Wisdom Within

My husband and I started meditating over a year ago. I can’t express enough how much it’s changed our lives. Who knew that two sessions of mediation a day could make such a difference in our lives, but somehow it does! When we adhere to a consistent meditation schedule, we both feel more content within ourselves, our anxiety levels are greatly reduced, and our day to day lives just go more smoothly. I can’t put my finger on why, necessarily, except to say I think it’s because we have stopped to take time and listen to our inner wisdom.

Our children have grown up watching us meditate, and our older son especially, who is four and a half now, will often tell us know that he needs to meditate too. On onee particular day, he asked if he could meditate, and I said to him, “Don’t worry, honey, Mommy will teach you when you’re a little bit older.” He said, “But no, Mommy, I already know how!” Then he closed his eyes and showed me that he just might, in fact, know how to tap into his own stillness.

I realized then that even young children can benefit greatly from practicing, at an early age, methods in which to access their own inner peace and wisdom. So when I heard about a book called Wisdom Within by Allison Morgan, I was intrigued. I had originally heard about Allison Morgan from a mutual friend. She is the founder of Zensational Kids, LLC which offers programs for educators, caregivers, and parents to learn methods for bringing yoga and mindfulness to the children in their lives. Her past work as an occupational therapist showed her how effective both yoga and mindfulness is for children, helping them to learn and attend in the school environment at an improved rate. I truly believe that Allison Morgan is doing important work with Zensational Kids, as the children of today are often told to sit still in classroom for several hours a day without being given the skills to attend. She is looking to change that.

Allison’s book, Wisdom Within is a storybook written with the premise that every child has their own inner wisdom. This inner wisdom and peace can be accessed whenever a child needs it, as it has always been there. Told in a story rhyme that is pleasing for children, we are shown how all animals in nature have innate knowledge of certain strengths that they have, and shows the reader that all humans do too. The last pages of the book give several kid-friendly yoga poses and meditations that any child (or adult!) can use to tap into our many strengths within. I love the message that this sends to children and to adults too. Take time to slow down, be still, and let your inner self speak.

As the mother of a child who can sometimes be hyper and hard to settle (aren’t they all though?), I know these methods are going to be so helpful to us, especially if we start at such a young age. What better gift to give our children then the ability to tap into their own wisdom? I think knowing how much it’s already helped my husband and myself, I am so excited to start this with my own children.  I’m thinking this would make a great gift for other parents in the future!

If you’re interested in picking up your own copy of Wisdom Within, you can find it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/10b5Pi9

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of Wisdom Within for review purposes. All opinions expressed are solely my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Natural remedies for postpartum health

Postpartum Health

My cousin recently had her first baby, and we’ve been talking a lot about ways in which to manage postpartum health. Let’s face it, giving birth is a big deal, and it takes it’s toll on a woman both physically and emotionally. You must be ready, even in your most exhausted state to take care of this fragile little being who is reliant solely on you, and whom you are just getting to know. When I gave birth to my second child, I feel into a deep depression at two months postpartum. Why did it happen? Sure, postpartum depression can happen to anyone, and I was more likely to get it due to my past history with anxiety. But looking back, a big part of it was that I didn’t take the time to really nourish and take care of my body, and as a result my body got very, very angry with me. Here are some things I would do differently:

Ask for the right kind of help

The type of help that is usually most effective postpartum is not necessarily a baby nurse, but having someone who can pick up around the house, do errands, and help entertain any older children. That way, your time can be spent truly getting to know your new baby without distractions. Ask for help from your husband or family members ahead of time, or hire a mother’s helper for the first couple weeks or longer to help ensure you do not stress yourself trying to keep up with the household management while trying to recover and care for a new baby.

Sleep

I know, I know. Who sleeps when you have a newborn? But seriously, any chance you get, just rest. Which you can do only if you have help with the rest of the household and any older children. I didn’t do that but I wish I had. Sleep deprivation is directly linked to depression and anxiety. If you can’t sleep at night because the baby is awake, at least you will have tapped into some sleep during the day to help stave off total sleep deprivation.

Eat Well

Bone broth is a great way to help heal the body. Making homemade broth from chicken bones and vegetables ahead of time and stocking it in your freezer will allow you to easily access it after birth. Drink a mug of it daily, as it truly has properties that helps your body heal and restore itself. Bone broth is also great to drink when you feel an illness coming on as well. I will post a recipe for homemade broth soon.

Prevent isolation

Getting out once a day, weather permitting, is so essential. You need Vitamin D to keep your mood up, and no supplement can truly replace real sunshine. Even a quick walk with the baby in the stroller or a trip to CVS will help you feel more normal. I stayed inside way too much after my second child and I really think it made me crazy. I would make excuses to myself about my son’s busy therapy schedule or not feeling up to it. But staying in and not getting up and moving around daily, even for just a little bit, definitely made things worse.

Understand that this is just a season

When I gave birth the second time, I was immediately frustrated that I couldn’t keep up with my toddler while breastfeeding my newborn around the clock. I never gave myself time to acclimate to the demands of two children, and instead put all these demands on myself to do it all perfectly. I should have told myself to chill out for awhile, that it would all fall into place, even if it meant my firstborn didn’t get all the attention he was used to. It really is just a blip in time, and before you know it, your newborn is a walking talking sturdy little thing and both kids are old enough to play together. So just chill out, moms. And let yourself cry when you need to, because hormones are a bitch!

The more I read about other cultures and their postpartum practices, the more I wish we fostered more supportive postpartum practices in America. In other cultures, it is common practice to have grandmothers and aunts move into the home and allow the mother time to recuperate. New mothers are often encouraged to stay in bed for the first two weeks postpartum to focus solely on the newborn and on restoring energy. Of course, in America, it seems the push is to get back to work and to life as soon as possible. I think this adds to the depletion of a mother’s emotional and physical state. But we do have it in our power to try and make whatever maternity leave we have a little bit better, so that our mental and physical health can stay more intact. Sounds cliche but it’s true. If momma’s not happy, no one’s happy! So let’s try and be kind to ourselves and remember that restorative practices are not a luxury but a necessity.

Here’s to a happy and healthy postpartum experience!

Postpartum Health 2

Autism Recovery

I think “recovery” can be a tricky word to use when talking about autism. For one thing, there are many people with autism who do not feel they need to be changed, fixed or recovered. They are simply happy with the way they are. I completely understand that. Secondly, there are those who believe that recovery just isn’t possible and that autism is purely a genetic disorder. I don’t completely understand this view since my experience with my son has proven otherwise (as it has for many other families I have spoken with). Thirdly, what is recovery really? Do we want a child that is indistinguishable from others simply so they can be deemed “normal”? What would the human population be like if we didn’t all have our different ways of thinking and being? I, for one, would never want my son to lose the many unique and interesting ways he has of looking at life. I find him to be quirky, fun, and so damn smart. Nothing to “recover” there.

For me, recovery is simply a chance for my child to heal from the physical damage to his immune system and to be comfortable in his own body. To be able to talk and connect with family, friends and peers in a way that brings happiness and fulfillment to his life. To be able to learn without major struggle and to enjoy the learning process. I want my child to have all the tools available to him so that he can decide how he wants to use them. I want my child to feel at peace.

Autism Recovery

As my son progresses in his “autism recovery“, I often hear from others who feel he simply outgrew his autism, that he was never really that severe to begin with, that starting school is what actually sparked his language and he just needed time to catch up. Of course, unless you are a parent of a child on the spectrum, it’s hard to see all the hard work your child (and you as the parent) have had to put in to get to this place. I am glad others can see the progress, of course! It puts a smile on my face. But yes, it’s also been hard work! I say this not for pity or accolades, but because I would love for people to stop seeing autism as so black and white. Yes, kids can and do get better, and yes, it is a process.  While there is still a ways to go in helping heal my son’s immune system and helping him catch up verbally and socially, I am so happy to be where we are today. For all the moms still in the trenches, still redirecting behaviors, and dealing with tantrums, trying to get your child to eat differently and poop regularly and feel ok in their own bodies, just keep on going! It is so worth it! And please please keep the faith! And have some wine if you need it!

I think I’ve said enough for now :) But before I go, here’s a great article from the TACA website to read if you get a chance:
http://tacanowblog.com/2013/01/23/its-about-the-words-outgrow-autism/#comment-8276