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care to share first pregnancy stories tips and resources?

 
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Heya,
i have just embarked on the adventure of pregnancy and all resources i find on-line are mainstream anxiety-filled stuff.

from: what one book you suggest? best diet tips? how did you find your mothers-alike community? did you do ultrasounds, etc.? how to learn to ask for help - my personal fear - later in pregnancy and upon arrival of baby, and to whom? how to manage parents that do no understand rural simple lifestyle and will inundate you with plastic stuff? if you were alone would you get workaway, au pair, share house with another mother?

but also wishing for just your stories and some potential contacts for pen-friends

the challenge is bigger since my partner has got ...'cold feet' (?) and he has left the country upon knowing of our planned pregnancy is positive. this is our second. first was a miscarriage at 10w, just as much time as we are now. we had / have a dream of a simple life, we are over 35, live in countryside, and wished for this; but... somehow this is what it is. we are in contact. i am home. and focusing on my wellbeing - physical, emotional and spiritual - planting next crop, finishing work reports; to say: the shock as subsided but i know i will need help. i'm trusting the right people and situations will come
there are a few other pregnant woman around, with their partners...
thank you immensely
hugx
 
pollinator
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Hi and welcome to permies!

You have a tough situation...What I would really like to do is offer some practical help, but obviously that's not possible from here...

Babies can be hard work and any trustworthy extra hands you can get are a good idea. Anyone can hold a baby while you take a shower, for example. So yes, I would consider aupairs, friends, older kids in the neighborhood, any reasonably normal & trustworthy person. Of course your parents or your partner's parents, but there can be downsides to that help, as you mentioned.

I stayed with my mother-in-law (bless her!) 2-3 days almost every week when my first kid was a baby. My baby was colicky and I really needed help. My husband had to work full time so could not always help, though he did spend his evenings with the baby and sometimes stayed up most of the night with her, too.

How to manage your own parents and keep them from inundating your life with needless stuff and "advice"...  I wish I knew! There is no polite way of doing that with my parents, at least I haven't found one. I think if your parents are normal(ish) you might try being assertive. The old classic book "When I Say No I Feel Guilty" is excellent, it has helped me a lot. Just not with my parents, sadly.

Re: diet, books, ultras: I can't really help here as I did everything the mainstream way. Had ultras, ate what the conventional doctors recommended, etc.

I found other mothers via the local church, they had a day club for parents with babies and toddlers. It was really relaxed, not anything to do with any religious stuff, just drinking coffee and chatting with other mums (and the occasional dad) while the kids played or took their naps. Then I had a few old friends who had their babies at the same time and I met them occasionally. I also joined a mother's group that I found through our municipal service for families with infants (it has a better name than that, I just don't know what it is in English).

Lots of luck and hugs,
Nina
 
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My kid came along at age 38. I was lumped into the "high risk pregnancy" category, due to my advanced age. *scoff* I asked a few moms of many kids about what they did, and the following is what was helpful to me.

Mind you, this book lists nearly all the things that can go wrong. Just remain calm. Be armed with knowledge, which can help you make informed decisions in an emergency.

https://www.amazon.com/What-Expect-When-Youre-Expecting/dp/0761187480


My whole life I've been inundated with stories of tremendous amounts of pain during childbirth. Those who opt for an epidural seem to make it their mission to make sure you do too. In the same way, natural childbirth proponents can be sanctimonious if they gave birth naturally, and you agree to some form of standard practice. So, make the choices for yourself. Do not go feeling guilty if somewhere in the process, emergency or exhaustion sends you into the arms of standard practice. As a father of 13 told my Hunny, there is no "wrong" way to birth a healthy baby.

In the States we have birthing classes. I chose to take the Bradley Method, FAQ link below. They have several informative sections there, free. The book and classes were an excellent resource of knowledge. Armed with knowing what to expect, the whole process was much less frightening. Even so, as I'd not had a child before, we decided to use an OBGYN and the hospital. You know, 'cause I was ancient.

The below book was also used by my friend for her third child. She did not take any of the classes. She borrowed it three weeks before baby came, and found it helpful, and breezed through her home birth with a midwife in attendance.

http://www.bradleybirth.com/FAQs.aspx
https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Childbirth-Bradley-Susan-McCutcheon/dp/0452276594

 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Oh, and the Bradley method is subtitled "husband coached childbirth". Any friend can fill that roll. My Hunny was busy with putting pressure on my spine. I roped a friend in to act as my Doula/ coach.
 
pollinator
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I've always been a very instinctual parent, never read books, and it's worked out very well for me. I never had much help either, my ex worked all the time, my parents were overwhelmed. I had one full time mom that I hung out with, that helped a lot. She was nursing at the same time as me, and it helped to be able to leave my colicky baby with her so she could nurse him, and vice versa. That's my best advice, other stay-at-home mothers. Being home with a baby can be very lonely, even with multiple children.

As far as childbirth, the best advice I have is keep active and stretch a lot. Being strong and flexible goes a long way in childbirth. Some of my births were traumatic, but all that fades away when you have that baby in your arms. Epidural or no, that's a personal choice. I had one with my second child but it didn't work, so all four ended up natural/full pain.

My daughter is pregnant right now, due in a month. It's so interesting to see how different it is for her. She thinks about things a lot.
 
pollinator
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FWIW....from someone who never had or raised kids but was one once upon a time......

http://www.continuum-concept.org/
 
Stacy Witscher
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John Weiland - while I've never read that book or heard of it before now, just from looking at the link that seems a lot like what I mean by instinctual parenting. Looks good.
 
melodie sam
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Good morning,

thanks for sharing. i will check. i see patterns here, of very varied experiences even from same mother with different pregnancies. great process of acceptance and instinct development.

i have borrowed the Ina May Gaskin books.  There is also a movie. Very good !
 
master pollinator
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First and foremost, I am sorry for the loss of your first child. My wife and I endured that a few months ago, and just now the baby would have been born had it survived through pregnancy. I do not know what it is like from a mother's viewpoint, but do know what it is like from a fathers, and I am empathetic to you.

But that does not mean this birth is to be celebrated, father around or not. I will not sugar coat it, it will be harder, but I know of a woman who is a homesteader who has 3 boys, all with a father who suddenly wanted no responsibilities. Well don't we all loser, but some of us do what is right even when it is hard. In fact that is when our true character shines.

But as for words of encouragement, and yes I have (4) daughters, my words may be different then some. Most will say to develop a birth plan, but as a Christian, as a person who has seen a few babies born, will say that is BULLSHIT! There is no birth plan, the baby will do what the baby will do and that is all there is to it. Do all you can, and know it is up to the baby. Does the baby need to be born in a hospital: most of the time not, and things go perfectly well, but when things are bad, you want a hospital very close by. One of my children was an emergency C-section.
 
pollinator
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Seconding what Travis has said - most births are uneventful. But when stuff goes wrong it goes wrong really really fast. You don't want to be 20 minutes from a hospital. And what ever is on your birth plan goes out the window when the shoving starts.

Here in the UK many of our hospitals have midwife-led units, where normal births can happen under "less medical" arrangement. While they have a full maternity ward with surgery suites right nearby for those emergencies. Our first son was born in the midwife-led unit, and it was a great experience. Our second was late a needed to be induced, which is done on the main maternity ward. Both were great, and were only 60 seconds apart in the same hospital.

I would also like to add that my friends who have been most psychologically messed up by the birth process were the ones who had really strong belief about what their birth experience was going to be like. One was hugely emotionally invested in a "natural birth" experience and ended up having two emergency c-sections. The fact that her birth didn't go as planned caused her huge amount of turmoil - she felt in some way like a failure because she was fixated on the birth process, rather than the two beautiful kids she has ended up having. Her preconceived idea of what her birth should be like caused her far more problems than even the recovery from the surgery.
 
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Lots of good advice in this thread! Forgive me for braindumping all my ideas at once...take what works, and leave the rest. You will know what's right for you.

I have had 4 babies. 3 at home and 1 in hospital. I prefer the home experience, but the hospital experience is nothing to rail against.

Research and birth planning is fine, as long as when it comes down to the wire you are able to let go and feel instinct/Spirit tell you what is needed. Use research to find an appropriate and compatible caregiver, then trust them, yourself, the baby, and nature/God in the moment. (I enjoyed "The thinking woman's guide to a better birth.") Do not set yourself up in an adversarial relationship with your caregivers or "the system". Understand that everyone wants the best outcome and that anger/fear/defensiveness is ultimately going to be way worse than whether or not the cord is clamped early or late, or even whether the baby comes through the birth canal or through an incision in your abdomen.

Birth is as safe as life gets. It's also as deadly as life gets. That is to say it's perfectly fine most of the time, but babies can die, moms can die, injury and disability can happen. But these risks also apply to driving a car. The risks will never be zero. Be as prepared as makes you comfortable, but avoid getting worried or obsessed. Fear makes birth much more difficult, painful, and possibly even more likely to go wrong. Pregnancy is a good time to visit the big questions and make sure you are living the values you want in your life.

Eat what makes you feel healthy and balanced. Enjoy looking through nutrition books if that's what you enjoy, but don't stress about it if you can't stomach those brussel sprouts you were planning on.

Don't psych yourself out too much about the pain. The pain doesn't mean very much at all the instant you get to hold your little one. Mothers have been surviving the discomfort and pain forever, usually more than once. You can prepare yourself psychologically somewhat. The biggest thing for me was to not fight it. The only way out is through. Having a mantra to focus on might help (it did for me). Hypnobirth has some ideas. The folks that believe in Unassisted Childbirth also claim you can have a pain free birth. I read their stuff, took what worked for me, and left the rest. (Mine were not pain free, but they weren't as bad as I thought they would be  with the horror stories you hear some ladies tell.)

Do not feel ashamed if you want to get an epidural. That doesn't make you a failure or less womanly or anything else some rigid natural mamas might imply. And it's not going to ruin your baby either.

Postpartum can be challenging. Find support. If you do not have a friend or family member you trust to help you through a potentially discouraging, uncomfortable, and scary first few days, consider hiring a postpartum doula. Accept all help offered. Make a list so when  someone offers to do something you can  give them an idea or two of what  is needed most. Freeze a few meals ahead of time. Be gentle with yourself. Day 3 or so when the milk comes in can be rough. Have a head of cabbage on hand to use as compresses just in case you get engorged.

Don't feel guilty. Don't feel bad if you stay in bed a lot. Don't feel bad if you're not feeling as happy as you expected to. (Do practice lots of self care and talk to someone if you suspect you might have a hormonal imbalance. It's a common thing.) Don't feel bad if you choose to be mainstream. Don't feel bad if you choose to be alternative. Don't feel bad if you don't fit neatly into any particular "tribe."

Moms can be hard on each other sometimes. Don't join in that kind of devisive talk. You can have friends that breastfeed and bottlefeed...work, and stay home... homeschool and use public education... vaccinate and don't... whatever. No one needs to be shunned or judged over what choices they feel are best. So long as the kids are fed, clothed, loved, and protected, every mom is doing the best they can, and that is okay. That's not to say you can't enjoy finding your people. Just don't let the glue that holds you together be disdain for someone with a different opinion.

All kids are different. If someone knows the right or best or only way to parent, they just haven't had enough kids to know that you have to roll with the punches and learn as you go.

Most of all, you will know what's best. Don't doubt yourself. You are going to do an amazing job, even on days when you don't think you are. You are a good mom.

 
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melodie sam wrote:Heya,
i have just embarked on the adventure of pregnancy and all resources i find on-line are mainstream anxiety-filled stuff.

from: what one book you suggest? best diet tips? how did you find your mothers-alike community? did you do ultrasounds, etc.? how to learn to ask for help - my personal fear - later in pregnancy and upon arrival of baby, and to whom? how to manage parents that do no understand rural simple lifestyle and will inundate you with plastic stuff? if you were alone would you get workaway, au pair, share house with another mother?

but also wishing for just your stories and some potential contacts for pen-friends

the challenge is bigger since my partner has got ...'cold feet' (?) and he has left the country upon knowing of our planned pregnancy is positive. this is our second. first was a miscarriage at 10w, just as much time as we are now. we had / have a dream of a simple life, we are over 35, live in countryside, and wished for this; but... somehow this is what it is. we are in contact. i am home. and focusing on my wellbeing - physical, emotional and spiritual - planting next crop, finishing work reports; to say: the shock as subsided but i know i will need help. i'm trusting the right people and situations will come
there are a few other pregnant woman around, with their partners...
thank you immensely
hugx


Hello!
My congratulations! This is great news!
I think that you should first study the topics of proper nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Perhaps you should get acquainted with the local moms and talk with them about the children and how their pregnancy proceeded.
Now a lot of information on the Internet about pregnancy planning, proper nutrition.
I personally, not by hearsay, know what it is since I bring up two sons.
This resource: https://ivf-international.com contains a lot of information about family planning, international surrogacy, and IVF. Perhaps someone will be useful this information.
Easy pregnancy and childbirth!
 
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I know the feeling of being pregnant and alone, and what I can tell you is that it isn't has hard or as stressful as society makes it out to be. I would love to talk with you about being pregnant and raising a baby :)

My biggest advice: don't give into society's notion that pregnancy is a time to eat what you want and put your feet up. It's critical that you eat right and stay active. By doing so you keep yourself healthy and strong, which makes recovery a snap.

Anyways, I hope you are well.
 
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Melodie,

Since you wrote you were "embarking on ....pregnancy" two months ago, I'm guessing you're still pregnant. We trust it is going well.

To you, and any other folks who read this, children are wonderful, we have eight. All home births. Not a problem with any of them. Laura is a terrific midwife, doula, nutritionist, mother. Please, any of you, contact her anytime, she can answer or advise you on any of the questions or situations you may have. ~~Starting with, having babies is the most natural thing in the world. They want to be born, they want to be healthy, they want to love you, and you love them. After that pretty much everything is simple (Except maybe when your daughters turn teenager and the boys start coming around. But I've always told them I will hunt them down if they ever hurt my daughter. And every single one of the boys have been very well behaved. --I've told my sons the same thing, and they are very well manered also.)

Anyway, with some knowledge, having babies is great. Give us a call (or PM us) and we'll talk. And if you really get into a situation, you can always come here and we'll help you. We just l-o-v-e babies and moms.

Jim&Laura & lots of kids and others
Stone Garden Farm
Richfield, Ohio

www.stonegardenfarm.com
www.ohiofarmmuseum.com
www.johnbrownohio.com

 
pollinator
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Kelsey said pretty much everything I have to say.
I was pregnant with twins when I had no money, no resources, in a new country, and then I remembered that pretty much every generation of my family was in a similar situation. My grandmother told me that her kids slept in dresser drawers, and I always remembered that when I started to panic about "how am i going to do this". Women have been doing this in much worse circumstances than mine for AAAAAAAGES. Same with giving birth.
My birth was a mess, but twins, and I essentially was the statistic, sometimes things go wrong (forceps delivery because I was too freaked about cesarian, my daughter's skull was injured). However on the whole I think I was lucky, because if they didn't pull that baby out we all might have died.
I tend to not comment to pregnant women because I don't want anyone to be more freaked than they already are, but I think the bottom line is this: birth is the first in a line of scary situations beyond your control where you have to trust that things will be okay. My daughter just got into college and I can tell you that was more nerve wracking than anything else we've done so far. (Okay, drunken escapades in the middle of the night were pretty bad, but college apps were worse.) You do what you can to prepare and then you just have to learn to roll with it. There is a great buddhist teacher named Karen Maezen Miller who had a blog called Cheerio Road and some other books, and she was very wise about parenting. I had no support from my own family, and her teachings helped me a lot in avoiding the bad things I experienced growing up. The most important thing she said I also found in other places: your kid is already a person when they arrive. Your job is to give them the tools they need to survive when they go out on their own. That part, who they will be, is one less thing to worry about. You may find this interesting, although I suggest you have a tissue on hand.
http://karenmaezenmiller.com/already-you/
Welcome to the circus, Melodie. You're going to do great. (and as Julia Child would have said, just be intrepid. it goes a long way.) This parenting thing is great fun.
 
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I didn't really read. I had some online communities and I had family.

I did not do much of what anyone else did though. I just did me. You'll get judged for it but that's ok. It's your life and your baby.

I did ask like 9  million questions AFTER the baby was born. It's pretty scary, having this tiny thing dependent on you. I was so sure I was going to break my first.

So if you have questions. Just message me. Be happy to talk baby!

Make sure they take a good long look in your babies eyes after birth. Our daughter is 5 and just had cataract surgery. Turns out she's been half blind her entire life and we had no idea. Get those eyes checked!
 
gardener
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It's  very easy. Listen sweetly to everything people say to you , which WILL BE wildly conflicting, then do exactly what feels right at the time. Don't  worry about what will happen (it's gonna happen anyway), concentrate on you here and now. Eat what you feel like, it will be wrong in someone's  opinion anyway, exercise sensibly, concentrate on nest building cos it's  fun, CROCHET AND KNIT cos that will make you feel proud. Just enjoy. You know? - it will all be fine in the end.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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P.s. when anyone comes round and asks to help - give them a preprepared shoping list and uour car keys. If they want a tea or coffee, point them at the kettle.  And remember - my health visitor used to say that when she visited a mum to be or new mum and her house was spotless, she wasnt paying herself or her baby enough attention.
 
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Congratulations on your pregnancy.

I was sorry to read about the loss of your first. My mother had three miscarriages and told me that it helped her to name the babies she lost.

I've had four children, and the hardest births for me were the first and third. The third was induced with pitocin, and I don't recommend that if you can possibly avoid it--my body was so not ready and that made labor harder. For the first and fourth I was very glad to be in a hospital because of complications with me (the first) and the baby (the fourth, and she's fine now). The second could have been done at home except for the epidural...the only one where I had an epidural, and by far my easiest delivery. It's worth noting that I'm a major wimp when it comes to pain, and didn't have much success with breathing techniques or anything else I learned. No advice for natural anything, as I was very conventional at the time all of my children were born. Though I can say that my mother had natural childbirth and did fine with all seven of her deliveries.

The one book I read was The Girlfriends' Guide To Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine. Not everything in it applied, but it's pretty lighthearted and covers things you might not expect, so I do recommend it. Aside from that I talked to my mom--the expert--and my sisters and friends who had been through it. The best advice usually comes from people; the books can't cover everything.

Pay attention to any cravings you have. During my pregnancies I mostly craved foods that were high in protein and calcium, both very important for my health and the babies' development. Remember that some fats are good, and fat is important for fetal development too. Don't overeat, but don't restrict yourself too much either. Remember to drink a lot of fluids, especially good old water. Rest when you need to, but be active if you feel like it.

For the first few weeks (if you are able to stay home for that time) sleep when the baby sleeps as much as possible. You'll both be recovering from the birth process, so don't push yourself too much.

You can do this!
 
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Hi Melodie,
Congrats on your pregnancy.  Sorry to hear your partner walked out.

If you're open to natural birth and alternative views on medicine, check out this podcast.  The doctor who made it is quite the rebel.

http://vitalitycapsules.com/truth-files
Search for "Home deliveries".

HTH

Best wishes,
Antony
 
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Congratulations!
Below is what my wife and I did and would do again (if¿¿¿).
Join LaLeche league for huge support. Read and do, even take classes if you can find using the Bradley method as described in "Husband Coached Childbirth". The two help you have the best birth experience rather than being prepared for what the medical staff wants to do with you. It is your decision not theirs or any other person in your life.
Find a recommended Midwife they are worth every penny and have the experience you lack.
Stay away from processed foods. Eat as close to the ground as you can. Make sure to get 1000 mg of lecithin (liquid supplement) and 100 grams of protein (from food) each day.
If you crave Salty crispy stuff like snacks, you body is telling you to get more minerals. Also do not restrict salt you need it.
Exercise (walking is good), Kegel several times a day and do squats every time you go though a doorway.
Wait for the one who will love you more than them self and avoid those with red flags!

Talk to, sing love your baby even in the womb.
Don't worry, Be Happy!
 
steward
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Hi melodie. Congratulations! And gosh, so many other things to say. Mostly I want to give you a big hug.

I'll focus on your good questions.

melodie sam wrote: what one book you suggest


I read one book by Ina May Gaskin (the breastfeeding one?) and if you have her books, and they resonate with you, I think you're probably set.

melodie sam wrote: best diet tips?


--avoid vaso-constricting foods: especially *nicotine* and caffeine as they reduce blood flow to the baby
--avoid inflammatory foods:  highly processed or refined foods, especially white flours, HFCS and other refined sugars; canola, soy, safflower oils, most margarines; too much fruit or (especially) fruit juices
--do eat healthy whole foods and fats: loads of veggies and fruits; olive oil, avocado, coconut oil and grassfed butter or ghee if you eat dairy; plus whatever whole grains, nuts or meats or legumes fit your food choices/needs
--herbal teas:  raspberry leaf is a uterine toner and can be constipating - avoid in first 2 trimesters or if constipated in the third (thanks to baby) - it's in some "pregnancy tea" blends, so read labels!
--nipple toughening  (sort of weird food advice) - go braless as much as you're comfortable with so your clothing abrades your nipples a bit to get them tougher; put wet black tea bags on your nipples so the tannins can help toughen(let someone else drink tea made from them!)  

melodie sam wrote: how did you find your mothers-alike community?


30 years ago the Internet was not such a thing. I found Mothering magazine in my midwife's waiting room and it was my lifeline in many ways. I subscribed and met a local mom for play dates through a personal ad in the back. Then, I joined a co-op preschool which was another lifeline, though I was in the suburbs back then - close to many options. If I were rural and a new mom today - I'd be doing exactly what you're doing and reach out on the Internet (especially permies.com!).

melodie sam wrote: did you do ultrasounds, etc.


I did not do ultrasounds under my care by a Naturopathic midwife. I had two healthy, natural home births, (with a miscarriage between the two), though both home births were induced in different ways. Not sure if the "etc." includes birthing decisions too, but here's a bit - more below.

My first baby was quite overdue so the midwife had me drink this nasty concoction of castor oil, epsom salts and orange juice concentrate. I was in labor 2-3 hours later. My 11-lb 2-oz daughter was born with almost no vernix caseosa left on her and my placenta starting to separate - so the induction was a very good thing!

7 years later, I was going overdue again with my second and my midwife didn't want to let it go as long as with my first. This time, she sent me in for prostaglandin gel on my cervix which she said would be gentler than the concoction. It was:  I had to go in twice for it to start labor for my 10.5-lb boy to be born.

melodie sam wrote: how to learn to ask for help - my personal fear - later in pregnancy and upon arrival of baby, and to whom?


IMHO, I think you're doing the right thing now, with developing relationships wherever you can find them. Even a virtual friendship online could be the rational sounding board when something comes up. Make sure you have someone you could text or phone at any hour to ask a question. Some hospitals have a nurse phone line just for this that are really awesome.

melodie sam wrote: how to manage parents that do no understand rural simple lifestyle and will inundate you with plastic stuff?


My folks never understood a lot of my choices (still don't!) at first though with time, they saw how much healthier my kids were with what I did (and in some cases, compared to other grandkids!), so they actually supported some of our food choices and such.

It might not be what you'd prefer to do, but perhaps to help your parents, is there a baby registry you could set up somewhere?

melodie sam wrote: if you were alone would you get workaway, au pair, share house with another mother?


Gosh, what a great question! When I was a young mother, I didn't have the resources for most of those options. I looked at co-housing nearby because I wanted a different kind of lifestyle but my husband at the time was not at all interested in that idea. It sounds like you have options and maybe more freedom to choose - how cool!

A friend of mine struggled with a baby a bit and was able to hire a doula to help a couple nights a week. That helped take a huge edge off a difficult time.

If you bring in anyone to stay/live with you (au pair, workaway, another mom, etc.) I'd recommend being prepared to go through more than one person to get the right fit. From living in community here, this is admittedly hard for me. I want to love whomever joins my household  (whomever is under my mama hen wing) so it can be hard for me to see when it's not a good fit.

melodie sam wrote: but also wishing for just your stories and some potential contacts for pen-friends


I took a home birth birthing class that I felt was brilliant and perfect for me. The philosophy was that home birth is best if two things are present: (1) the mother is more comfortable birthing at home and (2) the pregnancy is healthy and normal. Otherwise we are SO fortunate to have modern medicine and a wide variety of birthing resources (in some areas).

I completely respect that many mothers are more comfortable birthing in a hospital or birthing center. My first home birth was 5 minutes from a hospital so it was the best of both worlds for me.

Also, the birthing class taught a LOT about pain management (Bradley method and more) plus many different philosophies and research on the topic. U.S. women report more childbirth pain and request more epidurals than European women. Women who have better relationships with their own mother report less pain and request less epidurals. I thought it was surprising and fascinating.

Wishing you health, calm strength, and the ability to fully delve into the incredible joy of this whole process!

<3 <3 <3
 
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Lots of good advice already, so I'm only going to add the comment I make to strangers I meet who are clearly starting the journey:

"Don't over-protect your child while he/she is still young enough to bounce and heal easily - let them test gravity. If you don't, they're likely to test it at age 16 - in your car! "

They often look at me a bit strangely until the implications of the final words sink in. Then they get this look in their eyes of understanding. Too many children now a days, don't get enough opportunities to be independent and to make and take responsibility for their decisions in steadily increasing ways, and I see it in lack of confidence and in a lack of basic life skills. Being part of a farm/permaculture homestead/community tends to do a good job of counter-balancing society's current trend, but people may look at you strangely and criticize your decisions. Permies is a good place to visit to help you see alternatives in a supportive kind way - even if the alternative is just about how to tell someone to MYOB in a polite way!
 
pollinator
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I hope your pregnancy is going well. I wish I had known about herbal healing, when I was pregnant, and when my son was little. Best book that I found about herbs for before and during pregnancy and breastfeeding is Don Combs book Conceiving Healthy Babies. Book title is misleading, as it covers also pregnancy and beyond.
I also recommend to read Orthomolecular medicine articles and books such as Niacin Story by Abram Hoffer as it covers nutrients, that one has to have to have a healthy baby. Another one is Iodine Crisis or other books about iodine as it is extremely important nutrient to baby's brain. And of course, folate to avoid cleft palate and other neural tube issues. best methylated form as it is much easier to assimilate, and for some people the only form they can assimilate. Unfortunately most prenatal vitamins just like most multivitamins use cheap forms of nutrients, that our bodies can't use.
 As far as diet goes, no added sugar and no seed oils. Seed oils might be natural, but they oxidize really quickly and become just as bad to us as trans fats. Olive oil and coconut oil are not seed oils -they are fruit oils, and are okay. If you want to know more read any of the Catherine Shanahan books, shortest is Food Rules, and the one that gives you more info is Deep Nutrition.
  Another advice is to wait before getting too many gadgets until baby is here and you know better what you need. In our case we bought expensive organic crib mattress and our son ended up sleeping in our bed. Of course, you do need car seat, some diapers to start, have herbs ready for colic and teething, some clothes (not too many small ones as they grow out of them in a month or less.) Nursing pillow and a rocker chair is a must, I think. Teas for you to calm you, and help with digestion as baby's tummy will react to how well you digest.
  I wish you as relaxed pregnancy as possible
 
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I'm so sorry for the loss of your first, and will keep you and your little family in my prayers - including the hope that dad will come to his senses. You've some great advice, here, and I have little to add, except that of my 6 pregnancies, only 2 were almost identical, both ending only a day after I discovered they were coming. They were #4 & #6, and while I was saddened, I hadn't had time to get attached, so I didn't really grieve. #5 was also lost, but I'd had plenty of time to get attached, pick out names, and share the news with the world. I grieved deeply and painfully for my little Emily Rose, and 20years later, still get very sad,  when I think of her.

#1 (13hrs) was born in the hospital, in the old fashioned labor, delivery, and recovery rooms, with me forced flat on my back, only allowed to roll to my side long enough to puke - Not AT ALL what I wanted,  or necessary. 34 yrs later, I'm still resentful - when I allow myself to indulge. But, the pushy people in my life at the time, (including my then mil, who was an ob nurse, in the local baby factory) meant well. No pain relief for my excruciating back labor and the doctor was, if you'll excuse my language, a dick. Suckling only lasted 2wks, due to a rare health issue inherited from his dad. Hospitals 'birthing plan', that didn't help, at all, lol.

#2 (14hrs) started off well, home birth planned, support system for that still non-existent, and in the end, the insurance company got their way - hospital, again, but this time, it was in the new, fancy, somewhat homier, 'LDR' room. Minimal drugs, all worn off, just prior to the delivery of the placenta. Could have been FAR worse! ~le sigh~ Still not even close to how I wanted to do it, but my new doctor had lost her own twins, in both our third trimesters, and she was deeply in the throes of her own grief, so I can understand her incredible callousness, her sadistic manual perusal of my uterus, immediately postpartum still causes my innards to seize up, thinking about it, 31yrs later, lol. Suckled only 3weeks, due to my own health. Bradley method - meh.

#3 actually went pretty close to plan! Born at home - CHECK! No drugs - CHECK! No invasive interference to mother & baby bonding - CHECK! This birth was my easiest, fastest (2.5hrs, from water to suckling!), and only one I'd be good with repeating. Suckling lasted 28months! I was also 32, rid of 1st in-laws and refused to be cowed by anyone. La Leche League, with plenty of other moms, who were similarly minded, as a great support group, no birthing coaching, just a video for her dad, because it was his first. That took a lot of pressure off, for me, because it meant no need to go 'pretend', every week, lying on a hard floor, when it was the most difficult time to get down to and up from the hard floor I didn't want to be on, anyway!

All that to say, A - plan all you want - it can at the very least, help set guidelines, with those helping you, so they won't be at a total loss as to your wishes. B - don't expect any of it to actually happen the way you plan it. C - follow your instincts. D - get used to the advice coming, and just roll with it, letting it go in one ear, filtering out what works for you, & out the other ear. E - take anyone's help offered, but only with housekeeping, shopping, etc. Your energies, as much as possible, should be baby and mom focused, while you figure out what actually works best, for the two you.

Good luck - and please, keep us posted?

Edited to add: #1 - 2wks early, 7lbs8oz: #2 - 4wks late, 7lbs6oz: #3 - On due date (only 5% occurrence!), 8lbs8oz
 
Ed Bradley
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Melodie, I re-read your post and see I left out a very important area that you asked for help.

I don't write this to offend or to start a debate. It is just how I know to be "spiritual" especially when I need comfort and peace.
Please realize that your heavenly Father, PaPa, loves you so much that he did not keep his own son from experiencing the horror of crucifixion so that he could be your closest love.
Because Jesus stood in your place so you can have a close relationship. There no reason to shy away from snuggling with "PaPa" because Jesus justified you as a woman and child of our Father.
Give all your worries, concerns and opinions from others to God and let him hold your burdens because he really does care for you as you are with out any process of earning his love.

When I find myself in uncertain times, I read, meditate and try to grasp just how much He loves us and then I snuggle with "PaPa" (just like you want your children to do with you.)

I hope and pray that you are blessed with an abundance of friends, knowledge and provisions as you mother your child!
Love you and all the folks who have shared so much with you.  
 
master steward
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Birth Plans



I actually recommend them, not so much as a Bible to stick by, but as a tool to think through what you want your providers to do for you. My birth plan helped the nurses keep the doctor from making my lie down to push and other things I didn't want unless necessary.

I also suggest making a list of things you can if your baby is one that is colicky. A colicky baby kills you brain. You can't think straight. Having a list of things to refer to (swaddle baby, sing these songs, count things, point out objects, make phonetic sounds, go for a walk, spin in a chair, read a book outload, bounce on an exercize ball, etc). The things might not help the baby stop crying, but having something for you to do while you hold that baby can help maintain YOUR sanity. It sure did for me. People thought I was nuts preparing a list of things to do with a difficult baby, but then I had a difficult baby and it was so helpful to have the list to fall back on.

melodie sam wrote: what one book you suggest


I liked the book that came with my hospital-provided birthing class. I definetly recommend taking a birthing class. It's where I discovered the benifits of squatting and the downsides to unnessessary use of pitocin and epidurals.

I will say DON'T read Chicken Soup for the Pregnant Mother. That book was full of nighmarish senarios and babies dying. You do NOT need that when pregnant.

melodie sam wrote: best diet tips?



Jocelyn has great advice!

I'd add to get enough carbs, protein and fats. You need all three. Get them in whatever form you can stomach. Choose the healthiest things you can stomach. I was extremely queasy for both my pregnancies. I lived on cheese sticks, fruit leather, custards, ice cream, gluten-free crackers, organic frozen dinners and jerky. Sure they weren't the best options, but they were the best I could stomach. Ginger and lemony things can help with queasiness.

melodie sam wrote: how did you find your mothers-alike community?



I didn't really...

melodie sam wrote: did you do ultrasounds, etc.


Knowing that there were downsides to ultrasounds, we did the minimum number, and we made sure to ask the tech to take them quickly and to take the ultrasound thingy off my belly when they were typing. THey like to leave the thing on there, but don't need to. We did do a lot toward the end of my son's pregnancy, because he was 2 weeks late, and we wanted to make sure he had enough ambiotic fluid. Doing the ultrasounds allowed us to keep him in there longer, because both we and the doctor knew he was safe.

Speaking of amniotic fluid, if you're low, drink a lot of coconut water! It's full of electrolytes, and will help maintain fluid levels. I also brought a ton of them to the hospital with me, so I wouldn't have to be on fluids.

melodie sam wrote: how to learn to ask for help - my personal fear - later in pregnancy and upon arrival of baby, and to whom?


I
I failed at this with my first. It was horrible, and I got postpartum depression. With the second, I made sure to get help. I asked forthrightly for people to certain things, rather than saying, "I don't know what to do." Or, "I wish I had more help." Get help arranged before hand. I know I couldn't think straight once depressed and sleep deprived, and so I couldn't even communicate how bad it was or how much I needed help.

melodie sam wrote: how to manage parents that do no understand rural simple lifestyle and will inundate you with plastic stuff?



I asked for natural things, and only registerd for things that were organic/non-plasitc. Some people, of course, did get me plastic stuff. I kept it away from my kids most of the time and enouraged play with the more natural toys that I had.

Speaking of registries and baby showers, try to wait until after your shower to buy things. You might get most necessary things purchased by friends. I also didn't find out my first-born's gender so that (1) it would be a surprise, and (2) I would get useful things, rather than a bunch of clothes. People LOVE to buy babies new clothes.

Also, ask for hand-me downs. Pick out everything that's cotton. Donate the flame-retardant stuff. I use synthetic stuff only as outer layer, with just cotton touching my kids' skin.

Speaking of flame-retardants, most mattresses have them! Avoid them if you can! There are some natural mattresses out there, and some cosleepers and rock-and-play-sleepers are free of retardants. Read pajama lables closely--most have flame-retardants!


melodie sam wrote: but also wishing for just your stories and some potential contacts for pen-friends



My son was 2.5 weeks late. I thankfully did NOT have to induced. Instead, they dilated me  (much like they did with Jocelyn's second). After 1.5 days of being dilated, labor started. I found the bathrub immensely helpful for managing labor pains. Once I got started, my labor went FAST. Since it was night, the doctor didn't even want to come in, thinking I certainly couldn't be ready. Thankfully, the nurses persuaded her to stay. The nurse and my husband also totally disobeyed the nurse (she wanted me to lie down to push), and they helped me up to the squatting bar to push. My son was out within 30 minutes. I'm hypermobile, so I'm pretty sure that's why things went as fast as they did.

On the other hand, my daughter came exactly on time. She was born at 1:23am on her due date. I got to the hospital at 12:45--only 30 minutes before! With her, I had false labor for 2 months before she was born. The contractions hurt just as bad as my ones that came with actual labor. I went in at least 4 times before she was born to see if I was dilated. I never was. We'd gone to the hospital just the day before, and was dilated to 0. We almost didn't go right before I gave birth, because the distance between my contractions slowed down a little again. Thankfully we did. When they checked me at 12:50pm, I was dilated to 7. By the time I finally got to my room, I was at 10. I pushed once and my water broke. The second push, and my daughter came out! Man, those were two vastly different births! I squatted my daughter out, too, by that time there was no time for the squatting bar. My husband and the nurse just held me up! If you can, squat to push. It's a lot easier and less painful.

I also drank lots of red raspberry tea before giving birth. I think that might have helped, too.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Nicole's post is full of awesomeness! And she reminded me of one thing I forgot to mention.

Nicole Alderman wrote:I also suggest making a list of things you can if your baby is one that is colicky. A colicky baby kills you brain. You can't think straight. Having a list of things to refer to (swaddle baby, sing these songs, count things, point out objects, make phonetic sounds, go for a walk, spin in a chair, read a book outload, bounce on an exercize ball, etc). The things might not help the baby stop crying, but having something for you to do while you hold that baby can help maintain YOUR sanity. It sure did for me. People thought I was nuts preparing a list of things to do with a difficult baby, but then I had a difficult baby and it was so helpful to have the list to fall back on.


Breastfeeding and colic:  maaybe doctors are smarter about this now, but 20-30 years ago, several of my friends were told by their doctors that what they ate as a breastfeeding mom had no impact on colic. (Gah!) In my experience this is just plain wrong. For myself plus many of my breastfeeding mom friends, we observed that our babies who would get colicy with some foods. It varied, of course, but common offenders are cabbage, or extremely spicy foods. You will likely know best with this. Perhaps even more than the doctors!

 
Nicole Alderman
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Nicole's post is full of awesomeness! And she reminded me of one thing I forgot to mention.

Nicole Alderman wrote:I also suggest making a list of things you can if your baby is one that is colicky. A colicky baby kills you brain. You can't think straight. Having a list of things to refer to (swaddle baby, sing these songs, count things, point out objects, make phonetic sounds, go for a walk, spin in a chair, read a book outload, bounce on an exercize ball, etc). The things might not help the baby stop crying, but having something for you to do while you hold that baby can help maintain YOUR sanity. It sure did for me. People thought I was nuts preparing a list of things to do with a difficult baby, but then I had a difficult baby and it was so helpful to have the list to fall back on.


Breastfeeding and colic:  maaybe doctors are smarter about this now, but 20-30 years ago, several of my friends were told by their doctors that what they ate as a breastfeeding mom had no impact on colic. (Gah!) In my experience this is just plain wrong. For myself plus many of my breastfeeding mom friends, we observed that our babies who would get colicy with some foods. It varied, of course, but common offenders are cabbage, or extremely spicy foods. You will likely know best with this. Perhaps even more than the doctors!



I ended up going on an elimination diet for my son, and that helped a ton! I also found out later that they both had reflux. My son had silent reflux (which is why they never diagnosed him), and would barf in his mouth and swallow it down. My daughter would just barf everywhere. Elevating them while they ate helped a ton. It also helped my son to drain each boob before switching to the next, so he got the hindmilk and less of the sugars in the foremilk.

My dear grandfather once told my uncles wife that she should stop eating certain foods. She told him that the doctors said it didn't have any affect. He said that he used to have cows, and what you fed them sure impacted the flavor and type of milk. She did NOT like being in the same category as a cow! But, it goes to show that the even older generations DID know that what we ate impacted our milk...it's just been forgotten (and recently rediscovered) by science.
 
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I was a doula for many years and would love to share what I know can help. I just found this thread; if you are still expecting or are in the throes of new motherhood, email me privately and we'll talk.
 
pollinator
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My wife just had our first child 10 months ago, and wow, what a blessing!

I can't give you advice on pregnancy, as I don't have the credentials myself, but one thing I can say is:

It's not only OKAY to expect your husband to help, but he NEEDS to help, for his own sake, as well as yours and the baby.

Helping change clothes, change diapers, rocking to sleep, bottle feeding, burping, etc. helps him to connect and bond with the baby - and the experience will be different later in the child's life - so don't let this time go by!

The father may not be keen on it at first, but helping you & the baby can easily lead to loving you & the baby MORE, not less. Balance, kindness, and state of mind all play into the effectiveness of this request/expectation, of course, but some father's need that gentle nudge to learn how to care for the baby, and when to know when you're exhausted and to step up.

This seems like a no-brainer to me, but I've heard terrible stories of fathers totally neglecting child-rearing and marital responsibilities during this stressful and precarious time in your relationship.  

I'm hoping /praying things go well for you and your new little family!
 
Tereza Okava
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
I also drank lots of red raspberry tea before giving birth. I think that might have helped, too.


Me too!! I kept twins in the oven until I was induced at 40 weeks, and was super healthy the whole time, I like to think the rasp leaf tea was helpful.

Something else-- it seems superfluous but do those kegels. They are often presented as a sexytime sort of thing, but they help you get back to normal after birth and will come in handy in the future in terms of urinary continence, when things start to lose their tone.
 
pollinator
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My wife used Epino Delfin Plus to prevent tear for all 3 pregnancies and it worked. She also used gas and tens machine on the first one but on second and third ones, she didn't use any pain killer.

She read a lot about natural birth and we bought homeopathy things like Arnica, CalFos, some essential oils she liked.

We also used soothing music to calm the mind.
 
gardener
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Greetins!  I hope your pregnancy is progressing well.  By now you must be in the second trimester,  the time when a woman usually says "I never felt better"  Enjoy.  For me the third trimester was when I would answer: "Not soon enough"  when asked about the due date.

I had two children, in my mid and late thirties.  The first one, I had a pitocin drip because the midwife thought that 24 hours the water broke, the baby was subject to possible infection.  i was walking stairs to keep the contractions coming, when not exercising, no contractions.  She said I should save my strength for later.  With the midwife at my side, she kept the pitocin drip at the maximum that was safe for the baby.  I watched the clock.  Iknew exactly when the next contraction was coming.  had time to rest, had time to be ready. While in the throes of the contraction, blessedly, I knew exactly how long before it would ease.  That was great.  Without the pitocin, I might have been in labor for 12 to 36 hours... even more, I just don't know.  That's not uncommon for first timers.

We used the Bradley method.

Later, at home, I tried to follow the directions about how often to nurse the baby, keep track of which side....  It was way too much for me, and I began to think that women had been having babies since time began.  The process was older than watches by thousands of years.  I just needed to trust the process, and forget about all the experts and their opinions.

At 35, I had already lived long enough to see the expert opinions go in and out of vogue, which made me realize they did not really know what they were talking about, it was just a game to them, that they took very seriously.  But they had nothing really invested in the outcome. I would be sitting down to thanksgiving dinner with my children for the rest of my life, and different experts would be putting forth their opinions..... eye roll!

Not that others can have no significant contributions.  I tried to stay in touch with moms of similar aged children, and women of the next older generation for their perspectives.  I think there is even more mis information about these days than 34 years ago, making it even harder to know whom to trust.

If you were raised in a decent home, it's fine to do what comes naturally, and it is likely to be similar to how you were raised.  I was not raised under those circumstances and very much wanted to give my children a different kind of child hood, but who to rely on was a big question.

I found the recorded talks from The Love and Logic people solid ground to stand on.  Jim Faye and Foster Cline, they are worth looking in to.  A career teacher then principal, and a psychiatrist.  They gave me plenty of ideas, like the idea that it's OK to let a kid go "hungry" rather than trying to fix something they "liked".  But to stay out of a punitive state of mind.

One evening my son, at 3 was complaining that he did not like meatloaf..... fact is he loved it, and it was a special occasion dinner.  I finally got tired of the belligerent chorus and said "I understand you don't like meatloaf, how do you feel about being hungry?"  Then he ate his dinner.  Straight from Jim Faye's mouth to mine!

Another guide line I got from them was the idea not to offer the child a choice her could not live with the consequences of, and once made,let them live with it.  Faye's guideline is,  you have a right to solve a problem any way that does not create a problem for someone else.  And he helped me understand how to decide whose problem it was.  

I'll have more to say another day.  I lost my partner when pregnant with the second child, have plenty more to say aobut single parenting, and about Jim Faye's love and logic.

good luck, you'll do fine, and birth is a miracle.  And as others have said, don't worry about the pain, you'll forget all about it when you hold the baby.  IMO the problem is more fear of being uncomfortable than actual pain
 
Thekla McDaniels
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With the first baby, when she was 3 days old, the midwife visited me at home.  I was worried about whether or not I should pick her up when she cried.  A lot in those days about whether or not to pick up a crying baby, and what you might be "teaching " them....

I asked the midwife, she asked me two questions: did I WANT to pick her up, and did I have anything else I needed to do.  That was a relief to know; that I could make the decision based on those considerations.  From that I extrapolated that the baby needed to fit into MY life.  That's not greedy or self centered, that's how things need to be.  The baby is depending on ME to take care of the business of life, and it might not always be convenient to HER but I was going to get to her ASAP, and crying a bit was no big deal.

Years later, I realized that this is how a baby learns patience.  By waiting.  And what did I think?  Considering the skills she would gather along the way, did I want the first time she faced disappointment to be when she did not get the job, did not get into a class she wanted in college, etc etc etc.  Likewise getting angry.   There are plenty of destructive ways to communicate and express anger, but there are plenty of viable ways, and again, if I never was angry in her presence, then how would she know that anger is a normal part of human experience, and how would she know what  and how when she experienced anger and or frustration.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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continued:

I considered myself to be a benevolent dictator.  I carried all the responsibility, for everything.  I was convinced that things were going to be my way.  I was very indulgent and affectionate. I enjoyed every minute of their young lives with me, but I did not ask their permission for things..... "we're going to have to leave now" was not followed with "OK?".  

We went fun places, but when it was time to go, long before they were done enjoying the activity, I would tell them it was time to leave.  If they fussed, pleaded to stay longer, I would say in a kind and happy voice, and with loving smile on my face:  "Show me you want to do this again"

We could have stayed at the pool longer, but I needed to get started  making dinner...  We could have stayed and I could have ordered a pizza, or driven them to taco bell or some other fast food place,but, that's a slippery slope. The food I prepared for us was more nutritious, less toxic, less expensive.  If I spent more money on junk or fast or pre-prepared food, I would have to earn more money, meant more time away from them,more exposure to junk mainstream culture, you get the idea. I was the responsible party and I had to go by my values.  I think somewhere a long the line, I learned to say:  "I did not ask you to like it, I asked/told you to do it"

The thing is, since I did not waffle,say no,then change to yes, then they did not push the limits.  They were not whiners or complainers.  Other adults enjoyed their company, and they have become competent adults.

We did plenty of fun things... trips to the beach,the tide pools, the forest.  We went camping, we traveled.  A rich life full of cooperation, laughter and good times.

I won't say I never made mistakes, never was unreasonable,never felt bad about how I had played a situation.  But I was the adult, and I had to fulfill that role the best I could.

I remember one time I did something I did not think was constructive in response to my 4 y o son's behavior.  (Don't imagine anything remotely resembling child abuse here).  I shouted at him after a long trying bout of him pushing my buttons.  He is bright,reads others was amusing himself by trying to get a reaction out of me.  That is normal behavior for a child.  He got a reaction, I shouted at him and sent him to his room.  Then I sat at the table with my head on my folded arms, feeling what a terrible person I was.  I was convinced that the behavior that I had let get to me would continue, that much to my shame, I had made the behavior more likely to re-occur, I thought he was going to do that FOREVER... I was having a difficult day, as is apparent.  But suddenly, I thought, if that behavior is going to return because of MY misguided response, then I was going to get another chance.  My relief was huge, and I thought:  "Well then if I am going to get another chance, then I better plan NOW how to respond, so that next time I'll have a better plan"

Of course you'll do your best, of course you will care a lot, and of course, even though you are always doing your best, you are going to fall short sometimes.  These can be times that get your attention, help you see an issue clearly, and trigger you to rethink, make a new plan.

Raising children is a challenge that teaches us things we would otherwise never have learned.  Be honest with yourself, and kind with yourself.  Don't be afraid the kids won't love you if you don't do what they want. They will define love itself in reference to their relationship with their mother/ primary carer.  

I am really enjoying remembering and writing my experiences and opinions for this thread.  Thanks  
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Newborn and infant care:

I had the baby in bed with me at night, we learned to nurse without waking or getting up.  Doubled up cotton diapers with a wool layer over contained the urine, my bed smelled fresh, no worries over that.  And their skin did not develop a rash (the wool breathes).  I never rolled on her, or smothered her.  I believed that unless drunk or stoned, it was unlikely I would like on something of that size, that would surely struggle or make some kind of noise, it was unlikely that I would not wake up.   I was very attuned to my newborns, and think most mothers are likely to be as well.  The focusing question was how would the most people in the household get the most sleep.  Sleeping together was what worked for us.  As a single parent, how much rest I got was VERY important.

Before I lost my partner, he said and did some things that seemed preposterous to me.  One, he thought we should leave a light on, because the baby would be afraid of the dark...  But, after all, it was dark in utero, so why should she be afraid of darkness.  Also, though this partner and I made love while I was pregnant, he was scandalized at the idea that we might do that once the baby was outside of my body and in bed with us.  Where do you think she was when we were making love before, I asked him.  We did not split up til I was pregnant with the second child, which allowed me the chance to experience trying to parent with a partner who had totally different ideas.  Though I would have welcomed another partner in to my life, I remained single.  And one of the benefits of that was that once I had identified an unsatisfactory situation-condition, and figured out what I thought would be a constructive response, I did not have to try to convince anyone else, nor did I have to deal with anyone undermining me.  The sole responsibility was lonely at times, and I would have enjoyed someone to share the funny amusing and tender moments, as well as the huge responsibility that raising children is, but that's not how it played out in my life.

Pregnant, I was convinced the fetus I carried was conscious and intelligent.  This made me consider her from a different point of view than many other parents I knew at the time.  I was curious about who she was, what she had come to share with me.  Second child was very different from the first.  My curiosity served me well, because again I was curious what his nature would be...

I put a newborn in a front pack with the babe facing me so we could have face time.  These days there are all kinds of wraps and packs to carry the baby.  I've seen some where the baby faces forward, and there does come a time when the baby wants to look the same way as the adult carrying the pack is looking, but in the early days, gazing in to each others faces is part of maturation and socialization of their brains (IMO, and some research too).

Months later, (when the baby has been holding her own head up for some time, has developed enough physical strength to crawl, roll over), I put the baby in a back pack, and I could feel her standing up to peer over my shoulder.  It kept her safe and engaged and we shared the activity..

Individuals are different, we know this about adults, and babies are born with character of their own.  What works one may not be remotely possible for another.  

Transition to food, and weaning:
I believed that breast milk was the best food for my child for at least the first 6-8months, complete and perfect nutrition easy and convenient nd cheap, too, between then and a year she transitioned to solid food.  The day came when the baby was watching me eat something, paying close attention.  I gave her a bit and she held it in her mouth, moved it around, swallowed it, wanted another "bite".  That was the beginning of weaning.  I did not nurse for longer than about 14 months.  This also was my decision.  I know there are people who nurse 4 and 5 year olds, but not me.  A lot of people seem to think the child will decide to quit.  I know a woman who nursed her 4 year old daughter, though she resented the child, and complained at great length about it.  Surely a child can feel a parent's resentment, and is capable of using that as a way of making a parent feel guilty.  I thought it would be better for the mother to end the nursing, as it was not a matter of nutrition, and it was not contributing to a close relationship.

One story about this pair.... I was sitting and talking to my friend at their house, seated at the dining table.  The nursing 4 year old began to shout "NURSE!!!" in a demanding tone.  I was shocked, but kept my playful spirit.  After several demands to nurse, I said to the child, "I'm a nurse, Suzie, what can I help you with?".  The child gave me a dirty look and went to amuse herself in another room.  Then the mother began to complain about this child who would not wean herself.

That friendship did not last much longer.

I really am enjoying looking back and remembering all these wonderful times and experiences, and appreciate the opportunity to share.  Thank you
 
Nicole Alderman
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Weaning is hard! At least it is for me. My son weaned pretty easily at about 2.5. I got pregnant, there was less milk, the milk tasted different, and I needed sleep for the baby in my belly. Not sitting down in the chairs he was used to nursing in, was one of the most helpful things to weaning. Once I sat down, *BAM!* he remembered milk and wanted some!

It's harder with my daughter. We have a small house, so my son plays in his room, and my husband (who works nights) sleeps in my bedroom. That leaves our very crowded office, which doesn't even have room for a cot. So, I nurse my daughter to sleep in my lap while I post/moderate here on permies. She's 2.5 and has NO desire to wean. And, my naturally-decreasing supply just means she wants "other milky" more and more.

To complicate things further, there's a large history of auto-immune diseases in my family, and she shows a lot of signs of developing Crohn's (which my husband has). And she was on antibiotics for over a months while an infant (infected cyst). I know that my breastmilk is probably the greatest tool I have for healing her gut and preventing Crohn's...but I never planned to nurse my daughter to the age where she could clearly ask for milk! And, if I were to try to pump, I'm sure my supply would dry up. I honestly don't know what to do... and am a bit too sleep deprived to figure it out!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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sounds like a tough situation for you Nicole.  Then add in the chrons, and everything is more complicated.  My heart goes out to you and other mothers in this kind of tough situation.

I listen to a fair amount of gut health podcasts, and a bell is ringing in my mind,something about chron's.I'll see whether anything comes to me.

The chair situation to assist in weaning seems like something to remember.  And on that topic, I remembered something else about weaning, when a person decides to:  if it's possible, then don't go cold turkey, just cut out one feeding at a time.  To quit the pre nap nursing, I would take my daughter for a bike ride.  An alternative activity instead of the familiar was helpful.

Back to Chron's, do you have any Weston A Price resources available?  

I will ask the people I know about WAP and Chron's.  It's definitely worth preventing, (and healing or decreasing)

Good luck
 
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