10 Ways to Practice Self-Love

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“Love yourself more,” we’re told. But what does that mean? I know the whole self-love thing is being talked about all over the place right now, but most people still have no clue what that even means! It really means something different for each person, because we all have many different ways to show that we love ourselves. However, self-love is not about being in love with yourself, but rather, loving your true self more – listening to what your body is telling you it needs. Sometimes, though, that can be tricky…so I’ve compiled 10 easy things you can do to help you get started.

Pick a couple of them to do today, and do another two or three over the coming weeks. You will thank yourself.

 

1. Give yourself the gift of time. Do not feel guilty for spending time thinking about and reflecting on yourself and your own life. It is important to give yourself the time and permission for self-love. Learning to get comfortable with who you are is one of the most crucial parts of self-love!

Spend some time alone. At first, spending this time by yourself can feel uncomfortable and awkward. You might think that people are looking at you, judging you, and saying to one another, “Look at that loser all by herself!” The opposite is true. Most people who see you are actually wishing they had the guts — and the personal freedom! — to do exactly what you’re doing!

The feeling of discomfort will go away. Even better, as you do this more often, you will realize how essential this time is for building up your own sense of self. Also, you will likely find that by doing so, you are more able to spend quality time helping others.

 

2. Pay yourself an amazing compliment & make it meaningful. Find some positive thoughts that help you feel better, and repeat them daily. It’s okay if it takes you a little time to come up with the perfect thing. Maybe you could choose to compliment yourself about something you’re having trouble with recently…

A good positive affirmation to promote self-love is: “I am a whole, worthy individual, and I respect, trust, and love myself.”

When you come up with your compliment, take a deep breath. Say it out loud, while you look at yourself in the mirror. Write it down too!

This may seem awkward or cheesy at first, but the habit will cause the positive thoughts to sink in, and you will begin to believe them, even if you don’t at first. Say it until it feels real & true. Then, once you’re feeling great from your own self-love (!!!) call a friend and compliment them, too.

 

3. Shift to inner focus. What is more important? Being beautiful on the outside, or the kind of person you are becoming on the inside? As fun as it is to play with cosmetics, it’s a fact that even the most gorgeous people age, and looks fade.

What really matters is the kind of person you are on the inside. Are you good and loving and kind? Do you try to help people whenever you can? Are you generous with your time? Do you strive to make other people happy? It’s never too late to begin doing all of these things, and it will bring you true happiness.

 

4. Evaluate what you’re feeding yourself… and I’m not talking about food! I’m talking about social media, television, and the people you associate with! We’ve all done it. Browsing through social media only to see our favorite media personalities or friends posting so many positive pics, and know that everyone has bad days. The next time you want to browse the web for reasons to feel bad about yourself, remember that you are perfect just the way you are; being in a pattern of compare and despair only makes you focus on the negative, when there’s so much to be grateful for.

 

5. Let it go. We’re constantly holding on to things in our past, and it can tend to weigh heavy on our souls and even give us low self-esteem. The more blocks we clear, the more we can really live big in the area of self-love. Although we may do this as a way to protect ourselves from hurting, it’s really only holding us back from moving forward to reaching optimal self-acceptance and loving who we are.

 

6. Make a “What’s Working for Me” list. You always hear that to love someone else you must first learn to love yourself. But in order to really love yourself sometimes you have to recognize all the love you have around you. One practice to do when you are feeling down is to go within and acknowledge what’s really working then make a “What’s Working for Me” list. Once you see it on paper and accept all of the positivity in your life, it will make it that much easier to love yourself.

 

7. Know that your body is a loving vessel. Ok, this time I’m talking about food… Treating your body like a loving vessel will not only boost your self-love, but also your energy. Be intentional about what you put into your body, not only because you want to look good but because you want to feel good. Feeding your body nutrient-rich foods will have you oozing love out of every pore.

 

8. Explore your spirituality. Faith is the foundation for self-love. Believing in something opens up your soul to the beauty of belief and trust. It will build your intuition and help you make decisions based on your gut. It will take you on a journey to learning things about yourself and those new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions will make you appreciate yourself for being authentically you.

 

9. Do something you are good at. If this isn’t the ultimate self-esteem booster, I don’t know what is! Self-esteem and self-love often go hand in hand, and participating in a hobby you’re good at will not only boost your endorphins, but will bring out the best version of you.

 

10. Do something good for somebody else. The more I learn about self-love, the more I realize that self-love which is only focused on the self is not the whole picture. No, not at all.

Self-love is about getting yourself to a loving, beautiful baseline, and then taking what you’ve learned and transferring it to the external world. It’s about helping other people, leading by example, and contributing your time or skills to anyone who needs them. So think about how you could help someone else today. Then, go and do it!

And remember, you are beautiful inside and out!

 

Forgiveness- A choice for yourself

The Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is generally described as a conscious and deliberate decision to release the feelings of resentment or vengeance towards others who may have harmed you. Forgiveness can be extremely difficult to grant others as we get stuck in justifying whether or not the other person actually deserves our forgiveness. Now to be clear, forgiveness does not mean brushing aside the seriousness of the offensive act or behavior. It does not mean to simply forget about it and move on. And it most certainly does not mean condoning or excusing the behavior either. Forgiveness is about us, not the other person.

Forgiveness brings us peace through the release of the damaging anger and negative feelings associated with us holding onto the wrongdoing. For this reason and many more, forgiveness is empowering because it allows us to recognize the pain we suffered without letting that pain define us. This acknowledgment is very helpful and it is the catalyst for helping us heal and move on with our lives. Being able to move on from those negative feelings isn’t the only benefit of forgiveness.

Research suggests that:

  • Forgiveness makes us happier. Happy people are more likely to forgive, and forgiving others actually can make us happier, especially when we forgive someone who is close to us.
  • Forgiveness improves our health. When we focus our thoughts and feelings on negativity, our blood pressure and heart rates increase. This in turn produces more stress hormones in our body, which also has documented research on the negative effects to our health. When we forgive others and let go of the negative emotions and feelings, we produce less stress hormones.
  • Forgiveness strengthens relationships with those close to us. Being able to forgive stops the negative spiral and increases the opportunity to rebuild stronger and more meaningful relationships with those important to us.
  • Forgiveness increases kindness and connectedness. Research has shown that people who forgive not only feel more positive towards someone who has harmed them; they are more likely to want to volunteer and donate money to charity. This kindness and connection to others without expectations will increase the positivity of one’s life and make the world a better place.

But how do we learn how to forgive?

Luckily for us, forgiveness is an intrinsic part of human nature, meaning that we all are born with the capacity to forgive. It is also a choice and a skill that we can learn.

Forgiveness begins with the way we think.

  • Look at forgiveness as something for you, not someone else. When you forgive, you are helping yourself more than you are helping someone else for the reasons listed above.
  • Share your thoughts and feelings. If you want to forgive (or be forgiven), you have to express how you’re feeling to others and yourself. Obsessing over negative feelings is both unhealthy and unproductive.
  • Search for the lesson. View the interaction as an opportunity to learn something about yourself and about others. View it as a learning lesson given to you to improve your life.
  • Improve your empathy. Change your viewpoint and look at the situation from the other person’s view. Try to see things through their eyes. Maybe you’ll discover their reasoning or see the distress and remorse they are experiencing as a result of their actions. Empathy leads to the chance of forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesn’t happen in a single moment. Forgiveness is a process and something that takes time, energy, and a desire to make things right. And remember, once we forgive someone it doesn’t mean that we then have to become friends again with those who have hurt us. It is merely working through the process so that we don’t have to carry the weight of being wronged with us on a daily basis. Changing our negative emotions and feelings is well worth the effort it takes to truly forgive.

 

 

 

Porn and the Facts

Porn and The Facts

Pornography is a growing industry and the statistics are alarming. At one time porn was not seen to have negative side effects for your health, but now the truth is alarming. Check out this article from fightthenewdrug.org to see the progression of porn and how it is impacting our generation.

 

Skeptics of pornography’s danger will often point out that porn has been around for a long time. After all, cavemen drew sexual images on their stone walls, and the ancient Greeks painted it on their pottery. But comparing ancient paintings on clay vases to today’s endless stream of live action videos depicting every possible sexual act, available 24 hours a day on a device that fits into your pocket isn’t exactly comparing apples to apples.

So what changed? Like most large cultural shifts, nothing happened overnight, but some wheels were already turning back in 1953, the year Hugh Heffner published the first copy of Playboy.

Sex had become a more prominent part of American’s cultural conversation due in part to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, who five years earlier had published a controversial but extremely popular book on sexuality. [2] He was heralded as one of the first scientists and writers to talk so openly about sexuality. [3] As a result, his books went flying off the shelves. [4]

Heffner capitalized on the trend with his magazine. However, to maximize sales, he had to change porn’s image; instead of being thought of as something your friend’s creepy uncle might have, porn needed to look mainstream. To do that, Heffner put pornographic photos next to essays and articles written by respected authors. In Playboy, porn looked like a gentleman’s pursuit.

The next big shift happened in the 1980s, when VCRs made it possible for people to watch movies at home. [5] For porn users, that meant that instead of having to go to seedy movie theaters on the wrong side of town, all they had to do was go to the back room at their local movie rental place. Sure, they still had to go out to find it, but porn was suddenly a lot more accessible.

And then the Internet changed everything. [6]

Once porn hit the Web, suddenly there was nothing but a few keystrokes between anyone with an Internet connection and the most graphic material available, [7] and the online porn industry exploded. Between 1998 and 2007, the number of pornographic websites grew by 1,800%. [8] According to a 2004 study of Internet traffic in May of that year, porn sites were visited three times more often than Google, Yahoo!, and MSN Search combined. [9]

And porn hasn’t stayed behind the computer screen. Now that porn is more available, affordable, and anonymous than ever before, more people are becoming addicted [10] and its influence has soaked into every aspect of our lives. [11] Popular video games feature full nudity. [12] Snowboards marketed to teens are plastered with images of porn stars. [13] Even children’s toys have become more sexualized. [14]

Television shows and movies have been impacted too as producers and writers have upped the ante with more and more graphic content to keep the attention of audiences accustomed to porn. [15] Between 1998 and 2005, the number of sex scenes on American TV shows nearly doubled. [16] And it’s not just happening on adult programs. In a study conducted in 2004 and 2005, 70% of the 20 TV shows most often watched by teens included sexual content and nearly half showed sexual behavior. [17]

And the more our society becomes sexually saturated, the more porn makers pump out harder and harder material to make sure they stay on the cutting edge. [18]

“Thirty years ago ‘hardcore’ pornography usually meant the explicit depiction of sexual intercourse,” wrote Dr. Norman Doidge, in his recent book on neuroscience, The Brain That Changes Itself. “Now hardcore has evolved and is increasingly dominated by the sadomasochistic themes … all involving scripts fusing sex with hatred and humiliation. Hardcore pornography now explores the world of perversion, while softcore is now what hardcore was a few decades ago …. The comparatively tame softcore pictures of yesteryear … now show up on mainstream media all day long, in the pornification of everything, including television, rock videos, soap operas, advertisements, and so on.” [19]

And not only is there more porn to watch, but also there are more ways than ever to watch it. [20] Today, not only do we have high-speed Internet, we’ve got it on tap for devices we have with us 24 hours a day. Families have gone from having one shared computer to often having multiple personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets. With the launch of Google Glass, it’s now possible to have an Internet-enabled screen in front of our eyes nearly every minute of the day.

As porn’s availability has risen, so have its devastating effects on people (See Porn Is Like a Drug), relationships (See Porn Kills Love), and society (See Porn Leads to Violence & Porn’s Dirty Little Secret) at large. [21] As therapist John Woods recently wrote, pornography addiction “is no longer just a private problem. It is a public health problem.” [22]

To Check Out More Info about Pornography Visit:

  • fightthenewdrug.org
  • covenanteyes.com

Fun Ways to Document Your Pregnancy

Expecting a baby is exciting! And if you are like me, you want to document all the moments and have those memories captured for years to come. There are many ways to document your pregnancy and there really is no wrong way of doing this; just make sure you do it! It’s great to look back and watch your baby belly grow! And your kids will love looking at these things too!

But remember to find the method that you most enjoy and will be most meaningful for you later. Consider your talents when choosing a method for documenting your pregnancy. Are you artistic? Do you have computer skills? Do you write well and enjoy writing? The answers to these questions will help you find the best way to create a lasting record of your pregnancy.

Lord knows you are not going to remember all the little details once you have that baby, so you will be very glad you documented about it. There are multiple fun ways to document your pregnancy.

Below are 10 ideas to document your pregnancy.

  1. Complete a pregnancy journal: A pregnancy journal is a great way to write down what you’re feeling throughout pregnancy, and buying a ready-made one helps encourage writing through prompts. You can purchase ones like, Getting to Know You or The Belly Book.
  2. Email your baby: If you know your baby’s name you can create an email account for them and send them emails throughout your pregnancy. This is another simple idea for the mom on the go.
  3. Letters to baby: Write letters to your growing baby each week with how you are feeling, and thoughts on meeting them. You can include a photo each week as well. Monthly is also an option if you’re short on time.
  4. Scrapbook: Print photos from your pregnancy and hand write mementos from your pregnancy to add to your scrapbook.
  5. Make a digital pregnancy scrapbook: If you’re lacking the crafty bug to make one with little paper cutouts, you may enjoy using a computer template to make your digital pregnancy scrapbook. You can get a head start by creating one through a site like Shutterfly.
  6. Create an online pregnancy journal: If you want something a little more inclusive, you can create and online pregnancy journal, which automatically saves your documentations and other’s comments in such a way that is easy to download and print at a later time.
  7. Video documentation: Create a fun time-lapse video using still photos, or shoot a couple seconds of your pregnancy here and there over nine months, talking about how you feel, and thoughts about the pregnancy. Then compile it all at the end. Make it fun; you’re sure to look back and laugh someday.
  8. Get a maternity photoshoot: With all this talk of photos, don’t forget to set a time to get some pregnancy shots taken. Embrace, celebrate and enjoy this special time. These can be professionally done or taken by a family member, friend or loved one.
  9. Weekly updates on chalkboards: Get artistic and use a chalkboard to keep track of how far along you are. Decorate it every week with little notes about your growing baby. Have it around your home as a fun reminder for how far along you are, and take a weekly picture to see how you grow from week to week.
  10. Take Instagrams: If you’re too busy for most of these ideas, one you’re almost sure to have time for is taking a weekly selfie photo on your camera phone. You can save to instagram to make sure it’s stored, and even print them all out at a later date using a site like Keepsey.

Have fun tracking and sharing your pregnancy milestones!

*Birthline offers a Scrapbooking class through our Stepping Stones program, for current clients, providing the parent(s)-to-be a way to capture & document their pregnancy. Call the Birthline office for more info or to sign up!

– Birthline Staff Member

Keeping Kids Safe One Product at a Time

You’re expecting and you just purchased the top rated infant product, as you open the box and pull out the item you notice a post card to fill out and you either ignore it or throw it away… Stop and please fill out that post card (you don’t even need a stamp!).  You’re probably thinking, “Why do I need to fill out that card if I just purchased a top rated product for my infant or child?”  It’s all about the safety of your child.  Even the very best products can be recalled!  Registration cards are simple to fill out and only take a moment.

According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission this is why you should register your products:

Why should I register my product?

Registering your child’s product will allow manufacturers to contact you directly if the product has been recalled. Direct to consumer notification is the best way consumers who own a product can find out about recalls. In addition to requiring the cards, manufacturers are also required to use the information when there is a recall. You won’t have to rely on catching the news the day of the recall to learn of it anymore.

  • Too many consumers never find out that a product they have in their home is recalled.
  • Not knowing about a recall can have life altering consequences.
  • Filling out these cards could save a life or prevent an injury. That’s why the law that requires this notification system is named for Danny Keysar, a 16 month old boy who died in a recalled crib. There was no product registration process at the time and the crib’s owner never learned of the recall.
  • Only information necessary to identify the product and get the information to you correctly is requested.
  • This information cannot be used for marketing or other commercial purposes. So your privacy will be protected.

“And thanks to the “Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act,” today’s registration cards for infant and toddler products are not to be used for marketing.  The information requested; including the brand and model of the product and your e-mail address, must only be used to notify you in the event of a recall.”(http://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2015/02/04/product-registration-cards-think-safety-not-marketing/).  We want our children to be safe and filling out product registration cards is a quick and easy way to do that!

What if you purchase an infant or child product used, is there any way to know if it is safe or been recalled?  Yes!!

Here are links to websites you can use to learn about recalls:

United States Consumer Products Commission:

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/

On this website you will find a list of current recalls and you can also search items you own for recalls.  You can search by item, company or country where manufactured.  When you find a recalled item the site explains why the item is being recalled, the remedy for the item (repair), contact information of the company, and it also allows you to report an incident involving this product.

Additional resources:

http://www.safekids.org/product-recalls

http://www.kidsindanger.org/

Birthline Welcomes New Executive Director

I am pleased to announce we have hired our new Executive Director, Michael Stalboerger.  He begins his work with us this week.  Michael comes to us with non-profit experience, humility, passion and is eager to serve this mission.

Michael grew up the 5th of 7 children on a family dairy farm in Central Minnesota. Enjoying athletics and academics throughout school, Michael attended college on a baseball scholarship and received his undergraduate degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Mary, located in Bismarck, North Dakota. Michael also recently received his Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Leadership through Gonzaga University.

Mike Family

Michael is dedicated to improving the well-being of others through education and counseling services and has held numerous leadership positions while working with at risk youth, within a substance abuse dependency treatment program, and other non-profit governmental agencies within the mental health arena.

Michael and his wife Mandy have been blessed with two lively and wonderful children (ages 6 & 4), who are the light and inspiration for everything that he does. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, playing cards, and anything sports related.

The Board of Directors is very grateful to our past leader Carrie, and her continued guidance as we transition, and to Tammy Lindell who has served us well as the interim Executive Director.  Their commitment and passion for our work is exceptional.

We are so excited to welcome Michael and look forward to what is in store for our organization.

In gratitude,

Renee Anderson, Board President

My Walk and Experience with Postpartum Depression

I really started to notice there was a problem when I felt rage welling up inside me when my newborn would not stop crying. I didn’t feel that joy everyone talks about when you become a new mom – that new mom glow. I was mad and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just enjoy this special time with my new baby girl!

I thought, “It is the baby blues – this is normal.” But then days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months of not feeling like myself.  It just wasn’t going away or getting better.  Upon asking my sisters if this was normal, they encouraged me to see my doctor. That is where I found out that I was experiencing Postpartum Depression (PPD).

We all need to understand that having a baby can be overwhelmingly difficult. The reality of having a baby, and the physical, emotional, and relationship changes that it brings, impact women in enormous ways. With all of these changes, many women never expect to experience Postpartum Depression. Yet one in five women will develop PPD sometime in their life.

Everyone’s body and situation are different. Some women need to be put on medication and/or need to see a counselor.  Always seek medical attention if you feel as if your symptoms are severe – you do not want to harm yourself or your baby. Remember you are loved. You are not a failure.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

  • Changes in Hormone Levels
    In the hours after childbirth, levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease sharply. These changes may trigger depression.
  • A History of Depression
    Women who have had depression at any time, including before, during, or after pregnancy have an increased risk of developing PPD.
  • Emotional Factors
    Feelings of doubt about pregnancy are common. If the pregnancy is not planned or is not wanted, this can affect the way a woman feels about her pregnancy and her unborn baby. Even when a pregnancy is planned, it can take a long time to adjust to the idea of having a new baby. These emotions can affect a woman’s self-esteem and how she deals with stress.
  • Fatigue
    Labor and delivery is exhausting. It can take weeks for a woman to regain her normal strength and energy. For women who have had their babies by cesarean birth, it may take even longer. Adjusting to the demands of a newborn, including sleepless nights, will cause extreme exhaustion.
  • Lifestyle and Social Factors
    Lack of support from others and stressful life events can greatly increase the risk of postpartum depression. A recent death of a loved one, a family illness, or moving to a new city can all play a role. Likewise, having low socioeconomic status, or being single, divorced, or unemployed, can increase the risk factor.

Tips for Surviving Postpartum Depression

  1. Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about what to expect physically and psychologically during pregnancy, childbirth, and after having baby. This may help you develop realistic expectations for yourself and your baby. And don’t be fooled into thinking it could never happen to me. Keep an open mind so that if you notice signs of PPD, you can get yourself help.
  1. Do not suffer in silence. One in five women will experience postpartum depression. Tell someone what you are going through. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or a listening ear from supportive friends and family, but limit visitors so they don’t overwhelm you. Your symptoms may worsen and drag you down into the pit of depression if you do not ask for help.
  1. Know that this is not your fault. You did not create this. Postpartum Depression is a real illness that is caused by a combination of the factors shared previously.
  2. Get as much sleep as you can. Your brain needs to be recharged so it’s important to get a good amount of sleep. Try to nap when the baby does (this is really true). If you can’t sleep, then use this time to relax by trying a breathing technique, prayer, journaling, or reading a good book – the house work can wait. Your recovery is more important. Unfortunately caffeine wreaks havoc on your endocrine system, so try to slow down or avoid how much coffee or soda you are drinking. Your body will thank you.
  1. Eat healthy. It is essential to eat healthy not only during pregnancy but after. Nutritious meals are less about dieting to lose the baby weight and more about feeling good, having more energy.
  2. Get physical activity. Exercise can help to alleviate anxiety and depression by raising the serotonin levels in your brain.
  3. Remember, you are a good mom. The fact that you are seeking help and resources makes you a good mom. You are trying to improve the quality of your life and your family’s situation. This is proof in itself and you shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed.
  4. You will recover. It has been many women’s experience that they recovered after receiving proper treatment. But such recovery requires proper care and support from those around you. Please seek help from a qualified professional.

Like I said before, you are not a failure! Not only have you experienced a drastic change in your body, your life is forever different with the new addition to your family. Walking through these hormonal/emotional changes is all about recovery.

Looking back, I would have done things differently; gone to new mom groups for support and experience,  and not feeling bad about saying no – and saying it more often. I would have turned off my phone and computer more often, and I would have taken medication earlier. I do get sad when I look back and think that my daughter’s first 4 months were so scary and there was such a lack of connection. To all the mamas out there, please know that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. You do not have to walk this journey alone.

– Birthline Staff

Visitors After Giving Birth

The birth of your child is exciting for your family and friends, I understand.  And, those same people will be your support as you venture through the first stages of motherhood and your baby’s infancy so it’s in your best interest to maintain a good relationship with them. However…..remember this:  You literally just birthed a human being.  Just soak that concept in for a minute.  That’s a big deal momma!  Talk about an exhausting and emotional experience mixed with dramatic hormonal changes, regular check-ins with the hospital staff, breastfeeding and bonding with your baby, sapped energy levels and …ugh, that’s exhausting just reading it!

For some moms,  it can be really stressful to constantly have visitors, phone calls and text messages to tend to. Others love the company.  Just know that it’s ok to be either of those moms.

Check out these other thoughts on the subject and just remember – if you need to put up the No Visitor sign, it’s OK mama!

Why did I put the “no visitors” vibe up? Here’s why:

1. You’ll Never Get Those Moments Back Again

It was our first and only child. For those of you with more than one child, consider how differently your post-labor or C-section life was with baby number one… and then baby number two. With your first child — and for some of us our only — you’ll never get those quiet moments of just mom, dad, and baby again.

Even if you have a million kids, don’t you want to cherish those first few hours with just your immediate family? The first nursing or feeding. The first time you hold your baby. Do you really need a ton of fanfare, or is it just nice to have some private intimacy when you’ve brought another being into the world?

I wanted the privacy and time to simply drink in what had just happened: I became a mom. He became a dad. Give us a few hours to cherish these moments before all the noise and craziness of people, opinions, and presents come to shower in on our little world.

Sssh. Let it be quiet. For just a bit.

 2. Nursing

I didn’t want anyone to make me anxious or uncomfortable while I was trying to nurse for the first time. Plus, even after the grandparents came, we still kept it quiet with visitors until I could get into a better rhythm — or, in other words, could get my daughter to latch well instead of continuing to latch shallowly so my nipples bled.

With fewer people to fawn, fuss, and add their two cents, nursing got off to a good start for me. Yes, we had latch issues, but because I kept the visitors list short, we could work on this with a lactation consultant and my husband could focus on supporting me.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that we did this. Never once do I think, “Gee, I wish we had more visitors that first week of our child’s life!”

 3. Hormones (and Food)

Hello, hormones! Nope, they don’t stop. At least not for a while postpartum. The crying and emotional moments? Yeah, I preferred to let those happen in front of people I was close to, namely my husband.

I wanted to eat and start to feel better while dealing with the crying and mood swings among “my peeps” and not the adoring audience for my daughter.

Plus, who feels super awesome when they’re wearing a maxi pad the size of a car, trying to poop, and dealing with bloody nipples and potentially ginormous and super engorged breasts while trying to change a diaper for the first time and waddle around post-C-section or birth? Nobody! It’s nice to feel a little crappy and achy and emotional without the whole peanut gallery around.

 4. Routine

It was great to get into a little routine during the time my husband was off from work for the first two weeks of my daughter’s life. Scheduling visitors properly helped any disruptions in our new parent routine. It made our lives go more smoothly when he went back to work and I was home by myself as a new stay-at-home mother.

Plus, by that time, I was dying for visitors and ready. Do you remember, mommies, what it felt like the first time you took your baby out in the world all by yourself? I do. It felt like a victory just lifting the car seat alone!

No matter what you decide, consider who you want to visit you and when before the baby is here so you have an idea of the amount of chaos you want to invite into your home and hospital — or not.

And don’t feel bad if you need to say, “Hey, best friend. I am bleeding like a stuck pig and am having a tough time with nursing. Can you see me in another few days?” You don’t owe anyone an apology for holding off on visiting. All you need to focus on is your new family member or members!

Finding The Right Doctor

You’re expecting and you just had your first visit with your OBGYN. You may have left feeling upset that your doctor wasn’t exactly what you had hoped for or expected. You’re not alone! Many expecting mothers have felt this way. Many also feel that they have no choice but to stay with their doctor they first see or fear hurting their doctor’s feelings. This is an important time in your pregnancy and REMEMBER your DR is working for you. Changing your doctor is a big decision, but it can make a great difference. I would also encourage you to give your physician some grace and/or a visit or two to get to know them.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re considering whether to make a switch:

    1. Do I feel supported in the decisions I have made about my pregnancy? Asking questions will help you to better understand your doctor’s views and practices. For example; does your doctor do episiotomies or what is their view on induction of labor?

    2. Does my doctor take time to answer all of my questions? It is recommended to have a list of questions ready before your DR appointment to avoid forgetting or feeling rushed to think of questions.

    3. Do I feel comfortable or able to ask questions of my provider? Remember there are NO stupid questions. Asking questions help us feel confident in the decisions we are making.

    4. Does my doctor allow me time to ask questions? This may depend on whether the provider is on time or not. Aside from that, you should always be allowed some time to ask questions.

    5. Do I trust this person to help you make decisions about my pregnancy and labor/delivery? Trusting your provider is very important, they are going to help you make important decisions about you and your baby’s health.

    6. Does my doctor share the same views about pregnancy and labor/delivery as me? There are different types of providers; midwife, obstetrician, and family practice doctor, which is the best fit for you?

    7. Does my doctor have good bedside manners? Does their personality go with yours? Remember that you will have frequent visits in the last of months of your pregnancy.

    8. What is my providers/clinics policy on changing doctors? Many providers will accept new clients as late as 36 weeks or even later, although it is best to make the switch as soon as possible.

    So, if you find yourself questioning whether you should switch DRs, be honest with your DR and if you are still uncertain consider finding a new DR. And most importantly, “Go with your gut!”

Your Pregnancy Wasn’t Planned?

Your Pregnancy Wasn’t Planned?

    So you think you might be pregnant and emotions are rushing through your head. Excitement, nervousness, confusion, frustration or hopelessness are just a few of the emotions some people experience. Everyone feels differently about pregnancy, and if this is your first time being pregnant you may be asking the question, “Now what?” The first step would be to make sure that you are pregnant.

    How Do I Know If I Am Pregnant?

      There are two different ways to see if you are pregnant. You can take a urine test that can be done at home, at our facility or a doctor’s office. These tests are typically accurate, when done correctly. These tests can be taken 3-4 days before your missed period, but it is recommended to take the day of a missed period. The other type of test is a blood test, which is done at a doctor’s office or a health clinic. This test can be taken 7-12 days after conception. If you receive a positive urine test, it is recommended to go to the doctor to confirm your pregnancy.

      I’m Pregnant. What Choices Do I Have?

    Deciding what to do about an unexpected pregnancy can be very difficult. There is a lot to think about. When looking at your options, consider your personal situation and your beliefs. You have several options:
    Co-Parenting or Single Parenting: This may be a tough decision, but with the help of different resources and programs this can be a great choice.
    Adoption: If you are not at a point in your life where you are ready to start a family, there are many people who are ready to adopt a child.
    Abortion: Being pregnant can be scary and you may feel alone. Everyone may have an opinion about your pregnancy. Be sure to find out all the facts and information about an abortion before considering one.

    How Do I Make a Decision?

      It can be very difficult to make a decision about your pregnancy. We encourage you to do 4 things when making a decision.
      1. Do your research. Learn about all your options and how they would impact you. The best decision is an informed decision.
      2. Talk to a neutral party. Everyone will give you their opinion and it may be hard to make a choice with people forcing you into a decision. Find somewhere that will share the facts about each option.
      3. You have time to make your decision. With all options you have time. Make sure that you are comfortable with your choice and have had time to pursue all your options. Feel 100% confident about your decision.
      4. Go see a doctor. It is important that you find out that this is a viable pregnancy. You can check the baby’s heartbeat, learn how far along you are, and if the baby is inside the uterus or an ectopic pregnancy. Continue to make your doctor’s appointments even if you have not decided what choice to make with your pregnancy.

      While you are making your decision, be sure to take good care of yourself.

        Don’t drink alcohol.
        Don’t smoke.
        Don’t do drugs.
        Eat healthy.
        Don’t take any medicines without first talking to your doctor.
        Get plenty of rest.
        Exercise.