Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Quiet Corner

This week, I finished reading the little book I'd been doing a short reading from each morning. Called Find a Quiet Corner: a simple guide to self-peace, the book itself made much less impact than the title did. The book's content and tips were nothing new or remarkable, but the idea from the title of designating a quiet, private place to myself, stuck. I had a sewing desk in our bedroom that was just a place for junk to pile up. so, I cleared it all up and put some of my special things on it and now I try to take a few minutes to sit there once a day and read a few pages from my next inspirational book, write in my journal, and walk my finger labyrinth. I started this about a month ago and it is nice.

As a little "contest"--I'll be happy to mail this little book to the first person who leaves me a comment telling me why they'd like to have their own quiet corner!

Related to this quiet corner idea, is this quote from Thomas Merton. I've quoted it here before when I read it quoted in a quote in another book. But, this time it showed up on my $1 Shop Zen calendar:

"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times."

--Thomas Merton

I need to put this somewhere where I can read it every time I sit down at the computer!

Other Reads

This week I also read a totally junky novel called Younger. It was about a woman who was recently left by her husband for another woman and also had her newly adult daughter join the Peace Corps. So, she is alone in New Jersey after an adult lifetime as a SAHM caring for others. She goes to NY and passes herself as much younger (like 25 instead of 44), hooks up with a cute, young man and has a hot time with him, etc. etc. Pretty poor quality fiction, but I zoomed right through it. Sometimes I need a book like this as a "treat" after all the thinking I do about weighty issues!

I then read As Good as I Could Be. This was a parenting memoir and I also zoomed through it quickly, because it was paced more like a novel. One thing that jumped out at me is her mention that most children (including her daughter) start school at age two. Excuse my "language," but WTF?! I guess she is referring to what I would usually call, "day care," not "school" (for a two year old!). The child, of course, doesn't want to go to "school." The author refers to it as, "the worst of separation traumas my daughter and I grew up through was the trauma of her going to school....At first she went to the kind of school...When it was time for a real school--she was two years old at this point...I took her up there for testing." Again with the WTF? I guess I do live in a backwoods area, because this kind of process is completely out of my realm of experience. Taking a two year old to a "real school" that she has to be tested for? Yikes! I look at little Z--also two--nursing to sleep and still being carried around a lot of the time and picture him bopping off to "real school." No way! That's crazy talk!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Journal Articles

I have no time to blog this week, so this is a quickie just to report that my essay in Midwifery Today came out this month. This was just a short, semi-funny piece about "the mess" from my glorious homebirth ;-) It was fun.

My article about the birth-breastfeeding continuum was also published in the International Journal of Childbirth Education (ICEA's pub) this month. This was a serious article with references and an abstract and all that good stuff. I ended up being pretty proud of it.

L had a little poem published in HMN's The Wise Mom in their new "Holistic Kids" section this month too:

The valley is so beautiful.
The things are so bright.

The family is so great.
And everything's all right.

This week I also enjoyed reading this month's International Doula from DONA and my first issue of my new subscription to Hip Mama. I've long wanted to subscribe to Hip Mama, but never have until now. Interesting pieces that are little bit outside of my own personal somewhat insulated and privileged sphere of motherhood.

Also, my beloved Brain, Child arrived and I gobbled it up without an ounce of self-control, as usual. I swear, if I was going to be marooned on a desert island with only one thing to read I would say this magazine. Except, I read it WAY too fast, so it wouldn't last me nearly long enough and I'd "starve" of reading materials before actual starvation even had a slight chance to set it. So, I'd have to, reluctantly, choose something else. Like a big huge Complete Works of Shakespeare or something. Though, if I was going to die on the island, wouldn't it be better to go out happy with Brain, Child by my side instead of slogging through Shakespeare, who has never floated my boat, despite my best efforts? (I took a whole freakin' CLASS in Shakespeare in college and yet have never fully made it through ANY of his works...) Okay, digression over. Proceed!

Earlier this month I enjoyed some thought provoking articles about life and death in UU World magazine.

Only finished one book and haven't had time to write about it yet. This is all I can do for today!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

An Easier Childbirth

I bought myself a little present on Amazon recently--a fresh copy of An Easier Childbirth by Gayle Peterson. I read this book from the library when I was pregnant with L and I've been wanting to read it again for quite some time. Reading it brought back all kinds of memories and all the questions, fears, thoughts I had during that time in my life--so many unknowns with a first pregnancy. I remember feeling like I was studying for the biggest "test" of my life and books like this felt like my textbooks--like if I studied them hard enough, I could do it "right." Now, I know that you can't really study for birth, though I do think that being well-read and well-informed is a good thing. Well, if you are reading positive, confidence building, woman-centered, birth affirming books like this one! This book focuses on the psychological elements of birth preparation and birth experiences. It validates the importance of birth experiences in women's lives and is quite good.

A quote I loved (quoting a midwife named Rhonda):

"It is not 'ladylike' to give birth. The strength and power of labor is not demure."

In seriousness though, I think she's onto something. I think that our country's high rate of epidural use is probably connecting to the whole issue of wanting to remain "in control" and not to be roaring the baby out in an "unladylike" manner.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Yoga for Your Pregnancy

I wanted to quickly post about a prenatal yoga DVD I got for my birthday and absolutely LOVE! It is Yoga for Your Pregnancy by Yoga Journal & Lamaze. The video has multiple practices, which makes it a wonderful value for your money--there is an energizing practice, a relaxing practice, a postpartum practice and then quick practices of meditation for pregnancy, pranayama for pregnancy, and birthing room yoga. I adore the birthing room yoga segment. So good! It is only five minutes long and is perfect to use in birth classes. I've already incorporated it into my classes and it is wonderful. I bought this video specifically for ideas to use in birth classes--which is fulfilled perfectly with that great little segment--but was pleasantly surprised that I LOVE doing each of the practices as my own morning yoga routine. I'm not pregnant and find the practices really, really good even for not-pregnant people. They have a great balance of some challenge along with restorative, gentleness (they have modifications for people further along in pregnancy). The postpartum practice is really quite a workout, which was a surprise to me. Anyway, I just really enjoy this video!

There is an interview with the instructor as one of the bonus features and she talks about her planned homebirth which progressed very quickly and so she ended up having an unplanned unassisted birth, which I thought was cool. She also talks about using hypnosis to prepare for birth. Ever since I "met" Sheridan online, my ears perk up whenever I hear someone mention using hypnosis in labor!

As far as books, I only finished reading The Very Important Pregnancy Program by Gail Brewer. I didn't really like it that much. The emphasis on nutrition was intense! I recognize that nutrition is very important, but I wonder if it is the total end all be all that this book presents! Also, basically I collect books like this in order to glean new information or coping techniques to share in birth classes. I was interested that in this ENTIRE book there was basically ONE coping strategy, which was to do progressive relaxation in which a "wave" of relaxation passes through your body during each contraction. She even says that this technique might get "boring" since you have to do it for several hours of contractions, but doesn't really offer anything else! I forget that some approaches to birth preparation are much more passive than my own approach--the emphasis of this book, and in the Bradley book, is to lie still on your side basically the whole labor doing this relaxation technique the whole time. No thanks!

One World

From my Zen calendar (what did I do without this thing?!):

"There is only one world, the world pressing against you this minute."

--Storm Jameson

"The lesson that life reappears and constantly enforces is 'Look under foot.' You are always nearer to the divine and the true sources of your power than you think."

--John Burroughs

And a great one from Thoreau:

"I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows."

The quote above is about real *magic* to me. My older son was asking questions about magic the other day and I told him that I think there is plenty of real life real magic in the world and he said, "yeah, like how babies grow!" After watching the Discovery Channel film referenced below, we had been talking about the tininess of cells and how they make up our body parts and how marvelous it is that each of us grew a heart that beats in this complex and orchestrated way that we can not really fathom or duplicate, and all of the potential that exists in each flower, vegetable, or tree seed, etc., etc.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happiness is a Choice

I needed this quote today (I read it in an article, I haven't ever read the book it is from, Happiness is a Choice, but maybe I should):

"No single energy can be more impactful on this planet than the joy and well-being emanating from one truly happy and loving person."

I try to be mindful of the kind of energy emanating from me and sometimes it gets dragged down into feeling ineffective and pessimistic (also, often not. I have a lot of enthusiasm and passion and joy of life! :) I'd like to stay primarily on the joy and well-being emanation side rather than the discouraged and critical side, which is where I felt myself being today!)