Why it matters how we are born

“The beginning of life is a very normal and natural, yet specific, event.” ~ Bettina Breunig, TEDx Talk

Much of Western society chooses to view childbirth differences as merely a matter of personal choice. Rather, Attachment Parenting International (API) encourages us to recognize this important beginning in both our child’s life and our relationship with our child. Keeping this in mind, the first of API’s Eight Principles of ParentingPrepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting — is a critical investment in our roles as mothers (and fathers).

In this TEDx Talk video, German midwife Bettina Breunig discusses the role of a birth professional during labor and childbirth — to empower the woman to give the best possible beginning to her baby’s life outside the womb.

Join us as we explore this Everest of a challenge for every new mother:

16 points to consider for your cesarean birth plan

Editor’s note: April is Cesarean Awareness Month, an international observance designed to reduce unnecessary Cesareans, advocate for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), and help women heal from the sometimes-difficult emotions surrounding a cesarean birth. While Attachment Parenting International (API) promotes childbirth options with the least interventions, we also recognize that there are certain situations that necessitate interventions. What is most important is that parents research all of their options to be able to make an informed decision. A cesarean does not need to prevent a gentle delivery:

A family-centered cesarean is a relatively new concept that’s helping to make cesarean births gentler and more positive. In addition to giving a mother control over her birth, a family-centered cesarean — sometimes called a gentle cesarean — may also help facilitate early bonding between parent and newborn. This can help a family to start out feeling attached and connected from birth.

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Certainly, if you’ve had an unwanted, traditional cesarean or any negative birth experience, it does not mean that you cannot have an attached relationship with your baby. However, having a positive birth experience can make for an easier transition into parenthood and can also reduce the chances of postpartum depression, also maeng da Kratom can help to counter birth stress and depression issues. Red bali kratom is a kratom strain belonging to a plant family known as Mitragyna Speciosa. It belongs to a group of kratom variety known as red vein kratom. The name red vein represents the color of the leaf vein running across the middle of the kratom leaf. Kratom is certainly enjoying a great deal of renewed attention in this day and age. That fact alone has led people from all walks of life to learn more about the potential behind the most euphoric kratom.

What is a Family-Centered Cesarean?

The goal of a family-centered cesarean is to focus on what will make the experience better for all members of the family. Since every family’s wishes and desires are different, a family-centered cesarean can look different for each family. Also, the fact that policies vary greatly from one hospital to another may determine what is and is not possible. (For example, some hospitals do not allow a doula in the operating room.) Also there is a slight possibility that something goes wrong in the surgery. That’s why a company like Hastings Law Firm, Medical Malpractice Lawyers can help you recover in case something like this occurs.

Gentle practices that some families may desire during a family-centered cesarean include having the baby walked out more slowly than in a traditional cesarean, delayed cord clamping, and allowing for immediate skin-to-skin with either parent. For best birth plan, you should know about kratom herb and also about white sumatra kratom. Allowing the mother to nurse in the operating room, keeping mother and baby together in the recovery room, and having newborn tests and procedures done with the baby on mom’s chest are other ways that a family-centered cesarean can support early attachment.

In my own experience, I had both a planned and unplanned cesarean. When my second child was born in 2012, I arrived at the hospital in labor expecting a vaginal delivery like I’d had with my first child. I was shocked to find out that my baby was in breech position, and he was delivered via cesarean less than an hour later. I hadn’t planned for a cesarean and had never heard of a family-centered cesarean.  Fortunately, in my situation, the hospital policies already included having mom and baby together in the recovery room and other early bonding practices. However, had I known what options I had to make my cesarean a more family-centered experience, I would have felt more in control of my birth and less scared and upset upon learning I’d need a cesarean and then to get it covered with the used medical lasers for cosmetic surgery.

When I was pregnant with my daughter two years later, I was hoping for a VBAC but learned early in the third trimester that she was breech as well. I ended up having a second cesarean, but this time I was able to research my options and created a cesarean birth plan. Though it wasn’t the ideal birth that I’d initially imagined, it ended up being the most positive of my 3 children’s births.

If you’re having a planned cesarean by choice or medical necessity, or if you are hoping for a vaginal birth but want to consider your wishes in case it becomes a cesarean, you may want to consider writing a cesarean birth plan that covers both the cesarean itself and the recovery period. Talking to an obstetrician about it in advance can help you understand what is possible at your hospital.

Points to Consider When Preparing for a Family-centered Cesarean:

  1. Practice breathing and relaxation techniques to use before and during the cesarean. This can help you stay calm and manage stress or discomfort.
  2. Play music in the operating room, if allowed. It can help in creating a comfortable and calm atmosphere.
  3. Have an additional support person/doula in the operating room and/or recovery room, if allowed. A doula program services may help with relaxation or be a source of emotional support. Research shows that having a doula leads to higher satisfaction with the birth experience.
  4. Ask to have one arm unrestrained in order to hold the baby as early as possible and facilitate early bonding.
  5. Before beginning, have someone ask, “Are you ready to have your baby now?” This can help you feel a little more in control of your birth.
  6. Have the cesarean performed slowly with the baby walked out slowly and gently which is gentler for the baby than a traditional cesarean may be.
  7. Ask the doctor to explain the process as it is happening. This can help you to feel more present and connected with the experience.
  8. Have a warm blanket available during the surgery for your comfort.
  9. Have the screen lowered or a mirror at the time of delivery, or have a clear surgical drape, so you are able to see the baby’s birth.
  10. Allow your partner to announce the baby’s gender.
  11. Have immediate skin-to-skin contact. This is one of the earliest ways to bond physically with your baby.
  12. Delay cord clamping. Keeping the cord attached longer allows for increased blood flow from the placenta, which has many health benefits for the newborn.
  13. Breastfeed the baby as early as possible, in the operating or recovery room. In addition to being a means to connect physically with your newborn, this has other benefits including improved lactation and less loss of blood. Feeding a baby colostrum within the first hour of birth also increases the chances of a successful breastfeeding relationship.
  14. Keep the baby with you in the recovery room to allow for more opportunities for bonding and nursing.
  15. Delay baby’s first bath to give the baby more time to bond with parents. There are also health benefits to this, as research shows that leaving on the vernix (the white substance many babies have on their skins after birth) can benefit a baby’s immune system.
  16. Have newborn tests and procedures done with the baby on your chest so you aren’t separated.

While having a positive birthing experience is desirable — as it is a part of our initial parenting experience — it’s important to remember that it doesn’t define our parenting journey. If you Want to throw your child an awesome party. E Magical Moment can customise a package that is suitable for your kids birthday party. There will be many more events and moments for us to bond and connect with our children.

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         Additional API Resources on Gentle Cesarean Births:

API’s First Principle of Parenting: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting

Personal stories on APtly Said, API’s blog:

— “A special door

— “I took back control of my cesarean

— “5 lessons learned about Attachment Parenting after a cesarean birth

Professional insight on The Attached Family, API’s online magazine:

— “What Goes Into a Family-Centered Cesarean Birth Plan

— “What to Do When a Cesarean Becomes Necessary

Positive discipline begins at birth

I took back control of my Cesarean

Editor’s note: April is Cesarean Awareness Month, an international observance designed to reduce unnecessary Cesareans, advocate for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) and help women heal from the sometimes-difficult emotions surrounding a Cesarean birth. Attachment Parenting International‘s First Principle of Parenting: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting advocates for parents to research their options regarding childbirth choices. While API promotes choices with the least interventions possible, Cesareans are necessary in some situations. But a Cesarean does not need to prevent a gentle delivery:

When I was 7 months pregnant with my third baby, we learned that the baby was in breech position.

That had been my concern all along. My second baby had been breech as well, only we hadn’t found out until I was at the hospital in labor. Since I’d already had a vaginal delivery the first time around and now had a midwife and a doula, I felt confident about my ability to have a VBAC if my baby was in the right position. Apparently my baby had plans of her own.

My midwife gave me a list of 17 things to try over the next several weeks that might encourage the baby to flip. Searching the internet, I found half a dozen more, plus variations of several of them. I was incredibly overwhelmed. I felt like I had to try everything. What if I didn’t do one thing and that was the one that would have made the baby turn? What if I only did something twice a day when I should be doing it three or four or 10 times? What if I was doing it wrong altogether?

The idea of a second Cesarean had me overly stressed and anxious. I was so preoccupied with doing things that might help me avoid it that I felt like I was taking time away from my sons, and I wasn’t enjoying my pregnancy.

Finally my doula helped me realize that I couldn’t do everything. I had to pick the few things that felt right to me. I was still giving my baby plenty of opportunities to turn. My doula helped me remember that some babies simply don’t want to flip, or can’t for some reason.

For the rest of the pregnancy, I was able to focus on doing what felt right for my body and my baby. Hypnobabies helped me relax. I reminded myself that even if a chiropractic adjustment didn’t give the result I wanted, it was still good for my body. Instead of worrying about the things I tried not producing automatic results, I turned my attention to making the impending Cesarean a positive experience.

I took back control of my birth.

I researched gentle Cesareans, where the baby is walked out slowly, and created a Cesarean birth plan. I spoke with an obstetrician about my desire for immediate skin-to-skin contact and having the baby with me in the recovery room. He took the time to go through my birth plan with me and addressed his concerns in a fair, respectful way.

Going into the Cesarean, I was able to feel at peace, to feel prepared. Unlike with my previous Cesarean, which I didn’t know would happen in advance, this time I was lucky to be able to process the emotions surrounding it beforehand.

kelly shealer C sectMy baby girl was born on April 30, 2014, eight days after my oldest son turned 4 and 18 days after my second son turned 2. After the doctor told me my baby was a girl, everything became a blur. I do know that once they gave her to me, she never left my side. She rode with me to the recovery room and stayed there the whole time, nursing. All that night she wanted to stay cuddled up against me, and that was fine with me.

I took back control of my birth.

The truth shall not only set you free…

gordonsIt will hopefully save you and make a difference for someone else.

As children, we do our best to navigate through this world with the guidance and support of our parents and/or loved ones. As parents, we give all of our love and do our best to nurture and guide our children.

It was through my reflection of the experiences I had as a child that I clearly envisioned the parent I would become upon giving birth. My natural instinct to follow Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting, which I didn’t even know had names until years later, aligned with what we call Attachment Parenting today. Here is a glimpse into part of what I believe truly makes a difference each day as a parent and how so much of what we experience, from the moment we are born, becomes part of our foundation:

Fourteen days ago, I was painfully aching over the well-being of my little sister whom I love more than I can express. Fourteen days ago, she made a brave decision to save herself by asking for help. Fourteen days ago, she was given another chance to live. Fourteen days ago, I saw hope for the first time in many years.

On New Year’s Day, she unequivocally shared her reality through greetings and wishes, via Facebook…from Palm Springs rehab and it went amazing, they helped me a lot.

I couldn’t be more proud of her uninhibited proclamation or her courage. When we last saw each other, we both expressed a need to share truth in order to relate and connect with others.

Not many truly know the pain or challenges we each endure throughout our lives. We are all simply trying to find our way, and we’re fortunate if we connect with someone, anyone, who hears us or truly “gets” us.

Even then, it still may feel like we’re alone a lot of the time. We may isolate and believe that isolation is the best and only option. It isn’t.

I am so thankful my sister reached out to all of us. I am so happy to witness the outpouring of love and support she is receiving from everyone.

My sister and I grew up in the same home, yet our experiences were very different. When our parents began their lengthy, heart-rending, grievous dance toward divorce, it took many years with much instability and left my brothers, my sister and me with unanswered questions and doubts about our place in this world. The anguish and uncertainty manifested in different ways for each of us, and still does.

As I witness others, including myself, suffering from residual damage leftover from childhood, I am constantly reminded how important and necessary it is to candidly express and connect in order to be heard in some way…even if it’s only to hear our own thoughts and voices clearly.

I have always walked through my life with compassion and love in my heart. I profoundly experience what others feel as we briefly cross paths in this precious life. I am touched by your joy. I am saddened by your despair. I relate to your longing. I want you to know I hear you. I see you. I feel you. As I pass you on the street, as we make eye contact for one second in time, as we come together for reasons we may or may not understand, as we detach and reconnect…I am grateful for my existence. I am grateful for yours.

My sister and I have always shared a deep desire and need to seek out the meaning of life and our purpose here. We’ve traveled different paths along the way, and various answers have been revealed over the years. One thread that always seems to weave through it all is a common yearning for the few simple things I always speak of: To be heard, to be understood, to be loved.

As I go through each day, it becomes clearer that these needs form the basis of our relationships and all of the choices we make in our lives, and whether or not these needs get fulfilled, dictates the outcomes. We were all born with this awareness and longing, and as adults, we can powerfully shift direction for the next generations. We can be positive examples by listening with patience and by accepting and loving people for who they truly are.

We will undoubtedly have our flaws. We will most certainly make mistakes. We are still and always worthy of love.

As I often say and will continue to do so, listening is loving. If you listen without judgment, you will hear what someone so desperately wants and needs you to hear. If we were all truly heard and understood from birth, life would be a very different experience.

There are many things we may keep locked up. There are many things we may believe no one understands. There are many times we may feel alone. If we can be the person who takes the time to listen and understand another, we will make a difference in that person’s life. If you take the time to look into my eyes and hear me, you will make a difference in mine.

My wish for each of us is to believe that with love and support, anything is possible. We may have our stories, our beliefs, our fears, our truth. We may believe we have a right to our resentments, our anger, our strong-hold grip on what we cannot or will not let go of. We have a right to all of it. It is ours. What is also ours, is the choice to be love. To act with love. To open ourselves up to receiving love. To letting go. To moving forward. To living and appreciating each and every breath we take.

Another year has passed. Although I am intensely present to each moment, it still goes by too quickly. Through the challenging times, the magical moments and the many phases of change, I am thankful for the growth, a new day and the gift of being surrounded by the greatest loves of my life.

I wish you all a healthy, loving, inspiring and miraculous New Year.

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Don’t blame the baby

cason zarroWhen I am pregnant, I can sleep anywhere, anytime. I’d love to just sleep through the first two-thirds of pregnancy. I could fall asleep on the stairs, on the way to bed. I could even rest up for 12 long hours at night and still be able to take a nice morning nap.

But there was one thing that kept me awake at night, staring at the ceiling: my son’s warm body snuggled next to mine, with his arm draped over my growing belly.

I’d pull him closer to me and think, “What have I done? How is this going to rock his world? What is going to happen to my relationship with him?”

The “what ifs” scrolled through my mind at a dizzying speed. How was I possibly going to be able to handle mothering two children, especially when one would be a needy newborn?

Each of my children have been carefully and loving planned, but the moment that stick turned blue, the excitement was mixed with worry and doubt. I was doing the right thing for our family, right? As my belly grew, I wrestled with that question.

I loved growing up with a sibling and so would my son, I reasoned with myself. Lots of people have two children and somehow make it work, so I will be able to, too. Alongside each of those comforting thoughts, the worrisome thoughts fought for my attention. My sister and I didn’t get along until she moved out. Were we on the cusp of 15 years of fighting?

I started talking to my friends who had multiple children and asking them, how they did it? Often their comfort was well-meaning but not always helpful. I heard, “Oh, it just works out. You’ll be fine,” a lot. But I needed something more concrete. The devil on my shoulder kept saying, “Just because they are fine doesn’t mean you will be!”

With enough digging and prodding, I did eek out some tangible advice from my wonderful friends. Sitting on the beach at a lake near my home, one friend said, “Don’t blame the baby.” Huh? Thankfully she went on to explain what became the most helpful advice I’ve ever gotten about being a mother of more than one.

Don’t blame the baby.

When you are pregnant and sick, don’t blame the baby. Tell your child you just aren’t feeling too well today, but that’s normal for mommies sometimes.

After the baby is born and you need to sit on the sofa and feed your sweet newborn, don’t blame the baby. Tell your child, “I need to sit here for a little bit. Will you pick out a book for me to read to you?”

Blaming the baby encourages your older child to feel jealous. Before that stinkin’ baby came along, Mommy was much more fun!

I had an easy birth with my second child and was so lucky to have both my husband and son in the room — along with many other helping hands! My son was enthralled, mesmerized and inspired…

…for five minutes. After admiring his new brother, he was ready to play. Ready to go back to life as always.

In those first moments and first days, I started to see, to believe, that it was going to be okay. I even started to see a glimpse that it was going to be more than okay. We were embarking on a great new journey together as a family. Bring on the joy!

Like all journeys, we’ve had some unexpected turns, some bumps in the road and some vistas unlike we ever dreamed of seeing. We’ve also come to some crossroads and needed to make decisions.

One unexpected twist in the path to sibling harmony has been in the lack of support we’ve found in children’s books. So many children’s books encourage jealousy and show fighting siblings as the norm. Through careful selection, we’ve managed to present a different world to our boys. With the Boxcar children, Magic Treehouse, Wild Kratts and many others, we’ve been able show our boys a world where siblings support and love each other.

Family is a topic of daily dialog in our home. We talk about families and the place each person has and how important each person is in our family.

None of this insulates us from squabbling between siblings. There are still arguments over Legos and protests of “It’s not fair!” But woven through our family, there is something greater: love.

My boys love each other, through and through, no matter what happens. It has taken a lot of work and conscious effort and trying things to see what works. And now we’re starting on the next chapter in this book of family and have added a little sister to the mix.

When she is nursing and gazing up at me with those big, beautiful baby eyes, I lean in and whisper to her, “You’re so lucky! You have two wonderful brothers who can’t wait to play with you!”

Babywearing: The next generation

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Aug. 26, 2008, but it contains a sweet reminder for parents expecting a new baby and may be wondering how that will affect their older child.

dsc_0175There is something so sweet about watching our older children mimic our parenting approach with their younger siblings.

When our second child was born, our oldest was only 2 years old. While she was very sweet with her new baby brother, she mostly just politely ignored him. I did catch her gently rocking and lifting her shirt to nurse her favorite stuffed duck occasionally.

When our third was born, she was 5 and was definitely more interested but still mostly preferred to “mother” her dolls, carrying them around in doll slings and such, than her real live baby brother.

This last time around, though, when our fourth was born, has been different. At 7, our oldest is interested and physically strong enough to care for her new baby sister. She helps with diaper changes, she confidently hikes baby Julia onto her hip and, just yesterday, asked to wear Julia on her back.

I reflexively said “no,” and then reconsidered. Why not? I would supervise and she had been asking me for several months to try. So she did, and I was tickled.

I guess before I had more than one child, it never occurred to me how much the baby gets from having older siblings. Everyone talks about the benefits to the older child. You are getting a playmate! You’ll be a big sister! But, wow, the baby benefits, too!

I mean, Julia positively glows when her big brothers and sister appear.

We call Julia “the luckiest baby” for having three older siblings. Her every sound and cute little motion is quickly responded to. She has a built-in audience when she notices the fan and starts moving her arm in a circle. Three little voices notice and start to encourage her.

I remember vaguely feeling a bit sorry for my firstborn when our second arrived, imagining the reduced amount of parental attention she would get, that she would somehow be sitting around pining for my attention when my hands would be full with a new baby.

While this was certainly somewhat true for the first few months, once the baby was a bit older, the tables turned a bit and she and her younger brother became inseparable and played together constantly — much more than I would have been able to manage, even with my best effort. I mean, my patience for playing tea and reading toddler books is, shall we say, definitely finite.

Heck, these days I have to fight for my time with my children: They are so self-sufficient with each other. I had completely underestimated this part of a growing family!

How about you? If you have more than one child, what have your experiences been like? Has the reality been what you expected?

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