Saturday, September 9, 2017

5 must-haves for postpartum recovery

5 must-haves for postpartum recovery

After having two boys, two weeks ago yesterday I got my baby girl. Life has been a whirlwind of tutus and bows already because this mom was more than ready for pink! But, now having had three, I have found some particular things that have helped me to get through those first couple weeks of recovery, and I wanted to share... even if it just means I won't forget to have them on hand next time. :)

1. Jersey baby carrier

Usually referred to by their brand name, Moby, these soft jersey baby carrier wraps are a lifesaver when it comes to toting a baby around. There's many different positions you can use, and there's no fussing about sizing. 

Whereas she now loves to be carried in one, I've kept myself on bed rest these first two weeks to allow us time to recover and get used to the little routines of baby life. The reason I have this wrap on my list is because I have used it (this time and last) for postpartum belly-binding, a technique used in India to help moms' abs heal and recover good posture. My mommy belly has gone down much faster using it and my diastasis recti was gone by 6 weeks with my son. My version of the technique is slightly different, just because the fabric is thicker than what is traditionally used. I hope to do an article soon on how I use it. 

The extra perk to Moby-type wraps is the they can also be used for prenatal belly support. Video on that here:

(PS) I did not buy a Moby brand wrap. I made my own using a no-sew tutorial that I can't seem to find right now. All I did was get 7 yds of 80/20 polyester-cotton fabric from Joann's, cut it in thirds all the way down so I had 3 7-yd long strips. That's it! 3 "Moby wraps" for about $7 each. I gave one with my sister and have a backup.

 2. Always Ultra Thin Overnight Maxi Pads with wings

I don't why, but I always seem to forget about these. I remember the giant bulky pads you need for the first couple days. You know, the ones that would work in a pinch if you chopped off your arm? I forget about how you end up needing coverage for weeks after and don't want to go out and about looking like you stuffed a burrito in your pants. 

I realized this on about day 4 and ran into the dilemma that I have yet to send my husband to the store for pads. I mean, let's be honest, the pads I had coming into our marriage were more than sufficient for the two periods I've had since getting married. I have three under three... not a lot of time for Aunt Flo to come for a visit. I was trying to figure out what to do because, despite how wonderful he is, my husband would be totally overwhelmed walking into THAT section of the store. 

Then my sister called and asked if she could come up to visit in a couple days. "YES!! And... can you get me pads?" Sister to the rescue, and she got me the best thing out there. I love these!! No worrying if your baby has refused to give up the boob for 2 hrs without waking up and screaming, therefore rendering a bathroom break impossible. You are covered. And you're not sitting on an awkwardly placed totally uncomfortable wad of faux cotton. 

3. Microfiber Cloth Diaper Inserts

Ok, so this is totally a matter of I found this helpful because it is what I had on hand... not because it's the ideal product for this... 

No matter how wonderful the commercial pads are, at least for me, long-term use always brings irritation with it. Even after just 5 days of a period, I am pretty desperate to be done. Postpartum... not fun. About a week in, I needed another alternative and this is what I had. And, honestly, they worked great. Again, I was in bed, so I wasn't moving around or worrying about how they looked under my pants.

Next time, I plan on getting cloth pads, preferably some charcoal ones like these:  

This baby is my second born at home with a midwife (my second decided to come 6 weeks early, so he was born in the hospital). I didn't know about arnica with my oldest, but my midwife gave this to me this time and it was a lifesaver! Due to how she was positioned, my baby ended up pushing into my hips rather than where she was supposed to go for about 4 hrs of transition-level contractions before we convinced her to turn. Consequently, my hips have been incredibly sore. If I am not laying in such a way to take as much weight off them as possible, I find myself subconsciously holding my weight up in my arms, which makes my shoulders and upper back sore. 

My only relief has been this homeopathic ointment made from arnica, aka leopard's bane. I had never heard of it before, but it helps with muscle soreness, bruising, and swelling from injuries. It's totally safe, so I can use whatever is left after this is all over for bruising on my toddler's head (he's still figuring out the walking thing) and my husband's sore muscles after work.  

My midwife also gave it to me to take internally in the form of tablets that you melt under your tongue. This has really helped with postpartum cramping (which is much worse than it was with either of my boys) and any other pain. It acts like a tylenol by taking the edge off and making it easier to cope. Since I am nursing, I try to do what I can to avoid medication, so this is a great place to start before resorting to ibuprofen. There's also a smaller wait period between doses, which is a blessing. Note: you take 4 of these super tiny tablets each time, so the 250-ct bottle is smaller than you would think. 

My midwive recommended these to me for acid reflux, which I had super super bad with this baby. Of course, once she was born we knew why! She has the cutest little head of full dark hair. It sounded like a great alternative to the baking soda water I had been using and decided to try it out.

OMGoodness!! Literally two seconds after taking 2-3 of these, the acid reflux was gone! They taste and act comparably to Tums, but are 100% natural. And there's no limit to these puppies. I needed that aspect because I would get acid reflux when waking up in the morning, when drinking water, when I was hungry, when I had just ate... ugh. It was bad. I ate them so much my toddler called them "Mommy candy." LOL 

But no one told me the reflux would last through postpartum... plus nausea. Thankfully, this bottle is huge, so I had a solution. And now even my husband pops a few when his tummy is upset (which is frequently.) If you ever use Tums for anything, check these out! 

And there you have it! My top 5 products for postpartum recovery. Stay tuned for my next article on my top 5 services for new baby parents. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

"The One Thing Your Children Need To Know"

In today's day and age, everybody and their great-aunts have an opinion on how you should raise your children. And, unfortunately, many of those opinions are public and personal. The unsolicited advice is overwhelming and scary. Are you failing your kids?
When it all boils down, there is only one thing your children need to know. Don't get me wrong, math and social skills are super important. But this one thing will effect the way they see themselves, the way they see the world... every aspect of their lives. What is this fundamental thing?
The love of God.
The wonderful, truly unconditional love of the all-powerful and all-compassionate God towards every single person who has ever lived.
God describes Himself as love. God Himself being love is why He made us, why He saved us, and why all our attempts to prove ourselves are nothing to Him. He loves us perfectly already. Yes, one can get into all the different nuances of His love, such as grace and forgiveness and sovereignty, but He Himself brings it all back to love.
And when that love takes a hold on our hearts, it changes us in a way we could never dream possible. God says that the love we have for Him comes from realizing the love He has for us, and that all of Scripture boils down to this: God loves us so unconditionally and so sacrificially that when that love grabs hold of us, it has the power to change us. It has the power to cause to to walk, talk, and see the world as He does.
God is Himself love. He created love, and He loves perfectly without condition and without failing. His love overtakes our being and makes something new and something beautiful. A person who is walking in the love of God is walking in the light and shines in the darkness as a beacon to all who are wandering.
This is love.
This is life.
And this is life to the fullest.

Why I put receipts in the freezer

             As a busy mom of two little boys... the internet ruined my life. Suddenly my only source of luxury (aka coffee) would give me osteoporosis, mt dew would give me diabetes, diet dew would induce Alzheimer's, juice would make me gain weight too quickly, tea would make me lose too quickly, too much water could kill me, and too little could kill my unborn baby. Using the cry it out method was abuse, but so was being a hover mom. Every single cleaner I owned would give me cancer, but the alternatives not only would deprive us of money for food but were potentially fatal to my kids. Posting pictures of my kids made them targets for pedophiles, but refraining from doing so made them hard to identify in an emergency. Every and any thing I could do to be a "good mom", someone else told me was horrible. No matter how hard I tried, there was always a finger pointing at me (or at least, my product choices).
Then, I realized that the #1 most important thing isn't to raise my kids GMO and gluten-free, but to raise them in the love of Jesus. Not that these things are mutually exclusive, but we as moms need grace....lots and lots of grace...and Jesus has it. And how in the world will we ever teach our children they are wonderfully loved just as they are if we don't believe it ourselves?
So, today, despite having to take two little boys to the grocery store by myself at 20 weeks pregnant, having both of them crying as though starving all throughout the store despite the evidence of cheap bad-for-you crackers all over their dirty faces, going over-budget, and opening the back door of the van to a giant heap of vacation luggage; despite overeating, over working, and underhydrating...I never once felt the need to justify myself, cry,or yell,because peace comes from a heart at rest in God and patience from the love overflowing over us more abundantly than the cups of coffee I have downed today. Even when I search the house frantically for the receipt, only to find it next to the tub of ice cream I reached for in a moment of chaos, I can smile and know God loves me just the way I am.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Biblical Feminity: Part 1: Motherhood (or the lack thereof)

"What does it mean to be a woman?"
"What does the Bible say about being a woman?"
"What is my purpose as a woman?"
"Can there be different purposes for different women?"
"What about feminism?"
"Can a woman be single in God's Kingdom?"

These questions and more have been running through my head for awhile, and I invite you to follow a long with me as I search Scripture and the Christian worldview for answers...

It is hard, looking back, to differentiate what I came to be believe as true as being determined by the honest and pure desires I had, the training I grew up in, or the environment I grew up in. As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. A mom of 7 kids, to be exact. That may seem like a lot to you, but as one of 16, it seemed like a fair and moderate number to choose.

Why did I want to be a mom? Well...

...first and foremost, I think, it was because that was a desire God placed on my heart, and (I believe) most women's hearts. What exactly that means differs greatly, but I think that desire is a gift... not a necessity. Not all women innately desire to have children and... well... the only definitive statements I can find on the topic is that whereas mankind in general is commanded, "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28) and most women will probably be mothers, Jesus Himself talks about people who choose to remain single in order to further God's work in Matthew 19, and Paul says, "Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Cor 7:6-9) Notice that there is no gender stipulation here, in fact, Paul specifically addresses widows and puts no exception on "unmarried". So, whereas I 100% believe my desire to be a wife and mother was a gift, I DON'T believe it is a requirement of all women. 

...The second reason I wanted to be a mom was that no other option was ever presented to me or even discussed. My immediate environment consisted of parents that raised me to be a homeschooling mother of a large family. My schooling was always presented as necessary for survival in today's world, and to pass on the the next generation. Independent thought was given abundant lip service, but factually discouraged. In reality, we were only ever encouraged to freely think... the exact same things our parents thought. Independent lifestyles were never even discussed. My larger circle of influence consisted of women getting married as early as 18 and never later than 25 and going on to have lots of babies and raise them as stay-at-home-homeschooling moms. College was never quite forbidden, but greatly discouraged and presented as a waste to most, especially women who would go on to be nothing but mothers for the rest of their lives. 
...The last reason, I believe, I chose to be a mother is because I felt shamed into it. If I desired anything out of life besides cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling all day... I was being selfish and denying my role as a woman. I am sure some of this was over-exaggerated on my part internally, but would have made perfect sense at the same time. This... this right here... is complete and utter crazy conservative "Christian" bunk! Anyone who takes the wack-a-doodle fundamentalist glass off for five seconds and actually reads the Bible's calling to women could see that. 
First off, as I mentioned earlier, not all women are called to be mothers. Most, probably. All, most certainly not. And to raise them presuming that that is what they will be doing with the rest of their lives will cause those called to the glorious life of singleness to feel like complete and utter failures. There is more, so much more, to being a Biblical woman than being a mother. Yes, it is an awesome calling and is too often shamed into today's world, but it is not your identity. That is so much bigger.

Secondly, let's take a look at the epitome of womanhood, the prime example, the purely ideal woman who demonstrates the full spectrum of God's desire for women but is in no way prescriptive, aka: The Proverbs 31 woman. Verses 10-15 are what you remember and expect, but verse 16! "She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard." WHAT?! She is a shrewd business-woman? She owns property outside of the home? Vs 18 confirms this: "She perceives that her merchandise is profitable". Yes, she is. She runs a business. She does something outside of the home. Apparently, being a SAHM is not all there is for womenkind. Can it be a great and glorious place for those God calls to it? Of course! SAHM-ing is nothing to shake a finger at. It is hard, long, self-sacrificing labor all on it's own, and there are many many women who, in God's grace, find their calling there. Please understand I am NOT here to look down on them at all.
My point is that there is more to life for womenkind than this. In fact, nowhere in Scripture do you find a mandate for SAHMs. Yes, the woman is to be the keeper of the home and the nurturer of the children (if children are present). We'll get into that more later. But not once do you find God saying that for women to work is against His plan. Proverbs 31 is not the only example of this. Lydia sold dyes, Dorcas was a dressmaker, Priscilla was a tentmaker, etc. Where profession is implicated, especially in the New Testament, women worked more often than not. 

To all the women out there who feel guilty just because you're working, remember grace, remember love, and know that God does not condemn women working. Yes, you need to be submitting to your husband. Yes, the care of the house is primarily your responsibility. Yes, your children need you to continue to lavish your love upon them and nurture them. But none of that excludes you finding a calling elsewhere.
Does this change the way I live my life personally? Practically, no. I am a Work-at-home-mom and working outside the home, especially when my kids are small, is not how I see God calling me right now. But, spiritually? Emotionally? YES! I can live at peace with my home-run business. I can live in the freedom of this being my calling, not as a forced arrangement with no alternative. I can freely encourage women, including my someday-hopefully-daughters, in their joys and passions even if they don't revolve around children.
And I can continue down this path with a new sense of the vastness of God's Plan

Thursday, February 16, 2017

ANTIOCH WASP EXCLUSIVE!!! Woman Magically Imparts Personhood On Her Kidney-Stones

Woman Magically Imparts Personhood On Her Kidney Stones

ST. PETERSBURG, FA.- According to sources close to the local woman Angela Karter, the pro-choice supporter magically transferred personhood to her kidney stones yesterday afternoon. 

Karter claims that upon realizing the magical powers of her vagina, she decided to perform a simple experiment.  After swabbing some of her vagina juice, she applied them to her pile of wasted body parts and they immediately turned into people!! 

"I figured if my vagina can turn a clump of cells into a person, it might work on my kidney stones!" she told reporters. "Good thing, too! I was just about to throw them away..."

Protesters are lining the streets demanding that the kidney stones possessed life before their unprecedented baptism, much to the chagrin of Karter and her new babies. "The only way a clump of cells can have life before passing through the enchanted vaginal fluid is if the woman decides it does, which I certainly didn't." she scientifically reminds them.  "I didn't want babies then." 

Upon asking Dr. Brian Hampton M.D., her assertion was confirmed. "Prior to passing through the vaginal fluids, a clump of cells remains exactly that: a clump of cells. If the mother decides she wants to keep said clump of cells, however, it supernaturally turns into a person and we will do our utmost to ensure it's safe passage into this world." 

Witnesses confirm that Dr. Hampton while assists women in the removal of kidney stones on a regular basis, he simultaneously goes to great lengths to save those chosen for life, even going as far as performing emergency surgery on those who would otherwise been deemed insentient. 

Karter and her babies are faring well. Her only regret is that "...the decision is irreversible. I can randomly decide whether or not a clump of cells is alive, but once it has been anointed with vaginal fluids, it forever remains a person."  


Women's Rights for All!!!!

Ladies, we need to talk women's rights. 

We need to be willing to take the time to look past the propaganda and see the facts, the real exploitation, the real oppression, the real hard truth of the rampant misogyny in this world. Why? Because it is bad. Really bad. And we need to be aware of the facts if we're going to know which fights are worth fighting and which are a waste of time.

I have never been one to beat around the bush, so let's cut the crap. We care about jobs, we care about sexual abuse, we care about a lot of things. But when we talk women's rights... first and foremost, we're talking about reproductive rights. I mean, really? Who wants to spend 9 months of their life in slavery to a clump of cells with no life, no rights, and no feeling only to have to go through the agony of bringing it into the world where... suddenly.. it is a life we are responsible for simply because we decided to have a little harmless fun? 

Let's talk about abortion and how it benefits us. How it frees us. How it breaks the chains of a patriarchal society that is determined to keep us in our place.

I like visuals... so let's use this one of 100 sexy lips (I would have used pink women symbols, but pink is so ridiculously sexist... so I'm going to use these sex-laden symbols as a way of visually demonstrating our freedom from objectification), each symbolizing a woman getting an abortion according to statistics:

100 women walk into Planned Parenthood to get an abortion (busy clinic!!). 55 are white (highlighted in pink), 35 are black (highlighted in black), 7 are other races (blue), and 3 refrain from saying (white). (1) 

Now, compare these numbers to American demographics. 72.4% white, 12.6 % black, 15% other. WAIT!! There is a huge discrepancy there between the two! Take 2 seconds to check, and you'll see a waaay higher percentage of black people are getting abortions than white people. Of course, this because white people are much more likely to be wealthy enough to afford a baby, therefore making abortion a boom to the black community. This way they can abort their fetuses and move on with their lives with a greater chance of success. It benefits the black community in NYC to have more abortions than live births (2). Indeed, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was right when she said concerning blacks: "There is only one cure... and that is to stoop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence. Stop bringing into the world children whose parents cannot provide for them."(3) Planned Parenthood is doing the black community a great favor by targeting them (4), by accepting funds directed towards black abortions only (5), and by making 40% of their money exclusively off black abortions (6). Racial targeting is HORRIBLE... unless we agree that it is for their benefit. I mean, overpopulation is such a problem it would be great if we could some donors to target all people groups! They tell you that the entire world population can fit in the state of Texas, that the world produces enough carbs alone to give each person 3,500 calories (1500 more than recommended by the FDA) daily, and that some countries are only using 10% of their farmable land while the rest is left to waste, but don't listen to them. (7) They're just ignorant. 

Back to our group of ladies. Out of the 100 women sitting in the waiting room, 64 want to keep their baby but feel forced by society, circumstances, or their loved ones. (8) 

Good thing, too. Everyone knows that moms who want to keep their babies are just deluded. Babies ruin your body, and therefore your life. Without that sexy bod, you know that the patriarchal workforce won't accept you in. You're better off flaunting your curves and working your feminine power over them then having that baby you desired so much. Babies take away 9 months of your life!!! 9 whole months!! I mean, I could go through 4 live-in boyfriends in that time!! It's not worth giving up 9 months of your life for some fetus. My sister wanted to keep her clump of cells, so we all called it a baby and celebrated it with her, that's what you do. But, to force a woman to make the most difficult and heart-breaking decision of her life against her will totally isn't violating her rights. She just doesn't know better. 

Of those 100 women, 10 will experience immediate complications (black), one-fifth of those being life-threatening (gray) (10).

All of those 100 women are 62% more likely to commit suicide (11), almost twice as likely to contact Breast Cancer (12), over twice as likely to contract Cervical, Ovarian, and Liver Cancer (13), 200% more likely to miscarry in the future (14), are 200-1700% more likely to suffer placenta previa in future pregnancy, 80% more likely to visit their doctors for other physical problems, and 180% more likely to develop psychological problems (15). Besides all that, everyone knows that abortions are totally safe and a great alternative to potentially deadly natural process known as childbirth... even though abortion is the 5th highest cause of maternal deaths. (16)... Moving on! 

So, as you can see, abortion is a super safe way to stop yourself from having to sacrifice your body for 9 months for something that only idiots argue is life... even though it has all the organs (including uterus and ovaries) of an adult at 10 weeks. With abortion,  women are set free from being forced into a life they don't want and racial discrimination is brought to it's knees. It would be ridiculous to fight against it. 

3. "What Every Boy and Girl Should Know" by Margaret Sanger
10.Frank,, "Induced Abortion Operations and Their Early Sequelae", Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners (April 1985),35(73):175-180; Grimes and Cates, "Abortion: Methods and Complications", Human Reproduction, 2nd ed., 796-813; M.A. Freedman, "Comparison of complication rates in first trimester abortions performed by physician assistants and physicians," Am. J. Public Health, 76(5):550- 554 (1986).
12. H.L. Howe, et al., "Early Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk Among Women Under Age 40," International Journal of Epidemiology 18(2):300-304 (1989); L.I. Remennick, "Induced Abortion as A Cancer Risk Factor: A Review of Epidemiological Evidence," Journal of Epidemiological Community Health, (1990); M.C. Pike, "Oral Contraceptive Use and Early Abortion as Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Young Women," British Journal of Cancer 43:72 (1981).
13.  M-G, Le, et al., "Oral Contraceptive Use and Breast or Cervical Cancer: Preliminary Results of a French Case- Control Study, Hormones and Sexual Factors in Human Cancer Etiology, ed. JP Wolff, et al., Excerpta Medica: New York (1984) pp.139-147; F. Parazzini, et al., "Reproductive Factors and the Risk of Invasive and Intraepithelial Cervical Neoplasia," British Journal of Cancer, 59:805-809 (1989); H.L. Stewart, et al., "Epidemiology of Cancers of the Uterine Cervix and Corpus, Breast and Ovary in Israel and New York City," Journal of the National Cancer Institute 37(1):1-96; I. Fujimoto, et al., "Epidemiologic Study of Carcinoma in Situ of the Cervix," Journal of Reproductive Medicine 30(7):535 (July 1985); N. Weiss, "Events of Reproductive Life and the Incidence of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer," Am. J. of Epidemiology, 117(2):128-139 (1983); V. Beral, et al., "Does Pregnancy Protect Against Ovarian Cancer," The Lancet, May 20, 1978, pp. 1083-1087; C. LaVecchia, et al., "Reproductive Factors and the Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Women," International Journal of Cancer, 52:351, 1992.
14. Barrett, et al., "Induced Abortion: A Risk Factor for Placenta Previa", American Journal of Ob&Gyn. 141:7 (1981).
15. Ney,, "The Effects of Pregnancy Loss on Women's Health," Soc. Sci. Med. 48(9):1193-1200, 1994; Badgley, Caron, & Powell, Report of the Committee on the Abortion Law, Supply and Services, Ottawa, 1997: 319-321.
16. Kaunitz, "Causes of Maternal Mortality in the United States," Obstetrics and Gynecology, 65(5) May 1985.