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Not everyone can hire a postpartum doula, nor has the family and friends able, willing or experienced to help during the postpartum weeks.  Often, Dad must return to work within a week and Mom is left alone at home.  Even with two parents home, taking care of one child, let alone multiple, can be an overwhelming task.  Reality is, we just weren't meant to do so much on our own, despite the number of years the western world has been putting independence on a pedestal.  Unfortunately, our culture is seeing the results of dispersed families, loan and credit card living, and lack of real community for the basic tasks of daily survival.

Nevertheless, this is our reality and tips to help us make it through the early parenting weeks and months are incredibly helpful.  Preparing for postpartum can be super easy when you start around your 36th week of pregnancy.  This gives you plenty of time to make freezer meals slowly while also getting you ready for if baby comes a little sooner than you might expect.

 

12 Tips for Prepping Postpartum Meals

  1. Keep postpartum meals wholesome.  It is easy to make heavy casseroles and comfort food, which often freeze well, and then not feel nourished when you need well balanced nutrition for optimal hormonal balancing and breastfeeding nourishment.  Comfort food is filling and yummy, and there's nothing wrong with this now and then - but remember to keep most of your meals nourishing and digestible to support a healthy milk supply, and emotional well-being.  Eat food blends that cover all the colors of the rainbow, especially green.
  2. Double up postpartum meals.  One of the easiest ways to prepare postpartum meals is to simply double your recipe for any meal and freeze half.  This allows very little extra time spent prepping additional foods.
  3. Single serve frozen postpartum meals.  It is common to freeze a big dinner for the whole family, but remember that Mom may be spending a lot of time alone in the house and may not need to heat up a whole meal - not to mention the extra time needed to thaw a larger meal.  Freeze breakfast or lunch burritos that can be warmed up when you want something a little more than a sandwich but don’t want to thaw out a whole dish.  If you’re a smaller family, get 3-4 meals out of your leftovers by packaging them in separate (disposable) containers.  This takes us to our next point.
  4. Thaw your postpartum meals the night before.  Once you have your calendar made, it will be easy to know what you're having and remember to set your meal in the refrigerator for faster cooking the next day.
  5. Meal Calendar Planning for postpartum meals.  Make a calendar weekly (or even for the first 6 weeks) of at least dinner options so that you don’t have to use energy to think about a wholesome meal which means you also save time (and likely money) when making a grocery list and shopping.
  6. Love your crock pot for postpartum meals.  Crockpots are great for large pots of soup, casseroles, whole chickens and vegetables, and leftovers.
  7. Splurge on organic and preservative-free processed foods. Everyone loves pantry items for convenience, but don't let convenience trump quality.  Spend some time canning your own soup or spend a little extra on higher quality brands in the health"ier" food sections to be sure you don't get bogged down with clogging chemicals when you need to feel your best.
  8. Make snack platters and fill bottles.  A great job for the birth partner, or anyone stopping by to help, is to prep the snack platters by opening any packages, washing any produce, and getting things ready to go for quick eating throughout the week.  Make a fruit and cheese tray.  Prep a veggie and fruit tray.  Do this every 2-3 days so you always have something fresh to eat while Dad is away, or when not even heating the freezer meal is an option.  Don’t forget to fill up reusable water bottles that can be tossed anywhere without spilling and placed at all the nursing places throughout the house.  These quick prep options also encourage mom to get out and get some sunshine and social time as the weeks go by because packing healthy snacks takes only seconds for you and any siblings.
  9. Keep snacks and drinks reachable.  If you have older children that aren’t quite at the independent stage, prep snacks for you and them at a reachable height.  This means they can go into the pantry or the refrigerator and easily grab healthy snacks and foods for themselves without your help for those marathon nursing sessions.  Don’t forget to include your own snacks at this height so they can bring you food or drinks when getting up is a little difficult.  Don’t forget items that they can make themselves to occupy their mind and hands, too, like lunch meat and cheese, roasted chickpeas, peanut butter, or pesto which makes an amazing dip or sandwich spread.
  10. Use an eCalendar planning service for postpartum meals.  Don't forget baby showers, blessingways, church groups, and any other network you're affiliated with for their desire to help postpartum.  A simple online web search will provide you with many options for meal calendar sign up aps and services to share.  These not only allow date sign-ups, but also provide options for take-out, gift cards, and sending meal boxes by mail for loved ones far away to lend a hand (not to mention house cleaning and yard work).  You can alternate these between your freezer meals and you can save your meals for when the help stops.  Don’t forget these postpartum help cards to hand out when you write your baby shower thank you notes.
  11. Cool meals completely before freezing.  Don’t forget to let your meals to be frozen completely cool before packaging to reduce sogginess when reheating and prevent thawing out foods when you put them in the freezer.
  12. Be conscientious about food storage.  Disposable trays are wonderful when avoiding the extra task of cleanup during postpartum but unfortunately these options are often limited to aluminum (which is a neurotoxin) or BPA or other chemically-lined paperware.  When possible, use glass for storage.  Bake in glass dishes and then store in something else, and where you’re able reheat in glass.

Looking for a few postpartum meal options?  Check out these recipes:

  • Apple Squash Soup - Wonderfully nourishing to the immune system and an excellent cool weather comforting meal.
  • Wild Rice Casserole - Casseroles are both easy to make and filling, and this one is doubly nourishing without all the heavy starches typical of casserole dishes.
  • Nettle Lasange - Twist up your lasagne dish with nutrient packed nettles - great for nourishment for the whole family, and for breastmilk.  (Don't have fresh nettles?  Sub 1/2 the amount the recipe calls for with dried nettles and a little water to reconstitute and blend in your sauce).
  • Broccoli Parmesean Vegetarian Meatballs - Excellent for a meatless meal, a snack, a side dish, or a main course.
  • 10 Crockpot No Cook Freezer Meals - Here is a great list of meal prep without the need to cook-ahead and all it requires is opening the bag and pouring in a crockpot for an easy peasy fresh dinner.  Excellent for the postpartum doula bag, too.

 

What was your favorite postpartum meal?

 

Prenatal movement is equally necessary for a healthy birth as nutrition.  Unfortunately, chiropractic care has been touted as the supreme fix for prenatal discomfort.  While chiropractic care can certainly have its benefits and uses for pregnancy, it is often a result of poor movement practices that cause the misalignment in the first place and without fixing these movement practices, the return to chiro appointments will be regular.  Here are 5 Must-do Prenatal Movements to add into your daily movement-based lifestyle.

Walking in Pregnancy

Walking in pregnancy is by far the most important prenatal movement that should be a significant part of your lifestyle.  An average of 3-10 miles a day of walking (though not at one time) is historically supportive for a healthy life including birth preparation, lower cancer risks than non-movers, and decreased uterine (menstrual) discomfort.  Walking moves the pelvis in a way that helps to support baby in a biologically desired position and also helps to provide valuable nutrients to the pelvis and digestive system.  Walking any amount more than you already do (if you're not in that average 3-10 miles per day range) is beneficial.  Work up to 1-3 miles per day, on average.  You would likely also benefit from a visit to a physical therapist (find one that is Nutritious Movement Certified or generally uses natural movements as a basis for therapy) for guidance on gait patterns and proper alignment so that your walking is overall beneficial.

Calf Stretches

Unless you're walking barefoot in the woods most of the day on all sorts of terrain, your feet and legs can be a little stiff.  Furthermore, if you have any rise on the heels of your shoes at all, your calves are shortening and subsequently reaching your pelvis and back causing misalignment which may contribute to longer more intense labor.  Calf stretches as a prenatal movement, or any time, help to elongate the muscles, but these have to be done on top of a movement-based lifestyle.  Calf stretches can be done any time.  Use rolled up towels or yoga mats, or half domes and place them at your sinks, your stove, your tables, your TV - wherever you find some down-time.  Be sure to rotate between multiple areas of calf and foot stretches for diversity.

Hamstring Stretches

If sitting exceeds any other prenatal movement or non-movement activity of your life by any amount, then your legs, pelvis, and back are reducing in length, tightening, and unable to be as mobile as birth will desire.  The pelvis helps connect the top of the body to the bottom of the body through muscles, ligaments, and various tissue.  Having a mobile pelvis enables baby more of an ability to move throughout pregnancy, labor, and birth.  Have a partner hold your ankle and push to the point of stretching, but not pain.  Hold this for 30-60 seconds and then go a little deeper.  If you don't have someone available, grab a towel or yoga strap to hold this stretch.  Sit on the floor without your legs crossed, alternate legs.  You can notice tightness if your pelvis has to tuck in this position or your thighs come off the ground.  Work on other stretching and work into sitting in this position without tucking.  Scoot your bum up against a wall and lift your feet in the air; hang out and read a good book.  While these positions may not be suitable for all stages of pregnancy, there are many ways of incorporating movement into your life for a more mobile pelvis.

Squatting

Squatting was once a crucial part of our daily gathering lifestyle.  We also squatted to eliminate which helped to loosen the tissue surrounding the pelvis.  Squatting is a significant birthing position for many women that instinctively choose their own birthing position.  The issue is, we don't squat enough and our often sitting-based (rather, lack of movement based) lifestyles don't promote pelvic mobility.  Squatting daily as a form of natural prenatal movement whenever you need to get up and down out of bed, off the floor during down time, to get pots and pans...etc., increases the natural mobility of the pelvis allow better movement for baby.  Adding in a few extra squatting sessions - not as an exercise, but as a stretch - further helps to counterbalance work needs and lifestyle choices.  Be sure to squat with your knees close to vertical and keep a curve in the spine.  Grab a partner and have them support you as you pull your pelvis backwards and down into a squatting position just enough to keep your shins vertical and not tuck your pelvis.  Keep your toes pointing forward while you do this, too.  Hold that for 15-20 seconds at a time.  Butt tucking motions are counter productive to a squat.  By the way, relax on the kegels a bit... literally.  Tightness is one thing that is common in a sitting based lifestyle.  We need more movement, stretching, and flexibility.

Sitz Bone Awareness

Any time you're sitting, be up on your sitz bones (and for the sake of knowledge sharing, these are actually your ischial tuberosities, not your sitz bones... but that's the common term that is used so we're going to call them sitz bones here for ease of understanding).  You can see the lack of space baby has in the first photo with a tucked pelvis.  You can see the mobile sacrum and increased space for baby with the untucked pelvis of the second photo when sitting up on the sitz bones.  These are the bony protuberances at the bottom of the pelvis.  Being aware of their location will enable you to sit up (right now as you're reading this) any time you find yourself in a sitting position.  Remember, though, that sitting shouldn't be a position that happens more than other positions - but you should be aware of how you're sitting when it does happens.  No laying back on the couch, slouching at dinner, or bucket seats in the car (add a puff of air to a pool ring to sit on in the car).  Even if you're sitting on a birth ball (physical therapy ball), you need to be up on your sitz bones with a curve in your back (but not over arching and sticking your ribs out).  Keep your knees below your hips.  A nice comfortable position to align the spine and pelvis when needed.  Just remember to take change positions throughout the day (every 15 minutes) and take regular movement breaks (15 minutes every hour).  If you haven't put two and two together yet, you can see how a "pushing" position of being in any way other then up off your bum and forward leaning or squatting decreases room for the baby as well.

What prenatal movement do you like to add into your movement-based pregnancy?

prenatal self care

Self Care is the foundation of The Oxytocin Method.  10 weeks closer to meeting your precious one on this side of the belly.  Wow - I wish I could hug you.  I wish I could tell you how much you joining in this challenge means to me!  I wish I could tell you how important loving your progress is for you and your birth.

Journey with me one more time for a very special challenge of Esali Birth Prep.

To read the full post, you must be a member of the FREE Esali Birth Community.  JOIN Esali Birth.

To receive weekly notifications, and supportive student-only tips, for the 10-Week Esali Birth Prep lessons, ENROLL in the FREE Esali Birth Prep Course.

Show me how you #selfcareforbirth with the #esalibirthprep challenge on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter.

 

Thank you so much for joining in this 10-week challenge!  Did you miss a week of the challenge or need a recap?  Check out the previous challenges by becoming a member of the Esali Birth Online Community (for FREE) and join the Esali Birth Prep Challenge course:

Week 1 - Make Tea for Birth

Week 2 - Just Breathe for Birth

Week 3 - Move for Birth

Week 4 - Hydrate for Birth

Week 5 - Sunshine for Birth

Week 6 - Healthy Fats for Birth

Week 7 - Poop for Birth

Week 8 - Detox for Birth

Week 9 - Sleep for Birth

Seasonal Cycle Wheel

All women, and many men, are aware of the changes that seem to be prevalent with every cycle during the childbearing years.  Of course, men go through their own cycles - and humans in general go through cycles of their life - all with similar feelings as a bigger picture.  The thing most modern cultures don't grasp, however, is the ability to work with their cycle on a day to day basis to not only get the most out of their energy levels - but live a more fulfilling life by not working against their energy levels.  The fact that we have medications that are believed to be a normal part of our biological needs because of discomfort, agitation, depression, bloating, PMS…etc., is a red warning light telling us to pay attention and provide relief.  Let's talk about some ways you might accomplish a more wholesome life by planning around the seasonal changes of your cycles.

First things first - ideally, you would have a 28 day cycle.  The moon has a 28 day cycle.  The earth has a seasonal cycle.  Plants follow their own cycles.  The day follows a cycle.  What is most important is the sun's cycle and its constant influence no matter the season.  Furthermore, of all of these cycles that keep going round and round, we can gather some of the most relatable information if we look at plants for just a moment.

Plants will not put forth their fruit without a certain set of conditions.  If ideal conditions are not met, the fruit will be sour or diseased or smaller, perhaps.  It may take longer to harvest.  Stress of the wind, the water, the pollution and some say even the noise will change growing patterns.  The plant may wither away if it lacks certain nutrients, sunlight, or water.  Plants may bear more than expected fruit or any situation similar to a lack of ideal conditions.  As the sun increases during the spring we see life exponentially growing and as it wanes in the autumn, living things use their energy within instead of forth-giving.  Plants are living things.  We are living things.  We are not elite in the fact that our body can run as intended when it is not in the ideal environment.

How can we live a modern life and still honor the intention of our female nature?

Is it even possible?  That's a topic for another time… so for now let's not focus so much on time length of your current cycle or other therapeutic treatments able to balance your cycle beyond the emotional planning you can do that we'll discuss here.

The above illustration shows the basic phases of the menstrual cycle and how they coincide to what we often refer to as the four seasons.  "Medically" - the new cycle is said to begin with menses (your "period"), so we'll start there - although, secretly - I like to think of the year and my cycle starting with spring.

 

THE FERTILE SEASONS

Menstruation Phase - Winter

Menses - the winter phase - is a sign of fertility.  Although women do typically ovulate and then menstruate following (see why I don't like thinking of this as the beginning?)…  This is a time for that sort of "ahhh" feeling.  Sometimes this is, "ahhh, a new page on my chart."  For others it might be, "ahhh, I'm NOT pregnant."  For others it is a little more inward and lonesome - but exciting because of what you can receive in others' energy after a cycle of giving.

No matter how you like to look at this phase, this is a time for slowing down and reflection.  Your hormones, namely progesterone, are leveling off and you may feel a sense of release… emotionally and physically.  Some may get a surge of energy at this point, but tasks that allow you to rejuvenate are best utilized at this time.

  • Rest & Relax
  • Take time for yourself
  • Take a bath nightly with calming herbs and a soothing menses tea designed to build energy and maintain blood levels.
  • No "must do's"
  • Receive - request - help around the house - with loving friends or family nurturing you
  • Reduce appointments (even if they're pampering)
  • Nurture yourself with positive social connection
  • Eat nourishing bone broth based soups and stews.

 

Follicular Phase - Spring

Who doesn't love spring?  You should be feeling cleansed and rejuvenated by this point.  Your energy is building and now is the time where you feel like taking on new tasks and beginning to give some of your energy again.  This is the time for the "yes I can" phase of your cycle.  You might care how you look, how you feel, and the "what's going on" in the social world attitudes - even if last week, you wanted nothing to do with it.  This phase can fluctuate in length easily with environment (food, stress, sleep…etc.).

What is important here, however, is to not overbook yourself now - or for the rest of your cycle.  You may be feeling great, but you need to plan ahead and remember that your cycle (and environment) may influence your daily tasks.  This phase is best at getting rid of old ways and being ready for something new.  This is the best time for getting started on new tasks, taking on a new project at work or a new job.  You'll feel energized and together.

 

  • Get Creative
  • Design or plan something (hobbies, work projects, vacations, birthday parties…etc.)
  • Plan for the new cycle the goals and achievements you desire
  • Clean house (literally, and emotionally)
  • Get a few "must do" items knocked off your task list to reduce too many later in your phase
  • Meetings are often best experienced in this phase of the cycle
  • Teamwork and female interaction will be most pleasant at this time - schedule activities accordingly
  • Slow cooked foods like sprouted beans, roasts, and long grain or wild rice will help with energy-building after the menses phase.

 

Ovulation Phase - Summer

You are swollen with energy, love, passion, and possibly even a little social envy.  You feel great.  Your cheeks are a little more red and your lips a little more plump.  Your cervical fluid is increasing quickly and becoming a stretchy, clear, highly fertile fluid.

Your individual personality and interests are really going to play a big role during this time.  You may feel a little uneasy if tasks are not going well, but this is the time to take action and make a decision.  Your "yang" energy is at its peak and you're ready to be done with teeter tottering on decisions.

 

  • Make decisions
  • Schedule meetings/appointments requiring your persuasion and input
  • Make a project task list for the luteal phase to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed when you have the energy to get something done at that time
  • Go for a date night (get a babysitter for the kids)
  • Male interaction will be most pleasant at this time - schedule activities accordingly
  • Nourish yourself with healthy fats, meats, and a good balance of light and protein rich foods.  Grilled meats with citrus, and grilled vegetables with an herbal cordial or nourishing fermented beverage will do well this time of your cycle.

 

Luteal Phase - Autumn

Ovulation has passed and progesterone is one the rise preparing for gestation if conception occurred during the ovulation phase.  This phase should always be the same length for you, no matter how long your cycle lasts.

You may feel warmer and more easily agitated though you are ready to get something accomplished.  You want to finish things up and get things in order.

 

  • Work on your tasks list from projects created earlier in your cycle
  • Solicit help for daily tasks and care with children.
  • Individual work is most easily undertaken at this time.
  • Get outside and move with plenty of sunshine.
  • Family fun adventures are great for this phase - something to get out of the house and get some fresh air.
  • Be cautious on bed times so you don't agitate your body with lack of sleep.
  • Say "no" to events, volunteering, and generally too much on the schedule.
  • Nourish yourself with teas and foods that are easily digested and low on heavy carbohydrates. Rice, light wraps/sandwiches, soups and stews will digest well.

DAILY RHYTHM

In addition to each phase of our cycle, we can think about our individual days in similar cycles and consider the way we interact routinely throughout each day and phase while using our morning/spring/planning time to prepare better for the following day.

 

  • Night - Winter - Sleep & Rejuvenation
  • Morning - Spring - Plan & Prepare
  • Afternoon - Summer - Outside, Movement, Outings, & Activity
  • Evening - Autumn - Rest & Finish Tasks

 

The times of these daily tasks will vary with the seasons, but what is most important is to notice the sun's influence on the length of time we have to complete tasks and not over-scheduling activities either during the shorter days of the year where artificial light will further diminish our body's natural sleep cycles nor too much during the longer days when it may feel as though there is all the time in the world and we're soon exhausted from over stimulation.

 

Areas of Fulfillment

Though our energy and our focus will shift throughout the weeks and months, we need to be filled in certain areas regularly to feel whole.  These areas include:

 

  • Spiritual thanks & honor - Everything for His glory and not our own
  • Giving - Doing for someone or something else without expectation of return
  • Receiving - Accepting the energy others desire to provide without expectation of specificity and the allowance for time of relaxation and down time (including reduction of audio and visual input of all kinds)
  • Movement - Physical activity of a varied kind (not "exercise" specifically)
  • Nutrient - Wholesome whole foods of a varied, and seasonal, nature

 

Cycle Seasons Journal Template

There are many journaling methods and planner methods and all are wonderful and great - and obviously the key is to find one that works for you.  You'll find two sheets attached that you can use for a 3-ring binder style journal for now.

cycle seasons journal template

 

The first is a calendar template.  You have a line for the month and a main project task list.  You'll also see a goal wheel where you can add date lengths for each of your cycle phases or the most important tasks to finish during that phase.  Below is a blank template with a column on the left where you can write your phase for that week and blocks to the right for appointments and planning.  In your follicular-spring phase of your cycle, this is the best time to complete this calendar.

[button link="http://www.esalibirth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Seasonal-Cycle-Calendar-Template.pdf" color="default" size="large" style="simple" icon="" icon_pos="left" target="_blank" align="center" lightbox="false"]Download Calendar Template[/button]

 

The next is a daily journal template.  You'll start filling out these entries during the morning-spring time of the day for the following day.  This enables you time to pre-plan a little and get things in order so you can have the remaining part of the day for activities and relaxation - and being careful to avoid the temptation of activity planning in the night/winter phase of the day after the rest of the family is sleeping (and you're likely to be missing sleep of your own in such a case).  You can also fill out any cycle tracking information such as your cervical fluid consistency, the cervical positioning (os), intercourse (and if it was 'protected'), basal body temperature, and any notes specific to your cycle.  Use the 5 blocks underneath to help plan - or journal - the areas of fulfillment that you are planning for the day or experienced during the day.  The bottom section is your reflection space that is great to finish up in the autumn evening time before bed.

[button link="http://www.esalibirth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Seasonal-Cycle-Journal-Template.pdf" color="default" size="large" style="simple" icon="" icon_pos="left" target="_blank" align="center" lightbox="false"]Download Daily Journal Template[/button]

 

As this article comes to its winter time, you just might be feeling a little overwhelmed.  I'm happy to chat with you, of course!  You will also find that as you start thinking about the activities that you plan and the goals you want to achieve with your cycle in mind - this flow will start to come naturally to you and overall you'll be more in tune with your biological intuition.

 

Tell me how you like to honor your female cycle.

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.

OK, so technically this iced herbal tea is great for anyone, anytime.  But, if you're looking for an incredibly simple blend of herbs that you can sip on in the scorching sun, this is it!

All you're mixing is equal parts of the following herbs and then using 1 Tbls of the blend per cup (double the amount if your herbs are fresh).  Boil your water, steep for 5 minutes.  Add a smidge of honey (no sugar, please) if you'd like (although its lovely unsweeted).  Chill.  Serve with a lemon wedge.  There you have muscle toning, a vitamin punch, and soothing to digestion.

Red Raspberry Leaf – The classic women's herb, though toning and nutritive for everyone! It is packed full of nutrients, which are very important for a healthy blood (and milk) supply.

Nettle – This is a very powerful nutrient boosting herb. It also helps with allergies and cleansing the blood - crucial during pregnancy to reduce risks of common complications like eclampsia and similar conditions. It is an excellent natural source of calcium, iron, and many other dish-approved nutrients.  Additionally, nettles have natural antihistamine abilities making this a great alternative, when used regularly and over time, to OTC allergy medications.

Mint - There are many mints to choose from.  I usually use a handful of whatever is growing in my backyard.  Spearmint has a smooth flavor, but you may like the punch of a peppermint - especially if you're in your first trimester and need a little nausea settling.  While mint in excess is not great during pregnancy, a little mint goes a long way and you can enjoy this as a nice summer drink.  It is great for nausea, tension headaches, hot flashes and sweats, and other conditions related to blood flow and nutrients.

Honey - Great for antibacterial needs but when its local and raw, and used regularly, over time it will help protect against seasonal allergies of your area and avoid more medications in pregnancy.

Lemon - The high vitamin c in lemons helps to ease nausea, and all its wonderful properties (including the peel) help to stimulate digestion and cleanse the liver further reducing risks of blood and digestion-related complications of pregnancy and postpartum.

 

Herbal Iced Tea

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