Hey out there. Lindsay Conley here. WOW! What a cluster the past few weeks/months have been emotionally. Some days our household is doing really well: we're singing, writing, reading, knitting, hiking (please check out 1000 Hours Outside), biking, cooking, building, and working. Other days we're struggling for space and air, falling into old familiar negative habits that do nothing but harken the return of depression and anxiety that lingers like a stray cat. And I don't like cats!
As I felt the pull of the stress from the cacophony of debate over our current pandemic, I made the very personal decision to peace out of facebook. While welcomemama.com will remain published, the FB page will be on an indefinite hiatus. Instagram will remain and serve as a great way to contact me if you find yourself in need of support resources.
I hope you will be able to still use the resource pages here. I will be working to update information in between homeschooling my 5 and 8 year old. If you can't find what you're looking for, please don't hesitate to email and DM through instagram.
For now, check out these links for decent information regarding the Novel Coronavirus.
1. Mama Natural and Buffalo's own Maura Winkler of Fika Midwifery
Pregnancy In the Time of COVID-19 🦠 Free video training
2. Evidence Based Birth with Rebecca L. Dekker, PhD, RN, LCCE
Birthing in the time of COVID-19: Introduction
3. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, Centers for Disease and Control information
4. Doula and Childbirth educator, Bridget Teylor
Giving Birth at a Hospital During COVID-19 | How to Avoid Going to the Hospital Too Early
Do you have someone in your life who you can share some pretty scary, raw thoughts with? Like ( circa 2014 "I really want to divorce my husband.") or (circa 2016 "How do I not spank the shit out my son or lose my shit?").
A person who's known you long enough to have a pretty decent feel for when you need their help or when you just need an ear?
The person who shared this with me today is that person for me. We're busy now and don't even text as often as we used to, let alone get a chance to hang out with or without our kids....but she's still one of my people who really "gets it".
Because she's IN it.
Hey out there. Give this week's Sweatpant Sessions a listen. I'm so excited to tell you that it's now available on a ton of podcast apps, including Spotify. I'm also sharing it right here in Welcome Mama, if those other apps don't suit you!
Today I talk about an article I fell upon about the myth of maternal instincts, chat about several up-coming local events and support groups and tell you about my first pregnancy.
Hey out there. You run Welcome Mama WNY's holistic directory for birth and early parenting in between running after my two kids, right? Welp, my business partner (*cough* my husband) has been cool about paying for the site but would love for it to pay for itself. I've been trying to figure out how to make the site sustainable without being too markety....because I'm pretty terrible at being a markety type.
Welp, the other night I think I found the way!
I'm really excited to introduce Sweatpants Sessions, a companion podcast to Welcome Mama. And I'm sooooo excited about it. Please go check it out, if you're into middle-aged motherhood adventures. The story contains a few "rude words" as we call them in my house and a police chase. :)
Hey out there. Hope you've been hanging in, keeping warm, and doing your own hygge thang with your families. I've been much better than some might think, giving myself some time to pull back and evaluate.
After a recent shit storm of events, I felt the need to take the site down, regroup, talk to a lawyer, etc. It was necessary and worth the break.
I feel confident that this site is needful, important and appreciated. (Thanks for the boost with your texts and messages.) I promise to continue to do the best I can.... and will absolutely continue to occasionally offend people and put my foot in my mouth.
You can trust that I'll also own up when I screw up.
However! I am 100% confident with the decisions I made as they related to Welcome Mama.
I won't share ANY info that will make me liable!! EVER!! So don't ask me to! EVER. I have NEVER posted negative info about any particular local doctor or midwife OR doula and NEVER will. If you'd like resources made available to learn how to research a particular doctor, midwife or even doula, I'm more than willing to make those resources available.
Woooooo. Feels good to put that all out there!
Thanks for your continued support. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please don't hesitate to contact me here, on facebook, or instagram.
After much thought and consideration, we (me and the medical professional previously willing to look further into the date) decided that tackling the recent Gates Media article was something bigger than a trite blog analysis could offer.
This doesn't mean that Welcome Mama refuses to support families who experience loss, even if/when it involves the midwifery model of care.
This doesn't mean that resources for bereavement families aren't included on the site. (They have been since it's inception in May of 2017, compiled by a local doula who shared them with me, in hopes of making the information easily accessible to local families). This doesn't mean that I don't support bereavement doulas. (There's an update coming with a list of those doulas).
This just means that I'm no longer helping the conversation by being part of it. And I have been part of it for going on 2 years.
I appreciate your encouragement and support in how this was handled last week. I also appreciate the dissent, allowing me to evaluate my own actions. At the end of the day, I can tell you that I did the best I could. This wasn't good enough for everyone and I'm okay with that.
I still welcome any woman who experienced loss to share their story here, as I always have. That will not change. But I cannot participate in anything that would make me liable. Remember, this is a free site, one I currently do because I want to.
I encourage anyone who would like to continue the conversation locally to head over to out ImprovingBirth.org - Buffalo, NY page, where we have 4 different women, from different backgrounds and perspectives administrating the page.
Our family continues to pray for our local families, hoping that they may find peace some day.
Our conversation from last week should have included this NY Times article. Like I said to a friend this weekend, our national or local conversation on this topic has many moving parts. But the one that matters most to me personally is supporting informed choice.
(P.S. We have a local medical and birth professional looking at the article that caused a stir last week. I'm hoping that she will be able to analyze the data and bring us a more objective look at the safety of out of hospital birth)
Please just remember that this site and page are for entertainment purposes. I'm not a doctor, midwife, or even a birth professional. I'm just a mom running a free website for families who want and need holistic information that is otherwise difficult to find.
You should always make informed medical decisions with your doctor or midwife. And if you don't like their opinions, feel the drive and urgency to find another provider. Please.
On 4 hours sleep, after screaming at my husband and being irritated with my four-year-old for not putting on his boots, I pulled into the driveway of my doctor's office building for my annual pap smear that hadn't happened in 3 years.
I drove past bundled up protesters with giant pictures of fetuses, shouting about abortion. My doctor is one of the only providers in WNY who still makes an abortion accessible to women. You don’t have to like that fact, but I do. Her building, in addition to housing abortion services, also serves as Buffalo’s only freestanding birth center.
This place, this brick building, where I helped stage our second annual Improving Birth rally on a moments notice with another mom was also where my son was born 4 years ago at 42 weeks and 5 days. In this building, after I unceremoniously fired my home birth midwife at 41 weeks (for reasons that you don’t need or want to know about), I shared a week of waiting, consultation, labor, and birth with my husband and Katherine Morrison. My doula and friend was by my side, as was a photographer and my midwife assistant, all of which conducted themselves with professionalism and empathy.
Through our time together, Katherine discussed risks on a daily basis. I understood the risks involved in having my son’s birth after 42 weeks. Unlike my first child, my second pregnancy was fully informed and I owned every choice. I made strategic, educated decisions that included avoiding certain things that some women choose to partake in when they reach the frustrating point of 42 weeks. I avoided any kind of intervention, other than walking, swimming, and going about my regular routine. I agreed to daily NST’s and BPP’s, keeping us updated daily on our son’s overall health. While in the hospital during those repeated NST’s, I was amazed by the number of veteran nurses who commented on my overall health and expressed sadness that more women weren’t encouraged to wait, instead of inducing.
My previous birth was a hospital induction that we agreed to after a resident told us that we’d have a stillborn baby if we wanted any longer. My daughter was born at 42+1 in the hospital. It wasn’t a textbook traumatic birth, but as a longtime survivor of a pre-existing brain disorder, I left feeling violated, unheard, and confused. That experience led me down a completely different path that influenced my decisions for my next birth. No midwife, no birthing center doctor coerced me to seek out an unmedicated birth out of hospital birth: I did.
I tell you all of this, not to discredit any other woman’s story.
I tell you this to help you understand why I can’t write an objective piece on the current topic.
Before 10 AM yesterday I had nothing about the now viral expose, Failure to Deliver.
I’m reluctantly sharing the link here so that you may formulate your own opinions on the topic. Please also look at this link regarding the investigation. I think part of responsible journalism is being objective. I’m not sure if that was achieved with this article, but it’s a starting point for dialogue that we’ve failed to have as a community. And for that I’m uncomfortable, but gracious for the opportunity.
I welcome dialogue and other women’s stories. I will share them, if they want me to. I will continue to make resources and information available. Yesterday I just needed some time to think about my own feelings, obligations, and duties. Some of those duties belong to caring for my own heart and health. I’m sorry if anything I said yesterday was seen as callous or insensitive.
If anyone out there would like to share their thoughts, pleace feel free to contact me anytime.
Thanks for the vibes and prayers. This past Saturday was a sad/happy day. Our kids were AWESOME and were able to participate in their own ways.
Our world will never be the same.
Grace was a very special woman who clearly touched many people.
We're all better for having known her.
My husband wrote one of her eulogies. I couldn't stop smiling when he read it to me after writing it.
The Secret to Life – As per Grace Huenniger
by Chris Binder
The secret of life is Kuchen. And pastries. And Donuts and coffee.
It’s also having 8 Great grandkids that make you smile.
It’s 4 grandkids that mean the world to you, and watching them grow. And being a huge part of their lives. Take them to Gold Circle and Hills and let them pick out any toys they want.
Sell your Mickey and Minnie dolls that you made from scratch so they could have life changing experiences.
Have 2 wonderful incredible children that you’re proud of. That you raised to be extraordinary people that would do anything for anyone, just as you would.
Welcome people into your family. That way you find a fantastic Son in law and Daughter in law that are more like your own children, and love you just as much.
Find a loving partner that loves you as much as you love them, and stand by them through the good times and the bad. Love that person for over 50 years. Travel. Face seemingly insurmountable odds and build a legacy together.
Deal with the bad times with strength and fortitude. Don’t give up.
Accept what has been given to you and come out on the other side even better than when you started.
You also need to take time for yourself, as well. Self care is important. You need to take those 12 hour trips to the Bon Ton, and all day trips to the casino in Salamanca on a bus that leaves at 5 AM and doesn’t come back until midnight.
Go to the dollar store and buy toys for your great grandkids.
You need to wear your heart on your sleeve. If someone is annoying you, you need to tell them. If you love them, you need to tell them that, too.
Tell people that you’re proud of them. Encourage them. Tell them that they’re the best parents in the world. Tell them that you’re proud of the career that they have. Tell them how happy you are that they turned out the way they did.
Watch TV. The good stuff, like the Kardashians and Dr. Phil, and Lawrence Welk.
Play the Organ. Sing songs. Find places to go and sing. Find joy.
Find friends. Amazing friends. People that would do anything for you. Do anything for them. Be there. Be present. Share in their lives. Be a rock, but let them be a rock for you, too.
Be such an amazing person that your legacy carries on for generations, not only with your family, but with the friends that you have made. Be such an inspiration that you will never be forgotten.
Yes, it seems like a lot to remember. It seems difficult – next to impossible, even.
But Grace Huenniger did it every day. She lived it. She was an amazing person that changed everybody’s lives forever, and will never be forgotten. She helped mold everyone in this room and her spirit will live on through each and every one of us.
As summer fades and the leaves change pigment, transitioning us to a different time of the year I'm often struck by the symbolic imagery laid out before us:
Some leaves drop with the first cool afternoon.
Some hang on until an artic gust takes hold.
Some drop effortlessly, surrendering to the new stage that nature has designed as part of its journey.
Some people rage during times of change.
Some people whimper.
Some treat these times of natural revolution with wonder and attention.
Birth...and death are no different.
We've had a rough couple of years as a family.
Losing both my maternal aunt and uncle in the span of a few months, and dealing with our own day-to-day struggles as a little family with not a ton of support outside of our network of generous friends.
Our current journey is cutting a hole in our safety net of recovery: my husband's grandma, Grace was recently placed in a nursing home. She's 94 and up until recently enjoyed trips to BonTon, music at a jamming senior center, driving to get her own groceries, and watching the Kardashians from the comfort of her own lovely home.
She's not happy with this new transition. I try to see her daily, not out of obligation, but out of reciprocation. She's a special person, one who has been 110% supportive of me and the way we've chosen to raise our kids, even if she may talk about me behind my back (ha!).
Having her in my life has been a comfort that I tried not to take for granted. Every Sunday we would block off our day and spend hours at her home, dishing about the latest gossip, her friends, and what she did all week. She'd drive to the the dollar general weekly and purchase a grotesque amount of plastic toys for our kids. She'd ply us with gum drops and always has a supply of chocolate and Vernor's ginger ale.
Right now all she'd like to do is go home. I can't do that for her, but I can give her my time during this new phase in her life.
Please forgive if Welcome Mama isn't expanding like I had promised.
But it will happen when the time is right.
Until then, keep bugging me if I forget to list you, keep pestering me about the podcast and any events that you want to see come to Buffalo. I appreciate your patience and support.
Hi. I'm Lindsay. Daughter, sister, wife, mother and collector of useless (and useful) information.