Click. I pressed the home button on my phone. Slide. Tap. I navigated to my BabyCenter My Pregnancy app. The date came with advice about snacks after labor:
“After many hours of labor, you’re likely to be pretty hungry after your baby arrives, and you may not want to rely on hospital food. So think ahead and pack your own non-perishables now- crackers, dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, or whatever you think you’ll enjoy. A bottle of nonalcoholic champagne for celebrating might be fun, too.”
Like much of the app’s advice, this didn’t pertain to my recent, planned homebirth where I ate and drank throughout my labor.
I continued reading. Scroll.
“Remember that any friends and family at your delivery will likely be peckish as well. Pack some extra to share.”
Eye roll. Accuse me of selfishness, but I have a big problem with this suggestion. Advice like this perpetuates our culture’s tradition where the postpartum mother is forgotten; where she must take on the responsibility of caring for not only herself and her infant but also the people around her. She is trained throughout pregnancy to think this way, thanks to perhaps-well-intentioned apps like My Pregnancy.
Misinformation like BabyCenter’s section on cesarean sections also instills fear in expecting mothers and prepares us for what the medical establishment will choose for us rather than empower us to claim our pregnancies, birthing and parenting experiences.
(Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN of www.evidencebasedbirth.com busts the myths about inductions and c-sections for mothers assumed to deliver big babies and shares her research on unplanned c-sections in Friedman’s Curve and Failure to Progress: A Leading Cause of Unplanned C-sections.)
Click. I pressed the off button on my phone and reached for solace.
It’s called The Greatest Pregnancy Ever: Keys to the Mother Baby Bond by Laurel Wilson, IBCLC, CLE, CCCE, CLD and Tracy Wilson Peters, CLD, CLE, CCCE.
Wilson is a graduate of Union Institute & University’s Maternal Child Health Lactation Consulting program and says her Union education taught her a “great deal” about how to do research and how to write about it.
“It helped me to become a better detective,” she says.
A solution to our busy lives and consequently the disconnect between mother and baby, The Greatest Pregnancy Ever is complete with practical advice, creative and engaging activities, evidence-based explanations and empowering messages about the “transformative power of… maternal love,” as psychologist, parent educator and author of Parenting for a Peaceful World and Heart to Heart Parenting Robin Grille puts it.
Grille writes, “By showing the way to a far more peaceful, loving and emotionally healthy beginning for families, this book has the potential to change the world.”
The authors give readers practical tools to think positively and therefore manage change in their lives and ultimately our world. Wilson acknowledges a parallel transformative effect while creating the book.
“When [Tracy and I] started the process, we were in a state of feeling very frustrated,” she says of the pregnancy, birth and parenting information offered to families. “We wanted to present material in a non-judgemental and non-biased way so families would be open to hearing about how important the prenatal experience is.”
She goes on to say that as a lactational professional, she had realizations that she may have been perpetuating some of that inaccurate information.
“These are the moments when you realize it’s time for change,” Wilson says.
At the same time, she remembers a level of sadness as she learned how things could be.
“You relive the experiences you had with your own children,” she explains. “It was definitely difficult but I came to a point where I forgave myself for some of the things I just didn’t know.”
The Greatest Pregnancy Ever is presented in four parts: The Beginning, The First, Second and Third Trimesters of Pregnancy. Each part contains activities and keynotes regarding mindfulness and observation, conscious agreements and supportive relationships, physical health and decision making to name a few.
The authors’ recommendations are sensible and attainable for any woman, no matter what her situation or socioeconomic standing.
They dedicate an entire section to “The Four Elements Meditation,” for example, where they guide the reader on a peaceful journey to nourish her soul.
And as an alternative to our traditional baby showers, they provide information about blessingways which honor and encourage the mother in a spiritual manner.
Wilson and Wilson Peters offer readers the opportunity to think positively about their capability. They honor the pregnant woman’s experience.
“We have had so many really amazing stories from mothers who read the book,” Wilson says.
She retells the story of a mother who went through infertility treatments while reading The Greatest Pregnancy Ever and conceived while practicing the book’s activities.
In a thoughtful manner, Wilson and Wilson Peters give readers the confidence to claim their intuition and gut feelings.
We have moved away from a space of trust, where women don’t even believe in the power of intuition, Wilson explains.
Readers are encouraged and granted permission to disconnect from our unplugged world so to better connect with their inner being.
“So many moms are never turned off,” Wilson says.
The Greatest Pregnancy Ever is powerful in other ways. I have shared countless excerpts with my step dad who is battling cancer, and have found him better able to cope with the tragedy of his disease.
Wilson tells me that they have many non-pregnant readers including her teenage sons, her husband and the mothers of pregnant women.
Care providers too will benefit from reading the book by offering them perspective on the change needed within maternal child health policy and practice to better nourish and honor the mother baby bond.
Wilson says that although the majority of care providers she shares the book with are receptive, there is a small minority who are very resistant to the information. It’s possible the providers realize that what they have been practicing is not only not helpful, but harmful to moms and babies, Wilson explains. They have to work through steps of grief when they come to terms with their less than optimal practice, she goes on.
Wilson and Wilson Peters have provided a special resource section for professionals on their website where practitioners can download a series of free handouts like the Beginners Guide to Meditation, The Four As and Keys to Reducing Stress.
To celebrate Our Milky Way’s first birthday this week, we couldn’t be more excited to announce our first ever giveaway thanks to The Greatest Pregnancy Ever authors! Tell us how you created a peaceful and joyful beginning for your family or how you helped a mother enjoy her journey becoming a parent in the comments below. The first five to respond will receive a copy of The Greatest Pregnancy Ever!
Look for Wilson and Wilson Peters’ new release The Attachment Pregnancy: The Ultimate Guide to Bonding with Your Baby this January.
For more information about The Greatest Pregnancy Ever please visit: http://www.thegreatestpregnancyever.com/.