Category Archives: Classes

Convenience in Parenting

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If I mention Attachment Parenting, it conjures many images, doesn’t it?  It also brings up some stigma, some judgment, and some distaste for some.  But many others who practice this method of parenting find great comfort in it.  I think that many people don’t think that this form of parenting has a place in our modern society, and see many other things as far more superior and convenient than holding, wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping with their baby, and for those families, that’s all well and good.  I would like to argue, though, that Attachment Parenting is not weird, and it does indeed have a place in our modern world. Sure, there are times when strollers and baby swings do offer those of us who parent attached some convenience, but allow me to offer some scenarios, and you may judge for yourself which sounds more convenient, easier, less stressful, and possibly more cost effective.  I think that most people who parent like I do, do so because it is cheaper, easier, much more convenient, and just fits with our lifestyles.

Scenario  – Attachment Parenting

It’s 4:30 am, and this is the 4th time since 11pm that you’re awake with your newborn, you’ve been awakened by gentle stirring and squeaks from her, indicating that she’s hungry.  You co-sleep and breastfeed, so you move your baby slightly to latch her on, and both of you are happy, as you drift off to sleep.  At 7, you both wake up, and get ready to face the day.  After diapering, you carry her to the kitchen to fix breakfast for your older child.  Before you fix breakfast, you put the baby in a woven wrap, latch her on as you go about your routine in the morning.  You are able to help your older child with many things, with the baby in the wrap, and your baby even falls asleep to the gentle movements and sounds of your body, which are so familiar to her.  After breakfast, you go to bathe, and take a bath with your new baby and older child.  After nursing again before leaving the house, you’re off to do errands.  During the errands, you push the shopping cart with your older child in it, and wear your baby, this time in a soft structured carrier, with legs froggied.  Baby sleeps most of the time, and only wakes to be changed, and nursed, but then goes right back to sleep.  After errands, you return home, and fix a little lunch, again, wearing your baby, then go with your children to take a nap, all together in one bed.  You nurse your newborn to sleep, and sing to your older child.  You all three fall asleep after a short period of time, and wake refreshed.  This scenario could continue, but you get the gist of what attachment parenting looks like.  Sure, there is some chaos in the lives of parents who attachment parent, but for the most part, many of the parents that parent this way have easier, more cooperative, go with the flow children that feel very loved, protected, nurtured, and often know how to express their needs more clearly since their needs have been met in the ways they have.

Scenario – Non-Attachment Parenting

It’s 4:30 am, and this is the 4th time since 11pm that you’re awake with your newborn.  You hear her on the monitor, from her room, grunting, indicating that she’s hungry.  You walk bleary eyed to the kitchen to make a bottle, and by the time you return to your baby, she is screaming in hunger.  You pick her up, sit in the rocking chair, and struggle to stay awake as you feed her.  When she has finished her bottle, you burp her, change her diaper, and set her back in her crib.  After you leave, she cries a bit, because she doesn’t smell or hear you any longer, and you are so tired that you go back to bed, letting her cry herself to sleep.  At 7am, you’re awakened again, by your grunting hungry newborn.  You get up, make her bottle, and get her up as well.  While you make breakfast for your older child, you put your baby in a bouncer with bottle propped up, so you can tend to what needs to be done in the kitchen.  As you play with your older child, and help her with things that she wants to do, you transfer your newborn to her swing, and are interrupted by your crying newborn who wants to be held by you.  You hold her, but are very busy with your older child, and the things you’re doing with your older child require two hands, and so your newborn is put back in the swing.  After another bottle feeding, you go to take a shower, and put your baby in the bouncer in the bathroom with you, and she cries through the entire shower.  You get yourself and your children ready and go do some errands.  You put your baby’s infant carrier in the large part of the shopping cart, and your older child in the front of the cart.  Your baby cries in the carrier because she is uncomfortable and hot, and wants to be held by you.  Your errands are cut short, because you grow tired of hearing your baby cry so much.  You return home, feed your older child lunch, hold your baby to feed her a bottle, and barely eat anything out of sheer exhaustion.  You then go to put your children down for a nap, but your older child fights you, because it’s still daylight and she doesn’t want to go to sleep in her room, she wants to play instead.  This ends in crying, a spanking, very much frustration, and a stressed out mama.  The baby senses the stress and doesn’t want to go to sleep either.  It takes 45 minutes to get the baby to sleep, and you’re not even sure if your older child gets a nap.  Again, this scenario could continue through the day.  Just typing it makes me exhausted.  I speak from my own earlier experiences when I say that this form of parenting did not work for us. My husband and I have had to learn the hard way, with much trial and error, what works best for our family.

When Sydney was born, nearly 5 years ago, we really and truly were clueless, with very little physical support system.  I attempted co-sleeping, since breastfeeding was the one thing I was really attached to, but I didn’t understand that I could stay in bed and nurse her to sleep, so I would get out of bed, and sit in a rocking chair for exhausting amounts of time, with both of us falling asleep, and nothing productive happening.  I was sleep deprived, anxious, and suffered from postpartum depression, which I’m sure could have been made better with more sleep and better support.  We stopped co-sleeping very early.

We tried baby wearing, but the ring sling I had, I never knew how to use, so I got rid of that quickly. I had no knowledge of other carriers (soft structured carriers, woven wraps, stretchy wraps, mei tais, etc).  Sydney spent a lot of time in a swing (which she hated) or in a bouncer (which she also hated).  It didn’t occur to me at all that we needed each other.  There is a special bond between mother and baby, where oxytocin and endorphins are exchanged when they are in physical contact with each other.

As Sydney grew older, parenting went well, but then frustrations mounted as she was becoming her own person, with her own thoughts, and could do more for herself.  We employed spanking as a form of discipline, out of sheer frustration.  I wish I could take that all back.  I wish I had never laid a hand on her.  Spanking is proven, through years and years and years of research to cause very real psychological damage to children.  Never have I felt like a bigger pile of crap, than when I was hitting my helpless daughter, and never have I seen a child change so quickly for the bad.  Her personality changed, and she was no longer my sweet little girl who was full of life.  We eventually got a clue and stopped spanking her, and our cheerful, wonderful, spunky, beautiful light of a daughter returned to us, but I do believe she is still learning to trust us again.

When Sydney was 2 and a half, we returned to baby wearing on a trip to California to visit family. We got an Ergo carrier as a gift, and still have it, and use it often.  Wearing Sydney has not only been very convenient for us, but it’s increased our bond as a family.  She loves being close to us, and we know and understand that now, and so many times throughout the day, she’s with us, physically… attached.  We love it, all three of us.

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Additionally, in November, when Jeremy came up to Alaska, Sydney and I started co-sleeping again, simply out of convenience, and I felt safer with her in the room with me.  She has grown to love this, and bedtime, which was once a challenge, and sometimes, even a battle, has gotten much easier.  We have a king sized bed, and she sleeps in between us.  I love co-sleeping.  I get to hear her, in the middle of the night say things like, “gorilla shoes”, and answer her bad dreams immediately.  It is obvious that she feels very safe in our bed, and very much wanted by us.  I wasn’t sure if my husband would respond positively to having a 4 year old in bed with us, but on one night when she decided to start out in her own room, as we went to get her, my husband was giddy to have her join us.  We will be adding a new baby soon to our family, and he/she will also sleep with us.  I now know that I can stay in bed to nurse, which is such a blessing.

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The transition from our parenting days in the beginning until now has been sometimes slow and challenging to go with.  But the results, ah, the results.  Wow.  What a difference.  Not only has it made a huge difference with Sydney, but our family is so much more tightly knit.  Sydney, who was always really intelligent, has grown so much more intelligent.  Our trust toward each other has increased so much.  We all sleep so much better.  Sydney knows that if she needs something, she can depend on us to meet her needs.

We are learning daily how to be better parents.  But there are some things that we definitely stand for and stand by.  Our family is so important to us, and nurturing it into the best family we can is very important to us.  We make every effort to research what is best, psychologically, physically, emotionally for our children.  This is how we have come to Attachment Parenting (which we simply call parenting), because all of these fit well in our lives, work well for us, and are founded in well researched practices. What we have found to be the best things for us may not be for you, and we have come to them through a lot of trial and error.  If you’re having trouble or challenges with some of your methods, it’s never too late to try other methods, we are prime examples of that.  I’m thankful everyday that we parent the way we do now.  My personal stress levels are so much lower, and I feel as if my communication with my uber intelligent daughter is so much better and effective.

Comments Welcome, Please.

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Updates.

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This past Saturday, I attended the La Leche League Baby Fair as a vendor.  As I prepared for this event, I became more excited for the community to learn more about HypnoBirthing through My Gentle Birthing.  It became clear after the doors opened and women began to trickle in then flood the baby fair, that I chose the perfect business name.  Women flocked to my booth as they read My Gentle Birthing, because they were perplexed by what seemed to be an oxymoron (Gentle and Birthing together in the same statement).  Pregnant moms stood around my booth as I told them about HypnoBirthing, and I watched as some of the faces changed from disbelief to amazement.  Women signed my sheet requesting more information, and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Birth and Women’s Care came to get some brochures and business cards to distribute to their patients and clients.  The networking potential was huge there, and it was wonderful to get publicity for My Gentle Birthing in a community that seems to only know of one way to birth.  It was a truly refreshing experience to bring attention to such a beautiful birthing method.

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To shift gears a bit, as many of you know, I am passionate about mothers and babies (and mothers giving birth gently and with their wishes adhered to).  The other night, I attended a film screening at Birthright Services in Garner.  I was inspired by the film, and by the conversation that ensued following the film.  As the conversation continued, doula training was brought up.  I am very interested in becoming a doula, and helping to support women as they labor and give birth.

I was so inspired by what I learned that I came home and the next day started looking at doula training, and found a Doula Organization called toLabor (formerly ALACE).  I made the decision after reading about it, finding a certification class that is being held next month close to home, and evaluating childcare options, that I will attend this training!

There are no words to express how grateful I am to have this opportunity.  There are no mistakes, things always happen for a reason.

I look forward to bringing more expertise, knowledge, and gentle nature to Fayetteville and the surrounding area through My Gentle Birthing.

La Leche League Baby Fair – I’ll be there!

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On May 1, 2010, from 10am to 2pm, at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux in Fayetteville, the La Leche League is having a Baby Fair.  I will have a booth set up complete with brochures, the Kaya Birthing Stool (for you to try out), perhaps one of my HypnoBirthing moms, information, and my smiling face!

One of the door prizes to a lucky winner is a FREE group HypnoBirthing class valued at $300.  Come out to meet me, if you haven’t already.  Ask questions, try out the stool, sign up for classes, and learn more about HypnoBirthing. Come out in support of a beautiful organization aimed at helping moms to have high success rates, and find out what the vendors of Fayetteville have to offer to families.  Visit their website for more information about the La Leche League.

I look forward to seeing familiar and new faces at this awesome event!

~Teva

Comments Welcome.

New Surge In Birthing

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It seems that with the media attention that birthing is receiving, that women are becoming more aware of the problems that could face them as they enter the hospital to give birth.  Women, for years, now have taken the word of the medical community as the only truth that could possibly apply to them, and because of that and so many other factors, women believe their bodies are bound to malfunction during labor (thus the artificial induction, epidural, and cesarean section rates).  Women spread the word of the terrors, pains, and sheer agony of labor, and explain in plain detail how pain medications saved them from having to feel and experience what labor was like.  This, too, creates a barrier to women who will someday give birth; they begin to believe that they, too, will feel like they are being hit by a bus, and torn to shreds, and that they will need medication to just make it through.

Then there are the women who know their bodies were created to nurture, carry, and birth babies, and that all of these things are completely normal, natural, and healthy processes.  These same women have a vision of how labor should be, and the vision they experience is not one of terror and pain, instead, it is of endorphins flowing through their bodies, creating a beautiful birthing experience they want to feel, and will remember forever.  The experiences of these women are shared, too, but their voices are often drowned out by media outlets creating traumatic birth scenes and women sharing their terrifying stories.

Could our culture be turning toward the latter experience of birthing?  With methods such as HypnoBirthing, couples are very clearly saying, “yes”.  HypnoBirthing has been around for a little over 20 years, and was developed in the 1950s and 1960s by Marie Mongan, a woman who had the desire to experience birth for what it was.  She knew her body was designed so perfectly, to nurture, carry, and birth her babies, and it wasn’t until her fourth child, that her knowledge came into being.  HypnoBirthing believes that pregnancy and birth are normal, natural, and healthy processes, and so, focuses on knowing and understanding how the body and the baby function during labor and birthing, and working with the body and the baby, rather than against them.  HypnoBirthing employs three different breathing techniques, one for relaxtion (yes, I said relaxation), one to use during surges (HypnoBirthing’s word for contractions), and one to use when birthing.  HypnoBirthing also focuses on relaxation, conditioning pregnant mothers to become relaxed quickly, and on releasing fears and limiting thoughts that could stand in the way of a beautiful and gentle birth.

Because of my passion of HypnoBirthing, and the positive, beautiful, and empowering experience I had when birthing my daugther in 2007, I became a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator (HBCE), in 2009.  I have made a small impact in this community that seems to be almost resistant to a progressive move in birthing, and my true desire is to start a birthing revolution that focuses on better maternity care and newborns’ rights.  I firmly believe every woman has the right to know how her body works, and how to work with it for a beautiful birth, and that every baby deserves to be born peacefully and gently.  If I could say one phrase that would embed itself in women’s minds forever, it would be, “Trust your body, Believe in your abilities.”

I always welcome comments!  To learn more about HypnoBirthing or Teva, please visit www.mygentlebirthing.com

Breastfeeding Articles

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The following article was brought to my attention by a doula I know.   http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/05/breastfeeding.costs/

This article brings up so many points that I am so passionate about, because of HypnoBirthing, and because I am so concerned with the rights of women and their babies.  Skin-to-skin bonding is so incredibly important.  Not only does it promote breastfeeding in newborn infants, but it also aids in the bonding process between mother and baby, and father and baby.  Babies have a need to be nurtured, loved, and to meet their parents on the outside, immediately upon being born.  Skin-to-skin bonding also helps babies’ temperature to become stable, and helps them to become acclimated to the world in a much more gentle fashion.

HypnoBirthing is a birthing method that empowers expectant families to advocate for themselves.  So much information is given to HypnoBirthing couples, and it is truly beautiful to witness the results of the information given.  I truly believe that couples who are educated about the physiological process of labor and birth, and how to “go with the flow” of birthing, are more apt to have more positive experiences while giving birth, thus demanding that their maternity care be better than what they might get if they were not educated.  HypnoBirthing couples have the advantage of knowing how to avoid so many interventions that are not medically necessary, which makes the maternity care they receive not only cheaper, but better for their bodies and their babies. Which leads me to this article that states that the use of epidural during childbirth can impede nursing instincts in newborn infants.  http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/103237/new_medical_study_shows_epidurals_inhibit.html?cat=25

I cherished the 13 months that I breastfed Sydney, and I often say to my friends who are still fortunate enough to nurse, that I wish I was still nursing.  Sydney will be three in July, and I miss it so much.  The advantages of breastfeeding are obvious, and the advantages were no different for us.  This is what I gained from breastfeeding my daughter for 13 months:

  • A bond with her that I would not have had otherwise
  • Added confidence in my body; not only could I nurture her in my womb, but I could nurture her on the outside
  • Major brain-rich nutrients not produced by cow’s milk or soy formula
  • Confidence in Sydney to know that breastfeeding is normal and beautiful
  • Comfort about my own anatomy around her
  • Education about anatomy
  • Excitement in Sydney to someday have breasts
  • Less illness, lower medical costs
  • Ease of use, no midnight bottle making
  • Portability of food source
  • The opportunity to educate those around me who seemed offended
  • Lower grocery, water, and electricity bills (formula cost, water cost to prepare formula, and electricity to disinfect bottles)
  • Sydney’s confidence and ability to decide for herself when she was ready to wean

Breastfeeding was one of the greatest gifts I could give to Sydney, and it’s something that I will do with all of my children.

Please add your positive experiences you’ve had with breastfeeding!!! We would love to hear them.

Birthing Stool

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I am always interested in finding information and products to improve the birthing process.  Thus, HypnoBirthing.

Tonight, as I searched for birthing stools, I came across a website, called Kaya Birth that has a birthing stool that is incredibly versatile.  Birthing stools are great, because they allow women to utilize gravity to help with the descent of their babies, and they also maximize the pelvic space for easier and gentler birthing.

Not only is this birthing stool versatile, it also can be fully submerged in water in the case of a water birth.  I attended a water birth in December, and wish the mother would have had this when she was in the final stages of labor and as she was birthing.  She loved being in the water, but was not able to feel comfortable and supported at the same time, and I fully believe that a Kaya Birthing stool could have helped tremendously.

The Kaya stool can also be used in 8 different positions, including reclined, sitting, massage, and partner support, making it a great addition to the birthing atmosphere. It boasts that it’s easy to clean, and is made of durable materials.

Check out the website:  www.kayabirth.com and take a look!!!

Class #5 Tonight

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It’s always an honor for couples to invite me into the comfort and intimacy of their home to learn a birthing method that has the ability to change their lives.  As I finish teaching each couple, it’s the culmination of the classes, but the beginning of so much more.  My couples are armed with such valuable information, and look forward to their birthing day.  It feels great to hear moms say that they are ready for their babies to be there, and not because their bodies are fatigued from carrying, growing and nurturing a baby for 9 months, but because they feel ready and excited to meet their baby.  All fear has left, and instead, relief, joy, anticipation, and empowerment take its place.

For me, tonight was such a night.  I left the home of an incredible couple that I met 6 weeks ago, and started teaching 5 weeks ago.  It’s amazing the relationship that has been built in that length of time.  The journey they both have taken, but the husband/father’s journey was especially amazing.  I knew when I met the wife/mother, that she was on board with the concepts of HypnoBirthing, but that the husband/father was a bit wary.  His concern, as is with most husbands and soon to be fathers is the well-being of his family.  Husbands are the protectors, and this is certainly no different.  I could tell from the beginning that he wanted to believe, and it didn’t take long, one class, and he was on board.  I was sure to tell him, in particular, how proud I am of him, and what a distance he has come.  I believe he needs to hear this, because it will make him a stronger birth companion for his wife as she gives birth to their beautiful baby girl.

The couples I teach always make an impact on me, perhaps even an imprint on my heart and in my soul.  They are all such strong beautiful people that I enjoy teaching and learning from.  Tonight, this post is for you, A&A.  It’s been a joy, and thank you so much for your pure impact.

-Teva