Announcements

International Day of the Midwife

 Posted by on May 5, 2016
May 052016
 

Happy International Day of the Midwife!

I was reading about this annual celebration of our work and discovered that it was established in 1992! Almost 25 years of celebrating midwives and the incredible care they provide pregnant and birthing people, and their families, all over the world. The International Confederation of Midwives spearheads this celebration. Separately and together, Christy and Jenni have celebrated International Day of Midwife in many different places and with lots of different activities.

Here are previous years’ pictures and Christy’s post from 2009.IDM MarchIDM Jenni

This year, if we are not attending a birth, we will be:

a) Hosting our monthly group prenatal at our office, with (as always) food demo’d by Christy and discussion facilitated by the three of us. Our topic this week is newborn care and early postpartum norms.

b) Feeling grateful for midwifery knowledge and the home birth of Haven, now ten months old and making things very exciting at our house.

c) Checking in with midwives from across Texas and our dear friend Marinah Farrell from Arizona, President of the Midwives Alliance of North America at the Association of Texas Midwives‘ Annual Conference (May 5 – 7).

d) Appreciating the ever-growing skills and general fabulousness of our apprentice, Chandra Fisher. We are lucky to have her and I know that our current and past clients appreciate her involvement in their care at prenatals and births.

e) Expanding Christy’s offering of primary care appointments and fertility consultations at our practice. See our website for more details and please refer your friends and family!

f) Getting ready for the launch of midwifery-model culturally-appropriate prenatal education with the Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman clinic opening in June. Paula Rojas, a former apprentice with MotherBloom and now a Licensed Midwife, is integral to this project; Christy is a midwife advisor and Jenni is providing volunteer technical support with the use of an EHR.

Thank you for continuing to support us both in doing this amazing work.

 

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Aviva Romm Class Offer

 Posted by on April 25, 2016
Apr 252016
 
Jenni and I LOVE Aviva Romm and often recommend her remedies to clients.  Her books are great!  Her blog is great! and her online classes are great!  Here is an offer for parents that will be very helpful in raising and treating your children.  Check it out.

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Like most new moms, I had so many questions about the best ways to take care of my first baby. (By the time the 2nd through 4th arrived, I was a pro!). Just over 30 years ago, as I was trying to figure out how to introduce solid foods into my first child’s diet – he was a long-term breast feeder – I happened upon a book by Dr. Leo Galland called Superimmunity for Kids.

Leo, it turned out, is truly one of the pioneers of what we now know as integrative medicine. When I was in my early 20s he was already sounding the alarm about the emerging risks posed by the “modern” way of life to children’s immune systems and the importance of nutrition to both maximize immunity and reverse disease. As you all know, I don’t believe these risks have diminished in the 3 decades since – in fact, they are more serious and widespread today, and my confidence in the truth of food as our kids’ first medicine is stronger than ever.

And as Dr. Galland discusses in this episode, these problems are not confined to kids. Just fifty years ago, 1 in 30 people had allergies. Today, that number is 1 in 3.

So it is with special delight that I had the chance to interview Leo and his son, Jonathan, for this week’s episode of Natural MD Radio.  They have co-written a new book – The Allergy Solution – which documents the shocking rise of hidden allergies that lead to so many of the problems we are seeing in kids today: weight gain, anxiety, fatigue, ADHD, depression, digestive problems, and much more. They carefully demonstrate how each of these is linked to an immune imbalance that is at the root of allergies, and how pollution, unhealthy eating habits, stress, and the overuse of antibiotics can all inflame allergies. And they offer a proven plan to reverse allergies with natural solutions.

Sound like familiar themes? Yes, this is the bandwagon I have been on throughout my career – as a midwife, an herbalist, and now physician, and as an author. You know from reading my books, articles, and Facebook posts, or from taking any of my courses on children’s health, that I see our kids as the “canaries in the coalmine,” letting us know that something real is amiss and calling for us to take action in our homes and in the world.

You can listen to the episode here. And if you find it helpful, please let me know by dropping a review over in iTunes. Every review you leave there encourages the folks at iTunes to feature the show prominently on their podcast website and helps to spread the world to other mommas and families.

Also, what better time than Spring to re-open my course – The Allergy Epidemic for Kids – for enrollment. The Allergy Epidemic is chock full of nutritional guidance and herbal remedies, with over 3 hours of video instruction with me to help you prevent and get to the root causes of seasonal allergies, eczema, asthma, food intolerances, and even some autoimmune conditions. Plus there are audio recordings (MP3s) and transcripts of each lesson, and it comes along with a support group – our forum, The Parent’hood – of amazing mommas also trying to raise their kids naturally and with the best immune system possible.

The course is super low maintenance – designed for busy mommas, ‘cause aren’t we, always? But we still need good information, so I’ve made it really convenient to use on your own time. You can start the course any time you want and you have lifetime access to it.

Because I know the information in The Allergy Epidemic is important to spread as widely as possible, I have a special invitation for you: 

Beginning today and through Monday, April 25th at midnight EST, I am offering you the course for $47 – that’s more than 50% off the regular price! 

Join now and you’ll also get these bonuses:

  • Premium access to the course Forum for an extended period of time (3 extra months).
  • An invitation to attend two live 60-minute, interactive Q & A sessions with me, where I’ll answer as many questions as time allows – exclusively for parents in a course at Healthiest Kids University
  • Access to a library of recordings from previous Q & A sessions I have held for the course
  • Access to the recording of a live interview I did with Dr. Bob Sears on alternative vaccination schedules
  • And you’ll get 25% off of Healthy All Year, the other course at Healthiest Kids University, or even for use on a future purchase.

So, YES! Let’s do this! Join me in learning to create the best possible immunity for our kids, using natural approaches whenever possible.

Learn more and enroll by clicking HERE.  

With love,

 

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Apr 182016
 

Jenni and Haven

It has been a long and bureaucratically intense process but Jenni is now a fully licensed Texas midwife! Though Jenni has been attending births as an assistant and helping with MotherBloom office work for several years, she has not been able to work as a primary midwife until now. Jenni worked for several years as a Registered Midwife in Ontario, Canada, helping families at home births, as well as having hospital privileges. When she moved to Austin, in 2011, she started the process of becoming licensed in Texas but we knew it would be a long road since there is no reciprocity between Canadian and American midwifery.

We are very happy to be able to share client care responsibilities equally now that Haven, our 9 month old little one, is getting more active and vocal.  Jenni and I plan to be able to provide even more personalized care and different types of services as we grow our practice together.

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Mat & Kitchen = Pilates and Recipes

 Posted by on September 10, 2015
Sep 102015
 

Several months ago I signed up via a free month subscription promo for Tandy Gutierrez’s Mat & Kitchen  pilates website.  I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into but I am usually up for new things, a friend recommended it, and I was looking for new ways to get some exercise.  I couldn’t believe how much I loved it.  The videos are a short 30 minutes, they make me feel good, Tandy describes things very well, and the way she talks about exercise and nutrition is very centering.  After a few months of regularly doing the videos however, I realized that the diastasis recti (vertical separation of the abdominal muscles) that occurred during my pregnancies many years ago was starting to get a little bigger and was becoming uncomfortable.  I emailed Tandy asking if she had any advice for helping heal diastasis and she replied with an overwhelming yes!  I explained to her that this is a problem I encounter with many of my clients after pregnancy.  She then sent me many videos that are specifically for healing postpartum, no matter how many years ago the babies were born.  She also sent this great offer below for all of my clients !  I am hoping that many of you take advantage of her generous 1 month free offer.  Tandy is very approachable if you have questions and there are lots of great healthy recipes on her website for growing families.

This from Tandy:

I’m so happy to give you access to my site to see if it’s a fit for you.

Please ‘like’ the Mat&Kitchen fan page on Facebook if you haven’t already. Then explore the M&K website with the promo code below. Guest access is limited and by invite only.

The code below gives you 30 days FREE on my site www.matandkitchen.com. It activates as soon as you complete the ‘Sign-Up’ info on the site. It zeros out your cart and charges you nothing.

On any day 1-30 you may ‘cancel’ the account if it’s not a fit for you but if you love M&K on day 31 you will be billed and begin your subscription to the site. Canceling is super easy from ‘My Account’ once you are logged in. It’s just a button click at any point.

Once you are on the site you are able to explore a full month’s archive of my 30-minute workouts that are posted fresh every 3 days, 300+ gluten and dairy free recipes and of course the M&K Food Reset to crack your own food code.

With an M&K subscription you have direct access to me as your personal trainer via email and social media any time you need motivation, support or guidance.

Plus, because you are using this promo code when you continue your subscription you will automatically get to keep the 30 day rewind on your account plus the ‘On the Mat Mommas’ custom folder in the account to start with 21 workouts in your video library, rather than just the single ‘Video of the Day’ as general new M&K subscribers do.

Please use the promo code: CTMAK at check out on www.matandkitchen.com

Reach out to me at any time and enjoy!

tandy@matandkitchen.com

From Christy again: I am promoting this service because I believe in its value, not because I am receiving anything in exchange for the promotion. Try it out if it inspires you and let me know what you think!

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Our Summer Days

 Posted by on September 9, 2015
Sep 092015
 

It is said that summer is the time of year for expansion: spending time outdoors, hot weather, lazy no-school days, water play…..as opposed to a time of contraction during the winter when it is cold and we stay inside more. In Austin, the summer seems to be a bit of both, which certainly proved to be true for us; we welcomed a new little being into our home this year, expanding our family and nestling in at home during the hottest months.   Jenni went into labor just a few weeks after climbing to the top of Enchanted Rock and just a few days after she posted about being pregnant as a midwife. Now we have a thriving, smiling 2 month-old baby named Haven Otter, who is bringing so much delight to all the members of our family. Haven has created space for us to be present and connected in the midst of our very full lives.  With him around, we are not inclined to be busy all the time because he reminds us to sit and hold him and stare at his cuteness. I really appreciate this part of parenting a newborn, the constant reminder to just be.  I have started sitting in my front yard swing again with Haven in my lap, something I did often when my other two children were little but the habit quickly disappeared as they got older.  Jenni has blossomed into a powerful and sweet Mama Bear, something awe-inspiring to witness on a daily basis.  As we are settling into being two working moms with a baby, two teenagers, and a farmette, I have intense feelings of gratitude for our families, our friends, and the wonderful families we work with who create an even larger family of friends as the years go on.

the three of us

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Haven is not the only baby born around us this summer. We have had a busy late July and August, welcoming several other babies into their families; each entering the world with bright eyes and loving parents.

Here are few pictures of some of the new little ones:

Valor

Valor

Lucas

Lucas

Isaac

Isaac

Have you noticed a summer baby trend?….all boys !

We are planning to continue Group Prenatal Sessions on the first and third Thursdays of each month this fall.  Here’s a look at the upcoming topics.  If you are a client and have a topic you want discussed, please let us know.

Group Prenatal Flyer fall 2015_001

 

 

 

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May 272015
 

Karen Rayne, PhD, sexuality educator, is publishing her first book!

Karen-Book-Mockup-2

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Breaking the Hush Factor: Ten Rules for Talking with Teenagers About Sex! will be released on June 14th. Karen has been teaching sex education with all ages for several years and is a great resource for helping parents work through our own thoughts, beliefs, and feelings around sex and relationships.

A few days ago, Karen come over to our house to chat about her book, we also fed her some delicious baked pears…it’s always nice to feed someone when you really want them to talk! The following is a paraphrased retelling of our conversation….

Jenni: Is the book an accumulation of teaching classes for middle school or is it more related to the individual counseling you do?

Karen: This book is not content oriented at all, it is really about helping parents become familiar with their own feelings around sex so that they can be open to discussions with their teens in an authentic way. I discovered there is much less information out there in the literature about practically addressing your (parents’) own issues.

Christy: My sense is that a parent’s ability to talk to their children and/or teens about sexuality depends mostly on relationship building throughout parenting. It is a gradual process of becoming more and more comfortable discussing things that feel very intimate.

Karen: The context of the relationship is really important and coming to the conversation without any of your own baggage around what is going to happen in the context of that conversation is very important. There are kids who actively come to a conversation about sex and want to engage with their parents and there are some kids who absolutely do not want to talk with their parents about sex. But the ways that the parent should approach each of these kids is within the same framework of honoring and trusting your kid to bring you what they need. They may bring you the need for lots of discussion about sex or none at all; the important thing is to remain open to the dialogue however much or little that is.

Christy: I have been amazed over the years when I didn’t think my kids were listening, I later learned they were taking everything in and remembering it!

Karen: That’s something I do talk about it in the book a lot, about how much your kids do listen to you and how well they do know you. By the time they are teenagers, they really know you AND your reactions very well. Now it is your time, as the parent, to listen and get to know them really well. It’s important to spend a lot of your time listening and really hearing what they are saying, being a sounding board for them to process and assess where they are, thus helping them move forward in beautiful ways.

Christy: What came to me listening to you just now is that we can and should give our kids credit for knowing more and being capable of figuring things out more than we might think.

Karen: It’s a transition, right. When our kids were three, we clearly knew more things about their bodies and how they work and what their needs might be, but as they get older it’s a process of them learning and knowing their own needs; the adolescent years are when this self knowing and transfer of power happens most dramatically. In many ways our culture sees it as a lack of innocence if you know about sex, and even if you don’t buy into that it can be a little bit shocking when your kids start to talk about sex.  Cards Against Humanity is a really interesting point of discussion around this. Most of my high school students have played it and some of my middle school students have.

Christy: I feel like middle school age is a little inappropriate for playing Cards Against Humanity but I actually think it would have been a great game for me to play in high school. I was so naïve and broadening my world would have been helpful, I think; shocking and a little embarrassing, but helpful. So I have not tried to stop my high schooler from playing it, but I have encouraged my middle schooler to wait till she gets a little older.

Brief digression here but moving on….

Karen: Kids do generally think their parents are stricter than they are. And I think this comes from a place of kids really, really caring what their parents think. Especially with something like sex, kids may think their parents are particularly less open-minded than they are. Take my classes for example, some of my students say, “my parents would never be OK with me talking about this.” And I say, “well, your parents know the entire curriculum for this class and they pay me a lot of money to discuss this stuff with you!”  And they say, “ooo….”

It’s like an impulse or reflex that the students respond this way to some of the things we talk about in class.  So what I am trying to do with the book is to help parents help their kids get out of that reactionary place by suggesting that they [the parents] stay interested in what their kids are saying and engaged with their kids at whatever level the kids are bringing the conversation to. This will help the kids understand that their parents really want to be there with them, listening to their thoughts, emotions, and feelings, considerations and worries, instead of the parent leading the conversation. It’s a definite conversation power shift that helps kids discover their own sexual paths.

Jenni: That speaks to the individuality of sexuality, that we are all dramatically different from each other, so that makes a lot of sense to me.

Karen: I think there is an element of kids needing to separate from their parents in some way, and sometimes they tell the parent and sometimes they don’t. Every kid in my class talks about their parents. It’s like their parents are over their shoulder, there with them. Sometimes the kids are arguing with them, sometimes agreeing, sometimes trying to figure their parents out, but they are always there, figuratively present with the kid.  It’s about how as a parent to be supportive of their kids finding their own identity, whether this matches what the parents want or expect.

Jenni: Even when you may not have figured it out for yourself… (laughter)

Karen: Yes, and that’s what the first four chapters in the book are about, the parent figuring themselves out enough to be present in the conversation about sex with their kids.

Please check out Karen’s indiegogo campaign and think about buying her book,

especially if you have teenagers 1200x900-testimonial-book-gina

Seeing as we are midwives who get lots of questions about sexuality and relationships, our discussion with Karen moved along to sex during pregnancy and the postpartum months. She facilitated one of our group prenatal sessions last year, and talking about that experience is where this conversation picks up again…and then organically moves back to talking with kids, very cyclical….

Christy: People expect their sexuality and sex drive to remain the same in pregnancy and postpartum and most often it does not. That change can be pretty sudden and can catch both partners off guard.

Jenni: And then there is this notion that when people become pregnant they have to put aside their sexuality and/or some people have trouble figuring out how to be a parent and a sexual being at the same time.

Christy: Yes, when one has a lot of different hats to wear it’s hard switching back and forth between them quickly.

Karen: What’s normal? What’s right? I think that is where people’s questions really are. People have a fear of cross-mingling sex and babies/children.

Christy: I also think one thing pregnant people are really surprised by is how low their libido is in pregnancy and/or the postpartum months. Some people worry, I think it’s a common fear, that they will never feel like having sex again in the way they did before having a baby. I think it is totally normal and it’s a helpful thing to point out that they may not have sex for a very long time but that the desire will come back. Of course, some people have a very high libido in pregnancy and enjoy it very much! I want to help people understand that libido is very fluid over a life span; sex drive varies greatly at different times in people’s lives. That’s something I don’t remember hearing about or talking about when I was pregnant or just postpartum: that sexual desire is so up and down over one’s lifespan.

Karen: I think that is one thing that is really missing in abstinence-only sex education. So when we are talking about abstinence in my classes with young people, I always say to them that there are times over their entire lifespan that they will be deciding not to have sex, for a variety of reasons — maybe they don’t have an appropriate partner, they or their partner may have some kind of STI, they may have other physical health concerns, maybe they’ve just given birth to a baby, there are lots of reasons, they may be on a spiritual journey where refraining from sexual contact is what seems best at the moment… During their life, whether they’re married or not, whether they have a partner or not, there will be times in their life when they will choose to refrain from having sex… Really honoring the space that abstinence provides is something not just for teenagers; because, firstly, I think that teenagers can hear it more easily if it’s something for everyone, and also they are then able to carry that into their future lives where they are able to respect a decision or feeling inside themselves to refrain from sexual activity. It’s important for people to know that choosing abstinence at all different times in their life is a respectable decision and a respectful decision as part of the life process.

Christy: I think that the common approach to abstinence only birth control does teenagers a big disservice.  This description you give providers a more holistic view of what abstinence can look like in an empowering way.

Karen: When coming to a conversation with your kids about sex, the key is to identify your own issues so that even if you don’t resolve them, you at least know what they are, and if your kid starts to mention something [difficult for you], you know where the trigger is coming from. This will help you know when to take a break in the conversation, because you’re having a reaction that’s about you and not about them. But part of that process is ideally learning to just sit with where you are sexually at any given moment. It may be a time of a lot of arousal, and a lot of desire, and a lot of sexual activity, and a lot of orgasms, or it may be just a place of a lot of desire, but not a lot of arousal or sexual activity. There are a lot of variables at play here, and I think that just letting your body whisper to you where you are and following it and respecting it, and not feeling the need for it to be different is a huge gift to yourself and for your kids. The painful parts of sexuality are when you end up with sexual activity and even orgasm, without the arousal or the desire. That’s what we really want to avoid.

Jenni: And that can be tricky if you are partnered, with all the potential discrepancies between partners. And often, as a parent, I imagine you are trying to figure out where you are at, and that’s influenced by your current relationship or non-relationship. So then it’s influenced by your partner’s desire or interest in sex.

Christy: So, it could be that the sexual desire of both partners could go for long periods of time never matching up; that kind-of stinks. And then they have to navigate that within the relationship.

Jenni: I can imagine that affects the conversation with your kids; trying to figure out what to say to them when you are figuring out your own relationship makes it much more complicated.

Karen: So much more complicated! And if you have all these emotional reactions to sex because of what’s going on in your relationship right now, then talking to your kids about it, without having any of your own emotional reaction around the topic influencing the conversation, is really, really hard.

[Pause in conversation, which is unusual for us]

Karen: That’s how it can be talking to kids. It is a process of trying to negotiate your response, because in some ways that is a public face, rather than a private face. Your private sexual life is not about your child and they don’t need to have any part of it or know anything about it, in terms of concrete details for sure. But how do you negotiate your public face in those conversations while still being authentic, because if you’re lying your kids are going to pick up on it.  You have to be honest to a degree, saying things such as “You know this conversation is really hard for me right now, but I know it’s important so we’re going to have it anyways.” Owning up to that weirdness is important. One of the things that I cover in my book is that [as a mature adult] you use the other adults in your life to talk with about sex or other issues before you talk to your kids. Work through some of your own stuff with your peers, or a therapist, or whomever is appropriate for you.

Christy: I think that’s a good place to end it, especially since our kids are such great mirrors of ourselves, helping ourselves ultimately helps them.

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Free Gemmotherapy Acute Care Online Class

 Posted by on April 18, 2015
Apr 182015
 

My colleague Lauren Hubele just published a new introduction to Gemmotherapy video series.  She is offering it for FREE through May 1st.  Jenni and I have been using gemmotherapy for ourselves and in our practice for several months and are finding the remedies to be beneficial.  Please check out this short 30 min video series to learn more about how you can use gemmotherapy for common acute illnesses for your family.

Click HERE to start viewingLauren

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Motherwhelmed

 Posted by on April 14, 2015
Apr 142015
 

My dear friend Beth Berry continues to inspire me.  Several years ago she Beth-Berry-Motherwhelmed-Whole-Life-Coachingannounced to me that she, her husband Hunter and their girls were moving to Mexico just because.  At first I was saddened because at the time we talked nearly every day and saw each other several times a week; then I thought, “Great, I can come visit you!” and then their dog Gus came to live with me (he’s still here, shuffling about and barking).

While in Mexico, Beth started writing and Wow, what a writer she has become.  Now that Beth, Hunter and the girls have moved back to the US, Beth is continuing and expanding her writing career and is working on a book due to come out this year.  Through her writing, Beth seems to have discovered a place inside herself that shines and illuminates people around her, encouraging them, especially mothers, to find a deeper place within themselves.  Beth is now leading groups through the difficult, yet not, journey of Motherhood.  She describes parenting in this modern world an unnecessary intake overload.  I encourage you to spend some time reading her blog.  And if inspired to do so, give her a call for a consultation, you won’t be disappointed.

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