Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Choosing To Live Fearlessly

This is a post I wrote for my old blog back in November 2007. It was originally titled "Losing the fear". I've made a few minor edits. I hope you enjoy it!

Last night I was reflecting on motherhood, an amazing journey that we embark on from the moment the little line shows positive on the pregnancy test. We worry, read, talk, and worry some more that somehow, we can never give enough, do enough, be enough for our kids. We worry about giving them vaccines. We worry about choosing not to vaccinate. We worry about ultrasounds in pregnancy. We worry about the "what ifs" when we choose not to have ultrasounds. We worry about picky eating. We worry if our children eat "too much".

Our grandmothers worried for different reasons. A farming family might go hungry if it was a bad year for crops. A serious infection could ravage a child's system, or kill them. A lack of contraception or knowledge of her body's cycles left a woman with little control over reproduction: she might have 10 babies in 20 years, leaving her physically exhausted and with more mouths to feed. How did women deal with this? They had faith. They knew and understood that they were part of a greater mystery. They trusted in God, and at least if they didn't trust in God doing what was best for them, they trusted that Someone Else was in control, and they accepted it.

Despite the fear mongering that is prevalent in our society, we are living at an optimum time to have children. We have a healthy, safe food supply. We live in safe, comfortable housing. If we choose to take advantage of it, we have amazing resources like free playgroups, local free libraries, safe and engaging playgrounds, La Leche League and more. Yet our worries persist.

We have lost our faith, and misled ourselves to believe something our grandmothers didn't: that we have control. We think that if we do it all right, we are going to guarantee no scraped knees, no sickness, no harm for our children. Big business takes advantage of us, marketing gadgets and medicines and technology to guarantee that our children will be smarter, healthier and happier. We have put our faith in plastics and computer chips and manufactured foods. We keep worrying because deep down our spirit knows this is not faith at all, but delusion.

We need to find faith again. We need to acknowledge that we are not in control of all that happens. We need to let go of control in many areas of our lives, and start living with love and power, leaving fear in our wake.

I would like to share with you a prayer that is powerful to help you release control and start living with faith, no matter what personal belief system is. It is an adapted version of the "Serenity Prayer" by Reinhold Niebuhr, with the first four lines intact and unchanged as they are extremely powerful to anyone who is learning to let go of control:

God/dess, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardship as the path to peace and strength.
Taking the world as it is, not as I would have it:
Trusting that I am part of a greater consciousness,
That I am learning and evolving each day of my life
Through my experiences and my choice to live fearlessly.
That I will see the beauty in each day
And connect with all beings in a journey of LOVE.
God/dess, today I give the control to you.
I trust that you will guide me in my decision making.
I trust that the best thing I can do for my family is to love myself,
Tapping into the Love of the Universe, then sharing it with my family.
I am not afraid.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Getting in Gear: pregnancy countdown 22 weeks

I was a little dumbfounded yesterday when I realized I am 22 weeks pregnant. I mean, sure, I *knew* in the back of my head where I was in the process, and I also acknowledge the fact that babies come when they want. But I am putting a date on things in an effort to ensure I will be "ready" when this babe comes.

There will be a six year gap between this baby and his or her older brother, and I started out this pregnancy with absolutely no baby gear save a couple of baby blankets. I've been picking up a few things here and there, mostly baby clothes, and pretty much have my list of what I want/need. I learned with my other two children that we buy/receive waaaaay too much baby gear. Going from that experience, I acknowledge that this is a pretty bare bones list, but it's in line with my low consumption lifestyle:

-clothing in 6-12 month sizes: 12 onesies, 12 sleepers, 6 pr socks, 2 sweaters, cold weather suit, 6 caps, a couple of cute outfits
-change pad for on the go: I bought a vinyl one for $1 at a thrift sale and made a flannel cover from two baby blankets
-wrap(s): would love two so that when one gets dirty I can have a clean one
-cloth diapers: have 10 chinese prefolds so far, want to have at least 36 prefolds/inserts and 12 PLU covers or 4 wool ones
wet bags: for dirty small for on the go and one large for home
-cloth wipes: making these from flannel I have in my sewing stash and some old receiving blankets I've picked up (my babies were too big to use these blankets for anything else), putting these in a plastic container with my own wipe solution
-knitted, large baby blankets: I have two of these and one on its way from a friend
-bouncy chair
-bath support
-new bag for baby gear, etc: I don't currently have anything other than tiny purses, and have fallen in love with a bag made by a local lady who sells at our Saturday Farmer's Market. Not a fan of diaper bags as many of them are made of synthetic materials that stink, and a few of them on the market now are even treated with Teflon!! Plus, when the material cracks or gets a hole, it's an eyesore. With a handmade cotton/poly blend bag, I can just throw on a it's machine washable, and will have other uses long after its incarnation as a "diaper bag"

For later:
-Ergo carrier: I've tried everything on the market and this is my favourite for bigger babies
-high chair that pulls up to the table (let's face it though, they always end up on my lap, eating off my plate!)
-bigger baby clothes
-toys? we already have some fun things in our house, and don't all babies like spoons? :)
-a couple of sippy cups
-baby spoons
-a couple of stainless steel baby bowls

I'm going to periodically check in and report on this list, and possibly do a cost analysis. I haven't put bottles on the list, because I just don't need them. With my second child I didn't even make baby food; when he wanted people food I just watered down/mushed up/shared whatever we were having. When you carry your babe in arms (or in wrap) most of the day, you lose the need for things to distract baby or keep him or her contained. When you sleep with your baby, a crib seems foolish, and a bouncy seat or a safe place on the floor is a great place for baby to crash for naps (if they don't wake up as soon as you put them down). A hammock seems like a great idea too and I am going to check these out at the farmer's markets this spring. I might go for a stroller once baby is a fair amount older, as I tend to get more frustrated than anything at lugging a stroller around.

I just shake my head at the amount of gear we are sold under the guise of "safety" or "developmental needs". Our babies need our milk and our loving arms. The rest is fluff :) Check back with me later this week for my list of gear I am getting together for our homebirth.

Friday, April 24, 2009

On Creativity

Most of the time, for me, creating anything is a struggle. I work at something only to be frustrated that it doesn't match that inner glint of inspiration that got me going in the first place. I curse my brain, wondering how it could have given me something perfect and intact at some point in the past and not give me such a gift now.

This morning I happened to see a post on Facebook by my friend JD LeJeune. It is Elizabeth Gilbert delivering a presentation at the annual TED conference, also known as "TED Talks". She discusses creativity, that it is a gift that flows through us but is not necessarily of us, and reminds us all that if we love to create we should just keep on plugging and recognize the value in our efforts.

A great, moving talk. I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Warrior Woman

Warrior Woman,

You dreamed of a glorious birth
And with a mix of excitement and trepidation you
Entered the temple of sickness and dying and
New life.

As the waves crashed over you
A rejoicing built up inside you
Something changed the plans

And so
You made the sacrifice
You saved yourself and your baby
The only way you knew how

Now the trust birth camp
Whispers in your ear
Twas for nought
You were duped

Your stomach knots up

The grannies and the girlfriends
Cheerfully say
You have a healthy baby
What more could you want?

You seethe inside

Don't forget
That you are a warrior
Who made a choice
A wound for your child

You are stronger now
Your scar tries to tell you
I am tough, you can be too

And you have days
Like any soldier
When you remember the fear
The helplessness
Was it my fault?
Did they lie?

You struggle for answers in a
World of greys
And pray for a different birth
Next time

Honour your scar
She is part of you
Forgive her as you
Forgive youself
Caress her and thank her
Trust her to watch over you and
Your future babies

Let the Goddess hold you as you

And carry the strength of your birthing sisters
Into the temple once again.

© 2009 Amy Gow

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Birth in BINSI® Style! Mother's Day Giveaway!

When most people think of a hospital birth, they have images of pregnant women in hospital gowns. Unfortunately, hospital gowns were designed for use on bedridden patients. They are not made for mobility, and they leave your entire backside exposed. After using a gown for my first birth I was sure that I wanted to wear my own clothing for my second birth. I also encourage my doula clients to do the same, but we've encountered a problem: modern clothing is not designed for birth. In order to listen to your baby, a nightgown or tshirt needs to be hiked up, exposing your entire bottom half. Underwear, shorts and pj pants can feel restrictive and messy. Moms are often reluctant to "bare it all" in a hospital setting with lots of staff and bright lights, and we know that in order to have a satisfying birth, moms need to feel relaxed. So what's a gal to do?

For the longest time I didn't have a great answer, and then I found BINSI! The first time I saw the BINSI skirt and tank, I fell in love. BINSI® was designed by mother and doula Carri Grimditch who, like me, hated the hospital gown she wore during her first birth.

BINSI skirts provide complete freedom of movement and sit below your belly. They include beads so that you can personalize them during a blessingway or baby shower. During birth, these can be a great visual reminder of supportive wishes from your friends and family.

BINSI tops have breastfeeding clasps and are designed to be used with medical equipment if needed, including monitoring equipment, IVs, epidurals and more. They can be removed easily if needed due to snaps along the sides of the tops.

Besides being breathable and perfectly suited for a growing pregnant body, BINSI wear is machine washable, an absolute must with birth gear. To me, it's the perfect prenatal and birth clothing that helps you feel pretty and covered on your very special day.

I've been recommending BINSI to my clients for over a year now, and although my upcoming birth will be at home, I am seriously considering picking out my own BINSI tank and skirt to wear during those last pregnant weeks (which will be in sweltering August) and to keep in my "just in case" hospital birth bag. The comfy GoGo top might be a great thing to wear in my birth pool too.

Now you have a chance to try BINSI, for free!! Kim Taylor, co-owner of BINSI®, is offering Ecstatic Goddess readers a chance to win their choice of either an in stock top or skirt. What a great Mother's Day gift for yourself or an expectant friend. To enter the draw, simply email me at One winner will be chosen on May 6, 2009. In the meantime, please visit to check out a great selection of lovely birth wear. My fellow Canadians can purchase BINSI at

Fashionably yours,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Some of my favourite quotes

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~ Mohandas Ghandi

"A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed…When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

"The feminist agenda encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." ~ Pat Robertson, 20th century televangelist

"My country is the world... and my religion is to do good." ~ Thomas Paine 1737-1809

"It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness." ~ K'ung Fu-tzu (Confucius) 551 - 479 B.C.E.

"I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs."
~ Frederick Douglass, escaped slave

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
~ Mother Teresa

"Truth is that which does not contaminate you, but empowers you."
~ Gary Zukav

What are some of your favourite quotes?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Loving your body...some inspiring links

My normal, non-pregnant weight is between 165 and 175 lbs, I'm 5'8", and I wear a *gasp* size 12 or 13. I don't know the number of times I've had girlfriends berate themselves over the number on the scale, for whom 120 or 140 or whatever is the magic number. I don't know how many times I've had people say to me, "You don't look that big!" These poor folks are honestly trying to compliment me, when instead all it does is reveal their misconceptions about weight and size. What to respond with in that moment? Somehow saying "thanks" would feel like I am buying into their notion of what a healthy, attractive body is. And I refuse.

I shudder to think how hard it must be for my sisters who are bigger than me, who have had to put up with comments and judgements for the way they look. I am disgusted by the constant bombardment of diet ads that suggest we all become cookie cutter versions of each other, that we stop feeding ourselves, that we can't show some flesh unless our bodies look a certain way (see these disgusting Kellogg's ads, and some wonderful responses to them!)

I certainly have days when I wished I was lighter, more buff, etc. Those days are becoming fewer now, though, as I come to appreciate myself more and as I firmly reject our culture's ideals of beauty and the ways in which the female worth is measured. Lately I've found some great women who refuse to conform, who refuse to shrink or to hide. I want to thank them for their courage, and to share some of their web offerings:

Laura Judd's statement: "I AM."

Please leave your comments with your own inspiring links!!


PS Found this after posting the blog...this shows how misguided we are when we rely on BMI as an ideal for weight, after years of hearing it is a "healthy" guideline. Make sure you mouse over the upper right hand corner and click on "show info" to get the full effect: Lucysol's Illustrated BMI Categories. Using a standard BMI calculator, at 175 lbs my BMI is 25.8, making me "overweight".

Friday, April 17, 2009

Love Vs. Judgement

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."- Mother Teresa

We live in a world that judges people, on the spot, for pretty much everything: what we wear, our hairstyle, our complexion, the way we talk, the car we drive. Many of us so-called "enlightened" folks will say those things don't matter to us, yet we have no problem complaining about our friend's messy house, our cousin who drinks too much or our coworker who gossips all day.

For every second we focus on someone's negative issues, we give that issue power. We give it life. Our brain starts to associate the behaviour with the person, until it BECOMES the person. Our friend becomes a slob, our cousin an alcoholic, our coworker a bitch. We secretly enjoy focusing on other people's problems, because in doing so we can forget our own very real, very human shortcomings. We can say "I am better than you."

We have it backwards. Instead of focusing on the negative, try today to see the beauty in everyone else, the wonderful things that he or she is doing. You then see that your friend drops everything to help others. Your cousin is one of the funniest people you know. Your coworker is struggling to support a chronically ill partner. In short, there is a lot more to this person than the label you've slapped on them.

We have all learned a lot about tough love in our lifetimes from numerous "self-help" gurus. We have come to believe that we can withdraw our support from others until they start living the way we think they should. In contrast, I believe that people need our love in the NOW, that we need to love others unconditionally. I am not suggesting ignoring or hiding from others' problems. I am not advocating denial. I am asking that you understand we are all on a journey in this lifetime. Each of us is here to learn and grow and there are as many paths to learning as there are people on the planet. We need to respect that other people are experiencing the pain and the joy of life differently than we are. We need to truly put ourselves in another person's shoes, and try to understand that they are coping and living life the only way that seems possible to them at the time.

I'd like to share with you my personal story because has helped me to understand this concept. For a decade I lived in a relationship that slowly soured. In the beginning, my partner was a friend, funny and fun to be with. In the end, under threat of physical violence, I left. In the intervening years, my life and my spirit slowly sunk under the weight of emotional abuse. It was such a gradual process that I honestly didn't see it. Over the years, I had moments of clarity in which I tried to envision leaving, but I felt powerless to do so. I had come to believe that I was incapable of making decisions on my own.

When I recall those years, I like to use the "boiling frog" story. In the late 1800s scientists performed experiments to see how frogs sense changes in temperature. They reported that if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and very slowly raised the temperature of the water to boiling, the frog would die without ever having noticed the change in temperature. They also claimed that if you dropped a frog directly into a pot of boiling water, it would react immediately and jump out of the pot. Whether or not this story is factually true, it is the best way I know of to help people understand how I could have stayed in such a relationship for so long.

I now look back and realize that over the years I came to believe my partner's messages that I was lazy and disorganized, with poor decision-making skills and an unrealistic, impractical view of the world. Over time I actually became those things, in part because I heard often enough that I WAS them.

Friends and family could see these things happening to me, but they were powerless to stop it. I couldn't acknowledge their concerns. I would only defend my partner and then pare back my interactions with the concerned parties, convinced that I was doing the right thing. When I ended up in a woman's shelter, I realized that I had been in denial for a long time, taking emotional blows while many of the other women there had been taking physical blows as well.

The whole experience has helped me to understand how hard it can be to change the damaging, harmful things in our lives. It helped me to know that in such a situation, you often don't see a way out, that you feel unable to change it. It takes a pivotal event to spur change. Then it takes love and personal forgiveness to heal and see it as part of our soul's journey.

In the end, it's all about love. If I had truly loved myself, I would have never stayed in such a hurtful place. I judged myself harshly for a long, long time, and it only brought me more pain. We need to love ourselves and love others, respecting our individual paths. The healing will come.

Remember to be gentle with yourself. In doing so you will be more gentle with others.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Time for a Birth Revolt!

Fellow Goddess Earth Lande of the Natural Birth Institute performs "Look What They Gone Done to Birth".


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mushy Brain

Today the snow has melted and we again wore our spring jackets to the bus stop. I have yet to have breakfast and know it needs to come soon as my stomach is yelling at me. The baby in my belly dances and reminds me that I need to take good care of the both of us. My house is silent and I plead for just a few more minutes to let my brain get some words out, as I have been attempting to write a blog post for the past hour. Last week the words were flowing. Today my brain is numb. It spills over with birth stuff and baby stuff and responsible living and life, and none of that is coming together with enough words to help me convey a message.

And so I type. I fell into momentary despair yesterday morning to snow on the ground and memories of crazy dream in which I was trying to order meals at McDonalds. In the dream I was trying, trying, trying with all my might to communicate what I needed, what I wanted, and I was being answered with no service, waiting in line for hours, and indifferent and snickering staff. I got up and wrote to a friend about all the things that are bothering me in my life. My boyfriend got up and I talked and cried over our morning coffee. I got hugs and understanding. My friend emailed me back that all would be well. And indeed it was better. There was a great sense of relief after getting it all off my chest.

I remind myself to be gentle to me today. I feel a little raw around the edges. Time to get some breakfast and coffee. Time to rest. I am going to sit back and relax and watch the cars drive by the front window while listening to some Jack Johnson, then slowly get myself moving to get ready for work this afternoon.

Give yourself a hug for me,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring....where are you?

Three days ago the kids and I were washing off bikes and running around outside. A spring jacket was all you needed. There was hardly any snow to be found, and some of the grass was taking on a green hue.

Two days ago Emily and I walked to the grocery store together. She found buds on the rosebushes in front of the hotel. We had an Easter party, and I had six amazing kids playing together, eating together, and drawing chalk pictures on the driveway.

Yesterday we enjoyed a lazy day indoors while it snowed outside. Emily happily put her new bike accessories on her bike and then felt too cold to ride it. Zach is fighting another cold. But we had a big family dinner and a good day nonetheless. The snow had melted before bedtime.

This morning there is more snow!!!!! The ground is white. It's the kind of pretty looking snow that sticks to the trees and gets me excited....when it's in December. I am really ready for warmth and green. While I think I live in one of the best places in the world, really, six months of snow and cold is ENOUGH!!!

I think we'll bake cookies today while I dream of spring. If you have any warm weather to send me, I would love to have it. I'm hoping you've all had a nice little Easter weekend.

Praying for sun,

Friday, April 10, 2009

A funny way to end the day...

...required reading for all parents-to-be!

The Onion: 98% Of Babies Manic-Depressive


The Unfortunate Dismissal of the Foreskin

I've been a relatively quiet gal in the efforts to educate people about circumcision of infant boys. In saying that, I mean that I've certainly supported other people's efforts to inform people, and I am definitely clear with everyone I know that I do not support the practice under any circumstances. To me, the most frustrating thing about the whole topic is the fact that it is under discussion at all.

In keeping with the Canadian Pediatric Society, which does not support circumcision, New Brunswick's universal health care program has not paid for the procedure for over 10 years. In the UK, there are current investigations into a number of infant deaths attributable to circumcision. Not one major medical organization in the world supports routine infant circumcision. They are all saying it is unnecessary and there is no valid medical reason for the procedure. Yet between 10 and 20% of infants in Canada are still circumcised, so, just for the sake of it, let's review some basic facts about circumcision:

1. It's a brutally painful procedure. Most parents instinctively know this and I don't know of anyone who will stay in the room with their baby to witness this surgery. When and infant is circumcised, his arms and legs are tied down, his face is screwed up in agony, and he's screaming himself purple. Take the time to read a description of the surgery. In a newborn, the foreskin is fused to the glans of the penis, and separating the two before you make the cut is also very painful. Remember that the same procedure, performed on an older boy or adult, is done under anesthetic.

2. It reduces the size and the sensitivity of the penis, resulting in less sexual sensation as an adult. As an adult woman, I can attest to the difference! If you are a circumcised adult male, you may laugh at this, but keep in mind- you've never had anything to compare it with. Men who've had the procedure as adults unequivocally state there is a difference. There are also many men out there who have restored their foreskin and are delighted with the results.

3. An intact penis is not a dirty penis! As a boy grows older, the foreskin naturally retracts. It's pretty darned easy to teach your boy to retract and rinse. Jeepers, my five year old can do it.

4. Some people propose routine circumcision as a way to prevent problems with the foreskin in older boys and adults. They also believe that intact boys have more urinary tract infections. Both assumptions are incorrect, as long as parents and caregivers respect the foreskin and don't try to retract it before it retracts on its own (this happens at various ages for individuals, it doesn't happen in some boys until they hit their teens). All too often, in a society that thinks circumcision is the "norm", well meaning caregivers will attempt to retract the foreskin on an infant, resulting in pain and infection. In older males, sometimes there is a problem with the foreskin getting too tight: this can be dealt with by using steroid creams and, in extreme cases, with surgery. These problems are rare and do NOT warrant routine circumcision to prevent them. Some information about caring for the intact penis can be found here.

5. Recent news headlines that tout circumcision as the answer to the AIDS epidemic will, over time, be shown to be the load of crap that they are. Condoms are the answer to preventing AIDS, not surgery. In the past doctors tried to push circumcision to prevent penile cancer. The biggest proponents of circumcision in Victorian times touted it as a way to prevent a whole slew of diseases, including syphilis and tuberculosis. We know that both diseases occur in men, circumcised or no. So why do it? Performing this as a routine surgery on every boy means big money, for doctors, medical supply companies, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Fear is a big motivator for many people. Don't buy into it.

6. In 2008, the United Nations issued a statement on eliminating Female Genital Mutilation. Most people I know think that FGM is a barbaric procedure, and don't support it in the least. Our baby boys deserve such a statement, but many politicians are reluctant to support it because circumcision, or Male Genital Mutilation, is still such an uncomfortable subject for so many. It's difficult to state you do not support the practice when you are circumcised yourself or you are a mother or grandmother who has circumcised her boys. It is hard to say, "I was not educated about this. I now see it was wrong. I am sorry."

7. People still cite religion as a reason for circumcision. Today there are practicing Jews who are choosing to keep their boys intact. Christians who say they are circumcising for religious reasons aren't all that well informed. First of all, they don't follow every other guideline in the Old Testament. Second, Jesus didn't care if you were Jew or Gentile. He would have had a large number of followers who weren't circumcised, including a number of his disciples. Same with St. Paul, who was of Greek origin. Sorry, this argument doesn't stand up your Bible.

This is not a subject that should be put away. Babies don't need circumcision, they don't need to look like their daddies, and they in no cases should be violated and have the choice of genital integrity taken from them. For good resources and sound medical information about circumcision please go to

Please take the time to educate yourself about this, for your children and your grandchildren. Please stop hurting baby boys.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Breastfeeding on Sesame St

I remember someone sending me this link about a year ago, and like all good things, they come around again. Watching this clip, and the Mr. Rogers one that I posted the other day, makes me want to go out and find copies of these older children's shows. They seem to have a calmer quality to them, a practicality, and a real focus on showing children how wonderful the world is around them. Instead of touting consumerism, they encourage friendship, family and community. It reminds me that our children can live more simply, if we choose it!

In this clip, Maria breastfeeds her baby while talking to a young neighbour. Wonderful!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Life

A while back I was reading some uplifting quotes and came across the following:

"Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others." - Wilfred Peterson

Now this is not the most glamourous quote, but its essential message keeps echoing in my head. I even have a copy of it in my workstation at work now, where I can see it all day long: Be gentle with yourself.

I have spent a lot of time, as I am sure many of you have, continuously striving to improve myself. Although I have loads of understanding for others, it honestly didn't occur to me to provide the same for myself.

It is not an easy shift to relax our attitudes about ourselves. It takes time, and love, and patience. The following is a basic list of simple ways to improve your life, empower yourself and take it just a little easier on yourself:

1. Say no. When someone gives you a request, step back and think about it before that "yes" pops out of your mouth. Make sure you've left some time for personal renewal this week.

2. Cook a meal. If you don't know how to cook from scratch, pick something simple to start with, such as homemade macaroni and cheese. Cooking from scratch helps you to see how you can combine the basics in your kitchen and make real, heart warming food. You'll save money too!

3. Give yourself a hug. Look in the mirror and say, "I love you." Repeat, repeat, repeat.

4. Read about natural health alternatives. Ladies, start with "Our Bodies, Ourselves" by the Boston Women's Health Collective.

5. Question the rules. Insert the word "why" into your vocabulary. You will find a lot of the time the answer sounds something like, "Well, that's just the way it is" or "It's protocol". Think about whether or not that is a good enough answer for you, and act accordingly.

6. Turn off the news channel. Somehow we've become entrenched in fear, in a large part due to the way our news is disseminated to us. Read the news headlines once a week, and you will find you didn't miss much after all. Find websites that tell you about the wonderful things happening in our world.

7. Create something. Write a letter to the fairies. Go out and buy oil pastels and posterboard and make some abstract art. Pull out the knitting needles and yarn at the back of the closet. Don't worry about results- just enjoy the process.

8. Help your spirit sing. Go out in the sun. Soak your weary feet. Cuddle a pet. Sprawl on the couch. Read something uplifting. Pray or meditate. Just take five minutes and do it, I know you can.

9. Be prepared. Take another five minutes this evening and set out your clothes for tomorrow, put a lunch together. That'll equal 10 or more extra minutes tomorrow morning. This is my hardest thing on the list to do, and it's a work in progress for me!

10. Get lots of sleep. If you need an alarm clock to wake you in the morning, you aren't getting enough sleep. Turn off the computer and the television. Go to bed. Make it a habit. For moms with little children, try to nap when they do, or go to bed when they do!

I have found that when I practice these ideas in my own life, they free me. Please find at least one way to be gentle to yourself today :)

Enchanted birth

This wonderful birth video is truly magical. What a wonderful deviation from our usual cultural representation of birth. This mother calls forth the Universe, and sings her baby into the world. Her attendants are decidedly hands-off.

Please share this with all of the women in your world. Thank you to the poster on Daily Motion.

Blog Causes an Uproar with UCers

It seems that Navelgazing Midwife is causing quite a controversy among UCers on the net. For anyone not familiar with the term UC, it stands for Unassisted Childbirth. Women who choose this route have decided to give birth without formal midwifery or medical care at the actual event. Some of them also choose to UP, which means they look after their own prenatal care (Unassisted Prenatal).

In her recent blog post, midwife Barb Herrera has the audacity to suggest that UC might not be safe. She challenges the usual statements made by UCers, forcing many of them to confront some real truths: do you really know what's going on in there? Do you have backup plans in place in case something goes wrong? Basically, she is asking the same things that a UCers family, friends, and community are already asking her.

Unfortunately, UCers have decided dismiss Navelgazing Midwife because she is an example of the "evil" medical community. Without any prior knowledge of her, women have decided that this midwife, who gives community centred care, is out to get them. They simply don't want to answer her questions, although they are valid and sincere. They haven't looked at any of her other writing, and instead attack, feeling they need to defend themselves.

I, for one, appreciate posts like Barb's because they force me to think about my own birth choices. They educate and enlighten. We all need to realize that it is valuable to have our point of view challenged, that it helps us to grow and learn. And at the end of the day, it's okay if people disagree on a subject. But ladies, when a sister on the net is trying to point out basic lack of knowledge, my suggestion is to suck it up and learn from it, not bury your head in the sand.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

My family's favourite, this is the meal I make when we are tired and short on prep time. This is so much better than anything out of a box, and the surprising thing is, it will take you about the same amount of time as the packaged stuff, I promise! Add a salad, or for finicky eaters like mine, apple slices, to get a balanced meal.

Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups macaroni

While the macaroni cooks, make your white sauce:

In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
Immediately stir in 2 tablespoons of white flour.
You should have a thick paste.
Add 2 cups of milk (I prefer 2% or whole milk)
Using a whisk, stir frequently for a few minutes.
Your milk mixture will start to thicken.
Whisk some more to ensure it is smooth with no lumps.
Remove from the heat, and stir in 2 cups of cheddar cheese.
Add salt and pepper to taste

Your macaroni should be just about cooked by now-
Drain macaroni and combine with the cheese sauce....mmmmmm!

Try not to eat the whole pan by yourself, okay?

Mr. Rogers on Breastfeeding

One of my all-time favourites, Mr. Rogers, discusses breastfeeding:

Yay for Mr. Rogers and public television!


A few weeks ago, in the process of creating Twitter and Blipfm accounts, I realized that I wanted a cool new username. Ecstatic Goddess was born, and wow! she wasn't being used anywhere else on the web...what are the odds?

Suddenly, this new persona, this Goddess, feels like me. I feel like I've just had the best sleep of my life, woke up, washed my face and voila: I AM GODDESS.

The old blog just doesn't cut it. This is a new start. I am 20 weeks pregnant and in the midst of a peaceful contemplation of my world and my place in it. Today I feel comfortable in my own skin. Today I am grateful for the people who've inspired me in so many ways. I find that I am attracted to more and more "real" people, people who've found a sense of peace within themselves, people who radiate joy. I aspire to be more like them. I want to live in the moment.

My house is starting to contain tiny garments and diapers again. We are all entranced by the idea of a little person coming to join us. I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time this past weekend, an energetic thudding in the earpieces of my fetoscope. When I sit quietly this baby jumps and tumbles, making little tiny ripples appear on my stomach.

Our little family is enjoying our together time, reading stories and snuggling as much as possible. We are truly blessed. I am eagerly anticipating this Easter weekend, our little celebration of new life and renewal.

Wishing you joy and love and inspiration today :)