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2012, a few months into my thyroid event. Strangely, the phone with my most terrible pics was dropped in a creek, lol. 

I knew I wasn’t feeling myself. But I just tried to keep going. After beginning my motherhood career at 22, it was normal for me to have ups and downs, fatigue, all those “mom” things.  I had a deep and intense belief in my body to heal if I gave it all the tools I possibly could.  But after I had my tenth baby, I knew I was in a very different place.

Yes, I’ve had a few babies. . .the medical term for it is “grand multi-para.” My pregnancies and postpartums have gone well, I’ve always checked in with my midwives and my naturopath, always striving to eat well and do well in general to keep up with my mom gig (keep in mind, the “mom gig” is my dream, so I’m always positively fueled by “momming” and wild, driving horses couldn’t tear me away from it . . .)

But that said, soon after Susanna was born, I was just too tired, and waaaaay too grumpy.  I wasn’t myself.  Then I noticed several other symptoms such as an increased heart rate, breathlessness, anxiety, heat-intolerance, shakiness, swollen throat, and most terribly, my eyes had begun to swell.  Strangely, nursing my sweet little one was one of the main things that kept me going . . . Every. Single. Day.

You know how there’s usually one thing that we as women kind of like about our appearance? That one thing that’s “ok” in our minds about how we look? (Check out my blog here about self-image.) I’m pretty darn hard on myself, like any girl out there, but I did like my eyes (they’re blue like my mom’s blue). But I began to dread looking in the mirror. 

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2014.  I was feeling so much better at this point but still not really looking like myself.

All of these things made me tank on the inside, and my normal “go get-em” mindset faltered.  I knew enough to know that my physical body was saying something, and that it was a message from the real “me” (we’re spirit, with a soul, in a body, after all). Now the problem. . .finding out what “I” was trying to say.

Now let me stop here and make something really clear.  I’m just a mom.  I’m not a doctor, I’m not a specialist in the medical field and I’m most certainly not acting like I  know what YOU should do about your basket of troubles.  But I DO want to share my story, so at the very, very least, maybe you’ll find courage and hope where you may be.  (I’m also under stupendous care from my naturopath so please no worries for me as you read.)

After I began to accept I was in a terrible place (even my husband had a tough time telling me this, I’m sooooooooo resistant to any kind of admittance of defeat) I gathered up my skirts, so to speak, and started up a new journey to find some “why’s and what to do’s.”  So here goes, though this is only the tip of the “thyroid iceberg.”

First, I didn’t even really realize where my thyroid actually was! I had such a wake-up call! After researching the typical allopathic protocol for hyperthyroid (which boiled down to thyroid removal or inserting radioactive iodine) Zo and I decided we would methodically and watchfully embark on an intense natural protocol and keep our options open from there.  I look back now and thank God for his resolve and belief in not only what we could do naturally-speaking, but what we hoped for supernaturally from our loving Father.

So with all the natural thyroid helper things, I took off with a vengeance.  Collectively I began to think “thyroid support,” and anything or everything I found to that end, I did it.  A few major players here were natural iodine/iodide (a critically needed mineral for females, especially, it’s lacking in our soil), an array of therapeutic-grade essential oils (which I was relatively new to at that time) and several other supplements such as a natural thyroid hormone, selenium, probiotics, spirulina, to name a few.  And as for food, I worked on avoiding processed junk, used raw and whole dairy, fermented foods, lots of healthy fats (coconut oil, avocados, etc.), pastured protein, and the expected fruit and veggie load and alkaline water.

I’ll enter here that I also began to ditch every chemical in our house I could find.  I no longer used bleach, window cleaner, toxic yuck soaps, detergents, toothpastes, etc.  They all had to go.  After learning about a little thing called “endocrine disruptors,” I became   Ninja-like about getting this stuff away from our home. This is a whole entire blog possibly forthcoming, but suffice it to say, there’s a way to help your environment be more health-supportive, and it actually doesn’t cost more. No, you can’t get rid of everything that’s on the world toxin list, but you can do what you can do, and that’s what I did. (An excellent resource on this subject is the Netflix documentary “STINK.”)

Keep in mind, I had been through several pregnancies at this point.  I’d never really run into any major trouble, and I did my best to put a lot of good stuff in my body. I wasn’t close to perfect, but with my mission at hand I was always thinking about how to keep my health in mind.  So with that said, let me state most emphatically: I don’t think (from my experience) that food/supplements/oils or anything else “natural” can save you. (For that matter, I don’t think medicine will either, though many lives have been prolonged!)  I think the good and natural stuff can FACILITATE health.   But that brings up my biggest revelation of my thyroid journey.

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2015. Still progressing and bordering on feeling excited about my progress. 

I have known lots of people who throw everything but the kitchen sink at their bodies, expecting them to straighten up and act right.  And believe me. I get that.  But there’s something deeper going on.  Have you ever thought about the fact that when a person dies, their body just sits there, or falls over, or whatever? They’re very obviously not here anymore.  Let me say respectfully, no one is home.  Well, this truth began to work on me in an intense way.  I realized my body is just a reflection of me, it’s just a tent that carries me around in this earth-realm.  My body is reflecting ME, so if something is going on in my BODY, what is actually going on in ME???

Herein lies my biggest gift, courtesy of that little butterfly organ called my thyroid.  I began to do the most intense soul-searching of my life.  I started asking questions of myself, questions about my emotional state, and digging down into that stuff that no one wants to talk about.  This was a huge, many years process and it is still going on.  It has actually become a part of my daily routine.  I realized that I am a spirit (and IN CHRIST, I have completeness already!) and I have a soul…my soul contains my mind, will and emotions.  That’s were the rub comes in when it comes to TRUE health and healing.  

I read research (not to mention the Bible) that confirmed that 75-98% of all physical illness stems from toxic emotions.  It’s always funny to me when science states the obvious.  We weren’t created to carry things like worry, unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, anxiety, etc. Without addressing our emotions, we are literally just putting band-aids all over our body.  They aren’t doing anything.  Nothing.  Sure, the band-aids may stave off the inevitable, but getting at the root of the problem? No way.  (A great resource for ditching toxic emotions is Dr. Caroline Leaf.)

And here’s the icing on the cake. I looked up every scripture about healing in the Bible. There’s almost 200 of them.  I said them, prayed them, wrote them down, sang them, said them, again, and again and again. My mental and emotional outlook began to change.  The changes happened like peeling the layers off of an onion.  Painfully slow, but sure, steady progress.

Since I’m a mom, I’ll do what moms do. I’ll repeat myself again. (And then there’s a quiz. Just kidding!) I’m just a mom, not a doctor. This is my story.  No one’s story looks like anyone else’s. But here’s a few absolutes I feel I can pass on to you in summary, along with my heartfelt prayers for you for total, inside and outside health and healing:

*I* am responsible for my health. (There are many who can help and guide me, for which I’m grateful, but, I’M RESPONSIBLE.)

*I* must be consistent to maintain my body, naturally.  I must move from intervention to prevention.  I must remove the obvious toxins from my life, as much as it’s humanly possible.

*God* is responsible for the supernatural in my life, as I trust Him.  Truthfully, this is the foundation of this whole thing. And oh yeah, our ultimate healing WILL eventually be heaven! 🙂

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2016. Pretty much saying “Yeeeehaw” at this point. 🙂

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2017. Joy. Joy. Joy. And love my amazing hubby. 

As I mentioned above, my journey still continues.  I still have little thyroid flags popping up here and there that require a good kick in the pants as well as lots of self-care.  But the journey has changed me. I’m ever so grateful for this earth-time I enjoy every day. I am living in my dream.

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October, 2018. The journey continues. So grateful. 

And I’m grateful for each one of you, because many of you have watched me walk through this event, struggling and questioning, and I’ve only felt your support and prayers.  Thank you for this.  And know that without a doubt, I will continue to think of you. . . 

Prayers for health and healing,

Jen 🙂

P. S. You are welcome to message me privately if you’d like to talk further about my journey. 🙂 And btw, please forgive the abundance of “me” pics, I just wanted to give you a good idea of my progress.

email: justafamilything@gmail.com

Facebook: Jennifer Travis Dunford

Instagram: just_a_familything

The best oils: myyl.com/whole112

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was pregnant with our first baby, due a month before our first anniversary.  You know the saying . . . a baby changes everything.  What a surreal experience, beginning to feel life inside of me! A plethora of emotions and decisions would lay ahead for me knowing I wasn’t just a wife of a wonderful man.  I was about to be a momma.  For the first time.  And the stakes were high.

Let me go back.  I was fresh out of high school and 18 years old.  I did have an idea of where I was going . . . a classical piano career was somewhere up ahead, 5-6 hours a day of intense practicing, working, homework were all about to fill up my days.  I was driven and focused.  I had a Jesus center and wanted to ignore all distractions as I rushed ahead.

Through a set of several bizarre circumstances I ran into this guy during my first week of college. In fact, as we look back, the whole thing years later looks like a movie script.  After major ups and downs, very, very tough moments, and a lot of excruciating soul-searching, a few years later I was walking down the aisle to the man of my dreams.  Many I loved didn’t understand, but I felt peace.  And joy.  And the anticipation of watching God pull out a lot of miracles I needed so desperately.  We were heady with the belief that yes, “two people can change the world.” The cusp of adventure through riding the bus of God’s mission for us was ready and waiting.  Little did I know all that lay ahead.

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June, 1995. The beginning.

So back to baby.  I was due about a year after we got married with our I was about 6 months pregnant and trying to enjoy every moment. One weekend Zo and I watched the movie “Losing Isaiah.” It probably wasn’t the best choice for the hormonal and emotional pregnant girl I was at the time, but we did it anyway.  If you have a chance, go back and watch it.  I won’t explain it in detail, but in short, it was a story of a little abandoned baby and the NICU nurse who helped bring him back from death. The mother never surfaced and the nurse fell in love with this little boy and eventually she and her husband attempted to adopt him. The conflict: the couple was white and the little baby was black.  Then, the biological mother came back into the picture.  I won’t divulge more, but needless to say, it was a tear-jerker and rocked me for so many reasons.

I remember weeping that night, all the baby feels in my belly, wanting to protect and guard this little human from all the evil of the world.  From a primal stirring deep in my gut I was resolved to forge ahead, come hell or high water, hoping against every hope for success in simply helping this little person know who they were. . .from the inside to the outside. . . full of courage and trust that God had them here for a beautiful purpose.

In the middle of a troubled sleep that night, I dreamed a dream. To this day, it has been the most crystal clear dream I’ve ever experienced:

I had given birth to a little baby girl, and saw her in our house as a 5-year-old or so (I did not know the gender or name of our baby when I dreamed this.)  She came to me and said, “Momma, someone told me my daddy is black. I said, “Hannah, go get your box of crayons for me.”  She came back and handed me the box.  I said, “Honey, does this crayon (I held out the black crayon) match Daddy?”  She said confidently, “No.” I responded, “Ok, does this crayon (the white one) match momma?” And she again said matter-of-factly, “No.”  And I squatted down to look her in the eye and said, “Honey, that’s because everybody is brown. God made each one of us a different shade of brown.”  

And then the picture abruptly ended. To this day, I get covered with chill bumps repeating that dream. That is an exact account of it and I still remember it perfectly. It was such a treasure for me as I repeated the whole thing to Zo. We felt such a thrill sensing God’s answer for lots of possible explanations up ahead for our children.  Another preparation for our parenting journey was checked off the list.  No. . . it’s not been that easy, but it truly did meet our heartfelt need before our first little one was even born.

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Our first little one, Hannah, at six weeks old. She was the little girl in my dream.

From that day forward, we began to use the words “light brown” for me and “dark brown” for Zo.  (By the way, astoundingly, this exact scenario actually occurred when Hannah was five. She came up to me and asked me this question and I told her the answer I’d been given in my dream.)  It became ingrained in our everyday conversation and still is to this day. In fact, I rarely say “black” or “white” even in my writing as I did in the beginning of this blog.  Those around us who love us know this same lingo we’ve “adopted.”  And most of them use it, too.

Am I an idealist? Well, yes.  Probably.  But here’s the deal.  Couldn’t all of us get past this by now?  Yes, I was young and inexperienced when we began, and yes, there’s been a lot of heartache along the way, and likely more to come.  There’s been moments when I thought I couldn’t breathe, full of injustice and betrayal.  There’s been disapproving looks given to me and my husband and there’s been terrible things said and done. But those moments have been tempered  with indescribeable peace and ecstatic happiness, knowing we’re in just the right spot. Beautiful births, sweet little ones arriving, landmarks as they’ve grown older, blessings overflowing, growing as a couple, even through the toughest of problems and the harshest of realities that do exist out there.

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2010, just past our 15th anniversary.

So again I ask, am I the idealist to say, “We all bleed red?” Or, “We all came from the same original people in the garden?” How about, “There’s only ONE race, that’s the HUMAN RACE?”

Or, am I just simply telling the truth?

Thirteen beautiful children later (with one waiting in heaven), I am convinced.  God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.  He is good.  There’s evil here, but He is good.  And His heart is for a family.  All of us.  And more than I ever have, and more than I ever thought I could, I understand those who didn’t know if we would be ok.  And I love them all the more for it.  Truly.  And the beauty God has restored back to me and my family has been worth it.  Every bit of it from the past and every bit of it up ahead that I can’t see.

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2016, almost Christmas of our 21st year. Our oldest, holding our youngest, are hidden a bit behind me and Zo. 🙂

I am richer for the path I’ve traveled.  And I am grateful for it.

Jen 🙂

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The whole crew, pre-River (our first grandbaby) and Galilee Kate (our 13th baby). This is Hannah’s wedding to Thad in 2017.

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 . . .

  1. 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!!
  2. 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.  
  3. 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!)
  4. 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.

    Galilee Kate, 1 week old Photo credit: Micah Dunford (@micahrphotography)

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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,

Jen 🙂

#imjustamom #practicenotperfection

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.

 

 

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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….

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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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,

Jen 🙂

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