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Intuitive Mamahood : You Can Choose a Path that Makes Sense

by Lindsay Germain

There is so much judgement in our culture toward mamas. From pregnancy to parenthood, our interactions are filled with unsolicited stories and advice. It’s enough to feel exhausted, and more than a bit misunderstood.

Yet, you are the best person to know what’s right for yourself and your baby. You’re the only one with the ability to sense the choices that are right for you. Maybe a tip worked perfectly for one mama with her babies, but wouldn’t work for you at all. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to say, “no thanks,” to hearing a third traumatic birth story today.

So many people have been left alone with strong feelings about their pregnancy, birth, and parenting experiences and really need an outlet to talk about them. Then, you walk by, and your sweet round belly reminds them of all the stuff they haven’t yet worked through. And voila! You’ve become a therapist who – unbeknownst to you, has been enlisted to help this person process those feelings. reusable baby feet

Well, it’s about time for you to get to choose. You can set a beautiful boundary that makes space to stay grounded and centered in nurturing yourself and your baby.

If someone wants to share a traumatic birth story with you that you’re not sure you want to hear, it’s okay to let them know, “I’m preparing for birth and being careful about the things I expose myself to.” Unless they were about to tell you a wonderful, uplifting story, it’s probably best for them to bring their story to another person who can support them to process the emotional intensity of the experience.

You get to choose the path of your prenatal care. A common way we get advice that may not serve us is through practice policies that don’t leave room for mamas’ empowered choice. Legally, you can choose to accept or decline any procedure that is offered to you (except in cases of true life and death emergency). Yet, often women find themselves in the doctors’ office hearing about, “what we’re going to do next,” as though the decision has been made for them.

It’s easy for intuition to be pushed down in situations where there is clearly a strong demand for you to pursue in accordance with the routine. Yet, your intuitive sense of what is right for your baby and yourself is so powerful and potent. There’s a way to create space for your intuitive capacity to make decisions that are best for you.

If you’re being told about policy or next steps, you can always stop and say, “What are my other options?” “What happens if I don’t do this?” “If I do this, what will I learn?” You can ask about the risks and benefits of any procedure. If you’re not getting thorough answers to your questions, you are welcome to say, “Let’s talk about this at my next appointment,” so that you can take time to do your own research, consult professionals, discover alternatives, and connect with your intuitive voice.

One common procedure is routine glucose testing in mid-pregnancy to rule out gestational diabetes. Interestingly, this test does have real side effects and risks, though many practitioners tend to skip mention of them. If you want to read about the side effects and alternatives to conventional glucose testing, you can read this well-researched article by Dr. Aviva Jill Romm.

With appreciation for your inner guidance and wisdom,

Xx Lindsay

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“No, we can’t send her back”: five keys for preparing your family for the birth of a sibling

Originally published by Hand in Hand Parenting

Two days after my son was born, his five-year old sister carefully and quietly carried his bouncy chair to a room in the back of the house that wasn’t used much. When I walked back into the living room and found him gone, she said, “He has gone to the baby dungeon, and that’s where he should stay!”
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Have a Picky Eater? Simple Ways to Support Healthier Eating

By Lindsay K. Germain

happy kid snackMaya sits at the table, slowly taking a bite or two, and then says she’s done with her meal. She doesn’t like most of the foods she tries, and she often calls a food her favorite one week and then hates it the next.

Can you guess how old she is? If she was 35, we’d really worry about her, wouldn’t we? And since she’s justturning four, we don’t need to. Developmentally, she’s just like lots of kids her age. In the long run, she’s likely to become a good eater, expanding the variety of foods she eats.

Meanwhile, how do we support her to get her nutritional needs met? Here are my favorite ways to support children developing healthy food habits. These tips will support healthy changes in the long-term: Continue reading

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What to do when your child throws a tantrum in public

from Hand in Hand Parenting‘s Parent Rescue Service

[One of the most common aggravations parents experience] is when your child throws tantrums, especially in public!

There are certain common situations in which young children can become emotionally charged. Here are just a few of them.

  • Being with several people: being with the whole family at dinner, at a family gathering, a meeting, a birthday party, the grocery store, church, or temple.
  • Moving from one activity to another: leaving home for day care; leaving day care for home; stopping play for dinner; and going to bed.
  • Being with a parent who is under stress: the parent is cooking, cleaning, shopping, trying to finish a task on time, or is upset because there’s so little help.
  • At the end of any especially close or fun-filled time: after a trip to the park; after a good friend leaves; after wrestling, chasing, or laughing with Mom or Dad.
  • When your child bursts out with feelings, slow down the action, and listen. Listen until he is done. Because of this cry, your whole day and his will improve.

Here’s what we encourage you to try. Continue reading

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Supporting Attachment During the Transition to a New Childcare Arrangement

By Lindsay K. Germain

[Originally published by BirthWays.org in 2011] 

When Ella and her mom arrived for the first day of their art class for three-year-olds, Ella seemed like a quiet, shy little girl. The other children worked and played together while their parents were away, while Ella sat in her mother’s lap, quietly avoiding the other children.

On their third day in the group, I gently suggested her mom could take an hour for herself while Ella was with us; I was confident Ella would do well.

baby dad handNervous about leaving Ella alone, particularly in light of her apparent shyness, her mother decided to say goodbye and wait outside the room where she could hear how Ella was doing.

Though Ella had never before been away from her family, she began to interact with the other children, and turned out to be anything but shy. She appeared confident, focused and self-directed; with a little encouragement she was easily able to ask for what she needed and play with the other children. Soon enough, Ella’s mother was dropping her off and taking some much-needed time for herself during class.

Sending your little one into another’s care for the first time is a monumental experience. This first separation can bring up nervousness, doubt, mistrust, and grief for even the most even-keeled parents.

The process can be quite trying, but can also provide an opportunity for growth where you can examine your feelings and reaffirm your love to your child. Your child has an opportunity to master separating from you in a secure and confident way that keeps your attachment strong. In this article, we’ll explore some ways you can help your child make this transition with confidence and ease.

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