Thursday, April 28, 2011

Finding your own inner mother

"You have to find a mother inside yourself.
We all do. Even if we already have a mother,
we still have to find this part of ourselves inside."
- Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fear in Labor

Our body releases two hormones, epinephrine or adrenaline, that are responsible for the fight or flight response. This is when we shift into survival mode, when we feel that it is important for us to get out of a situation to protect ourselves. Our adrenal glands release these hormones in response to stressful situations which gives us the extra energy to flee or react to threatening times. Quite often in labor, women feel scared. Scared of the pain, scared of something going wrong, scared of their expectations not being met. When a laboring woman is scared, her body sends a message to the brain that she is being threatened. Thus, the release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands. Unfortunately, with the increase of adrenaline comes the decrease of oxytocin, the hormone that is responsible for uterine contractions. When scared, a woman's labor can slow or stop altogether.
"All mammals, including humans,share the same basic needs when they give birth. In a wild environment, a female mammal cannot give birth with a predator around.Thanks to the release of adrenaline, associated with fear, she can fight or flee. She will give birth later,when her adrenaline level has dropped; that is, when the danger has gone and she feels secure." (Childbirth Without Fear, Grantley Dick-Read)
So, this is why I like to work with mamas in pregnancy to acknowledge and work through fears and concerns they may have towards the birth process. Just to be able to talk about it and get it out provides a sense of relief. To acknowledge anything that may be worrying a mama can be a valuable an opportunity diffuse the fear and intense emotions, while developing coping skills to move through it if it does in fact occur. By acknowledging fears and concerns, mothers can feel more open, confident and secure as they approach childbirth and postpartum

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Protecting a new mama's mental health

I recently read an interesting article article about other cultures and how they help prevent postpartum depression.Kathleen Kendall Tackett is a health psychologist and an international board certified lactation consultant. She has written an interesting article about the new mama's mental health. She writes about social structures and cultural rituals that are in place to support and nurture the new mother. From social seclusion and postpartum rest to protective measures that reflect the new mother's vulnerability, these are some of the things that other cultures are doing as preventative measures against postpartum depression.
And, unfortunately, we are missing something in our culture. Many new mamas often feel alone and isolated. We don't have many of those beautiful rituals in place in our society. Therefor, we must begin in pregnancy to strengthen mothers from the inside out so when they transition into a new mother, there is a strong inner foundation in place. How do we do that? Well, this is what I am working towards...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Road to Balance

Ah, well, here I am. I haven't written a post in a few months. My absence brings clarity to the fact that everything in life is in a constant state of flux and inbalance. My eternal quest seems to be for balance. I'm looking for the secret to achieving such balance in my life with a family. There always seems to be something that takes a back seat. Whether it is exercising, or healthy home cooked meals, my work or spending really good quality time with my family. As I go through waves in life of paying close attention to something and really giving it energy, something else seems to get swept under the rug. And then, after a little while, the rug gets flipped and reveals what has been neglected, dusty and needing care.

So, my writing has been hidden under the rug. As a small business owner, I realize that blogging is important to spread the word about what I do. However, when I think back on the past few months when I haven't been writing, I realize that I have devoted more time to what really needed me and my presence- even if I should have been making more regular blog posts for my business.

And my lack of attention towards my writing has made me look at how I create balance in life. How do we listen for the imbalance and respond accordingly? How do we listen to what needs to be tended to and go from there? How do we gracefully, or not, let go of what isn't serving us in our lives and feed other areas? Such a big part of parenting is creating that balance and becoming familiar with our own feelings that show us that things are out of balance! A huge part of being conscious as parents is noticing our current mental state, regardless if it is positive or negative. Being aware, noticing what needs attention within ourselves and outside ourselves in our environment.

For me, creating this balance is one of the hardest parts of being a mother. I have to continually work on letting go of the idea of doing it all. It will never all get done. In fact, I'm lucky if I just get some of it done. How do I love myself within the process, whether it is graceful or not? How do I love myself on the days when I can't get anything done as much as those days when I feel as though I've figured it all out? I guess it's not really about the end result, it's about the road we take to get there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Restorative Yoga

A writer with Yoga Journal once said "If yoga were a smorgasbord, restorative postures would definitely be at the dessert table." I agree. Restorative yoga poses are nourishing and relaxing, providing us with that time to really be in the pose, as we slow down our bodies and calm our busy, ever chatting minds. What a beautiful type of yoga to do while pregnant. It is not so much about doing, but more about being within ourselves, in the moment, with our babies.

A huge thank you goes out to Michele Landegger, yoga teacher extraordinaire, who braved the thunder and lightning storm to come teach restorative yoga to the mamas in our circle. It was a rainy and cozy evening, with the fire lit, and we all spent an hour and a half melting into poses, fully supported by pillows and blankets. The time flew by as Michele guided us into 5 or 6 poses, I don't remember exactly because I was participating on my own mat, so I wasn't keeping track. I realized how lovely it was to stay in such a supported pose for a longer period of time, to breathe into it and let my body be fully supported. How nurturing it was and how easy it can be for us all to do it at home on our own. What a wonderful way to ease into sleep at night.

The one that everyone seemed to really love is the reclining bound angle pose, we used the strap around our ankles and our back, but it can be done at home with pillows on the bed and floor. It is a great way to open ones chest and heart, stretches inner thigh and groin muscles, while relaxing the mind and the central nervous system. Restorative yoga gives us a chance to slow down, breathe and savor the sweetness of life, as if it were a piece of chocolate cake.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


How do you find peace? How do you cultivate your own inner calm? How do you link yourself to that stillness within yourself, even when things are busy all around you? It is always right there. One breath away. Or should I say, one breath closer. When we practice meditation in our Pregnancy Circle, it can be simpler to get to that quiet, peaceful place because the external factors are in harmony with us. Lit candles, quiet room, dimmed lights. But what about when our kids are screaming? What about when someone screams from the car in back of us to go when the light turns green (yes, happened to me yesterday :) )? When our contractions are getting more and more intense and our partner isn't doing what we think he/she should do and there are too loud noises and it is hot and it is getting too hard....Get my point? How do we find that inner calm, that link to our own strength and essence that is always there waiting for us? Breathe, and you'll find your own answer within.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mindfulness, one breath at a time

"Pregnancy is a natural time to begin or deepen the practice of mindfulness. The increasingly dramatic changes that occur in our bodies and in our very perceptions, thoughts, and emotions invite new degrees of wakefulness, wonder and appreciation. For some of us, being pregnant may be the first time we experience being fully in our body." - Myla Kabat-Zinn

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a workshop of mindfulness and parenting with mother and author, Myla Kabat-Zinn. She is an extraordinary woman. I loved how authentic she was. She didn't pretend to know all the answers and she spoke honestly and openly about how challenging and beautiful life can be. She spoke about the journey in our lives as parents and how we can use the struggles and joys to bring more depth and insight to our lives. We can begin by cultivating self awareness, bringing attention to our thoughts, our feelings and then becoming more familiar to how we act and react in life. By witnessing who we are moment to moment, we can gain a greater understanding of ourselves and parent from a more grounded and clear place.

We can work towards acknowledging and making friends with all sides of ourselves, even the sides that may not be so likeable. This is what I love. Treating oneself with kindness and non judgement. We may not "like" certain parts of ourselves, but if we can notice them and not push them away, they may not rear their ugly heads so often. And when in fact they do, we can say, oh yes, here you are again...

About me

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I am a mother to two wonderful children. They are definitely my greatest teachers. My family and I are blessed to live in beautiful Ventura, CA, where I work part time at Sunrise Birthing Center, part time with pregnant women and their partners, and very, very full time raising my children to be creative and happy individuals. I love hiking, yoga, and laughing. Laughing is my favorite... And most of all, I love spending time with those that inspire me and touch my heart.

Let's Work Together...

I offer private sessions in the comfort of your own home. These sessions are focused entirely on what you would like to work on.

I also offer phone sessions for those who live too far to meet in person.

Please call me or email me for further information.