Suggestions are still trickling in to my nifty little suggestion box and I’ve just got to say, ya’ll have the best questions!
I’m interested in your birth plan for baby numba two. What’s a MUST have and a must not for The Mommypotamus on the big day?
Genevieve at Mama Natural
To say I am the nesting type would be a whopping understatement. I am the ultimate nester. Unfortunately, due to the fact that we are doing whatever we can to sell this house in the next two weeks despite the fact that we haven’t found a house to buy (that we can afford), I am currently without a nest at all. I have no idea where we’ll be in 6-10 weeks. That has made planning rather difficult.
The upside of our less-than-ideal circumstances is that it’s got me focused on people rather than places. Here are the key players:
Daddypotamus – Daniel is doing double-duty for this birth. Like many husbands he is taking on the role of comforter and encourager. However, I am also looking to him to provide a little something extra this time.
When we found out we were pregnant I thought we had plenty of time to find a new home, but that seems more unlikely with each passing day. Having a home of my own to lovingly prepare for the big day is part of my nesting ritual. It calms me. It helps me to feel prepared and ready. Most likely, it’s not gonna happen.
The thing is, I am not a big talker when I’m in pain. I went through almost two days of labor without making so much as a sound until my midwives asked me to try not to internalize so much. I tried yelling for them. It felt weird. Anyway, because I internalize when I need to keep my focus, Daniel felt at times like he was unnecessary during Katie’s birth.
This time will be different. I trust him and I’m going to need him to help me adjust to whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Our marriage is good but life is hectic and sometimes we fail to connect. We are making an effort to correct that so that when the time comes we will be completely on the same page.
Midwife/Chiropractor/Friend – Dr. Cindy came to my first birth in the role of chiropractor. Her adjustment helped me move past the 12 hour puking streak I was on. Since then, she has become one of my best friends and my best resource for all things birth and health related. I am grateful that she will be acting in all of these capacities as my lead midwife on the big day. Note: Last year Cindy and I attended our close friends birth together (she was the midwife and I was the photographer). It is truly amazing the kind of bond we all have and I hope it will only deepen as we raise our kids together.
Doula – We are in the process of interviewing doulas right now, but we know we want one present. We didn’t have one with Katie because I thought my mom could act in that role. Um, no.
“Doulas often use the power of touch and massage to reduce stress and anxiety during labor. According to physicians Marshal Klaus and John Kennell, massage helps stimulate the production of natural oxytocin. The pituitary gland secretes natural oxytocin to the bloodstream which causes uterine contractions and also secretes it to the brain, which results in a feeling of well being, drowsiness and a raised pain threshold. Synthetic IV oxytocin cannot cross into the blood stream and brain, so it increases contractions without the positive psychological effects of natural oxytocin.”
Sign me up! Besides, Gigi will be staying with Katie at the birth. If Katie chooses to be present Gigi will help her understand what’s going on. If not, they’ll do something else.
Birth Photographer – Although I can’t really call birth photography an essential, Lynsey Stone is a confirmed part of our birth team and I am so excited to have her.
We have nothing but a few grainy pics and a short video (in which almost nothing is visible) from Katie’s birth. The whole experience was so surreal I don’t remember much. This time I plan to document every moment, which I’ll probably end up sharing here ; – )
Birth Tub – My happy, happy place. I cannot imagine giving birth any other way. Water birth:
We’re all looking forward to baby #2, though he/she doesn’t have a name yet and we’re all so busy we sometimes feel that we haven’t soaked in the anticipation like we did with baby #1.
The clock is ticking! So while I re-read my list and make sure I didn’t leave anything out, I’d like to hear from you: what will YOU do differently with your next birth? Any new must haves on your radar? Any must avoids?Read More »
My apologies for writing every Daddypotamus post about vision, destiny, and intangible life meaning stuff. At this exact moment in my life, I can’t force myself to drum up an explanation of my paternal views on extended breastfeeding. What I CAN share is my focus and experience, and that leads me back into that great big, super-duper, all-important visioneering black hole.
After reading Joy’s guest post on Belgexan.com, I was reminded yet again that sometimes God allows us to wait MUCH longer than we want for things because He’s more concerned about our hearts. I don’t want to establish a doctrine on the subject, however, because sometimes God wants us to walk into His provision and we’re sitting back expecting it to take forever. So while there ARE moments that God allows us to sweat because it’s purifying, we would be limiting Him if we choose to expect the same situation and response every time we want something.Read More »
I think it’s funny that you offered to write a Father’s Day post. Cute really, but did you really think I would let you? What would be next? Me sending you out to buy your own birthday presents?
No. I have something to say about Father’s Day. And I’m saying it directly to you (via my blog, which I guess technically makes it indirectly).
Despite how I love sleep and regret the early morning routine that goes along with having a toddler, one of my favorite moments of the day is first waking up. When I hear Katie stirring I know what is coming. Half asleep she calls “Daaaaaaaady!!!”
Of course, you were up long before us, spending time with the Father of us all, but you always hear that call. No matter where you are in the house only seconds go by before you are at our bedside, scooping your sleepy girl into your arms for an early morning cuddle.
Do you know what I think about as I lay there trying to muster the motivation to give up my snuggly body pillow? I relish the fact that you are our daughters first thought. That she waits for you to come . . . and you always do.
One day our daughter will wake up alone. She’ll be on her way to becoming an adult. I hope that when this time comes her first waking thoughts will be of her Heavenly Father. I hope that she will be aware of His presence and love for her, just as she is aware of yours in these early years.
It seems like that’s how it’s supposed to work. I’ll never know for sure . . . I never had what you two have. All I can say is I really needed to witness this. I needed to know firsthand that the love of a father is more than a myth.
You cannot comprehend the power of what you’re doing. You see one little girl, but there are really two hearts in your hands. The little girl in me is watching, believing, and letting go of the pain.
Thank you. You’re an amazing man and an incredible father.
I love you.
~ MeRead More »
Today my alter ego is guest posting over at Belgexan. While Dr. Potamus is not as crunchy as me, she makes a few good points. Go check her out!
Oh, and please… Leave your pitchforks at home.Read More »
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m slacking. Truth be told, all I want to do lately is go to the pool with Katie. The sun and music, not to mention the way Katie gets cuddly after playing hard in the water for two hours, are just too tempting resist.
So I’m not. At least not today ; – )
If you are headed to NRH2O today please know that I am seven months pregnant and wearing a bikini. Consider this your warning ; – ) Ironically, I am pretty self conscious about wearing a bikini around here when I am NOT pregnant because nursing women are, ahem, endowed. Strange men staring at me gives me the heebie jeebies. But slap an extra 15 or so pounds on me and I’ll wear one no problem! No pictures, though, as you can see.
Today I am picking Linda’s question from the suggestion box because, well, it’s the easiest. And because I get to talk about my family.
Hi Heather! I am kind of interested in the fact that you live with your Mom as an adult. Why do you choose to? How do you keep your relationship with Daniel spicy? How do you keep your relationship with Daniel between you 2 and not letting it spill over & airing out dirty laundry, etc. In light of recent events, we have had to move back in with my Mom (my husband and our 2 kids), and I find it much harder to live here now that I am older.
Thanks for asking, Linda! When Daniel and I first got married, he made it clear that he was a “leave and cleave” kind of guy. It was hard for me at first. When something I didn’t feel prepared to handle would come up I often found myself halfway through dialing my mom’s number before I realized she wasn’t the one I was supposed to talk things over with anymore.
Fortunately, both of our parents had the wisdom to give us time to unify as a couple. They let us fight (sometimes during holiday gatherings) without interfering or taking sides. They stood by quietly and watched us make bad decisions without offering unsolicited advice. On the flip side, they celebrated our milestones with gusto and let us know we always had their support.
Eventually, Daniel and I began to believe we could “let our parents in” our lives without the boundaries getting all murky. They had proven they could treat us like grown-ups, even when we weren’t acting like it.
My mom semi-retired right around the time Katie was born. Because I was still doing part-time PR work from my home office she graciously offered to watch Katie a few hours a day. I’ll never forget her bringing Katie to nurse during big conference calls. Thank God for the mute button! Having my mom there with me in those early months, supporting me and just being downright proud of me, was one of the best experiences of my life. I grew up in a multi-generational home, so the idea was nothing new to me. But having her around seemed to clench the idea. My mom was single. She had tons of friends but lived alone. Daniel and I decided she should be with us.
Regarding how it’s worked out, there have been some rough spots but Gigi tells it best. The only things I will add is that it’s hard to hide when we are arguing, but Gigi is a smart lady and finds somewhere else to be when we need to work things out. On our side, learning to restrain ourselves is good practice for not arguing too much in front of our children.
As for keeping things spicy: We have no complaints ; – ) My mom has an active social life and is gone a lot in the evenings. And those loooong excursions to the duck park she takes with Katie don’t hurt, either.
Read More »
This is really embarrassing but it’s time to put it out there:
Okay, not really, but let’s just say that I was a thumb sucker until way, way, WAY past the normal window for that behavior. I’m mentioning this because today we are tackling myth number three in this series about extended breastfeeding and my childhood experiences will be taking center stage. Just wanted you to know how the story ends. Or actually, how it didn’t end for a long, long time ; – ) Shall we jump in?
Before becoming a mother I read The Nanny Diaries, which is both a sad and hilarious account of our cultural obsession with getting our kids “ahead.” It really brings to light the question of whether promoting independence to give our kids an edge is a healthy priority. Setting that aside for now, I’d like to ask four questions:
No, maybe, no and no.
Unlike Myth#1 and #2, there is some actual research on this subject. Dr. Jack Newman recently wrote an excellent article called Breastfeeding a Toddler: Why on Earth? As a consultant with UNICEF for the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in Africa who has also published several articles regarding breastfeeding in Scientific American, he’s considered by many to be an authority on the subject. Here’s an excerpt:
But I want my baby to become independent.
And breastfeeding makes the toddler dependent? Don’t believe it. The child who breastfeeds until he weans himself (usually from 2 to 4 years), is generally more independent, and, perhaps, more importantly, more secure in his independence. He has received comfort and security from the breast, until he is ready to make the step himself to stop. And when he makes that step himself, he knows he has achieved something, he knows he has moved ahead. It is a milestone in his life.
Often we push children to become “independent” too quickly. To sleep alone too soon, to wean from the breast too soon, to do without their parents too soon, to do everything too soon. Don’t push and the child will become independent soon enough. What’s the rush? Soon they will be leaving home. You want them to leave home at 14? If a need is met, it goes away. If a need is unmet (such as the need to breastfeed and be close to mom), it remains a need well into childhood and even the teenage years.
Of course, breastfeeding can, in some situations, be used to foster an overdependent relationship. But so can food and toilet training. The problem is not the breastfeeding. This is another issue.
So, the answer to question number one, do children that are weaned before the typical world average of 2-4 have greater security and self-confidence, is NO.
I am always amazed by what parents are proud of. Admittedly, I have been proud of some pretty silly things with Katie. Like when she was teeny tiny and let out a huge burp I thought it was awesome. When I visit with other moms they are always proud of the milestones. Is he eating solids yet? Is she sleeping through the night? When did he start walking? Most people seem to think that reaching these milestones early is a good omen that their child will be successful. But is that really true?
Question number two, whether children encouraged towards independence are more successful, is difficult to answer. You see, I hope to raise my children with the concept of freedom, but not necessarily the popular ideal of independence.
Independence, as it is represented in our culture, typically implies a separation from others . . . a sense of being self-sufficient. Which honestly, is nothing more than a pipe dream. When we focus on independence as a goal we downplay our need for one another . . . our needs for relationship, community, and survival. What we need to be teaching our children is how to be interdependent and still remain free.
Here’s what I mean: Remember how Dr. Newman said a satisfied need goes away but if it is unmet it can carry on into the teenage years? Well, that was me. When I was six weeks old my dad insisted that I be initiated into the world of independence by being dropped off at a daycare center. (This was not based out of a financial need in our family, it was simply a preference.)
Without my mom there to breastfeed me I quickly found my thumb. When my mom weaned me at a year old (she’d never heard of anything different), my parents divorced and I had to pack up and go to a new house, my thumb and my yellow blankie got me through it.
It’s hard to overstate what an insecure child I was. I don’t mean I didn’t like myself, I mean I felt disconnected from others and that terrified me. The world was a big, scary place and most of the time, I felt alone. When I entered school things only got worse. I begged to stay home, faked illnesses, did whatever I could to prevent separation from my mom.
In every area that I was forced into independence I became anxious and clingy. As I got older and continued to feel the ache of those unmet needs I grew increasingly resentful. Then angry. And THEN I learned independence.
The people I needed most in life left so many needs unmet that I didn’t feel I could trust them. I didn’t want to need them, and eventually I convinced myself I didn’t need anyone. By the time I got to college my nickname was Femi-Nazi. It’s true! When Daddypotamus transferred to my college and asked some of the guys about me they told him, “Don’t even bother. That girl is FIERCE.” And they were right.
But you know what? The accelerated independence program had worked in one respect. I was successful. Seventy-five percent of my tuition was being paid by scholarship, I was in a program for intellectually gifted students, and my GPA was, well . . . good. I drove a nice car, blah blah blah. Success. You know why? Early childhood had not taught me to cherish and nurture the interests and needs of others. How could it have when my needs and interests were mostly cast aside? My childhood taught me that if I needed something from people I was going to have to become powerful enough to take it by force, because no one was going to give a crap otherwise. That’s where my will to succeed came from. That’s where I think it comes from for many people in America.
While many parents and teachers may point to external successes as a sign that pushing the independence issue is good for kids, I would encourage more of a wait and see approach. I looked successful on the outside but I was falling apart within. If I hadn’t met Daddypotamus and began a very painful but healing journey with him I don’t know where I would be. But I can tell you it would not be good.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against many of the things parents think of when they hope their children will become successful. I pray that my own children will find fulfilling careers and earn a good income. But my goal is that they will find their calling by recognizing how they can best contribute to the world, not control or exploit it. And I do this by intentionally cultivating a focus on our interconnectedness without veering over in to co-dependence.
Someday my daughter may be almost successful. Maybe she will be an up and coming fashion designer that gets offered a shot at her own line. I can almost imagine it. Millions of dollars right there at her twenty-something year old fingertips. And then she learns her clothes will be made in India. In sweatshops filled with malnourished five year-old children that work 12 hours a day.
And she walks away from the deal. The opportunity of a lifetime.
I can almost see her, intrepid as she will most certainly be, finding another way to fulfill her dream without sacrificing the lives of people she’s never met and would never have had to answer to.
Nothing would make me more proud than a decision like that. Some people may think it’s a shame that she “almost” made something of herself. But you know what? I think those are the kinds of cultural values that gave us Enron.
I want Katie to recognize that we are all interconnected, that we need each other, and that when we exploit others we destroy ourselves. I want her childhood to be filled with experiences in which her needs are met deeply, because someday she will be a reservoir of hope in a way I have not yet begun to imagine. Whether it’s breastfeeding, co-sleeping or going to the nursery with her, that’s what I’m shooting for.
My last thought on the subject is this: I am not saying that extended breastfeeding is the only way to raise a connected, compassionate child. That is just ridiculous. Some of my best friends only bf to a year and their kids are awesome. This is just one of the tools I have chosen because it’s absence in my life profoundly affected me.
This is me, a reformed dominator, trying to make good on my life ; – )
If you’re still reading I am simply amazed. Thank you!
It’s my nifty little virtual suggestion box. I’m taking a little break today. Okay, actually I am working on a series about Real Food for Less and another that’s a surprise. Working is probably not the right word. More like researching for my own benefit ; – )
Anyway, while I’m out I left this nifty little box for you to fill. Do you want me to research the best prenatal supplement? Leave me a comment. Or perhaps you want to know how to make cheap, non-toxic household cleaners. I’d be happy to help! Just leave a comment with your suggestion.
The best topics come from your questions. Extended Breastfeeding Myth #3, which I’ll be posting tomorrow, is one of my favorites so far and, you guessed it, it came from a question. You guys are so curious and thoughtful I just love it (and you)! So . .. cloth diapers, toddler eating habits, meal planning, co-sleeping, vaccination, water birth, raw milk, whatever! Let me know what interests you and I’ll blog about it.