Research shows that the type of birth does influence the chances of a mother developing postpartum depression. Read "Unplanned Cesarean and Trauma" by Thais Derich.
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There is one moment during the pregnancy of my second child that I attribute to having saved my life. It wasn’t a life-saving cesarean. It wasn’t an amazing doctor who saved me. It wasn’t a drug or a modern life-saving piece of equipment.
I am sitting in a circle of supportive women when I have this realization.
“When I started planning to have a natural birth after delivering my first son via cesarean, I was up against a lot of backlash due to the increased perceived risk of a natural birth after a C-Section. Meditation and visualization kept me centered and strong in my conviction to birth my second child the way that I wanted. For me, giving birth naturally meant more than just avoiding a painful and unnecessary surgery. It meant being empowered to make informed decisions about my pregnancy. It meant honest communication between my maternity care team and myself. Most of all, it meant listening to my instincts, and learning trust in my own body.”
I'm excited to share a thoughtful and glowing reviews of Second Chance! Here's the link to the review on Enjoy Birth Blog.
Mom Egg Review reviews Thais Derich's memoir Second Chance.
Linda Thompson interviews Thais Derich about her debut memoir Second Chance.
I believe in pausing. In fact, I structure my day so that spending time with my kids in the afternoon is a break from the other things I do. I’m on the Mama Advantage podcast talking about the power of pausing:
#motherhood #mamaCEO #mompreneur #MamaAdvantage
And you can access it on itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mama-advantage-podcast/id1231611309?mt=2
I’m so grateful to BabyCenter for taking on this huge and extremely sensitive subject of cesarean. If you’re interested in supporting me somehow, please comment at the bottom of the article and/or share it from one of their social media links at the top of the article. Muchas Gracias! This has been a long time coming for me, so I’m thrilled to have it out in the world today! Happy Cesarean Awareness Month!
I'm so excited to have a writing piece of mine published with Literary Mama this morning. Would love your support with my writing passion. Please read and share!
What do you do when your family is hurt by what you’ve written? Thais Derich shares her experience in this guest post.
So excited! Literary Mama, Winner of Writers Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers, has accepted a writing piece of mine. It will be published July 22. Great website for moms out there and even better for those moms who write! Thank you Elizabeth Stark for helping me get it to publishing quality, thank you to my family for putting up with me writing about them, and thank you to Karna Converse, Literary Mama Blog Editor, for publishing my piece.
Lisa Epsteen’s baby boy was born healthy via cesarean section days after her doctor threatened to drag her to the hospital in handcuffs and put her four other children in child protective custody.
Ms. Epsteen knew the risks of delaying her cesarean and she made a choice to have her cesarean on a different day than what her doctor wanted. She weighed her doctor’s advice and also her own opinion. But Dr. Jerry Yankowitz, didn’t like her decision and tried to convince her otherwise in an email with threats of police and taking away her children.
[Previously published for sfgate.com/moms]
I've decided to start forcing a smile. Not like a fake smile but more of a relaxed face smile. I've heard laughing is therapeutic and in Bali they meditate with a smile. So I've decided to practice relaxing my face, parting my lips slightly, and curling up the ends of my mouth as often as I think about it.
Now that I am aware of my tight face syndrome, I can feel it. I felt it driving towards the Laurel Village parking lot, and then I loosened it and found a parking spot right away. I felt my lips tighten and pucker while picking poultry at the grocery store. I relaxed and felt happier instantly. I smile when I do the dishes. I smile when I type on the computer. I smile when I play with Mikey.
Being a mom is sometimes so intense that I have to stay focused and on task, but now I am doing it with a smile.
I can think of one good reason. Fire isn't a game and I shouldn't be teaching Mikey that lighting matches and birthday candles over and over is fun. Nonetheless, this candle game happened organically this morning and Mikey loved it.
He found the box where I keep the leftover candles from birthday cakes (all two of them) and wanted to light one. Mikey wasn't able to blow out his second birthday cake's candle. He almost scorched his eyebrows trying. So I thought maybe he could use a little practice. A pear was handy, so I sliced the pear and stuck the candle in it. I sang, "Happy Birthday too you..." and he blew it out right on cue. His face glowed like he had won Wimbleton. Then he wanted to do the next candle and the next. Soon he didn't wait for me to finish singing and by the end I wasn't singing at all. He was blowing out the candle and the match with one big puff. He was done with the game when we had lit and blew out each candle in the box. I used this opportunity to review colors and numbers and other things listed below:
The Candle Game
1) Discuss the difference between smoke and steam.
2) Practice blowing which isn't an obvious skill.
3) Use fine motor skills by putting the candles in the pear hole.
4) Name each candle color.
5) Teach about matches and that he is not to play with them without me. Fire is dangerous.
6) Sing Happy Birthday which boosts self-esteem and makes a child feel special even on an ordinary day.
7) Count the candles and matches.
Candles can stand in anything. It doesn't have to be a cake or cupcake.
Mikey is going through a very frustrating developmental period for me. He is unhappy mostly everywhere except home. And at home, I can't even finish unloading the dishwasher before he says, "Mama come." He needs my full attention all the time. I really enjoy hanging out with him but lately it's been difficult. I didn't realize how drained a felt, until Mikey's papa came home tonight, and I scurried off into the office and closed the door.
I was hoping for a little peace. My goal was three minutes. I didn't even make it three minutes alone before Mikey started screaming for me on the other side of the door. I heard Zack saying, "Let's go play in the yard." But, by that point Mikey was so worked up nothing would satisfy him apart from being in his mommy's arms. I opened the door and grabbed my keys. I needed out. I felt trapped and I needed some space. My decision didn't help the volume of screaming and Zack didn't know what to do, so he followed me down to the garage with our wailing child.
At this point, Mikey was so red and horse from crying that I couldn't leave him. Nonetheless, I was still upset and needed a walk. So, I took him and marched off into the street with no idea where I was going. Zack stood on the steps with no shoes and the whole house open, "Where are you going?" he asked. I turned to look but didn't respond. I just didn't know.
I held Mikey tight in my arms and walked in silence. Tears dripped down from under my sunglasses. When we reached the Panhandle park, I let Mikey down to walk. He reached for my hand and held it as we crossed the bike lane. Mikey never wants to hold my hand when we walk. He swats it away every time. But tonight it was his hand that held mine. "He is holding my hand to comfort me," I thought.
His hand transmitted so much love that I came out of my depressed state and into the present moment. It was a warm San Francisco Friday night. A woman sat on the grass with her newborn baby. Dogs ran after balls. Crows cawed loudly in the trees. Bikes zipped back and forth on the path. The warm offshore breeze dried my tears.
We continued to walk hand-in-hand without talking. Mikey would pick up a leaf or an acorn and show it to me. I would nod or smile. Just as soon as he'd let go of my hand he'd say, "hand, hand," and want it back. But this time, it wasn't for him, it was for me.
He maintained a steady walk. Normally, he can barely walk up our small street in under an hour and getting him to walk up the stairs to our apartment is about as frustrating as it gets. But in that moment, he walked. We stopped briefly to watch the basketball game and the skateboarders, and then we headed out of the park and back up the hill to the house.
We passed the newly painted orange Buddhist meditation house and Mikey looked up at me and said, "Orange." When I looked back into his eyes they weren't the eyes of a two-year old. He held my gaze with the most beautiful smile that I have ever seen. For a brief moment, my son knew more than I. He was all knowing, comforting, loving, and still. Mikey held my hand all the way home and he didn't let me go.
Zack caught up to us on the bike just before we turned onto our street. I ran a lavender bath as soon as I walked in the door. Mikey climbed in and Zack leaned over the side of the tub and washed him while I relaxed and enjoyed their company.
I was talking to a mom at a baby shower who explained why she chose to go back to work even though she didn't need the money. As she told me the story, tears swelled up in her eyes. She works at a company that offers a year maternity leave (amazing, I know). She took the full year with her first child but returned to work after three months with the second. She said that she couldn't handle it. Two kids were too much for her. She felt like she would snap at any moment. So she hired someone to do the job for her. She said that she feels really guiltly about her decision.
The reality of her situation saddens me. People have kids but don't want to do the work or feel someone else could do a better job. She loves her children but she can't be with them all day long. My interest in her story stems from my own mom not wanting to be with me or my two siblings. My mom left my dad and the three of us young children when I was only four years old. She gave my dad custody and went to live in Florida to get her Ph.D.
Maybe it's good that my friend at the baby shower went to work. If that's what keeps a family together, then so be it.
[Published previously for SFGate.com/moms]
I think that everyone can agree that one kid grabbing a toy from another kid's hands is a big "no,no." Now I ask, what about me (mommy) snatching an open magic marker from Mikey? I have done it before. But it felt hypocritical. Why should I expect him not to take what he wants when I demonstrate the opposite? If it's not life threatening, it can be a perfect learning opportunity and a way to treat him like a sensitive human being.
If I really believe in talking it out and asking for things rather than taking them, then I need to practice what I preach. And so, now I do.
I put my hands together like I am begging for food and kneel down right in front of him. I look at him in the eyes and I am very serious. I say, "Mikey, please give mommy the marker. We only draw on paper. Mommy wants to put the marker away until art time. Please give mommy the marker." He normally drops it gently into my open hands and I say, "thank you." Or, he says, "thank you, Mikey," which means that I should say it. If he refuses then I tell him that I am going to take it on the count of three if he doesn't give it to me. It isn't quite playground rules but I do recognize that I do need to make executive decisions sometimes.
These moments allow me to practice being present. I stop whatever I am doing and embrace the moment. I remain separated emotionally but completely focused on it. These moments don't last more than a few minutes but they are intense and a great spiritual practice. It takes a lot of will power for Mikey to give up the marker and for me not to take the easy way out and grab it from him. Mikey always runs away from the ordeal quite happy and content with himself. And, I save my walls. It's a win win!