Day 85: This Working Mama Thing

It’s not pretty, this working Mama thing. Work never ends. And often, not even a fraction of the work gets done. But I’m moving my ball forward. I’m achieving my goals and even though I always feel like some area of my life isn’t getting the attention it needs and deserves from me (rotates between kid, husband, work, house, repeat), I know I’m doing the best I am able to at this time. I’m sharing photos of my messy house to show you what happens when Mama works, when Mama has a career that needs her attention too so that her family can benefit.

This is also kind of my self-imposed exposure therapy. I am exposing myself to clutter and making myself breathe through the anxiety and impulses to drop absolutely everything and clean up the house, which will only last a day or two. Type A personalities don’t do well in clutter, but I choose to move my professional ball forward instead of agonizing over the house that has become cluttered as a result of my decision to focus on work. Big. Deep. Sigh. Baby steps.

And thank goodness for cannabis!

Dear readers – I hope that you’ve had a wonderful day! Happy Friday! Much love, many hugs. Namaste ❤

P.S. Can you relate? If so, please know that you are not alone! Reach out if you need someone to prevent you from going off the deep end! ❤


Day 75: A Few Benefits of a Yoga Practice For Toddlers & the Grownups Who Love Them

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Mommy & Little Miss Toddler Girl Downward Dogging It!!! 

Toddlers range from just over a year old to the age of three. They are newbies to this whole life thing. They are learning how to communicate, how to walk, how to do just about everything. However, give them just a little time to hone some of these skills and boom! You’ve got a very small child with a strong little mind of their own who wants to explore everything within their reach, and view, and beyond. And by the way — they have absolutely no ability to communicate how they feel as it relates to their explorations or the consequences of their little adventures. They just haven’t gotten there developmentally in the language and self-awareness departments. As a result, toddlers tend to have highly labile moods. They’re prone to meltdowns when they disagree with the grownups who love them, or if they’re tired. And they are sometimes easily overwhelmed by this great big world that they’ve started exploring.

Thankfully, Toddler & Me Yoga is a thing. Because these tiny humans need it! (The grownups who love them do too!) So here are some of the benefits of a yoga practice for the toddler population and the grownups who love them:

  1. Teaching toddlers yoga poses empowers them to do something fun with their bodies that is rewarding. These kiddos love compliments, stickers, and attention! They thrive on positive energy! Yoga at this age also helps with gross motor development, and helps them learn how to calm themselves.
  2. Toddlers who feel calm have less incidences of meltdowns and tantrums which is good for the whole family. They may even choose to take a yoga pose if given the choice. (It beats a couple minutes in time-out any day!)
  3. Grownups who practice yoga benefit from the calming, strengthening, and lengthening effects of the practice. They are also more able to weather the storm that could be a few very long minutes of toddler tantrum.
  4. Related to number 3, modeling a yoga practice for this developmental age bracket of copy cats instills a notion that self-care is important. And that Downward Facing Dog is super fun and helps them feel better!
  5. Toddlers & Grownups who practice yoga together have loads of fun during this bonding experience that centers on learning how to move, breathe, and be calm.
  6. Practicing yoga in general illuminates the concept of union and togetherness. Both of which provide security and support in a challenging environment — aka Life.
  7. Families that practice yoga together bolster a very good foundation for a calm, mindful, happy, functional life.

So perhaps that’s the takeaway — Toddler & Me Yoga is a thing because it helps the tiniest humans have a good, positive start. And it helps the grownups who love them be present, be calm, and be ready for anything. Because when you got one of these small, determined little individuals running around, you need to be ready for anything and everything!

As always dear readers, hope you had a wonderful day! Much love, many hugs. Namaste ❤


Day 71: I Dreamed of This

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Photographer:  Andrew Fontaine

I loved you before you were even here, before you were even a thought in my remote consciousness. I dreamed of the days that I would hold you, and breathe in your intoxicating baby scent, and snuggle with you. I wished for days spent making one mess together, cleaning that up, and making another mess together. No really, I wished for this! I waited for the days that you would say “I love you too Mommy.”

Those days are here. All the blessings, all the fun, all of the silly, all of the laughs, all of the farting noises. All of the sweet “love you” moments are right here, right now. I dreamed of you my Little. I dreamed of you, I wished for you. I’ve always loved you. Thank you for helping me stay here in the present moment. Thank you for making me a Momma. I love you more than any page (or blog post) could hold.

And to my amazing Hubby – my rock, my best friend, my life partner…you make me better. You help me be a better human being, a better person, a better me. And I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for all you do for this little family of ours. You are home for me and Little Miss. Thank you for being our home. We love you. ❤

 


Day 25: Misaligned Monday

Can we talk about lithotomy position? You know, the supine (on the spine) position with legs placed in stirrups? The position commonly used in birth?

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Photo Credit: Google Images Lithotomy Position

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Photo Credit: Google Images – Lithotomy Position

Before we go too far, let’s just say that this position was developed so that a doctor who is delivering a baby has access to the mother. Therefore, this position commonly utilized during the birthing process was designed for the benefit of the doctor. Otherwise, the position tends to be detrimental to the mother’s health, and it can also be detrimental to the health of the baby.

I woke up with aching hips and a low back that is very sensitive today. It happens – every few weeks I have tension through this region of my body. Which I directly attribute to birthing my daughter in the lithotomy position, and then holding and carrying my daughter on my hips since she was a few months old.

Why this hard stance toward lithotomy? Well, this position makes the mother work against gravity and places an immense amount of force against the mother’s pelvic structure. This position narrows the birth canal opening. This position makes the baby work against these constraints (and sometimes injures the baby too.) This position results in more birth-related complications than anything else. Just another antiquated procedure used past its expiration date in the women’s health arena. (That’s a whole other blog post, probably a series of blog posts!)

For me, this position caused a second degree laceration, or tear, to my perineum (the area that connects the anus and the vulva) which resulted in a suture line that I had to manage immediately postpartum. (Ouchy!!!) For me, this position drove my right hip forward and out of alignment. Two and a half years later, this disharmony certainly needs to be resolved. So here’s my plan of action – I will be scheduling an appointment with a chiropractor, and scheduling an appointment with an acupuncturist, and attending a few yoga classes this week, and walking, and swimming. I hope that all of this will help my lower back and hips feel better. In the meantime, thank goodness for the Healing Rose’s Extra Strength CBD Salve!

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The Healing Rose – CBD Herbal Extra Strength Salve

And because this disharmony in my body is driving this blog post – here’s my Public Service Announcement:  Mamas-to-Be…If you are quickly heading into the birthing room, please educate yourself about positions that are much more functional in facilitating the birth of your baby.

I spent a fair amount of my labor process on my hands and knees. Hindsight is 20/20, but I know now that I should have delivered on my hands and knees to protect my hips and low back and perineum from injury. My body naturally found this position and really wanted to stay there. Had I delivered at home and not needed to transfer to hospital, I would’ve delivered in this position. And Mamas – You’ll come across obstetricians who do not deliver babies unless the Mama is in lithotomy position (that’s what happened to me.) Please know that this may very well be the position that works best for you, but in too many cases, this position causes more harm than good. To this end, educate whoever will be supporting you during your birthing process (your life partner, your family, your doula, etc.) so that they are able to advocate for you when the time comes. There are many positions that are more comfortable for you, that are safer for you, and safer for baby. And if you are about to become a Mama for the first time, or the fifth – I hope that you feel empowered to have the birthing process that you desire. Every Mama deserves to have the birthing process she desires. And every baby deserves to have a Mama who feels empowered and inspired by her birthing process. Not achy and ouchy and traumatized.

In the maternal health arena, the United States has the worst record in the developed world when it comes to  maternal deaths and complications. Most of which are completely preventable. We need to do things differently. Mamas and families who are educated and empowered to have the birthing experiences they desire will play a role in creating these shifts. If this topic interests you, or if you need more information, please reach out. More on this topic later. Off soapbox, for now.

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Photo Credit: Google Images

As always dear readers, wishing you a bright, beautiful, tension-free, pain-free day! Happy Monday! Namaste. ❤


 My Mental House – Plans & Goals for Healing from Depression

Goal — To Gain Clarity

Plan — Meditate for at least 10 minutes daily, eventually expanding on the amount of time a couple minutes per day, with 20 minutes of daily meditation being the target sit time.  

More Plans — Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Lights out by 10pm and wake up at 7am would be a good starting point for me. 

Goal — To Reduce and Prevent Insomnia

Plan – No electronic devices before meditation/yoga practice in the morning. No electronic devices for at least one hour before bedtime. DEFINITELY NEED TO IMPLEMENT THIS PLAN!!! I’ll be in bed by 9pm tonight. 

Plan – Read more books instead of staring at electronic devices, especially at night READ BOOKS, NOT ELECTRONICS!!! 

Goal — To Relieve Depressed Mood, Anxiety Symptoms, and Relieve Pain

Plan — Move!!!! Yoga, Swim, Walk – DO ONE OF THESE ACTIVITIES DAILY

Yoga — Attend at least 2 classes a week, practice most days of the week for a minimum of 15 minutes a day. Practice in the morning after waking. May precede meditation. 

Swim — 10–20 laps

Walk — Just get out and walk. 

More Plans — Medicate with cannabis as needed.

  • 1-3 inhales from a vaporizer with a CBD-rich strain first thing in the morning if panic/anxiety/pain not relieved by self care bodywork is on board
  • 2–3 inhales from a vaporizer with an indica-dominant strain by 7:30pm to reduce tension and promote sleep. I feel a cannabis holiday on the horizon. Perhaps for 3 days, perhaps for longer. CBD products ordered!!!

Goal — To Nourish My Body To Heal Up From Depression, Anxiety, and Panic

Plan – In the morning — Smoothie (I have a kefir, kombucha, Vega Protein Powder, and Amazing Grass Superfood smoothie every morning.)

28 Days of Clean Eating inspired meals – Gotta pull a recipe for tonight’s supper


The Cannabis Closet Minority — Mothers

Motherhood is many things. It is beautiful, it is messy, it is really damn hard, it is fun, it is dramatic, it is challenging, it is rewarding. The role of Mother is arguably one of the most judged positions on Earth. Pore over any of the social media sites and it won’t take long to find a mother being judged for any number of reasons large or small. I reviewed social media to gather some of this data. After a couple minutes of review, I noted that moms are being judged for using bug spray on their kids, feeding their children fast food, feeding their kids a vegan diet, exposing their kids to the sun, giving their kids smart devices, clothing their kids in non-organic cotton, shopping at Walmart, leaving their 10 year old in the car during a quick stop into a gas station for a cup of coffee, consuming cannabis, and drinking wine. Except moms are not being judged for drinking wine. They’re being embraced because of their decision to drink a couple glasses of wine after a long day with their kiddos! Why? Because alcohol is normalized and accepted in our culture. The moms who choose to use cannabis though? These moms are perhaps the most judged of the lot. Because, stigma. Honestly, that’s one of the main reasons for this discrepancy between the wine drinking mothers and the cannabis-consuming mothers. It’s stigma.

So let’s review a few of the reasons, inaccurate data, and common themes as to why stigma keeps cannabis-consuming mothers in the closet, and how we can stop stigma from being a point of judgement for these mothers.

1. Cannabis impairs a mother’s ability to care for her child or children.

It certainly can, but in many cases, mothers who consume cannabis for the purpose of treating symptoms related to chronic conditions enjoy relief, thereby helping these mothers be present and available to care for their child and/or children. In my practice, I find that mothers do not want to be high while taking care of their kids. However, they do want to relieve their symptoms. To this end, there are many different strains that don’t promote the stoned effect that the THC-rich ones do. Cannabidiol, aka CBD — is a non-psychoactive powerhouse cannabinoid with analgesic, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory properties to name just a few of its benefits. And there are many cannabis products that have been created with this therapeutic element in mind. But stigma only makes simple equations. In this scenario, cannabis consumption equates to being a bad parent.

2. Kids should not be exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke.

True. Kids should not be exposed to cannabis in any way unless they are being treated for their own chronic condition, and ideally, there is oversight by a qualified health professional. Scientists, researchers, and medical professionals are still determining the long-term impacts that cannabis could have on the developing brain. However, there are other methods of cannabis consumption. Most of the mothers I know prefer discreet methods of consumption that keep their children safe from these potential harms. Edibles, medibles, using a vaporizer, tinctures, transdermal patches are just a few of the administration methods preferred by the incredible cannabis-consuming mothers that I know. And the ones who decide to smoke a bowl after a long day of chasing their kiddos? You know, the mothers who just want to relax with a little help from cannabis? Most make sure they consume somewhere out of the way of their kids, usually after the kids are tucked into bed.

3. This one’s a biggie: Cannabis concentrates in breastmilk.

Breastfeeding mothers are some of the most judged people period. It seems that once a woman becomes pregnant, she enters into a place where boundaries are no longer apparent. Everyone has an opinion on what she should eat, what she should do or shouldn’t do. The opinions and judgments only continue for the breastfeeding mother. A common theme held in the mainstream medical field — cannabis is concentrated in breastmilk. Meaning that somehow, it was conceived that a baby exposed to THC via breastmilk would intake upwards of 8 times the amount of THC that the mother consumed. The study that came to this conclusion had just two subjects and was conducted in 1982. This antiquated data also fuels stigma.

Earlier this year, Dr. Thomas Hale and his colleague, Dr. Theresa Baker, commenced a study to determine if the old information that explicitly states that THC passes through breastmilk, and is concentrated in breastmilk, is actually accurate. After all, it is his authored resource — Medications and Mothers’ Milk — that has bolstered this stigma for cannabis-consuming mothers.

For years, Dr. Hale’s publication has conveyed the data from that 1982 study. Drs. Hale and Baker have now determined that this data is not supported by the known information about lactation and cannabis metabolism in the human body. In fact, Drs. Hale and Baker have discussed that there is no mechanism by which THC would increase in breastmilk. They have also concluded that storage of cannabis metabolites in breast tissue is very minimal, and that THC specifically metabolizes in real time — meaning a mother who is nursing her child while under the influence of cannabis may expose her baby to THC for the first few hours, but potential exposure does not persist once the mother is no longer under the influence. Therefore, with this information on board, mothers who choose to use cannabis should refrain from breastfeeding for a couple hours following administration. Do you know who else should refrain from breastfeeding for a couple hours after consumption? Mothers who choose to consume wine.

There are all kinds of mothers on the spectrum of motherhood. Good ones, bad ones, and everything in between. Keeping mothers in the cannabis closet places them and their children at risk. How? We are communal creatures who depend on our communities to thrive. The notion that it takes a village is very true. Every mother depends on her village to help her as she raises her children. Stigma is isolating and promotes distrust of the community at large. Therefore, stigma harms mothers if it isolates her and her children. Harming mothers — the typical primary caregivers for the next generation of human beings since the beginning of time — hurts all of us. It’s time we rise above stigmas like this for the benefit of each other, for the benefit of our fellow humans.

For parents who live in states where cannabis is not legal. The stigma you face is not just based in antiquated beliefs and propaganda, there are also potential legal ramifications for being a parent who happens to consume cannabis. Please familiarize yourself with your own state’s laws to protect yourself and your family.

In closing, I would just like to say that I am a proud Mom who Elevates. Cannabis helps me effectively treat chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Cannabis helps me to rest and relax. Cannabis helps me to be a better Mom. I am proud to stand with other mothers who choose this plant to promote rest, relaxation, improve their health, and to be present in the lives of their children. I refuse to let stigma stand in my way. I hope you feel empowered to come out of the cannabis closet and step into the light as well.


My Take On It: What I learned from Thomas Hale, R.Ph., Ph.D. (2017, February 1). Retrieved from https://www.elephantcircle.net/circle/2017/2/1/my-take-on-it-what-i-learned-from-thomas-hale-rph-phd

Perez-Reyes M, Wall ME. Presence of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in human milk. N Engl J Med. 1982;307:819–820. [PubMed]