I have struggled with a meditation discipline for years. I've been a long-time yoga practitioner (even that phrase sounds silly) since college, but meI have struggled with a meditation discipline for years. I've been a long-time yoga practitioner (even that phrase sounds silly) since college, but meditation (or at least the commitment to practice it) has eluded me, and as an anxious person, i'm someone who NEEDS meditation the most. I've done workshops, and classes, and read a book or two, but as with most things, without the practice, it's pretty pointless. So here comes the Headspace app that is recommended to me from a few different sources, but specifically from a pre-natal yoga classmate who said she suffered from anxiety, and was seeing a therapist, and felt the app was more helpful than the therapist! That sold me, so i went home and tried it, and it's pretty gate--10 minutes a day, a soothing British voice on the phone, and practical tips for meditating. When I found out Andy wrote a book, I picked it up, and it was a fast but great read. He has a great knack for tying lessons to stories, and he uses some of those same stories in his App during most of the first 10 meditation sessions (the lessons/stories are animated and very charming). As much "study" as I've had, I learned a lot from this, and most of all he reminded me--get on the mat! I just have to do it, probably in the morning, and keep up the habit. I need it!...more
I've been reading a ton of baby/birth books (unsurprisingly, as I'm due in a few months), and I was pretty surprised (maybe unfairly so) that Ricki LaI've been reading a ton of baby/birth books (unsurprisingly, as I'm due in a few months), and I was pretty surprised (maybe unfairly so) that Ricki Lake was responsible (in part) for it. Lake herself says that after an upsetting birth experience of her first child in a hospital, she was driven to research the birth history and process in this country, and personal experience is as good a reason to become an "expert" in a topic as any other.
I heard a recommendation for it on a parenting blog, and also that they did the documentary "The Business of Being Born" which was very well reviewed. So I finished this in a few days, and then my husband and I watched the doc. Both the book and the documentary were terrific. This review is about the book--it's definitely biased in favor of midwives/home birth, but they do a good job of explaining all the options of birth. I think a lot of women (myself included) assume hospitals/doctors will "take care of us" but if you don't know what your options are and what the side effects of those options are, then how can you interpret what they're telling you is a good choice for you? I've been fascinated by the natural birth "movement" (it's the way women have done it for thousands of years, but because it's been slowly phased out for hospital/medicalized birth, it seems radical) and loved reading about birth from a more natural perspective. I think the doc was a little tougher on the doctors/nurses who work in the hospitals--this was slightly more balanced (But still pretty biased). If you're looking for less bias, the work by Penny Simkin seems to be a better choice. But the authors include research, stats, and studies to back up their claims and their goal is to give you information on all sides, and not just the default, which is the hospital birth. Eye opening and very interesting to read, and I especially liked some of the highlights of the women who've given birth (mostly famous) and some women who have changed the birth narrative (including Ina May Garten) to show more focus on natural birth. ...more
I'm exploring my many options for birth classes, and came across The Bradley Method, which I was not familiar with (but has been around starting withI'm exploring my many options for birth classes, and came across The Bradley Method, which I was not familiar with (but has been around starting with Dr. Bradley in the 40's or 50's). I was really only familiar with Lamaze, which has fallen a bit out of favor lately. I contacted a few Bradley instructors, but the only option available was a private class and it was fairly expensive (about $400). Not to say that wouldn't be worth it, but I wanted to read this book to get a good overview of the topic. The book,even as dated as it is, completely sold me on this method and the importance of having both a natural childbirth and a partner for support, but in the end I ended up going with a hypnobabies home course because I felt it's focus on teaching how to alleviate anxiety before, during, and after birth was something I (and hopefully my husband) needed. Never would have thought I'd do a course on birth hypnosis to keep myself calm, but there you go.
ANYWAY, this book is still awesome. The main complaints about it are that it's dated (last updated in the mid-90s) and it demonizes the medical profession. I think, learning what I'm learning about the medical profession and birth, that a healthy skepticism about western medicine and doctors is an informed perspective, and its good to be your own advocate, to know your stuff, and to be able to ask for what you want. Bradley's goal is that if you want a natural birth, you need to know the signs so you don't panic, you need your partner for emotional and physical support, and you need to stay at home as long as possible so that you aren't feeling pressured to have surgery (with a c-section rate at about 30% in hospitals, which is crazy high) or other interventions that you don't want because you're not "far enough along". She has terrific, practical advice for the signs to look for during the birth process, and I felt a lot more knowledgable about my own body (and i was a little embarrassed i didn't understand more about my birth anatomy than I did!) after reading the book.
I thought her tone was punchy and direct, but knowledgeable. I really liked the way it was written and organized, and McCutcheon suffers no fools. If you want a natural birth, her goal is to help you get one, and she gave you a road map for how to do that. I think it's a very important book in the natural birth "genre" and while it could be updated, it's kind of like Ina May Gaskin's work--some of this stuff is timeless (and if anything her issues with hospitals/doctors has probably gotten more critical in the last 20 years!) ...more
Give Sarah Buckley some credit--she's both an MD and a woo-woo hippie practitioner (and I say that with affection, as I'm a woo-woo hippie myself) andGive Sarah Buckley some credit--she's both an MD and a woo-woo hippie practitioner (and I say that with affection, as I'm a woo-woo hippie myself) and you don't often see that in one medical professional. Her book is incredibly well-cited and researched, and then she has stories about the home births of her babies and having a lotus birth (where the placenta stays attached until the umbilical cord dries up and falls off on its own. The ENTIRE placenta. They keep it in a little bag next to the baby. Whoa!) She's Australian, so maybe that's the difference? But if you want to get a very knowledgeable review of modern childbirth (and the benefits of the natural alternatives), this is a great book to start with. She almost has a poetic way of speaking, and I just found the whole juxtaposition of science and hippie birth mama to be fascinating.
On a personal note, I'm a little fatigued of reading all the ways that birth could go wrong, and while I appreciate her method of informed choice (you should know your options before you make decisions about them), it was a bit of information overload for me and I had to skim through the middle chapters on medicalized childbirth. I feel like I'm well-prepared for what dreadful things COULD happen by this point!
My favorite section was the Gentle Mothering--she covers breastfeeding, newborn skin-to-skin attachment, co-sleeping, and a few other things. It's shorter than the childbirth section, but very comforting and a good way to end the book. Overall, informative and well written. Very good read (if you like a science-y bent to your birth literature). ...more
I'm currently on week 2 of my daily green smoothie fix and loving it, although some combinations taste (and look!) better than others. A surefire winnI'm currently on week 2 of my daily green smoothie fix and loving it, although some combinations taste (and look!) better than others. A surefire winner is cherries/bananas/spinach and almond milk--just the right amount of sweet. I think I overdid it on spinach with the first few tries so the flavor wasn't the best (especially with certain fruit combinations and maybe the almond milk), but I've never made anything I can't drink, and now it's become a daily habit! My only issue is I've made smoothies by the recipe, and most don't look like the picture...they're a lot uglier (usually brownish, when combining a red fruit [cherries/strawberries] and the spinach. My husband and parents have made MANY comments about the undesirable color of my smoothies, but who cares? They're delicious and nutritious! I can't wait to try new recipes--the book has a ton!
One more small irritation with the kindle version- it doesn't have an index, so i guess you have to just search for an ingredient you're looking for, like peaches. Give me an index, Kindle!...more
I recently read "Bringing up Bebe," about the American mom bringing up her kids in Paris, and when I saw this in an Ollie's, I thought--oh, it's likeI recently read "Bringing up Bebe," about the American mom bringing up her kids in Paris, and when I saw this in an Ollie's, I thought--oh, it's like that book, but with the Amish! And when you think of Amish children, if you think of them at all, you think of them as well behaved, responsible, respectful, hard-working, and good-natured (well, that's what I think of them, at least). So I was definitely intrigued, and it was worth my $4.99.
But this book was about a lot more than just Amish child rearing--it was really about the entire Amish culture, and how that culture is responsible for creating children with value (and note: not just happy). The Amish's focus on community (in this case, in rural Ohio) and how they depend on each other, the value of responsibility and pitching in, even from a very young age, and the value of hard-work and respect--hell, I'm not close to being Amish and I want my children to be raised with those values! The community aspect made me feel definite longing, because my husband and I are fairly isolated after moving to a new city and haven't made many friends yet, and all of our family and most of our friends are 7 hours away in North Carolina. So the fact that Amish people are so dependent on each other, and feel less isolation was very intriguing to me. I was also impressed by Miller's discussion of technology, and mainly how INTENTIONAL the Amish are about using technology--not phobic, but they will choose when it benefits the community thoughtfully (even regarding cell phones and using computers at work, which are approved on occasion). They just don't believe that the amount of technology modern society uses is beneficial to the person or the community. And while that's a hard line to take, when I see how families and individuals are affected by technology and the busyness of modern life, I can completely see why they've made that decision. And I think incorporating less technology into our hourly (not just daily) existence, and being aware and intentional about how it's used in families (even 2-person families, like spouses) is more positive than mindlessly using it.
Mostly, I want to raise secure, curious, kind, thoughtful, hard-working, disciplined children. I'm not going to go Amish (or Mennonite), but I think some principles of the Amish way of life could be adopted and embraced for our family to create these kinds of kids.
Overall, I was surprised at how profound I found the book and how I'm still thinking about it days later, and it's led to some good conversations between the hubs and me (and indirectly, I've left the TV off the last few nights when I've gotten home from work). I learned a lot and it dispelled a lot of misinformation I had about the Amish--I really enjoyed reading it....more