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There are a lot of discussions about the ways to involve siblings at birth: Should we?  Is it harmful?  Will they bother mom too much?  Will they be scarred for life?  Most of these questions stem from a culture that puts a veil over a lot of normal life functions and discussions and instead plays pretend, leaves little Tommy with a sitter, or simply lies to avoid uncomfortable conversations.  Don't get me wrong, there are simply some events where parents just need the space to be in their own mind without distractions and only the parent can truly decide what is best for the family as a whole.

Children often handle birth and breastfeeding delightfully and it opens up so many wonderful opportunities for real life discussion and understanding.  They may sleep through the entire event.  They may play and step in now and then, ask some questions or observe and want to know someone will make them dinner.  They may get bored and need some guided activities or outside time.  They may want to snuggle mom or get in the birth tub.  Your labor and birth location will determine a lot of how normal the birth process feels to siblings and how involved they are able to feel.

How, then, can we involve siblings at birth if we decide this is what is right for our family?  Here are four fun ways to make them feel like a part of the experience without playing pretend.

Birth Team Host to involve siblings at birth

Having older siblings make coffee, snacks, and meals for a home birth team as well as care for younger siblings is one of the most common ways to involve siblings at birth.  This is a good task for the tween group.  They're old enough to really want an important job, to do some kitchen tasks by themselves, and to understand that mom may need her space and time with her birth team.  Teens can be sent on errands, to the grocery store even, depending on the needs during the birth.  All the siblings can prep sandwiches, put on a crockpot full of soup, and be sure the pot of coffee is at the ready.  They can answer the door as people arrive so whoever is supporting mom can stay with her without interruption, including in birth center and hospital settings.

Birth Attendant Role to involve siblings at birth

Another important task for the older groups is being an intuitive birth attendant.  These tasks can start during pregnancy, allowing older siblings to be involved in prental appointments as well as birth classes and get a great understanding of the birth processes before birth.  During labor they can be sure mom has water available, with fresh cucumber and a bendy straw, wherever she goes.  Siblings can be sure the bed is prepped with a shower curtain and fresh linens.  They can fetch cool towels, a birth ball, and rub mom's back.  Depending on their abilities can depend how much they are able to physically help with mom's comfort if she desires support, but many of these tasks are excellent for even young children freeing up the other birth attendants and Dad for continues support in other ways.

Make Birth Announcements to involve siblings at birth

Siblings making birth announcements can be as simple as changing the greeting on your voicemail and answering phone calls to making “Do Not Disturb; Baby Sleeping” signs and adding Baby’s name, weight, and birth info. for those that may be dropping by food, or the mail.  Hand-written cards can be sent with a new photo to all the baby shower and blessingway attendees, giving siblings plenty to keep occupied during the first weeks after the birth and plenty of time for mom to get settled in with breastfeeding.

Birth Photography is a great way to involve siblings at birth

This can be from the oldest sibling to a toddler and one of my favorite ways to involve siblings at birth.  The only real challenge is finding the camera you're comfortable with them using and making sure a flash or noise isn't too distracting if they’re not up to speed on camera settings.  Thankfully, disposable cameras still exist (even in digital form) if you don't own a camera and don't want to hand off the cell.

Even more fun with disposable cameras, a young child can have a lot of fun decorating the camera to fit their personal tastes and getting prints in the mail after the birth is an extra present.  Add in a personal scrap book, stickers, markers, and fun paper for a great quiet-time activity while you're resting and nursing.  Save some photos to be taken during the first year to add to the scrapbook and now the siblings not only have a great way to be involved at the birth, but also a great first birthday present to give as a keepsake.  Multiple siblings can easily share this activity and it's sure to be one of the highlights making the siblings feel very excited for their baby brother's or sister's birthday party.

 

Never underestimate the mind of a youth – they are ready and willing to learn all they can about life and their body and being a big help with chores and daily life before and after birth.  There are no necessary roles siblings need to take before, during or after the birth – but the more they are involved with the process, the more they will understand about their own body and the importance of the entire family helping for this new little life.  Making snacks, filling up water cups, and prepping nursing baskets with fun tasks (for mom and the little ones) as well as charging phones and starting a load of laundry are all helpful postpartum.

How do you love to involve siblings at birth?

 

All year we're working hard... we may not be gardening and foraging as we once were when people started gathering in large groups for harvest and Thanks-Giving celebrations... but we do have so much to be thankful for...

This year...  I'm thankful for...

  • The ability to work for my family in multiple ways... in multiple areas
  • The energy spent giving to others in some form for healthy pregnancies, births, breastfeeding and families
  • The ability to have so much research at my fingertips that I actually have too many choices to make
  • The aggravation of being able to complain about the type of education my children might not be able to have... or do have...
  • The ability to learn beyond what I was taught as a child
  • The immense amounts of green and wild foods that surround my home
  • The people that frustrate me... and the ability to see the frustration as a learning tool... and to have the choice to use it as such
  • The knowledge that I can choose how I want to live and that so many people struggled before me to create the frustrations I have today... because without these, there would only be a different set of struggles
  • The ability to choose to believe in the God I believe in and see his ways in my life and others'
  • The humbleness my children have taught me beyond what I could ever have asked for...

Everything... the happiness, the sadness... and most of all those few people that see that in me and wait patiently doing whatever they know how to do to show me they're still here.  That's what this week is for...  it is being thankful for having struggles and being able to still eat a pie... or a turkey... or a foraged nut... or a bowl of soup... or walk with friends (or alone) to move more... and everything wonderful, and everything that just is.

I'm thankful for those people and resources that found themselves by my side...  in my lap... at my keyboard... that helped me through my early parenting struggles - in the middle of the night or on the phone - so that I could help someone else know they can do it too.

So, find someone this week... and tell them how thankful you are that they have been in your life...  no matter if all their moments weren't what you wanted - all those moments have been what you needed for now... or maybe years from now... and we can be thankful for them all.

 

Love to you and yours this Thanksgiving!

 

Let me start off by saying that little curse word - IF - is OK.  That question, "What if?" is OK.  There is NOTHING wrong with doubt.  There is NOTHING wrong with curiosity, questioning, and fear.

NOTHING.

If you are one of those individuals out there that wants to make a family feel ashamed for their doubt - you're only further increasing their fear.   If you aren't supporting those that aren't making the same decisions as you, then you are a part of the problem.  If you believe you know everything - you've learned so little.  There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.  YOU are also on a journey, and that is OK too - but let these words be a stepping stone for you also that might help to move you into another stages of cultural change.

OK... this

................is me

..........................stepping off

..............................................my soap box.

Why ARE we asking that question, "What if?"  I could sit here and list all sorts of questions, like:

  • What if you were among the majority?  The majority of women that don't have complications...
  • What if your birth was average?  You meet your baby, take your baby home, and dodn't have many issues...
  • What if you birthed in a way that was empowering?  Empowered you to be fiercely protective of this little new human...
  • What if you rocked it?

Right... I could list all those situations that are *more* likely to happen than any of the ones you're concerned about, couldn't I?  But that's not helpful right now, is it?  It's not, because while you may feel positive - if you're not able to talk through your fears, they still have the potential of controlling you.  They are likely there for a reason.  What might they be?  What are you thinking?  What IF:

  • my baby dies?
  • I die?
  • it hurts?
  • my baby gets hurt?
  • my baby is born sleeping?

And, those are the common ones, right?  Those are what almost every parent thinks at one point... especially in most modern-western cultures.  We'll get to that in a minute... but lets list a few more...

  • What IF - *I* make a choice that is different than most other parents and any one of the above scenarios happen?
  • What IF - someone blames ME instead of a surgeon for anything that seems "off" in a home birth? (As if someone *should* be blamed at all).
  • What IF - I could have done more?

I would bet, those last three are the REAL what if questions you're thinking.  What if I look like a "bad" parent?  What do I know, they have birthed more kids than I?  What do I know, I'm not a surgeon (the midwife's not a surgeon)? [Let me interject your thoughts here and say, no, a midwife isn't - but they ARE the specialist in normal physiological birth...]  What if I look "wrong?"  What if someone ELSE thinks a different choice would have made a difference?

I talk a lot about ways to prevent these situations from happening - from birth environment to nutrition and lifestyle - in my series classes and mentoring sessions.  I talk a lot about modern birth practices that increase these risks like hospital practices - when someone else actually thinks its a better practice... even when current recommendations go against that practice.  However, I'm not going to talk about that right now.  If you're interested in prevention - look me up, we can chat worldwide online through real-time classes or you can sign up for a local series or mentoring session.  But, what about all those cases where prevention doesn't change a thing?  Those are rare indeed - but, you're thinking about them, so let's explore.

The thing is, our CULTURE doesn't talk about death.  We're scared of it.  Mothers are told "just be happy baby is 'healthy?'"  It doesn't matter what the provider did to you or how you feel, the most important thing is they are alive and you are alive.  Except, that's not true... and if you think that's true - let's chat about that.

Are we that intimidated by this thing that happens to EVERYONE on the planet?  Why is that?

We can butcher a mom and cause lifelong complications within the family, just to "save" someone?  Don't get me wrong - I get it.  I get that feeling of thinking this, right here, is better.  But until we embrace all that happens in life - we not only can't get past our fears - WE CAN'T HELP THOSE ACTUALLY EXPERIENCING THIS.  We can't help them with the BEST prevention... and we can't help them experience these parts of life with healthy support and awareness.  We will keep feeling awkward around anyone that has had a miscarriage, had a still birth, experienced SIDS, lost a child, lost a mother, lost a grandmother, or had to deal with a complication.  Advocates will keep saying things like, "If you only would have _________, that wouldn't have happened."  Oh my gosh, really?   So, NOT OK for a hospital provider to say, "If you only had your baby in a hospital, ______ wouldn't have happened."  But totally OK to say, "If you would have had a home birth _______ wouldn't have happened."

Interesting.

Oh... I've been there - I know how easy it is to default to that response.  Years ago in my birth advocacy infancy (as it so often happens) - I believed that - but eventually you have to wake up.  If you stop learning (even when what you learn isn't what you would do) - you stop helping others.

Let me tell you something, though... there is not one blanket statement or gesture that will cover the comfort bases for everyone hurting in this world. Not at all.  We can give all these lists of "what not to do/say to someone who is _______" - and that's just so general.  I've hurt before, so much.  Was it your hurt?  Maybe not... maybe...  Everyone has deep hurts in their life and everyone experiences sadness.  What we need to do is acknowledge they exist and stop tiptoeing around scared we're not going to be PC.  When someone hurts, there isn't too much anyone can do other than be available and over life help.  The closest friends and family are not only the ones that person wants to be comforted by and will open up to - but also some of the only ones that just know the person well enough to be "forgiven" if they say the "wrong" thing.

So, mothers - if you are someone that has these strong fears of "what if" - especially when that involves others judgement on you for a choice you want to make.... or your personal judgement... that is a great place to start exploring.  Talk to other parents that *have* experienced this part of life.  Sit in support groups.  Find your support group and open up to them - and if they aren't to a place where they (no matter what their choice would be) can't support YOU with whatever choice you make - then they aren't a good part of your support group.

We don't HAVE to agree.  We don't HAVE to support each others' choices.  We DO need to support each other.  We need to STOP believing we know it all.  Knowledge can be all kinds of "evil" - humans are so stuck on thinking when they know a lot (or a little) about a subject, they couldn't possibly learn anything new.  It is oh so common and widespread in this generation, too.  Its that same fear - "what if I have to tell someone I thought I knew when there was actually another way?"

But, was there? Because I can bet you THIS right now, THIS is what you ARE supposed to be experiencing.  This way is the way it was supposed to be.  You're on a spiritual journey, and that's OK.  Take what you learn and apply it (as a parent and as an advocate) and chug along until you learn something else... then apply it however it fits into your life.  Embrace that it is OK and sometimes we just CAN'T know what "could" have been.

Be a shoulder to cry on to those providing info., and those needing info.  Be someone to hug.  Be that person that brings a family a meal without asking when they need help.  Be someone that just sits there so the family isn't alone.  Be that positive light in their life.

Tell someone you're scared and hurting.  Tell someone your "irrational" fears and thoughts.  That's half the battle.  Then surround yourself with those that uplift you and nurture you and provide wisdom.

YOU can handle ANYTHING.  You can.  Find the people that love you - truly love you - in this life, and keep them close to you in some way - and when you need them, they'll arrive.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/parents-pushing-swing-gently-photo-p309024

It isn't often I write a blog post where I'm annoyed... but, this is one of those...  It is one of those to make you think about your influence on other families in your community.  "Peaceful Parenting" and "Attachment Parenting" are these are titles that get circulated throughout parenting groups.  "You're a horrible mom if you let your baby cry it out."  "You don't love your baby enough."  "Your child is going to grow up to be an awful adult who can't cope if you don't respond to their every need."

Now, I totally believe that children need love... always.  I totally believe that children are designed to be close to their parents from sleeping to communication (which includes cues before crying).  I've been guilty as a new-mom-just-over-depression who thought one decision would change the world for other parents as well because that decision was easy for me... or that decision HELPED me.  Then reality hit and I found some things that didn't send me into depression, but are a challenge of my everyday life to be the parent I want to be...  Thank you God for that lesson... it was needed.  It was needed not only for my family, but for my advocacy with others.

The biggest challenge, though, is not parenting my children... but OTHER PARENTS!

So, here's the thing...  What *I* do is advocate and educate. What other advocacy *groups* are doing is [usually] just the same.  That's my job (their job), my "thing", my hobby, my focus, what I learn about, what I research, what I am "into"...  I've built a community around it.  I'm not just a mom throwing my opinion out there - I'm trying to take what I'm passionate about and reach a lot of people.  Not everyone is doing that - but, that's just what I felt called to do after my daughter was born.  What I share, is for those that DON'T KNOW. Likewise, when someone offers a tip it is for those that don’t know.

I/we want you to know what I had to scour books, people, and the internet for.  I want you to know what I had to learn over a long time.   I want you to know what is available to you for resources and what biological parenting is designed to be AND the reality of putting it altogether which includes adapting it to your lifestyle however it works for your family... and never ever trying to justify your choices to others or to me... especially in the western culture!

I want you to know my struggles, TOO!  I tend to keep these for personal conversations so I can fully explain as well as have someone face to face to me before they make a comment about my situation.

Sharing an article is NOT a judgment - it is for the ones that don't know and may actually find help within the words - through a tip, through an experience or story, or through an idea they were feeling and needed validated in this culture.  I never expect someone to follow things to a T from an article.  There are certainly times where I don't want parents to struggle or I think "oh, this would help you so much" - but, I GET what that takes and I know MY own struggles.  So, words are just that... words... they are not physical support - and that's what I want to focus on...  So, let's take a moment and look again at some of the responses from PEACEFUL parents when these articles are shared (by me, and by many other parenting communities).  You know, the ones who believe...

"You're a horrible mom if you let your baby cry it out."  "You don't love your baby enough."  "Your child is going to grow up to be an awful adult who can't cope if you don't respond to their every need."  "You're a lazy parent if you don't get down to your child's level 500 times a day for 5 years and speak with a smile on your face."

Did you notice that?  Let's do it again...  "You're a horrible mom"... "You're a lazy parent" ...  What other ones did you find?

How about the more subtle ones - maybe they're more passive aggressive - but they don't show the real mom or they still totally miss the point like, "My induction is scheduled for tomorrow.  I can't wait to snuggle my baby IN MY BED because I would NEVER let them cry it out."

Do you see the irony in these?  Be infinitely kind to your child and cater to their every need... BUT...  be degrading and don't respond with love to your fellow parents because the idea is that children have brains like adults and they need nurtured...  but because that person may not have been responded to in a "peaceful parenting" way and is now the adult we're trying to prevent... then you don't deserve love and kindness and help 500 times a day.  My choices are better than yours.  You can never experience depression.  You can never experience exhaustion.  You can never experience burn out.  You can never experience a sad or lonely look on your face.  Don't ask for help for fear of having to explain why you need it... you know, because you'll have to explain how you yelled at your child 500 times over the weekend, or completely ignored them.  Pretend like you're perfect on the "peaceful and supportive" mom groups because you know a thing or two and then cry when you're alone because you personally experience how hard it is and don't know how to make it work.  Makes total sense and is not hypocritical at all... ???

Then... if someone's child cries a lot, it’s because they _____________ (are a helicopter parent, don't parent enough, had a cesarean, had a home birth, had an OB, pushed too long, took too many meds, didn't take enough meds, gave your kids vaccines, didn't give your kids vaccines, thought you could do it vaginally, didn't have enough faith in your body, just didn't try hard enough.............)

  1. MY. GOSH.  Are we hearing ourselves????????!!!!!

Our CULTURE is not supportive of the biological needs of HUMANS of all ages.  Let's ALL see that so we can actually start supporting each other and get to the place we want... need to be.  This doesn't happen overnight.  I dare to say it can't happen in a few generations.  It's not just a belief that is needed... it's a culture shift.

Moms can't stay at home every day all day with the kids and expect to be 100% without help.

Dad's can't be the one working every day and exhausted when they come home and expect to put on the happy face and act like they just woke up.

When we *have* to *buy* our food instead of grow it, that makes these lifestyles necessary.

When we *want* whatever everyone else has (cell, house, toys, clothes, vacations, car) - it makes these lifestyles necessary.

When we have *no clue* how to treat mild to moderate ailments at home with love... or herbs... it makes these lifestyles necessary.

When you have laundry to do, the house to clean, teaching your child (whether home or public... YOU are teaching them every time you interact with them), work to do, 3 meals and snacks to make (oh, and they have to be totally organic, gluten free, dairy free, balanced, but not from this store and they should be from the garden)..... but YOU have to do it all on your own.... we make these lifestyles necessary.

I could list 100 more things about our culture that DIRECTLY influence the dynamic of the family and the actual ability to peacefully parent.  I don't even have an answer for this.  It isn't easy to just pick up, leave everything behind, and start a new community of people that actually believe in the same thing.  There are so many different belief systems in our culture it would be really hard to commit to living our lives connected like we need and feel totally supported and in sync with those helping and surrounding us.  Even The Farm didn't work out that way...  Though, I CERTAINLY encourage you to find your group.  It might take you a really long time to really find those you connect with that you can spend time with.  You may find along the way that your immediate family is your group and you don't have that totally connected feeling to others, either.  Just keep searching...  It certainly does take a village - but a village of PHYSICAL SUPPORT... not just words of shoulds and shouldn'ts.

The way people parent is, yes, influenced by their parenting - but it is ALSO influenced by 1,000 other factors in their life - including your hurtful comments... The ABILITY to change isn't always as simple as "you just choose to do it."  Yes, you can choose that...  but think about something hard YOU'VE done... now think about something hard you HAVEN'T done perfectly...  I am pretty sure you've never done anything perfectly because we're not perfect.  You may have satisfied yourself and done very well - but we're humans, and we're not perfect.  There will be SOMETHING that we influence our children with that we have no clue what type of outcome it will create... no matter how well we think we're doing and what "the studies" say.  How many of those studies follow nutrition?  Just a though.

All I'm saying is this has WAY more to do with culture and lifestyle than it does with parent's just willy nilly going against their instincts. Most of their instincts say "I'm exhausted and I need sleep and I don't like this but I don't know what else I CAN PHYSICALLY do before I go into severe depression." Not every decision is as easy for one person as it is for someone else. SUPPORT each other...

GO SIT WITH THAT MOM THAT IS "LETTING" HER BABY CRY IT OUT so that she can get some sleep...

GO COOK HER FAMILY'S MEALS...

TAKE HER KIDS TO _______________

GO listen to her... go talk to her... go understand her... go live by her... go garden with her... go help her teach her children something... anything...

And, then.... take a look at YOUR life and see how much time you have to GO DO SOMETHING THAT PHYSICALLY SUPPORTS THAT MOM IN HER DAILY TASKS who probably doesn't enjoy yelling or spanking or whatever...  Do you have that ability?  I'm not judging... I just want you to look at our culture and then think about that when a peaceful parenting *advocacy* article is shared before you comment on the moms that are doing the best they can... And, we get passionate sometimes and our hormones take over sometimes and we have to understand that, too. Remember that most moms may have someone who is there for them, but they don't share those same ideals because they had to do it all themselves, too.  They had to get all those things done and responding to every need of the baby made it not happen.  Before that, same situation.  And just a few short generations ago - those methods were SURVIVAL.  It was get the kid to bed and get the harvest in or you didn't eat. (Yes, of course we can baby wear… and these tips are also thrown out in hurtful and condescending ways).  Most of those developing America didn't come from indigenous cultures living in communities and helping each other.  It was most families living alone or in a system designed around money for everything... in cities without space to do much of anything and the toilet waste was thrown in the streets.  Native Americans and other tribal cultures did/do live in smaller communities where they are only working on survival in the natural world where they don't have the tax systems and poverty isn't an issue (unless someone like the US has come in and tried to turn them into our culture... how's that working out for us?  Doesn't work out well for them either).  But, I digress...

We can say "don't worry about the house...." or "sleep when the baby sleeps..."  And, sure, those are all great tips - but that's not the root answer.  We enjoy living in a clean and orderly space.  We thrive on symmetry and asymmetry.  When there is dirt and clutter - we feel those energies in our mind and it can actually make us a more negative parent.  When we constantly giving of ourselves in some form, we energetically need those sleep times to just take a breath.  We absolutely need sleep, too - and that is a HUGE factor with parents today... but, we need those moments to pray, meditate, and be with our own thoughts too.  Many women can't sleep with thoughts in their head.  I keep a notebook by my bed to write down things I start thinking about before I can go to sleep.  All of these things influence the ability to "peacefully parent" 100% of the time.

Studies can show a lot... but one thing is for sure - paying attention to your child the majority of the time, respecting them like you would like to be respected the majority of the time, and saying sorry go a LONG way.  While I'm not *encouraging* cry it out and all those other things - most kids that experienced that as a child are doing very well *in our culture.*  They are happy, successful, and healthy adults.  Really.  The ones that aren't doing so well are those that had poor role models.  Those that had parents and seniors that never felt like saying sorry was necessary.  Those that had parents that thought if they just pushed them to school (or homeschooled to make them work or to avoid driving them) or to their friends or whatever else instead of *creating* quality time.  It has *way* more to do with the intentional family unit than the pieces of the puzzle.  We will be affected by soooo, so many things in our life.  Not just our parents.  Let's keep that in perspective - especially if the urge to be *hateful* arises to another fellow parent.  There are goals we strive for - and I encourage you to have the ideals of "peaceful parenting" and "attachment parenting" as your goal - but while working on those goals, reality happens and we need to be able to forgive ourselves and forgive others.  We need to learn and move on and try again.  Forgiving includes understanding why someone may be saying, doing...etc. something.  I love asking myself "I wonder what they're really going through to ________ (brag, complain, degrade, support...etc.)"  It not only helps me respond better to someone, but it is a learning experience for me and helps me with my advocacy.

We don't live in a perfect world - but we're certainly not loving each other like we should... infants to seniors.

 

Taking a babymoon and wanting to limit visitors and overstimulation?  Ever just wanted your friends and family to know exactly how to help you postpartum?  Are you a first time mom and not quite sure what you'll need?  Know what it feels like when those calls and visitors stop coming after 2-3 weeks?

This can be quite a tough culture for the childbearing and parenting years.  Most families would welcome the visitors if they knew just what to do.

Check out our new printable cards.  Print on card stock, flip and print again.  Repeat.

Coordinate times to visit by adding dad's (or your main support person's) phone number or e-mail so they're able to filter calls.  You'll feel much more rested if you aren't spending hours on the phone retelling your birth story and talking all about the baby to everyone who wants to get in touch.  Cut.  Then hand them out to everyone who tells you the classic "let me know if/how I can help."

[button size="large" color="theme" link="http://www.esalibirth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/EB-Postpartum-Cards-1.pdf" tooltip=""]Click Here to Download[/button]EB Postpartum CardsPin

 

It is THE cause above all causes. It is the BEGINNING of health for our children and their future. Support the beginning, and the future becomes brighter. Birth and breastfeeding go hand in hand, and by supporting the early stages of life, we can improve our culture’s health and happiness for many generations to come. Breastfeeding provides protection against diabetes and all the big diseases most other causes are supporting. But, this isn’t just a bunch of money going to causes that haven’t improved outcomes over the past 20 years – it is going to support biology in one of the most healthy ways possible – and directly in our own community. That mom down the street that cried because she didn’t have support to breastfeed – this money goes for her. This money goes for the baby with latch problems. The money goes for the families that want to breastfeeding and want a free place for support. Every little bit helps support our community and our future.

What should I eat?  How much should I eat?  The Brewer Pregnancy diet is often highly promoted throughout the independent birth education industry, but, it is often confused as protein being the only important part of the diet.  Likewise, even when following the guidelines, mothers still get the impression that protein is the most important part and feel like they have to bring a checklist with them at all times.  While making a food journal for a few weeks can be a great way of being sure you’re on track or if you’re missing something important, this shouldn’t be your only focus during pregnancy.

At Esali Birth, we reference the Brewer Diet often, but don’t focus on it primarily.  I want families to understand that their “diet” during pregnancy shouldn’t be much different than at any other time in their life, just in higher quantities – this is a lifestyle, not your normal “diet plan.”  Therefore, we focus on Simple Portions - eating the rainbow and listening to your body as the most effective way to get the right nutrients for you and your baby.  The majority of your diet should be made up of vegetables and fruits, particularly dark greens.  You want these vegetables to be in a wholesome variety – touching all colors of the rainbow – and vine-ripened whenever possible to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need.   If you cannot grow your own foods, can't shop at a farmer’s market and cannot obtain the most nutrient-dense foods, whole foods supplements may be necessary, but they do not give you all the benefits of wholesome foods.  In western cultures, meat is usually seen as the main portion on the dinner plate, whereas most eastern cultures utilize these as taste enhancers and consume far less meat.  Interesting to note, they have better health and can obviously eat more nutritious meals while not breaking the bank because meat is a large portion of the grocery bill for most consumers.

Here you can see a nutritional daily servings wheel based off the Brewer Pregnancy diet basic guidelines.

Brewer Diet Wheel

Now, here is a basic nutritional portion wheel based off of eating the rainbow and following a plant-based diet with wholesome varieties.

EB Food Portions

You may notice the “Whole Meats” part of this wheel and wonder what this refers to.  If you consider that whole grains are the whole grain without the plant broken down into a nutritionally-void substance, whole meats will include various parts of the animal.  By cooking a whole chicken and utilize the various parts of the chicken, you’re obtaining many vital nutrients that would otherwise be lost.  Note also that following your cravings is a crucial part of any lifestyle.  The key, however, is to understand what you’re cravings really mean.  In a world where manufactured and processed foods weren’t abundant, your cravings would lead you to these wholesome foods, not a plate full of brownies, so keep that in mind.

The wheel can be used easily to lay out your meal and snack time portions making your pregnancy and life much easier.  Enjoy!

Much of the world’s perspective on Christianity and birth is “eve’s curse” – that day when Eve was deceived and birth was forever changed to painful. That is a misconception in itself, and you can find articles about it on the Best Perinatal Articles post. There are numerous lessons to be learned from reading through various stories in the Bible that may not pertain directly to birth, but it is also amazing how many metaphors are used through scripture to relate to the work of a laboring woman, and the connection between a mother and her nursing baby. This was no nonchalant task, and finding guidance through this time in the Bible is quite comforting to many Christians.

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