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Course Intro: Hope and Help For Your Nerves!


Looking a little rough in this here video, {hahaha,} but couldn't wait to share the new book that we are going to be going through for the next few Composed Mommy Videos. Okay, guys. I need some help. I don't know if I should combine Composed Mommy and The Dainty Pear [under The Dainty Pear] or keep them separate...I'm really not sure and would love any and all thoughts!:) The reason I started Composed Mommy was so that I wouldn't overload anyone with the Anxiety/Birth stuff, but now I think I can find ways that it's not a bombardment! Haha! Thanks, friends!


CM Changes + A History

Some fun changes are happening with Composed Mommy! While I absolutely love the topic of birth and will totally keep talking about it occasionally, I talked a little bit about it in the previous post, but things have shifted a little bit on this page to more of a focus on Anxiety Healing! I have had this tugging at me to do something related to Anxiety since it's something that I've been affected by since almost as long as I can remember! I vividly have the memory of sitting in first grade having my first panic attack. I felt like the room was moving and that dreaded surreal, light headed feeling. I remember my sweet teacher telling me to put my head down, and the boy across from me offered an explanation and said, "Maybe she has low blood sugar?" Haha! So cute when I think about it coming from a first-grader now, and he also happened to be my crush at school, so I appreciated the gesture. Anyway, fast-forward. All throughout school years, I wanted to sit by the door in case I needed to make a quick exit when flushed with panic and that feeling of impending doom. I avoided field trips, because they were out of my comfort area where I knew I could make a quick getaway. It didn't hold me back from doing much other than that, because I had become so used to it, that I would just take my anxiety wherever I would go, like a suitcase. I would have times where I was so good at coping with it and other times where it felt like it was taking over and at the lowest point where I would wake up with panic attacks and nightmares. I didn't have the most...stable, [if that's the word] childhood, and with a dad who was constantly on deployments with the Military, when he returned we were constantly adjusting as a family, and my parents' marriage was on more than shaky ground. I grew up feeling like I couldn't control a lot, and so in my own way, the anxiousness came from a sense of losing control, and repetitive actions or thoughts and OCD tendencies became my sense of control. When I went to college, I felt free, happy, and more in-control than I ever had been, and my anxiety almost vanished! It was amazing, and I saw everything as a new adventure. When I got pregnant with our first baby, it returned with vengeance. The hormones in my body were affecting me in a huge way, and I decided to see a therapist. I definitely went to one that wasn't a good fit for me, because there are amazing ones out there, but it helped in some ways. I started to feel better as my hormones leveled, and I found ways to cope that helped a lot. My subsequent pregnancies weren't as bad because I knew what to expect and my body had done it before and it felt like it was more quick to regulate. Anyway, I go through this history just to tell anyone seeking for help, for solace in knowing they're not alone, for the person who wants to know they're not crazy and just wants to put a name to their symptoms when they feel out of control, so that's why I share. And with more than 3 million cases in the United States per year, Anxiety is one of the most common conditions out there. More people have it than we could ever believe; all to varying degrees and everyone deals with their own trials so differently, so sometimes it's apparent, and sometimes you would never even know!:) I hope that we can learn together and that we can help open up the conversation about things like this! There is much more conversation about it now than there was even a few years ago, but it's still not commonly talked about. So grateful for you being here, and if anything resonates with you, I hope you'll find me on social media @composedmommy and @thedaintypear, or leave a comment so we can get to know each other!:)

3 Tips for an Unmedicated Birth

There are so many great resources to have an unmedicated labor and delivery, but I've narrowed it down to 3 of my favorites that I've found really helpful! I would love to hear yours! Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Here's a little overview:

#1. Loosen the jaw! It has been said that a relaxed jaw equals a relaxed cervix. A relaxed cervix is able to dilate and progress unhindered, which is {obviously} pretty ideal during labor!:)

#2. Go pee! A full bladder can stall labor! SO making sure to use the bathroom often can help keep everything running smoothly!

#3 Have an open mind! Even if I'm 100% set in my mind on not having an epidural, I like to leave a little bit of wiggle room! If for some reason your "unmedicated birth plan" doesn't go as planned, be sure to have an open mind! Sometimes the situation can veer away from exactly what you want, but that reward of having a sweet baby in your arms at the end is a pretty great reward no matter what interventions may need to be taken during labor for your health or the health of the baby! Many and maybe even most times, it can go just as planned, which is grand! In either case, having an open mind and allowing yourself permission to change course if that's what is right for you in the moment is a positive thing all around!:)


What's New on Composed Mommy?

Hello! After some serious contemplation about this page {both the videos and the blog,} I realized that I thought we needed to add another element to it. While it started as a place to talk about Birth and resources for unmedicated and medicated childbirth, I started realizing that Composed Mommy could involve a little bit more. I've talked about it before here, but I grew up with a lot of Anxiety. For various reasons, it sometimes got to the point that I would search for answers on my symptoms. A lot of the searches would leave me feeling terrified and even more anxious than before I embarked on my WebMD Journey. Hahaha! Does that sound familiar to anyone?;)

Over the years I have been able to control it so much better. I don't find myself needing to know exactly where the door is for a quick exit; I don't carry around homeopathic medication to help ease an attack "just in case" it decided to show up. It still happens, especially when hormones are out of whack such as in pregnancy or near cycles, but it really is so much better. So I realized over the past month that if I could help even one person by inserting some Anxiety Healing elements to this page, then it would be worth being a little bit vulnerable.

SO, what does that mean for Composed Mommy? Now, not only is it a place to talk about Birth, with Unmedicated {and Medicated, of course} childbirth resources, it also will include Anxiety Healing techniques, articles, resources, and ideas and tips to help overcome anxiety and panic. I feel like there's always a need for positive resources, especially on topics that aren't always openly talked about. I hope it proves to be helpful for someone, and I feel like sometimes Childbirth and Anxiety can go hand in hand. At least a tiny bit. Hopefully and probably not for everyone, but for a great majority of the ladies having babies, sometimes it does! Our goal here is to learn together to help have empowered birth AND help lessen anxiety, whether you are expecting a baby or not!<3

Let me know what you think or if you have any comments or anything to add!

Anxiety: First Fear, Second Fear

  Today I want to talk about anxiety because I feel like it can go hand-in-hand with childbirth! Because let's be real,  give me a mom who isn't at least a tiny bit anxious or apprehensive of how her pregnancy or Labor and Delivery will go. There probably aren't any! Or they are definitely the exception!  There's a fabulous book called "Pass Through Panic" by Dr. Claire Weekes that talks of first fear and second fear.  In a nutshell, the first fear is the thing that you are afraid of or concerned about. The second fear is the way that you are feeling about it. So if you find yourself extremely anxious about a situation, you may not be afraid of the actual situation, but of the physiological response that you are associating with that concern. Does that make sense? I try to explain it in the most simple way possible in this video, but I know it can seem kind of deep and maybe a little bit complicated. If you're someone who has experienced anxiety, this book is a great read! I hope this helps! Please feel free to leave  anything you'd like to add, any questions, or anything you'd like to see in future videos in the comment section below!:)

Breathing Techniques During Labor

Breathing is such a huge part of keeping everything running smoothly during labor! Here are a few of my favorites during labor, and you might even find them helpful to use in everyday activities!

  • Square Breathing.
    • When I was growing up, I had a lot of anxiety, and a family friend taught me this breathing before we boarded a plane home from New York, and it helped a lot to not only calm down because I was thinking about something other than what I was so anxious about, but it physiologically calms you down, because when your breath is slowed down, your body isn't producing the fight or flight stress hormones that make you panic.
    • The easiest way to remember it is by the number 4! Breath IN for 4 counts, HOLD it for 4 counts, breath OUT for 4 counts, HOLD it out for four counts. And repeat 4 times, or as many as you feel you need to find your center.
  • In-between Surge Breathing
    • This one is also a super common breathing technique, but I first learned about it in the Curtis Method HypnoBirthing Class. I helped tremendously, and this is actually my very favorite out of all three of these techniques. I use this one often, and in between surges, I found it extremely helpful!
    • Breath IN for 4 counts, and OUT for 8 counts.
    • When you are in labor, your uterus contracting is using oxygen, and it's so important to be replenishing it without hyperventilating. I've heard before that when you breathe out for longer than you breathe in, that can help prevent that hyperventilation, but it also helps keep everything loose and relaxed, which is a high priority during any type of childbirth!
  • Breathing DURING Contractions
    • This one I also learned from Lauralyn {find her classes HERE, it's well worth it! You can also read our post about Birth Classes HERE.} As with any relaxation technique, it can be interpreted differently or modified for every individual. For me, I found this helpful because since a contraction, or surge, birthing wave, {whichever you prefer to call it,} is obviously more intense than the time in between surges, it's nice to have a breath to match that intensity. It's a powerful breath that can also help you breath your baby down, {or "J" breathing, like it's called in some birthing techniques. More on that in another post!}
    • Breathe IN for 10 quickly paced and powerful counts, and OUT for 10 powerful counts. This also helps to oxygenate that uterus, and the first time we took the class, I was worried about hyperventilating with breathing in an out like that,  and when I asked her about it, she said that because it's working so hard, it will use it up! But, of course, always do what feels right in the moment for your body!:)

So there are just a few breathing techniques that can help you stay loose and relaxed, which in labor can help the dilation and progression that gets you steps closer to meeting your sweet baby! These breaths can also be coupled with noises, like the ones HERE. Really, whatever you feel is right for you in the moment is right. But, the more practice that goes into it beforehand makes for better "muscle memory" and is easier to fall back into on game day. If you have anything that you've found helpful in your own labors, I would love to hear about it! Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Sphincters and Laughter During Childbirth

*Quick note about the video: In one line, I say, "The more comfortable you are, the more successful it's going to be." Just wanted to make a note so that it's perfectly clear that it's referring to the sphincter relaxing that will be more successful! There's no such thing as a birth that isn't successful! Every Mom, every Baby, every avenue of labor and delivery, it is ALL beautiful, perfect, and successful in its own way! Yay for birth and for celebrating it in every way, shape, and form that it may come!*
Who says childbirth has to be a serious and scary? {Of course, in the right situation, with an uncomplicated labor, which the great majority are!} things can actually be really fun! Afterall, you are about to bring new life into the world...and although it can seem heavy and maybe even overwhelming, that also seems like a pretty exciting thing! I understand that it can be scary, though, there's no denying the anxious jitters or plain out fear that can take over when you don't know what to expect. So it feels important to say that women have been birthing for thousands of years! Your body knows what to do. And if you are having a medicated birth, or an Unmedicated birth at a hospital or birthing center, your medical personnel know what to do, too. Even though three of our four births have been Unmedicated, I still have always loved being at the Hospital where people smarter than me in these types of situations are there to help and make sure everything is going smoothly! But as for my sweet friends who love their Home-Births, during an uncomplicated  childbirth {and MOST are!} that's a great option too. Your body really does know what it's doing! And how lucky are we that for the most part, we can choose where and how we birth! We aren't limited to the woods, or the plains, or in a stream, {although some people legitimately choose to do that!} And no matter the avenue of birth, it's all beautiful!:) And fun! My hubby is pretty convenient to bring along to births...okay, he's the best thing ever, not only because he's my rock and support, but also because he's funny. He can crack me up even during the nervous moments or in between the toughest contractions.

Here is some science behind laughter during labor! We've talked about low noises before {here,} and laughter has the same effect. When your sphincters are relaxed, {the cervix is a sphincter!}they an function properly, and as t relates to this, you are able to dilate and progress in labor. Laughter not only sends signals to your brain of happiness and therefore being relaxed, but I want you to try to clench up every muscle in your body right now. Now try to laugh out loud while still being clenched! It doesn't quite work too well. When you are giving a natural laugh, your muscles are automatically more loose. And THAT is a plus!:) If you need a laugh today, below is a little video that I found that had me cracking up! Don't be afraid to make labor and delivery an enjoyable, fun experience!:)