Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Best Purchase I Made When I Was Pregnant...

This week I asked our ANM moms to finish this statement. I wanted to know what they felt like they couldn't have done without during pregnancy. We got a wide range of answers. I hope that this list helps you figure out what you just have to have!!


We had several moms who thought their best pregnancy investment involved a clothing purchase.
The Mom-EZ maternity belt offers
terrific back support! (available at ANM)
  • Maternity pants - one mom said that if she hadn't had pregnancy pants, she would have been in pajamas all the time!
  • Long maxi dress
  • Back support belt
  • Stretchy pants
  • Maternity tanks from Target
  • Maternity jeans from the Gap
  • Pajama Jeans - one mom who had sworn she'd never buy them ended up absolutely loving them.
  • Nursing tops - these are a great pregnancy purchase because you can wear them long afterwards to enable you to breastfeed discreetly

Health/Beauty Related

Some moms felt that their best pregnancy investment was something they did to take care of themselves.

  • Chiropractic care - if you need a chiropractor who is very familiar with the needs of pregnant women, check out Dr. Patty Long in Meridianville.
  • A Pedicure - you deserve to feel pretty and pampered while pregnant!
  • Tums
  • Seasickness bands - one mom said they were a lifesaver after she was hospitalized for vomiting and dehydration


Several moms felt that certain foods were their favorite pregnancy purchase!
  • A lot of fruit
  • Hot and Now Krispy Kreme Donuts 
  • Sherbet, LOTS of sherbet
  • Chili cheese dog from Sonic
  • Mango Smoothie
  • Watermelon - one mom said this kept her from feeling "blah"


Many of our respondents felt that a pregnancy pillow was their very best pregnancy purchase. Here's what our moms had to say:
  • Snoogle (one mom had to buy a second snoogle because her husband took hers!) and mini-snoogle
  • Boppy Total Pregnancy Pillow - we had a mom say she couldn't sleep during pregnancy without it.
  • Prego Pillow

Birth/Postpartum Related

Doulas can make a HUGE difference!
Some mothers thought that the decisions regarding their birth and early post-partum were their best pregnancy investment.
  • Midwife services
  • A doula - one mom said that her doula kept her laughing and not feeling contractions until she was almost 10 cm! 
  • A Medela postpartum support - one mom who had a C-section said it made her feel like she wasn't going to fall apart when she stood up.
  • Nursing pads so you don't leak when milk comes in

Baby Related

Other moms thought that purchases they made for the baby topped the list.
  • Cloth diapers - one mom said they've saved her a lot of money and all the colors and patterns have made it really fun.
  • Breast pump - this one is really for mom and baby, but one mom said it really helped her be able to avoid formula when her little one was too sleepy to latch.
  • A Heart-tones Monitor - One mom felt that using this early in her pregnancy gave her peace of mind that she needed
  • Carseat/Stroller Combo - one mom said that was awesome to have with a sleeping baby!
  • Moby wrap
  • Rock & Play sleeper
  • A Baby sling
Finally, one mother said that her best purchase while pregnant was a Sam's Club Membership....makes a lot of sense! You can get a LOT of comfort food at Sams as well as some pretty cool things for later on, too!
What was YOUR best pregnancy purchase?? 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Get Terrific Avon Insect Products and Help out Low-Income Moms!

We are having an amazing fund-raiser for The Mom Foundation! From today through July 10, you can order 2 products from the Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard collection, and a whopping 40% of your sale will go directly to The Mom Foundation.  Their Bug Guard Plus has an SPF of 30 and offers disappearing color so that you will know for sure that sensitive areas are covered! The Expedition formula retails for $16.99 in the current Avon catalog, but you have the chance to get 2 of them for just $14.00!

If you'd rather get some shower gel or moisture therapy products, you can get a 3-pack for just $10.  Once again, 40% of the proceeds will go directly to help us support low-income and teen moms. May you need some Shampoo and Conditioner or special foot care products...they're included, too!  If you want something special and fun for your little ones, you can get the Natural Kids combo that includes Crazy Coconut Shampoo & Conditioner, Swirling Strawberry Body Wash & Bubble Bath, Amazing Apple Detangling Spray, and Outgoing Orange Bath Time Body Paint -- all for just $10!

So come on in and make your selections. Stock up now on your Skin-So-Soft bug repellent products because they will be gone in the fall!  This is a great way to get some teacher gifts or Dirty Santa presents (after all, Christmas is ONLY 6 months away!) Or just indulge yourself - you're a mom, and you deserve it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Childbirth and Infant Mortality Abroad: Japan

By: Marley Phillips,
ANM Intern
Japan has the 2nd lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Japan. This is not some unpopulated country full of billionaire babies, this is Japan. Japan is huge! Gargantuan, actually. So let’s look into how Japan could have possibly achieved such an amazing feat.

Japanese culture holds the social status of the mother EXTREMELY high. Get that baby out of her, and she is back to being a rather unvalued member of society. But, for our purposes she does have a baby inside of her, and the Japanese do not take that lightly. The Japanese culture encourages women to get prenatal care very early into the pregnancy. Pregnant women are supposed to stay off their feet for the first 3 months (
FYI, Japanese pregnancy is 10 months), and be very active for the rest of her term. There are many exercise classes offered by hospitals, maternity centers, and gyms specifically for pregnant women. 

Since Japan is the technology capital of the world, there is a lot of emphasis on using technologies in pregnancy. Ultrasounds are done at every appointment. Japanese women have a visit at least every 4 weeks through 23 weeks gestation, every 2 weeks from 24 to 35 weeks, and every week after 36 weeks. That’s a total of 14 doctor’s visits and a total of 14 ultrasounds. And this is a minimum. This was a little surprising to me in light of the research that has come about in recent years pertaining to ultrasound usage.

With obesity rates at just 5% and smoking rates among women 15 years and older at 11%, the Japanese maintain an overall high level of health. The customary diet, which is strictly monitored to only include the healthiest of foods for the baby during pregnancy, can certainly only help the pregnancy and subsequent baby thrive. Side note: the Japanese do not cut out fish while pregnant (even raw fish) and actually encourage eating it multiple times a week.

While these statistics are great, I found something is my research that kind of shocked me, and apparently shocked the citizens of Japan, as well. The (true) poverty rates were released for the first time in a number of years, only to find that 15.7% of the Japanese population is living below the poverty line. That’s not much lower than the United States’ 17.1%. We frequently link  poverty to things such as poor health and being uneducated; in our country, that is often the case. However, if the U.S.A. strived to help women be better educated about pregnancy and childbirth the way Japan government and culture does, our women would make better, educated decisions. Just a thought.

Prenatal Coupons
Like Monaco, Japan has a universal healthcare system that every citizen is entitled to. Unlike Monaco, it does not cover prenatal or postnatal fees. However, when you pay for your services out of pocket, the government will give you a “birth sum allowance” of up to 420,000 yen ($4,417). I also found out via a YouTube channel dedicated to birth in Japan that you get a ton of coupons redeemable for prenatal visits and such. Pretty stinkin’ cool.
            There are 3 options for giving birth in Japan: #1) in a hospital, #2) in a maternity clinic, and #3) in a birthing house. All of these places offer pre and postnatal care to women. I should also mention, the minimum stay in any Japanese birthing facility is 5 days for a normal birth. 5 days. Let’s allow that to sink in for a minute… 5 DAYS. That is so amazing. In these 5 days, you will be able to relax with your baby, learn some basic baby maintenance skills such as bathing and swaddling, 
and get breastfeeding support. (Oh yeah, those guys LOVE to breastfeed! More on that later)

The hospital stay will cost you anywhere from 450,000-470,000 yen ($4725-$4935). This is for a vaginal delivery with no drugs, seeing as the Japanese don’t take too kindly to epidurals and cesareans. If a woman wants either of these services, she will have to request it very early in the pregnancy and find a hospital willing to provide such services, which are few and far between in Japan. The cost of a cesarean birth is in between 500,000 and 600,000 yen ($5142-$6170).

The maternity clinic is a physician and midwife run clinic with fewer than 19 beds. This is a little more expensive, but they are little more lenient about position, in room stay, family, visitors, etc. Giving birth in a maternity clinic will cost roughly 480,000-550,000 yen ($5040-$5775), but you’ll have to pay an extra 2,000 yen ($21) to have an adult stay with you. Not a big deal. They’ll also give you tons of goodies when you leave, such as an audio recording of your baby’s first cry, a copy of your baby’s footprints, and pictures of your baby’s birth, and a certificate of your baby’s blood type. And, just for a good laugh, check out this Hello Kitty Maternity Hospital.
          Last, but certainly not least, there’s the birthing house. These little houses are run completely by midwives who will conduct your prenatal and postnatal appointments and, of course, catch the baby. Water births are very popular at birthing houses, and they also have plenty of accessories to help make birth comfortable such as a stool shaped like a horse shoe so that you can sit for the birth, and a rope hanging from the ceiling so that you may hold on to squat during delivery. The cost is 496,000 yen ($5208) and 40,000 ($40) extra for a water birth. For the midwives to attend home birth is anywhere from 480,000-500,000 yen ($5040 -$5250).

Now let’s talk about breastfeeding. If you’re reading this post, you probably already know breastfeeding is so much better for a baby than anything else that a baby could possibly be fed.  If you didn’t know, do some research. I have seen some conflicting stories about breastfeeding in Japan. Apparently the hospitals are not very BF friendly. But the Japanese society is so dang supportive of breastfeeding that the lack of hospital support usually won’t deter mothers from at least exclusively breastfeeding for the first month. Exclusive breastfeeding rates in 2010 at one month were 51.6%. At 3 months, 56.8%. The rate of any amount of breastfeeding was 95.4% at one month and 86.8% at 3 months.
The last topic I want to touch on is co-sleeping. Sleeping with a baby is the norm in Japanese culture. Most children sleep with the parents until around age 6. This may be in the bed or on a separate mat or sleeping surface beside the bed. The Japanese technically sleep on futons, but I digress. Japan has one of the highest co-sleeping rates in the world, yet one of the lowest SIDS rates in the world. Interesting, huh? See James McKenna for some interesting research about co-sleeping and much, much more.

So, here it is, a country comparable to the United States that has an extraordinarily low infant mortality rate. And this is how they’ve managed it. Japan has many of the same social and national issues that our great country has, yet they’ve seem to overcome them for the betterment of their mothers and babies. Maybe we, as a society and as a government, can look to Japan as a guide in implementing maternal education and providing better care to improve America’s staggering infant mortality rate.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Make Your Own SAFE Sunscreen

By Katie Stokes, Guest Blogger

Keep baby covered up in the sun! From
Why would you want to make your own sunscreen when there is such a wide variety easily available at the local drugstore? Here's why:
Most conventional sunscreens contain toxic ingredients that in many cases may actually promote skin cancer growth and free radical production in the body. Skin cancer rates have actually risen since the use of sunscreen began. The chemical oxybenzone, for example, is one of the most commonly used ingredients and is cause for concern. Oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can also trigger allergic reactions. Furthermore, this chemical has been shown to be a cause of endometriosis and low birth weights in daughters of pregnant women who had higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy.
Keep a good sunscreen applied to prevent burn!
Photo from
You will be surprised to learn that even "natural" sunscreens have toxic ingredients. There are a select few
comercially available sunscreens that are truly natural, but these can cost you upwards of $20 for a small 4 oz tube. Yikes!
The health risks associated with chemical sunscreen are enough to turn me away. But another reason to consider making your own is that it is very moisturizing and perfect for sensitive skin! As a mom to a toddler with eczema, we are very cautious what we put on our son. This is perfect for him!

Now on to the Recipe!

I purchased all of my ingredients in fairly large sizes from amazon. It cost me about $50 & I will get about 100 ounces of sunscreen!
This recipe makes around 10 ounces.
Zinc Oxide is the key to UV protection.
There are only 4 ingredients in this recipe! This recipe is designed to be more of a lotion consistency and can be put in a pump bottle.
You will need: .75 ounces beeswax
2 ounces coconut oil
8 ounces almond oil
2 TBS zinc oxide
(Organic ingredients are always best if available)

1. In a double boiler, add your beeswax, coconut oil & almond oil. Melt this over medium heat. The beeswax will take a little while to melt (about 10 minutes). Stir often to avoid any spots burning.
2. Once your oils have completely melted, you will want to remove them from the heat and add the zinc oxide. With a stick blender (or hand mixer) blend, blend, blend. Scrape a spoon around the sides and along the bottom to insure that the zinc oxide powder hasn't settled. You want this to be very blended.
3. Once you are sure it is blended, transfer to a container of your choice. At this point, I put mine in the fridge to solidify it quickly so the zinc doesn't settle. It does not need to be kept refrigerated though.
As with all sunscreens, you will want to be sure to reapply every couple of hours. The beeswax does help the sunscreen to be waterproof.
This recipe will give you an SPF of 15. If you would like a higher SPF, the amount of zinc oxide can be increased.
We have tested this sunscreen in multiple settings including the beach & haven't had a burn yet!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Donate to ABC and Receive Birth Photography!!

Recently photographer Jessica Molepske moved from Texas to Huntsville because of her husband's job. Jessica's work has been featured in the online Newborn Magazine. Before moving here, Jessica contacted me a couple of months before the move to let me know she would like to meet me and to offer a promotion for our customers in order to begin meeting people here.

A couple of weeks ago, I actually met Jessica in person when she came by the store to introduce herself.  We talked about what kind of promotion she wanted to run. Today Jessica came in with information to begin the promotion!

Win a Free Newborn Photo Session

For every $50 you spend in the store between now and July 20, you will receive one entry for a free newborn photo session and photo package. It is a $300 value! The more you spend at A Nurturing Moment, the more chances you have to win.  Jessica likes to do the Newborn Session within 12 days of baby's coming home from the hospital because babies are so sleepy and do very well in a variety of precious poses.

Donate $100 to ABC and Have Your Birth Photographed!

About a week ago, I received this message from Jessica via Facebook:   
Hi Glenni, 

I just recently realized that it's illegal for a midwife to attend a
 homebirth here in AL?? I am so heartbroken over this! I read that article you posted the other day..and I'm wondering is there anything I can do? I wouldn't really know where to start..but this is a change I would like to see! 

I suggested that the most important thing she could do is get in touch with the Alabama Birth Coalition. She did just that, and has agreed to photograph the Walk for Midwives this fall. Today Jessica announced that she is offering something VERY special to help raise money for ABC.  Between now and the date of the walk in November, Jessica is offering to photograph your birth in return for a minimum donation of $100 to ABC!! Of course, if you feel led to donate more, that is wonderful. But Jessica is offering her services as a way to support this cause.

We have many amazing photographers here, and Jessica is excited about meeting and working with them. Take just a minute to friend her on Facebook, then come on by and enter to win your newborn session. If YOU aren't pregnant, you can give the session to a friend. What an amazing gift that would be!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hang a Boob

It's summer time, and that means road trips for millions of American families. Many of those families have a baby. Now some babies LOVE the car seat. They can't wait to get in it and quickly fall asleep to the gentle hum of the road noises.

I wasn't blessed with that baby! Oh no! My babies (well 2 out the 4) thought the car seat was a torture chamber, especially designed to inflict the severest form of punishment on them. Granted, 20+ years ago, car seats were not as nice as they are today. But I still see many babies in my store who despise the car seat even today!

That can be a real problem if you have a road trip planned. When our kids were little all the grandparents lived at least 12 hours away. On a pastor's budget, flying was out of the question! Later we became missionaries and practically lived in the car while we were fund-raising...not always easy with baby in tow!

I love Elizabeth Pantley's suggestions. She is a wonderful source of wisdom. We always made it a point to make frequent stops (at least every 3 hours) where I would pull baby out, change a diaper, feed, etc. But then the inevitable had to go back into the torture chamber, and the screaming began again.

So in a herculean attempt at self-preservation, I learned the fine art of nursing on the go. Now before I go any further, I need to make a quick ALWAYS stays securely fastened in the car seat. However, if an accident were to occur, it could be bad for both of you. (editor's note: in light of this blog, I honestly CANNOT recommend this technique while the car is moving!)

How I Discovered the "Hang a Boob" Technique

We were headed to central Florida from Birmingham in our little white Dodge Omni. We had left at about 3 in the morning so Sarah would sleep..and she did for about 3 hours. Then we stopped, ate breakfast, changed the D, and headed back into the car. She screamed bloody murder as we put her in the seat,  so I gave her a toy and tried to soothe her. We tried going on down the road, thinking maybe she would settle down. No way, Jose!

As soon as we could pull over, I got in the back seat with her and started trying to play with her. She was NOT interested. Then I had an "aha" moment. I thought, "Nursing always calms this baby down...why don't I nurse her??!!" So I did. I got up on my knees, leaned over her, helped her latch on, and she went to town....she even fell asleep nursing and stayed that way until we stopped again. (Yes, I was even able to pull the boob out of her mouth!) After the next stop, I made sure I was on the other side of her so that she could nurse on that side. It worked like a charm. Thus was born the concept of "hanging a boob!"

I want to be quick to point out here that I had tried the pacifier only to have it spit out violently. So I tried again, and again. And she just got madder and madder! If your baby will be soothed with the paci, there really isn't any need to hang the boob (unless you just want to...) and it is MUCH safer NOT to!! But if you do resort to boob hanging, in light of what we now know, PLEASE do it with the car stopped!! There is no need to put you and baby at risk! Get baby securely buckled in, AC on, Hang a boob so baby settles and goes to sleep....THEN start moving with everybody safely buckled in!!

Now there are a couple of things to consider. Truckers, for example, may get an eyeful if they happen to look down at just the right moment.  Passers-by looking into your car (they should just mind their own business, but you know how people are) may be surprised, especially if you don't have an Undercover Mama or nursing tank to cover your belly as you left your shirt. However, you don't know those people, so it doesn't really matter, now, does it?!

What does matter is that your baby who was screaming frantically calms down. Your husband who is about to drive doesn't end up in a wreck because he's distracted. And you manage to keep your sanity and arrive at your destination a little less frazzled.

So as you journey on your way this summer, don't be afraid to get in the back seat with baby and Hang a Boob! But, as mentioned before, the BEST and SAFEST way to do so is to Hang it with the car stopped and AC on....get baby to sleep, then take off - with you and baby both safely buckled!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Childbirth and Infant Mortality Abroad: Monaco

by Marley Phillips, ANM intern                Monaco is the 2nd smallest country in the world. Bordered by France on 3 sides, this le petite country has a population of about 36,000 people. The population of Madison, AL is about 43,000, just so you have a comparison. Monaco has an unemployment rate of 0% and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world. (I’m beginning to see the appeal…)

So, why am I rambling on about this fairytale oasis full of billionaires and beaches, you ask? I ramble because, in addition to all of these amazing attributes, Monaco also has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world. With only 1.8 out of every 1,000 infants under the age of 1 dying every year, we had to know what in the world (pun intended) is going on across the pond. So, I went researching to find out what Monaco is doing so completely right.
I should articulate before I give you these facts and statistics that, since Monaco is such a microscopic country, I’m not sure if it’s fair that we compare it to the United States. Instead of comparison, let’s call this an insight into another country’s maternal health practices. A trip away from the reality we may know as victims of the USA’s poor maternal healthcare or as advocates for a change in the broken system.

For starters, Monaco has the lowest poverty rate in the world. Poverty rates can seriously affect infant mortality rates for many reasons such as lack of prenatal care, tobacco use, and preexisting conditions like obesity or depression. To follow up on some of these health-related issues, I went searching for Monaco’s smoking and obesity rates. While I could not find data for tobacco use on any national or international organization’s website, I did manage to snag the obesity rates in women ages 15 and older for nearly every country in the world.  Monaco came in with 30%. Not great, but not as bad as the U.S. (48%).

So…What is it like to give birth in Monaco?  There is a government-funded healthcare system available to all citizens and long-term residents, although most residents have a small private insurance claim to cover what the government insurance won’t. There are only 2 hospitals in Monaco, and both offer similar services in the maternity ward. I chose to research The Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco, for no other reason than I adore Grace Kelly. (Side note: if you like celebrity news check out this article reporting Brangelina’s experience with a Monaco birth. Or should I say Monaco’s experience with a Brangelina birth!)

Antenatal services at The Princess Grace Hospital include a midwife who is with you throughout the pregnancy, a tour of the facilities, consultation with an anesthesiologist (if that is the mother’s wishes), pregnancy classes, and information packets explaining options for your childbirth, labor, and follow-up care. During labor, there are both midwifes and obstetricians on staff, although the OBs are only there for high-risk pregnancies or emergency situations. They have all the tools and equipment so that a mother’s birth may be as invasive or hands-off as she chooses. After the baby is born, the mother can stay with the baby for as long as she desires, even throughout the night (it’s kind of sad that I have to say EVEN throughout the night, like it’s an amenity).
The key phrase that I have found in my research of giving birth in Monaco is “if the mother so chooses”. These mothers aren’t pressured or scared into having a certain kind of birth. They are educated and make informed decisions with the medical professionals about what is best for them and for their baby. I know that’s not necessarily a causation for the low infant mortality rates, but it sure can’t hurt to work harmoniously together. *steps off soapbox* Next time, I’m going to feature a country that can actually be compared to the powerhouse that is the United States of America and how we can possibly follow suit to improve our maternal healthcare.   

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Women's Rights, Alabama Law and Midwives

For the last several years, an amazing group called the Alabama Birth Coalition has been working
Photo from SoulVegMama
tirelessly to bring about legislative change which will allow Certified Professional Midwives (CPM's) to practice in Alabama. This legislation is important because in many rural counties, women have to drive an hour or more to the nearest hospital with a maternity unit. Families who don't want medical community involvement may end up giving birth at home without any attendant at all. Legalizing CPM's and home birth would offer these women another option. Furthermore, creating legislation that sets forth licensing requirements and regulates the practice of CPM's actually helps to ensure that women choosing home birth receive a high standard of care.

The Opposition 

Opponents of the bill, however, are many and powerful. Unfortunately even within the midwife community, there is sharp disagreement about this legislation. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM's) sometimes cite the lack of medical training received by CPM's as a reason not to support the bill. Are their concerns legitimate? Certainly the kind of training that CPM's receive is different in nature than that received by CNM's. It is definitely more focused on out-of-the-hospital births. In fact, a candidate cannot even become a CPM without experience in at least 10 births in a non-hospital setting.

While it is true that we do currently have 17 CNM's in the state of Alabama, only a very small handful of them are actually catching babies! Some work in doctor's offices, others teach, but only 3 or 4 hospitals in the state have a CNM delivering babies. Why is that?  Why isn't there a single freestanding birth center in this state? In one word, the answer is MONEY.  Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Alabama, the largest insurance provider in the state, doesn't reimburse for midwife delivery the way they do for a physician delivery...not even close! Plus, the Alabama law is written in such a way that a midwife may only practice under direct supervision of a physician. Essentially, her supervising doctor is supposed to be on the premises when a midwife is delivering. Few doctors are willing to have midwives deliver under those conditions.

The Reality

Dr. Pippa Abston 

Within the medical community here in Alabama, it is common to hear how unsafe home birth is. But is it really? Dr. Pippa Abston, a pediatrician and instructor in the UAB family residency program used to agree with those who opposed home birth. In fact, she was a rather outspoken opponent. However, she began to thoroughly examine this issue, to actually see what a CPM does, and to understand just how badly we need the quality of care in many Alabama communities that a CPM would provide. In fact, Dr. Abston wrote a 5 part series about the importance of CPM's for Alabama women. It will take some time, but if you really care about this issue, you need to read Dr. Abston's excellent series. She has covered everything from the training of  a CPM to the safety issue to the desperate need in our rural counties.

The Root Issue

    This is, at it's most fundamental point, a human rights issue. Last Friday evening The Alabama Birth Coalition sponsored a presentation of the film, Freedom For Birth. Take 15 minutes to watch the abbreviated web-version of this film. It details the cases of Hungarian midwife, Agnes Gereb and Hungarian mother, Anna Ternovsky. In 2010, The European Court of Human Rights affirmed that a woman has the right to give birth in the place and manner of her choosing.
    Hungarian midwife Agnes Gereb

    The United States Supreme Court in the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 stated that a woman has the right to abort her unborn baby - a decision I don't personally support. However, based on that precedent, it is utterly illogical to say that she doesn't have the right to choose how and where her baby (whom she has chosen not to kill) can be born.  Even in the highly unlikely event that Roe v. Wade were ever reversed, it should be a common-sense decision to view a woman's right to give birth as she pleases as her decision to make. Whether a physician or a competent midwife  performs her prenatal care should be up to her. If a mother has chosen the midwifery model of care, and her midwife realizes that something is amiss, then her midwife should be able to have a collaborative professional relationship with a physician and should be able to stay with the mother throughout  whatever kind of birth the mother needs at that point. Opponents may say that this endangers mothers and babies. However, in the Netherlands where this is the model, the maternal and infant death rate is lower than that of the United States.

    A Call to Action

    There are many states in this country where women have absolute freedom to give birth in the manner that is most comfortable for them.  Alabama, however, is definitely not one of those states. We would do well to look at the maternity care models in states like Texas, Tennessee,  and New York. Two separate and very important things need to happen legislatively in Alabama:
    Hungarian mother Anna Ternovsky
    1. CNM's need to be authorized by law to work without direct physician supervision in any birth setting, and insurance reimbursement for their services needs to be mandated.
    2. CPM's need to licensed and regulated by the state to ensure that mothers desiring their services are getting the highest possible standard of care. This will stop the mass exodus of birthing mothers to surrounding friendlier states, and allow mothers in the poorest Alabama counties access to local well-trained professional birth support.
    Anna Ternovsky was willing to take her fight to the highest court that held jurisdiction over her country.  Will it actually take a mother here beginning that judicial fight to create the changes that must occur? I would hope that our legislators, midwives and physicians will find a way to come together in respectful support of mothers and babies before that happens. However, the Alabama Birth Coalition has been struggling for twelve years to bring about legislative change. Maybe now is the time to seek the kind of judicial ruling that will ensure all mothers have their basic right to give birth as they choose protected.

    Someday I would love to see a Free-standing birthing center here in Huntsville where both CNM's and CPM's work together and have healthy collaborative relationships with local physicians. There is absolutely no valid reason why this can't happen. And I believe it will. If all those who are concerned about birth in this state would simply work together, we could lower our infant mortality rate, provide high-quality care to the poorest among us, and make certain that every Alabama mother receives her basic human right to the birth of her choosing.

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Be Good to YOU

    Four generations: from left - my mother, me holding my grandson,
    my daughter, and her mother-in-law,
    Have you ever noticed that we women sometimes beat ourselves up? We are quick to take on the mantel of guilt, and we are often harder on ourselves than anybody else.  My mother (who at 75 is a paragon of wisdom in my eyes) frequently reminds me to "Be good to Glenni."

    Mothers have a genuine responsibility to respect themselves because of the example we are setting for our children, particularly our daughters. Australian author Kasey Edwards poignantly discusses this reality in a letter she has written to her mother in the book Dear Mum. Take a minute to read her post, then come back....

    My Beautiful Mommy

    My mom with her two girls!
    Like Kasey, I remember thinking that my mother was absolutely the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Actually I still think that! But when I was a child, I thought she encompassed all the glamour of a movie star. I wanted to look just like her. Fortunately for me, she never complained about her appearance; however, she did spend well over an hour each morning making herself beautiful. I assumed that in order to be beautiful, I would have to do the same. She worked in an industry that placed a high value on physical appearance, so she dieted and worked hard to stay thin. I remember as a teenager going through a "chubby period" before I thinned out and feeling just horrible about myself.

    My body type, like hers, is NOT naturally stick thin. After baby #4, I never did manage to get all the baby weight off, and each year it seems a couple of extra unwanted pounds creep on. At 75 and 53, the two of us continue to encourage and help each other in our battle against the bulge. But neither of us places our self-worth on how we look.

    You ARE a Beautiful Mommy!

    I want my daughter's inner beauty to shine through!
    As a mother you have a tremendous impact on how your daughter views herself. You have the opportunity to teach her by example that beauty comes from within. But if you simply give lip-service to that concept, she will see right through your hypocrisy! Do you truly believe that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made"? (Psalm 139:14) Or do you act as if the Creator made a mistake when He created you the way He did?

    Do you make it a priority to practice forgiveness? To be kind to others? To speak words of encouragement and peace? Or do you assert your right to hold onto grievances and to let those around you know how upset you are with a perceived wrong? It is so true that children learn what they live. A little girl who grows up with a mother who is a truly beautiful person with emulate those qualities. A little boy who grows up with that same mother will look for those qualities in his spouse.

    So take a few minutes today...and tomorrow...and the next think about how YOU can be good to YOU!