader stepped down, many of us decided to work collaboratively to keep our chapter going. At that time, I took on the role of planning the meeting topics, although I was not yet a leader. A year later, our next leader stepped down, and it felt right for me to take on the leadership role.

What are your holistic passions?

Birth, Breastfeeding, Attachment Parenting, Life Learning, Food, Environment, Healing, Self-care. What is the most un-holistic thing you are willing to give up?

Self-judgment. What does HMN mean to you?

HMN feels like an extended family. I have connected with amazing people who share my passions and speak my language. For me, it’s a community of beautiful families rich with wisdom and support, who hold a vision for ourselves and the planet.

Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network

21


Returning to

renewal

A

by Farrah Deselle

ncient Cultures provided women with opportunities for renewal at regular intervals throughout their lives with ceremonies and rituals. In our society,

these traditions have been mostly lost or replaced by traditions that promote business and economics (i.e.: the modern day baby shower) instead of sustaining the spirit of women and providing sacred space for renewal of the self. Without customs providing time and space for self renewal, we are left with the modern world’s ailments of feeling rushed, anxious, not good enough or rich enough, questioning our intuition and feeling a void that is hard to describe and even harder to fill.

22

As a society we spend billions of dollars on researching the

of new mothers, and how they helped to keep the mother,

biology and chemistry of the emotional struggles women

parental relationship and society, as a whole, intact. Cultures

often experience upon becoming mothers. We do little to

around the world offer the mother a chance at renewal by

look at how ancient cultures supported and current cultures

hand feeding her after birth, offering blessings, holding

support women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

ceremonial baths and celebrating her motherhood with

And, how through that support they prevented the suffering

drumming and dancing. One ceremony, called a Pirtizas, is Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network


celebrated in Latvia, a country near Lithuania and the Russian

opportunity to reflect and offers true insights into what it’s really

Republic. Attended by midwives and other women a mother

like to be a mother: what might she really need, experience, find

gives birth in small sauna type buildings called Pirts. She,

challenging, surprising? What is it that she is most afraid of

the baby and other women return to the Pirt 3 days after the

and what is she telling herself about that fear? Who might

birth for the Pirtizas, a ceremonial bathing of the mother and

she need to turn to for support and how can she ask for it?

new baby. Like baptism, the water symbolically represents a

This is the “stuff” women need to know in our culture as

washing away of the old (maiden self), and a bringing forth

they prepare to become a mother. This work of pregnancy

of the new (mother). I am not saying we need to institute

and a few simple yet valuable rituals guided by the mentor re-

Pirtizas, as this is not our culture. Nor do we need to do

news the partner connections and the relationship to the true

away with baby showers, but let us at least spend some of the

self carrying the mother and partner far beyond labor and

energy and resources we have to initiate the mother and offer

delivery so that when all is not what she thought it would be

her a chance at renewal.

(like the baby product commercials depict motherhood to be) she still knows who she is, how to ask for support and

In my experiences as a home visiting nurse, a Birthing From

how to love herself and her baby.

Within (BFW) Mentor and a mom I have found three ways that we can initiate the mother and offer opportunity for

Offering a Mother Blessing, which is our modern culture’s

reflection and renewal. Non outcome focused Holistic

adaptation of a Navajo tradition called a Blessingway, is another

Childbirth Preparation, Mother Blessings, and Enhanced

way to renew the spirit of the mother, envelop her with love

Prenatal and Postpartum care all serve to nurture the spirit

and provide a safe place for her to explore her dreams and

of the mother and connect her to a renewed sense of self.

fears of birth and parenting. There are many variations to a

This connection and renewal of the self is what the ancient

Mother Blessing but the common theme is that it is a gathering of

customs achieved and it is what has been lost over time in

women who are close to the mother-to-be and will go beyond

our modern ways of preparing for birth and motherhood with

the offering of material gifts to that of physical and emotional

classes and conversations that focus mainly of facts, statistics,

support for the mother. Women at a Mother Blessing will

measurements and medical outcomes.

often sit in a circle and share stories of love, create a beaded necklace together that the mother can wear, offer an expression of

Holistic childbirth preparation, such as BFW, a model of

art by creating henna or belly casts and other creative expressions.

non outcome focused childbirth preparation, encourages self

There is an unspoken understanding and acceptance that the

reflection, opportunities to explore our deepest questions,

expectant mother is welcomed into the mothering communi-

and provides moms and partners with a safe place and way

ty, letting her maiden self go with peace and acceptance. The

to begin unfolding dreams and fears. With the hormones

mother is left renewed and filled with love and understanding

and chemicals that are produced in pregnancy and birth, it is

that no matter what, she is loved for who she is, not the type

biology’s natural time for self reflection and renewal. But, in

of car seat she chose or the way her baby is born.

the busy months of preparing for baby a mother is pulled in directions that call her out of her self reflective state… work,

Providing Enhanced prenatal care through Providers that

appointments, decorating, researching the safest car seat and

offer good quality childbirth preparation such as BFW, peer

the do’s and don’ts of bed sharing… there is not much time

support groups, centering or group care, infant care classes,

left to reflect on her deepest questions or to even determine

counseling, lactation services, opportunities for creative

what they may be. Real childbirth preparation gives her the

expression such as Birth Art and psychosocial support services

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

23


is another way we can renew the mother. Instead of just going to Obstetrical or Midwifery appointments, receiving enhanced prenatal care provides the mother with a community in which she is safe, loved and supported so that when she is

March 2012

chapterprofile

in need of renewal she has a consistent and welcoming place to go. There are samplings of this type of care around the country, often in Birth Centers, but what a wonderful expression of value to women and children for our society to adopt this model as the norm. Last week the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced the Strong Start Initiative which is offering funding for programs providing Enhanced Prenatal Care and an opportunity to study the impact this has on outcomes for women and infants. After decades, perhaps centuries, of chipping away at tradition and custom that offers us essential renewal perhaps we are beginning to find our way to new customs and traditions. Each one of us can embrace renewal

Describe your favorite meetings:

in ourselves, honor the parts of us that change or die when

• Quarterly potlucks

our mother self is born and honor that in other women. We

• Hands-on natural household cleaning meeting

can offer support through Mother Blessings or learn more

• Hands-on Montessori meeting

about what is happening in our communities that provide women in the childbearing year with the essential time and

What does leadership mean to

space for renewal. A renewed sense of self by the mother

you?

ultimately leads to renewed relationships and renewed

Leadership means bringing people together. It means try-

communities, healing at its core.

ing to get everyone in the group involved in some capacity. It means being a person that people can turn to with

Farrah Deselle, is a Registered

questions or concerns.

Nurse and Birthing From Within Mentor. She received her BSN

What does HMN mean to you?

from The University of Arizona in

HMN is a community that brings people together with

1997. She lives in Amherst, NH

similar interests.

and works at Child and Fam-

We pride ourselves on being a chapter that is accept-

ily Services in Manchester, NH, providing home visits to families

ing of all parenting and lifestyle choices. We all strive

through the Healthy Families America program. She also teaches

to achieve mindful parenting and become educated on

BFW classes and offers private prenatal and postpartum support

health and the environment to make informed parenting

through her own company, A Mother’s Journey. Farrah and her

decisions. HMN has brought a community of people

husband Andy have 2 children. She enjoys “home days” with her

together that might not have otherwise found each other

kids, outdoor activities, yoga, mentoring, storytelling and listening

and we think that is so awesome!

and writing for leisure, personal growth and publication. 24

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


South Bend, IN Current Leaders are Kristy Howell (since 2008) and Maya Parson (since 2009)

Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network

25


birth Dad’s from a

perspective

by Eric Wagner

I’m very pleased to announce the birth of Elizabeth Adele –

weeks to go!” Julie: “Yes, I’m sure” Eric: “Contractions?”

roughly three week early, so imagine our surprise this morning.

Julie: “No.” Eric: “Good, then call the midwife and ask her opinion. Doesn’t sound like labor to me!” I roll over and

Here’s how it all went down:

start snoring again.

10:30PM The previous night: Watching TV - it’s late but

2:30AM Julie wakes up Cindy, the midwife on call, and

what the heck, I don’t have to wake up until 6:15AM to go

Cindy agrees with my assessment. Ha! Waste of a phone call

to work.

if you ask me.

11:30PM Go to sleep after downing some Nyquil for the

2:31 AM Jules can’t go back to sleep knowing she hasn’t

cold I have. Ah, a pleasant sleep comes quickly.

even begun to think of packing. I, knowing we still have plenty of time, fall blissfully back to sleep as she leaves to

2:30AM Julie: “Pssst, Eric...I think my water just broke.”

room to go pack.

Eric: “Say what? Are you sure? We still have #*&%ing 3 26

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


3:00AM Andrew (3) is stirring so I head into his room and

Somewhere between then and 6:35 when we arrived at the

fall asleep next to him in his bed.

hospital the following events transpired:

5:05AM I realize I fell asleep in Andrew’s bed and get up to

• Julie had breakfast. I had some flat Diet Coke.

head back to my bed for the last hour. Hmm, funny...I think I hear Julie on the phone.

• She didn’t shower and shave like she had done last time which worried me since I began to see in her eyes that she

5:06AM As I stumble down the hall trying REALLY hard

wasn’t in her calm “we get to the hospital when we get

not to shake off the semi-sleep state I’m in, I realize all the

there” frame of mind. My stomach drops below the floor.

lights are on, and she’s in the middle of the living room rotating her hips on our big bouncy ball. Men: this is never a

• Seeing I haven’t packed ANYTHING I collect my cell

good sign.

phone (hmm, why oh why when I saw last night that my battery was running low and though to myself “self, you

3:12AM Yes, note the time. This is when the first contraction

should charge that phone” did I ignore myself), my wallet

hit. I was deep into REM, and I reckon this insignificant

(hmm, no cash), and my camcorder. Now where is that

event didn’t, in Julie’s mind, warrant the waking of me.

camcorder battery charger?

5:11AM Contractions 3 minutes apart. Hmm, I remember

• I spend roughly 15 minutes looking for the dang camcorder

Andrew’s being a bit further out when I was first told of the

charger since the battery was dead. No, I never found it.

situation we faced. As I see it, I’ve just lost 2 hours of prep

No, I have no video of the birth. Yes, another thing to

and packing time. Lips dry, forehead sweaty; stomach drops

torment myself over. Joy.

to my toes; queasy feeling everywhere. This can’t be happening. Let me explain...

• Wake Carrie (my sister) up and tell her to head on over to take care of Andrew. (She lives an hour away. Plenty of

Andrew came 1 week early. Due to our advanced preparation

time I think to myself.)

skills, we were packed weeks before. I had my last minute list of what to bring. I expected to be prepared once again in the

• I boot up the laptop, cancel today’s meetings, and send

event this little one came a week early, by packing everything

out an email to Frank my commuting buddy that he best

this coming weekend!!! This coming weekend was “the”

drive himself to work. While I drop to him that we are

prep weekend. Crib was being assembled. Diapers stacked

having the baby, I don’t even call my boss in the event this

up. Bags packed. Taxi services written on fridge with an

is a false labor.

envelope of cash in case I was at work and Julie needed to get to the hospital ASAP. I was even planning out the planning

6:35AM We arrive at the hospital and hand Andrew over

weekend. This was going to be run like a well oiled machine.

to Carrie. Julie is getting strong contractions now. We head

Dang...I had the green light and I felt like someone ran their

in, sign forms, and head up to the “baby floor”. Meeting the

red at 80 MPH. S L A M!

nurse that’s going to handle us, she asks which room would we prefer. Ummm, I kid you not when I say the tour of the

5:14AM Another contraction. So much for my hoping that

hospital was going to be during this coming “prep” weekend.

Julie couldn’t time her own contractions correctly. Adrenaline

Ugh. She shows us the rooms and we pick the one with the

rush: Full Crisis Mode.

huge Jacuzzi tub.

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

27


6:45AM 3” dilated. Dang, it’s not a false labor. I email my

show…Men: this is brilliant. For not having planned a single

boss I won’t be in today. (It’s great to be able to email from

thing, nor packed a single thing in advance, I swear this went

your cell phone.)

easier than the first birth. What matters: a hospital that is equipped to do the kind of birth you want, and a midwife to

7:00AM Julie’s on the hospital’s bouncy ball. Cindy the

handle it all.

midwife (the same midwife who agreed with my initial assessment early this morning) was there helping Julie. I was strictly a spectator. Hmm, maybe not going nuts planning

Eric Wagner, dad and

everything was working out after all.

husband lives in Maine near lighthouses, lakes,

7:30AM Julie gets into the tub. Ahh, yes. I didn’t mention

ocean beaches and

we were doing a water birth yet, did I? Anyway, I guess now

wooded hills. He looks

is a good time to mention that the class wherein we were to

forward to “getting lost”

learn all about water births was... go ahead guess. Bingo, this

on new roads and trails

coming “prep” weekend.

and discovering new places with his kids (and

7:43AM Baby is born! It’s a girl!

wife, Julie!). He referred to the Midwife who as-

7:57AM I have flashbacks to Biology class as I cut the cord.

sisted in Elizabeth’s birth

Sort of like the frog…nevermind.

as a “witch doctor” at 7pm on a Monday night and was singing her praises by 7am the

8:10AM Placenta is delivered sometime around here and

next morning when he realized how amazing birth could be in the

examined. Parts of this are permanently etched out of my

right hands (aka Hackettstown Midwives!).

memory. I’ll never look at liver again. 8:20AM Momma is all stitched up (two small stitches) and baby latches on the first time for her first feeding. While Andrew was a challenge to get started with breastfeeding, our daughter has no problems what-so-ever 2:00PM-ish Aunt Carrie brings Andrew to the hospital (he’d been busy throwing up in her car and couldn’t come sooner). He sneaks up to the baby sleeping in my arms and whispers to her “Hi Elizabeth, I’m your big brother Andrew.” The name Elizabeth is set in stone. Being a spectator for this one was kind of cool, especially since the trauma and stress of delivery was somewhat alleviated by the water birth. And having the mid-wife run the 28

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


Announcing The Wise Mom’s new photographer... Click! This is what I find myself doing multiple times a day. As I take photos daily of children, families and loved ones, I am truly able to interact with them on a level that is unbelievably remarkable. I am able share in their sincere excitement and joy. I am able to see amazing perspectives that one typically does not experience. Seeing such joyous occasions and be reminded of all the special things in life. is so refreshing. Taking photos allows me to look at life through different angles and perspectives. I love to look at the work through my camera because is seems to enhance life’s gifts. My name is Erin Moulton and I have my degree in Early Childhood Development, work with individuals with disabilities and teach music to children ages 0-5. I have three children Natalie, Cameron and Allison ages 5,3,&11 months. I am married to my husband, Nick and we live in Maine. I relocated to Maine from New Jersey and find it to be such a special place to raise a family. We also share our home with 8 backyard hens and our cat Journey. They have brought us such joy. I enjoy working with people of all ages and abilities. Photography is just another outlet for me to surround myself with people and form a closer community. Sometimes life can be challenging and there is no better reminder of how special it is as well, than looking at photos to help put things in a more positive perspective.

Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network

29


My Perfect Nat ural Birt h

by Nacia K. Walsh

I was staring at a blank screen. I had no idea what was going

have an uncomplicated delivery or a high-risk one, there are

to fill this picture. All I knew was that it needed to be amazing!

many things you can control if you write down your birth plan.

This may seem like a lofty goal when planning anything; but

The first time around I had no clue what to expect, and I

I believe that’s why we have 9 months to prepare. There are

definitely didn’t realize I had a choice in what was going

countless factors during a pregnancy, which we have no control

down. I thought delivery was “one size fits all”, like those

over. We can’t foresee what day it will happen (though I

souvenir hats you get at amusement parks. No matter how

hoped it wasn’t during a trip to the grocery store). We can’t

big or small your head is, you just grin and bare it because

predict how long it will take (would I be able to finish my

everyone else is wearing them.

Thanksgiving dinner?). So many variables come into play that can throw you off course, down a path that have you won-

Looking back I wished I had breathed more, I wished I

dering “How did I get here”?

hadn’t fought the mounting contractions, and I wished I hadn’t progressed so quickly that drugs became out of the

So what do you do? My suggestion…make a plan! You only

question. By some miracle I survived this life changing ordeal

get one shot at making your delivery day perfect for you; why

(as most women do). I was blessed with a healthy baby boy

not take full advantage of it to create a wonderful experience?

and the audacity to think I could do it all again.

Going into my third pregnancy I had some idea of how it

Fast forward seven years --I had a new wonderful man in my

would go. Both of my boys were born in under 3 hours

life and another baby on the way. This time around I had a

from the time I arrived at the hospital. I received mini-

mixture of emotions. Would my fairly speedy delivery be

mal medication during labor for my first, and none for my

repeated, or did the Universe just give me a “free pass” since

second. Neither of them faced any complications before or

I was young and trying to be responsible? In many cases labor

during delivery. I wish I could write down the formula for my

tends to be more rapid the second time around. I crossed my

quick (and fairly easy) labors. Unfortunately, I have no idea

fingers and prayed that was true.

why the heck I’ve been so lucky. I will say that whether you 30

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


We had moved to an area of upstate NY that is famous for its

After urging my husband to watch the movie with me, I

holistic approach to everything: food, medicine, and birthing.

heard the most unexpected and shocking thing come from

It was there that I was first introduced to using a midwife

his conservative, non-granola mouth, “You should have a

for my pregnancy care. At the time, I think I just chose her

home birth”. I laughed, secretly thinking he had lost his

because she was not a man (like the OB who ran the practice)

mind. I wasn’t one of those women. What they did was

and she had open appointments. After meeting with her, I

insane; giving birth without any drugs, supervised by a

questioned how I had ever experienced prenatal care any

midwife, in the comfort of their home.

other way. Could it really be that easy? Throughout the next few months There was just something comforting about her faith in a

I held the vision in my mind of the experience I wanted to

woman’s body to do what it was made to do. She made me

create. Though I know nothing in life is guaranteed, why

feel like a sacred vessel, carrying an important gift, not like

not try helping the Universe to manifest what you want? By

the giant bloated pumpkin I saw in the mirror.

the time I was full term I had filled my blank canvas with a complete picture of what I needed my homebirth to be.

It was no surprise that this practice delivered babies at a birthing center that felt more like a day spa rather than a

I couldn’t know that filling a birthing tub would require my

hospital. They were equipped with all the life saving technology

hubby to helplessly clutch a hose against a shower head that

without the restraints of a traditional hospital setting. While

didn’t fit. I didn’t know I would tell him to stop breathing

touring the center I was encouraged to decide what my

when his breath began giving me the chills (poor guy). I

delivery would look like. Wait! You mean I have a choice? I

couldn’t anticipate from the time my mucus plug dislodged it

always thought I had to be flat on my back, with an IV line of

would be 2 hours until I gave birth or that my mother would

pitocin, in a brightly lit sterile room. For the first time I had

almost miss it. All I could do was hold on to the vision of

options presented to me; an exercise ball to loosen my hips,

what I did want: a warm, soothing, environment to welcome

minimal medical intervention, walking to promote contractions,

our healthy third boy, Nolan Steele.

or even a tub to birth in. For you it could include your favorite iPod playlist and the I had such an amazing experience at the birthing center I

smell of scented candles in a hospital. Or it could be eating

never contemplated approaching my next birth any other

cookie dough ice cream while watching a marathon of The

way. When I got pregnant in early 2010, I had every intention

Real Housewives in a birthing center (my second choice).

on having a repeat performance. Everything went so well; my

Whatever it is, it should be a reflection of your perfect birth.

son was perfect and my husband even managed not to faint. Then a casual perusal through Netflix changed it all.

Nacia K. Walsh is a mom of three boys, wife, wannabe superhero, crunchy home-birther,

I came across Ricki Lake’s film, The Business of Being Born,

lover of cheese and doula in training. When

which has become as iconic as Ina May Gaskin in the home

she’s not dreaming of hosting her own TV

birthing and holistic communities. I was riveted at the ease

show you can find her blogging about holistic

and tranquility with which these women pushed out these

parenting at momsinboyland.com.

watermelon-sized human beings. Were they for real? I could never imagine doing that. Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

31


Finding our Own

balance

by Jess Hansen

A few years ago, while going through a particularly

I started practicing yoga as much as possible and it was

unpleasant divorce, to say I felt stressed would be a drastic

making me feel fabulous. With my busy ever changing life,

understatement. During that time, I found my balance in

I was not always able to make it to a yoga class, so on those

yoga. A girlfriend of mine suggested that I come try a class

days I would try it at home, even if only for a few minutes.

with her one Saturday morning. This sounded a little too

I was in no way an expert and sometimes found myself just

“hippy-ish” to me, but after I exhausted all of my excuses, I

improvising, but always concentrated on my breathing

gave in and finally met her there. After just the first class I

technique. My three year old daughter saw me doing it

was hooked. It was when my mind could be still, I could

once and asked me to show her how to do it as well. I gave

be in harmony with my body and find contentment in my

her a few poses to try with her favorite being downward

heart. It was a euphoric high that I knew I needed more of.

dog. Beaming with pride, she only wanted to talk about

How could something as simple as essentially conscious

this new fantastic word called “yoga” for the rest of the

breathing and stretching make me feel so great? Soon I

week. Since that time I have showed her a few more moves

realized that during that time I was not thinking about what

and of course her form is not perfect, but that’s okay, she’s

I have to do later or what happened earlier in the day...I had

just three years old. I thought it was wonderful that she

no worries or stress, I was living completely in the exact mo-

enjoyed it, so soon we started doing yoga together at home.

ment that I found myself in, solely focused on pushing myself to be better...and that felt fantastic. 32

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network


Introducing yoga to my three year old has helped in other ways as well. I find it useful to remind her to breathe when she is on the verge of hyperventilating from a crying fit. One day during a random ‘everything deserves a meltdown’ kind of day when she was sobbing for the one-millionth time and I could not get through to her, suddenly, a light bulb went off. I calmly unrolled my yoga mat onto the living room floor. I invited her to sit down with me, cross legged and I told her that I wanted to show her something new. It was as if I magically turned off the crying switch. She quickly sat down, wiping away tears from her cheeks, eager to see what I could show her. I started with some simple yoga breaths, hands laying relaxed in our laps, eyes closed and breathing - in through the nose and out through our mouths.... slowly. Then with her eyes closed I asked her to imagine flying through the air, another time we were swimming in the ocean. I would describe what we were seeing in a quiet voice, always coming back to our breathing and spending the entire time not only bonding but calming our minds. I have found this to be a life saver on some of those trying days. I can only imagine how great it will be for her to grow up knowing how to breath, meditate and be still. I only wish that I had that kind of knowledge much earlier in my own life. Of course I have had some parents look at me strangely (my own parents included here) when I bring up the fact that my daughter enjoys yoga. It works for us to help center and calm our hectic days. I believe that as more people in this chaotic and stressful world realize just how fantastic it is to be still it will only become more of a social norm for our children. We teach our children best in leading by example. It is my sincere hope to show my daughter how to find balance between the stillness and the stress in her life by fueling her body with wholesomeness, always being kind and compassionate, finding the positive in every situation and when all else fails...breathe.

Jess is a single mother to a wonderful 3 year old daughter and lives in Clayton, Delaware. She loves to be creative & crafty and share her ‘out of the box’ thinking with her little girl.

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

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Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network


Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network

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Compassionate Partings and Skeleton Collecting

By Carla Schiavone

More often than not, in her night time sleep she repeatedly acclaims in her little voice coupled with an accent “Mama, please get me all better (pronounced in her way BETA)”. Most often than not, throughout the day she comes to me and says “Mama please rub my arm, leg, back etc so that I can feel BETA Mama”. My reply is always the same whether I am half asleep or awake I say “I’m trying Emily, and I am doing all I can to make you feel BETA”, then finish by saying “Mama will always and forever take care of you so you can feel BETA and everything will be okay”. 38

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And if I do not say those exact words she will say them as

inside Mother Earth, dig your nails in the deep soil and feel

a reminder for me, then I join in with her. It is at these

the clay underneath them and create a sacred space for these

moments that a stillness occurs, a pause in my daily

bones, a space only you know, where you may at time to

routine, a frozen minute in time where nothing else matters,

time visit if you ever feel inclined to do so. Honor them with

all thoughts escape me magnificently requiring me to focus

a ceremony; provide them with a proper burial you would

on that exact moment of sincerity, grace, love, hope and

expect when you pass on. Because you will and when you do

complete vulnerability.

these bones are a part of your history, they served you all this time you needed them, they assisted you in survival. But now

Gathering decayed bones inside that have died is no easy

at these crossroads a new life is yet to emerge and without

task. If death of the old promotes growth, and pain is

a proper parting of the old, the new simply cannot survive.

growth, and death brings birth, what do we do with it once

This new soul budding inside of you, this one forthcoming

it has happened? I realize now the deaths within me, the

chose you and you are perfect in all the ways you see not. Let

transformations weren’t given any form of respect or parting

go of the “unknowns”, “anger”, “control”, and “panic” and

of sorts. Instead of giving permission to leave, a doorway out

release it once and for all. There will be no room for them

even, I have been harboring them by trapping them inside

with this new birth. A cycle has ended and a new one is

like a prisoner padlocked in knowing all along I had the key.

maturing. Yesterdays are gone; continue driving your vehicle

Feeding off the fear of letting it go, holding on to it secretly

by looking in the rear view mirror and expecting a differ-

like a sneaky slithering snake as a defense mechanism, allow-

ent sighting has not worked as you thought all along. Leave

ing those death aspects to creep up within me as a reminder

what is there, there. What is directly in front of you is most

of my selfish act. Within those difficult occasions I visited the

important. You will see the bumps in the road ahead living

bones, collecting them all one by one, I sat with them and

this way; and if you don’t you will have the tools to navigate

pondered on what it is I am holding on to for so long. As I

through, around and beyond the curves and bends.”

looked closer at the decay on the bones, I became fascinated and mesmerized upon revealing inscribed words on each

Carla resides in Ocean, NJ with her

of them. One of them read “unknowns”, another “anger”,

husband Anthony. Mother of a 3 year old

another “control”, then “panic”. Here we go, I thought to

daughter Emily who battles Gauchers

myself, these words repeatedly sent triggers up and down my

Disease type 3, an 18 year old son

spine like a serpent. Here I was in yet another life occasion

Brandon, and one on the way. Her focus

where the “unknowns”, “anger”, “control”, and “panic” were

weaves holistic living/healing with her

in my face. So what am I going to do?

daughter’s genetic disease. She is a creative writer and Shamanic practitioner.

The icicle tears are trickling down my flushed cheeks. It is like

To read about her daughters journey visit and follow directions for

fire when it is cold outside. It is like thunder when it rains.

access to the site http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/happysunheart.

Laying in the fetal position I hear above me. “Dig deep, deeper than ever before and grab a shovel and dance around in your way and literally dig. Dig until it is done. No right or wrong ways, just dig. Get your hands Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

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SpongeBob Hold The Secrets to Life and Money? Does

How a kids’ cartoon finally helped me wake up to life, happiness and money by Paula Sirois

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Something magical happened while watching SpongeBob

SpongeBob on friends: “F is for friends who do stuff

Squarepants the other day. It suddenly dawned on me

together, U is for u and me…”

that the yellow, goofy sponge-like cartoon character had figured out all the secrets to life and money.

It’s all around you: SpongeBob lives a very local, outdoorsy

life. It’s rare to find him sitting around his house alone. Find your passion: SpongeBob loves his job. He would

He lives his life outside, taking advantage of whatever

do it for free if he had to, and on some episodes this has

may be happening around him, and always with at least

been put to the test. He would even pay his boss so he

one friend in tow. He prefers to live a smaller world. He

could have his job. If you can find a job you love that

lives walking distance to work and next door to his best

much, I believe that you win in the game of life. The key

friend. He eschews the stress and strain of long commutes

point: it’s not about money for SpongeBob. It’s about

and great distances between friends. Have you looked

getting up every day eager to get to work. Jealous? If

around your world lately? You don’t need much of an

you’re job searching right now, don’t stick to the obvious

excuse to get together with people you love and feel part

listings. Stop and consider what you really love and take

of a community. Go outside and meet your neighbors,

this as a chance to start over, á la SpongeBob.

plan a community block party or start hanging out (or volunteering) at the local park or museum. Call your

Consider SpongeBob describing his love for his job:

friends and tell them that you’re meeting for coffee, so

“Isn’t this great Squidward? Just you & me together for

you can sit, talk and connect. Join a local book club or

hours and hours and hours! And then the sun’ll come

walking group and take advantage of what is all around

up, and it’ll be tomorrow, and we’ll still be working!

you, and free….the outside, the sun, the day.

It’ll be just like a sleepover! Only we’ll be sweaty and covered with grease!”

“With these spiky cleats, anything is possible!’ SpongeBob

It’s all about friends, not stuff: SpongeBob has a bed, a

Paula Sirois is a holistic health coach

T.V. and a pet snail, and that’s pretty much the extent

and writer who tries to find the wit and

of his worldly possessions. But he does have a cadre of

humor in all that stuff that make up our

friends…he even considers people who dislike him his friend. Can you say the same? He’s never without things to do, adventures to go on, and people to visit. Copy

daily lives; the ups and downs, the good and the bad - and all that messy, gooey mess in the middle. She can be found at R o c k Z e b r a @ h o t m a i l . c o m o r

our yellow friend and take stock of where you fall on the

w w w. r o c k z e bracompany.com where the simple (rock) and

scale of friends vs. stuff: do you have more friends or

unexpected (zebra) things are all you need.

things? Let’s face it; if you’re trolling the aisles of Target instead of chatting over coffee with your buddy, it’s time to re-evaluate. The more the merrier is a saying for a reason….and they don’t mean more stuff. Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

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Busy Moms

Establishing a Rhythm;

3 Steps to Time Management for by Nichi Hirsch Kuechle

If there is one thing we work towards on a daily basis as moms, it’s that of establishing a rhythm, both for ourselves and our children. A semblance of order, a routine, the family calendar, a schedule, call it what you may, the presence (or lack thereof) we glean from having rhythm is a force to be reckoned with. It steers us, guides us and reaffirms our everyday choices. It’s reliable and sound, until that day or moment when we’ve veered so far from it we can’t find stable ground. Being moms, that’s easy enough to happen. All it takes is looking for that last mitten on the way out the door, realizing the dog hasn’t been fed, or answering the phone before the oatmeal boils over or burns to the bottom of the pan. Certainly these things can’t be avoided by establishing a rhythm; however, with rhythm we are more focused and grounded, meaning we’re less apt to get hooked by the little things of the day. Recently I was approached by a mama with questions on time management. She was struggling, like all of us do, with waking every morning and feeling

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like she didn’t know where to start. Her questions revolved

Once you establish what needs to happen in the world of

around when and how to fit in exercise, preschool, laundry,

mama, you can look at how it plays into the rhythm you

bills, and household tasks. I had three quick solutions for her:

have established for your children. Chart their roles and responsibilities with a simple spreadsheet list. They will

1-Set a breakfast menu

accomplish their tasks more happily if they can not only hear

If breakfast were so easy we wouldn’t get hung up on it. I

what is expected of them, but see it. Even if they’re not

found what gives our family the mostmorning stability was to

reading yet, drawing symbols for Brushing Your Teeth, Feed

establish a weekly breakfast menu, which looks a little like this:

the Dog, Make the Bed, etc., works like a charm.

M-pancake

3-Enroll your partner

T-oatmeal

This seems like a no brainer, but it can be such a deal breaker.

W-egg

In order to be an effective mother, when we have a partner

T-waffle

involved, they really need to know the things that matter to

F-hot cereal

us most. If working with the rhythm we’ve established for the

Sat.-eggs

children is really important to us, then we’ll want to share

Sun.-Wild card!

our experience of this rhythm, and why with our partner. He or she cannot read your mind, nor will they try. What your

For us this came from the need of our eldest daughter to eat

partner wants is for you to be successful in your parenting

wheat on a four day rotation. I quickly found that we all did

endeavor, and whatever they can do to support you in that is

better with this. With this rhythm, we avoid 99.9% of the

totally workable…if you let them know what your needs are.

squabbles about what each person wants for breakfast. Sunday I usually batch bake our gluten free waffles or pancakes for

Taking these three tips into consideration will help to

later in the week, so we may have those while fresh. You can

establish a rhythm that works for everyone in your family.

also take this and plug it in for dinners, such as meatless Monday, taco Tuesday, etc.

Nichi Hirsch Kuechle supports moms from pregnancy to

2-Look at your week on Sunday

parenthood as a Parent Coach,

Taking a serious look at the family calendar, you can plot out

Craniosacral Therapist and Doula

the best course of action for the week ahead. If you know

in Minneapolis. She publishes

that you’ve got preschool to work around on Tuesday and

a weekly e-zine called Raising

Thursday morning, you know when and what errands fit

Healthy Babies, which brings ease, clarity and understanding to

those days. Same goes for paying bills, scheduling dental

your parenting via tips, resources and ideas. She also teaches

appointments and visits to the vet.

a var i e t y o f l i v e a n d v i r t u a l w o r k s h o p s . G o t o : h t t p : / / w w w . M y HealthyBeginning.com.

Take into consideration what your ideal home rhythm is, then build around that. Perhaps Monday is always laundry day and Wednesday you need childcare for freelancing or volunteering, so you have those logistics to work with and around. Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

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Happy Family Gardening

by Becky Cashman

I love this time of the year, with all the promise of a new garden. I like planting seeds as much as the actual harvesting of food that we’ve grown. I am not new to gardening with kids. I have witnessed two entire seasons where every green strawberry was systematically stripped and consumed. I dealt with the season that all seedling markers were removed. I have watched lettuce seedlings buried head down, plants pulled up, and seeds buried far, far underground. But watching the kids forage is a delight. They know the plants, can scout a good cherry tomato, clear the snow peas in a sitting, and even pull up carrots. Most everything is consumed directly on site, still warm and essentially unwashed. Today as we were planting bean seeds (good size for little fingers, one tray for each child- own seed packet each) a loud and highly energized debate sprung up around the outraged three-year-old’s desire to not have seven-year-old “help” him water his seeds. Both three and seven-year-olds defended their corners staunchly. Both behaved quite badly. And both were right. Problem was… I felt annoyed, and I mean really upset. I walked away, banned them from the kitchen while I prepared dinner. When I did called them to dinner- I asked them WHY do you have to act so horribly when we were doing such an amazing, magic thing…planting seeds? 44

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For the consciously minded of you, you’ll spot two big gaps.

Of course the kids were territorial and scrappy, we were

First, WHY is not a high quality question. Better questions

dealing with seeds and water! They understood the magic

for moving forward are How or What. Second, I myself was

and wanted it to be as perfect as they pictured it, just as I

acting horribly. Indeed.

did. Then, I felt lighter. I laughed at Crazy Family Gardening, and understood that it would indeed happen again. Just like

I ate dinner, then excused myself and went to sit outside at

Happy Family Pancake Morning often degrades into who gets

the scene of the show. By this point it was dark and cold

to stir the mix first.

out there- but the night clear with a moon and plenty of stars. I still felt angry- and angry that I felt angry- and angry

I get it, just now. Acceptance is a fundamental of living in

that I felt angry that I felt angry. Whew!! I did not get what

the moment. I cannot live in the moment if I create myths

I WANTED, and I did not respond well. I wanted Happy

of how it should be. So, I’ve exposed another fantasy- they

Family Gardening. I’ve let go of a lot of myths in my journey

are not so hard to let go, once identified. The trick is seeing

of mothering, but tonight I discovered this one alive and

them in the first place. I’ll let you know how I go next time

well. It probably sits up there with Happy Family Pancake

around. Here’s to gardening, however it comes.

Morning. American born, Becky lives in Kerikeri,

I had no idea what the lesson was to be learned, but it was

New Zealand with her Kiwi husband, John

clear there was one. So I sat and talked to the moon and

and two Kiwi-accent kids. She is the creator

stars. I told them how I felt, I asked some how and what

& director of Goodbye Sandfly and editor

questions. I stated that I was ready to do something new.

of natural living magazine, It’s Not about

And then I realized that all of us wanted the same thing,

the Bugs at www.goodbyesandfly.com.

Happy Family Gardening, just different versions. And all of us responded the same way when we did not get what we wanted…a howl!

Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

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embracing the

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unexpected

Copyright Š2012 holistic moms network by Trish Johnston


I’m a crier. I didn’t used to be. In my younger days, I was

And quite frankly, it’s exactly what I need: Something to

pretty much a hunk of granite: dry, hard, impervious. Then

fixate on. But, unlike the soul-crushing news churned out

I had two kids and all of a sudden, every news story – every

by the internet and the cable stations, this is a resoundingly

abduction, house fire, and tragic illness – seemed to hit

positive reason to refresh my outlook and reconnect with

home, like a sign post of what might happen to us, if I didn’t

what makes me happy. Is there any better reason to drive

pay close enough attention. I read the news out of obliga-

toward happiness than knowing, when you get there, you’ll

tion, with a sense of foreboding. If I didn’t read, I reasoned,

have a brand new person to enjoy it with?

I might not know of a looming threat. And, almost with a sense of superstition, if I didn’t find out the hook to the

I wake up even earlier now and do yoga amidst the piles of

headline, my family might fall prey to the predator.

sorted laundry that dot our living room carpet. I blocked all those “friends” on Facebook who post inflammatory or

So, naturally, I’ve been crying a lot. Because, well, good news

aggravating posts that drive me bonkers. I put a moratorium

doesn’t sell advertising.

on my news intake, restricting myself to entertainment sites and fashion blogs. I put the peppermint patties and Oatmeal

But one Monday, not too long ago, as I drove from work

Crème Pies in a large bowl on the conference room table at

to daycare, it was a song that brought me to tears. It was

work and bid them a fond farewell.

“Brandy” by Looking Glass. Go ahead – Google it. Play it on YouTube. Yup. That song, about a waitress whose true love is

My new, surprise pregnancy has left me feeling more than

a sailor, had me sobbing pretty lustily as I sat at a red light in

refreshed and renewed – I feel revived. For too long I’ve been

Montville, NJ.

drowning in negativity and worry. But no more – there’s no time. I’m too busy taking deep breaths, holding onto the

This was a sign – I needed to relax. I needed to breathe more

positive that surrounds me, and tickling piggy toes until we

deeply. I needed to disengage from the negative and actively

are all crying from laughter.

seek out the positive around me. But, more immediately, I need to buy a pregnancy test.

Trish Johnston is a wife, mom and awardwinning marketing copywriter in Morris

At the drug store, I got one – along with a box of Oatmeal

County, NJ. Currently hip-deep in Trans-

Crème Pies, a bag of mini peppermint patties and a jar of

formers and Legos, she aspires to rid her

peanut butter. And, come on – I should have just put the

home of plastic, perform sun salutations

pregnancy test back right then, because really? With those

with the kids and get her husband say

items on the counter, could there be a second of doubt that I

“quinoa” without laughing. Read more at

was pregnant?

www.thedishfromtrish.com.

So, yes – I’m pregnant. The old, “But, but … I’m still nursing!” kind of pregnant. The kind where my husband looks from me, to the crib, to the single bathroom at the end of the hall and says, “Where are we going to put another baby?” The crazy, unexpected, joyful, scary, funny on a cosmic, get-yourpriorities-in-order kind of pregnant. Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

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How

Yoga Can Help You and

Your Kids Defuse Stress by

Tapping into Your Natural Body-Mind Wisdom

By Liz Bragdon

Stress: It’s a major underlying cause of our modern diseases, including heart disease and cancer, it suppresses the immune system, inhibits critical thinking, and blocks learning. Anyone can see that, as a symptom of whatever’s eating at us, stress contributes to an overall unhappiness and dis-ease with life itself. 48

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And it’s not just for grown-ups.

because you have an agenda and your mind is full of what’s still to be done?

The American Academy of Pediatrics is so concerned about the rise of toxic stress among children and teens that it released a statement in January 2012, detailing the damaging effects of toxic stress on every aspect of a child’s development - physical, cognitive, and emotional.

To heal our kids, we have to learn how to heal ourselves, and then take the steps to make that healing happen. Perhaps, we should not be surprised, given the amazing healing power and intelligence of Nature, but when it comes to everyday stress, we have the tools we need to If stress is eating away at us, then it’s certain our support the healing process, we were born with kids are feeling it, too - at home and in school. them. All that is required is a little insight and One of the ways children learn how to navigate practice. the world is by observing, processing, and internalizing how the adults around them act The first step in removing yourself from the and react in daily life and relationships. Your cycle of stress and negative feeling is noticing behavior as a parent, teacher, or caregiver speaks you are in it. Noticing is an important practice louder than your words when it comes to what in yoga and mindfulness. When you notice, your children are learning from you. you recognize the space or pause that is already there in the moment. It is another way, perhaps, Think about it: How many parents and preschools of saying one is fully ‘present’ in a moment (this are obsessed with teaching young ones the presence is generally most difficult to access beauty of sharing, of treating others with kindness, when faced with a challenging emotion such as gentleness, and a spirit of generosity? Yet, how anger, fear, anxiety, etc.). In that space, instead many of us as adults show a daily impatience of reacting impulsively, you can step back and with our children (of any age) when they are assess your feelings with more clarity. Then, you getting ready for school and the bus is almost can inquire, recognize, and reason. By noticing in sight (or it’s time to hit the road to make it and creating the space between the impulse and into the carpool line before the bell rings). How your reaction, you can access higher thinking many of us want to nurture in our children a skills and a deeper understanding. Better choices natural love of learning, but when you are out and actions can follow. together and your child or even your teenager wants to stop and explore something in more How often do you do this kind of noticing in detail, you hurry them along, feeling anxious, moments of difficulty? Most of us seldom notice Copyright ©2012 holistic moms network

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in this way, particularly in difficult or stressful situations. So ask yourself these basic questions to help you recognize if you may be experiencing and reacting to the effects of stress in your daily life: 1. Do I feel overwhelmed - at home, work, in the classroom (or all of the above)? 2. Do I find myself always in a hurry? 3. Do I find myself getting frustrated easily with my children, my significant other, my co- workers, the drivers on the road, the people in the grocery store? Etc. 4. Do I get a full, restful night sleep on a regular basis and wake up feeling refreshed? 5. Is my mind constantly racing? 6. Do I feel mentally alert or mentally foggy? Do I feel calm and generally happy, or mostly tense and anxious? Are my thoughts often positive or negative? 7. Do I find myself yelling at my children regularly, even for small things? 8. Do I breathe, smoothly, evenly, fully? Or is my breathing short and erratic? Do I sometimes even hold my breath, especially when I’m tense, angry, or stressed?

(smooth, erratic, short, long, etc.) You can learn a lot about yourself by noticing and observing your body, mind, and emotions throughout your day. Just by noticing, you can learn to prevent stress in your life by getting familiar with your own cues before a stress pattern sets in.

is a skill you can acquire through the regular practice of yoga. While practicing yoga you are encouraged to notice the body how it feels in a particular pose; you notice your own thoughts as they come and go. You notice the emotions that come up while holding a pose. You notice your breath - how it feels and reacts

You don’t have to be a yoga expert to experience these benefits. A skilled teacher, basic postures and movement led by simple, conscious breathing (breathe in, breathe out), are all you need to begin. Self-regulation through breath and movement is the body’s innate way of maintaining balance. Modeling this level of self-regulation is

Noticing

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becomes regulated and more refined through the practice of yoga. Breathing is one of the most powerful tools we have access to for stress relief. Breathing alone can quiet the sympathetic nervous system, which is the body’s natural response to stress. When our brain perceives danger of any kind, our stress response is triggered. We can use our breath to self-regulate and calm our stress response so we can respond effectively to the challenges we face. Breathing can be a natural shot of calm. Bodily tension releases, the mind slows, which leads to an overall feeling of balance - the opposite of stress. And when you begin to act from a mental and emotional place of calm, of noticing, of balance - it won’t matter if the day’s seas are serene or stormy - you will navigate both with greater consciousness, intent, clarity, and ease. Breathing

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one of the best things you can do for your child. They will follow your lead, or better yet, they will not develop the habits that impede their own natural tendencies toward self-regulation. The bottom line? You are one of your kids’ most valuable resources when it comes to learning healthy patterns of living and relationship. The tools are out there, and they are also inside of you. You just have to notice them, reach for them, and get started.

Liz Bragdon, MA, is a mother, yoga and movement teacher, and the co-creator of multi-award-winning kids yoga story DVDs for ages 3-7, with an accompanying curriculum in the works. She is passionate about helping kids and their grown-ups nurture the seeds of unlimited possibility for creative and emotional intelligence, self-care, vibrant health, and intuitive wisdom we are each born with, through yoga and exploratory movement and play. She spends most of her professional time teaching and engaged in some seriously playful kids’ yoga and movement resource-creation with Move with Me Action Adventures.

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The Wise Mom, March 2012