A Letter To You, The New Mother
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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

A Letter To You, The New Mother

Carnival of Natural Mothering
April 2014: What You Wish You Knew

Remember when you got your first positive pregnancy test? What do you wish that woman knew? Write a letter of love and encouragement to that awesome mama just starting her journey.
Dear New Mama:
Yes, you.  I skipped over the “mother-to-be”.  You are already growing life, and you are already aware of that life and protective of that life…as I see it, there is no “to-be” in mothering.  It is a state of being since you got your BFP.  Your mother’s instinct is no joke: trust it always, even in the face of a “lack of evidence” or just “having a feeling”.  No mother has ever regretted doing the best for her child from a place of love and concern…the only regret is not listening to that voice.  Your mothering instinct will not fail you in pregnancy or parenting.
At times, pregnancy may feel equally miraculous and uncomfortable.  First trimester: the unquenchable excitement of being pregnant (it happened!!)…and nausea.  Second trimester: interesting sounds and smells, and maternity clothing as your waistline grows.  Third trimester: the disappearance of your feet beneath your belly, maybe nausea (again!), and the OMGosh moment: this baby has to come out of me – through *there*! 
Through it all, the miracle and awe of growing another human being is constant.  There are two hearts beating, two minds working, two souls living in one body.  The first time you feel your Sweet Pea stir inside of you…their hiccups, the reaction to voices and touch…and those sensations continue.  I believe they exist as a reminder that the sacred and divine is happening right now.
You want to do the best for your baby.  You want to have a perfect pregnancy that leads into your perfect birth story.  While those are worthy ideals, you can only control finite amounts of conception through the Birth-Day, and at some point you must surrender the rest of it to the universe.
I encourage you to learn as much as you can about birth, breastfeeding and parenting!  
Birth: Find a comprehensive childbirth class that prepares you and your coach for a positive birth experience.  Connect with the ICAN group in your area and learn how to avoid a primary cesarean, because an unnecessary one can be heartbreaking.  Read up on placenta encapsulation and the postpartum period.

Breastfeeding and Parenting: Find a group of women and/or families to build your village.  The best lesson I ever got was to ask questions and take advice from the parents that are already doing/have done what you want to do.  If you want to breastfeed, don’t get advice from someone who made a different choice.  Connect with breastfeeding mothers at La Leche League or a breastfeeding support group.  If you want to babywear, don’t seek out a person who is always pushing a stroller.  Connect with a babywearing group in your area, or find a group online.  If you want to practice gentle parenting, read up on attachment parenting, and in this day and age, you can connect with the experts online.  Two of my favorites are Dr. Laura Markham and L.R. Knost
Maternity Leave: Are you going to work outside the home after a maternity leave?  Connect with the women who have made that choice and have the breastfeeding/parenting relationship you want with your child.  As far as I know, there are no support groups for that.  I have a cadre of students who have breastfed/are breastfeeding and practice attachment parenting while working out of the home full-time.  Please feel free to contact me to connect with them – several are willing to share their stories and mentor new mothers.
You are never alone on this journey.  Birth and parenting have happened for eons.  There is so much wisdom available to you, and so many people to walk and learn with as a new parent.  Read, connect, be willing to say hello to the person sitting next to you in your childbirth or breastfeeding group.  Once your Sweet Pea is earthside, get out and about.  Say hello at the breastfeeding or postpartum support group, story time or playgroup.  A simple hello can lead to a beautiful friendship for you and your Sweet Pea.
Since this is a birth blog, here are some more details about preparing for the Birth-Day…
The decisions you can make and be in control of:
Eating a whole food, balanced diet: as much as possible, skip the processed foods.  Here’s an illustration: if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, do not eat it. Or, try this one: if it has more than ten ingredients, or more than one you cannot pronounce without concentrated effort, then put it back on the shelf. Check out our posts on nutrition HERE.

Exercise every day: even 10-20 minutes of cardio is better than none.  You are going to be part of an athletic event...train for it intentionally. Engage in both stamina-building and pregnancy-specific exercises to equip you for a stronger pregnancy and birth.

Avoid harmful substances: back to all those things you cannot pronounce.  Pregnancy is a great time to go green…one change at a time.  Start by looking at your personal care products…then your kitchen…then your cleaners (both at home and in your school and/or workplace).  Commit to yourself and to your baby that once a month, you will make a change that will make just one more thing in your life non-toxic.  By the time you are holding your Sweet Pea, there are at least 7-8 changes that are now healthy habits.

Choose the right care provider and birth space: if you know you want a natural birth, do your homework now. Find a care provider that supports your choice. The other thing to evaluate is whether your birth space and your birth vision are aligned.  If either of these is a NO, you can change providers and/or birth spaces – no permission slip necessary.

Pain is not normal: your body can do pregnancy pain-free. Are you uncomfortable? Look into chiropractic care, acupuncture, pregnancy massage, aromatherapy...decide what you will do to eliminate any physical pain or anxiety so you can prepare for a positive birth experience.

Pamper yourself: Say YES when it comes to being kind to yourself.  Get the pedicure, go out to dinner, eat your favorite foods that are safe in pregnancy.  You won't know when you are ready, willing or able to afford those things after your Sweet Pea arrives.  Do it now while you still only have your schedule to manage.
About the things you cannot possibly know or control...
How long you will be pregnant: you were given an estimated due date…it’s a guess at best.  It is definitely NOT an expiration date.  Each day inside you is a day your Sweet Pea is growing and preparing to live earthside.  As long as you are okay, and they are okay, inside is a great place to be.  Find ways to enjoy being pregnant, even if your due date comes and goes.

How long your labor will be: if only there was a magic wand for this!  I love Dr. Bradley’s “formula” for labor…whether you have a “sprint”, a “marathon” or something in between, your energy and your rest determine how you manage the duration of your labor.  It is intense work, it is athletic work…so eat if you are hungry and definitely sleep, even in the excitement of “I think I’m in labor!” Eat something, drink something, go for a walk, take a bath or shower to relax you…and then go to bed!  I promise you that you cannot sleep through an unmedicated labor.  Your body will wake you up when it’s time to start that cycle again…until you can’t sleep anymore because you are working.  If you slept as suggested, you will have all the energy you need to have the birth you prepared for.  If you do not sleep, then you will have to dig down even deeper to see your birth through the way you want to – totally possible as well.  If you can, just trust me and sleep – it makes for a better birth!

When you surrender control: let go, give in, and let your baby come out.  At some point, we must let go of the present and give into the primal timelessness of birth.  I know! It sounds completely hippie-hoodoo right now.  Take it from me – I am Miss Priss and Miss Always-in-control…it makes for a LONG birth.  Your body can only get down to the real work of birth when we are willing to be vulnerable, to feel, to surrender all of the control to the bigness that is birth.  Let go – even though you are not in the driver’s seat, it does happen…without you.  It is the one time in your life when you can connect to all the birthers that have gone before you.  When I would finally surrender, I would feel all the energy in the Universe around me.  That energy sustained me, it pushed through the fear of no control, to the absolute bliss of working with our baby and my body to just Be.  A little secret: you can control your breath.  Focus on making it as deep as possible…then just feel.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  You are already an amazing parent – you have chosen to carry this life, and by doing that, you have undertaken the essence of mothering: living outside of yourself and considering the needs of another.  Best wishes to you as you continue to grow in love.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

4 Comments to A Letter To You, The New Mother:

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Donna @ Eco-Mothering on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 11:33 AM
Great suggestions listed here! One thing I wish I had done in advance was seek out a support group of pregnant and new moms. Would have helped a lot more than searching for the perfect baby gear!
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Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 3:09 PM
Excellent advice!
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Kim @ HappyPrettyBlog on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 5:31 PM
I love the piece of advice that you give about joining various groups based on your needs. That was one of the biggest sources of strength, support and knowledge that I have found during this journey.
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All Natural Katie on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 6:51 AM
Great resources for any pregnancy or current mama. Thank you for sharing!
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