Tips For Managing Your (Period) Naturally!

Period pain.

It seems like it’s something that is unavoidable in the lives of most women today. I remember spending years in college throwing back Midol and. praying I didn’t run out of my synthetic period products.

I totally had that nightmare moment in grade 9 where I had to tie a sweater around my waist because my conventional tampon didn’t do it’s job. I missed days of school (and work) over the years because of my cycle and eventually went on oral contraceptives to manage them.

I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of oral contraceptives because there is so MUCH information on the topic but I will share a few thoughts.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

*I am not a medical professional nor do I claim to be. Discuss your health with your doctor and do not rely on my blog as medical advice.

This Pubmed article discusses a study that shows it took 80% of the women (in the study) a year before they successfully conceived after discontinuing the oral contraceptive they were on. I’ve seen that to be true in many conversations I’ve had over the years. Many women think they can get pregnant immediately after quitting their birth control only to find out it’s quiet difficult. Think about this way. Birth control makes yours uterus a hostile environment to conception. You essentially are damaging that environment so it has to heal and if it does heal, there may be a better chance of successfully conceiving.

I’m not a doctor but life experience as a woman has opened my eyes to many things pertaining to reproductive health.

This is an interesting article on the risks and benefits of oral contraceptives which discusses how long term uses puts women at risk of blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, increased blood pressure, liver tumours as well as an increased risk of breast and cervical cancer! YIKES.

I ditched oral contraceptives and conventional period products the first year of my marriage. If you’re curious about how to manage fertility naturally, check out this article which explains various methods.

I want to share 14 ways I (naturally) manage my cycle today and how it’s impacted my reproductive health for the better.

Ditch The Dirtys.

  • No More Birth Control. Like I mentioned above, I quit birth control and opted for NFP. I’ll never forget my first cycle after birth control because it was extremely painful. Now that I’ve had two children naturally, I can say the pain of that period was similar to early labour pains. I think it was because my body was completely detoxing from birth control. It took my body a year to regulate my cycle. IF that doesn’t say something about chemical contraceptives, I don’t know what does!
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com
  • Opted for Reusable Period Products. Have you tried them yet? Check out my blog post on reusable period products here. The truth may surprise you! I love cloth pads and menstrual cups. I’ll never go back to tampons and cotton pads. I don’t miss the chemicals or the mess! Amazingly, switching to these types of products has reduced my period pain almost completely. No more cramps and that alone is half the battle!
  • No More Midol. Is Midol even a thing anymore? My age is showing! So, I don’t avoid medication all together but if there is a more natural option, I want to try that instead. Long term use of OTC meds like aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol are going have to have an impact on our liver. If I can avoid that, I’ll try. Sometimes my natural methods may not be able to get a migraine under control and I have to pop a Tylenol and drink a coke. That is worst case scenario for me, though.

Natural Pain Management.

  • Essential Oils. If you know me, you know I love to use a variety of things for health and illness. Essential oils are one of those things that are so versatile. You can diffuse them, dilute them with a carrier oil to put over your lower abdomen or put a few drops in your bath! I love Lavender for it’s soothing scent and anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint is my go to for nausea and headache! There are so many more excellent oils for pain management. A little research goes a long way!
  • Heat. Heat therapy has been used for many years to manage pain. I like to switch things up with a hot bath, hot water bottle or heating pad of I’m having any pain. Since I’ve switched to natural products, I rarely experience cramps now but I love heat therapy when I do!
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Herbs. If I could become an herbalist…….but seriously herbs are an incredible way to manage period pain, naturally. When I was pregnant I drank Red Raspberry Leaf tea to strengthen my uterus. It’s also incredibly useful for cramps during your cycle. After my sons were born, I took this herbal tincture to help with the pain of after birth. Skullcap tincture has been useful for me to manage headaches associated with PMS. This article by Herbal Academy goes into more detail about the various types of pain relieving herbs and their profiles!

  • CBD Oil and THC. I’m fairly new to trying CBD and THC for pain management but I have to say that the pain relieving properties of both are incredible. I find that CBD oil taken orally is my go to for headaches and general pain. CBD oil has also been great for my mood regulation and anxiety that often peaks during PMS. It’s important to understand that there is a difference between CBD and Cannabis products. CBD has very little if any THC in it, which is the component that has hallucinogenic properties.

For pain management I typically take 1 ML of CBD oil sublingually. It also has helped my focus and concentration when I’m fatigued. 5 MG of THC is what often helps me sleep at night, especially if I have any pain or anxiety flaring up. This amount does not bring on any hallucinogenic feelings for me but instead makes me feel very sleepy. I take it orally in the form of a gummy. It’s very important to research both CBD and THC to understand pain receptors, dosing and the different ways in which it will affect you, depending on how you ingest it. It also takes time to figure out appropriate dosing, especially for pain management.

  • Chiropractic Care. Is there anything that chiropractic care can’t do? But seriously, it has been instrumental in relieving pain associated with my cycle and the overall management of my cycle. You can’t go wrong with Chiropractic care. A little research goes a long way in showing how helpful spinal manipulation can be for improving pain associated with your menstrual cycle!

Inside and Out.

  • You Are What You Eat. So, I’m not suggesting you diet to feel better when you’re pmsing. But I am talking about how our overall diet going to have an impact on how our body manages pain. I’ve personally noticed that I feel better when I’m eating clean. Whereas I tend to have the worst periods when I’m eating highly processed foods. Sadly, those are the things I crave so I try to have a balance.
  • Water. Is water the cure for everything? When I keep myself hydrated, I feel better. If I get tired of plain water, I’ll grab a club soda for that fizzy feeling. Staying hydrated is going to help ward off headaches that are often brought on by fluctuating hormones. Get yourself a cute (and functional) water bottle so it’s easier to keep yourself hydrated.
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  • Rest. Fatigue can be a huge symptom of my cycle. Sometimes I can feel like I’m walking through mud. Having two toddlers to chase all day is probably part of the exhaustion! But I try to be intentional about getting adequate if not more rest during my cycle. Last night I went to bed at 8:30! I also try to keep my days low key, even if that means having the TV on more than usual, for my kids. Do what you have to, to give your body the rest it needs.
  • Track It. Natural Family Planning helped me understand where I was at in my cycle based on things like cervical position, cervical mucus and body temperature. Having an app to track your period and ovulation can be extremely helpful! It can give you a heads up to start preparing for your cycle so you aren’t caught off guard and unprepared.

Keep It Clean.

  • Get a Peri bottle. Is it weird that I still have my peri bottle from when I gave birth? Don’t worry, I disinfect it! It’s a game changer for me when I’m on my cycle. It also means I don’t have to shower 5 times a day. It lessens my use to TP as well. Good for me, good for the earth. Win win!
  • Cloth Wipes. I love my reusable TP. I love it even more during that time of the month! It just provides a better, more efficient clean. Cloth wipes and a peri bottle keep things clean and fresh. Who doesn’t want that?! Check out Etsy for handmade reusable TP. It’s so easy to use and I wash mine with my cloth pads.

I have no secrets of success when it comes to managing my cycle but I have learned so much about my body over the years by doing two things. I listen to my body and I research everything. I’m a firm believe in self advocacy when it comes to health. No-one is going to care more about my health than ME!

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

If I can do things for my body that contain less chemicals, I’m going to do it. I know that it means a happier, healthier me.

What are some ways that you’ve been able to manage your cycle over the years?

Keto On A Budget

I have been hesitant to share that I’m trying out the Keto way of eating because truth be told, people are so opinionated these days. In the past I’ve talked about eating Paleo and was told that it was “SO HARD” and “SO EXPENSIVE.” When you’re on a mission to adapt to a healthier lifestyle the last thing you need or want is people being negative.

Apparently Keto isn’t affordable according to many but I’m always up for a good challenge.

Why Keto?

Quarantine 15 anyone? Back in Feb/March I was at my lowest weight that I had been since getting pregnant with my first son. My husband and I had been working out, intermittent fasting and loosely following The Warrior diet. I was experiencing way less anxiety and overall I felt pretty amazing. We then suffered through two bouts of illness, one of which I’m pretty sure was Covid. Natural immunity for the win!

Getting sick was a huge setback for me and then we went into quarantine as a country. Since then I have gained back everything I lost and more through poor eating habits and little to no exercise. The biggest impact this had was on my mental and emotional health as well as my energy levels. I was feeling like total junk!

Weight loss is such an individual journey and what works for one person isn’t going to work for everyone. It makes sense because our bodies are all so unique. I thought about trying The Warrior Diet again but it’s pretty rigid. I have known people who have done Keto and seen great results. A little research shows that the food you can eat while doing Keto is DELICIOUS. But I was of the mindset that it was “so expensive” and I was just starting to scale back our grocery budget.

*As a disclaimer: I’m not here to discuss if Keto is “safe” or right for people. I know there are lots of thoughts about body image and weight loss, today. I’m not a health expert but I am an expert for my own body and I’m sharing what is working for me. Me sharing my lifestyle is not meant as a directive towards anyone.

Dollar Signs.

As I said above I was working on reducing our monthly grocery budget. And by reducing, I was cutting our spending back by at least $200 a month. As a family of four with 2 small children, there was no reason for us to be spending what we were on groceries. We don’t eat organic and no-one has any food allergies. I settled on a budget of $500 a month or $125 a week and this does not include things like tp or diapers. I changed a few shopping habits such as no more shopping at the expensive grocery stores. I started making things from scratch again because convenience foods were running up my grocery bill. I began meal planning again.

At the beginning of the week when I write out my menus, I shop my own pantry and freezer first. I started ordering my groceries from Wal-Mart for FREE pickup. I do this mostly for convenience because grocery shopping with a mask while trying to wrangle two small toddlers isn’t something I enjoy doing. It also forces me to stick to my budget because I order my groceries the night before and if I forget anything, I can’t add to my list. I just wait until next week!

So let’s review some grocery budgeting tips:

  • Make more things from scratch: bread, muffins, desserts, snacks etc.
  • Meal Plan
  • Shop Your Own Pantry and Freezer
  • Order your groceries online to avoid last minute convenience purchases
  • Make your own household cleaners
  • Use reusable items in your home to reduce your waste (and save money on household items)

*During the tp panic buying, we didn’t purchase a single pack of TP because we had reusable cloths if we ran out. It might sound gross but it’s all about mindset!

Keto On The Cheap

So you’re probably still wondering how I fed myself (and my husband) a Keto based diet, plus regular food for my kids all on $125 a week.

I implemented all those tips listed above and also do the following:

  • Apart from some sauces from Primal Kitchen, I do not buy anything else pre-made like Keto snacks.
  • Shop the discount produce and meats
  • Don’t buy organic
  • Make everything from scratch

That might sound like a lot of work but when you experience 5 pound weight loss in the first week and still get to each delicious foods, that is usually motivation to put in the work! No joke, I lost 5 pounds during my first week of Keto. I have also been combining it with intermittent fasting. I don’t exercise apart from the occasional walk with my boys. I am active in terms of taking care of two toddlers all day but I haven’t implemented any intentional exercise. I would probably see a lot more weight come off and I as I progress, I’m hoping to exercise more intentionally.

What Do I Buy?

The first week I started Keto I spent an average of $123. My Way-Mart Grocery bill was around $107 but I took the amount I spent on Well.ca for all my Keto dressings and prorated it over 4 weeks to give me a weekly average. That gives me the $123.

Here is my exact grocery list from the week:

2 Cartons of large eggs, 3 cans of wet cat food, 1 coffee cream, 1 carton of unsweetened almond milk, 1 can of parmesan cheese, 1 cucumber, 2 bunches of asparagus, 2 cartons of raspberries, 2 packs of bacon, 5 apples, 1 container of mushrooms, 2 packs of cream cheese, 1 bottle Braggs ACV, 1 box of chicken nuggets (for the kids), Frozen Cauli florets x2, 1 bag of shredded cheese, 1 bag frozen veg, 1 small carton homo milk, 2 bags 2% milk, 1 bag clementines, 1 bag lemons, 2 blocks of butter.

Total $107.56

I had the advantage of already owning a few items like almond flour and stevia as well as all the meat I needed for the week. I shopped my freezer! It’s the specialty items that will run up your budget which is why it’s smart to budget for those things and prorate your cost over your monthly budget.

Menu planning ahead of time is probably your most important step. When you menu plan, you can shop for specific items and avoid buying things you don’t need. There will be fluctuations in my budget week to week but for the most part, I know I can keep my grocery bill low.

Example Weekly Menu (Keto Dinners)

Smothered pork chops w/cheesy baked asparagus

Adobo chicken w/green beans

Keto Big Macs w/loaded cauliflower rice

Taco pie w/salad

Garlic Mushroom chicken w/mixed veggies

Keto Mcdgriddles w/scrambled eggs and fruit

Protein style burgers w/cauli Mac n cheese

Chicken bacon ranch bake w/salad

In the Long Run.

See what I mean when I say Keto can be delicious?! I’m not even following Keto SUPER strict and I’m still seeing great results. The only cons are the amount of time it takes to prep, cook and clean up. I’m in my kitchen quite a bit these days but I don’t mind because it produces great food for me and my family to eat. I usually pick a day that I do all my baking and snack prep. Snacks are important with Keto, especially in the beginning as your body adjusts to not having many carbs. I went to bed last night and didn’t wake up hungry once. That is a great feeling!

I’m still very much in the beginning phases of Keto and I don’t know what it’s going to look like in the long run. I think the reason “diets” are considered dangerous or a waste of time by many is because most diets are not sustainable. They tend to be extreme, costly and complicated. I’d like to think of it as more of a lifestyle change. Will I ever eat lots of carbs again? Probably! But for now I’m really enjoying the path I’m on of eating healthier and doing it affordably.

Have you ever done Keto? Did you find it to be expensive? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Essential Oils: What’s All The Hype?

Essential oils!

There is SO much information out in the world today regarding essential oils and how to use them. So if you’re new to oils or have been using them but feel limited in your knowledge, where do you even start?

Disclaimer: I am not a certified Aromatherapist nor do I sell essential oils. My experience with oils has been based solely on personal research as well as trial and error. Please do not take anything on my blog as certified medical advice. If you use oils based on my posts, you do so at your own risk and I’m not responsible for any injury resulting from improper use.

In this blog post I’m going to share some thoughts on essential oil use, contradictions and precautions based on my own personal experience. I’m sharing this because of messages and questions I’ve been getting on my social media about what oils I sell or use. (I don’t sell fyi.) I don’t claim to be an expert and you can take or leave my personally expressed views. I’m just sharing information in response to questions I’ve been getting =)

It can be really overwhelming when you dive into the world of essential oils because even just choosing a brand plunges you into pool of strong opinion, controversy and conflicting information.

Choosing Oils.

When it comes to choosing a specific brand of essential oils I base my choices on a few things:

  • Personal Recommendation of people whose opinions I trust and/or Certified Aromatherapists
  • Affordability
  • My own research, reading and educating myself
  • Trial and Error
  • Personal preference for how my family and I react to oils

There is an incredible amount of conflicting information about what companies claim regarding their oils, the quality, the transparency of the company and more. It’s literally a black hole of information. How do you know whose oils are quality? How do you pick the company you want to support? Not all oils are created equal. Some are diluted with water and other chemicals. Cheap doesn’t mean great nor does super expensive mean great. Every batch of oils also varies which is why one company’s Lavender may smell different than another’s. More on common myths and misconceptions of oils here.

I personally avoid purchasing certain types of oils. Often, some oils are more pricey than others (rose absolute vs. lavender) due to the scarcity of the source or the work involved in the production process. ( source ) I want to do my part in preserving SOME of our natural resources in the world. That’s just a personal preference not a mantra, ya’ll.

Do your own personal research. Make an informed decision. Ask questions of people you trust. Talk to a Certified Aromatherapist for an expert opinion. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Check out this article by a Certified Aromatherapist on how she chooses her oils! She shares some great information and perspective, based on her education and knowledge of essential oils as a professional.

Precautions With Oils.

Ok, so this is where the topic can get a little controversial for people based on their personal views of oil usage. A few years ago, as I was traveling along my oily journey I started seeing other fellow oily people promote things like ingesting oils and/or using oils neat.

Ingesting oils means a person is taking that oil orally in an undiluted form, typically in water. Using an oil neat means they are putting the oil directly onto their skin undiluted.

The potency of oils makes this big deal!

“Essential Oils contain very concentrated properties of the herb or plant they are derived from. A very small amount of EOs often has the qualities of many cups of herbal tea from the same plant. For instance, one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 26-28 cups of peppermint tea. This isn’t to say essential oils should not be used, but they should be used carefully, with proper education and in safe amounts. If you wouldn’t ingest dozens of cups of an herbal tea, you should probably think twice before consuming the equivalent amount of essential oils.

https://wellnessmama.com/26519/essential-oils-risks/

I’ll be honest. I’m strongly against the ingestion of essential oils unless you are under the direct supervision of a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist. So if you see someone recommending this type of usage, I’d check out their credentials before following their advice.

Robert Tisserand talks about possible allergic reactions to improper usage of essential oils here. Did you know you can experience sensitization from the overuse of oils? Too much of a good thing really can be bad!

“The word “sensitization” is often misunderstood. It’s sometimes used as if it was a distinct category of adverse reaction – it isn’t – and it’s sometimes used as a synonym for an allergic skin reaction. This second use of the word does make sense, but really “sensitization” describes the priming of the immune system that subsequently leads to an allergic reaction. So it’s part of the process.”

https://tisserandinstitute.org/safety/irritation-allergic-reactions/

I see this a lot and it concerns me. I cringe, to be honest. Let me ask you. Would you use the same herbal supplement over and over, multiple times a day, every day? Not necessarily. It would/could make you sick, at some point because of overuse. “Natural” does not mean it can’t be “toxic.”

From a personal standpoint when I’m thinking about how I approach holistic health and using natural alternatives, I have a variety of things in my arsenal and I don’t use essential oils every day, for everything. I like to switch things up. I don’t believe that essential oils are the only way to good health. I think it’s a combination of things like:

  • Proper nutrition
  • Restful sleep patterns/habits
  • Minimizing Stress
  • Adequate Exercise
  • Proper Supplements
  • Naturopathic and Chiropractic Care
  • Essential Oils
  • Herbal Remedies (tinctures, salves, steams, teas etc.)

There are many more things I could add but these are some of the ways we practice holistic health in our home.

I also take GREAT precaution in the way I use oils around my children. I have spent many hours researching the appropriate amount of dilution, diffusion and application for usage around my children. This is why I personally feel safe using Plant Therapy’s Kidsafe line which was formulated with Robert Tisserand. I trust their standards and quality as well as their safety precautions when using their oils with or around children.

Selling Oils.

I’m often asked if I sell oils or why I don’t sell oils since I use them. This can be a touchy subject. I personally do not want to sell oils. It’s simply not something I want to do. I’ve been approached many times, typically people who I don’t know, through my social media. I’m never rude about it when I decline. And I don’t think it’s wrong that they’ve chosen to do it. Good for them choosing healthy alternatives and making some extra money doing it!

There are a few GREAT essential oil companies not just ONE. You get to choose, based on your own research, who you want to purchase from so don’t feel pressured to buy an oil from a company just because someone tells you it’s the BEST or because it’s pricey. Educate yourself.

There is a huge difference in being a personal consumer who advocates for essential oil usage and being a certified, licensed, educated professional. Take that into consideration with your research.

In closing, I want to say that I’m still learning as I go. You don’t need a certification to personally use essential oils although certification can certainly enhance your knowledge and usage. You can research and inform yourself with the wealth of information available for FREE today. Some great resources to start with:

If you’re going to advocate for the usage of oils in certain ways to a large audience and following, I would hope that you are certified and professionally educated for the purpose of safety and responsibility of other consumers. Just my personal views on the subject, feel free to disagree. I won’t be offended, ya’ll!

I hope you’ve found some useful information here and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

10 Ways To Reduce Your Waste And Save Money. (#3 Might Gross You Out)

If you talk to your grandparents (or great grandparents if they’re living) you would probably find that the practice of things like cloth diapers, composting and reusable grocery bags were a normal part of their everyday lives.

Everyone is talking about Zero Waste living right now like it’s some innovative concept but it’s not. I love intentionally choosing ways to cut down on waste. I think it’s important to be conscious of excess but I have to be honest in that I’ll never be a Zero Waster. I believe that waste is unavoidable.

The answer is more complex than this though because things like monetary status, economics, and personal beliefs are going to individually impact the way we all view a zero waste lifestyle. What I’m learning is to do what I can with what I have.

So on my journey to cut down on our waste as a family, I’ve found Low Waste Living to be a much more practical approach. It’s not so extreme as much as it’s a thoughtful and intentional approach to reducing waste.

Here are 10 ways we are currently working on low waste living, in our home:

  • Cloth Diapers. If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you know I cloth diaper about 90% of the time. The boys are in cloth diapers excluding nighttime and weekends. This has significantly reduced our garbage while saving us money! Something that really helps is that the city actually limits how much garbage each household can have. We’re allowed 2 large garage bags per family twice a month. We don’t have garbage pickup every week so that has really motivated us to use less disposable diapers. I don’t really enjoy having garbage bags full of stinky diapers sitting around for 2 weeks. Yuck! You can read more about my use of cloth diapers here.

  • Cloth Wipes. Along with cloth diapers, I try to use cloth wipes as much as possible for a few reasons. Our garbage is less when we use cloth wipes. I also find that they work 20x better than disposable wipes when it comes to cleaning baby bums. I use these baby wash cloths as cloth wipes. Check back here for an easy, non toxic baby bum wash that I’ll be sharing!

  • Family Cloth (reusable toilet paper). This is the most recent change we’ve made in our home. When I asked my husband if he wanted to switch to reusable toilet paper he surprised me by saying YES! Without going into great detail, I’ll just say that reusable toilet paper is 100x better at keeping things clean than disposable. Once we’ve spent a little more time using it, I’ll write a solid review! I’m no stranger to trying weird things.
  • Reusable Hygiene Products: I use cloth pads and a diva cup. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and can’t imagine going back! You can read more about that here.
  • No Plastic Shopping Bags: Using my own shopping bags (and produce bags) has become second nature. I just started taking my own containers to our local bulk bin store for things like honey, oats, pasta and more! It’s amazing how easy the switch can be with an adjusted mindset. My mother in law made me some reusable produce bags from repurposed sheer curtains, similar to these! I’m hoping to eventually sew my own snack bags, like these. If you’re handy with a sewing machine put your skills to use!

  • Unpaper Towels and Cloth Napkins. We now use microfibre cloths in place of paper towels. My initial reason for switching wasn’t actually motivated by wanting to reduce our waste. It was because I found these microfibre cloths to be much better at cleaning up messes. Since this pack comes with 3 different colours, it’s easy to assign a specific colour to a job. I use these for everything from wiping down household surfaces to wiping down babies faces. I also like these cloth napkins. I’m still figuring out to wash them and keep them nice but they get the job done, regardless.
  • Eating Leftovers, Smaller Portion Sizes and Composting. THIS is a tough one because it’s easy to justify throwing out moldy food. What I’m working on is cooking smaller portion sizes and having us eat leftovers a few times a week. When that isn’t possible, we compost. Invest in some reusable freezer storage bags to cut down on plastic bag waste.
  • Clothesline and rack drying: My husband strung up a simple clothesline for me between two trees in our backyard. I also have something similar to this drying rack.
  • Buying Second Hand: As much as possible we try to thrift items in our home. We also work on purging once a month and donating what we don’t use back to local second hand stores. Our garage is a work in progress. It’s easy to keep junk when you don’t see it! Check out my post here for tips on buying second hand clothing.
  • Refillable Water Cooler: So, I’m kinda weird about how my water tastes. A few years ago we asked for a water cool for Christmas from our family and it’s been one of my favourite gifts we’ve ever received. It’s similar to this one. About every week or so my husband goes to our local water refill station and for about $8 he fills 3 huge (reusable) jugs (I don’t know how big they are honestly) and brings them home. Our water from the refill station is free from nasty things like fluoride, so that’s a bonus too.

There are so many great ways to practically reduce your family’s waste output. These are just some of the things we are currently practicing. You can save money and simplify your things by implementing a low waste lifestyle. What are some ways you reduce your waste? I’d love to hear from you!

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7 Tips For A Tidy Home

The other day I caught my toddler walking around the house with a mouthful of chewed up cat kibble.

A few days after that, my cat decided to projectile vomit all over the dining room floor. When I was a little girl I didn’t imagine cleaning piles of cat puke and wrestling my toddler for kibble as my future. Nonetheless that is my life these days though not ALL the time.

I literally do not want to spend more than a half hour a day cleaning up. But I want a clean home. I also have two children under the age of two! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

I’m here to tell you it is and share a few simple tips that can help you streamline a daily cleaning routine.

  • Have LESS Things. The less stuff you own, the less you have to clean up! It’s really that simple. I recently replaced our dishes with this simple, clean set from Correlle. I have more space in my cupboards and less things to clean. Win win!
  • Have One Main Cleaning Task Each Day. I put together a weekly cleaning list and every day I have one “big” task that I try to complete. For example, Mondays I clean the bathroom, Thursdays I mop the floors etc. By doing this, I don’t feel the pressure to clean my entire house from top to bottom. I stick to one main task per day and the upkeep of that makes everyday cleaning easier.
  • Have ONGOING Daily Cleaning Tasks. Keep things simple like wiping down the kitchen and a quick sweep after meals so that grime doesn’t pile up. Decide how often you will pick up toys so that you don’t spend your entire day picking up toys. I tidy up toys and clutter about three times a day usually after mealtimes.
  • Simplify Your Cleaning Products. I love Norwex because their products make cleaning super simple and quick! They’re also non-toxic and good for the environment. I make a few of my own cleaning solutions which I share about here. We invested in a Dyson Animal stick vacuum. It’s perfect for a quick cleanup! I also love these microfibre cloths from Amazon. I use them for everything except the toilet. I don’t use any reusable cloths on the toilet, EVER. GROSS! I save paper towels for that and then compost the paper towels. If you have products that are messy and difficult to use, chances are you probably won’t use them. Make it easier on yourself and cut your cleaning time in half with products you actually want to use.
  • Live In A Smaller House. We just returned from a family vacation where we stayed in a massive 5 bedroom beach “cottage.” While it was beautiful and spacious the charm wore off pretty quickly. The bigger a house, the more you have to clean! You know how long it takes me to do a good clean of the house we rent? MAYBE an hour. We live in about 800/900 square feet on the main floor of a bungalow. Prior to that we lived in the basement of this bungalow which was about 600 square feet and even easier to clean! Seriously consider downsizing if it means less stress. It might also mean a smaller mortgage which is even better!
  • Involve Your Children In The Process. When my oldest was about a year old I started involving him in the clean up process. Now that he’s almost two he can put his toys away with supervision. If you have older children and you’re still cleaning up after them……why? Get those kids involved! 
  • Have A Solid Laundry Routine. Make a routine and stick to it. I know when and how a person does their laundry varies from person to person. But keep it simple. I personally don’t want to be doing laundry every day, all day. And I have cloth diapers to wash but I still only wash those twice week. Tip: if you build a capsule wardrobe you will have LESS clothing to wash! I use Nellie’s because one tin will get you through 100 loads. It’s also non toxic and environmentally friendly!

My home is NOT sparkling clean all the time. It’s moderately tidy and somewhat clean most of the time. I don’t want to spend all day cleaning because I can think of a billion other things I’d like to be doing. I hope my tips save you some time and a bit of your sanity.

Cheers and happy cleaning! If you have any tips and tricks, please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

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To The Mama Struggling With Second Child Guilt.

I’ll never forget Family Day 2018. I sat in my bathroom with a pregnancy test in hand watching those two lines form quickly. While I suspected I was pregnant prior to taking a test, there is still something about the finality of a confirmed positive pregnancy test.

That next weekend was my birthday. I spent the majority of the weekend crying and holding my 5 and 1/2 month old. I felt alone, overwhelmed and most of all-I felt incredibly guilty.

Sparing the details of how I became pregnant so quickly (because frankly no-one should ever be asking that question) after the birth of my first, you can gander a wild guess-it wasn’t expected. Unplanned? No. All babies are part of a beautiful plan. But unexpected? Yes.

Mom guilt.

We all have it. It varies in it’s forms. Mom guilt is as complex and as diverse as we are.

The heavy guilt that I carried for many months into my second pregnancy and that even now, I still struggle with is an unwanted companion. Initially, I was consumed by the guilt of not feeling excited about my unexpected pregnancy. While many struggle to conceive, here I am pregnant again. 5 and 1/2 months postpartum. I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of being sick again for months on end. I was just starting to sleep more at night, now that my son was sleep trained. I wasn’t overjoyed at the thought of my body changing all over again.

Hudson James

Another complex part of my guilt was that I was still struggling with extreme postpartum anxiety from the birth of my first child. Hadn’t my son been robbed of enough? He’d already experienced enough difficult days with my overwhelming emotions. Our bond was not immediate upon his arrival. While I loved my first son from the moment I saw him, our bond was not an immediate thing. As I faced the toll that pregnancy would take on my body and mind again, he too would inevitably be affected by my struggles. In many ways, I felt as if I had lost the chance to deepen my bond with my first child because our time together was cut short.

As I imagined, being pregnant while raising a still very young infant, was harder than anything I’d ever done. Medication helped control my sickness but nothing helped the overwhelming fatigue. Nothing changed that my son would go through developmental milestones I was too tired to appreciate. Nothing changed the sheer physical load I had to bear as I carried a very large child within my body AND on the outside of my body. It didn’t matter that I was heavily pregnant and still getting up with my son in the night when he had sleep disturbances.

The night before my oldest son’s first birthday, I snuck into his room long after he fell asleep, took him from his crib and held him, while I silently cried. I stroked his soft blonde hair and lightly kissed his chubby, full cheeks. I marvelled at his size. I couldn’t believe he was a year old, already. The guilt consumed me that night. I had gritted my teeth through the latter half of his infancy. Not because I resented him or the baby I was carrying. It was because I often resented myself for my lack of perspective.

As my second pregnancy neared the end, I never doubted that I was ready to meet who I thought was going to be our daughter. It was a mistaken guess by the ultrasound technician but we had another boy. Truth be told? I was relieved. If anything, I already knew what to expect in many ways with another boy.

Jack David.

My bond with Jack was immediate and surprising to me. While Hudson is strong, independent, emotionally assertive and rarely affectionate, his brother Jack is incredibly affectionate, easygoing and steady. I initially felt guilty that Jack was (and is) an easier child than his older brother. But I’ve come to reconcile that their differences do not make them better than the other. They are wholly different yet the same because they came from me and my husband. I celebrate how different they are.

The transition to having 2 babies who were fourteen months apart was life changing. Because of my postpartum anxiety, everything felt difficult. Going places by myself with the boys felt like an impossible task. The sheer thought of being alone in the evenings while my husband often worked late, was enough to cause a panic attack. The weeks following Jack’s birth were very busy. I tried diligently to hide from others that I was moments from a massive breakdown and only my husband saw the depth of that. I often felt like I was barely treading water. Our little family went through some of the most difficult months of our lives.

As you can imagine the guilt came back with overwhelming force. I would watch my oldest, now transitioning from baby to toddler. I felt guilt as I watched him become, just become-so much quicker. I knew I was missing moments as I felt overwhelmed with the care of another baby. When did he learn to say that? When did he start doing that? I would watch other families that have only one child, around the age of my oldest son. I would feel envy as they experienced every singular milestone in it’s joy.

I have also felt judgement.

I am the hurried mom. I am the distracted mom at the park as I try to manage an infant and toddler. I’m the frustrated and flustered mom. I’m the get to the point mom. I am the- I don’t have time to shoot the breeze while both my kids scream for their naps, mom. I’m the mom who turns on the TV all day sometimes. I’m the mom who sometimes yells. I am the swear like a sailor when I’m stressed out, mom. I’m the exhausted mom who forgets her loads of laundry for days in the dryer because why? Because I’m caring for two other little people whose needs often feel formidable.

But amidst all this guilt, I’ve asked myself a question. What is most important? I think about the wonderful things that my oldest son is already learning, so early in life. He is learning patience, compassion and consideration. He will never not know a time in his life when he was my only baby. And while that thought may bring me sadness at times- is it more important that my oldest son have the childhood that I think he deserves? What would that even look like?

I have this to say.

The companions of motherhood do not have to be guilt and comparison.

What do these terrible companions do but rob us of precious moments with our children? It’s inevitable that we will all feel some guilt in regards to our children at some point during their existence. But to be wholly consumed is another monster altogether. Heed my caution. Do not let it overtake you. It isn’t worth it.

While my observations are nothing miraculous or new, my journey is mine. I am learning to live in the now and embrace the mother that I am, imperfections and all. I do not relish the guilt. I do not desire the comparison. I am learning to surrender these things I carry to a very faithful, kind, merciful and patient God.

When I look at my sons, it heals another part of me. I often marvel at how God gave me the gifts of my sons and I gave my sons the gift of one another. I can’t imagine life without the both of them, here together. That truth can effectively silence the voice of all guilt.

What is your story? I’d love to hear from you.

The Truth About Reusable Hygiene Products.

If you would’ve told me 6 years ago that I’d be doing some of the things I do now, I would’ve raised an eyebrow at you.

And what I mean by that is how I’ve embraced this journey to living a life filled with less chemicals and opting for more natural alternatives. Sparing you the details of my reproductive history, I want to talk about some things I’ve been doing in the last couple of years that have a made a huge difference in my health.

But let’s start with the not so great news.

When it comes to disposable hygiene products like pads and tampons, did you know there are toxic chemicals in them?

Today, most cotton is genetically engineered (GE) and soaked in pesticides as it is not a consumable product. However, inserting a GE cotton tampon into your vagina several times each month may be worse than ingesting pesticides from GE food, considering the highly permeable nature of the vaginal wall. (Mercola)


The manufacturers of these products aren’t required by the FDA to disclose what is in their product. And while they want you to believe that the amount of chemicals in them is harmless, think about something for a moment. The skin in your lady parts is VERY thin and highly absorbent. ALSO I have a problem with the fact that the FDA isn’t requiring these companies to disclose the toxic ingredients they’re putting in their products? NOT COOL. Also not surprising.

Anyways.

Think about how many YEARS you use these products. The average women menstruates from the time she’s 14 until she’s 50. Many girls are getting their periods as early as 10 years old because of all the synthetic hormones in our food and water. That is a LONG TIME. It’s not hard to imagine that years and years of absorbing harmful chemicals can lead to serious health risks. I sometimes wonder how much those toxic chemicals have played a part in increasing the risk of things like cancer, PCOS, infertility and other reproductive health issues in women. Interesting thought.

I didn’t know any of this until a few years ago when I came across the silicone menstrual cup known as the Diva Cup. It’s exactly what it says it is. A silicone cup that you insert inside of you when you are menstruating. It can hold up to an ounce of liquid (don’t quote me on that) because there are different sizes (and brands) of cups. You can wear it for up to 12 hours but ideally would empty (and rinse it) every few hours.

The Pros:

  • No smell.
  • Can wear much longer (safely) than a tampon.
  • One time cost.
  • More regulated cycles
  • I experienced fewer and then NO cramps after a few cycles of using the cup.
  • Easy to clean once your cycle is over! You can boil your cup on the stove. Let air dry and store in it’s breathable, cloth bag for your next cycle. *Don’t do what I did and leave it out where a child or cat could get it. My cat chewed my first cup because he’s a little A-hole!

The Cons

  • Tricky to insert. It can take a few cycles to get used to inserting and removing the cup.
  • Messy. It CAN be (doesn’t have to be) messy to empty the cup if you aren’t at home. I’m generally home 99% of the time so I empty, rinse in the sink and re-insert. I avoid emptying my cup if I’m not home for sanitary reasons. I avoid public restrooms in general.
  • Can Leak. Leaks are possible if you aren’t wearing the correct size or it isn’t inserted properly.

After the birth of my first son when I had to wear those awesome mesh panties and giant sized pads because you know, afterbirth is just lovely-I discovered I was allergic to these things. All these years and I never knew thats what was going on. I developed a horrific infection and rash while still healing from blowing out a baby. I mean it was worse than labour and delivery, to be honest. I was miserable for at least a month if not longer.

I swore I would invest in cloth pads for after my next baby, when I found out I was pregnant again.

So let’s talk about Cloth Pads. They are exactly what you think they are. You wear them, store them after use and then wash them. Cloth pads can be overwhelming to navigate because there are so many different materials that people use to make them. You could even make your own cloth pads if you are handy with a sewing machine!

Pros:

  • One time cost.
  • Comfortable.
  • Chemical free
  • More regulated cycles
  • Less and then NO cramping after using these for a few cycles
  • Easy to wash! Throw in the wash ( I LOVE Nellie’s) NO fabric softener and then line dry or tumble in the dryer.

Cons:

  • Tricky to find the right style and fabric with the best absorption that feels comfortable for you.
  • A learning curve to store after use when on the go (you need a wet bag)
  • Expensive (deff an investment!)

It’s important to do your own research and figure out which reusable hygiene product works for you. There are so many different brands, materials and models available now. There are quizzes you can take online to determine fit for maximum protection and comfort.

And, again you could even make your own pads if you can sew!

I talked about experiencing less to no cramps and more regulated cycles when I started using a cup and cloth pads. You might have done a double take?

That isn’t an exaggeration. I used to get wicked PMS with accompanying cramps once my cycle started. I would often resort to OTC pain meds, a hot water bottle and lay on the couch because I was so miserable. But switching to reusable menstrual products has eliminated my cramps and almost all of the PMS I used to experience as well as helped regulate my cycles. You might wonder how that is possible?

I don’t have a super educated answer for you but I suspect it has to do with the fact that I’m no longer exposing my lady parts (inside and out) to toxic chemicals. I also noticed a huge difference in my cycles once I stopped using hormonal birth control, but we’ll save that topic for another day.

That is my spiel on reusable hygiene products. I personally have found the switch to be easy! That might be because I’ve embrace cloth diapers but I want to encourage you-don’t be afraid of reusable hygiene products. You can’t go wrong with something that is good for you AND our environment! IF you struggle with difficult, inconsistent, or painful cycles maybe think about it.

Do you use reusable hygiene products?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

How To Mom When You Get Sick. (Moms Don’t Take Sick Days)

Last month my husband came home from a long day of work (for him) and a long day of momming (for me) looking pretty pale.

My husband literally never falls ill. Or if he does, he’s over it within 24 hours. So when he started showing signs of illness and commenting on feeling crummy, my heart sank. For my husband to say he doesn’t feel well means that he’s pretty dang sick.

My heart sank for a few reasons, to which you can probably relate if you are a parent of young children.

  1. I didn’t want my boys catching whatever my husband had.
  2. I knew my husband’s illness would probably result in lack of sleep for the both of us because one of us ends up on an air mattress in the living room or in the playroom. Not the best sleep you’ll get.
  3. I could not get sick.

I mean, it’s a given that moms don’t take sick days right? I’m no wimp when it comes to being sick but I also don’t believe in toughing it out when things like vomiting, fevers, colds with green snot, flu, coughs, and such are present in a body. I think it’s actually pretty simple. If you are sick, stay home. I don’t know why that is such a difficult concept for people!

Nobody wants your sickness, Felicia. (Who is Felicia?)

I try take a more natural approach to illness with myself and my family. 75% of the time my natural, holistic remedies, supplements, herbal teas, essential oils and homeopathic thingies really do work! I have a few ways that I like to keep our immune systems bolstered during cold and flu season which you can read about here.

Lack of sleep is a huge factor in weakening my immune system. I have 2 babies and while they sleep pretty great considering, I’m still up through the night. My days also start about 5/6am. So, when this virus hit our home I knew we were all going down like Titanic.

BC (before children) I was able to take real sick days and rest until I wasn’t…..sick. Now when I get sick, I still have a 4 month old and 18 month old to take care of. Long gone are the glorious days of staying in bed, watching Netflix and sipping herbal tea. Now, when I’m sick, I’m also taking care of two helpless monkeys while feeling like a toilet bowl the whole time.

Sometimes our family is able to help (so grateful!) and my husband has stayed home if I really need him to. But our situation is such that if my husband stays home, he does it without pay. So, I have to be in pretty bad shape for him to stay home with us.

So what does a sick mom do when she still has to mom? WELL we’re going on over a month of illness here so I feel like I might have some tips for you.

Here are 5 things to help you mom, while sick (with sick kids) and not die in the process.

  • Order food, let family bring you meals, and keep food simple. We did a lot of this the past month. We don’t eat out often but Skip The Dishes became our BFF during illness. Our family also brought meals to us which was heavenly. If I didn’t do either of those things it was usually soup and sandwiches or breakfast for dinner. It’s about survival!
  • Lay on the floor. Ok what? I have an 18 month old with endless amounts of energy, even when he’s sick. The poor kid had croup and was still climbing my curtains during the day. When I felt the worst, I dragged out some of his toys to the living room, laid on the floor (on a pillow) and let him climb all over me. This way, I was somewhat conserving my energy. If you can, nap when your kids nap. This wasn’t possible for me because my boys seemed to end up on opposite nap schedules but I did lay on the couch when my 4 month old was awake and my toddler napped.
  • Turn on the TV. I think 99% of parents can agree that TV is a blessing in times like these. I don’t feel guilty for using the TV somewhat excessively when we’re all sick. It helps my toddler chill for a bit and rest his body as well as give me a break. If TV isn’t something you use in your home, that’s cool. Find something that your kids love but don’t get to do often and maybe let them do it so you can have some time to sit and rest.
  • Take Turns. If you can work it out with your partner or spouse, take turns at night getting up with the kids. My husband has always been a part of nighttime care with our boys just as much as me. Part of that is because my boys took bottles very early on so that worked out for us. If you can work it out taking turns, then both of you can get a chance to rest. Sleep is probably the most important factor in recovering quickly from illness. Have a plan on how you can accomplish getting some rest/recovery quickly.
  • Let go of the mess. I wouldn’t call myself a neat freak but I like my home and house clean as well as fairly organized. But this past month my house turned into a dump. Laundry and dishes piled up. Toys were literally everywhere and my floors were one giant, sticky, mess. Since we all had colds, I couldn’t tell you if it smelled like a big diaper and I don’t even care to be honest. Yes, it drove me nuts to see my house a complete mess but my husband and I were basically sleep deprived, tortured prisoners of war. It will be clean again one day. Don’t sweat it.

So, there you have it. If you are reading this and thinking, “Wow this is a no brainer.” Cool. I’m a practical person and I write practical blog posts. When we were all sick this past month, I actually googled “How to survive being sick when you have small children.” SO hopefully someone finds this helpful.

I wish you the best in health and parenthood!

How do you cope as a parent when you are sick? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

4 Homemade Baby Formula Options

From unmedicated childbirth to cloth diapering, I’ve often been met with skepticism with some of the more labour (literally) intense approaches I’ve taken in motherhood. I see much of what I do as a labour of love for these sweet babies God has given me. I’m sure you feel the same way about how you parent!

Homemade Formula!

My journey with feeding my babies has been a long one that I’m still currently on. You can read more in depth about that here and here. This journey has brought me to making my own formula for my youngest son, Jack. He’s currently 4.5 months old. I had Jack on Costco’s baby formula. He was doing ok on it but started having some skin and digestion issues. My oldest was raised on Costco formula and he has no allergies or issues. He thrived on it! So, I’m not here to debate the ingredients or nutrition in store-bought baby formula. I’ll talk about some nutrition related facts today but not to discredit or demean the way anyone feeds their babies. It’s just part of the topic.

I have no doubt that there are some less than desirable ingredients in store bought baby formula but it’s what helped us thrive as a family for a long time. I wasn’t mentally (or emotionally) in a good place to be making my own formula, after Hudson was born. At this time in my life, I feel like I’m able to do this and I genuinely LOVE making this for my sweet baby, Jack. It’s a labour of love like many of the things I do for my babies.

I have 4 homemade baby formula options for you, if this is something you are interested in.

If you aren’t familiar with the Weston A. Price foundation, I highly recommend checking them out! They are a knowledgeable foundation with solid information and resources when it comes to nutrition, among many other topics. They offer three different variations of homemade baby formula. My sister has made their raw milk formula for 3 out of 4 of her babies. They all thrived on it! Unfortunately raw milk is illegal here in Canada, so this wasn’t an option for me. They also have a raw goat milk version of this formula. Also not quite an option for me, being in Canada. A 3rd option that WAPF offers is a liver based version. I loved the nutritional value of all these options but I felt a bit overwhelmed by ingredients and steps needed to make the formula.

One night, I stumbled across a goat milk based formula that was similar to the WAPF version but made much more simple. I cried tears of relief as I had been calculating what it would cost to put Jack on a dairy free or sensitive type formula. I was also able to easily obtain the ingredients needed for this formula.

Not only is this homemade formula cost effective, it’s SO EASY to make! It was tweaked by mama and Holistic Nutritionist, Rama Pfeiffer, along with the knowledge and expertise of Joe Stout M. S. of Mt. Capra products.

Rama talks about the difference of proteins in cow’s milk and goat’s milk and why goat’s milk protein is more easily digested. Nutritionally, goat’s milk is much higher in fat and quiet close to human breast milk, which is why many parents choose whole goat’s milk after they wean their baby. I personally do not use the powdered goat’s milk and I don’t have access to raw goat’s milk. I buy whole, pasteurized goat’s milk from my local grocery store and I dilute this by 50%, as per the recipe. I then add the remaining ingredients. I only make up to 2 days worth because I find that the formula can start to go sour if left for more than few days.

I will update this post with pictures of how I make the formula, once it’s time for me to whip up a fresh batch.

I eased Jack onto this formula by combining it with what he was currently on. 1 oz the first day, 2 oz the next, and then eventually a full 4 to 6 oz. The recipe calls for un-sulphured black strap molasses which is helpful in relieving constipation. You an add more if baby gets backed up OR less if baby is having super runny bm’s.

I’m thrilled to report that Jack is thriving on this formula. His skin issues cleared up within a few weeks and his digestive issues have eased up as well! He’s weighing close to 17 pounds. Not that weight is the only indication of health in a baby but I thought I would share his weight! I hope this post is helpful for someone out there, who is looking at different options for feeding their baby. You are doing fantastic, mama!

Feel free to ask me any questions about this formula and my experience using it. Have you ever made homemade baby formula? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. Please talk to your child’s doctor before changing what you are feeding them.

A Doula’s Perspective

As a mother of two, a self-titled birth nerd, and a soon-to-be doula, I can promise you that there are so many things your OB won’t tell you. Why? Well…their job is strictly to bring the baby safely to this side of the womb. It isn’t in their job description or in their model of care to educate, offer ALL the options, or to empower you in the birth space. If you’ve had an OB who did these things for you, I’m so glad! I hope you recognize that they aren’t the norm. 

They won’t tell you these things because…it isn’t relevant to the job they need to do. It really is left to us, the mothers, to be informed and to educate ourselves. My hope is that this list encourages soon-to-be mothers and mothers expecting their second (or beyond) to recognize their freedom of choice in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. (My word is NOT medical advice. Please do your own research!)

  •  You are allowed to deny ANY procedure throughout pregnancy and labor. This includes vaginal exams, ultrasounds, tests, IV fluids, pitocin, etc. There are valid reasons that women refuse these procedures and it is worth researching each one to see how you feel about it. 
  • You can look online or ask your doctor’s office for the statistics of their care. How many of their patients are induced or get an epidural? How many require an episiotomy or forceps? How many end up needing an emergency Cesarean? These things matter, because this information may show you that the risk in choosing this doctor to deliver won’t be in the best favour of the birth you want. 
  • Your due date can be off as much as two weeks before or after. First time mothers generally will go past their due date. There is no reason to rush baby’s arrival simply because their due date has passed! Most doctors will postpone any methods of induction until 42 weeks. If your doctor suggests induction for this reason, it is perfectly ok to deny it. This is also where concerns about size of the baby come into play. The first issue here is that ultrasounds and other methods to guess baby’s size are only that…a guess. They can be off as much as two pounds. Another issue is that the majority of women’s pelvises are well equipped to open wide enough for even a large baby, especially when given freedom of movement and not required to deliver horizontally (more on that in a second!)
  • You should labor at home as long as possible even if you are set on getting an epidural. Once you get the epidural, chances are you will be confined to the bed, which can slow down labor. Being up and moving throughout even just the beginning of labor works WITH your body and your baby to keep labor going at a steady pace. 
  • The pain of contractions isn’t necessarily a BAD pain…they are the necessary pain that brings your baby into the world. Instead of running away from the pain, embracing the pain can help you endure if you want an unmedicated birth. Before giving birth, take time to rethink what birth pain is and the purpose it has. 
  • You don’t have to push on your back! In fact, this position is working against gravity because of the angle of the birth canal. Being upright, squatted, or on all fours is much more agreeable with gravity. These positions also lessen the chance of tearing. It is even possible with a low dose of the epidural to deliver in an upright position! This is definitely something you want to talk to your doctor about BEFORE its time to give birth. 
  •  Your body is capable of telling you what it needs to give birth. May it be a change of positions, a dark, quiet atmosphere, less pressure of time, etc. These things can impact our body’s ability to give birth. When we are uncomfortable, feeling pressured, feeling at odds with someone in the room, our bodies will instinctually slow labor. Listening to these things can only help labor progress in a healthy manner. 
  • They give you very little breastfeeding information, if any at all. If you feel strongly about breastfeeding, you NEED to research it yourself BEFORE you give birth!

Here are some great breastfeeding resources!

Lactation Link

Maternal Instincts by Amberly  

Kellymom

  • You will have VERY little support from any professionals postpartum. Taking care of a newborn is already hard…combine that with healing from a labor that left you feeling like a car crash victim. The majority of the attention will be on baby now, and that leaves some mothers suffering, either with physical issues or mental health issues. The biggest advice I can give is surround yourself with a support system that will recognize your needs…which are sleep, physical rest, nourishing foods, hydration, spiritual support, and time and space to bond with baby. 

The LAST thing I want to leave you with: consider hiring a doula for birth, postpartum, or BOTH! If you want an empowered birth, if you want a restful and joyful postpartum, if you want to start parenthood on the best foot you can, a doula will be a priceless service. Look beyond the price for what a doula can offer you: unbiased support, emotional coaching, a library of knowledge, help to get you the birth you want, and if you DON’T get the birth you wanted, a support through the change of plans. Chances are you wouldn’t be able to imagine doing it without her! 

Ultimately, the goal is for you to have a birth and postpartum experience that is enjoyable, empowering, and one you will look back on fondly (yes, its possible!). The bottom line is that this will look different and be unique to each woman, it won’t even look like the descriptions above, and a lot of the time it won’t go the way we planned. That is also what makes birth special: it is as unique as the individual giving birth! Treating it as such is the best way for every mother and baby. 

About The Author

Mary Moran is an emerging doula, a wife, and a mother of two babes. She lives and works in Eastern Idaho where the summers are lovely but the winter is wayyy too long! Her passion is for women to be informed, empowered, and transformed through their journey in motherhood. More of her work can be found on Instagram @marymorandoula and on Facebook at Mary Moran Doula & Educator