Halle Printed Flare Skirt
Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee
I first became committed to Gentle Parenting–parenting without threats, spanks, yelling, anger–three years ago. We always have been Attachment Parents–breastfeeding, baby wearing, cosleeping are a few of the tenets–, but I didn’t understand Gentle Parenting or Peaceful Parenting, or how it could possibly “work”. I even joined a Gentle Parenting board and tried to learn more, almost a decade ago, but it was not a good fit at the time.
Gentle Parenting as described eloquently by L.R. Knost “is guiding instead of controlling, connecting instead of punishing, encouraging instead of demanding. It’s about listening, understanding, responding, and communicating.” It is a concious shift away from the way I was brought up, away from what everything in my body is demanding, away from the gut center of my brain.
Gentle Parenting is, I think, a bigger challenge for me than traditional parenting because it requires more from the parent. More thought, more emotion, more connection, just more. No matter how you parent, or how many kids you have, it’s hard, don’t get me wrong. When I had two little daughters and I was spanking, it was hard. Now though, I have to think more about why I’m being reactive and what is going on in my child and what is the behavior trying to tell me and teach them how to problem solve at the same time I’m trying to change a diaper and spell a word and give directives and help a child and there are six of them!
I follow several Gentle Parenting pages on Facebook and it seems like they all have one or two children. It feels frustrating because they offer their good solutions, and say things like “if you…then they will…” and it just doesn’t happen right away. The dynamics in a home with one or two children are very different than a home with several. I am dealing with teenagerish hormones at the same time I’m nursing a baby with four loud and active and strong children in between!
I don’t think I thought this “big family thing” through very well.
|Brielle and Finnella looking for books on CD|
I haven’t blogged for six months! I have lots of good reasons/excuses, depending on how you look at it. But I miss it and I enjoy it and I am doing it for me, so I’m back! It’s hard to let go of expectations–like how blogging has kind of turned into article writing, and I don’t always (ever) have the brain space for an actual article, so I felt like I couldn’t compete. But with whom am I competing? And why!?
I have more than doubled the garden this year. I’m doing Square Food Gardening and trying something new, Straw Bale Gardening. I don’t think my peas are going to make it, and will have to start over with them, but everything else looks good. I’ve gotten a new hobby of “planning”, which is writing my to do list and decorating it, and writing down what we did in quick bullet points in a composition notebook. It’s a fun segue between scrapbooking and keeping track of what I need to do on the backs of kids’ drawings. Writing “water garden” in my planner helps it actually get done. Funny how that works.
|Finnella on Memorial Day|
I’m doing something new with the boys for school, called Easy Peasy Homeschool. The woman who put it together did a curriculum for ALL THE GRADES, of activities to do with links added. It’s amazing she did this and I am so thankful. It eliminates the problem of never being able to find the book I need. It doesn’t matter how organized I am, there is always a missing book! They like being able to play games and be on the computer.
I am starting to feel like I can do this thing, this mothering six souls thing. I am not crying every day any more and I am laughing. It feels wonderful to laugh again.
One thing that really helped is the Handsome Husband and I went on a short impromptu vacation to Las Vegas of all places. We went with another couple which just made it even better. The laughter! The being a person, not just a mom! The space in my brain!
|Finnella and me waiting to go up in the High Roller|
|The Farmer, Finnella and Me at Hoover Dam|
|Just some farmers checkin’ out the big city.|
I’ve also been having a hard time because I am still wearing maternity jeans and leggings all the time. I realize I’m 40 now and this is baby #6. I know that appearance isn’t everything. I know my heart and love and compassion matter more. I know all that, and yet it still bothers me that I went from my high school size pre-pregnancy to not even being able to fit into my “fat clothes” now, six months later.
I heard about Stitch Fix and thought it might help my self view a little bit to have some nicer things to put on this amazingly capable, mama strong body. I decided to join Stitch Fix because I never have time to shop for myself. I’m only just now leaving the baby with her dada for any length of time. Stitch Fix is an on line stylist/personal shopper. You fill out a detailed profile for yourself, noting what styles you like and any details you think would be pertinent, such as needing access to be able to breast feed, or a preference for no holey pants.
I also like that it’s completely free to join and there is no commitment. I signed up to just try one fix, although you can do it monthly if you want to. There is a $20 styling fee that you only have to pay if you don’t keep anything from your order. If you keep all five of the items they send, you get a 25% discount. Since I’m almost exclusively a Goodwill shopper, the prices are definitely high for me. I hardly have anything in my closet I bought new.
I got my first Fix on Tuesday, unfortunately when I was sick in bed and couldn’t even bring myself to open the box. I tried on the items yesterday and decided to keep all five because the discount was equivalent to getting one of the shirts free. One interesting thing about my Fix was that I wouldn’t have even tried on most of these items if I were in the store and saw them on the rack.
This is a navy asymmetrical cardigan and infinity scarf. The cardigan makes me appear to have a waist 🙂 and the pop of pink in the scarf matches almost everything in my closet and keeps me warm.
This is a grey crochet inset shirt. The fabric is “nicer” than what I usually wear (nearly always tee shirt fabric). The cut isn’t super flattering but I really like the details and the fancy feel of the fabric.
This is a charcoal extraordinarily soft tee shirt. Business up front, party in the back! It’s perfect for accessorizing with something, perhaps a bold necklace or a scarf.
I wasn’t too keen on a tank top in my December Fix, but I thought maybe I could wear it under a jacket or cardigan and I would be warm enough. My sister-in-law does this all the time, so maybe it will work for me too. Nevertheless, I can wear it in the summer because I love the scalloped hem, the gathering at the yoke, and the button detail in the back.
If Stitch Fix is something you would like to try, I’d love it if you used my referral link!
We have been making birth affirmations the past few days.the first day we made water color paintings with my mom, Rose Hains, and Lydia Hains.
then that night I wrote calligraphy on them.what?!?!?!?!?!?!? You say that’s NOT calligraphy?!?!? Ok fine. it’s not ACTUAL calligraphy, but My brain is Too tired to do ACTUAL calligraphy at the end of the day. Then that morning Brielle made them into banners.don’t you like the pattern? The thing is that we ran out of the white ribbon, THEN we ran out of the pink ribbon.
We still have more to do. last night Brielle wanted to do more, but I said no.
I have a new business page! www.farmfreshbirth.com
I recently got certified as a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator. I am thrilled about this new endeavor. Share this information with anyone you know who is expecting this winter.
Birth Boot Camp will help you prepare for the event of a lifetime! The sign up is located here.
May 31: I had been getting more and more tired of being pregnant and trying different tricks that might get labor going for several days. Of course it was nothing drastic as my due date wasn’t until 9 June. When Kevin and I went to bed that night, he noticed I had a “piddle pad” a reusable thick cloth pad one could use for incontinence; we used them for changing pads for the wee ones. He was teasing me about it; but I pointed out that my water broke as my first labor symptom with Elivette and I wanted to be safe, in case that happened this pregnancy too, I knew only about 15% of labors start with breaking waters, but maybe it would bring me luck. Unfortunately, I’d been sleeping on it for several days too, and it had done nothing to start labor. 😉
We had been in bed for a while, and were still in that drowsy awake stage of pre-sleep when suddenly, I felt a tiny “flick”, and boom: the precautionary mama cloth I was wearing, my pajamas, the piddle pad and the mattress pad were all soaked! Guess who was glad I had preemptively protected the mattress now!
I knew it could be a while before contractions started, but I went ahead and texted my midwives and the people who had promised to be in prayer for us, around midnight. I was excited and jittery and found it hard to get to sleep. I got a surprising number of replies too, which helped keep my mind calmer. I’m thankful for my night owl friends.
I woke up around 7 as usual, and no more signs of labor, just the occasional gush of amniotic fluid reminding me how I wasn’t laboring. By 10, I was starting to get resigned to the fact labor was not going to happen, and frustrated about it. My mother-in-law picked up the three youngest and the girls and I kept busy around the house. We went for a walk down to the lake about 1/2 mile from our house. It was pretty and peaceful and I would have stayed there most of the day if not for a heavily pregnant woman’s need to relieve herself frequently and the fishermen I wouldn’t want to see me do so. We trundled back to the house and relaxed a little.
At lunchtime, Kevin wondered if he and Aviana could drive a few hours to go pick up the milking LaMancha goat he found on Craigslist. I said they may as well, since I wasn’t going to have the baby. My midwife thought it was possible it wasn’t my actual amniotic sac that ruptured, but the forebag. She also thought that perhaps it wasn’t amniotic fluid at all, but pee. I was positive THAT wasn’t the case. A friend,meaning to be helpful, bless her heart, told me she had gone to the hospital one day thinking her daughter would be born, and she wasn’t born for 17 more days. And my discouragement grew.
I posted on Facebook , “We aren’t having a baby, but we are getting a milk goat, so yay.” The support and solace my friends offered were bountiful. My photographer and friend, Kelcy, commented that there was still plenty of day left, and that made me feel a little better.
At 3ish, I felt a twinge of something. A dozen minutes later, definitely, something. I put the first birthing wave in my contraction app at 3:30. I texted my midwives again. Kathy lives an hour away and I’m not known for long drug out labors. Sarah, my midwife’s assistant and friend and I chatted for a while. While we were going back and forth, my uterus amped up. Now the waves were about five minutes apart. I told her I would feel more comfortable if she were with me. She texted back, “ME TOO!” A little later she told me she would leave as soon as her husband got home from getting a chicken.
Meanwhile, Kevin was still 45 minutes away from home after picking up the goat.
Kevin got home eventually, and he started filling up the birth tub. Sarah arrived soon after, much to my relief. Aviana felt strongly that JuneBug, the goat, needed milked then and there. Since I had the tub ready now, and Sarah was with me, I was ok with that. The contractions were coming right on top of one another. Getting in the tub spaced out the contractions so I was able to have some breath of a break; I was amazed at how the water helped!
During the time they were down at the barn, I had a contraction that was ‘different’, one that made me feel if Kevin and Aviana didn’t hurry up with that goat, they were going to miss Fizzy Baby’s arrival!
My good friend Karen arrived. She was here as support for the girls. We wanted someone to specifically be with them, in case of anything going awry especially. She was absolutely perfect in her role, and supported anyone who needed her. She and Brielle went downstairs to get some fruit ready to snack on. The watermelon tasted wonderful. It was the first time I had ever eaten in labor.
Close to 6, I told Sarah she had better tell Kelcy she had better come. She texted back, “I can see your house.” I asked her if she would braid my hair, as it was starting to get wet and was all in my face annoying me.
It was such a peace filled, calm hour. Aviana tried to read some Baby Blues comics to me when Wanda was giving birth. It was amusing for a while, but quickly got to the point where I needed it to stop. I had some praise music playing. The birth affirmations were hung on the mantel so I could read them, and I would think of one when a birth wave came on, over and over again as a meditation.
It wasn’t long before things started to intensify incredibly. A few days before, I had watched a mare give birth out in the open air. It was beauty to behold. She would get up, turn around a few times, and then lie back down again. I found myself sort of spinning around in the tub, and thinking of that mare.
The mare was so composed and tranquil. I was starting to get noisier, but I felt like that mare. I never once felt scared or worried or out of control. With all of my other births, there was at the very least one moment, if not a whole scene, where I felt tumultuous.
A couple of times, as a birth wave crescendoed, I started to say “no” and then I caught myself and released myself into the passionate force of the moment. Being able to do that, being given the safe space, being surrounded by love and prayers, being completely mentally comfortable, was awe striking.
Soon, my birthing waves changed and my body needed to start pushing Fizzy Baby. There was no one moment of “Now, I shall push.” It was a gradual buildup and I didn’t really notice exactly when it was different. I never got checked to see if I was complete. No one told me what to do. Everyone just supported me and held me emotionally.
I had my hand on her head, and could feel as she began to come out into the world. This was a wonder-filled stage for me. I had never felt as in control before, so aware and internally calm.
I have seen several videos depicting the mechanics of birth (start watching about 1:40) and knew cognitively what was happening. Now I could feel it happening to my own baby, under my own guidance, under my own hand! I could feel her head molding. I felt her head turn and then her shoulders slide out, and then she was here!
|Finnella– heart– placenta|