Perfect Birth, Part 2: It’s Personal

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my heart about an issue that I know plagues expectant mothers everywhere: what does it take to have a perfect birth?

I touched on the fact that while childbirth education is imperative, and support during labor is helpful, we still don’t know how any woman will react to the labor process until she is already in the moment. I made the point that all births, no matter what they look like, are victories to be celebrated. And I mean that. All births are their own brand of perfect. But sometimes, for some women, the truth is this:

Even perfect birth can be traumatic.

I would be foolish not to acknowledge that some women have frightening or even life-threatening births and are forced to come to terms with their experience. For one reason or another, the process simply doesn’t “work” in some situations. For some of these women, my testimony about my disappointing birth experience and my injured feelings of self-worth might be exactly what they need. But for others, well… maybe not so much.

Beyond our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies, we are each also composed of our own complicated list of experiences. We have a mind, which we discuss in class, but we also have a subconscious mind, which we couldn’t even begin to cover: immature in its ability to make sense of our experiences, and endlessly vulnerable to the hoaxes of the enemy (again: see the Devotional). Working quietly behind the scenes, beneath our cool, collected exterior, it shapes our reactions to every one of our life experiences.

It’s personal.

In the five years since starting my childbirth services company, I have had no choice but to grow as an individual. I have been brought to my knees by some of my own life experiences. Shaken to the core of my beliefs. The shaping of my character as an adult has been arduous, and I have fought hard to find—and hold on to—what is true. In the process, I have also come to see some of that which is not.

I have learned something very important: We are each fighting our own battles. Maybe that sounds cliché, but this is relevant in all areas of life – including the quest for a great birth. For me to come alongside a woman and preach “worth,” when her own personal life experiences have shaped her to need a message of “safety” (for example), would mean that I have missed her altogether.

But how can I help? How do I know what someone needs, when it is beyond their own understanding? How do I discern the tune of their song, unless they themselves can sing it to me?

It’s possible.

The message I offer in my classes about worth and birth idolatry and relationship problems is—in all humility—good. It is quality stuff, and I will continue to teach it. But if I am to partner with God in caring for souls, then I must work from the heart with all of the skill allotted to me. There is more I can offer on an individual basis, seeking hearts and re-adjoining them to God’s in a way that is so much bigger, so much more personal, than the quest for the perfect birth.

It’s time to integrate more. Eden’s Promise is ready to offer you – each mother, father, and child- more than I ever dreamed possible. Click here to find out more!

Jennifer DeBrito, CSP, CCLD, CCBE is a Master Splankna Practitioner  Colorado Springs Doula and Childbirth Educator.She is the author of Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional, and the creator of the Expectant Parents Workshop childbirth preparation class. Jennifer was the 3-time doula to Suzanne Hadley Gosselin (esteemed author of Expectant Parentsa pregnancy/childbirth/parenting book by Focus on the Family). In addition to coaching expectant parents toward a Christ-centered childbirth, Jennifer also specializes in prenatal and postpartum wellness coaching and Splankna Therapy Colorado Springs. Jennifer is a featured blogger for My719Moms.com. To learn more about Jennifer, go to EdensPromiseLLC.com.

Ask The Doula: Treating Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy

Dear Jen,

I have been taking both 5-HTP and L-lysine for about 6 months as an alternative to conventional meds for anxiety/OCD. Also, low serotonin. They have worked REALLY well with no side effects and I have been thrilled and felt better the past 6 months than I have in a long time. However, based on what I read, I didn’t gather that they were totally safe during pregnancy. We just started trying for a baby this month but obviously I don’t want to continue taking anything that isn’t safe for a newly developing fetus. But I’m nervous to go off of it b/c I don’t want to end the “feeling stable” streak. Do you have thoughts, comments, or concerns involving 5-HTP or L-Lysine during pregnancy?If you had suggestions for safer alternatives, that would be awesome! 

-S

Dear S,

Great question! To be honest, for me to deem 5-HTP and L-lysine”safe” or “unsafe” in pregnancy would be going a bit beyond my scope. Even the FDA refuses to determine that, because testing on fetuses is not OK! So, if you’re used to taking them, but might become pregnant, you might want to slowly make the move to other options.

For the symptoms you mentioned, what I can do is offer some safer ideas of things you can ‘do,’ rather than ‘take.’ Ideally, the goal is to help your body to start producing the ‘feel good hormones’ on its own, and one (or all) of these actions could really help:

1) Vary your exercise. There are only guesses as to why, but changing the way you move your body can have a big effect on changing the way you think and feel. So if you usually do something that is very repetitive (such as running), be sure add activities like dancing and yoga to your exercise regimen, like maybe one of each, once a week.

2) Early morning walks (before or during sunrise) are regarded as the cure to depression in Chinese medicine. Again, who knows why it works, but I imagine it has something to do with increased Serotonin from being out in that particular type of light. (Not to mention it’s beautiful, quiet, smells good, and reminds you of your own place in this amazing world we live in. Remembering our part in the ‘big picture’ can play a huge part in keeping our worries in perspective!)

3) Consider talking to someone. A wise friend once told me that there’s no shame in seeking counseling, because everyone can benefit from it–not just those who have been ‘through’ something. I’ve seen that it’s pretty common for young/expectant moms to really start thinking through their own childhood, and feel pressure from themselves to be the perfect mother for their own children. Talking to a family therapist either alone or with your spouse can really help with figuring out what your real goals should be with regard to raising your family (since nobody can be perfect, obviously).

I’m also a huge fan of SPLANKNA therapy, which is a method of therapy used by real, licensed practitioners that is different from traditional ‘talk therapy.’ It is heavy in the use of prayer for releasing issues that end up stored in the body. As a proponent of the holistic model of health, I can vouch for the validity of SPLANKNA philosophy. And as someone who has received SPLANKNA therapy following the traumatic loss of a loved one, I can also vouch for its efficacy. Taking the focus away from healing yourself, and instead getting you in touch with God to figure out what the deal is–and getting it healed–is absolutely where it’s at, in my opinion. Still, “talk” therapies may also be helpful.

4) Orange, ylang ylang, lavender, and sandalwood essential oils are all helpful for your specific symptoms. I would buy each of them and create the following blend (this can get a little pricey, but it will last you longer than the pre-blends):

5 drops sandalwood (grounding and connecting to higher power); 3 drops ylang ylang (balancing and uplifting); 2 drops lavender (balancing and calming); 4 drops orange (mood enhancing, positivity).

Mix with grapeseed or apricot oil in a small dropper bottle (available at health foods stores) and add a few drops to your wrists (or the bottoms of your feet if you don’t like the smell). Or, if you’re not into mixing your own, I’ve determined that doTerra has high-quality products, many of which are pre-blended roll-on oils designed to be used to treat specific things like anxiety, depression, or even obsessiveness.

5) I’m not qualified to get into homeopathic remedies for this level of cure, but you could also consider seeking out a naturopath (make sure they hold a degree from a school like Bastyr). They could give suggestions after doing a more complete workup on you. It would probably  cost around $100 for the appointment, but I think you could find it very helpful and insightful. And of course, consult your doctor or midwife, as well.

I’m proud of you for reaching out and asking these questions; it’s hard to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to get the answers you need sometimes. So give yourself a hug from me, because you are on the right track! May you find a cure that you–and your baby–can live with.

Love,

Jen

 

Jennifer DeBrito, CCLD, CCBE is a doula and birth educator in Colorado Springs. She is the author of Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional and the owner of Eden’s Promise, LLC. In addition to coaching expectant parents toward a Christ-centered childbirth experience, she also specializes in prenatal and postpartum wellness coaching. To learn more about Jennifer, go to www.EdensPromiseLLC.com.

First Natural Remedy: Homeopathy

In my last post, I promised to explain what to do with each of the natural remedies on the shopping list. I suppose the best way to work through them with you would be to go in the order in which you will probably want to use them, so we’ll start with the homeopathic flu remedy. (It would be prudent for me to mention that no natural remedy, including homeopathy, is a replacement for medical attention. Everything I recommend should be done in addition to – not in place of – whatever your own doctor or pediatrician recommends.)

First, let me explain what a homeopathic remedy is. Basically, it is a not-even-measurable amount (or infinitesimal dose) of a natural agent, which helps the body to ‘understand’ an illness. Think of it like this: If you told your child to go make cookies, would they know where to begin? Mine wouldn’t. But if I sat down with him and explained the recipe and helped him to measure out each ingredient, then it would be quick and easy for him to combine the ingredients into cookies.

This is what a homeopathic remedy does: it shows the body the broken down ‘recipe’ of an illness, so the body can proceed with making the correct antibodies. The homeopathic remedy does not actually contain an illness. What it contains may be a variety of naturally occurring herbs, flowers, minerals, etc which, if  taken in incredibly massive doses, would produce similar symptoms in the body as whatever you are trying to fight off . Taking a homeopathic remedy is basically like reading a recipe card to your body.

You would therefore choose your remedy on the basis that “like cures like”, meaning you just need to choose the homeopathic remedy which would theoretically cause the same symptoms you are experiencing. A quick online search, or even the book provided by Boiron or Hyland’s near their products in a natural food store, are perfectly good sources for deciding what to use. (For example, is your runny nose your worst symptom? Allium Cepa–also known as Onion–is probably the right product.) Once you give it a run, you’ll find that it’s easy and even a little bit fun.

If you start taking your homeopathic remedy as  soon as you start feeling symptoms (this period of time is referred to as “the healing crisis”), then your chances of overcoming the cold before it really even has a chance to begin are greatly increased. There are good remedies out there that can be used for  adults, children, and infants (such as Heel BHI FluPlus), and all you have to do is change the dosing according the instructions. Always follow the instructions on the label.

There are also products made specifically for children, if you are concerned about dosing, but it is interesting to note that the measurements in homeopathic remedies (3c, 6c, 12c, 30c) simply indicate the number of times the product has been diluted, thereby breaking down the ‘recipe.’ So while you’d still stick to the lower numbers for children (like 3c and 6c), it does help some parents to know that the higher numbers do not contain higher amounts of the natural substance. You just don’t want to overwhelm your sweet baby’s body with information, is all.  (Homeopathic remedies can also end in “X.” Same goes for those.)

Homeopathic remedies are especially helpful with children because their bodies are already in the process of growing and changing, and they don’t contain as many of the chemicals which tend to make homeopathy less effective (such as caffeine, nicotine, mint/methol, artificial sweeteners, etc). As a note for adults, if you are going to take a homeopathic remedy and are able to cut out any of the above-listed chemicals from your own diet, it will help to improve the effectiveness for you as well.

By the time the healing crisis has ended, sore lymph nodes and head/body aches have generally subsided… and other symptoms have probably taken their place. The illness will still run its course, but it will be a shorter and less intense trip than if you were to brave it without homeopathy. Next time I will cover the 2nd step in overcoming your illness quickly and comfortably.

Stay healthy!

Jen DeBrito, CCLD, CCBE

Jennifer is a Holistic Christian Doula & Birth Educator in Colorado Springs. In addition to coaching couples through childbirth, she specializes in wellness coaching for prenatal and postpartum women and their precious children. She is the author of Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional and the proud owner of Eden’s Promise, LLC.

For more information about Jennifer, visit: EdensPromiseLLC.com