Preparing for labor and birth- my favorite resources

Thursday, March 25


This is a post I've been meaning to write since I was pregnant with Avonlea. 

That was four years ago, and I'm just now getting around to it before the birth of our 3rd baby ( due date is actually today! Come on out little guy! haha) 

I knew going into this process of preparing for birth that I didn't want to be overwhelmed with a million voices in my ear. I wanted to be selective in how I prepared myself with books and resources that resonated with my heart to be as natural and baby friendly as possible. 

In an effort not to overwhelm you, I will list the top 3 resources that impacted my mindset and I believe, truly prepared both my mind and body for an amazing labor. 

Just to preface, the number one lesson I learned from each of these resources is to keep your hands open to the birth that the Lord gives you. Often, if we go in with a PLAN of how WE want it, we will be gravely disappointed. No birth ever goes "according to plan" so it's best to just roll with the punches and allow your body to relax into the Plan HE has for you! 

With that same idea in mind, it's important to know that while I may have desired a fully "natural" type birth, part of keeping my hands open was truly knowing that having meds (wether induction medication or an epidural or anything in between) could be beautiful too. Avonlea's birth did NOT go according to what I had envisioned, but because my heart was so open, I look back at her birth story as so so beautiful and holy (even though I was induced and ended up needing an epidural). You can read more of her birth story here.  And Everett's birth was the total opposite of Avonlea's birth...all natural and so fast! It was crazy! 

Preparing for birth is far more than just knowing facts about how birth works, it's preparing our mind and body to relax and rest when we may want to fear. And these resources below are what really help me learn how to do that! 


A Heavenly Welcome- Kingdom Childbirth Class

In 2009, the Lord put the most incredible mentor and friend in my life named Kierra. We worked together at the same non-profit and over the years I watched as Kierra got married, had her children, wrote life changing books, and become a doula. Kierra has since helped thousands of women prepare and become confident in the birthing process God has for them. She started a ministry called A Heavenly Welcome and you will find the most amazing resources there. While pregnant with Avonlea I regularly listened to her podcasts where she would interview women about their labor and birth process, and it made me realize nothing goes to "our plan" but how was can truly live into God's plan and enjoy the birthing process. Kierra has lots of other great resources on her website 

Kierra also created an incredible Kingdom Childbirth Class which Kevin and I both took together. When you purchase it, you gain access to dozens of lessons that prepare your mind and heart both physically for what is about to come, mentally, and of course, spiritually. It was such a sweet bonding time for Kevin and I to go through it together. It also comes with a birthing soundtrack, scripture cards to take with you to your birth, and other printable birth resources. The great thing is, her class is so affordable (Compared to most birthing classes!) This was such a sweet foray into preparing my heart for birth. 


Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongen

Hypnobirthing: A Natural Approach To A Safe, Easier, More Comfortable  Birthing (CD is not included): Mongan, Marie: 9780757318375: Amazon.com:  Books

Don't let the title of this book scare you. Hypnobirthing is not hypnotizing yourself nor is it dabbling with something "new agey". It's actually an amazing method which helps you teach your body how to relax and release any fear you may have going into birth. The HypnoBirthing program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Essentially, it taught me so much about ways I could train my body to be at peace, even during the pains of contractions. I was induced with Avonlea, and was in hard labor for about 16 hours. I played the CD on repeat for hours on end, and it was what got me through the intense labor. Every nurse that came into the room commented on how peaceful and calming it was. I was actually able to sleep between contractions, because I had used the cd to train my body to be at peace with it. I LOVE this book and always recommend it to friends. 


Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth "Updated With New Material": Ina May Gaskin:  0074748342760: Amazon.com: Books

This book truly reinforced many of the things I learned in the resources above. It empowered me that my body was MEANT to birth a child, that childbirth is beautiful and holy and amazing. It had a lot of really incredible birth stories in it (which was fascinating to read), and gave a lot of info about how the body works during childbirth. It's probably slightly outdated now, but I still found the principles and encouragement really life giving! 

If you are preparing for your first birth or your third like me, these resources are all SO wonderful. 

I'm curious...what resources helped you to prepare for birth? 

Pray for me friends as I spend these last few days (or hours) preparing for the birth of our newest sweet boy!! It could be any day, hour or minute now, haha!! 

Let's come together for Galentines day!! An opportunity to love our sisters!

Tuesday, February 9


 

Have you ever heard the term "Period Poverty"? I hadn't, until last week when a friend posted a few statistics in her stories on IG. It really struck a nerve. 

Essentially, "Period poverty refers to the inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools.... In the United States women struggle to achieve adequate menstrual hygiene due to lack of access and lack of income." 

First of all, being on your period is BAD ENOUGH (amiright??!!??), but imagine not being able to afford sanitary products while on your period. 

Imagine having to choose between buying tampons or buying food. 

Imagine not having any sanitary products and being forced to skip school for a few days while on your period. 

Imagine making your own tampons out of toilet paper and hoping for the best. 

This is the stark reality for many beautiful women in our own country, and certainly a huge issue affecting women across the world. 

My friend mentioned someone she knew doing a sanitary product drive for her city, and I was so inspired I thought it would be great to do one here in Northern California where I live. I have contacted both the local homeless shelter as well as a few after school programs in our city, and both wrote back that this is a HUGE issue and they would LOVE the extra support. 

So...this Valentines day, I'd love to band together as women and gracefully overwhelm these awesome non-profits with a gift of sanitary products for their girls and women to use!!  

Here's what i'm thinking...
- If you are local, you are more than welcome to drop any pads or tampons at my house OR I would be more than happy to come pick them up from you! Please DM me for details. (You can give of what you already have, or purchase a new box. You can also send cash as well if you can't get out!) 

- For those who aren't local but want to give, please email me (hopeengaged@gmail.com) and I will give you my Venmo. I plan to go to the store and purchase a bunch of both pads and tampons! 

For reference, a box of tampons is around $10 and a box of pads is around $7!! 

Thank you so much for being willing to give! I can't wait to bless these amazing organizations that support those in need. Valentines day, a day of love, is about so much more than just romantic love. It is acts of service and kindness that can demonstrate our love for our neighbor as well. Let's do it together!! 

Happy Valentines week friends!! 

You will not be "stuck" forever, God is still at work

Wednesday, January 27

Exactly 2 years ago, at one of my darkest moments in life, I wish somebody would have told me,

"YOU WILL NOT BE STUCK HERE FOREVER"

It truly was the perfect storm, the winds of anxiety and sleeplessness and pain (both emotional and physical) so strong I thought I'd never breech the torrent coming at me. Doomed to live in the eye of the whirling winds forever.

I was 30 weeks pregnant and a whole slew of issues, anxieties and commitments were weighing so heavily on me that it led to 3 full weeks of insomnia, where I could not sleep. 

You guys, it terrified me. 

I felt so out of touch with my body. The acute stress I felt was beyond my control. 

And I remember thinking, 

"will I be here forever?"

"Will I ever break free?"

"Will I always suffer silently and put on a happy face the rest of my days?" 

And the scary part was that I almost believed I was destined to live in that type of anxiety because I could not humanly conceive how to make it all better. 

Two years later, my situation runs a TOTAL 180. 

I am also 30 weeks pregnant, BUT

I feel a total peace

I have no pain

I feel light and free and full of possibilities. 

Isn't it crazy how in the midst of suffering, it feels like life will NEVER come around?

 Like we are drowning and we will never come up for air? 

Friends, THAT IS A LIE! 

God will not leave us where we are.

He says in his word in Phillippians 1:6 "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

He has good work for us to do, and He will not quit working on us. That means He will take us through seasons, some hard, some good, but all in keeping with HIS purpose of making us more like Christ. 

I don't even pretend to know the depth of how that experience sanctified me, but what I can tell you is that it taught me to trust that HE IS FAITHFUL, HE NEVER LEAVES ME, and...

I AM NEVER STUCK FOREVER

If you are waiting to get to the other side, HOLD ON FRIEND! 

You are never stuck when He, and HE ALONE, holds you in the palm of His hands! 

Praying for you today:)