I am an American girl. I love bling, I bleach my hair, and I've seen Tim McGraw live 17 times. I do not, however, participate in baby showers. This ceremonial welcoming of a baby rarely treats birth with reverence. I believe women can - and should - birth naturally and breastfeed their babies. The American way of having babies is in crisis. This is an educational blog; exploring birth, breastfeeding, & attachment parenting. I am a Natural Childbirth Educator and this is my voice.
I actually thought it was hilarious. Life is hard. Sometimes running away seems like a great option. But then, I started seeing more and more of them.
You get the idea. If you google "adulting memes," there are literally dozens of them. What do these messages say to our children? Many children and teens are on social media, and these memes are impossible to escape. They want to feel secure in their world, that they are being led by capable adults. How scary to think that adults wish they were children, that they don't feel capable of leading others, or they can't even function in their own lives.
It got me thinking - If social media had been around when I was growing up, I can't imagine what I would have thought if I had had messages like this posted by adults (even my own parents) that I was expected to respect.
We are responsible for raising the next generation. How can we expect them to become responsible adults when they are bombarded with these messages? Didn't we just give them an "out?" What do they have to look forward to?
My 17-year-old and I were talking about this the other day. She couldn't believe all these memes. She's actually the one who brought up adults expecting to be respected and how impossible it is when they post stuff like this. She said she sees them in a totally different light after they've posted one of these memes.
As adults, we all know that life has its ups and downs. I'm not trying to convince anyone that life is easy. But honestly, would any of us want to go back? NO! Even at 45, I wouldn't want to go back to 35, or even 25, let alone 15! We have responsibilities and bills to pay, but we grow from these experiences and learn from these challenges.
In the meme above, she's "adult" enough to drink a bottle of wine by herself, but NOT adult enough to carry on with her day. It's appalling. Give me a break! Grow up! You ARE an adult! Act like one! Show the next generation how it's done!
As an adult, I'm kind of offended that "adult" is used in a negative way. When driving down the highway and a building is titled "Adult Bookstore" or "Adult Videos," it seems to assume that all adults view pornography. It's just a little something that, as a responsible adult, annoys me.
If you actually feel this way, the adults in your newsfeed may find it humorous and even agree with you, but remember - they are very likely not the only ones reading your posts. We have a responsibility to the next generation and these memes undermine the awesomeness of adulthood. And it is awesome! Someone make a meme about it!
Do you like the facelift my blog received this morning? It was time. I'm in a very different place - literally and figuratively - than I was when I wrote this blog on a regular basis. My kids are older now, ranging from 11-19, so I'm not doing the baby thing anymore or attending play groups.
My husband took a job in Rapid City, SD, so we uprooted and moved to the Black Hills. For real - we actually live in the Black Hills National Forest. It's so beautiful here and the ski area is about 45 minutes from my home.
It's also like going back in time about 10 years. DVD shops are alive and well here. We can't stream video in the Hills. I have to stay in the kitchen near the cell booster to make a call. We are about 20 minutes out of town, sharing pasture with deer and horses. My life is very different than it was in Ft. Worth, to say the least.
Not streaming video has changed my family's life, too. My teenagers aren't all hooked up with the current YouTubers, but they've picked up a lot more books. They've hung out in the kitchen talking to the family a lot more, too. Hmmm.... Maybe this isn't so bad afterall!
When we moved up here, we lived in a hotel for 6 weeks with almost none of our belongings. That was an eye opening experience as well. After straightening up in the morning, we were free to get out and explore. It made me realize how much time all of our "stuff" steals away from us. I'm trying to become a minimalist, but it's extremely difficult.
Birth Boot Camp has grown so much, it's a full time job. I haven't integrated into the birth community here, and I'm not sure I will. I still have lots to say, lots of observations to speak about though. Expect a post at least once a month here. I'm back!
Hard to believe my baby is FOUR. I feel rather sentimental about it. I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on this special day.
I wrote this blog for many years as a childbirth educator and I loved it. This was my baby. I am truly sad that I have let it go. It was never my intention. Nor was not teaching childbirth classes. Sometimes if we could see the evolution of something, we can look back and realize we might have done things a little differently, or even not at all. I'm not saying that I wouldn't have started Birth Boot Camp, but there are downsides that I didn't see coming. I honestly had no idea I was getting a more-than-full-time job! Ignorance is sometime blissful, not to mention necessary!
Ironically, I keep a list of blog topics in my phone - last count was 13 - that I'd like to write about, but I just haven't gotten over to it. I have made a decision to write once a month though. If you've read my blog, ever, you know I don't do it for SEO or to make money. This is just a simple place for me to share my thoughts, no matter how unpopular they may be! So be on the lookout once a month. I'm going to do this!
Back to Birth Boot Camp ... Just to refresh your memory, I had all my childbirth classes on DVDs and was shipping them all over the world. It was crazy! I was like Blockbuster burning DVDs and renting them out! I told my good friend, Ceci Massa, that I wanted them to just be on the internet. She said she could help me with that. I started writing curriculum and shared it with another good friend, Hannah Reasoner, and she declared she'd like to teach it! Oh my. This took things a different direction, for sure.
I knew I couldn't do this by myself. I pulled in several people, including my good friend, Sarah Clark (you might know her as Mama Birth) but I'd known her long before either of us were childbirth educators. It was the best move I made in this endeavor! She's a machine! And I love her dearly.
We held a Launch Party from my house in Mansfield, TX, showing off the materials and online classes. It was quite a day! I remember feeling so proud and excited, but also anxious. We had our internet launch on Monday, March 26, and almost immediately online class registrations started rolling in. I knew we were on to something big!
Some highlights you might enjoy -
We've trained nearly 200 instructors from about 40 states. It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know all these women from all different backgrounds. I am honored and humbled to work alongside them.
We launched a doula program in November 2014. As you all know, I am not a doula, so I had to rope in some talented ladies, Amanda Devereux and Maria Pokluda, to write the program. It's absolutely amazing and I couldn't be more proud of that program. They keep the atmosphere professional, respectful, and drama free. That's something to be proud of when you work with all women! They've trained approximately 75 doulas so far. If you are interested in becoming a doula or childbirth educator, join us at Birth Boot Camp's Love What You DOULA Facebook group.
Our inital materials were rather dark in color, but adding the doula program pushed us to change our materials and brighten things up. This is a prime example of if you knew how much work something was going to be, you might reconsider starting the whole thing! Well, it was worth it and I'm glad we did it. I can say that now that it's done!
Oh wait, we keep coming up with great ideas! We aren't done!
We've just recently announced two new classes, our Early Pregnancy Class and a Sibling Birth Prep Class, complete with beautiful workbooks. You can take a live class which will include much more, or you can just buy a workbook and study at home with your partner or family. These were so much work for Sarah and I, but we could not be more proud! We keep having babies!
My Instructor Advisory Board, Doula Advisory Board, and Management Teams have grown to inlcude 15 people in total and they are all vital to this organization. I'm incredibly lucky to work with such a diverse and talented group of women who put their heart and soul into Birth Boot Camp.
And finally, look for two HUGE announcements in June. We can't wait to share them with you!
I've often said, especially before launching Birth Boot Camp, that I wish I had a crystal ball and could see what things would look like for the company a year from now, 5 years from now, 20 years from now. At 4 years in, I have to say, I am incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished. It looks very different than what I expected, but I wouldn't change a thing! We are exactly where we need to be at this exact time. We have dealt with some ugliness, our product has been copied, we've seen some people come and go. But at the end of the day, I believe that if you go forward with integrity and kindness, that will trump all negativity.
Here's to another incredible 4 years! If you are interested in becoming a Birth Boot Camp Instructor, read about our requirements here and apply here.
It's been months since I've published anything here. I've written plenty, just not published them. At 44, I've finally learned when to keep my mouth shut. The birth community has really changed in the last couple of years, too, so there's that. I'm not overly excited about arguing with other birth workers when good will not come of it. Negativity breeds negativity and I really don't want to be a part of it. How about an actual blog post about birth, not business or the birth community?! Let's do it!
There is something that has weighed on my mind since the viewing of Microbirth back in February. I spoke up at the discussion afterwards about several thoughts I had during the movie, but they were not well received by the majority of the room, well, except for the longest working midwife in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Helen Jolly, who wholeheartedly agreed with me.
If you haven't seen the movie, here's a sneak peak:
I've hesitated to talk about the thoughts I had as I watched this movie because they won't be popular in the natural birth world. I own a company, Birth Boot Camp, that promotes natural birth and midwifery care, and the last thing I want to do is make people upset. The purpose of this post is a discussion. I'm not saying I'm right whatsoever, but I do want to bring up some points that I feel might be ignored or overlooked in the natural birth community. People are free to make their own decisions, as always.
A fascinating statement was made in Microbirth that a baby passes through over 400 beneficial bacteria in the vagina when they are born. They did a great job of addressing the complications that cesarean birth may be causing for these babies who are not receiving these bacteria. They proposed swabbing the vagina and rubbing it all over the the baby's face and in its mouth, etc. after it is born. If you are anything like me, you find this awkward to do after the birth. I'm curious how often this will actually be done. I have yet to hear of it.
As I'm watching this movie, and getting all this information about beneficial bacteria in the vagina, and then witnessing water birth after water birth, I can't help but think about the bacteria being washed off the babies immediately after the birth. When I mentioned this after the screening, one woman immediately started talking about how much she loved her water birth. That's not the issue! There are chemicals in the water and some babies are spending a lot of time in the water after the birth. Moms, or midwives, will keep washing water over the babies to keep them warm or wash off "goo" and inadvertantly, the beneficial bacteria. Even if they are taken immediately out of the water, doesn't it make sense the water likely washed some away?
What if this is part of the problem? What if we are doing damage - or at least not helping - the baby to receive the benefits of vaginal birth because s/he is born in water? What if?
The mom is also submerged and anything that came off the baby that would have been on her, is also washed off. I wrote a post several years ago called The Sense of Smell Connects Babies and Mothers. When a baby is born in water, they do not have these same benefits of smell. The smells of amniotic fluid and "goo" are good for mom and baby to keep for a while! And while I'm not writing an entire post about it, I'll just add that mom wearing a bunch of essential oils when her baby is born may also be a distraction in this important smelling and bonding process.
As with so many of the things we do during labor and birth, I feel an important question to ask is, is this part of the natural process? Are we altering how God intended birth to go? Are babies intended to be born into water? I don't know. I had a water birth over 14 years ago, before it was trendy or popular. In fact, I'd never known anyone to have one before. Ironically - or maybe not - that child is my only one who has asthma and skin issues. I'm sure it's a coincidence, but what if it's not? Asthma was one of the main issues addressed in the movie.
I'm just putting this out there to think about. I could be totally wrong, but I think it's irresponsible to not at least explore the possibility of the harm water birth might be doing to our babies. We are so quick to "judge" cesareans and blame them for so many health problems, but perhaps we are doing damage by doing something so "natural."
Again, people love their water births. I don't want to take that away from anyone and I'm certainly not anti-water birth. I think it's super important that it is an option for women. I've said for years that water is a "midwife's epidural" and I believe that. Labor feels different in the water. It does good things for a laboring woman, but I am having serious questions about the actual births taking place in the water.
Since we are here, talking about water... Let's just touch on herbal baths. It's been explained to me that it is beneficial for the mom's perineum. OK. But does it have to be done so soon after the birth, with the baby submerged in the water again? It just seems like this is a photo opportunity and people like it, but again, is it possibly doing harm? Just putting it out there.
Bottom line - are we doing things because they are trendy, and are they really benefitting moms and babies?
I haven't written a blog post here since August! I wish I could say that it's entirely because I am so busy with Birth Boot Camp, but the truth is, I feel like the culture in birth/breastfeeding has changed so much, it's not really fun to write anymore. You can't say anything without being criticized for offending someone. It's exhausting and sad. It's easier to keep my mouth shut. Am I the only one who thinks that we've taken political correctness too far?
At any rate, I feel compelled to write this post. It has nothing to do with birth or breastfeeding or raising children. It's about Christmas. I've had so many thoughts this season, and I've been writing this in my head for days and having lots of conversations with people who feel the same way.
I'll be 44 next month, so a part of me wonders if I have these thoughts because I'm getting older or if our society has really changed so much over the last few years. I've concluded it's probably a little of both.
As Thanksgiving was approaching, I was in the throes of work, having just completed our first Birth Boot Camp DOULA training. I was dreading the holidays. I had several things to do for work before Jan 1 and was feeling super overwhelmed with the fact that the holidays were in the mix too. I found myself saying things like "The holidays are getting in the way of work," and "Can't we just not do the holidays this year?" I was only half joking.
For the first time in 19 years, my Christmas letter still isn't written and Christmas is less than a week away. Yes, I could have written the letter instead of writing this blog post, but again, I felt compelled to write this. Perhaps David will write the letter this year... Something I did that has been on my list for over two years? I wrote each of my children a letter this year. It took an entire afternoon, but I'm so glad I did that. I hope it'll be the most special thing they open this Christmas. The tree is up, the presents are wrapped, gifts are mailed, lights are on the house. It should be this simple, right?
The list is very long of the things I didn't do. I only donated one toy for Toys For Tots (instead of the 4 I was asked to donate), I didn't participate in the Angel Tree at church, I didn't do the cookie exchange, I only gave 2 teacher gifts, and I only gave money to one bell ringer outside the store. I haven't attended any Christmas musical programs or gone to any Christmas parties (other than the one at church that I helped organize). These are all wonderful things to participate in, there's just too many of them. The list is longer of things I didn't do that what I did do.
I'm not really one for guilt, and I actually don't feel guilty for not doing these things. To me, if feels like the holidays are on steroids now compared to what they used to be, even a few years ago. I blame Pinterest. Before all the Pinterest lovers get up in arms, the reason I do not have an account is because I know I would love it. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not good with moderation. I would go overboard, big time. I would be forced to do the things there because I wouldn't be able to get them out of my head. It would be the world's biggest time suck. Not just the actual time spent there, but then the time creating. There are so many ideas that are quite amazing. With good intentions, people (mostly women) want to make and do and participate in all these amazing things, but time just doesn't allow it. Many women I've talked to are overwhelmed with guilty feelings over not being able to do it all. And then when they actually do it all, they are exhausted and cranky, as are their families.
If everything else stopped during the holidays, maybe we could pull if off. But we still have to work, make dinner, clean the house, do homework, make lunches, do carpool, etc. But we throw all this extra stuff on top of it and we have a bunch of people walking around saying "I can't wait till Christmas is over!" People are grumpy and it's supposed to be the happiest time of the year!
Did you ever read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham? It was made into a movie called Christmas with the Kranks with Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. I read the book when it first came out and laughed till I cried. I thought it was so entertaining. The message behind it, I'm seeing now, was much more serious than what I originally thought. Even if you want to, you really can't get off this ride. The pressure is immense to not be the only one on the street that doesn't put up Christmas lights. I can't imagine what will happen if I don't send out my letter this year! If you haven't read the book or watched the movie, you should. I'd say more about it, but I don't want to spoil it for you. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
As long as I can remember, people have talked about not taking "Christ" out of "Christmas", reminding us that He is the "reason for the season". And yet, we've created all these distractions that truly take us away from remembering Him. My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, launched a video campaign right after Thanksgiving and I haven't been able to get it out of my head - and heart. #SharetheGift. The people in the video are busy with preparations for Christmas, shopping, fighting a cold, standing in long lines, addressing envelopes, etc., but as the video goes on, things slow down as we are reminded of the birth of our Savior and the peace that He brought to the Earth.
As people around you are not participating in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, maybe they are not Scrooge or the Grinch after all. Perhaps they are trying to do the simple things, staying focused on their family and actually enjoying the season because they have not over-extended themselves. I have found, as I watch this video over and over, I feel my Savior's love, am more able to enjoy this Christmas season, and put aside the things that don't really matter.
As the founder of Birth Boot Camp, I am the first to admit that I am not a doula. But I am familiar with the available programs and, if I may, what they are lacking. Myself, along with a team of AMAZING people, came up with a program that has all the components of a one-of-a-kind doula program -- all for one price.
1. We are streamlined. Our doulas do not have to look for their own childbirth class to get educated. Birth Boot Camp DOULAS will have 5 weeks access to the 10-week Birth Boot Camp online classes. We believe in all Birth Boot Camp-trained doulas being “on the same page”, so to speak. With a solid education, they are ready to move forward in becoming a doula.
3. Birth Boot Camp DOULAS have unlimited access to our professional marketing videos once they complete their training. This is invaluable in growing and maintaining your doula business.
4. Birth Boot Camp DOULAS have all their contracts and materials available on the Birth Boot Camp Store once their training is complete.
5. All clients of a Birth Boot Camp DOULA will receive the 20-page Supporting Arms book. Beautifully laid out and packed with useful information for clients, it covers a variety of topics discussed in the 2 prenatal meetings, labor, and the postpartum visit. It’s a wonderful supplement to the Field Manual students get in their Birth Boot Camp class. A Birth Boot Camp DOULA never has to make copies!
7. Last thing I want to mention is about our tagline, Supporting Families in Natural Birth. Over the years, I’ve heard so many doulas say they became a doula because they wanted to help women have a natural birth. Women often hire a doula because they want a natural birth. Why not hire a doula who is trained specifically to help families achieve a natural birth? Birth Boot Camp DOULAS are trained to help families do just that. I don’t need to tell anyone that birth sometimes doesn’t go as planned, and Birth Boot Camp DOULAS are also trained in handling difficult or disappointing situations and have ongoing support and training from Birth Boot Camp Headquarters.
Expect lots of exciting and new stuff from Birth Boot Camp in the coming days and weeks. With the new website, we are also launching BRAND NEW ONLINE CLASSES! But we’ll save that for another blog post…
Sitting by my pool this summer has caused me to reflect on different types of behavior from various children that have visited my house. All children are annoying sometimes, but some children, let's face it, are more annoying than others.
This is my observation. I've sat on the patio in my favorite chair with my laptop, working, for countless hours. For many of those hours, I've listened to kids play/fight in the pool, too. There are two types of kids, I've decided.
1. These are the kids who use their imaginations to play with one another, or even alone. They come up with games in the pool and find ways to keep themselves entertained for hours. Generally, they problem-solve pretty well too. I try to stay out of the fights because there is value in figuring out how to resolve problems and get along. Don't get me wrong -- I've yanked some kids right out of there! But generally, they are pretty nice to have over.
2. These are the kids I don't love hanging out at my house. Their stimulation seems to be all external. They slap the water with the pool noodles, and once they are board with that, they start hitting each other. They usually don't follow the rules (I only have 2), and seem incredibly bored right off the bat. They pester each other, tease, make fun of someone else, etc. You get the picture. If/when a fight breaks out, I have to step in or else it will escalate, not resolve itself.
The imaginative kids hate playing with these kids because these kids act like bullies. I don't necessarily think it's because they are mean, but rather, they have not been taught to use their imaginations. They've been propped in front of a TV or computer, or iPad, or iPhone for so long that they don't know how to entertain themselves. The kind that comes from within. The kind that makes you push through boredom to the other side.
I am totally guilty of letting my kids watch too much TV, but I think it's super important to acknowledge the damage done when we allow our kids to be constantly stimulated. Boredom is important to embrace. We learn who we are through boredom because we are forced to figure out what interests us. As parents, it seems like we are so afraid for our kids to be bored. They don't need to be constantly entertained.
I do see one common denominator between these groups of kids. Group number one - the imaginative kids - come from homes where the parents are actively engaged in what they are doing. Either the mom or dad is home with them when the kids are home.
Group number two, the external stimulation kids (since it sounds nicer than what I really want to call them), seem to be home a lot by themselves. When my son was in early elementary school, he used to call these external stimulation kids "daycare kids". I know this has the potential of offending people. It's not my intention, but I do think it needs to be said. There is an effect on children that are in daycare instead of with their parents, or as they get older, go home to an empty house. With kids of all ages, and having had lots of kids in and out of my home over the years, I'm fairly comfortable writing this post.
Half the battle is just being aware of and making time for other things where the devices and media are turned off. Anyone can do that, right? How about us as adults? Are we able to do it, too? How comfortable are you with boredom? .......