Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I don't have much time to write, but it's been a great morning. I went to a playgroup with all relatively new moms with little children. My youngest, now 3 1/2, was the oldest child there. After we left there, we met up with one of my Bradley groups from last year (all 7 gave birth vaginally without medication!) and had a picnic at the Botanic Gardens in Ft. Worth.

It just reminded me of playgroups when my children were all home and little. Those are such special times. I don't know who looked more forward to playgroup -- my kids or me! Playgroups have meant so much to me and my children in our lives. In fact, when I told the kids at breakfast that I was going to 2 different "playgroups" today, they all had this look in their eye -- like that is where they'd like to be -- even my 12 year old son.

All the Bradley moms were breastfeeding and plan to continue into baby's first year, which, of course, makes me happy.

I haven't addressed Sherry's questions about attachment parenting, and I don't know that I want to go down that path yet in the blog. I'm sorry you've come across some "militant" websites and groups. I never want to alienate people from what I am saying -- doesn't that defeat the purpose?! -- but I do understand how people get to that point. For now, let me just direct you to anything by Dr. William Sears. I consider him the to be the expert. "The Discipline Book" is a really great book. It's not what you think based on the title!

Today, one of the moms said that she never tells her baby "no." This might seem like an interesting concept to most people, but it is along the lines of attachment parenting. It takes a lot of concentration and discipline on your part, but the payoff is great. She uses redirecting or key words to tell her daughter what she wants her to know. For example, baby is about to do something where she might fall and get hurt, mom says, "Ou-wee," and when she falls, she'll say it again "Ou-wee" so that baby makes the connection that if I do this, I might get hurt. She's not constantly telling her child "no," but saving the word for when she really needs it. This is very Dr. Sears.

I have found over the years, when I use that technique, no matter the age, I am a better parent and I have better behaved children. So thanks, Carmen, for the reminder of being a good parent. You all make me proud. You are such good mothers to your babies. Thanks for letting me share lunch with you today.


Christina Pond said...

Attachment Parenting is such a beautiful way of parenting. It not only helps your child behave beautifully (everywhere I go people say Chaylie is such a well behaved, incredible child, and that is due to her confidence and temperament)but it also teaches you!!! I have learned so much about myself, and grown as a person, parenting with this technique! It sharpens you, it teaches you gentleness, grace, patience... It gives your child so much confidence, and a deep understanding of love and trust that will be a foundation for the rest of their lives!

Jay Spear said...

Thanks for the reminders, stories and wisdom. I love how you write! Keep it coming. This is from all the dads out there. Thanks!

Sarah said...

Donna, where are you? I'm going through withdrawl! I know. you have four kids and a life.
Something you mentioned made me eager for you to discuss the topic in a future post: how are your classes in comparison to national Bradley percentages on "success" (i.e. like you said: vaginal, no meds, etc.)? Your class turned out some very well-prepared, well educated people who were able to acheive that with all that is against them in your location. I'm just wondering, because I'm a little hesitant to recommend Bradley over-all to anyone in the U.S., since several people I know around the country who have taken Bradley classes (who are responsible students and not goof-offs--you know what I mean) seemed to be ill-prepared for even basic challenges of labor or birth in a hospital. Apparently, not every instructor prepares people as well as you do. Is it kosher to ask an instructor what her INDIVIDUAL percentage is, not Bradley's national one? How are you supposed to know if you've found a good teacher? Like one person told me, "I don't know about your Bradley class, but in ours, there was no shame in getting the epidural." What's the point in taking Bradley if that's the attitude?! Not like there has to be shame, but aren't drugs EXACTLY what you're trying to avoid by taking Bradley? Why not just take a hospital or Lamaze class? Why take a class at all?
I'm anxious to hear your thoughts.

Donna Ryan said...

Oh Sarah, it's all about our experiences. I have done the epidural because of being afraid of birth. Because I have since done it 3 times without drugs, I KNOW that women can do it without the drugs. I truly want women to have this amazing experience, so I help them to "pack their bags" with all sorts of knowledge and tools so they are prepared for labor.

You absolutely can ask for individual stats from Bradley instructors -- the same questions you ask your potential birth attendants, really. I would have to sit down and figure mine out.

When I went through our Bradley class, our teacher was so shy and embarrassed by so many topics. Even saying the word "vagina," I thought she would swallow her tongue! I walked out of those classes every week (armed with knowledge) but knowing I could teach these classes. I have heard people comment so often, "I wish I had known that before I gave birth. No one ever talks about that." Well, I talk about everything, as you know, if you have taken my class.

It's true, not all teachers are on the same level. We've all had different births and experiences. Generally, Bradley teachers will frown upon the epidural, but not all of them. Don't be afraid to ask them tough questions! I love it when I get callers like that. It tells me that they are serious!

Alicia said...

I love the part about..."It's not about the pain at all. It's about doing what God has given you the gift to do." That really hit home to me.

Donna Ryan said...

Alicia- Welcome to the blog! Thanks for linking mine to yours. I have all my classes on DVD, if you ever want to send someone my way! How's this pregnancy?