When I was pregnant with Lily I felt a lot different than I do now about birthing and how I wanted to raise my children. Foremost in my mind was my fear of giving birth! I was afraid of the unknown and the terrible pain that everyone talks about and the way it is portrayed in the media. I was the first of my friends to have children; I didn’t have any support to counter my fears or help instil self confidence.

All picked outThinking and Planning

At the time, I was convinced I’d breast feed for eight months, any longer was “strange”. True story. Things were really out of whack in my life at the time. I wasn’t eating well, mainly because I didn’t like or know how to cook. Stop laughing, I’m totally serious. Think bacon- everyday. Even the bacon grease was saved and slathered on toast. Think Dilly Bars- boxes of them almost every day. I gained more than 60 pounds in my pregnancy. My starting weight just under 120 pounds. I suffered from “morning sickness” throughout most of my pregnancy but sometimes I wonder if it was all the bacon and Dilly Bars. Struggles with my mother in law grew steadily and soon exploded with comments and emails about what a disappointment I was.

All the pieces cutPutting the block together

Midway into my pregnancy, a couple of friends recommended a private prenatal course that was just starting to be taught in town. The hospital offered “prenatal courses” but those never amounted to more than just an explanation of hospital procedures. The private classes were being taught by a woman named Shawna, who had just become a doula and taken a course to teach the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth.

Enough for the eveningExperimenting

Cam and I learned so much about the birth process and each other in these classes. We learned about interventions and how they affect both mother and child, as well as hinder the process of giving birth. We talked about relaxation and my individual reactions to stress. When one knows better, one does better. We knew that the most natural approach to giving birth was the best choice thanks to Shawna’s education and encouragement. I started to believe that the secret to giving birth with ease was about getting out of your body’s way and just allowing it to happen. Relaxation is key. This is a belief I still hold dear to this day.

Making a borderRainbow border

These prenatal classes spun my life around 180 degrees. This pivotal point in my life changed the way I make choices, live and raise my children. Natural living is taking the lane of least resistance. I was fortunate to experience this change in perspective before my first child was born. I was lucky to meet Shawna and have her in my life. She was a huge support to Cam and I before, during and after Lily’s birth.

I recently made this quilt block for a collaborative quilt being made for Shawna by many of her loved ones.

For Shawna

6 Responses to Paradigm Shift

  1. k says:

    an interesting story about the way we grow and shift out perceptions and lives. thanks. i think she’s going to love that block.

  2. elementsofmylife says:

    I was thinking… what a beautiful story, I haven’t heard that before. And then the answer to how the quilt block fits. It’s all beautiful and I’m so glad you shared. What a beautiful shift she brought to you and all of us who are blessed to know you!

  3. debra says:

    this story mirrors the start of our journey into parenthood. the woman who led our Birthing From Within class introduced us to all aspects of natural living, attachment parenting, etc…EC, babywearing, extended bfing, even homeschooling, and other parents in the class introduced us further to natural building and nutritional choices…it was mindblowing and could not have happened at a better time for us!! i still feel such gratitude for those key people entering our lives at such a transformative moment…
    the quilt is beautiful!

  4. taisa says:

    Annie, this square is just beautiful. I got teary reading your words. A quilt made with love from friends and family is sure to bring some peace. Hugs to you (I”ll be able to give you a real life one soon! yay!)

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    Timely. Just today I wrote a post reflecting back as well to my first pregnancy and the journey that has since unfolded over the past 10 years. All that I did not know then and all that I still do not know. Here is a link if you are interested: http://lusaorganics.typepad.com/clean/2011/07/what-i-did-not-know-reflections-on-motherhood-.html
    Blessings, Rachel

  6. Jacinda says:

    Crack me up…imagine bacon and dilly bars (whatever they are!)

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