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Archive for November, 2009

“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.”

–Vist M. Kelly

Do you? Did you? Why? Why not? Was it your choice or was the choice made for you—by your family/your friends/the community/your doctor/your body/the peanut gallery? Did you feel supported in your decision or not so much? Do/did you have guilt because you didn’t—or did? Did you have guilt when you stopped or when you chose not to stop for many years? Do you judge other Super-moms who don’t nurse—or do?

And what is this all about anyway? The judgment, the guilt. the fear, the anger. This is by far one of the touchiest subjects that this Super-mom can broach, but that hasn’t deterred me in the past.

So put it out there, Super-moms. Tell your story and let’s come together around this topic and support each other for the unique and important choices we each made.

I’ll start the dialogue by saying that so far, I have breastfed all of my children. I would love to have more children and would love breastfeed them too; however, it is always up to the Universe whether it’s going to fly or not. I was extremely blessed with my three children in that they latched on very easily from birth and nursed well from then on. I never had a sore or cracked nipple or had to use Lanolin ointment, although I had it on hand just in case, Sister, because I’d heard the stories. We all have our share of what challenges us when we have a newborn but this, I am very fortunate to say, was not one of mine. I found breastfeeding to be a wonderful way to connect with my baby, nourish her/him in the best way I knew how, and get off of my feet once in awhile and meditate, although I have been known to nurse while on the move when necessary. ?

My first child, Madison (now 11) weaned herself at 13.5 months old. I had different plans on how long she’d nurse, but followed her guidance—my wisest teacher at the time. I still remember chasing her around saying “Nursey?! Nursey?” as she ignored me and bombed around our house exploring anything and everything. She was Done–with a capital “D”–and this Super-mom had a few issues around allowing that—around letting go. But let go I did, and off she went.

So in came Sagey (now 4), who had no intention of stopping nursing (she called it “THIS”), now—or ever. I was pregnant with our third child Phoenix (yes, you can get pregnant while you are nursing) and Sagey was 2.5 years old and still going strong. “THIS!! THIS!! I WANT THHHHHHHIIIISSSS!!” She could be heard saying while chasing ME around the pink house. The universe has quite a sense of humor, and timing. I attempted–quite unsuccessfully–to wean her twice between the ages of 2 and 2.5. The first time my husband put her down for her nap and bedtime while I hid out in our attic office, cringing at the sound of her wailing “I WANT MOMMY!! WHERE IS MOMMY?! I WANT THHHHHIIIISSS!!”

Mission not accomplished.

The second attempt involved me following the somewhat dubious advice of my health care provider, who swore to me that if I fled the scene for three nights, she’s forget all about nursing. Looking back, I must have unconsciously really wanted to go visit my friend in NYC for a few nights because Girl, there’s no way I could’ve really bought that. I returned home three days (and long nights) later with very sore breasts to Sagey waiting at the door—for Mommy and “THIS.”

Then one day Sagey got strep throat. At my checkup that afternoon my midwife stated that the breastfeeding was over—that moment—since I could get strep on my nipples, and I absolutely did not want to do that.

I arrived home to give Sagey the news. After explaining to my precious toddler what my Midwife had said, Sagey said two words: “OK Mommy,” and went back to playing.

Ahhhh, the wisdom, candidness, and unpredictability of a toddler.

Phoenix, now 22 months, is still nursing once a night–right before bedtime. It’s not really for nourishment at this point of course—it’s more about comfort and his bedtime routine. I’m not sure when he’ll wean. I’m open, and watching him–and myself–for signs that we’ve had it.

So breastfeeding has been a wonderful, fulfilling, and incredibly convenient experience for my three children and me thus far in my parenting adventure. I have many friends who’ve had similar experiences, and many who’ve had different ones. I support and honor all of their choices and feelings on this topic, as I hope every Super-mom would.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.”
 

Henry Ford

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
 

Vincent Van Gogh

“What shames us, what we most fear to tell, does not set us apart from others; it binds us together if only we can take the risk to speak it.”
 

Starhawk

“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”
 

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

“Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has.”?
 

Elizabeth O’Connor?

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
?
 

Eleanor Roosevelt?

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
 
Norman Vincent Peale?

Yes, you have one. We all do. Never heard of it? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me explain, and help you relieve some of the pain.

How do you feel when a friend or colleague or acquaintance has something really great happen to them? Do you feel joy for them? Excited for them? Proud of them? Inspired by them?

Or perhaps a little jealousy creeps in…or anger…or confusion…or competition?

If you said yes to anything but joy, excitement, proud, or inspired, your shame core is at work.

And here’s what you can do about it.

But let me digress so that you have some background—so you really get this and can finally let it go once and for all.

When we are born, we are perfect, joyful little beings. And we know it! We know we have it goin’ on, even though we are pudgy little angels with bald heads and perhaps a poop in our pants if we haven’t been changed lately. J We know we are beautiful, powerful, and perfect, and we’re not afraid to ask for what we want. If we are mad, we let people know–immediately. We scream until we get what we want (love, food, a diaper change). And you know what? People listen. They don’t judge us for asking for what we want. They don’t get angry with us. They aren’t jealous us of for getting what we want. They don’t feel confused or competitive. In fact, people adore us. They love being around us because we are pure light. We have not yet been conditioned to have shame or guilt—about anything.

Fast-forward a few decades.

My, how things have changed. It’s different for all of us how the shame core began and grew or didn’t grow, but for every single human being walking this planet, no matter how “accomplished,” it’s there Sister.

The question is, how much do you listen to it/let it rule or more accurately, ruin your life?

I saw a movie last night called “Shrink,” with Kevin Spacey. It was a bit dark, but quite well done and was a good look at this issue that pervades most every interaction happenin’ on the planet as I type. In a nutshell, Spacey is a therapist to the stars, and quite “successful.” He has a best selling book, named, quite ironically “Happiness.”

Why is this ironic? Because Spacey is miserable. His wife committed suicide (unbeknownst to many, even his father and friends—he told everyone she was in a car accident) and he is hanging on by a thread, smoking weed several times a day to self-medicate.

At one point in the film, Spacey says on national television that he is a fraud, that happiness doesn’t exist—that his wife killed herself and that no one should buy his book, as he ripped it to shreds on camera.

I said to Philippe after that scene: “Now his book will really sell.”

But that wasn’t the point. The point was that once he “came clean,” and spoke his truth (and hit rock bottom), once he shined the light on his deep, dark, shame core and could literally go no lower, he began to heal, and come out of the darkness.

So it’s all about awareness.

How can we be aware?

If you read Super-mom.com, you know what I’m going to say: YOGA.

For me, yoga has been the single most transformative practice in my life—a practice that can and will uncover any and all stuck energies that are holding you back from your pure potential (if you are interested/curious, check out pranapoweryoga.com and come to one of our four Prana Power Yoga Centers and try a class).

I realize that yoga is not everyone’s boat. And since I don’t paddle upstream, I won’t attempt to convince you otherwise, but I will say that there is a “yoga” for you that will help you to find the awareness that will set you free. Maybe it’s gardening, or walking in nature, or taking a hot bath with candles, or meditating, or reading, or writing. You know and/or will know. Experiment and see.

Once the feelings come up—the “I’m not good enough,” “Why does he do so well?”, “When is it my turn?”, “I should’ve done more school,” “I’m not smart enough,” “No one likes me,” “I am not popular enough,” “My body’s not right,” and on and on it goes…STOP. Get quiet and identify what is going on. What’s REALLY going on. It’s not about the other person, Sister. It’s about you, and that shame core.

But no worries! This is not who you are. Rewind back to the adorable little baby who was so in her/his power that nothing stopped her/him from getting what she/he wanted and needed…THAT is who you are. Pure joy. Pure light. Pure love. Pure potential.

Love is what you were born with. Fear is what you learned here.

And ANYTHING can be unlearned.

How?

Find “your” yoga. Change your thoughts. Put only high quality, high vibration foods into your body (for more info on this check out thepranacafe.com). Only hang out with people who make you feel good.

“That’s impossible!” you say. “I hate my boss, my mother-in law, my co-workers…”

Now THAT’S exactly the type of thoughts to which I was referring. ;)

Start a little bit at a time…change each thought to one that feels a little bit better.

For example, “Well, my mind is saying that’s impossible, but I can try this and see what happens. I have nothing to lose! Except the fear and suffering.”

There you go.

Now you’re on your way….

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Super-Mom Betsy Parsons:

I expected motherhood to change me.  How could it not?  Everything was new.  But what I didn’t expect was that motherhood would strip me bare – drop me to rock bottom – force me to face that I had lost myself – demand that I pick up the shattered bits of me and piece myself back together.  It was all at once brutal and gratifying.  I am grateful for all of it.  I have learned who I am and how great my support system is.  I learned how absolutely wonderful my husband is, what a fantastic dad he is, and what a loving and supportive family surround us.  It’s not just me who is a super mom.  It’s my husband, my mom and dad, and my mother and father-in-law who make up this super family.  Each one of us plays an important role. Life is a tremendous gift, and we were all starkly reminded of that during the first six weeks of my daughter’s life. We almost lost her.  The first six weeks of her life were spent in the NICU.  She was a full term baby but a very sick one.  After she came home, every milestone was carefully watched.   She thrived.  And I almost missed it because I was worried about what could be wrong.  It was 9 months later when I started to splinter apart.  She was walking and I was cracking – emotions needed to be expressed.  I needed to feel again.  Not surprising, but I hadn’t been taking care of myself.  I was just trying to make it through a minute, then an hour, and a full day.  I wasn’t taking care of myself.  I wasn’t sleeping well.  I was sleepwalking.  I rationalized that all of this was well within a first-time mom response (ha!).   Eventually, I was diagnosed with PTSD and got help.  I began to piece myself back together.  It took another full year for me to hear the stirrings of my voice.  It’s been over two years, and just recently I realized that I am whole again.  I experienced such joy in finding myself.    I had really missed me!  But losing myself and finding an improved version had taken hold – makes me so grateful for the journey.  It has allowed me freedom to be myself, to slow down and enjoy the moments of motherhood, to rely on my family to play significant roles raising my daughter, to trust, and to embrace the unexpected.  It’s often what I need most!  I’m so thankful for my super family – including my husband who is embracing his role as stay-at-home dad!  Collectively, we’re a super team with a super daughter.