Motherhood: Fantasy vs. Reality.

Motherhood: Fantasy vs. Reality.

Our hopes and dreams create the passion we need to strive in life. However, the vagaries of reality can be disillusioning. Childbirth, and the transition into motherhood, is one of those times where our fantasies often do not match reality.

​The singer Freddie Mercury summed it up in his epic ballad, Bohemian Rhapsody:

“Is this the real life?

Is this just fantasy?

Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.

Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see.”

Motherhood: Fantasy vs. Reality.

During times when it feels like there’s no escape from the landslide of reality, it’s only natural to seek external inspiration. It’s tempting to jump online and read what others have done to make it work, and copy them. There are plenty of rosy stories with women who seem to have it all. There are also endless tips, tricks and advice articles. While none of this is necessarily bad, it can end up spinning you in circles with no clear direction. Keep in mind that inspiration is not mimicry, it should be a catalyst for finding your own way and methods.

During pregnancy, many of us have expectations for birth and the kind of mother we will be when our baby is here. These expectations can quickly become misaligned with reality depending on how labor goes, what your baby is like and how much support you have during the early days of motherhood.

It’s also important to listen to yourself and find birth professionals who are a good fit. There’s nothing like hiring an obstetrician who doesn’t remember delivering your first child or a lactation consultant who grabs your breast without asking.

A popular book that many women read during pregnancy is “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.” It’s filled with encouraging birth stories and advice to trust your body and instincts. Ina May’s books are relevant and important, however it’s important to remember they are also “inspirational.” Striving for an ideal birth can be empowering… but the flip side is that sometimes you just can’t attain it. Being able to accept a not-so-dreamy birth, after fantasizing about a perfect one can be difficult.

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Motherhood vs. Oneself

Motherhood vs. Oneself

I’m sure you had a life before the conception and birth of your child, I know I did. Who you are doesn’t magically change because you’re a mother. Yes, you have a new baby who needs your attention to thrive, but you’re still you with desires, goals and idiosyncrasies.

We’re living in what appears to be a collective renaissance of self-enhancement, especially where I live in Los Angeles. Everyone is trying to be the best version of themselves by keeping a healthy lifestyle and chasing their dreams. As with anything, you shouldn’t stop trying to be the best version of yourself when you become a parent.

If you’re a stay at home mother the household and lifestyle requirements still need to be maintained. A home doesn’t run itself, and even with a regular housekeeper, someone has to make sure that everything is being done to the desired specifications and that scheduled events like doctor’s appointments are met. Making a stable home life for your family is an important component of being a high functioning mother.

If you have a job outside of the home it can be daunting to stay connected to it while welcoming your new baby into your family. There are many thoughts and things to consider when you’re a working mother. Is your baby going to forget who you are when you’re gone? Are you going to miss out on opportunities to grow in your career if you take too much time out? Are you a horrible mother if you have to do daycare, because hiring an in-home nanny is too expensive? Can you even breastfeed if you go back to work? Is it acceptable to do formula?

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Hypnosis for Childbirth Trauma with Jessica Porter

Hypnosis for Birth Trauma with Jessica Porter

Hypnosis for Childbirth Trauma with Jessica PorterMost of the time birth happens in a way that leaves a new mom feeling empowered and joyous. Although for some of us, the birth of our babies can leave more complicated feelings in its wake.

Childbirth trauma is something I and many of my clients have experienced after more challenging deliveries. Processing the birth in a healthy way, is an important step in working through the event.

Hypnosis is something wildly popular in childbirth preparation and less well known as an option to treat trauma after birth. I discovered Jessica Porter years ago through her book “The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics.”

Here she shares how HRCT hypnosis can release and shift emotions and move postpartum mothers towards emotional healing.

What is Hypnosis

Most people have this idea of hypnosis being “look into my crystal ball,” what is hypnosis for the uninitiated?

Hypnosis is a totally natural state of mind, in which we focus and reflect deeply. All of us go in and out of hypnosis several (if not hundreds) of times a day: When we daydream, space out, drive somewhere we know the route to, listen to music, dance, have sex, watch TV, or relate to our inner worlds and imaginations in any other way. We go into these little trances–as we contact our subconscious minds–and they are totally normal and healthy.

Hypnotherapy is simply using this state of mind therapeutically–and in a sustained way–because we are more open and suggestible when functioning from the subconscious. So hypnosis is not the entering of some mysterious Pandora’s box, locked away at normal times, or full of scary secrets. The subconscious is just a layer of one’s mind that we don’t normally lead with in our lives, but we do have contact with it.

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Mother Us Spotlights: Mutter Belly Oil

Mutter

There are debates about the efficacy of belly oils for preventing stretch marks, but it doesn’t hurt to hydrate and moisturize your skin during pregnancy. Mutter is a Berlin based maternity skincare company inspired by a conversation between Ralu and her mother.

Mutter OIls

Last year while we were on the beach, I asked: “Mom, how come you don’t have any stretch marks on your belly?” And she said: “Remember the little bottle of olive oil I always have in my bathroom cabinet? I used that. Pretty much every day. Nothing fancy, you see. Very simple, yet very effective. I’m still using it as my daily body moisturizer – it’s all natural and does the job.”

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The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness

Natural Health after Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness by Aviva Jill Romm

With so much focus on the pregnancy and birth, many new parents are taken by surprise with the demands of newborn care and the mother’s need for rest after childbirth.

One of my favorite books for planning for postpartum care is Natural Health after Birth, The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness by Aviva Jill Romm. I discovered this book after the birth of my first baby and I remember thinking, I wish I would have known about this book during my pregnancy, it would have given me so much more perspective on planning for after the birth. I especially appreciated the recipes for teas and nourishing foods.

The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness

This book reads as if you are speaking with your no-nonsense friend, who did all the research already and has a balanced view of western and eastern medicine and care. In chapter two, which is titled: New-Mother Care around the World, we receive an overview of postpartum traditions from different cultures.

Throughout the book each chapter stands alone, the first half of the book gives more of an in-depth summary of becoming a mother and planning for postpartum, while the second half of the book guides you through common ailments experienced by mama and baby during the fourth trimester.

There are sections we can turn to for answers about returning to work, breastfeeding, bonding with a new baby and intimacy. Aviva also focuses on the father or partner’s role in postpartum care, how to create a support circle and asking for professional help when necessary.

The author is a mother, doctor, midwife and herbalist, trained in internal medicine at Yale, who specializes in integrative medicine for women and children. I highly recommend this book to pregnant and new mothers, as well as family members who will be caring for you postpartum.