Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013

You'd think I had a boring year since I spent 8 1/2 months of it pregnant, but after thinking about it, I realized that "boring" is the last word I should be using to describe this year.

  • I gained 35 pounds. 
  • I later lost 29 pounds within in two weeks. 
  • I grew a human. 
  • I started a (non-violent and fake) gang at work, and I named myself Virgil. (Inside joke.)
  • I got a henna tattoo that took up my entire stomach. 
  • I went camping twice, 
  • and I caught some people skinny dipping. 
  • I overcame my fear of pit toilets. (Well, almost. I cried while using it.) 
  • I moved with a 2-week old. 
  • I traveled to Tennessee with a 2 month-old, 
  • and I carried her halfway up a mountain. 
  • I bought a weapon at a flea market, 
  • and I also bought my first vehicle this year. 

2013 helped me reveal my true self. It was definitely my favorite year, so cheers to many more!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Postpartum Month 4: Journal for Inspiration & Motivation

On January 4th, 2014 Audrey will be 4 months old. At this point in my 4th trimester, I am feeling a range of emotions. In my journal earlier today, I wrote that I'm feeling "blah," but I'm also feeling "inspired" somehow. Physically, how am I doing? I'm not going to lie--I haven't started exercising at the gym yet, aside from a few step aerobics classes I took recently; however, I'm constantly moving around when picking up Audrey and playing with her, rearranging the house, cleaning, running errands, and teaching dance. 

Audrey and I, last week, when we went out for sushi with friends.

I would certainly love to get back to my normal exercising self, but I don't feel like I'm in any rush to increase the amount of activity I am doing right now. I can't tell if my nonchalant attitude is because I am not ready to increase the intensity of my workouts or if it's because I'm lacking motivation. Either way, I decided to journal for motivation. 

I started by listing my current interests, and I made goals and jotted down notes on how I can reasonably achieve them. I suppose you could say these are my resolutions for the new year. (In your own journal, you can easily do what I did. Use my notes below as your template.)

Here are my current interests. (These interests are things that are impacting my daily life. You can certainly see this if you check out my Pinterest! )
  • Birth
  • Natural Parenting
  • DIY 
  • Health and Wellness
  • Feminism
  • Spirituality
Here is a short list of goals I want to reach during the course of 2014.
  1. Learn to sew (and sew well.) Make prefolds, clothes for Audrey, and Christmas and birthday presents for the next year.
  2. Become a birth doula.
  3. Blog more often. 
  4. Workout, and get back to my pre-baby weight.
Here are the reasonable steps I am going to take to achieve the goals above.
  1. I received a sewing machine for Christmas from my parents. I already have that! Since I haven't sewn in about 7 years, I am going to be taking free classes from a woman in my community. This is a hobby that will be practical for my family, cheap for me to do, and will allow me some alone-time. 
  2. I blogged about this in an earlier post, but I am currently perusing my training options. I will talk more about it once things are official! 
  3. Blogging more often has always been a goal of mine. Now that I am gaining inspiration once more, I think this will really be a possibility in the upcoming year. 
  4. I think this will come with time. I do have a Y membership. The Y is very family-friendly, so I think it's a great facility to help me get motivated. Also, with spring and summer *slowly* approaching, I am going to sign up for some 5K races with a couple good friends of mine. They're short races, but they give me just enough incentive to jog; plus, I have the opportunity to support some great causes. Furthermore, I do have a Groupon I purchased for Aikido. I might not get much of a workout from that, but at least I will get out of the house and moving around!
That's all for now! 
- Samantha Nichole

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Childbirth: My Stance & Goals

Resting in the hospital bed. September 4th, 2013.

I have been researching childbirth in America for two years now. I studied this issue on my own, and I was inspired to be a birth doula while I was working as a captioning assistant. I would caption phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing, and between client calls I read books and wrote in my journal. I’m happy to say that I am finally pursuing my options in becoming a doula!

I must mention that before I started studying childbirth, I was terrified of it. I have always known that I wanted children, but the idea of giving birth frightened me so much that I contemplated not having children at all. I started reading books and watching documentaries that promoted unmedicated birth, and birth outside the hospital, and I immediately became calmer because those resources did not regard childbirth as a scary, unnatural, medical process.

When I became pregnant with Audrey, I made the decision to deliver her medication-free. If you read my earlier blog post, you’ll learn that my plans were changed, but in the end I was surprisingly satisfied with my decision to have an epidural. For me, and for many women I know, the idea of having an unmedicated childbirth was the goal, but it didn't work out that way. After reflecting on my experience I now realize what factors contributed to that outcome. My birth experience reaffirmed what I value the most and what I want to advocate for.

My Stance

Me (Sam) and my henna baby belly!

As women, we need to educate ourselves and stand strong in the decisions we make about our bodies and health. If we want something, we need to be assertive. Major financial burden and unnecessary interventions can be reduced if we stay informed, challenge when we’re wronged, and leave our comfort zone when issues arise. Our bodies were made to give birth, but sometimes emergency situations do arise, and therefore hospitals and modern medicine play an important part. However, we can combat the way our society views birth by becoming informed and taking ownership of our unique spiritual experience.

One of the best things we can do is educate ourselves and take ownership of our labor and birth. We need to communicate with each other about the birthing process, and motherhood, as women used to do. We should compare and share resources while refraining from taking advice at face-value. We must continue trusting our instincts--we have them for a reason! When we are unsure about something, we should question our health care professionals, and we should be comfortable enough with our doctor or midwife to express our deepest concerns.  

Many times in our country, and in others, women are taken advantage of during childbirth. This is a huge women’s rights issue, and is often overlooked. I am not a midwife or medical professional, yet, but I am a mom who took ownership of my pregnancy and childbirth, which is a process I believe to be a natural part of life.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Audrey, December 21st, 2013

After a few years of reflection, I found that women’s rights, birth, and natural motherhood interest me more than anything else. I started acting upon this by doing more research and searching for a reputable doula training program. I even spoke to a career coach, and I made a timeline of the goals I have. When I became pregnant with Audrey, I decided to spend those months enjoying my pregnancy and continue reflecting. I think that was a great decision, and I’m ready to move forward now.

Audrey is a few months old, and we have a daily routine and established breastfeeding. I have the energy to start my training program and take the next steps to fulfill my career and personal goals. I’m thankful to be in the position I am in right now, and I’m glad that my experiences and formal education have helped me get to this point. I have all the tools I need to be successful. I have a loving family, work ethic, determination, and faith in women’s abilities to give birth.