Monday, August 24, 2009

Guest Blog by Tara Rose Crist: Baby Bonding Begins in the Womb

This post is written by Tara Rose Crist.

The Baby Bond Begins In The Womb: Slow Down To Love And Be Loved.

“Babies are exquisitely sensitive to their surroundings in the womb… Babies do not live in a fortress but in a mother. If she is assaulted, babies will learn about violence; if she is generously loved, babies will learn about love.” David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D.

Recently I attended a neonatal resuscitation workshop held by Karen Strange, a midwife, lecturer, and educator from Colorado. While there were no male attendees -- as most were midwives, doulas, and mothers -- much of the information is valuable to ALL parents, especially dads.

In addition to teaching the fundamentals of resuscitation, Strange presents several days worth of pregnancy, birth, and parenting info in eight hours. The underlying theme of her work and teaching style is one of making contact.

So, how can we best connect to our babies, even while they are in utero?

First we have to connect with ourselves. We must learn to be present and slow down. What? Slow down? You have 20 million things to do, right?!

But it just takes a minute to BREATHE. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel your fanny in the chair. Look at your surroundings.

Do you feel a little slower? A little more aware?

When we slow down, we are more present. And when we are present, we can connect more deeply with others, including our children -- even when they are in the womb -- and our spouses.

Strange argues that a baby feels what its mother feels and experiences what its mother experiences. All that the mother senses stimulates the release of chemicals in her body, and the baby lives in this constant flux of the mother's experience and chemistry. Babies drink and bathe in their mother’s thoughts, sensations, and hormones. They also sense what is happening outside the womb. As Strange puts it, to a great degree “babies are their mothers.”

So a father's relationship with the baby begins with his relationship to the mother and the baby while the baby is still in the womb.If a father’s loving contact with the mother produces oxytocin (a love hormone) in her body, then the baby will be momentarily drinking and living in this love cocktail. The experience of being loved while in the womb helps the baby’s relationship with its parents. It knows it is in a loving, nurturing environment. It knows it is wanted. It can also feel the presence of the papa, differentiate the tone of his voice, and sense the father’s emotion through the mother.

When oxytocin is released in the mother -- whether it be from chocolate, exercise, sex, a back rub from her partner, or anything else pleasurable -- it has a natural calming effect on the fetus.* So, not only is it important for the expectant mother to slow down, love her baby, and do things that are pleasurable to her, but the baby can feel its father’s presence too. A baby can feel papa’s love, as it can feel papa’s love for the mother and mama's pleasure.

Say hello to the baby, build a relationship during gestation, be loving to your wife. Your baby will feel it too.

For more information, visit Strange's Web site: NewbornBreath.Com.

Another helpful resource is the website for The Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health. APPPAH’s vision is to illuminate “the life-long impact of conception, pregnancy and birth on babies, families and society.”

* It has been reported that the more peace and pleasure an expectant mom experiences, the calmer the baby is when it arrives OUTSIDE the womb. Just as body development occurs in the womb, personality development begins there too. But, on the flip side of this, some doses of stress hormones in the mother’s body are normal and even important, as they prepare the baby for the normal challenges of living life on earth. Best for all involved, however, is if the love hormones outweigh the stress ones.

Tara Rose Crist is currently completing a degree in English at Southern Oregon University (SOU). She is also a doula in training and an avid equestrienne.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Signing in Jacksonville on September 12, 2009!

When: Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where: Jacksonville Books
555 N 5th St
Jacksonville, OR 97530-9704
(541) 899-3202

What: Jennifer Margulis will be signing copies of Toddler (ask her why it was BANNED in Ashland), Why Babies Do That, and The Baby Bonding Book for Dads, along with author Janis Hunt Jackson, who will be signing copies of her book about healing through prayer, Five Smooth Stones: Our Power to Heal Without Medicine Through the Science of Prayer.

Why?: On September 12th in Jacksonville over 5,000 people come to town for the city-wide DOWNTOWN SIDEWALK SALE.

Don't miss this exciting day in one of the Rogue Valley's quaintest cities. Please stop by and chat with us!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Have Fewer Children To Reduce Your Carbon Impact

A new study by scientists at Oregon State University suggests that Americans should have fewer children to reduce their carbon footprint.

This seems like a logical conclusion, given the way American children (and families) squander resources, overuse, and overconsume.

Yet as a society we do not support men and women who do not want children. Take A., a friend who tried to get a vasectomy in his 20s but could not find a doctor who would agree to perform it. A. felt he did not want to contribute to environmental degradation by producing more of the invasive species known as homo sapiens. The doctors worried he might change his mind later.

A. didn't change his mind. But he did have an accidental pregnancy with his wife that resulted in an abortion. The vasectomy could have helped avoid that.

If we are really serious about Americans having fewer children, we need to make all kinds of birth control cheaper and more readily available. We also need to promote vasectomies and other sterility options instead of discouraging people who seek them out.

If you read the fine print, the OSU study also mentions that, if you look on a more global scale, large families do not have the impact that large American families do. In Niger, for instance, very little carbon is emitted by rural families, who often have as many as 11 children. They do not use electricity, most do not drive cars, they bath in one bucket of water or less per person. Their contribution to global warming is miniscule.

Then you see American families with just one child who consume vast amounts of resources. Most people we know with SMALL FAMILIES have at least 2-3 cars. Many Americans drive gas guzzling vehicles they have no real need for. People take 20+ minute showers, wrap everything in plastic, overheat their houses, and obsessively mow their lawns with gas-powered mowers. They also generate huge amounts of unnecessary trash without being conscious that they are doing so. Our habits in this country are embarrassing. People do not think about their behavior when they put apples in plastic bags at the grocery store, buy food that is imported from New Zealand, and turn on the air conditioning when they can simply open their windows at night and close them in the morning.

The real problem in America is not the number of children we have but how we are raising them: to be selfish, dependent, and over consuming.

To read the article about the new findings, click here.