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Childbirth, Reviews and Giveaways, Pregnancy

My Journey with the EarlySense Percept Fertility Tracker

*I received a free tracker but was not compensated for this review.

My husband and I are currently on a yearlong recon mission to figure out the best way to conceive baby #2. . . when we’re ready. And yes, we know how babies are made, but we would like to skip the months of blindly trying and being faced with negative pregnancy tests – instead, we would like to know my body well enough to strike when the uterus is hot.

The discovery of the clinically-proven EarlySense Percept Fertility Tracker was a big win for us. The tracker consists of a sensor, that you place under your mattress, that tracks signals from your body like your breathing and heart rate. This information is used to predict your next period and 6-day fertility window, then sends this info to the corresponding app on your phone.

 

What I’ve learned so far from this contact-free fertility monitor:

*I always ovulate 12 days after my period ends. When it’s baby go time you’ll be sure to find me on this app on the daily, making sure I make the most of that sacred egg release.

*I’m a mediocre sleeper. According to the app I get an average of six hours of sleep a night (not great.) And, it takes me an average of 20 minutes to fall asleep, and I spend only 10 minutes in deep sleep.

*I’m less stressed than I thought. My mental app says my stress levels are high, but according to Percept my stress levels range from low to medium – so, yay! This makes me feel less stressed about being stressed.

Thank goodness for this nifty tracker because I was this close to making my husband help me track my basal body temperature and help me decipher what discharge was “ovulation discharge” – not as romantic as it sounds.

Wishing you happy and knowledgable baby-making!

Travel

Best Places to Ski in the Rockies

The Rockies are synonymous with stoke-worthy skiing but with so many resort options it can be tricky to pin down the spot that will be just right for your needs.

The following resorts offer a bevy of amenities; whatever kind of traveler you are, you’re certain to be pleased.

  1. Jackson Hole Mountain Ski Resort

Known for its extreme terrain and a few runs that require avalanche safety equipment, Jackson Hole is best left to the experts. A favorite for those who go hard is the heli-ski tour – what’s more extreme than dropping from a helicopter onto an epically steep slope?

If you prefer to leave the intense snow sliding to others, the overwhelming beauty of this rustic wonderland makes it a prime locale for sitting fireside with a hot cup of something tasty, while you take in the majesty of the American West.

Sleep: Spring Creek Ranch. Located on a wildlife sanctuary and towering 1,000 feet over the town of Jackson, these luxury accommodations will allow your ears to enjoy a symphony of howling coyotes and elks practicing their mating call, while your eyes feast on unbeatable views of the Teton Mountain Range.

Plus, the limitless blue skies and Wilderness Adventure Spa, which offers unique goodies like High Altitude Facials and Soul Readings, ensure your mind, body, and spirit leave refreshed.

Eat: Mangy Moose. This cavernous steakhouse offers location-appropriate hearty options, like elk burgers, prime rib, and brisket. The “Moose” also hosts live music and is a fave après ski bar for locals.

Explore: Tour the National Elf Refuge by horse-drawn sleigh. Sit back, cozy up, and get your camera ready as a horse pulls your sleigh through snowy terrain dotted with thousands of elk. These rides are generally available from mid-December through early April and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the Wyoming wilderness.

Read more on TRVL

Childbirth, Pregnancy

9 Hospital Bag Essentials You Need If You’re Giving Birth During The Holidays

*Quoted as expert

1. A Holiday Focal Point

Hypnobirthing practitioner, doula, and author of Feng Shui Mommy Bailey Gaddis recently attended a birth the day after Thanksgiving. “The mom had me set up a mini Christmas tree in her hospital room with a ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ ornament hanging on it,” Gaddis tells Romper.

Sounds cute right? In fact, the Christmas tree served a powerful purpose during the birth. “She used the tree and ornament as her focal point during the birth, saying it helped her look beyond the pain of birth and focus on the joy she would feel sharing her first Christmas with her daughter,” Gaddis explains. “And, because this mama is such a lover of the holidays, she had me run out to buy candy canes she could suck on for a jolt of refreshing energy.”

Read more on Romper

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Video

What to Expect From Baby’s Descent and Emergence During Childbirth

A sample video from Udemy’s bestselling online childbirth preparation course, https://www.udemy.com/childbirth-preparation-a-complete-guide-for-pregnant-women/

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Video

Pain Relieving Pressure Points for Childbirth

A sample video from Udemy’s bestselling online childbirth preparation course, https://www.udemy.com/childbirth-preparation-a-complete-guide-for-pregnant-women/

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Video

What to Expect From Active Labor During Childbirth

A sample video from the online childbirth preparation course, Birth Transformed, https://birthtransformed.teachable.com/p/birthtransformed

Weddings

Destination Wedding To-Do List (6 Months Before)

You’ve reached the halfway point and it’s getting real. The next six months will dissolve quicker than a bride’s mascara as she’s listening to a poignant speech. But, the good news is many of the six-month to-do items include goodies like shopping and planning the ultimate vacay, so say a yay!

 

Because you’re likely a work before play kind of gal, let’s check off the more tedious items first, then dive into the fun stuff. (And ICYMI, here are the 12-month and 8-month checklists for your destination wedding!)

1. Look Into Travel Requirements

There might be quite a few travel-hoops to jump through before reaching your wedding destination, especially if your wedding will be in a different country. Research whether things like visas or certain vaccinations will need to be obtained before entering the country, and ensure your passport is up-to-date.

Read more on With Joy!

Childbirth, Pregnancy

7 People You Need In Your Life When Pregnant

Who you choose to spend time with during pregnancy makes a difference. 

Pregnancy sprinkles change on just about every area of your life. These changes can create feelings of instability, anxiety, and other not so fun emotional gremlins.

This time of change gets a lot easier when you to surround yourself with individuals who will support you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Seeking out the following individuals, and inviting them on your journey to motherhood, will not just make your own experience easier, but will create a happier and healthier space for your baby, in and out of the womb.

1. A Medical Care Provider Who Gets You and Supports You

Medical care providers are often viewed as medical wizards possessing omnipotence- we give them a lot of power.

Ensure the person you’re choosing to hand a piece of your power over to is someone who deserves it.

Find a care provider that makes you feel safe, that makes you excited about being pregnant, that fills you with hope, and is stoked when you hand over your list of birth preferences.

Find a care provider who radiates support for your unique needs and desires during pregnancy and birth; that type of care is your birthright.

2. A Mom-Friend Who Only Gives You Advice If You Ask For It

It’s fun to have someone to commiserate with when your pregnant back is harassing you, and your feet have assumed the texture of Playdoh. It’s less fun when all you want to do is have a cathartic session of complaining with someone who gets it, but instead, you’re met with advice.

Find a friend that’s so down to bitch about crummy pregnancy symptoms, cry about how amazing (and insane) it is to be growing a person inside you, and process all the other pregnancy goodies and non-goodies without telling you how to fix it, or “enjoy it now because it won’t last.” Find a friend who is safe to Just Be You with.

3. A Pregnancy Massage Therapist Who Gets You In All The Right Places

I didn’t receive a massage until the middle of my third trimester, because I didn’t know what I was missing. My incessant heartburn, achy back, and paper-thin temper were all soothed by the end of that first massage, and stayed that way for about a week. 

I hopped on that wagon for the rest of my pregnancy, and my massage therapist (who was a mama of two) became one of my friends (see #2) that I could complain, cry, and laugh with, without any judgment or unwanted advice (but, sometimes I would beg her for advice because she knew her stuff, about all the things.)
 
4. The Vulnerable Side of Your Partner

Did you know your partner (if your partner is a male) will experience a drop in testosterone during your pregnancy? This drop in the “masculine hormone” facilitates their ability to be softer and more nurturing. 

While these changes may be initially jarring for your partner, it also opens a gateway into their vulnerability. 

Coaxing out the vulnerable, more emotionally open, side of your partner could help them reconcile with their hormonal changes by seeing how you positively respond to the resulting vulnerability and openness, and how the shifts can deepen the bond in your relationship.

Being able to share your concerns, fears, and hopes about the massive change careening into your lives will make you and your partner feel less alone and more secure in your partnership. 
 
5. A Doula Who Has No Agenda But Helping You Have Your Optimal Birth

While your medical care provider will help to ensure your body and baby remain physically safe throughout pregnancy and birth, a doula can help you feel emotionally safe, which in turn creates more physical well-being.

If you choose to hire a doula, ensure you feel comfortable around them and safe to freely express yourself.

When you tell your doula your desires for your birth, you want them to be all in, instead of trying to impose their views of the “right way” to birth on you.

It’s all about you mama.
 
6. Your Kindest Self

The goal of finding this person, who conveniently lives inside you, is not about putting on a happy face for others, but locating that tender space within where you cut yourself some slack for not feeling totally jazzed about birth, or freaking out at the sight of your ballooning body, or thinking that there’s no way you’ll be a “fit mother.”

Your kindest self won’t knock you for having these thoughts and fears, but will whisper a calming “shhh” into your heart and give you a long hug. And if she really loves you, she’ll put you down for a nap.

 
You’re spectacular; remember that as you seek out these fabulous people existing outside your home, inside your partner, or within yourself. You deserve to have a tribe of loving, supportive, and judgment-free folks lifting you up and making you feel like the human-growing-goddess you are. 

P.S. Until 12.31.17 you can get 10% off my favorite baby carrier at ErgoBaby.com! Just use the super simple coupon code BBMkp9VIniU 😉 And, FREE shipping! 

Childbirth, Parenting, Pregnancy

3 Ways to Foster a Psychic Connection With Your Baby

Your baby can communicate from the womb if you just learn to listen. 

The Tibetans believe that pregnancy is the time when a woman has the strongest connection to “another realm” because her baby is living partially in her body, and partially in the spirit world. This spiritual gateway is also believed to release the full voice of the woman’s intuition, allowing her to send and receive messages to and from her baby.
 
For some, these messages come via clear voices heard in the mother’s mind, or said by another at the exact time the mother is asking a question of her unborn baby. But, for many pregnant women messages from their baby come through in more abstract, but just as powerful, channels.
 
Following are ways you can open up this magical communication channel with your baby, helping to ensure they’re able to be one of your guides throughout pregnancy and childbirth. 
 
1. Clearing the Clutter

When the energy around or within you is stagnant, the channel of communication between you and baby becomes blocked. To begin clearing these blocks, get rid of the clutter in the primary areas you spend time in, only keeping objects and pieces of furniture that you love or add usefulness to your life. 

After your outer clutter is cleared, ensure your inner environment is uncluttered by forgiving others for wrongs you feel they’ve committed, and forgiving yourself for missteps you believe you’ve made. Just let it all flow out – your communication channel with Baby will blossom in the clear space that is left.

2. Practicing Heart-Centered Meditation

Now that you have a clear channel for communication, begin to tap into it by minimizing distractions, closing your eyes, and placing your hands on your belly.

As you sit, notice warmth from your heart center beginning to radiate down towards your uterus, then notice a warmth spreading up from the center of your uterus.

Allow the warmth from your heart and uterus to connect and create a channel of love that is alive with love for your baby, and from your baby.

You don’t need to search for any profound messages in this space, just sit, and be, and feel warm with your baby. 

3. Doing Free Flow Journaling

You’re now tuned in to a feeling-connection with your baby, and are now ready to explore your thinking-connection.

To do this, set aside twenty to thirty minutes, preferably after you practice the heart-centered meditation, and begin writing. There is no prompt for this writing exercise, just write whatever comes to you, even if you just write, “I don’t know what to write” for the first few minutes.

Let words pour out of you without pausing to analyze spelling, sentence structure, or even the topic you’re writing on – just keep writing.

You’ll likely notice, if you commit to the full time, that interesting and meaningful messages will begin flowing from pen to paper, maybe even messages that don’t seem to be coming from your own mind . . .

4. Becoming Aware of the New Rhythm of Your Thoughts and Desires

The more you tap into your psychic connection with your unborn baby the more you’ll notice the rhythm of your thoughts and desires shifting.

You may start to think about relationships, work, or maybe food in new ways, and notice that you’re having desires for conversations, experiences, or other facets of life that you never had before.

What if these subtle shifts are your baby communicating with you? Maybe this is his way of encouraging you to live a life that will optimally set the two of you up for your new life together – may be.

5. Taking A Few Moments of Stillness Before Acting

Subtle communication, with your intuition or baby, is often missed when you hastily move through life.

To ensure you’re able to honor the messages from your baby, pause before you speak, make decisions, or transition into a new activity. This pause may just last a few moments but can create the space for you to live with greater intention and a heightened awareness of the needs of your baby.

An added benefit of developing this psychic connection with your baby, before they’re born, is that it will make their transition from womb to the outer world smoother for you both. You’ll have a preexisting mode of communication, which will enhance your baby’s ability to “tell you” what they need, and your ability to decipher and respond to those needs.

This enhanced communication will also make the many moments of challenge easier to navigate because you’ll be connected to the bigger picture – that the two of you are co-authoring an epic love story. 

P.S. Until 12.31.17 you can get 10% off my favorite baby carrier at ErgoBaby.com! Just use the super simple coupon code BBMkp9VIniU 😉 And, FREE shipping!

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Hey Birth Companions! Here’s 7 Ways To Support Your Partner During Birth

This one is for you birth companions.

Many birth companions move into labor freaked out and clueless as to how to best support their partner, even if they had previously felt calm, prepared, and ready to see all the fluids.

When birth becomes real it is common for not just mom, but her partner as well, to freeze, forgetting much of the wisdom they learned in childbirth preparation classes or all the books they crammed in their brains.

While birth doulas are excellent at thawing out mom and her companion, a doula is (unfortunately) not an option for all women. 

If a doula will not be part of your birthing party (and even if he or she is), the following suggestions will help you ease your birthing partner’s discomfort throughout the journey into and through childbirth. 

1. Join Them In Childbirth Preparation Classes

Be an active participant in the childbirth preparation classes your pregnant partner elects. Go to all the classes, pay attention, take notes, practice the tools provided with your partner, read the book or supplemental materials offered in the class, ask the instructor all your questions – be involved. 

2. Anticipate Her Needs

Practice tuning into the needs of your partner now, so you’ll be more attuned to her needs during birth. Notice how she acts when she’s getting tired and offer her a snack, or a pillow.

Become aware of how she moves her body when she needs to pee and help her roll out of bed so she can clear that bladder.

Pay attention to your partner’s body language when she’s feeling physical discomfort and practice techniques like light touch massage, pressure point work, and assisting her into a more comfortable position to alleviate the discomfort. 

Become an expert in your honey’s non-verbal signs of need, so you can anticipate those needs during birth, providing support before she even knows she’s in need of it. 

3. Say Yes to Doing Less

Know that you don’t always have to be doing something to support your partner- sometimes, the best assistance is just holding her hand, closing your eyes, and creating a quiet and safe space for her to birth in peace. 

If you’ve honed your ability to anticipate her needs, you’ll only be acting when you sense your partner needs you to act – in the interim times, just breathe and relax. 

4. Silence Can be Golden

While some women desire a consistent stream of verbal encouragement, many women require silence (or mellow background music) to fully concentrate on breathing through their contractions.

Play around with this when your partner first moves into labor; watch her body language when you speak, then watch her body language when you sit in silence with her – when does she seem more relaxed?

Her tonal needs may change throughout labor, so stay tuned in to these needs, adjusting what is coming out of your mouth, or portable speaker, accordingly.  

5. Make Her Pee, and Drink Water

These two gems could be the best things you do for your partner. As women move into the thick of labor, they can lose touch with signals from their bladder because their uterus is sending much stronger signals.

A full bladder can impeded the progress of labor, and amp up the discomfort, so regularly remind your partner to use the bathroom.

Dehydration during childbirth can lead to complications, but can easily be avoided. Ensure your lady has a steady stream of water entering her system, by consistently offering her water.

Because holding a bottle of water, and tipping it back, can be way too much to ask of a birthing woman, have a straw handy so you can hold the water receptacle in front of her face, put the straw in her mouth, and urge her to drink.   

6. Pre-Clear Your Emotions

The emotions you’re exuding will be absorbed by your birthing partner- make sure you’re exuding the good stuff. 

Ensure you’re moving into birth with a clear mind and heart by doing whatever you need to do to release your fears surrounding birth, and becoming a parent. Journal, meditate, see a therapist, have some heart to hearts with other parents you know – do whatever you need to do to ensure your “stuff” is cleaned out, or at least compartmentalized, before you move into the role of birth companion. 

7. Be Her Advocate

You’re not in the birthing space to support the doctor, nurses, your mom, or even your self – you’re there to support the lady birthing a baby. 

Talk over the birth plan with your partner a few weeks before the due date to ensure you fully understand her preferences, and why they’re important to her. She will likely need you to act as her advocate as many birthing women have trouble articulating their wishes. 

You got this. 

P.S. Until 12.31.17 you can get 10% off my favorite baby carrier at ErgoBaby.com! Just use the super simple coupon code BBMkp9VIniU 😉 And, FREE shipping!

Mind-Body-Spirit, Pregnancy, Self Love

5 Practices That Will Help You LOVE Your Postpartum Body

Body shame is a master at sliding in after baby slides out, potentially increasing your chances for postpartum blues or depression. This body shame is often a product of the early postpartum body appearing to be 4-5 months pregnant for many weeks or even months after baby is born.

This “in-between body,” a body that is no longer bearing a child but is far from resembling its pre-pregnancy physique, can be challenging to feel love for. 
 
But, doesn’t that heroic body that just accomplished an epic feat deserve to be looked at with awe, and lived in with appreciation? Yes, you and your beautiful body deserve to be loved and honored. And yes, it’s possible to get yourself into that sweet space of body-lovin’.
 
Here are five steps to help you begin integrating with your transformed body, learning how to love all of it in the process – maybe even more than you loved your pre-pregnancy body.
 
1. Find New Role Models For It

Instead of flipping through magazines featuring celebrities who “Lost All the Baby Weight in Six Weeks!” seek out role models for your body that are exemplars of health versus external beauty.

Find examples of mothers who learned to work with and adore their new body by offering it nourishing food, moving it in ways that felt good, and learning to touch it and look at it with pleasure and appreciation, even if it was bigger or softer in some areas. Seek out real women who became champions for their postpartum anatomy.
 
2. Honor It

Your body conceived, grew, and birthed a new human! Holy moly! What a miracle.

Your body is a miracle. Mull on that for a moment – really settle into a knowing of how amazing your body is.

When you shift your focus from what your body looks like, to what it can do,  your love for it will expand exponentially.

Your body is a master craftswoman of humans!
 
3. Move It

One of the best ways you can show love to your body, and then feel that love, is by moving it – get your blood pumping, endorphins flowing, pores opening, sweat releasing, lungs expanding, muscles working, and mind clearing.
 
There’s no need to subscribe to a new extreme fitness regime, but walking down the street, taking the stairs, going to a yoga class, or engaging in any other type of movement that feels good to you can shift the way you experience your body and infuse a fresh dose of respect into your relationship with it.
 
4. Touch It

I avoided all contact with my stomach and nether regions for the first six months after my son was born – I would wash as quickly as possible, skip my belly when applying lotion, and put clothes on ASAP. I felt completely disconnected from a significant piece of my Self.
 
Even if it’s difficult at first, and your ego repeatedly cringes, make yourself gently feel your new body – all the nooks, crannies, soft edges, ripples, bumps and swollen bits. Find a private space, get naked, and explore the new landscape of your body.
 
5. Look At It

Now that you’ve allowed your sense of touch to become familiar with your body, introduce it to your sense of sight.

Much like the last exercise, it’s best to get naked for this experience. Stand in front of a large mirror, look into it and smile at yourself. Gaze into the depths of your eyes then slowly scan down from there, pausing on each section of your body until you feel appreciation for it.

Avoid the temptation to skip over aspects of your form you think of as “a work in progress” or “unappealing.” Every inch of your body has beauty and value because it is all a piece of the Miracle of You.
 
These integration practices will help you find peace with the current reality of your body, which often creates the motivation for you to continue taking healthy steps to get it back into its optimal shape (a shape that is different for everyone!)
 
You’ll also be pleased to discover that by loving your body as is, and releasing your resistance to that belly pooch or tapestry of stretch marks, fresh pockets of time open up in your day that can be filled with enjoying the precious product of your body’s hard work. 

P.S. Until 12.31.17 you can get 10% off my favorite baby carrier at ErgoBaby.com! Just use the super simple coupon code BBMkp9VIniU 😉 And, FREE shipping!

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Why You Need to Forget About Your Due Date

There are few events as anticipation-worthy as the birth of your child. You’ve been growing your little nugget for many months, wondering if they’ll look like you or your partner, if they’ll adore you or ignore you, if they’ll be smiley or stoic… so many “what ifs” to discover. And now, you’re almost there. You’re so close your heart can taste the sweet flavor of that first meeting.

But wait, when will that meeting occur? On your due date, right? Maybe. Maybe not.

According to a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences there is a variation of 37 days in pregnancy length of women who conceived naturally and knew the date of their conception, “even after excluding women with complications or preterm births.” A 37-day range!

This study suggests that fetal development rates are unique to each mother and baby, proving there is no way to determine exactly when you will go into labor, unless you need artificial induction or a cesarean section because of special circumstances.

So, you’re required to sit pretty and not so patiently wait for Baby to give the signal that he’s ready to come out.

To make the waiting game a little easier, try out the following suggestions.
1. Relish the Last Days In Your Current Life

You deserve to experience joyful anticipation as you near the unknown birth date of your baby- not increasing anxiety because Baby didn’t come on the day she “was supposed to.”

So, instead of trying to force Baby out by dousing your meals in hot sauce, slipping some Castor oil in your orange juice, or lunging up and down your street while eating dates, lie on the couch with your partner and binge on a show that’s wildly inappropriate for children, get a pedicure, or, if you already have a child, take them on a date.

When you give your mind something to focus on (besides the fact that you haven’t gone into labor) it’s easier to enjoy the final days of spending time with the current makeup of your family and self – because as you might have heard, everythingchanges after Baby emerges.

2. Distract Yourself With Relaxation

Feeling bummed after your due date has passed not only negatively impacts your mental state but can cause your body to kick into a “fight or flight” response. In this state, your body floods with stressor hormones, your muscles tighten, your breath becomes shallow, and your blood redirects to your defense organs (the uterus is not a defense organ.) These unfavorable conditions can block your uterus and baby from flicking on the green light of labor.

To get into a Zen zone ripe for the onset of labor, practice relaxation techniques like meditation, a soak in a warm bath, deep breathing, yoga, or a prenatal massage.

Distracting yourself from laboring thoughts may be all you need to move into it.

3. Stop Telling People Your Due Date
 
I’ve seen women dis-invite mothers, sisters, best friends, and others from their child’s birth because they became so annoyed with these folks hassling them on their due date, and every day thereafter.
 
If you’re asked over and over and over again if you’re in labor (when you’re not in labor) you may begin to feel like you’re doing something wrong–that your body doesn’t know what it’s doing–that your baby doesn’t want to come to you. These are untrue thoughts, but thoughts that can send you into labor uncertain about your birthing abilities and frustrated with your supporters.
 

The best way to fend off the “are you in labor yet?” calls and texts, is to share the general time of month you’re due, instead of the exact date your care provider offered.

If, for example, your care provider gave you the due date of May 18th, say you’re due “mid-May.” If you’re given the due date of January 27th, you could say, “I’m due the end of January/ beginning of February.” Or, you could just share the month, without further details.
 
If you’re pressed for an actual date, fib and say your doctor had trouble determining an exact date, so they gave you a range instead.
 
As you, and those you share deets of your pregnancy with, shift focus from a number on the calendar, to a trust that Baby will come when they’re supposed to, you’ll find more enjoyment in the final phase of pregnancy, your body will relax enough to go into labor when it’s ready, and annoying “check ins” on The Date won’t happen.
 
Hey girl, don’t be afraid to be vague.

P.S. Until 12.31.17 you can get 10% off my favorite baby carrier at ErgoBaby.com! Just use the super simple coupon code BBMkp9VIniU 😉 And, FREE shipping!

Parenting, Travel

The Mom Who Is Stepping Off a Building For Her Son

If you’re a mom, it might not surprise you that there are women out there literally stepping off a building to support their children.

Sheila Bierwert is one of these women. This year will be Sheila’s seventh time participating in the Over the Edge event at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort, which raises money for The Special Olympics Hawaii. The fundraiser consists of participants (who were able to raise $1,000 or more for The Special Olympics Hawaii) rappelling over the edge of the 40-story resort.

I asked Sheila what the most intimidating aspect of the rappelling was, and her answer was appropriate for so many risks in life: the hardest part is taking the first step. Luckily, the rooftop Over the Edge staff is well versed in how to supportively coax rappellers off the edge of a building.

Sheila is willing to take this first step over and over again to show support for her son Trevor, who has special needs, and the other Special Olympics athletes who she says face challenges on a daily basis.

Sheila Bierwert
Sheila with her family.

Her family has become so involved and inspired by this event (they’ve raised $40,000 so far!) that her daughter Emma will be taking that epic step with Sheila on October 28th.

And, while some thrive on the adrenaline something like rappelling shoots through the body, Sheila is not one of them- she says she doesn’t even enjoy going to amusement parks. But, love for a child will do that to you: it will pour a dissolvent over your fears.

If you’re interesting in supporting this fundraiser, click here!

 

Childbirth, Pregnancy

5 Essential To-Dos Before Getting Pregnant

Why wait until pregnancy to soak your Self in tender loving care?

By taking steps now to nurture the health of your body, and overall life, you can infuse your eventual pregnancy with heightened vitality and a more peaceful and appreciative energy.

Following, are actions you can take to begin preparing your Self for the epic journey into motherhood you are hoping to begin.

1. Prep Your Body

Make your body the optimal vessel for new life by phasing out habits like drinking, smoking and heavy caffeine use, and…

  • Begin taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid
  • Eat organic fruits and vegetables (if possible)
  • Limit your intake of fish that is high in mercury
  • Just say no to processed foods
  • Under the supervision of your care provider begin a moderate exercise regime, if you don’t already have one
  • Up your water intake
  • Replace chemical-laden cleaning agents with organic alternatives (like vinegar, water and baking soda)
  • See your dentist
  • Schedule a preconception visit with your medical care provider who will look at the landscape of your health and fertility and make any needed recommendations to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy and birth (and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion!)

Phew! It’s a lot, but so worth it.
2. Nurture Your Romantic Relationship

A strange side effect of preparing for pregnancy is that romance is quickly pushed aside to make way for “the business of becoming pregnant,” and the woman begins treating her romantic partner like a business partner.

Ensure that you stoke that love, and don’t infuse too much business into “business time,” by going on regular dates (where you don’t talk about ovulation or pregnancy tests), write each other love letters, or do other activities that remind you why you’re wanting to create a whole new person with your current person.

3. Assess Your Finances, Then Plan Accordingly

Yup, making, baking, birthing, and raising babies costs money. First, take a good look at your health care coverage and determine if it will adequately cover your prenatal care needs, making sure you understand how much your deductible is and what types of care providers and birth facilities are covered. If, for example, you have your uterus set on a birth center birth, but you’re only covered for a hospital birth, you’ll need to consider what you’d have to pay out of pocket for that birth center care.

Next, take a look at your assets, monthly bills, and the income of both you and your partner – are there any adjustments that need to be made to ensure you’ll feel secure when baby arrives?

A major consideration is your employment. Do you work from home? Do you work in an office that offers paid maternity leave? No paid maternity leave? How will your work, and the attached income, mingle with a new baby? It can be overwhelming to chew on all these financial logistics but it’s better to do it now, than when you’re submerged in pregnancy hormones.

4. Massage Your Mental Wellbeing

Your body isn’t the only aspect of your health that needs nurturing: your mind will be a major player in a successful conception, gestation, and birth, so it’s essential to give it the care it needs.

If you feel that you have, or are at risk of developing, a mental disorder it is best to consult with your medical care provider and receive recommendations for mental health specialists. If you feel that your mental and emotional state is stable, but you would like to explore the inner workings of your mind, you may want to consider the services of a hypnotherapist, meditation teacher, or other type of alternative specialist.

5. Make a List of Dreams, Then Dive Into (Some of) Them

While your life will blossom in ways you didn’t even think were possible after you have your child, there will also be new limitations placed on your life. For example, it will be trickier to pick up and travel at a moments notice, go all-in with starting a new business, or read those one hundred books in one year after baby is born.

Make a list of all the dreams you would like to see come to fruition then rate them, with the items at the top being dreams you want to make happen (or at least begin pecking away at) before Baby is born, and the rest being actions or experiences you would be happy to explore with your little one in tow.

An added benefit of this exercise, and the attached dream-fulfilling actions, is that it can help to distract you from the stress of waiting for that positive pregnancy test, which may actually help you get pregnant.

So, go ahead and start checking off these boxes then . . . ready, set, toss that birth control!

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Press

Bringing Harmony and Balance into Motherhood

Today, I’ve invited Bailey Gaddis, author of the book, Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood – to join me for a dialogue about what it takes to create a balanced and harmonious experience as a mother. Her book was recently published by New World Library and is already receiving rave reviews.

Before she was a beloved pregnancy blogger, certified birthing doula and childbirth preparation educator, Bailey Gaddis met her own pregnancy by buying a bunch of books — which, for the most part, made her even more confused, insecure, and scared. So by adopting the principles and philosophy of feng shui, the Chinese system of a connected inner and outer harmony, she wrote her own book – one that guides women to their balanced center and supports them in tapping into the primal energies brought forth in the birthing and motherhood experience.

Here’s what she had to say on the topic of balance and harmony in motherhood.

Read more on Moonlight Muse

Childbirth, Pregnancy

11 Rainbow Baby Quotes To Remind You That You’re Never Alone

*Quoted as expert.

A rainbow baby is the life that follows the storm of a heartbreaking loss, and conceiving a rainbow baby is a testament of enormous faith in life and love. Whether you’ve trying to conceive your rainbow baby, or you’ve been enjoying the sunshine for a while, Romper reached out to experts willing to share their wisdom with us. The result is 11 rainbow baby quotes that may make you tear up — while hopefully helping you hold on.

With one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage and 1 percent of all pregnancies in the United States ending with a stillbirth, it’s no wonder that parents of rainbow babies need support, love, and a lot of hope. That’s where rainbow baby quotes come in — you’re not alone, and you should be reminded of that every day. Your guilt, your anguish, your fear, and even your joy over your rainbow baby are all exemplified here, in these 11 quotes.

Read more on Romper!