where does this go?
a chance to help…
There is now a new page for those of you who are interested in giving/donating/showing your appreciation. I am not soliciting for gifts, but I have been asked by those that I have helped in the past how they can return the favor. Please check out the donate page if you feel inspired!
just to make you feel uncomfortable…
I love it when famous people come out of the closet about their home birth experiences! Jim Gaffigan does a hilarious comedy skit on home birth!
Do yourself a favor and tickle your ribs with this video:
5 myths about midwives
I was recently lunching with a friend that had given birth to an adorable baby boy a few months ago. It was the first time we had met up since she became a mother and she finally had a chance to tell me the full story of his birth. It was very difficult and a constant refrain was “I wish I had chosen a midwife” “If I ever get pregnant again, I’m definitely choosing a midwife” “We NEED more midwives!” I was sad she had experienced such a difficult pregnancy, labor AND postpartum. I am frequently faced with pregnant women who are trying to make choices for their pregnancy and birth. I always suggest they look into midwives and it seems like very few, if any, take my advice.
I asked my friend, “I’m glad you feel so strongly about the benefits of having a midwife. Why do you think women don’t choose midwives?”
Through her response and our discussion, I realized there are a few common myths or misconceptions about midwives. If only women knew the facts! I’m sure more women would chose midwives and have a happier and healthier birth experience. So here’s the truth, and nothing but the truth:
1. MYTH: Midwives aren’t medically trained to deliver babies.
FACT: Certified Midwives (both Certified Professional Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives) are well experienced, well trained, professionals! Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) have gone to school to become RN (Registered Nurses) and then went back to college to get an additional degree specializing in midwifery. They then take a nationally recognized certification exam.
FACT: Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) have two routes: complete a 2+yr academic program in addition to getting 2+years clinical experience (at home births and/or in a birth clinic), or complete 3+ years of intense clinical experience. Both routes require the midwife to take the same nationally recognized certification exam as CNMs and get licensed in their state.
FACT: Both CNMs and CPMs provide all of your prenatal care and are the only ones needed at your birth to deliver your baby. Midwives are qualified to provide care for you and your newborn for at least 2 months after birth.
2. MYTH: Midwives aren’t as good as OB/GYNs.
FACT: Historically, midwives have been around longer than OB/GYNs and have passed their generations of information onto one another. Midwives trained some of the first OB’s.
FACT: Midwives are trained to trust, encourage, and guide normal labor. Roughly 85-90% of births are “normal” and do not require emergency surgery. OB/GYNs are trained to combat complicated births and therefore tend to treat birth as an illness or problem. Midwives have seen more natural, safe, healthy births than OB/GYNs with decades more of experience (many OB/GYNs have never seen a natural birth!). Midwives have numerous techniques they can use to help aid a difficult labor before resulting to interventions such as induction, forceps, episiotomy, or cesarian. While midwives rely on natural methods first, they are NOT against medicine, and they are thankful for the benefits hospitals can offer for births that truly need medical intervention.
3. MYTH: OB/GYNs give you better prenatal care.
FACT: Midwives care about all of you; mind, body and spirit. They acknowledge the effect your mental, emotional and spiritual health has on your physical health. The average prenatal visit with a midwife is +1hr, while the average OB/GYN visit is 15 minutes.
4. MYTH: Midwives aren’t as safe as OB/GYNs.
FACT: Midwives have better maternal and infant outcomes than OB/GYNs. The average cesarian rate for a midwife is 10%, while for an OB/GYN it is around 32% or more (resource ACNM)! To give credit where it is due – midwives have lower rates partially because midwives only take on low risk, healthy mothers while many OB/GYNs have to take on more complicated pregnancies. But there is also the factor that midwives treat the whole woman, anticipate health problems and treat them before they become serious and trust natural birth.
FACT: Midwives give better personal and more thorough prenatal, labor and postpartum care. As stated above, they spend more time with you, get to know you better and see signs of potential health risks earlier than an OB/GYN would. They know your personal health and help you combat pregnancy complications (such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes) before they become serious health issues and risk you out of their care. They use natural, healthy ways (such as diet, exercise, and herbal medicine) to help you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.
5. MYTH: Midwives cost too much.
FACT: Midwives are cheaper than OB/GYN. The average midwife costs roughly $4,000 for all of your prenatal care AND birth (this varies by the midwife, their practice, their experience and location). The average OB/GYN prenatal care costs $1,500. Then the birth can cost over $40,000 (I’ve heard over $100,000 as well)!
FACT: Even if your insurance covers the cost of an OB/GYN but doesn’t cover a midwife, you can end up paying MORE out of pocket for an OB/GYN, depending on how the birth goes. Be sure you know your policy and what “emergencies”, “complications” and additional fees they do NOT cover. You may find yourself paying more for mediocre prenatal care and a disappointing birth experience.
What facts and myths affect your decision on a healthcare provider?
sharing the struggle 3: doubt
Do Christian’s doubt? Do they have dark days where they feel uncertain of God’s sovereignty and goodness? The answer is: absolutely yes.
Today was one of those days for this Christian. I originally blamed my mood on the impending doom of menstruation. I always reach a low point a few days before the crimson tide and so when I woke up feeling a little on edge, uncertain, and dissatisfied I was reassured by the grinding pain in my lower back and burning ache in my loins that it was purely hormonal. I read about the Proverbs 31 woman as part of my morning devotional and set my gaze upon success for the day. I tried to continue with my to-do list despite this flooding tide of negativity that was coming upon me. I felt inadequate and overwhelmed. I was getting depressed.
My husband came home from work and I asked him to help me decipher what was going on. I didn’t want to admit it, but I had a sneaking suspicion that this was about more than hormones. He guided me through a discussion of how I was feeling and where these feelings were coming from. I began to realize I was struggling with the same sense of nothing’s ever good enough from before. WHAT?! Come on God, hadn’t we worked through this? Why is this still an issue!?? I want to be happy. I want to be in your will! I want to rely on You! Why won’t you let me be perfect??? Why won’t you let me get this concept and move on!!
I began to feel hopeless. I began to get this very certain sense that God didn’t care about me and I was just this puppet on a string that he was manipulating for his amusement. I was not pleased. As I talked through this with Micah I admitted I doubted God loved me at all. This tore me apart. It felt like the thing I had invested all my happiness in didn’t even care about me and was using my trust in him against me. I started crying. No, I started bawling. I went inside my mind and cried like a child. I cried with fierce anger and frustration. “Show me God! Show me that you love me!! I want to trust you, but I have so many doubts! It doesn’t feel like you love me! Show me that you love me!!”
The little girl inside my brain became hysterical. I was screaming for God to show me a sign that he loved me and cared. The little girl fell to her knees, as her voice became hoarse with desperation and exhausted frustration “Show me you love me!!!”
All the while my husband held me tightly as he watched his wife cry silently.
“What are you feeling Tasha?” he asked.
“I feel like God doesn’t love me. I feel hopeless and alone. I want to believe, but He’s not answering me”
“You don’t feel like God loves you? Do you want me to remind you of times you felt certain and overwhelmed by His love?”
“Yes, I want to believe again” I replied weakly
“Would you believe it even if I reminded you?” he said with concern in his voice.
“I want to pray for you first” And so he did. He prayed for me aloud as I prayed inside, the little girl’s fading voice prayed that God would show up.
As my husband opened his eyes after the prayer to look at me, he reminisced, “I remember when I was a boy I would get so angry at my parents for disciplining me. I would run to my room and slam the door and curse them. I was so angry and upset. I honestly felt like they didn’t love me and didn’t care. I thought that it would be better if they were dead. I would cry and resent them. But my parents were good to me and they did love me. They took care of me, fed me, bought me the things I needed and even a lot of the things I wanted. They loved me so much they wouldn’t let me sit in sin because they knew that the pain in my childhood would blossom into me becoming a mature, disciplined adult. Despite whatever that had happened that made me so angry with them, they didn’t stop loving me. In fact, they most definitely did it because they loved me very much. Their love for me hadn’t changed, it was my perspective that had changed.”
Fresh tears started to run down my face, “Thank you”
“I know now that God’s love for me hasn’t changed just because of how I feel or what I’ve done, it’s my perspective of God that has changed.”
“I’m glad you can see that Tasha. I know God loves you so much. I can see Him working in your life all the time. How do you feel now?”
“Better” I said as I hugged him tightly.
“Well, I think God just showed up”
I soaked up the moment, feeling relief and freedom from the dark burden of doubt, but something still lingered…
“I have to repent now, huh?” I asked childishly.
He smiled, “You don’t have to right now… but just like when you were a kid and got angry with your parents and yelled at them and said horrible things, it would feel weird to come back to God like nothing ever happened. It’s going to feel weird until you apologize. He’s forgiven you Tasha. He knows all of the awful things you said and thought and He has already forgiven you. All you have to do is turn to Him and apologize.”
I nodded. I knew he was right.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9-10
“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus…” Acts 3:19
I closed my eyes and found that little girl standing before the feet of God, looking up endlessly at her Father.
“I see now that you’ve loved me the whole time. I said awful things. My faith was weak and I doubted so quickly. I thought of You as a much smaller, pettier god than You really are. I’m so sincerely sorry.”
Am I alone in this? Have you had doubts about God’s love and providence? What do you do when you doubt?
sharing the struggle 2: nothing’s good enough
“If you want to guarantee that your life becomes a tragedy – become the hero of your own story” G.K. Chesterton
My life recently was becoming a tragedy. Everything was less than expected, sad, wrong, or imperfect. At first it just looked like I was disappointed with a thing or two each day. Then each day seemed to be full of let-downs. Life began to seem lack luster. I couldn’t be generally as happy as I used to be. Why? Why did little things like the dishes not getting done, or not having time to complete a craft destroy my mood for the rest day? Nothing was ever good enough anymore. I couldn’t enjoy the good things in my life because I let the little things bother me so much. And even after I saw that and pulled up my bootstraps and ‘decided’ to let go of the little things, I couldn’t. I didn’t change. I couldn’t change myself. Was I doomed to consider life miserable despite how blessed I truly was?
YES! I was relying on my standard and expectations to measure what was good and bad. But who am I?? I don’t have the whole world in my hand. I don’t have control over the universe. Yet I acted like I did by thinking that my plans HAD to work or else everything else was out of order and unfair. Thinking like this doomed me to be dissatisfied for the rest of my life. Not only that but it made God and his plan very very small.
“Oh, how much larger your life would be that you would become smaller in it” Pastor Tullian Tchividjian
I was essentially saying to God “I know you are the all-knowing, all-powerful God who loves me and designed me from the beginning of time with a plan for all my days, BUT i have a plan and if it doesn’t happen that way, I’m going to through a little temper tantrum about it” How’s that for a thank you to God for loving and creating me? God knows what I need better than I do and yet I get upset when I don’t get what I want.
It was only a couple weeks ago that I confessed this to God, repented and asked him to change my heart to seek his plan and be content knowing it’s better than my own. But already my view on life has improved dramatically. I am so much more resilient to changes in my day. I still make plans and lists, but I know that they are only a guide as God has the reigns. Which actually is a huge burden lifted off of me.
I once heard a friend tell me a bit about dog psychiatry (thanks T ;). She said that dogs need an Alfa dog in their pack to feel certain of what to do, where to go, and that they are taken care of. If the humans in their house do not demonstrate that they are the Alfa dog, then the dog feels the need to take control. But how can a dog take control in a human world? It’s very confusing and stressful for the dog. Have you seen those dogs that try to control their masters, are high strung and full of anxiety? That was me. I was running around frantically trying to make plans, trying to do things, and trying to be in control of a world I am most definitely not in control of, and God was still going about his plan! How wonderful it is to NOT be the Alfa dog and know that the Alfa dog has control, knows what I need, and it taking care of me!
I am still not prefect and I still try to act like the Alfa dog sometimes, but God is working on me everyday!
Can you relate?
sharing the struggle: the beginning
I once heard Katy Perry on the Ellen Show promoting her video documentary. She said that she sensed this would be a significant year of her life that would be full of big changes so she wanted it all documented. Well I’ve had that feeling since I was first introduced to the idea of becoming a missionary midwife a few years ago. I started blogging about it and then started a whole new blog just for this aspect of my life. 3 blogs, 2 twitter accounts and 1 Facebook re-activation later, I have still failed to share the real story. Why have I held back?
Look around you. Everywhere you look you see people telling you via tv, blogs, facebook, instagram, pinterest, and tumblr how wonderful their lives are, how creative they are, how much fun they are having, the great food they’re eating, the amazing places they’ve seen and the ways you can be/do the same. That’s what sells and that’s what people think they want to read about and see. But all it does is make you compare yourself to someone else’s life. Not even their actual life, but the sugar coated version they choose to share with you through a filter. I don’t know about you, but this has only made me feel like my life is lack luster and not as good as it could be. What I had hoped would inspire me has actually made me feel like a failure. Not all the time, but more than it should. Am I alone in this?
My husband has watched me struggle with this. I started with an honorable hope to inspire and educate others with what I am learning through this journey to become a missionary midwife but I have felt so intimidated by everyone else’s “life” that I have filtered mine until it was not the complete story. I started trying to people please, writing only what I thought people wanted to hear. This left me weighed down and uninspired. I have to go back to my roots and be true to why I am doing this.
God has this amazing story. And He has been gracious enough to make me a small part of it. God is doing amazing things in my life to complete His story and I want to share that with others. This means that my life is hard. I struggle. And this struggle can be burdensome, frustrating, and overwhelming if I look at it the wrong way. When I remember how much God loves me and that I struggle because He is pursuing me and developing me into a better person for His story, I truly feel blessed. He is not watching me struggle alone or forgetting about me. He is my Father, holding onto the back of my seat while I struggle to ride my bike without the training wheels. He won’t let go until I’m ready, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like He is holding on. But He is! And how wonderful it is to look beside me when I feel scared, anxious and uncertain and see Him stabilizing my life and smiling at me with encouragement! I want everyone to know that feeling. I want you to hear about my struggles and watch me forget God is there and then remember again. And I want you to be able to reflect on your own struggles (because we all have them) and be reminded to look beside you at the Comforter, the Father, the amazing personal God, guiding and loving us all. I hope you will join me on this series as I repent of the self centered use of my blog to get adoration and approval from people and let God redeem it to help others.
Disney’s “Story of Menstruation”
So you think you know Disney? Well, I’ll bet you 10 pogs and a thumper that you didn’t know Disney created an animated short film on the menstrual cycle and women’s health!
The things you discover when you look to youtube for help with your midwifery homework…
Oh, and you can keep your pogs.
Why choose a midwife?
Every woman goes through an incredible, life changing event when they give birth. The person you chose to care for you and your baby during that event effects generations. Here is a short clip on the philosophy of care midwives have for their clients.
The weight battle of the sexes
Why does it seem like men have it easier when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off? Through a combination of research and my own ideas I have come to the conclusion that there are 4 main reasons why men and women gain and lose weight differently. I warn you, the content of this post may seem very stereotypical, but I am using generalities to help explain.
1. body type: yes it’s true! women and men are built differently! men are genetically designed to have more muscle and less fat. A healthy body fat average for a man is 8-19% while healthy body fat percentage for a woman is 21-33% (Gallagher et al. Am J Clin Nut 2000; 72:694-701). Why is this? Well God is quite brilliant in his design. To be blunt and VERY general- men are designed for hard labor while women are designed to support childbirth (and I realize these are not the ONLY things men and women are designed for). Men tend build muscle more easily and the more muscle you have, the more energy you burn (Nutrition, Thompson & Manore), thus resulting in less fat. This is why it is a good idea for women to do strength training twice a week (according to the FIT principle). In contrast to men, women need more fat stores to be able to get pregnant, sustain the difficulties of pregnancy, and to make breast milk for their babies. Women who are underweight have a lot of difficulty getting pregnant, carrying the pregnancy to term, and producing breast milk. So, thank you Lord for the fat that enables us to have babies!
2. mind set: Women are emotional eaters. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Women tend to be more emotional and we like to sooth, encourage and drown our emotions in tasty dishes. Men are not as emotional as women, typically, and they do not feel the same urge to eat through their feelings. This makes it harder for women to have healthful diets, avoid temptation, or just get through a whole month without eating unhealthful foods.
3. environment and roles: On average, whether working or not, women spend more time in the kitchen. Despite the amount of women in the workforce, women still tend to do the majority of the cooking and grocery shopping. So it is natural for us to eat more (or at least be tempted to eat more) when we are surrounded by food more often (www.medicinenet.com).
4. perception: Women are creatures of beauty and we tend to be more aware of our appearance. On average, men don’t notice or care about their appearance as much as women do. Trust me, I know there are exceptions to this rule, but let’s stick with the majority here. Because of our keen sense of what we look like, we notice slight changes in weight and tend to be more concerned about it then men do. So frequently women will spend more time concerned about and worrying about their weight than a man would. This can give us the impression that men rarely have to worry about their weight the way that women do.
Both men and women struggle with weight, health and fitness. However, body types, mind set, environment and perception all contribute to the sense that women struggle with weight loss more than men do.