With a few hours a week to work on Welcome Mama (thank you, nursery school!), I’ve been trying to figure out how to be authentic without following all the rules of internet marketing that seem so pathetically unoriginal and formulaic.
But I don’t have freebies or 5 easy ways to improve your gut health on this little blog. My photos kind of suck and the template I’m using isn’t really fancy. The more I thought about all of this, the more it became clearer to me that these things don’t matter. They don’t matter because I feel like there’s something special and original here: the idea that my story, your story, and our collective story matters; the idea that you should be able to be empowered as a consumer to have access to ALL holistic resources for birth and early parenting.
It’s not really an original idea. We’ve been trying to do something like this for years through another nonprofit. Cutting through the red tape and charging people for memberships just made it really difficult to do what I really felt was the most important aspect of the mission: to provide consumers with a directory to all birth related holistic resources. It wasn’t about listing my friends and definitely not about only listing people who could afford the membership. I wanted to create a virtual phone book where consumers could pick and choose the people and services that best fit their needs, not mine. I hope I’m doing that. I can’t do it without your help.
If you know of a doula, yoga instructor, chiro, midwife, postpartum therapist, reiki master, waldorf inspired day schools, childbirth classes, support groups you name it, if it leans holistic/alternative/crunchy/touchy feely and birth/baby/mama related I want it HERE!
If you have:
-- a birth, postpartum, or early parenting related business in WNY
--a personal story or informational article that you authored
please, please don’t hesitate to contact me here or on facebook today.
*photo by Rizzo Photography
I promise I have an awesome piece on obstetric violence coming soon, but it's a process and a labor of love that's so important to me to get right.
Until then I have this quick bone to pick: A friend posted this the other day. While the article proclaims to denounce mom shaming, it does a wonderful job of deflecting the cause. What's so alarming is that Time magazine has made it their business to be so icky and frankly dismissive of natural and attachment parenting.
Nevermind that women have been fighting for choices in childbirth for decades.
Nevermind that most of us never KNEW half of the potential side effects of our "routine procedures". Nevermind that 1/3 of women in the United States have Cesareans. Nevermind that of those women, HALF are completely unnecessary and CAUSED by a cascade of intervention that tells women that their bodies aren't capable of laboring!?!
Nevermind that those ridiculously high rates of intervention aren't ever scraping the surface of maternal mortality rates....
While Time makes it a habit of back slapping the majority (google their vaccine articles, their "mom enough" article, etc) with its hype-filled headlines, it doesn't change standards of care for all women.
And If we choose to base our opinions on SCIENCE, then The Goddess Myth isn't remotely the problem: hospital policy that doesn't respect empowered and informed mothers is.
Quick links for birthy FACT BASED info (can you tell I'm pissed off about this article??):
Evidence Based Birth
Sleep. The word sounds so sweet and simple. It conjures up images of moons, stars, and snoring babies...
When my daughter Lena was born in 2012, we spent a few days in the hospital, then happily brought her home. Keenly focused on trying to figure out how the heck to breastfeed, the whole topic of sleep completely missed our radar. It didn’t miss anyone else's. During those first few weeks of her squishy little life we had so many people asking wistfully how she was sleeping. At first we answered in dismay that she was “only” sleeping for 4-5 hours at a time. By 2 months she was sleeping from 9pm-5am. Some friends didn’t understand that phenomenon. She was exclusively breastfed. How could she possibly be sleeping through the night so early on?
My husband and I thought we were really stellar parents. We must have been doing something spectacularly for our newborn to be sleeping for such long stretches. Yes, that was the answer: we were superhero parents, doing everything right, while the rest of the world was doing in woefully wrong. She’d go through phases of sleep regression, but was always what others determined “a good sleeper”. When random strangers would approach me at Target, marvelling at my lovely baby, they would often ask the usual questions that invariably began with, “Does she sleep through the night.” More than once my husband and I noted that these complete strangers would look almost disappointed when we divulged that she did in fact sleep and was an “easy baby” (whatever that meant). We didn’t really understand what the big deal was. Why would a complete strangers be slightly disappointed that our kid slept?
But oh, I know why now: because their kids didn’t sleep! They wanted us to suffer just like they did, just like eons of parents have throughout time! And our starry-eyed, blissful unicorn baby really put a damper on their wishes. We were smug in our new parent sleeping expertise. We knew how it was done: you simply nurse your baby and place them gingerly into their bassinet next to your bedside. You did NOT co-sleep. I mean, the pediatrician practically gave me a high five when I confirmed that GOD no, we didn’t co-sleep! That was for serious hippies and people who never wanted to have sex with their partner again! We would NEVER dream of co-sleeping. We didn’t need to….
Until Ben, our second baby, was born.
Ben was our carefully planned baby. My husband had a great job, we were crazy about each other and our little girl, so of course we’d have a second baby! He’d arrive on time (or 3 weeks late), nurse perfectly (or be just as hard to figure out as the first kid), and sleep through the night, just like our other unicorn baby. And he did for the first month or two. He slept 4-5 hours like his big sister and for a brief moment in time we really thought we had hit the jackpot of parenting: kids who slept through the night.
....to be continued.
It's Monday, my 3 year old woke up twice, my 5 year old is sick, I tried to quit coffee and, well, it's Monday. The other day I went back to my old blog, the one I semi-anonymously ranted and raved about my life, birthy stuff, nap time, and food. Now 6 years into this mothering gig, and 3 years into getting very little sleep, I'm so, so grateful that I documented the early years. Because those days keep me going these days.
There are so many nuggets of wisdom and inspiration. So many memories that would have been forgotten thanks to my brain turning to mush from sleep deprivation...
Like this one:
If you’re struggling with antepartum depression, you have a busy toddler, two dogs, no family near, and a husband at a new insanely busy job 11 hours a day, I want you to do me a favor: have lunch with your daughter at the dining room table, when the sun is shining through the windows, right after you bake a cake for your husband’s birthday.
I want you to put Elizabeth Mitchell’s version of “Lovely Day” on repeat.
Or this one:
1. Ben cries all the time.
2. No one in our house sleeps anymore.
3. I slammed my pinky in the sliding glass door today.
4. The dogs need to be rehomed, but I don’t have the heart to do it.
5. This vaccine debate has turned vile again. I’m not sure why I’m surprised.
6. Hello, PPD, old friend. Fuck you. Go away.
Or this one that left me weeping, remembering how horrible I felt; how the darkness gripped me and just wouldn't let go:
The truth is…
I’m 36.2 weeks pregnant and sleeping has become a blissful state of nothingness that I long for.
Particularly at 1am.
Because at 1am I’m no longer feeling hopeful or vengeful or have the tenacity to believe that we’ll get through all of this.
At 1am, I just feel this little guy waking up inside of me and tossing around my womb, looking for a comfy spot.
At 1am, I have brief fleeting moments of terror, when I wish he wasn’t coming in a few weeks.
At 1am, I think of Lucielle Clifton and the lost baby poem and begin to understand why some women do what they have to do.
Welcome Lillian K., today's Welcome Mama contributor.
Infertility is frustrating, draining, distracting, hopeful, depressing and a somewhat haunting. In a word, it's exhausting. It takes something beautiful, fun and intimate and turns it into a scheduled chore, one that creates a roller coaster for the heart and hopes. Every month leaving a bigger hollow, filled with failure, fear and desire for the unknown, the unfelt. I spent the first five years of my life with my husband trying not to get pregnant and the next seven trying and failing, to change that
I had miscarried twice in my late teens and had actually thanked God for that, because I wasn't ready to be a parent and the man was not the One. I had to wonder then, if my body simply couldn't grow a baby. I sometimes raged or cried, that I could make anything better, anything grow, except my family unit, except a baby. Misery led to anger. Women get pregnant every day unintentionally, whether it's welcome or not. Drug addicts can do it, Grandma's do it, teens can do it but somehow, for some confounded, confusing reason, I couldn't. Here I was, lucky enough to be married to my best friend, a perfect partner, yet our dream of creating a family seemed unattainable. I gave up sometimes, just to not feel the pressure and to let myself just be happy with me, with us and life as it is. Then I'd let hope slowly, quietly grow again.
Eventually people stopped asking us when we're having kids. The avoidance of the subject brought both relief and sorrow.
The common theory as to why so many women these days are having fertility issues is because we are bombarded with chemicals. Our body products, lotions, medications, food, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, car exhaust, etc. Everywhere we go we are surrounded by chemicals and toxins. This actually makes the egg walls harder, so it is harder for them to be fertilized. Changing our cleaning supplies and body products to natural ones, using organic, simple ingredients as often as possible and avoiding toxins is healthy for everyone. We did that.
My husband brought home info about how alcohol also adversely affects fertility. I made sure not to drink more than 4 drinks a week (Love my delicious red wine.)
After loads of research, conversation and blood work to be sure we were healthy, we had decided to try to increase fertility naturally, and try again. I drank the tea. Red raspberry leaf and nettle tea, to be exact. We bought a new basal thermometer. We both took folic acid, zinc and Coq 10. My husband stopped doing his riding sports for a few weeks a month, to stay cool. I got massage, to relax. We had fun and just enjoyed our love for each other. The quiet hope was strong again but we were approaching procreation this time as a delightful way to just love each other, whatever happened or didn't happen. No rush, no pressure, no fear.
Then, one busy Monday after work I poured a glass of wine for when my chores were done. I ran around putting groceries away, prepped dinner, took care of pets and laundry, cleaned the bathroom and then I saw it. There were two. Two pink lines. After hundreds of single little lines, there were TWO! I stood in shock for a moment. I went outside to sip my wine and absorb this massive yet tiny, unbelievable but unmistakable occurrence. I felt the breeze on my face, looked down at my two hands, poured the wine down on the ground, held the stick up in the air and smiled, hugely. The whole world changed that day.
Okay, I'm just going to tell you straight up that my current mission is to:
But the good news: I'm coming out of this disappointed haze with renewed vision and a reminder to myself that, hey, the point was to talk about businesses I thought were awesome, so let's get to it.
Today I'm going to tell you about this sweet studio, south of the city right on South Park. When I got the chance to try out IN-30 at Vitality Buffalo I was pretty psyched. On the day I was set to check out the studio my kids, predictably, had other plans that included insisting on 3 braids for school pictures, ripping out said braids, then missing the bus while crying that I was a horrible mother. Because moms who braid 3 braids 20 minutes before the bus comes totally suck, right? But I digress.
When I first started chatting online with Tabitha Sweeney about health and fitness I was struck by her genuine desire to provide a service that so few gyms are offering consumers, She had hit the roadblocks herself, "My most hated trainer line 'think back to a time when you were in the best shape of your life and what are you willing to get back to it?' . Nothing- I'm not willing to do what I did then because I have these two tiny humans who depend on me and I cant devote hours to the gym!!" She understands the plight of so many moms in WNY: TIME and energy.
My time and energy on the day I was set to check out the gym were both depleted. However, once I made it to the studio, kind of tired and beaten down, I was greeted by the trainer (and mom of 2 small people) Tabitha Sweeney and a class of other moms killin' it with kettle bells. I wasn't scheduled to work out for another half hour so my 3 year old and I hit the kids play area. As a mom of 2 kids and 2 dogs, I was really impressed by how immaculate the toy room was. Like someone actually wipes down the toys daily?! No cheerios smooshed on the exersaucers?! My son was thrilled with the variety and started chatting immediately with other little person who was hanging out while her mom kicked some kettle bell ass.
What I loved most about this kids play area was it's vicinity to the actual studio. Moms working out right there could monitor their kids in the playroom if necessary. For FREE. You can see the door opening to the play area on the right of the pic below. Later Tabitha told me that she feels firmly, "That there are a million other studios people can go to if they don't like kids" in their workout space. Her motivation behind creating the studio was to provide a space where moms could workout along side their children. As a mom of a little boy who has a rough time transitioning into new places without me, this sounded awesome.
As I sat in the play area filling out my intake forms, I listened to Tabitha finishing up her Kettle Bell class, "Don't attach food to guilt!" she said and discussed each woman's individual nutritional goals. She was encouraging, but definitely not complacent: you could tell that she wanted these women to meet their goals, but wasn't going to beat them up if they didn't. I liked this sentiment and was starting to get a little nervous that my class was about to start.
Tabitha cranked some late 90's hits that made me think about college and Eddie Vedder. I didn't have much time to daydream about grunge because she started on the dot and whipped us into 30 second intervals of tabata. If you haven't heard of tabata , you don't know what you're missing. Prior to kids I hated exercise classes and avoided them at all costs until I gave tabata a try. What made Tabatha's class different than others was the intensity of the training during a 30 minute class (my ass still hurts) and that my son was able to be right there with me, when he felt a little shy. I loved having him see me challenging myself and trying hard not to die. He loved being able to grab some 1 pound weights and do some curls while mama got her sweat on.
After class Tabitha took some time to talk to me about her vision. It's not complicated: she saw a "huge hole in the industry in regards to how we treat moms and what to expect out of people." She wants her studio to be a place where women are accepted for who they are today, not for who they might be tomorrow. "I want to empower women to LOVE who they are today, but know that's it's ok to have goals and seek change too. It's a delicate line!" That was something I can get behind.
Thanks for the invite Tabatha. You can check out Vitality Buffalo in person and schedule a FREE week right here. Vitality Buffalo offers a great kid friendly schedule and a supportive environment of moms.
3720 South Park Ave
Buffalo, New York
Schedule a free week
Hi. I'm Lindsay. Daughter, sister, wife, mother and collector of useless (and useful) information.