Category: Education

Girl Talk Workshops

By , December 6, 2012 4:54 pm

The summer session is scheduled to begin on July 13th 2013. Girl Talk’s goal is to empower, educate, and support 9-17 year old girls as they journey toward womanhood. This 6-week course will cover the biology, the history, the legacy, the commercialization, and the power of the female menstrual cycle while creating community and a safe space. Each class will be $20 or the entire course will be $100 if pre-paid. The fee includes supplies as well as ongoing support long after the course is complete! To register for the class or buy a gift certificate for a young lady in your life, please write to me at GirlTalk@stateoftheheart.n et

This Girl Talk Workshop is the class you WISH you had taken when you were young! Join me for this 6 week course on menstruation;  honoring their femininity; finding their power; discovering traditions from history and other cultures; creating self-empowering rituals; and embracing their authentic selves!
This Girl Talk Workshop will be facilitated by me, Justine Julian! My educational background includes anthropology, sociology, psychology and theatre. My professional training is in parent education,  pregnancy & childbirth support, midwifery, and child development.  My most important training and experience has been spent “in the field” while parenting my own 6 children over the last 24 years (including a fantastic 18 year old daughter who has taught me tons about the complicated and amazing journey into womanhood).
We will also be joined by Kathryn Hamilton who is a Fertility Awareness Method facilitator. She has also studied herbalism with Susun Weed and is a passionate advocate for healthy body image and body awareness for young women in our culture.
****While this workshop will be about very intimate aspects of womanhood, this particular workshop will NOT cover topics like sexual education. All of the material we cover in class will be age appropriate for girls in the 9-17 age range. Additional resources or internet pages may be sent home for YOU to research or share with the student to facilitate further discussion and ongoing learning. Some of these resources MAY incidentally contain more mature subject material.

Treating Pelvic Organ Prolapse

By , September 11, 2012 12:49 am

Written by guest poster Elizabeth Carrollton

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) affects approximately 50 percent of women between the ages of 50 and 79, yet most women are uninformed about the condition until they are diagnosed. Treatments for POP range from the natural and non-invasive to potentially risky surgical procedures. The more education women receive about POP, its causes, preventative care, and treatment options, the less likely they will be to face potentially risky surgical intervention.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse and its Treatments

POP occurs when muscles and tissues that connect and support pelvic organs become weakened. Pregnancy and vaginal childbirth are the leading factors that contribute to POP, however other factors include obesity, smoking and/or a family history of POP. Women can take proactive measures to prevent POP, such as making healthy lifestyle choices and doing daily exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
Once POP has been diagnosed, the treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that the most conservative and non-invasive methods of treatment should always be tried first before surgical intervention is attempted. Many mild cases of POP do not require treatment, and other mild to moderate cases can often be treated using non-invasive methods.

Non-invasive Treatments for POP

Pelvic Floor Exercises: These exercises, as well as Yoga and/or Pilates, can be used to strengthen the pelvic floor as well as other supportive core muscles. This can prevent POP and can often reverse mild symptoms to prevent further prolapse.
Electrical Stimulation: Doctors can use electrical stimulation on the muscles in the upper vagina and pelvic floor in order to improve their strength and tone. Then women can use exercises on their own to maintain healthy muscles.
Physical Therapy: There are physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor health. Depending on a woman’s symptoms, they can recommend other exercises and protocols for reversing/treating POP.
Pelvic Massage: Pelvic massage has shown a positive impact on POP. Massage nourishes pelvic tissues and can realign organs and tissues that have moved out of place. Combined with other physical therapies, Shiatsu, Myofascial Release and Mayan massage have been effective.
Pessary: A vaginal pessary is a device that is custom-fitted and inserted into the vagina to provide support. When used correctly, it has been successful in preventing organs from further prolapse and treating incontinence.

Surgical Procedures for POP

Surgical procedures are used for severe cases of POP in order to reattach and/or provide support for pelvic tissues and muscles. Unfortunately, one of the most common surgical procedures involves the use of vaginal mesh implants. Transvaginal mesh surgeries have been linked to thousands of cases of medical complications. Some of these complications are severe and cannot be reversed, even after multiple surgeries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several warnings about the risks involved with transvaginal mesh surgery. Many women have decided to a file a transvaginal mesh lawsuit against mesh manufacturers, to seek compensation for their injuries.
Women who require surgical intervention for POP should talk to their doctor about alternative surgical procedures, such as traditional surgery options. While any surgical procedure poses a level of risk, the traditional approach has not been linked to the level of complications associated with transvaginal mesh.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

Treating Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) affects approximately 50 percent of women between the ages of 50 and 79, yet most women are uninformed about the condition until they are diagnosed. Treatments for POP range from the natural and non-invasive to potentially risky surgical procedures. The more education women receive about POP, its causes, preventative care, and treatment options, the less likely they will be to face potentially risky surgical intervention.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse and its Treatments

POP occurs when muscles and tissues that connect and support pelvic organs become weakened. Pregnancy and vaginal childbirth are the leading factors that contribute to POP, however other factors include obesity, smoking and/or a family history of POP. Women can take proactive measures to prevent POP, such as making healthy lifestyle choices and doing daily exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Once POP has been diagnosed, the treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that the most conservative and non-invasive methods of treatment should always be tried first before surgical intervention is attempted. Many mild cases of POP do not require treatment, and other mild to moderate cases can often be treated using non-invasive methods.

Non-invasive Treatments for POP*

Pelvic Floor Exercises: These exercises, as well as Yoga and/or Pilates, can be used to strengthen the pelvic floor as well as other supportive core muscles. This can prevent POP and can often reverse mild symptoms to prevent further prolapse.

Electrical Stimulation: Doctors can use electrical stimulation on the muscles in the upper vagina and pelvic floor in order to improve their strength and tone. Then women can use exercises on their own to maintain healthy muscles.

Physical Therapy: There are physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor health. Depending on a woman’s symptoms, they can recommend other exercises and protocols for reversing/treating POP.

Pelvic Massage: Pelvic massage has shown a positive impact on POP. Massage nourishes pelvic tissues and can realign organs and tissues that have moved out of place. Combined with other physical therapies, Shiatsu, Myofascial Release and Mayan massage have been effective.

Pessary: A vaginal pessary is a device that is custom-fitted and inserted into the vagina to provide support. When used correctly, it has been successful in preventing organs from further prolapse and treating incontinence.

Surgical Procedures for POPSurgical procedures are used for severe cases of POP in order to reattach and/or provide support for pelvic tissues and muscles. Unfortunately, one of the most common surgical procedures involves the use of vaginal mesh implants. Transvaginal mesh surgeries have been linked to thousands of cases of medical complications. Some of these complications are severe and cannot be reversed, even after multiple surgeries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several warnings about the risks involved with transvaginal mesh surgery. Many women have decided to a file a transvaginal mesh lawsuit against mesh manufacturers, to seek compensation for their injuries.Women who require surgical intervention for POP should talk to their doctor about alternative surgical procedures, such as traditional surgery options. While any surgical procedure poses a level of risk, the traditional approach has not been linked to the level of complications associated with transvaginal mesh.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

* Justine here! I cannot say enough great things about these FOUR non-invasive ways of preventing and treating POP 1) Gentle Rebounding! 2) Proper alignment ala Katie Bowman and her info at Aligned and Well. 3) If you are local to the NWPA or WNY area, Christine Freeberry offers Mayan Abdominal Massage at her studio in Lilydale NY and I can tell you that it was amazing and really got me started on my journey to amazing pelvic health! 4) Also for the locals: check out the amazing work going on at Girl on Fire Movement Studio where Christine Claire Reed has the latest and greatest up-to-date training in keeping your body strong, flexible, and PROPERLY aligned at ALL AGES and ALL FITNESS LEVELS!

Book Review~ What NOT to Say: Tools For Talking To Young Children

By , July 12, 2012 12:25 am

This book arrived in my mailbox at JUST the right time. At 41+ weeks gestation, I was at the end of my rope pregnancy and feeling very little empathy or patience for the daily trials and tribulations of my other children. I was wrestling with frustration, fatigue, and was completely pre-occupied with the details of the impending birth of my sixth baby. Despite years of personal AND professional experience with Attachment Parenting philosophies and Conscious and Positive Parenting principles, I found myself falling back on knee-jerk responses to my children’s less-than-wonderful behaviors. It was not surprising that I was getting less-than-ideal results! Using judgmental and negative language with my children was doing very little to help them be their very best selves: the best selves that I know they (and ALL CHILDREN) desire to be. Thank goodness Sir Hubby could step in and bring some balance back into our home. While he was manning up and being a great dad those last few days of my pregnancy, I got to relax and curl up with this terrific new parenting staple!

In her new book, What NOT to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children, Author, Sarah MacLaughlin has combined the great communication skills of parenting guru’s like Pam Leo, Naomi Aldort, and Alfie Kohn and shapes them into bite-sized chunks of parenting gold! Even the busiest of people can easily grab this book and open it to virtually ANY page and quickly gain some parenting enlightenment. Anyone with a smart phone, tablet, or Kindle could open their digital copy and add a shiny new tool to their parenting toolbox while in a waiting room or while sitting  in the minivan during pick up time from soccer practice or dance class. This quick read is easy to digest and is like a breath of fresh parenting air. When you feel like you might just say something reactionary and dumb ineffective to your kids, you could cool down and learn something new in less than one-minute with this book nearby. Keep a copy in the bathroom and lock yourself in for your very own “time out” and effective communication refresher course!

My favorite part though? MacLaughlin has brilliantly added suggested reading materials to help families follow-up with the lessons they are learning together. I really love how this fits into our family’s unschooling mindset. Even learning how to be a better parent and more effective communicator can become a valuable lesson to be shared with our littlest citizens. I was excited to see that many of the books are already on our shelves or are easily accessible at the public library.

Of course parents will find the simple and effective tools in this book invaluable. But more importantly, this book should be standard reading material in every waiting room! Pediatricians, midwives, dentists, therapists, and any professionals who works with families needs to have this on their shelves. Grandparents, teachers, child care providers, and social workers should be familiar with the lessons contained within this book–give it to them as a gift! Anyone who wants to communicate with children (and heck, let’s face it—with ANY human) in an effective and meaningful way should be reading this book and revisiting it as needed. I will be suggesting this book to all of the families I work with and will encourage them to share it with the other adults who interact with their children on a regular basis. If we truly want children to listen to us, we MUST use the words that will get them to hear us. MacLaughlin teaches us how without clouding the issue with labels or judgement about what “kind” of parent we are. She simply shows us why the old words don’t work (and never have worked) and what we should say instead.

Final word: I wouldn’t tell parents to try it if I didn’t KNOW it worked.

Special Giveaway!
Please comment on this post with why you think this book would benefit you.Your comment enters you in the eBook Giveaway – to win an ebook copy ofWhat Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children in the format of your choice: PDF, epub, or Kindle format. Sarah will be giving away one copy at each blog stop and will announce it on the comments of this post within a few days. Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you in case you’re the winner!

Other stops and opportunities to win during this Blog Tour can be found on Sarah’s blog.

You can also enter at Sarah’s site for the Grand Prize Giveaway: a Kindle Touch. Winner will be announced at the end of the tour after July 15th.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post but did receive a complimentary book for the purpose of this review.  I only review products that I either have purchased myself and love or products I have been given a chance to review by the company that I believe are products my readers would benefit from.

Attached at the Heart VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY!

By , February 3, 2012 2:02 pm

It would be an understatement to say that I love this book. This is one of the most comprehensive texts on ALL of the principles of attachment parenting by the founders of Attachment Parenting International; Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker.

Attached at the Heart researches the eight main principles of Attachment Parenting (AP) in depth:

  • Preparing yourself for pregnancy, birth and parenting
  • Feeding with love and respect
  • Responding with sensitivity
  • Using nurturing touch
  • Ensuring safe sleep physically and emotionally
  • Providing consistent, loving care
  • Practicing positive discipline
  • Striving for balance in your personal and family life

There are very few books that I insist parents have in their personal libraries: this is one I wish I could buy in bulk and hand out everywhere I go. I feel so strongly about this that I am GIVING AWAY a copy of this incredible book to one lucky family in the month of February as a special Valentine’s Gift! To enter do ALL of the FOLLOWING:

  1. LIKE State of the Heart Parenting on Facebook (already being a liker counts!)
  2. Tag State of the Heart Parenting in a post on your own page talking about how one of the principles of AP has–or will–made you a more conscious parent.
  3. Don’t have Facebook? Leave me a comment under this post about how your child has blossomed or grown through AP…or how you hope they will in the future.

*Updated on February 14th: I used Random.org to choose a winner from all eligible entries. The final winners are Ashley & Jay who are expecting a baby soon! Congrats to them! I know they will LOVE having this book in their parenting toolbox!


Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children

“The key to successful parenting is not found in complex theories, elaborate family rules, or convoluted formulas for behavior. It is based on your deepest feelings of love and affection for your child, and is demonstrated simply through empathy and understanding. Good parenting begins in your heart, and then continues on a moment-to-moment basis by engaging your children when feelings run high, when they are sad, angry, or scared. The heart of parenting is being there in a particular way when it really counts.” John Gottman, PhD Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child (My second favorite quote from the book.)

In today’s fast-paced materialistic world, where every new parent is bombared with all the ‘essentials’ they must have for their baby, and where there are a seemingly limitless number of baby books and ideas on childrearing; it is extremely easy to forgot the most important parenting ingredient: a loving relationship with the child.

The main focus of the book though, is on building a strong relationship with your child above all else. This begins right at birth, if not before. This book gives you all the research and evidence you will need in order to follow your own parenting instincts, instead of the advice easily sprouted by friends, family, and even some professionals, that often goes against your gut instinct.

Babywearing: A World of Possibilities

By , October 17, 2011 2:18 pm

Momma Sarah keeps Eben close as they explore the shores of Lake Erie together in their Sleepy Wrap.

If you are pregnant and you happen to know me, then the chances are pretty high that we have already had this conversation. Babywearing will change your life. It will rock the foundations of what you imagined parenthood was going to be like. If this is the first baby that you have decided to wear, you will be able to join the ranks of mothers who cry to the heavens: I wish I had one of these with my other babies!

I have written numerous times about my own experiences with babywearing: about how to do it safely; how it keeps our babies happier; how it allowed me to keep my baby at the office with me when I had to return to work. I figured it was time to hear from some of the families I know or have worked with about the unique ways babywearing has impacted their lives and provided a world of possibilites for parenting:

The sleepy wrap was a wonderful way to have my mom and sister bond with Eben.   All my mom talked about was how she couldn’t wait to put him in a stroller and go for a walk.  I explained to her that the only way she was going  for a walk was if she put him in the sleepy wrap.  She was reluctant at first but once I helped her put it on, she fell in love all over again.  She raved about how wonderful it was to have him so close listening to her heart beat while they enjoyed a nice walk. A wonderful connection for the both of them. ~Sarah

The Sleepy Wrap is great device! One that lets you hold your child and accomplish a multitude of tasks… such as washing dishes or playing guitar. I believe every family would benefit from having and using one ~Bret

It did not feel natural to place him in any sort of baby contraption.   All of the STUFF I thought I would need went unused;  the crib  turned into a nice big laundry basket! And newborn clothes? Who needs those when baby is kept warm and snug close to your heart! ~Sarah

My aha moment came when I realized how silly it is to push a tiny 9 pound child in a 30 pound stroller/car seat combo…through a crowded room. People are much nicer about moving when the baby attached to you. I also learned that nothing soothes a colic-y baby like a good snuggle in my wrap. Peace, love, and babywearing. ~Erika

My son who had reflux finally fell asleep after a feed (upright in our new-to-us ring sling) and I could actually go do the dishes instead of having to lay on the sofa while he slept on me. He was 4 months old at that point. ~Nichol

I had tried it when my first was born, but didn’t have the knowledge and support to follow through. When my second was born it took me a few weeks to remember my ring sling in the closet. I took it out and took the time to get it right. I could play with my 2 year old without neglecting the baby. This is how it was supposed to be. Also when I was able to put baby on my back in a woven wrap and do laundry, I felt productive again! I am now a member of the local Babywearing International! ~Heather

Hottie McDaddy keeps this baby warm in the Peekaru!

Camille McConnell, a local Sleepy Wrap retailer here in Erie, was kind enough to provide State of the Heart with a beautiful Sleepy Wrap so that I have it on hand to share with families, let them try before they buy, and to give them a sneak peek at the world of possibilities that babywearing will open to their family! Hold the presses! There is some big news in Sleepy Wrap world: they are now called Boba Wraps… same wonderful wrap, different name!

But wait! That is not all: Camille also provided us with a Peekaru to test drive just in time for a brisk northwestern Pennsylvania autumn and winter! What is a Peekaru you ask? It is a fleece vest that zips over a soft baby carrier to keep you and your child warm. It fits comfortably over all carriers, including Hotslings, Ergos, BabyHawks, Mei Tais, and Boba Wraps. So, there are no more excuses for not wearing your baby in every type of weather!

Want to try both of these amazing products and many more? Join State of the Heart, from 7-9 pm on Wednesday October 26th at Caring For Women Midwifery in Sherman NY to participate in a Babywearing Workshop! We will have local retailers, like Camille from Boba Wrap and Mel of Mel’s Colorful Creations with plenty of wraps, slings, peekaru’s, and babywearing know-how on hand to get you off to the best possible start with Babywearing!


Why Our Family is Cool With Raw Milk

By , July 9, 2011 2:57 pm

We get our raw milk from a local source: it comes from Pot of Gold Dairy in Bear Lake PA and we purchase it at Duran's Farm in Waterford PA.

(and it’s okay if you are not cool with it…we still think you are probably a lovely person anyway. Just give us the same courtesy, mmmkay?) Farmers like Edwin Shank and his family know the importance of whole, living food and chose to consume raw milk products despite dire warning from “agencies” and “experts” that doing so may be hazardous. Shank, his family, and many more Americans are learning to “embrace living, whole foods, full of immunity-building probiotic bacteria and nutrient-absorbing living enzymes.” A healthy immune system is the backbone of our overall health. Having the ability to fight off and recover from germs, bacteria, viruses and other creepy crawlies on our own is what our bodies are designed to do. Shank states that raw milk is “full of unadulterated, unprocessed, unmessed-with, cell-nourishing, cell-repairing raw fats and proteins.” He also points out that a “bulletproof immunity is our only protection against the pathogens of our environment.”

Yet, we interfere in the creation of a bulletproof immune system in almost every aspect of our lives. When our bodies are weak from a lifetime of being protected from every germ, we are susceptible to even trace amounts of bacteria in our food and water supply. Birthing in sterile environments reduces our exposure to our mothers natural bacteria colonies and has far reaching consequences for our long term gut health. Artificial infant feeding methods weaken our immune systems as we grow. Consuming dead, sterile, and overly processed food contributes little nutrition to growing humans. Our bodies are starving for real food and many of us are too weak to fight off even the most common allergens in our world like dust, grass and pet dander.

Many people are concerned about about the risks of contamination that may be present in raw dairy products. However, bacteria is not the enemy, our weakened immune systems are. Shank points out several analogies in his article which illustrate the common “risks” we take everyday because the benefits are such a boon to our standard of living. We don’t eradicate these activities from our lives, we simply try to engage in them as safely as possible. Of course, raw milk may contain pathogens which could cause illness in a person with a weakened immune system. However, as recent “outbreaks” of foodborne illnesses (and even death) have proven, so do allegedly “safe” foods that people commonly consume from grocery stores, restaurants, and other FDA approved sources: peanut butter, ground beef, spinach, and even pasteurized milk. We believe that the benefits of consuming raw foods outweigh the risk for my family. We are healthier, stronger, and suffer from fewer allergies and illnesses than we did before.

We cannot keep ignoring the core issue: we need to restore good health to our population and make every attempt to bring babies into the world with their natural immune responses working optimally instead of creating more and more elaborate band-aids to cover up the problem. Pasteurization and other modern big-business farming methods— such as anti-biotic and hormone use— are only necessary when we have a chronically ill population consuming these products. Healthy individuals have the ability to become stronger from naturally occurring bacteria and need little help from modern science or technology to do it.

How can chronically ill mothers be expected to give birth to babies with anything except even weaker immune systems? Ideally, we would restore balance to our health before conceiving our children, but as a mother to five and as a birth worker, I know that the reality of family planning is often complicated and unpredictable. It is imperative for all expectant mothers to begin consuming living, unprocessed, unaltered food to restore optimal gut health and to rebuild their immunity before they give birth. While raw milk may not be the solution for every family, recognizing the lessons that farmers like Mr Shank already know can inform our choices when growing a new little life and a brand new immune system.

What does your family do to promote optimal gut health and strengthen your immune system?

The Truth About Raw Milk: Common Sense about Raw Milk from a Raw Milk Dairy Farmer by Edwin Shank from Pathways to Family Wellness: Winter 2010, Issue 28. Pages 26-29.

Validation Comes Full Circle

By , June 24, 2011 11:45 am

Today, I am sharing a letter that I received after Mathilda was born in 2008 from my friend Val. When I began my journey as a doula, an advocate of family-friendly maternity care, and more recently as a student midwife, I remember having the feeling that I was healing something inside of myself– and certainly– this factored heavily into my career choices. But more important than my emotional well-being, was my sincere desire to spare just one person the harm that I had endured from an indifferent maternity care system. My first website, JulianArts, was a basic “here are my services as a doula” page and it morphed into a blog of sorts, and a place for me to post things that peaked my interests, captured my imagination, and irritated the hell out of me. At the time, I wasn’t aware that I was also providing something very personal to my readers. Of course, that site evolved into the one you are reading now. The power of words hadn’t fully revealed itself to me when I began this journey. I thought that the real work of supporting and empowering women had to come from hands-on work. Being there for women. Holding their hands. Rubbing their backs. Encouraging them when their faith was waning. Crying with them. Sharing their joy when they meet their baby.

But this letter moved me in so many ways and made me realize that the power of sharing our stories really can make a difference. I felt such joy at hearing that a smart, beautiful, talented girl like my friend was going to put so much thought into having babies–how lucky for that baby! I felt such pride at knowing that I may have even a small part to play in her future commitment to empowered parenthood. No matter what choices she does make, I know that there will be a happy momma and a happy baby at the end of her journey.

Her letters’ subject was “Thank You” but is me who needs to express gratitude for the blessings this letter has brought; a renewed enthusiasm for my calling as a advocate for mommas and babies; validation that my work is not in vain; the knowledge that one person CAN make a difference in the world. I share these blessings with my daughters and know that we are well on our way to a brighter future for all families.

Justine,
I just wanted to let you know that, though I am not planning on having children for a few years, I am truly inspired by what you represent. I come from a large, Irish Catholic family, full of women who have birthed in hospitals with unnecessary C-sections, inducements, stitches and scars. As I get older and closer to marriage and children of my own, I have often wondered if I would have to endure the same when it is my time to bring a new life into the world. Having seen your profile and the JulianArts website, I now understand and am happy to know that there are options when I decide it is time. It is comforting to know and learn about doulas and other birthing experiences, such as the water birth you have described, that seem more fitting, natural and beautiful in order to welcome a baby into the world. I think it is wonderful that you share your experiences so that other women, such as myself, can learn about better options for birthing, and I wanted to thank you for doing so. Though I still have at least 2 years before planning children of my own, birth and babies are things which I have been surrounded by all my life (as the oldest in my generation of the family). These are things I have recently started to think about so that, when the time comes, I am well informed and have a great idea of the experience I would like to have as a new mommy. So, Justine, thank you again for the experiences and information you share. I know that, in time, all of this will mean even more to me as I begin my journey of hopefully beautiful pregnancies and to welcome children of my own into the world. Congratulations, again, on the new beautiful girl in your life! xo Val

The best part of this letter is that this beautiful young lady has now married and is halfway through her first pregnancy. She is telling her story and sharing her journey at This Whole Mommy Thing and I my heart could not be more full of joy for her and her family.

Win a Copy of What Babies Want and Spread the Word

By , June 15, 2011 9:09 pm

What Babies Want

Earlier today, I watched a You Tube video that Gloria Lemay had posted on her facebook wall. I won’t link to it here just because it was so horrific. If you want to cry and feel sick to your stomach, just type “normal birth” into any search engine and I am certain you will find 1000′s just like it.  The video was entitled “Normal Birth” but it was anything BUT normal to those who have seen how beautiful and gentle birth CAN and SHOULD be. However, sadly, it was certainly a “Typical Birth” for the majority of women and babies in the world. Typical in that the mother was in stirrups, lying flat on her back and was given a generous episiotomy for no good reason. The medical practitioner who was “delivering” the baby was using tremendous force to yank the baby out of the mother’s body; twisting and wrenching the baby side-to-side while palming the entire head. The baby was instantly whisked away into another room– screaming and terrified— then brutally gagged and choked in an effort to suction mucous out of his throat. Thankfully the video ended there…but the parents in the video were thrilled with the outcome of their birthing experience; they were so thrilled that they shared the video with the whole world. The medical staff seemed to be enjoying a “typical day at the office” as they abused a newborn baby with useless, invasive and potentially dangerous routine procedures.

How can we be surprised that our world is full of fearful, hateful, and violent people when we sanction violence and abuse of our newly born? Born in pain. Born in terror. We are reaping what we sow. Are we really blind to the correlation?

There is a better way though. People like Michel Odent, David Chamberlain, Karen Strange and Debby Takikawa are combining research with their professional experiences in the pregnancy and birth field to change the way we think about our tiniest and newest humans.

I care so much about reaching everyone with the messages of these pioneers in infant and maternal health that I am giving away a copy of the DVD What Babies Want. In this beautiful documentary by Debby Takikawa, you will learn what it is that babies really want and need to begin their earth-side journey as whole and healthy human beings.

To enter to win this DVD, simply LIKE State of the Heart Parenting on Facebook and ask your pregnancy, birth and baby loving friends to LIKE us, too. As soon as we hit 250 LIKES I will draw a winner from all of the LIKERS on our Facebook page.

7/18/11: We have reached 250! I am so happy to be sharing this DVD with one of you!



Slow Parenting and Child Honouring Go Hand-in-Hand

By , June 1, 2011 6:31 pm

Slowing Down For Spring

I have just begun to read Child Honouring: How to Turn This World Around with a foreword by the Dalai Lama and edited by Raffi Cavoukian. It could not have arrived at a more auspicious moment in my life. I was brainstorming ideas for an online parenting class which would convey the complex and emotional work that goes hand-in-hand with connected, conscious, attached parenting philosophies. I have found what I was searching for. The covenants for honouring children include principles that are near and dear to my heart as a parent and birth worker; the covenants inspire us to respect children by engaging in conscious parenting, engaging in activities at every level of our lives that reflect stewardship for our children and our planet, and “organizing society around the priorities and needs of its youngest members.” As I delve further into the concepts I will undoubtedly have more to say. But in the meantime, I just wrote a guest post about Slow Parenting and our transition from winter learning to spring exploration over at Becoming Crunchy which addresses many of these same issues. Be sure to head over there and check it out!

Spring Fling Ring Sling Giveaway!

By , May 31, 2011 11:02 am

Spring Fling Ring Sling!

My beautiful friend and sister momma-homebirthing junkie, Mel, has generously donated one of her most stunning creations to-date; she has lovingly made a beautiful handmade ring sling and one of YOU will get to wear a baby in it!

The benefits of babywearing are so numerous that I cannot possibly post them all in one sitting. But here are a few of my favorites:

Wearing your baby can make your life with a baby (or a toddler, or both) much more manageable. Seriously, how on earth do you play tea party or smash ‘em up car races for the 90th time today without keeping your new baby safely tucked into your body?

Wearing your baby allows you to weave through crowded museums, zoo’s, and city streets with ease and without getting stuck in stroller traffic jams.And try stuffing a stroller into your purse or diaper bag!

A beautiful sling can dress up even the most spit-up on yoga pants and saggy tee-shirts! Wearing your baby is also a great way to camouflage your post-baby body if you are still feeling unfamiliar with your new curves. And the beautiful tail on this one can double as a nursing cover in public  if you both are still learning good latch techniques and feel the need for a little privacy.

Babies cry less; in the US it is estimated that babies cry 4 hours a day on average. I am pretty sure that if I added up all of the minutes that all 5 of my babies spent crying I MIGHT get to 4 hours total.

Babies can’t learn as well when they are crying and using their resources trying to get their needs met; babies who are worn have the opportunity to learn more!

Worn babies learn to see the world from a safe and normal vantage point: they get to look adults in the eye when they are speaking to them and engage in communication much more effectively then when they are buckled into a container with a view of the lights overhead.

Update 10pm June 14th, 2011: This contest is now closed…no more entries will be accepted for this giveaway. Congratulations to Jasmine C. who is our winner.


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