Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Recently I took a field trip to a place I wish I'd known about when I was pregnant! Do you ever have moments like that when you say, "I wish I'd known about this when ________"?  It can be frustrating to find something later than you wish, but in this case, it's better late than never!

Where is this wonderous place, you ask? My visit was to Salt Lake Prenatal Massage, where I had a great conversation with the owner, Rebecca de Azevedo Overson, LMT.

My conclusion? If you are pregnant and in Utah, you should know about this place. Let me tell you why:

-First of all, their slogan is "pregnancy made comfortable." Umm....yes, please. You mean that's possible?? :-)

-While other providers may offer prenatal massage, Salt Lake Prenatal Massage is the only massage therapy clinic in Utah that focuses solely on childbearing women. Rebecca has received extra training and has tons of experience to know exactly how to help women in every stage-- those trying to conceive, those currently expecting, those recovering from birth, and those who are new(er) moms.

-According to Rebecca, women can receive massages in all stages of pregnancy. I was impressed how conscientious they are in this clinic--they will even work with your doctor to get the "okay" if there are concerns.

-There are NINE massage therapists who work at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage, and Rebecca has worked with each of them individually to make sure they know the best techniques and can provide you with an amazing experience.

-Since the focus is on pregnant women, the massage tables are well-equipped with cushions and pillows to accommodate blossoming bellies. That means you can safely lay on your belly to get a massage--that alone feels incredible for your body that is used to carrying the extra weight (see a pic of the table below).

-This clinic is gorgeous, from its home-like waiting area to the relaxing massage rooms, adorned with incredible artwork geared towards childbearing women (keep reading for the pictures...).

-When you come to Salt Lake Prenatal Massage, you are getting so much more than a massage--Rebecca and her other therapists can help you to understand the changes that are taking place in your body and assist you in making those changes as comfortable as possible.

-Not only does this location offer expert massage, but it is also becoming a hub for all things related to pregnancy wellness. There is an in-house chiropractor and a variety of childbirth classes are held in her beautiful location (hopefully Brio Birth classes will be held there soon!).

-Finally, I believe that when you are pregnant it is important to surround yourself with people who are positive and who believe in the power of women's bodies to give birth...and that is what I felt at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage. I was energized by my conversation with Rebecca, and I feel confident that you will feel better after a visit, too.

Good news! You don't have to be pregnant to go there- but childbearing women are their specialty!

So, wondering how to get there? It's just east of I-15 at 2100 S in Salt Lake--you'll see a building on the south side of the road that says "Skin Science" on the side--it is in that building!

The entrance is on the side of the building NOT facing 2100 S--go in the door marked main entrance.
 If you go down the hall, turn to the right, and keep going....you'll find it! Salt Lake Prenatal Massage.
This is the lovely waiting room...and classroom for childbirth education classes.
 This is a massage table that is not covered in sheets yet to demonstrate some of the amazing cushions they have to fit every woman's body comfortably--and check out the incredible artwork on the wall.

So, there you go...better late than never, right? I can't wait to get a massage next time I'm pregnant...or not pregnant. Either way, I'm sure it will be great!

Are you wishing you could visit? Well, definitely visit their website for more information. It has a great directory of providers who offer various services for expecting women--take time to look around this website. You can also read more about Rebecca and her journey to natural birth. If you are really lucky, you may even be able to hire her as your doula...wouldn't that be amazing!

Maybe you could hint to someone that a massage would be a wonderful mother's day present! Also, if you "like" Salt Lake Prenatal Massage on Facebook, you'll receive awesome updates about specials...and informative blogposts.

You can enter to receive a certificate worth $35 towards a 60 minute prenatal or postpartum massage! To enter, write a comment on this post about what you have done (or plan to do) to "make pregnancy comfortable."

Friday, April 8, 2011

More Than Enough

So, I will admit that I'm lazy when it comes to socks (well, not only socks, but that's all I'm admitting to at the moment). Often, when I'm trying to quickly get a load of laundry put away, I'll end up with socks at the bottom of the basket who don't have their partner. This caused me to start a pile for those unmatched socks.

Fast forward, that happens many times, until I have a huge pile of unmatched socks and no sock pairs in my sock drawer. Rushing out the door, I will admit to grabbing two unmatched socks that are "close enough" (i.e. both roughly the same color) to wear for the day. This, of course, only continues the problem because these unmatched socks are then washed in the same load and end right back up in the pile.

Today, while my baby was taking a much-needed nap (obviously needed, if the nap was long enough for me to get to this task!), my husband and I finally attacked the sock pile. Amazingly, after all those miscellaneous loads of laundry contributed their single socks, many pairs were found.

There is a point to this story...and here it is:

If you'd asked me yesterday if I needed new socks, I would have answered, "Yes! I never have enough socks. It's so frustrating every time I get dressed."

And now, after just a small effort, my sock drawer contains more than enough.

How many times does this happen in life? (and not just with other types of laundry...or maybe silverware...)

How often do we tell ourselves that we don't have enough ________ (fill in the blank: courage, strength, energy, time, etc.) when we just aren't looking in the right places? It didn't take that much work for us to match up those pairs and find out how many we really had.

I think this applies to expecting women--particularly those desiring a natural birth. Have you ever heard, "Natural birth is great, but I'm just not _________ enough." Or, "I think that's neat that some women do that, but I could never because I'm ____________."

For most of those women, they absolutely have everything they need. Women's bodies were made to grow and birth babies! Our bodies are incredible! They have the ability, the strength, the courage, the endurance, the love, etc. Sometimes, a woman just might not realize that she has what she needs. It might take a little work to help her realize that she has more than enough.

The challenge is to figure out what are we missing, and what work will it require to get us to where we want to be. I see this transformation happening as women (and couples) gain knowledge about birth and their bodies as they attend Brio Birth classes- they realize that they do have more than enough to give birth in a way they desire.

My mind is geared towards birth at the moment, but I know this situation could apply in so many other ways. I hope the next time I try to limit myself by saying that I'm not _________enough, I'll be willing to put in the work to find out that I do have what it takes.

At the end of our sock-matching party, were all the socks matched? Nope! There was still a small pile, but that's okay. We are better for the work we put in, and our drawers are full! Sometimes life is like that, too--we put in all this work to plan our "perfect birth" and afterwards, there are a few things we'd do differently. And that's okay.

What are you willing to find out about yourself? What work will it take? If you've already tried, what will you improve for next time?

I'm optimistic. I'm going to keep those unmatched socks a while longer...maybe they'll make it into the drawer next time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

"Mom Up"

A few months ago, I read a blog post where the author coined the phrase "Mom Up." She defined the phrase, "To 'mom up' means to do the right thing for your kid no matter how hard it is." I haven't been able to get that idea out of my head since then.

I almost feel guilty even using that phrase when I think about the circumstances in which is was created. The author of the blog is Brandi, Scarlett's mom.  Scarlett is a beautiful little baby who was born 9 days before I gave birth to Molly. When Scarlett was two months old, it was discovered that she had a brain tumor. Her mom has chronicled their journey of hope in their blog (brandiandchris.blogspot.com). In this honest chronicle, she admits that she has often had "mom up" moments, when she had to do excruciatingly difficult things because it was best for her daughter.

I don't know them personally (I heard about Scarlett on the "October 2010 Babies" message board at babycenter.com) and I'll admit I haven't read most of the posts or followed all of her journey. It hurts my heart to think of all they have had to go through, but everytime I do take a peek to check their progress, I rejoice to see pictures of Scarlett growing.

My role, however, is not to tell Scarlett's story. That is done very beautifully on their blog. I wanted to write about the idea of sacrificing for your children- to "Mom Up."

If I could take the liberty of exploring her concept, I might expand her definition a bit, "To 'mom up' means to do the right thing for your kid no matter how hard, inconvenient, or exhausting it is." (my addition in bold).

I am blessed with an incredibly good baby. She slows me down running errands because she smiles huge, whole-face smiles at everyone and they have to stop me to talk to her and tell me how adorable she is. Her demeanor is so happy and patient (for the most part, and patience is relative for a 5 month old).

However, today, for whatever reason, she had more of a rough day. At times screamed and screeched at high decibels in pitches I don't know how to imitate. Her nap schedule was definitely off--maybe she was just overtired? Maybe she wasn't feeling well or teething? Not sure. At one point as she was screeching, my husband said to her, "That sound is endearing because it is coming from you. If it were coming from anyone else, it would be downright annoying." It was a good reminder to me.

Anyway, having this slightly frustrating day helped me to reflect on the (familiar?) less-than-ideal moments as a mom:

--the middle-of-the-night times when I groan slightly as I slowly open my eyes to care for her, remembering how I never knew how good I had it to sleep uninterrupted

--the times when I'm trying to get something accomplished on the computer and she wants to "help" (which means grab anything in sight especially the keyboard and mouse)

--the times when I have been trying to accomplish a simple task, something that used to take me 15 minutes that can now take seemingly all day

--the times when I'm worn out and really wish I could just hand her over to someone else so I can have a moment, but that usually ends up being the time when she's starving, and I'm the one who can fill that need

--the times I remember how I used to feel successful by completing an important task work, when now sometimes success seems to be defined by the size of my laundry pile

Yep, I can be selfish sometimes! Wow, these sound so petty, and I hope no one takes this the wrong way. I feel so blessed (especially considering what some families go through) that I never want to complain. Most parents (or even prospective parents), however, hopefully see where I'm going with this---having a child means putting someone else's needs in front of your own--even when it is hard or inconvenient.

Being a mother is a job that comes with no off-time, no sick days, and no retirement. Some days will be easier than others. Some times she'll be babysat and I'll have a relaxing dinner with my husband or do something for myself--but even then, I'll be her mother--and she'll be my greatest concern.

And it is a privilege.

Those moments to "mom up" lead to some of the greatest blessings:

--the moment when she first arrived, and I held her little body in my arms, knowing my life had changed forever

--being rewarded with one of her incredible smiles

--listening to her giggle as we play

--watching her sleep peacefully, and knowing a huge portion of my heart belongs to her

--to hold her close, be able to fill her tummy with incredible nutrition, and watch her find contentment

While I look forward to so many more of these incredible moments in the future, I know it will also require sacrifices, some small and others larger. I look forward to that opportunity.

This opportunity to sacrifice starts even before birth-- pregnant women can "mom up" by having the courage to create the best possible environment for their baby to be born into (which can include anything from getting out of a dangerous relationship to eating well for baby's development!).

I believe becoming educated in each stage of parenthood, and being an advocate for yourself and your child, is an important way to "mom up." It might start with taking a Childbirth Class :-D when you're pregnant, but it doesn't end there. Being a mom means choosing to make decisions for your family based on what you think is best--that's incredible, and also an intimidating responsibility. Yet, we embrace that responsibility to do our best for the ones we love the most. That's what it means to be a mom.

Everyday, around the world, millions of women "Mom up" in small, ordinary, repetitive ways...and sometimes in very dramatic and poignant ways.

The next time you have an opportunity to "mom up," I hope you will recognize it as a point of growth- and a step towards those incredible, rewarding mommy moments. It is so worth it.

P.S. And yes, there are awesome men who "Dad up" as well--like my amazing husband!