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Publisher Adryana Nicoleta

Editor In Chief Brandy Adamson

Contributing writers Brandy Adamson Claire Guerre Shaan Berg Trina Sims Keri Nola

Contributing Websites www.womanarticles.net

Design

Grafx Passion www.grafxpasion.wordpress.com grafxpasion@gmail.com

photography In The Moment Portraiture www.nthemoment.com www.gettyimages.com

Follow WEmag on Twitter! www.twitter.com/WomansEssence Find us on facebook! www.facebook.com/womans.essence

Woman’s Essence Magazine womans.essence.magazine@gmail.com issuu.com/womans-essence-magazine/docs

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CONTENTS MAy 2013

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Business & Career

Women In Business Discouraged By Ethical Dilemmas

10 Fashion & Beauty

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10 Fashion Trends - DIY Fashion Projects - Wonderful Evening Gowns For Pretty Women 20 Beauty Tips Guerlain Summer 2013 Makeup Terra Ora

22 Health & Fitness 4 Medical TestsYou May Not Need

24 Cover Story -Special Natasha Lee-Maxwell I am every woman

36 Love & Relationships 36 Marriage: The One Thing You Need to Do to Save Your Marriage 40 Weddings How to Enjoy Your Wedding as a Pregnant Bride

44 Partners & Sponsors

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Cover Story

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Interview Natasha Lee-Maxwell

I am every Woman

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Business & Career

Women In Business

Discouraged By Ethical Dilemmas by Nina Bahadur www.huffingtonpost.com

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One study might have discovered the reason for the business gender gap -- morality. Previous explanations for the underrepresentation of women in business include women being siphoned by other industries or failing to “lean in.” The issue is certainly not one of capability: according to the New York Post, 2010 research from the University of Texas found that women are better at gauging risk, and are thus more successful Wall Street traders than men. Recent years have seen more women showing interest in business school, but women remain underrepresented in MBA programs. Could the gender gap in business be explained by differences in ethics? That’s the premise of a new paper forthcoming in Social Psychology and Personality Science, conducted 8

by psychologists Jessica Kennedy and Laura Kray, the New York Post reported. The pair conducted three separate studies to see how women and men reacted when confronted with ethical dilemmas in a business context. In the first study, 103 participants read 14 vignettes describing ethical compromises in the workplace, including, for example, the story of a manager taking


credit for a project his subordinate stayed late at the office to finish. They then rated how objectionable these behaviors were, and how much business sense they made. Women were more likely than men to find the acts offensive, and to think that they made less business sense. In the second study, 178 undergraduate students read three consulting and finance job descriptions. One third of the participants were given job descriptions that included a description of ethical issues he or she could expect to face, and were told that the company had a “whatever it takes” mentality. Another third of the participants read descriptions that included ethical dilemmas, but the description also explicitly stated that the company would expect employees to do the morally right thing. The final third of participants read job descriptions that made no mention of ethics at all. Results showed that male participants were equally interested in the jobs regardless of what the description said about ethics, and women were just as interested when ethics weren’t mentioned

or when they were told to “do the right thing.” However, women exhibited less interest in jobs at the “whatever it takes” companies, suggesting that they were less comfortable with breaching ethics. In the third study, Kennedy and Kray asked a group of 106 students to take an implicit association test (IAT). They found that female participants were much more likely to associate business with immorality than men. So what’s the solution? Since it seems unlikely that women will become more comfortable with the idea of unethical behavior in business, the challenge seems to be for businesses to stop requiring ethical compromise, if they do, and for them to show women that they don’t. According to Slate, Kray offered a solution: “We need to see more women at the top. I think that will change the culture of corporate America.”

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Fashion & Beauty

DIY Fashion Projects

Y I D Amazing Shoes With Lace

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DIY Fashion Sunglasses

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DIY www.fashiondivadesign.com 11


Wonderful Evening Gowns For Pretty Women

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Guerlain Summer 2013 Makeup Terra Ora

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tocking up on summer makeup essentials? Be sure to check out the new Guerlain makeup products from the new line, Terra Ora.

The Guerlain Terra Ora summer 2013 collection is the latest project the luxury label brings to the table. Fans of the label will definitely enjoy the comprehensive new line which simply spells hot summer days with the luxurious allure that the label has gotten us used to. Despite the effortlessly chic allure summer makeup tends to be associated with, the truth is that getting a fabulous look requires a significant amount of products and the new Guerlain 2013 makeup collection definitely brings plenty of interesting options. Guerlain Terra Ora The unquestionable star of the new line, the limited edition Guerlain Terra Ora is a must have of the new collection. Suitable for all skin tones and encased in a wooden mirror case with a magnetic closure, it can be used to define and sculpt your features and maximize radiance in the process.

Guerlain Météorites Perles Les Ors Primer A good makeup primer can be the secret which differentiates a good makeup style from a great one. With three different tones which can instantly take your look to the next level, the limited edition enhances your features in three different ways: the white pearls illuminate the skin, the pink tones add a rosy glow while the yellow pearls add a subtle shimmer. Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Cream, SPF 30 As exciting as color cosmetics might be, a flawless looking skin is the most coveted effect regardless of the season. With SPF protection, hydrating ingredients, a lightweight texture and an even color, this is one of the products you’ll always find yourself reaching for.

Guerlain Terra Nerolia With shimmering peach, bronze and gold shades, this limited edition face and body bronzer is ideal for getting the enviable sunkissed look sans the harmful effects of tanning with a subtle satin sheen that will make people wonder what’s your secret!

Guerlain Loose Powder Eye Shadow For a seductive look, Guerlain brings two versatile yet uber trendy shades. A single application is enough to get a fab metallic effect which will instantly attract attention. Choose between these fab tones: Cuivre Ora Warm and sensual copper and Bronze Ora Timeless bronzed brown. Guerlain Shine Automatique The Guerlain Shine Automatique lipsticks hardly need any presentation. The label brings two spectacular limited edition tones for this summer: Corail Ora, a trendy luminous warm coral and Bianca Ora, a semi-transparent white gold shade which oozes sophistication and refinement. The Guerlain Terra Ora makeup collection will be available starting with May at selected locations like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Sephora. www.becomegorgeous.com 21


Health & Fitness

4 Medical Tests

You May Not Need by Jessica Girdwain

(Zingiber officinale) usually found in the tropical area. Even it is more G inger popular as a food material and a drinking essence, the use of ginger in medication

has been known since the ancient time. Western countires now beginning to investigate this herb for modern medication. “Is this test really necessary?” That’s the question every woman should ask at her next doctor’s visit. According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 28 percent of primary care physicians admit to overtreating patients, including by ordering potentially unwarranted tests as a precaution against malpractice suits. Unfortunately, excessive screening can open the door to unnecessary surgeries and medications—not to mention needless anxiety. Here, four tests to reconsider.

can lead to follow-up testing and even surgery—such as an angioplasty—you don’t need. You could be better off... lowering your risk for heart disease, says Michael LeFevre, MD, co–vice chair of the USPSTF, by managing your blood pressure, quitting smoking, losing weight, and exercising regularly.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) The purpose: Detecting heart abnormalities that can indicate cardiovascular disease

Upper endoscopy (in which a tube equipped with a camera is inserted into the upper digestive system) The purpose: Diagnosing conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Why you might want to skip it: If you’re in good health with few risk factors for heart disease—older age, high blood pressure, a history of smoking, a sedentary lifestyle— there’s no evidence that an ECG will reduce your risk of having a heart attack, according to the 2012 recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). You’re also more likely to get a false positive, which

Why you might want to skip it: “The treatment for GERD—which can include proton pump inhibitors [drugs that reduce stomach acid]—is the same whether you’re diagnosed based on an endoscopy or on your symptoms, like heartburn, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing,” says Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, director of clinical policy at the American College of Physicians.

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“Any invasive procedure carries the risk of complications. In this case, your gastrointestinal tract could be perforated during the exam.”

Berger, MD, PhD, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

You could be better off... trying proton pump inhibitors for four to eight weeks, says Qaseem. If your pain persists, an endoscopy can rule out more serious but rare conditions that might lead to esophageal cancer.

The purpose: Screening for osteoporosis

Imaging (MRI, CT scans) for lower back pain

The purpose: Pinpointing the source of your discomfort Why you might want to skip it: According to a 2010 study, MRIs not only don’t improve recovery but can increase a patient’s likelihood of having surgery as much as eightfold. What’s more, imaging tests expose you to radiation that, over time, may increase your risk for cancer. You could be better off... rehabbing with physical therapy and taking anti-inflammatory meds. “I recommend these treatments first if the patient doesn’t have any red flags like cancer or bone infection,” says Zackary

Bone mineral density scan

Why you might want to skip it: A study in the journal Menopause found that 40 percent of women who received the scans did not meet the standard criteria for testing, such as being 65 or older or at risk for osteoporosis. If the test reveals mild bone loss, you may be prescribed osteoporosis medication, even though evidence suggests it would have little effect. “Taking medication you don’t need can expose you to side effects,” says Margery Gass, MD, executive director of the North American Menopause Society. “Ironically, these drugs can also increase the risk of fractures of the femur.” You could be better off... waiting until you’re 65. “If you’re 50 or over, keeping your bones strong is essential,” says Gass, “so start strength training and eat foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D.”

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Cover Story

Natasha Lee-Maxwell I am every

woman

by Brandy Adamson

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We all have a journey, a story that is what makes us unique. While we more than likely are not the first to experience something and of course not the last, what we learn from those experiences and what we are able to share with others molds us into the persons we are meant to be; compassionate, understanding and strong. Natasha Lee-Maxwell shared how powerful the support of her husband and the birth of her children has been to her becoming, a well rounded woman. When asked about the effect of having a solid family union has had on her success, Natasha shared that she and her husband were teenage sweethearts and while things haven’t always been a smooth and easy road, they have grown to be mature and loving parents that want the best for the family. She further elaborates that her children have brought her strength and endurance to continue to move forward toward the goals she has set for herself as well as those that she and her husband have defined for their family. We hope you enjoy the interview with Natasha below and learn from this great woman’s story.

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I was driven by the love to want to help people around me.

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Starting with a simple question, Who are you?

I am every woman, spiritual, wife, mother, daughter, aunt, sister, cousin, friend and business woman. I take all roles seriously. I love hard and forgive freely. My hat changes, sometimes, within seconds throughout the day, but I wear them all with grace. I am every woman.

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When did you find your passion? Honestly, I found my passion when I was in sixth grade. My passion comes from not wanting to work my entire life as I was taught back then. Once I became a mother, my children became my motivation to continue to pursue my purpose. They were what I needed to keep running the race; especially the race of the REAL life. Lastly I was driven by the love to want to help people around me. I hate the words ‘I can’t’ and I hate to see self defeat! To help others overcome these attitudes – this is why I do what I do.

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What have been some challenges you want to share with our readers? How did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge was having soundness of mind when dealing with people. Soundness of mind is accepting something for what is instead of what one wants it to be. I will give a person many chances and I am quick to give someone the benefit of the doubt. In this business I have had many terrible experiences when I try to force someone to have the passion that I have the, the desire to succeed and to willingly accept leadership roles. A word of advice – determine who wants to lead and who wants to follow and put them in roles that allow them to grow in those areas. I have learned to use soundness of mind in my business dealings, which has resulted in WIN-WIN situations for me and my team.

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How important has your support system been to your success?

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What can we expect from you the remainder of 2013?

My family support is why I am here today. My mother & dad were phenomenal in making sure that I had values and they showed me how to be responsible and so much more. My two brothers and my sister have always been an amazing support. When I had my first child, my family readily supported me so that I could be successful in completing my education and working to provide for my family. Words cannot express the magnitude of my appreciation for their support. One word does come to mind – live. The entire Lee family as well as my in laws, close friends and most importantly my husband and children continue to support me as I grow my business. With all this support, there is no way I can fail.

This year we plan to expand our business to assist visually impaired individuals in other states besides Michigan to find work. We are also planning to host virtual seminars. We are in the process of identifying a non- profit organization with which to partner. We want to assist with job placement, entrepreneurship and being a role model for youth. Our goal for 2013 is to assist 30 to 40 more professionals and business with business support services and to assist at least 2,000 people with starting a business or attaining a job.

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What are some of your treasured book?

NLM - The bible of course and Who moved my cheese. I honestly read books on a need to know basis. I read my bible daily and many magazines and publications that discuss basically any and every topic published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The publications speak about Jehovah God, Jesus, family, life, friendships, business affairs, you name it, its all there. If you visit www.jw.org you will see what is available. I love it and I am trying to keep up!

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What about your husband was the spark that made you fall in love with him, and eventually accept to marry him?

I’ve been married for 7 years now, but we’ve actually been together since I was about 13 years old. Yes, do the math... we were young and in love lol. He was my first everything and last apparently lol. But I have always known that he would be my husband. I think it was about third grade I knew one day I was going to be his wife. I just was so strongly attracted to him and might I add I still am! We’ve been through many trails and tribulations together. We gained and we’ve lost but the beauty about our relationship is that we never give up on one another. I think that’s what matters the most. I appreciate him as a father and a standup guy who didn’t bail on me when we conceived our first child. We were both young and scared, but he has owned up to his responsibility and still does to this day. My husband has always been very supportive of my dreams, especially with being a CEO. He has allowed me on more times than I would like to admit of skipping out on my wifely and motherly duties. He picks the slack up and when he’s really busy I pick up the slack. I’m the type of wife to cook, clean, depend on, and show unconditional love. Every long song that comes on the radio reminds me of my husband. I’m my husbands first point of contact when he needs anything. My Husband excepts me for who I was, who I am and the women that I’m on my way to becoming. We’re a team and that’s just that. It’s simple I love me some him, always have and I always will.

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Tell us a little about your children and being a mother?

I’m so fortunate to have the 3 beautiful children that I have. Rashard 13, (Strength), Nathan 11, (What don’t kill me makes me Stronger) and Tia 5, (Beauty is my name). Each one of my children help me gain a characteristic or helps me define who I am. I became pregnant with my son Rashard had the age of 15, my goodness I thought I would never escape the embarrassment of being pregnant so young or the trails that would come with being a young mother. But he’s a great representation of strength that’s within me. It was said that young african american women when conceiving a child as a teen would drop out of school, get on public assistance and have a minimum wage job. My son gave me the strength to fight not to be a statistic. I wanted him to look at his mother and be proud. I never missed a beat in school. I was a remained on Honor Roll, worked two jobs to make sure me and y husband took care of our son and not my parents.

Being a mom is by far the toughest job I have but at the same time it’s brings me so much joy to have them in my life and to be apart of their history. All of them have a special place in my heart and they all get their alone time with me. They all help me out a lot and they allow me to be the CEO that I am today. They are always rooting me on. I get emotional just thinking about their support. My family is the bomb.com . 32


Q

How would you define a successful life?

A successful life is a person who has a solid and good standing relationship with Jehovah God that’s the number one for me. Because with this relationship all other things is added to me. The council that the bible gives me on family life, business, friendship and being an upstanding citizen has guided me into having a successful life in all areas. Sure enough I have problems, and when in doubt my relationship with Jehovah sees me through them regardless of what they are. Everyone measures success differently and based on my calculations I’m winning!

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What is it like for you as being a sist other women like myself with networking. I business owner a business woman? started this group on Facebook “100 Women you

To be honest being a business owner is so sereal sometimes, sometimes feeling like a celebrity because my phone never stops ringing and I’m always busy and I seem to have the answers that people need.

need to know” We now have 112 women about of this group and counting. Eventually I’ll turn this into an association or organization. But it’s a great place to network and encourage one another on social media and all women are welcome to join.

As a business woman I’ve assisted 5 companies with starting from the ground up. I’m a crusade for small business, we help the tall guys get taller and we get to grow a few feet a long the way. Make Your Dreams Come True provides the missing piece to consumers needs and business needs. I made my dreams come true and now I’m looking to make others as well one person at a time. To as-

I am a business woman who used the resources that I have to grow my business, no business loans to date. My business is built on passion, determination, Jehovah’s love for me, support, struggle and pride and this is why I am still standing, hurdling over the 5 year mark that determines if a business owner will make it. I have so much to offer and to give.

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Love & Relationships

The One ThingYou Need to Do to Save Your Marriage by Leigh Newman

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elationships aren’t easy, even for relationship experts. Here’s a new technique from the co-founders of Imago Relationship Therapy that can work for any couple.

Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, authors of Making Marriage Simple: 10 Truths for Changing the Relationship You Have into the One You Want, reveal a strategy they discovered in their own struggles, which can lead to a massive, permanent turnaround. Most of us can identify the big, ugly problem in our marriage. It’s that “the kids just went off to college” or “we’re not having sex” or “he spends all his time at the basketball court” or “she doesn’t like to travel to countries without plumbing” or “god, he never laughs.” For decades, working as therapists in counseling sessions, Hendrix and Hunt heard hundreds of couples name that lone wrecking-ball that was 36

bringing it all crashing down. They knew, of course, that the problem under discussion wasn’t the problem. The fundamental idea of Imago therapy, after all, is that people tend to marry the person that they hope will solve their own problems from childhood—a person who, paradoxically, often exacerbates those problems until the two learn to communicate. Who on earth can recognize that all alone? And yet...they suspected still another kind of conflict was lurking around in most marriages, wreaking havoc. They weren’t able to identify what it was, though, until their own relationship began to fray and falter. “It was a terrible

time for us,” says Hendrix. “We could hardly stand each other. We knew we loved each other, but neither of us felt loved, or even understood.” One day, they went to the bookstore. They’d exhausted all the sections that offered clinically acceptable advice about their situation, such as self-help and relationships. Instead, they decided to check out an area they’d never visited: astrology. On a back shelf, they found a book about the compatibility of couples based on their signs. The two were so desperate for help that they did an exercise in the back page. “The result was,” says Hunt, ‘You are going to destroy your relationship unless you suspend all negative scrutiny.’”


Yes, this was a book about horoscopes. Yes, these were two people with doctoral degrees, two professional therapists who considered astrology along the lines of hocus pocus. But whether it was fate or luck or just a very insightful analysis based on their birthdates, the message hit home—painfully. “All the blood drained out of my face,” says Hunt. “I thought somebody must be watching us, that somebody must have set this up.” Negativity was the root of all their problems—and they wondered if it was the root of their clients’ problems, too. “We were so embarrassed we hadn’t found this out in therapy,” says Hendrix. “But, at the same time, it was a relief to know what was wrong.” They decided to do a private experiment on themselves. They would cut out all negativity in their relationship. This doesn’t sound that hard. That is, until you consider that negativity in a marriage is, as Hendrix says, “anything you say or

do that your partner experiences as a putdown.” So, that could be a joke (“It’s back again, the attack of the killer perm!”) or a criticism (“Honey, I love you, but you’re not the most challenging Monopoly player”) or a guilt trip (“If you don’t really love your kids enough to go to the pot luck, then...”) or an outright attack (“You’re such a know-it-all!”) or even a dismissive look. “We went cold-turkey,” says Hendrix. “For a few months, we had very little to say to each other. We couldn’t talk. Which let us know how much negativity had been seeping into our lives.” Once they got the hang of speaking and acting differently, the results were astonishing. Their marriage had rebounded. They were happier. The idea of divorce was over. They took the no-negativity approach into their workshops and therapy sessions and got the same result. People recommitted to each other—and found a new kind of joy about being together.

This wasn’t totally surprising. Traditional Imago therapy teaches couples how to resolve problems by using a specific line of dialogue that reduces stress, anxiety and aggression. “When a couple follows our steps,” says Hunt, “they learn over time how to speak to each without negativity. All we did was start at the end.” Which, in effect, turned their well-known method on its head. Rather than learning to communicate and thus becoming non-negative to one another, a couple just cuts out the negativity—and then learns to communicate—which for many struggling people is faster and more effective than the original technique. A decade later, the advantages of the approach are just coming to light in terms of science. “Negativity erodes a feeling of safety in a marriage,” says Hendrix. “Neuroscience now shows that when you or your partner don’t feel safe, they get anxious, and neither of their brains can problem-solve. So they can’t find solutions to arguments.” 37


Like so many seemingly simple things, however, the process is trickier than it seems. People can’t click their heels and whisper, “We will not be negative. We will not be negative. We will not be negative.” You do have to say this. It’s the first step. But what comes next? Here are a few doable ways that Hendrix and Hunt were able to banish negativity and start over—for real.

1. Define the ouch

Sure, this may sound jargony and wooden while you’re saying it. But it does allow your partner to rethink and re-speak. For example, the mythical husband might pause and come back with: “Hey, can we buy fancy detergent? I really like the fancy kind because it smells so good.” Eliminating negativity, says Hendrix, doesn’t mean that you don’t have frustrations anymore. It means that you find a different way to express them.

The big problem with negativity is that we often don’t know that we’re engaging in it. Our judgment is clouded about what we’re really saying to our partners. “In my case,” says Hunt, “I prided myself on all the constructive ways I helped Harville live his life. I had ideas about how he could improve how he dressed. If he said something during a speech that wasn’t quite clear, I pulled him aside and told him how he could do it better. I thought I was being his best friend.” Hendrix also thought he was helping. He let Hunt know every time she was being too loud or too intense. He was “correcting her” with love.

3. Make the sticker chart One way that Hendrix and Hunt were able to get a handle on their progress was to use a calendar. They put it up in the bathroom. If they were able to get through 24 hours without a negative comment, they got to place a smiley-face sticker on the day. If they weren’t, they got a frownface. “It took two years,” says Hendrix, “for us to get 30 days of straight smiley-faces.”

To remove the negativity, each of them had to admit when the other had unintentionally hurt them. And this is where it takes courage. Because “the one who flinches,” says Hendrix, “has to take the responsibility of telling their partner. And it can be scary when you’re not getting along.” But what’s even scarier, when you think about it, is getting hurt over and over—until you give up or leave.

The technique may feel a little kindergartenish. But what it’s really about, says Hendrix, is brain trai-

2. Control the comeback

Okay, your partner knows what you consider a putdown. He’s no longer making those kinds of comments. Except... when he slips up or unwittingly makes a new kind of comment that whaps you right to your knees (on the inside, of course, where he can’t see). Let’s say he says, “I wish you’d stop using such ghetto detergent.” You came from a poor family, this was the detergent you used all your life, and his way of saying “ghetto” felt as if he dismissed you, your family, your culture and your past. Your instinct is to say, “Buy your own detergent, then, and do the laundry while you’re at it, because you never help around here!” Sorry, you’re not allowed. That’s negative, and you promised not to be so—even if he was first. Hunt struggled with this putdown/ comeback cycle and found these few sentences helpful: “I know you just said something that’s important to you, and I want to hear what you’re saying. But right now, all I hear is a putdown, even if you didn’t mean it. Would you be willing to say that again in a way t h a t isn’t negative to me?” 38


ning. The stickers help you see what happened during the day in an intellectual way, so that you’re not simply reacting with emotions like sadness and rage. In addition, both partners have to earn that sticker together, which means that the two of you must work as a team. You’re both responsible for the day. Think about it this way: If you fail and your partner doesn’t, your partner can’t point this out (that would be negative), but you will know all the same, won’t you? Not letting the people you love down (even if you can’t stand them right now!) is a powerful motivator.

These days, they use what they call “the zero-negativity pledge” in all their marriage workshops, where it’s changed the lives of thousands of couples. “We tend to think of marriage as about two things—you and him,” says Hunt. “But there’s really three things at play: you, him and the space between the two of you.” “Negativity,” says Hendrix, “is a pollutant.

When you clean up the space between you, it’s just like cleaning a river or stream. Everything comes 4. Don’t turn off the light...just yet The best counterbalance to negativity is encourage- back to life.” ment. So Hendrix and Hunt instituted a rule. They each had to list three things that they had seen the other do that day that made their lives better. They called these the “three appreciations.” And they had to do them each night before falling asleep. “The first night we did this,” says Hunt, “it was snap.” The second night, it was hard to come up with three whole things. The third night, “we lay there in silence for a long, long time.” Over the months, though, the ritual began to work. The two were forced to pay attention to each other during the day in order to have something kind, true and supportive to say at night.

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Weddings

How to Enjoy Your Wedding as a Pregnant Bride 40


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one are the days when the pregnant bride had a rushed, quiet wedding to cover the “shame”. Realism and relaxed social mores have set in and many brides are pregnant; indeed, in 2001, one London dress shop estimated that almost 20 percent of its customers were expecting. Both pregnancy and marriage are occasions for celebration, so the pregnant bride has every right to stand tall and feel proud, as well as looking very radiant on her special day.

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Understand the feelings of others around you. For some people the cultural or faith beliefs and expectations that they hold may make it hard for them to accept your willingness to be a pregnant bride. Have compassion for them because they’re taking things very literally without thinking through the consequences, including that you’ve chosen to get married and live with your spouse and the child. Take some time to talk to them about their feelings, listen well, and then explain your own feelings to them. While you probably won’t see eye-to-eye completely, avoiding hurling your anger and frustration at them will earn you their respect, even if begrudgingly.

you want to wear white, then wear it. Equally, if you’d rather wear any other color, go for that too. Don’t be hampered by a social convention that is confused and out-dated!

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Talk to your officiant if you’re planning on a church wedding. Some churches won’t allow a wedding with a pregnant bride but many churches will. Ask around and again, do not be ashamed.

* Some churches require pre-marital counseling. Ask about the requirements. * Some chaplains/priests/other faith officiant may expect you to “tone down” the wedding to make it a more private * Explain to people who preach woe and shame that to- affair. day’s attitudes are far more relaxed and compassionate. * If that doesn’t suit you, then keep asking around or consider a compromise such as a private wedding and a large reDon’t act ashamed. This unhealthy externally-induced ception. emotion is one of the things that has the potential to ruin everything for you, your Expect a few chalspouse-to-be, and for lenges with the your child when he or dress but don’t setshe grows old enough tle for anything that to understand how the looks like frump with wedding was and how a bump. Find a good you felt about it. Be dressmaker and tell proud of the decisions her the date of the you make in life. Pregwedding and how far nancy and marriage are pregnant you’ll be on two states to be very that date. Your dress excited about, so stay will need to be alterproud! able as you cannot predict your growth rate * Be aware that there or dynamics; ask your may be a special chaldressmaker to bear this lenge with those who in mind when making were coerced into marup the dress. Look for rying young in the past because of pregnancy. They may re- fuller gowns rather than tight fits, small waists, and anything sent the fact that you’re glowing and proud to show off your figure-hugging. The right style of dresses include empire line, bump while they had to slink around and quickly get the princess line or A-line dresses. marriage over and done with. * Place the accent on your shoulders and bust to draw the * Deal with the “white dress” issue. White dresses are a Vic- eye away from your belly zone. torian invention following the fact that Queen Victoria was * If buying a ready-made maternity bridal gown, it’s a good married in white (her example was always followed at the idea to try and leave it until much closer to the wedding date, time); later, the idea of white gained a strange moral over- to be sure of a comfortable fit. tone that wasn’t even the reason when white first became * Avoid corsets, tightly laced bodices, or any other confashionable.Today, white is simply viewed as a popular and stricting gear. Flow is the go for a woman with a growing traditional wedding color and not as a moral judgment. If bubs and aching joints.

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Forget the fancy high heels. Go with comfortable flats party enjoy these things, it just means you need to find alterthat will allow you stand for a good period of time with- natives for you as well. Things that you won’t be able to share out feeling even more achy and tired than your pregnancy is in include: already managing to do to you. * Alcohol, seafood and any raw fish, soft cheeses, and anyHave the usual accessories. The veil, jewelery, purse, and thing your doctor advises against. bouquet remain unaffected by your belly size, so enjoy all Plan a honeymoon that’s realistic and very relaxing. You of them as much as wished. deserve double the pampering with wedding planning and baby growing contributing to your overall exhaustion. Consider having a mock wedding ring made up. Preg- Find a place that isn’t hard to get to and that doesn’t require nancy tends to make most women swell and your fingers a lot of planning but that promises much peace, quiet, and won’t be immune to this! One neat answer is to have both pampering. your real wedding ring and a mock one, using the mock one for the wedding ceremony and then wearing your real wed- If flying, check that both destination and return flights are ding ring once your fingers are back to their usual size. If you able to take you; most airlines won’t let pregnant women fly want the real ring to be part of the ceremony, you could wear after a certain period into the pregnancy unless it’s an emerit around your neck or have it placed upon the ring cushion gency. next to the mock ring and carefully stored after the vows are exchanged. Be sure that your insurance covers any pregnancy complications or even giving birth. Also know where hospitals are in * You could also consider purchasing the ring fitted to your case of an emergency. swollen fingers and have it altered later. Another way around this is to simply postpone the honeyPlan the menu. When pregnant you cannot consume moon until after the baby’s born. You’ll deserve the rest and certain things, so be sure that there are suitable alterna- the babysitting! tives available for you on the menu. This doesn’t mean you can’t let your guests, the Enjoy your wedding. Fatigue may be the biggest factor groom and wedding for you during the wedding, especially if it’s long. You may need to sit more than you expected, so be sure there are chairs placed in strategic places for you to rest when needed. Talk to the chaplain/priest/celebrant about the length of vows too, in case you’re worried about their length or about having a tall stool or something to lean off if need be. Try to do everything possible to ease the fatigue, including good shoes, plenty of water, and easy bathroom access. For the most part, concentrate on enjoying to occasion and shining because it’s your day and you deserve to have the very best day possible.

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Woman's Essence Magazine May 2013