4 Ways I'm Mentally Preparing for Home Birth #2

IMG_0113.jpg

We are now just days away from meeting our new little girl...it’s hard to even wrap my head around this fact! I recently posted on Instagram how I’ve been working on “getting my mind right” for this upcoming home birth and I got a lot of questions about what that means and how I’m doing it.

I learned in my first home birth and the months leading up to it that mindset and emotional health are huge when it comes to how your labor will go. This conversation about the emotional and mental side of labor kept coming up every time I talked to one of my doula friends, within books I was reading to prepare and with my midwife.

+Side note–of course there are things that aren’t within our control that can make labor go way differently than we expect, but I’m not talking about that kind of stuff. We can never predict those situations and everyone’s labor and birth are so different...and actually, mindset can definitely help in those more challenging situations as well.

During my pregnancy with my first daughter, I had months of time to focus on getting my mind right, in fact that was a big piece of my preparation before our first home birth. I understood early on in my pregnancy, once we made the decision to have baby at home, that I needed to protect and prepare my mindset because it had the potential to greatly impact the course of my labor.

I read multiple books, spent a lot of time talking to experienced birth workers who could offer positivity to my L+B mindset, practiced “healing codes” (from the book The Healing Code), did affirmations, made affirmations to post at my birth, prayed and more. I never allowed myself to begin to worry about what my experience would be like and I really had nothing to go off of, no previous experience, just what I allowed in from others.

I do recall one time when I was late in my third trimester, I looked at my belly in the bathroom mirror before bed and had that “oh $#!*” moment where I thought, “this big baby only has one way out and it’s a very narrow path!” (omg this makes me laugh just thinking about it!!), but I didn’t allow myself to dwell on it. I just reminded myself that my body was made to birth and I’d think about it when the time came.

My labor was very fast with Elle, less than 4 hours total. It was amazingly intense with few breaks since my body had to do a lot of work in a short amount of time. The one thing that sticks out to me the most when I think about my mindset during my labor was that as I felt another surge (aka contraction, but most of us have a negative association with this word because or TV, movies, etc.) coming on, I took a deep breath and allowed that sensation to happen without fighting it or pushing back in any way. I did this with every surge.

I do remember there were moments where I felt a little overwhelmed knowing what was coming, but I still fought the urge to push against what needed to happen to get my baby into my arms.

That’s what I had to remember––that every surge and all the intensity of it, was bringing me one step closer to meeting our girl and I didn’t want to get in the way of that. I honestly believe that my ability to fearlessly let go and allow my body to do what it was made to and needed to do was a big piece of the length and ease of my labor and birth.

If you missed it, here is Elle’s entire birth story.

This time around, there are so many distractions within motherhood that is wasn’t until 35 weeks or so when work lightened up and life almost forcefully slowed in my final weeks of pregnancy that I have been able to put some focus on this area. I’ve realized that this time around, probably because I know what’s about to go down, I have had more fears and anxieties creep in surrounding labor.

Questions like, “will it be faster or longer than my first experience?” or “will complications come up that make labor harder?” or “will my mental struggle with having two kids come into play and prolong my labor?” (#onlychildproblems) have been floating around lately.

These are just a few things that have kept me up at night, but the fears that can creep in your mind around birth are endless. But pointless. I think the best way to overcome all of these questions is to be open to this little girl’s birth story and be willing to accept it completely...before it even begins.

Some of you reading may be coming from a very challenging, even traumatic first birth experience so I can only imagine the internal struggles you may be facing. This is even more reason to work on your mental game before labor begins.

In order to help create a healthy mindset and an openness to my upcoming birth experience, I have been working on a few things and I wanted to share in hopes of encouraging you as you near labor and birth (or send this along to a woman who is). There is a lot of negativity surrounding birth, albeit because of how we’re going about it in our medical world these days, and I’d really love to be a part of the positive change.

Read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Period. This book was the book that changed it all for me. Even as a holistic practitioner, I never truly understood the physiology behind childbirth and how our bodies were so perfectly made for it as well as how we complicate it with modern technology. This book was very empowering and it all just clicked for me here. It’s not an anti-hospital book or anything like that however, it does compares the midwifery model to the techno-medical model of birth and it is incredibly eye opening.

Just a little side note–I want you to understand that I am not anti-hospital birth nor do I judge any woman for their choices. It is a deeply personal decision where one decides to labor and birth. I am incredibly grateful for modern medicine and its ability to save lives when needed, but I do believe it creates a lot of unnecessary fear in pregnant and laboring women, among other things.

Affirmations

Anything that we repeat to ourselves out loud or in our head is an affirmation, so we can be affirming negative beliefs or ideas or positive ones. It’s really important that we are aware of our thoughts surrounding labor–are they positive or fear-based? If you have major fears or anxieties about labor or life with baby, I’d encourage you to work with a midwife, doula or a therapist to work out these heavy emotions.

Take some time to search for positive affirmations relating to pregnancy, labor and birth and choose a few that really speak to you. Write them down in a journal, on sticky notes, post them at your desk or wherever you’ll be reminded of them. Say them out loud or in your head often throughout the day. You can also use these during labor which is a great way to encourage your body to open up and relax into its God-given baby makin’ talents! With my first home birth, I hung birth affirmations that I had laminated next to our birth pool so that I’d see them while I was in labor (I printed them from Etsy, here are a bunch of great options).

Prayer

The most powerful weapon against the enemy...the one I believe plants many of the negative thoughts, disbelief and fear in our hearts and minds. Prayer is the communication path that connects us to our Savior–the one who writes your story, who already knows exactly how your labor is going to go and prepares your heart for the journey. I have learned over the years to captivate the negative thoughts, emotions and feelings and commit them to prayer. I’m surely not great at it, but recognizing the need for HIS intervention is key.

There is also just something about challenging situations and prayer...it’s the one thing that brings me the most comfort when I’m unsure, scared, overwhelmed, etc. I guess you can compare it to getting a big hug from your mommy when you’re not feeling well or are scared as a child. Such a powerful thing.

Avoiding conversations with others who may create negative emotions

This is a big one. People love to tell you about their experiences with childbirth and I find this can be incredibly harmful and toxic for creating an open and positive mindset. It’s rare that you hear a positive birth story...at least that’s been my experience. Unfortunately, so many women have traumatic and challenging birth stories and are not always aware of what those stories can do to a pregnant woman’s mind, especially if it’s your first baby!

Guard your heart and mind and look for more positive birth stories, like those in the beginning of  Ina May’s book I mentioned above. This isn’t to pretend like labor and birth is never challenging, because oh heavens it is, but hearing the journey of a mother who overcame hardship, who had a speedy and uncomplicated labor or the like, is really encouraging and empowering when you’re preparing for your own journey.

I’ll most definitely keep you updated on baby #2 and our journey together! Stay tuned! Aaaah!

I’d love to know–how have you worked to prepare your mind for labor and birth? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear!


Xo

Justine


Episode 100 | Reverse Interview: Our Nutrition Passions, Journeys + Future Dreams

Episode 100.jpg

You guys–can you believe we’re at 100 episodes!? Wow! We’re just in awe and so excited that we’ve been able to continually share 100 episodes of awesome and actionable content with you over these last 2 years! We have loved being able to share our knowledge, our food and healthy living philosophies, our hearts and our journeys with you and we pray they’ve been helpful within your own wellness journey.

On today’s episode, we wanted to do something a little different and ask each other a few questions since we’re usually the ones asking those we interview all the tough (and fun!) questions! We’re asking each other 3 questions each–from food and nutrition to raising healthy little eaters and even our 10-year plan, we’re digging a bit more into our beliefs, our dreams and some goodies in between!

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for listening to the Colorful Eats podcast, for sharing your journey with us, your questions and interests, for telling others about the podcast and for being there with us each Monday as we shared our hearts and passion with the world!

Download Episode 100 in iTunes!

HIGHLIGHT REEL:

03:20 | If Justine could only teach you one thing about nutrition…

10:10 | How Caroline’s Type 1 DM journey has lead her to her food and healthy living philosophy

37:25 | Justine in 10 years

43:20 | Caroline in 10 years

CP7.png


Episode 96 | 4 Things We Do Daily Linked to Our Success

Episode 96 Success.jpg

Success is truly in the eye of the beholder and we by no means have got it all together, but there are daily rituals that we’ve created for ourselves that have helped us to focus better on our families and our dreams and to live lives we truly love.

On today’s Colorful Eats episode, we’re both sharing 4 daily habits that have helped us cultivate success within our personal and professional lives. From what we do first thing in the morning to how we choose to nourish our bodies throughout the day, each habit serves to help us create productive days that allow us to live out our dreams.

We hope that you’ll be able to glean a few helpful tidbits to make the best of your days and to take steps forward in creating the life you love to live!

Download Episode 96 in iTunes! 

Highlight Reel

02:00 | Morning rituals

12:20 | The one thing we never skip

14:30 | Getting dressed and its impact on your day

18:30 | Creating a POD—plan of the day

26:40 | The importance of practicing grace

CP7.png

Episode 94 | How to Create a Business with Passion & Heart

Episode 94 Business.jpg

Today’s episode is a little different than our usual focus, but we’re talking about something that is near and dear to both of our hearts. As business owners and passionate women, we tend to get a lot of questions about how we got started and what has contributed to our success as Nutritional Therapy Practitioners so today we wanted to share a few ways to help other passionate women get their own dream businesses off the ground and into action.

On today’s episode, we’re sharing 4 tips to help you start a business with passion and heart. From just pressing start to serving your audience with authentic heart, these actionable tips will help you overcome some of the common obstacles new businesses face and create an income producing business right off the bat.

We are always encouraging women to live out their passion and to start the businesses they’ve always dreamed of–it’s what we’ve done in our own lives and believe that every woman has a gift to share with the world.

Highlight Reel:

06:00 | There’s no right time to start–just do it

11:10 | Lock down your mission and find you niche

18:25| Focus on income-producing activities

29:40 | Serve your audience well

Episode 91 | Removing the Guilt and Finding Joy in Food & Community with Lindsay Surowitz

Episode 91 Lindsay.jpg

Today we invited a gal we’ve been hardcore crushing on lately, Lindsay Surowitz of Weeknight Bite, to talk about all things balance and simplicity within the world of healthy eating. This is an area that most women struggle with so we asked Lindsay to share some of the ways she helps her clients and loved ones break down the guilt so many of us feel when it comes to healthy living (and we LOVE what she’s got to say!).

Lindsay shares her tips and tricks for creating balance around community and food (something that can be super overwhelming) and how she’s learned to blend the two so well together, despite having friends that don’t eat the same or trying to navigate tough restaurant meals.

We love Lindsay’s take on the healthy life and know you’ll be inspired by her journey and encouragement. You can connect with Lindsay and catch more of her sunshine over on Weeknight Bite or Instagram!

Download Episode 91 in iTunes!

Thank you to the Nutritional Therapy Associationfor sponsoring this episode!

Highlight Reel:

09:40 | A quote from dad–taking ownership of your choices

15:50 | Getting off the healthy living guilt train

19:30  | Practical ways to escape guilt

27:00 | How Lindsay makes social gathering healthy and removes the stress

Link Love:

Colorful Eats Podcast.png

Episode 87 | A Husband's Perspective on Healthy Living

Episode-87-Husbands-800x533.jpg

We’ve got a very special episode for you today with two handsome guests whom we absolutely adore…our husbands! We thought it’d be fun to get their perspectives on being married to a nutritionist and all that comes along with that. Our husbands are sharing their advice on how to get your spouse, significant other or family members on board with the healthy life, sharing their encouragement for those looking to create balance in their lives, why they’ve chosen to come along for the ride and more. You’ll even get the scoop on their not so healthy splurges!

We hope that sharing our husbands perspectives on eating healthy and some of the challenges that come along with it may help encourage those who are dealing with some push back in their own life. They’ve got some great advice!

PS we are taking a summer break for the rest of July and will be back in August.  We hope to use this time to slow down, soak up the sun and enjoy our families—wishing you the same!

Download Episode 87 in iTunes!

Highlight Reel:

01:40 | Matt and Justine’s perspective

25:15 | Stephen and Caroline’s perspective

Episode 86 | 4 Tips for Healthier Summer Vacations

Episode-86-Summer-Travel-800x534.jpg

It is summertime and we are so excited because this season is one of our favorites (do we say that about every season!?) with the BBQs, beach and swim days and all that summer fare. It’s also a time where most people are traveling and travel can pose a real challenge for those wanting to eat and live healthy...even on vacation.

Over the years, we’ve both learned a lot about how to bring the healthy life along for the ride and we wanted to share our top tips to help make your summer vacay one that leaves you feeling healthy and refreshed (no more of that “I need a vacation after my vacation!” talk). Each tip will help you prepare for your trip, survive the car or plane ride like a champ and enjoy more moments with family and friends.

We hope you have the most beautiful summer–enjoy!

Highlight Reel:

08:12 | Do your travel research

14:15 | Solidify your snack game

19:25 How to get your mind right before vacay

25:15 | Why doing nothing aka relaxing is actually something very productive

Link Love:

Episode 85 | Celebrating Your Unique Body

Episode-85-Body-Image-1024x683.jpg

This week we’re sharing an exciting announcement that you may or may not have caught on social media, something we’ve been keeping top secret as we recorded episodes ahead of time for Caroline’s maternity leave.

Getting into the meat of today’s episode, we’re talking about body image again–a challenging topic that we feel needs the right type of love and support. It’s something that so many women, specifically, struggle with and we want to bring more light and encouragement to those who need it. So today we wanted to share our hearts, our own personal struggles and a few gentle pieces of advice on learning to love and appreciate your incredible body. We even have a little challenge to help you dig deeper and really make today’s episode work for you.

Whether you are a mama, a single lady or a woman with a few extra years of life experience, we hope this episode is one that brings you joy, helps you to see your body in a healthier light and ultimately, boosts your body confidence. Because you are incredible, my friend.

Highlight Reel:

02:20 | A big announcement

18:25 | Weight isn’t the only sign of good or bad health

21:25 | What does your body do for you and how are you uniquely made?

24:14 | Put your bathing suit on girl

29:40 | Our challenge to you

Link Love:

Episode 82: The Unknown Facts About How Birth Control Affects You: Part 1

Episode 83: The Unknown Facts About How Birth Control Affects You: Part 2

Episode 81 | Vulnerability & Grace in Recovering from an Eating Disorder with Ashlyn Carter

Today we had the honor of chatting with a special guest and friend and a new type of guest to the podcast, a copywriter!  Ashlyn Carter is a fabulous entrepreneur, calligrapher and copywriter in Atlanta, Georgia.

Although Ashlyn writes and tells stories for a living, her personal story is truly one of redemption and both physical and mental healing.  After landing her dream PR job out of college, Ashlyn eventually was consumed with an eating disorder, anxiety and depression. This mental and physical struggle was one she didn’t set out to have, but rather at the time, food and controlling what she put in her mouth was the only thing she could control.  

But her story doesn't end there—it’s one of dedication, hard work, a supportive husband and intentionally choosing to redeem her story.  She talks so much encouragement and truth in our interview and how she daily chooses to conquer this struggle.

Her message of vulnerability and grace is powerful and we hope her story positively influences many! We can promise you will be captivated by her!

Connect with Ashlyn at ashlynwrites.com and Instagram.

Thank you Sunbasket for sponsoring this episode! Click HERE to get $35 off your first order!

Highlight Reel

06:20 | The girl that “had it all together” with the dream job

13:20 | Life was like a boulder crashing down a hill, unstoppable

29:08 | Daily practices tied to long term success

Link Love

Episode 80 | Vitamin Quality, Birth Control, Miscarriage & More

We are back with another one of our favorite types of episodes, listener questions! We love these episodes because they allow us to connect with you directly, our listener, and really get down to the specific issues and topics you have on your heart. Today’s questions have come from Instagram messages and emails that we’ve received since our last listener question episode (episode 68) and we’re excited to dive into these questions with you.

Today’s topics vary from explaining pricey supplements to your significant other to healthy eating on a budget, our favorite green powders, non-toxic birth control methods and how to deal emotionally when you become pregnant after a miscarriage. We’re sharing our personal thoughts, feelings and experiences to help answer your questions and we’ve got a little something for everyone today!

If you have questions or are interested in a certain nutrition or lifestyle topic, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’d love to share your question on an episode like this or even create an episode around a topic of interest. Email justine@alowellness.com to connect!

Highlight Reel:

02:35 | How do I explain pricey supplements to my husband?

08:56 | What’s your take on green powders?

23:28 | Non-toxic birth control?

31:10 | I’m dealing with chronic inflammation, what’s going on?

37:30 | I’ve had two miscarriage and now I’m pregnant, how do I overcome the fear and anxiety?

Link Love: