My older kids knew it would happen, but we didn’t care. 🙂
The day we took a peek at our thirteenth little blessing, we also planned on seeing the new Wonder Woman movie. As it turned out, we found a baby girl was on the way (our 9th girl!). After loving the amazing performance of Gal Gadot on the big screen, we jokingly talked about naming the baby “Gal.” We were at the movie with our oldest daughter and her hubby and they thought it was a great idea! But we had several more waiting at home that night to convince, LOL. . .
Her name evolved into “Galilee Kate” (“Gal”for short, and Katie was my wonderful Grandma) so we could follow our pattern of a Bible name and a family name. Yes, the rest of the tribe was right. They told us we would be asked if we named her after Wonder Woman. 🙂
Well, yes, we did!
Shortly before our birth, my midwife posted the cartoon pictured above. Wow. I just loved it! And it fits the topic at hand just perfectly. So without delay, let’s get started!. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this blog, please go back and check it out. Everything there (the Spiritual and Emotional stuff) technically needs to come before the rest of this conversation.
The physical stuff . . .
- MIDWIFERY CARE. Welcome to one of my very favorite soapboxes, ever! I was blessed to cross paths with a friend who used a midwife back in the 90’s, just in time for the birth of our first baby. When she mentioned her caregiver was a midwife, I immediately thought, what??? My goodness, what in the world?!! Obviously, my knowledge was limited, but I was motivated to know more because a) I trusted my friend’s recommendation, and b) my OB at the time seemed less than optimal, though I couldn’t at the time pinpoint exactly why. After reading several books from our local library (yes, I actually used a card catalog back then!) I read in black and white how a midwife and home birth could actually be a safer and more “normal” option (i.e., less interventions). Though there are many wonderful OB”s out there, there is most often a lack of encouragement from the allopathic establishment for truly momma-led, instinctual and natural childbirth. And the stats speak for themselves; our nation is 24th in the world in infant mortality rates (23 other nations have fewer infant deaths) and this is with all kinds of technology at our fingertips. Yes, trauma care is amazing and needed in high-risk cases of childbirth, but for low-risk mommas, the midwives in this country rock the stats like crazy! (My present midwife’s c-section rate in 2017 was 1.6%!) They are specialists in their low-risk field, and are phenols at knowing when they need high-risk help. The midwives I’ve been blessed to have are literally extensions of our family. They are loved and cherished people who have walked us through the most beautiful moments of our marriage. I cannot say more emphatically how special my birth experiences have been because of their standard of care. Also take time to search the birth philosophies of other countries. In Europe and the UK, midwives attend 70% of the births! My prayer is that the pendulum in this country will swing back toward the most natural and historically successful model of birth that the world has known for many centuries, and that’s a birth attended by a knowledgeable and caring midwife. This point may need to be another blog!!
- NUTRITION. Directly related to point #1, my first midwife (along with the rest of them) intensely motivated me to change the way I was nourishing my body. That’s the beauty of a baby . . . we women are suddenly in the spot of thinking of someone else growing inside of us and depending on us. And wow! I think back then my hubby wondered where his wife went after that first visit. I’ll never forget it. At the time, I was about 5 months pregnant. And I still thought Sonic was a food group. Yes. Dr. Pepper and corn dogs were two of my staples! And the midwife sweetly told me that I needed 60-80 grams of protein a day, fruits and vegetables, limited sugar, and half my weight in ounces of water every single day. (I teasingly called her the Food Nazi for the duration of my pregnancy 🙂 ) Midwives know this affects birth outcomes and consequently are very attentive to diet. So, that night after my first appointment we went to eat supper. I ate a grilled chicken breast, rice and vegetables and drank water with lemon. I thought Zo was going to pass out!! Well, that was the beginning of my food journey. And thirteen pregnancies later, I can say without a doubt that choosing nutrient-dense food has been a game-changer for me. Even for my latest baby, being an older momma, the foundation that began with Hannah 23 years ago has blessed our babies and my health, big-time. And keep in mind, I haven’t been perfect. Not even close. I still treat myself, yet try to really hit the mark on the big things each and every day (and my list has evolved over the years as I continue to research and learn more). Water, protein, fruits and vegetables, fermented foods, raw dairy, and healthy fats like butter, avocados, and coconut oil. . . all of this. You’ll still see me get an occasional ice cream, chocolate almonds, or any of the other treats I love. But bottom line: what you put in, you will get out. Nutrition is paramount to building a human.
- PHYSICAL MOVEMENT: I was walking around the high school track the night before my first baby was born. She just turned 22. So I’ve always enjoyed staying active during pregnancy. But I do try to balance gentle exercise with allowing my body a little grace as well. I’ve done various things over the years, but recently with Galilee and the last few babies I’ve discovered a couple of things that I think have helped more than anything I’ve done previously. I came across a lady named Katy Bowman, a biomechanist, who majors on teaching “movement” versus “exercise.” You can check out her stuff, but to sum it up . . . I have made changes to what type of shoes I wear, I often go barefoot, our bed is on the floor, I try to walk several miles a day, and I sit on the floor lots and get up off the floor lots. That may sound super weird, but trust me, these changes have made a huge difference in my alignment, back health, pelvic floor health, and general energy. I can say unequivocally that my thirteenth pregnancy was my best “feeling” pregnancy yet, and I believe these things helped tremendously. (Again, remember, still no perfection, just practice!)
- SUPPLEMENTS AND ESSENTIAL OILS: Whoohoo! This is the best one yet! Since I have a stay-at-home momma job helping others learn about essential oils, I most definitely believe in their ability to transform our health (I can only recommend Young Living brand). And pregnancy and birth are no exception. A bit of my daily protocol looks like this: peppermint and orthoease topically in the morning after a bath, lemon in my water, progessence plus to support hormone health, wintergreen for muscle and bone support, digize for digestion and elimination, just to name a very few. And supplements I consider to be critical center around minerals and daily energy levels: Ningxia Red (my hubby let me have ALL the NR this last pregnancy and it was AMAZING!! CAN YOU SAY ENERGY!?!), Sulfurzyme, Aminowise, Alkalime, Inner Defense . . . again, these are just a few. EO’S have most definitely changed the health game in the past twenty years, and knowing they are actually no new thing and have been around since Bible times is very exciting and beneficial for pregnancy, birth, or for anything a family might need to stay above the wellness line.
WHEW!! Hope you stayed with me! I didn’t mean to go on and on, but there’s just SO MUCH to say about building a human. If you remember from my last post, please know again that I just want to say “Momma, you’ve got this!!! Do your best, and enjoy every moment. The time we spend on getting our babies here is so short in retrospect, and yet the blessings they give for the rest of our lives are without number. Don’t be critical of yourself, you are the true Wonder Woman!!! Pray, speak words of life over yourself and your new one, and trust daily for every step of the journey. Just like an Olympian or an opera singer, set your eyes “on the prize” up ahead. I’ll be in the wings cheering for you! 🙂
Until next time,
P.S. Here are some of my favorite things! I have used these resources and love them for all things “baby and belly, and beyond.”
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: A comprehensive encouragement for pregnant mommas written by the grandmother of all midwives with 30+ years of experience.
Trim Healthy Mama: A wonderful book of recipes and a plan for staying at a healthy weight during pregnancy (or not pregnant!).
Nourishing Traditions: A history of food and the nutrient dense choices of earlier generations and cultures. A phenomenal read, my kids love this book!
Gentle Babies: This is my favorite little essential oil Bible for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I have met the author and she knows her stuff!
Katy Bowman: This girl has some major brains and you’ll love her witty manner. She has several books, a podcast and website. Start with Whole Body Barefoot.
Whole112: This is the spot you can find the oils and supplements I mentioned as well as get a wholesale account with Young Living and my team if you’d like.
A little over four weeks ago, I gave birth to our thirteenth child.
Whoa. Did I really just type that?
As weird as it feels to type out that number, my life doesn’t really feel weird at all. It “feels” awesome. Like I’m in my dream and walking it out.
It also feels tough. Gut-level, heart-wrenching, and fear-fighting. And this pregnancy and birth are no exception, though obviously, I should be a pro at this point! Right!!!?? As I’ve heard from many well-meaning people, “Oh, wow! I bet they just fall out by now, don’t they?” Grrrr.
So this thing about having babies. It’s been a ride. And to be truthful, if you knew me back in the day, you would know I couldn’t have cared less about a family gig. I was the fiercely driven, insanely ambitious goal-making girl who planned on a life of traveling the world playing classical piano. Or, maybe becoming a doctor. Alone.
I tell you this background so you’ll know this wasn’t my great idea. My amazing and beautiful crew came to me without my permission! And let me emphatically say, THANK YOU GOD. This was a God thing. And I couldn’t be more grateful!!! 🙂
With the above information in mind, you’ll see what I’m saying when I lay out the way my pregnancies and births came to fruition. All of the ambition and drive with which I attacked everything in my life “pre-family” turned into a blazing flame for the world-changing power of little humans whom I hoped with all my heart I could help love and nurture into phenomenal big people. With God’s and my hubby’s help.
So, my attitude about these little ones getting here physically was extremely optimistic. Which is the first thing of all first things I would love to throw out there for you as a female. Yes, I’m talking about pregnancy and birth….but we are females. We are nurturing, incubating, and emotional creatures. We are the “wombed” man, as my hubby says. We have never needed “liberating,” because we are the LIBERATORS – the ones who bring life to this planet. No one gets here without us! WHOOHOO!
Hence, knowing the bigger picture (for me) has directly affected (again, in my opinion) how my physical body has followed through. Meaning, I am “in my body” (we are a spirit, we have a soul and live in a body) and what “I” think and believe MOST DEFINITELY correlates with the way my physical body responds.
No, I’m not wanting to sound preachy, forgive me if I do, but to be fair about the topic at hand, I have to be honest. Building a human is not just a physical event. It’s deeply spiritual and emotional and mental, among other things.
“So Jen, are you saying I can just pray a lot and talk a positive game and eat cheetos and everything will be ok?” No. I’m not saying that, haha! So let me set the record straight. From the inside out…spirit, soul and body, here’s a basic protocol I strive to follow (it’s not perfect by any means) which touches on all those important areas. Here we go!
Spiritual and emotional stuff….
- WORDS. I work really, REALLY hard at saying positive words. Truth be told, I talk to myself. I tell my body “we can do this.” I say how grateful I am for the new little one on the way. If people ask me about being pregnant (AGAIN, haha!) I will probably respond with something like, “I’m super thankful for this baby.” I might WANT to say I’m tired of having to pee 50 times per day but that’s NOT what I”m going to say. Know where I’m going with that? Yes, I may FEEL tired of that or any other number of complaints that are very real. But I know that how things feel physically will be improved by what I think, believe and say. It doesn’t mean I’m not feeling tough things. It just means I want to rise above them, and after all these years I know my words will help me find that place.
- MUSIC. I listen to a lot of music. I take a shower each morning with my Pandora station playing in the background. I use that time to sing and worship and get my brain and heart in sync to tackle the day. I make that time a focal point to be thankful and grateful. I also am “practicing” being able to relax and focus ahead of time for the impending birth. The music is basically a “trigger” for my behavior. One of my favorite soundtracks is from the movie “Spirit.” It’s a children’s movie but the music was written by Bryan Adams (my absolute FAVE!). During Galilee’s birth I asked my oldest daughter to start playing this towards the really tough part. When I heard that music, tears started rolling down my face. It was an emotional step in my labor that was both relaxing and empowering. Our little girl was born about an hour after that. I know the music was significant.
- MEDITATION. This relates directly to number 1. I have a little note card rolodex-type thing in which I write scriptures and meditations and sayings about birth, conquering things, overcoming pain, triumph, etc. One of my favorites is “If I can grow this baby, I can push out this baby.” Also “Do not shrink back.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” “I am totally relaxed.” You get the idea. This takes a little work to write down and read through each day but it helps so much! I once heard a woman say “Words are the way we program ourselves to believe.” In reminding myself of these statements over and over, I am working on training my mind much like an athlete or musician. (And incidentally, no one thinks those people are weird to meditate on victory, to “see themselves” making baskets or if they talk to themselves about some intense upcoming contest…i.e., an Olympian or Pavarotti. So why is it weird to prepare for the marathon of birth?? No, it’s not! You don’t see these people on television saying “yea, well, I thought I’d never make it, and I think my defense is just awful, and I don’t every practice….blah, blah, blah.” NO. They don’t do that!)
There are other little things I could add here, like taking time to practice relaxing with something called hypnobirthing, along with being very diligent about what kind of entertainment I watch and listen to. If something goes in my ears and eyes, it always has the potential to affect my emotional state and emotional health.
Bringing a living soul into the world is an earth-shattering event and is worth all the time and attention you can give to it. I can say that of all the quests I’ve been a part of in my lifetime (I’m 45), NOTHING has been as difficult, yet as deeply and intensely rewarding.
For my next blog I’ll cover the physical side of things, including midwifery care, physical movement, nutrition, supplements, essential oils, etc. I hope and pray that something I’m sharing could help some momma (or supportive daddy) out there!
Please know this. If you are building a little human, you are and will always be a rockstar! You’ve got this!!
Until next time,
There’s this thing about my mom life. I was never meant to be one. I mean, it wasn’t ever on my radar. I had lots of pursuits going on and ran around like mad to pull them all off, but now, to be able to say I’m a momma of almost 13 precious people, well, it’s crazy. Crazy awesome. And I’m grateful.
Fast forward. I’m 22 years in and just turned 45. Whew! Now I’m a little bit crazier, along with my hubby: teaching our crew, running a little homestead, working our own business, doing God-Jesus-people stuff, making raw milk kefir, and using “all the oils.” Oh, and I’m a grandma now. Actually, “Bobba.” Love it!! 🙂
With all that said, I have a heart to share. Sharing what’s happening with us and giving credit where it’s due (God) is top priority. And to be more specific today, we’re talking winter warrior tips. Just my two cents!
So the wellness thing is a BIG DEAL!!!!! EVERYONE I know is fighting something off, or they know someone who is. We could get into all the “reasons” I *think* this is happening, when it’s happening, and how it’s happening, but I won’t. I’m just going to focus on the “how to help it NOT happen, and what to do if it does! 🙂
Now again, keep in mind, #imjustamom and I’m not a doctor, etc. etc, etc. But here’s some of my tried and true bullet points, and I pray they can help you and anyone you know!!!
- Thieves. Yes, all the Thieves (Young Living only!). I’m an essential oil girl, now 8 years down the road, and I’d never go back. You can see anything you’d like to on my website (MyYL.com/whole112) and I’ll refer to oils ALOT in this post. And here’s why. EO’s are no new thing. They’re been around FOREVER, they’re all over the Bible, they’ve just been pushed to the back so we can buy and use things that make us feel “better” instantly, instead of really healing the root cause. So back to Thieves. It’s an all-around immune-boosting powerhouse. I should use the line, “How do I love thee, let me count the ways!” Gargle in warm water (1-2 drops), rub down your spine (with some coconut oil so it’s not too hot!) and rub on the bottom of your feet. LOTS. Many times every day. Inhale a drop of two from your palms (don’t get in your eyes). Ingest in capsules, 4-5 times a day. Put in a spoon of honey to calm down a upset throat. Diffuse, diffuse, diffuse. Then of course you can spring for the mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and spray. Literally, don’t leave home without it. And my BIGGEST TIP ever: Mix a drop of Thieves with chapstick or Rose Ointment (YL) or even coconut oil in the palm of your hand. Use a q-tip and put that mixture up inside your nose. Sounds weird, I know. But it works!! EVERY TIME you go anywhere!!
- Breathing “Super Shot.” Eucalyptus Globulus and Peppermint. These two are my fave for respiratory support. All over the chest throughout the day and before bed. Globules is one variety of Eucalyptus and my pick in this situation. You can start to feel and smell it all the way to the back of your head!!! You can actually throw them in your nose swab mixture up above for the same exact effect! (By the way, the Rose Ointment or even Animal Scents Ointment are invaluable. When you use EO’s, you apply them topically then “seal” them with one of these two salves. Awesome. No mineral oils or petroleum, just goodness.
- Detox bath. What in the heck is that? Well, it’s a wellness idea I’ve used for many years, and it’s cheap and easy. Pour 4 cups each of Epsom salt, baking soda and peroxide in a very warm tub. If you want to add EO’s, add mild ones like Lavender, Cedarwood and Frankincense to the Epsom salt before dumping it in the water and they will incorporate in the bath without floating to the top. Soak for a good 30-40 minutes. After getting out, rub down head to toe with something like Frankincense or Cedarwood, and drink tons of water. That’s kind of a given for this topic, but especially after a detox bath. Why? Well, you’re mineralizing your body with the salt and soda (Epsom is magnesium sulfate and baking soda is sodium hydroxide, the peroxide helps purify your tap water). Minerals help move the lymph and other toxins out faster, especially when you’re fighting something. I use this down to my little ones and my whole crew knows the drill. The lymph system is a VERY big deal, and most Americans don’t even know what it is. But that is changing and wisdom from our grandparents is coming to the surface again (my grandma would have suggested an Epsom salt bath for several different reasons!). You can do this at least once per day.
- Bone broth. Whoa, sounds REALLY weird! No, again, your Grandma is speaking here. Just throw a whole, healthy chicken in a crockpot overnight and the next morning, you’ll have a nourishing mineral broth. You can find tons of recipes on the net for specifics. Why? Again, minerals. Minerals move stuff!Stuff that’s fermented. Examples here are kefir (preferably from raw milk), sauerkraut, kimchee, kombucha, etc. Fermentation helps heal the gut. Check out Dr. Josh Axe or google this subject as well. One of the biggest reasons our health can be compromised is because our gut is compromised first. It’s our second brain and it steers our immune system. Junky carbs, sugar and anything processed rips away at the lining of our gut. Good fats and fermented foods soothe and heal and help restore this crucial system and help you prevent and fight off challenges when necessary. Not to mention, digestion and elimination improves too, and that means guess what? Again, moving stuff!!! Yahoo:)Let me wrap up Part 1 by saying that there’s no perfect formula out there for staying well. We do know that, of course, but it can be maddening at times trying to figure everything out. I know as a mom that there’s an easy road to guilt at every turn and I’ve learned at this point in my life that this road is pretty fruitless. I must take a step at a time, a baby step if necessary. Pray, and go forward! Because things will happen. And we have to have some grit about us. Hence, my title mentioning “warrior.” In fact, we don’t even talk about sickness in our house. We might say we’re “pressing through” or “fighting something.” Weird? Well, our words our powerful. And our bodies and our spirits pay attention to a fighting attitude. There’s so much more to this journey than what we throw at our physical body. If I move to heaven right now, my body won’t post this blog. *I* will be in heaven living it up. So there’s so much more to mention that relates to our emotional and spiritual health. We’ll go there in Part 2.
Sending prayers for health, healing and blessings,
For the month of February I’m continuing the focus on love with husband and wife stuff . . .(#lovestuff) Go here to read last week’s post about loving yourself: When Your Wedding Gown and Teeny-Bopper Jeans Don’t Fit Anymore (The Struggle With Body Image and What To Do About It
My mom and dad just celebrated 47 years of marriage. 47 YEARS!!! WHOOHOO!! After visiting them the morning after their big day, I had a few moments of epiphany. . .
I’ve been married almost 22 years. Just a drop in the bucket, comparatively, but still. Something, for sure. As I drank my hot tea and watched my parents chatting together, I realized it really wasn’t a big deal. For me, maybe, but not for them. On their big day they had appointments in a nearby city, drove home promptly to check on the cows, and came home to a minimal dinner of apples and peanut butter. No, not a big deal at all.
So here, enter the following ‘light bulbs.’ If you’re just getting started on the marriage ride or if you’re standing in the middle of something messy, I hope these jewels will help your journey somehow. (Thanks, Mom and Dad. You never imagined I’d throw you in my blog for your anniversary, did you?) 🙂
Here we go:
- The big deal of an amazing, long-lasting marriage is more about macaroni and cheese than filet mignon. I think we tend to continually hope for perfection instead of just enjoying the ride. With a rock-solid covenant, riding the waves of ups and downs can become an adventure, just because. Because we’re together. Just us, far from perfect. The good, bad, ugly . . .all the ugly. Looking back, I know my parents endured more than they ever thought they could, but really. They made it look easy.
- All that glitters is not gold. The world is always throwing the next shiny something in our faces, whether it’s McDonald’s new sandwich or the latest fad from Gap. Let’s get real. Marriage isn’t about the latest tricks or treats and it’s definitely not what you see on a movie screen. When you have the real deal, you have to laugh at all the supposed glitz and glamour. Mom and Dad weren’t opting for a fancy hotel or shrimp for dinner, they just immensely enjoyed another day together (not that they don’t go there sometimes). Whew! The pressure is off.
- When you’re in for the long haul, you don’t remember the bad moments so much. Having a child’s selective memory, I only remember certain highs and lows of mom and dad’s journey, but looking at my own relationship, I’ve learned to shake off the “lows” and embrace them. There’s no “highs” without them!
- Every marriage and every family has their own ‘basket of troubles.’ We say it a lot, it’s cliche’, I know. But no one’s perfect. Everyone has skeletons in their closet. And that basket of troubles our marriages carry isn’t better or worse than the family across the street. Truly, our “basket” makes us better.
- The real honor of a long-lasting relationship is found in covering each other. Getting through each other’s mistakes involves having mercy and grace. Our spouses need us to be gentle and compassionate, with a knowledge that God knows our hearts. We truly can’t cast the first stone.
- They that fight hard should always make up hard. Our children have seen arguments. They’ve seen us mess it up. Though it used to make me horribly uncomfortable to know they observe us being big fat failures, I’ve gotten better at knowing it’s ok that we don’t fake perfection. If we mess up, we ‘fess up. Humility and asking forgiveness goes a very, very long way. And believe me, the kids have seen A LOT more indications of our makeup sessions than they have cared to!!!
- If both of you think you’re the luckiest person in the world, you’ll make it. Watching my mom and dad throughout the past forty years or so, I’ve gained much more than I can articulate. But this is probably one of their biggest secrets. . .They each think they’re the lucky one.
When I was younger, I liked to toss heavy questions around with my dad (and I still do). He’s not a big talker, so he can get straight to the point. Those conversations usually ended with a quip similar to my blog title.
And when dad wrapped up our deep problem-solving talks with this quote, he was right.
Because after 47 years, mom and dad probably look back over their shoulder, and they know.
Hindsight is 20/20.
Coming up next week: Children. . .it will be something about loving them, but not sure yet exactly what! Ha! Jen 🙂