As a child, back to school was my favorite time of year and now that I’m a mom I look at this time entirely differently. Now I think about what our family needs to support us at home instead of stocking up on allllllll the Lisa Frank notebooks and pens and markers I can possibly get my hands on. As summer comes to a close, I wanted to share some of my favorite things to have in my back to school apothecary.
Without fail, I have these Essential Oils on hand:
This month on the podcast, I’m diving into a dangerous trend shredding the mothering community. It’s time to set mothers free from the self-care trap!
I realized that my personal self-care routine looks a lot different than what I’m seeing portrayed online. I encourage you to shift your perspective of self-care internally and stop looking externally to fill your cup. Take time figuring out what fills your soul, instead of what makes you feel prettier on the outside. Your external polish matters little compared to the way you feel inside.
I’m writing this in the late afternoon following the most glorious and releasing full moon of 2020. Cancer is where the moon lies in my birth chart and so it is dear to me. That paired with the little bundle our family is expecting in just two months time means I am in full on home/family and nesting mode.
I hope you and your family snuggle into coziness in the dark of the year. That’s what I’m talking about this month on the podcast. If you find winter a struggle, then have a listen all the way until the end for the Surrender Meditation and reignite your hope.
Isn’t it lovely that during the darkest days of the year we are invited to illuminate our purest inner light?
At the end of this podcast I’ll invite you to take a few minutes to settle into a meditation on surrendering to the darkness and re-igniting hope.
Brene Brown says, “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” @brenebrown
Reigniting hope is what religions and beliefs celebrate across the world at this the darkest time of the year. Have you ever considered that every belief system has a common theme during the holidays? The sun comes back from its lowest point in the sky. A newborn baby shocks us into the divine present moment. Abundance of the oil lasting- a miracle has happened here. The New Year ushers in the new as we release the old making way for new beginnings.
If you like the podcast, you can let me know by sharing this episode with your sisters in motherhood or leaving a review about why on iTunes. If you LOVED this episode, you might wish to buy me coffee in support of the future of this podcast.
Don’t worry… this isn’t going to be another November post about finding gratitude. This is about making gratitude a continualstate of being. If you’re struggling with this (as we all do) listen all the way until the end to hear suggestions for Bach Flower Remedies that will support you if you’re stuck in a state of lacking. PLUS, I’ll share suggestions from myself and other moms making this year that just didn’t seem to work… work.
Don’t be afraid to keep it super simple!
Life-changing power of positive thinking titles for you to peruse.
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer The Work by Byron Katie – hardest to read but most beneficial for inner growth & accountability A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown Rising Strong by Brene Brown The Desire Mapby Danielle LaPorte (I treat myself each year for my birthday and buy her daily schedule calendar.)
There are countless other titles by these beloved authors for you to dive into on your own time. Have fun doing the work to change your life for the better!
Connect with the Garden’s Guests this month:
Thank you to the following mothers who contributed to the podcast this month. Your sisterly positivity and vulnerability sustains me in my own mothering. I am grateful for each of you.
This is not going to be the easiest listen, but you need to hear it. The seasons have changed. Autumn is here. We made it to October 2020… somehow!
I’ve been watching the mommy world lately… and it’s been exhausting. Everyone is burned out and we need another way to cope with our responsibilities than hiding our problems in #mommysjuice. If you’ve fallen into this way of coping, no shame… you just obviously need some perspective and a healthier way to deal with the burdens of motherhood in 2020. Listen, and I’ll show you how to find gratitude and save your glass of wine as an luxurious indulgence instead of the only way you make it through the day.
As we end the weirdest year of our lifetime reduce your pace to slow and intentional. If you do nothing else, stop worrying about how your family is not checking off every annual holiday tradition this year. Be open to making some new traditions. Be adaptable. Listen to what I’m planning for my family and give yourself a break. While it isn’t going to be what you hoped for… it might just end up being magical.
As a yoga instructor I ask my students to do this and I ask the same of you…I challenge you to breathe into the pain when what I say causes you to be uncomfortable. It is not possible to grow without pain. While it’s okay to feel burned out… it’s not okay to sink into whining. Dig deep to find the teeny spark of resilience left in your being and use the magic of everyday life to reignite your soul fire.
Here’s Why You No Longer Have to be Scared of Giving Birth or Having a Homebirth.
In the pandemic times, many women are opting for home births for fear of contracting the virus INSIDE the hospital. An additional risk of having a hospital birth for both you and your newborn baby on top of the normal implications brought to you by the birthing industry.
Before we go any deeper, I want to make sure everyone understands that it is SAFE to have a baby at home. Actually let’s get clear on that at once! IT IS SAFE TO HAVE A BABY. Ina May Gaskins the goddess of all modern midwifery states, “Your body is NOT a lemon!” And it’s TRUE. Your body was MADE for giving birth.
Ina May also points out that giving birth should not be treated as a medical emergency. Birth is NOT the same as having a heart attack, aneurysm, or broken leg. Those are EMERGENCIES that thank goodness we have modern medicine to handle them. So many beloved lives are saved by modern medicine in these cases! We are lucky to live in a time where we do have these medical interventions as OPTIONS.
Giving birth is a natural function of the female body, but I want to make it clear that you can’t just *poof* put some crystals out and have a homebirth. It takes a lot of preparation to birth a baby naturally (and cozily at home if you want)- both mental and physical.
Have a listen to the podcast and find out what secrets are naturally in the female body… I bet your OB hsan’t told you a THING about this.
When we are born- we are purely ourselves. It may surprise you, but newborn babies understand a great deal more than you’d expect. I adore Magda Gerber’s philosophy on newborns and babies. I read her book, “Your Self-Confident Baby“ when I was pregnant with my daughter. It changed the way I thought about babies and laid the foundation for how I would treat my own baby, while giving me peace in the many many times I questioned myself as a tired and frazzled new mom.
She says, “We not only respect babies, we demonstrate our respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object.” Talk to you baby about what you’re doing when you change their nappy. This not only helps them connect to our language quicker, the rhythm of your voice when you describe their caregiving activities also makes them feel more comfortable.
Next time you change your baby’s nappy, or put on their clothes try saying something like, “I’m now pulling your arm into the sleeve. Here we go, now it’s time to stretch your head through. There you are! I see your little eyes now. Time to snap the snaps. Here we go. One, two, three! Alright, I’m going to pick you up now. Come with me.” You might even try making up melodies to accompany your descriptions. Baby will not judge you if you can’t hold a pitch. There is great connection in song (now that’s a thought for another post entirely!).
Everything is new to babies! Think how you’d like to be treated on your first day at a new job or when learning how to drive a boat. You don’t want people to assume you know things or talk down to you. You’d be more likely to feel comfortable to flourish if you had some guidance. Talking babies through their daily activities and caregiving is one of the easiest ways to make them feel more comfortable in their big new world
These are the show notes from my podcast Be the Healing Drop in Your Community. This post is really just a list of the resources I mentioned there. Be sure to catch my whole message by listening to the entire episode. I want you to stop and listen!
I paused my planned episode for the month of June because I wanted to make space to elevate black voices while taking time to really slow down and listen. To learn. I feel so unequipped to speak about something so radically important. Like I said, I want to address it publicly bc I want anyone who listens to this or knows me to know that I stand firmly with this movement. I am an ally. And however imperfect I may be… I am willing to learn.
BLACK LIVES MATTER BLACK WOMEN MATTER BLACK MOTHERS MATTER BLACK BABIES MATTER BLACK CHILDREN MATTER BLACK FAMILIES MATTER
While you are making space to listen, don’t think that your voice doesn’t count. Even if you’re the only one with the message in your community, you can make a difference.
As a “mom-e-o-path”, I know that one drop of a remedy in a glass of water can be intensely healing. Be the drop!
As mothers we must allow the generational pain of our black sisters to come crashing down on us. The anger that they have systematically been forced to suppress for years needs to be heard. We must embolden ourselves to allow the gates to open, so they can speak and we must be willing to listen with open hearts. It’s their turn.
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***Writing this podcast was an opportunity for me to open up a dialogue with my friend from college on how we white women can do better. She helped me gather my thoughts coherently in this emotional podcast. Thank you, Star, for your time, patience, and your mind.
Keep the conversation going strong, sisters. Neutrality is not enough.
In this episode of “Sisters in Motherhood”, I interview Monica Fernandi of Grow Strength Within. She is a cherished friend who I admire in many ways. Monica, is a beloved yoga teacher deeply rooted in love and spiritual strength. She has a message that encourages all of us to plant seeds of positivity, peace, and acceptance. From climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp (which she did in the Fall of 2019) to giving birth to three unique souls (the last of whom just graduated from Virginia Tech Class of 2020), her story entails true perseverance and determination.
It’s so rare that we have moments to ask the wisdom of other mothers, especially those in other generations. So often we shoot down advice anyone offers, as if we must stand alone as a mountain of mothering. If we do open our hearts to welcome insight from others, we don’t normally reach out to women outside of our family.
I feel lucky to have had a chance to speak with her in this way, woman to woman. Though I consider Monica a close soul sister (she was an integral part of the Blessingway celebration for my daughter), without the podcast, I doubt I would have ever had the opportunity to ask her these questions.
My online birth coaching is finally here! I’ve been preparing this for two years and I can’t wait to share it with you. Please share this post with your favorite mommy-to-be.
My Gentle Birth education includes personalized yoga sequences that physically train your body for your birthing day and postpartum.
You wouldn’t run a marathon without training… so why would you give birth without it?
Women possess secrets deep within- would you like to learn what they are? You were made to give birth with gentle and graceful feminine power.
Let me lovingly guide you on your path to motherhood.
“Jennifer’s advice, guidance, and caring conversation was the single most influential part of my pregnancy and childbirth experience. Before I began working with Jennifer, I was unsure of my pregnancy and birthing choices. I thought I could stay with my OBGYN and “see how things go” when I eventually got to the delivery room. Most of the women in my family had a natural childbirth, so I figured I would be able to do the same without any planning or preparation. Although I had no fear surrounding childbirth itself, I was surprisingly anxious about being pregnant. It was a planned pregnancy, however I found myself overwhelmed with how fast everything was changing.
Before working with Jennifer I would definitely describe the experience as “out of my control.” Jennifer listened to me and pointed me in the direction of information and resources to help guide my pregnancy and childbirth choices. Within weeks I made the decision to switch from an OBGYN to a more traditional, holistic midwife practice. I hired a birth doula and began reading everything I could get my hands on.
Jennifer was an outstanding guide, always sending me encouragement and inspiration, as well as helpful information she came across that she wanted to share with me. I stopped having so much anxiety and began to see pregnancy as a beautiful, divine miracle. Jennifer guided me every step of the way, and I took almost every suggestion she gave me, from books, birthing classes, prenatal yoga, breastfeeding resources, supplements, to helping me find a certified prenatal chiropractor. Her tone was caring and honest, and I appreciated how she normalized some of the less spoken-about parts of pregnancy and childbirth.
In the end, I had a powerfully transformative natural birthing experience in a hospital setting. I can’t imagine what my birth story would sound like if not for the amazing wealth of knowledge that Jennifer shared with me during this process. I will forever be grateful!”
– Heather P.
You can do this!!! You were made for this!
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