My heart grieves when I hear people say "Eat/do what you want. You're pregnant. It's YOUR time."
Friends, pregnancy is a precious time, YES. An honor, INDEED! A GIFT!! It is a season where more rest is required. It's a season to bask under the shade of God's grace! Receive the gift and permission to rest and slow down. But grace (pregnancy) IS NOT permission to live by the flesh.
Pregnancy is NOT a time to be selfish, neglectful, and disobedient. It is not the time to eat/do whatever we want and justify gluttony and complacency. It's NOT the time to quit exercising all together. In fact, some good pelvic floor, core, resistance & cardio training are ideal and necessary to assist in naturally birthing our babies. (I'm loving teaching Spin class 2x/week still and stretching and doing prenatal pilates). To add 25+ (intentional) pounds to our female frames in a few short months requires strength and flexibility to prevent pain & injury, reduce recovery time, and assist with birthing that beautiful baby into the world.
We GET to make human life in our bodies. We make a baby, a HUMAN LIFE, from the raw materials, love and nourishment (physical, emotional AND spiritual) we put into our bodies. Most women are in labor longer than it would take to run a marathon! How long would you need to train for a marathon?? It takes work to create & birth a baby. We need to "train" and prepare. It's a sacrificial time. A high responsibility. A time to seek the Lord and be as healthy as possible, NOT so that we can "avoid gaining weight" or "squeeze back into our old jeans postpartum as quickly as possible" and then show off our "hott mom body" on Facebook. NO! Name of Jesus. Rather we train and care for our temples because we have been ENTRUSTED with the gift of LIFE, of caring for this CHILD OF GOD, hand-made by HIM, placed in our womb, to change the world and be a Light in this dark world. We want to give our children the BEST CHANCE at coming out healthy, alert, whole and thriving. We are the sole care-giver to this baby while it grows in our womb. OUR HEALTH affects baby's health. If we have Candida overgrowth, leaky gut, constipation, auto-immune disease, hormone imbalanced, irregular cycles, chronic fatigue, parasites or "other symptoms," even unhealthy thought patterns or excessive fear or control issues... THIS IS THE EVIDENCE something is not balanced, the liver and gut ARE NOT well, and that we need help BEFORE we get pregnant. For those who get pregnant unexpectedly, you can still do MUCH to improve your health WHILE you are pregnant, we just have to be less aggressive and more strategic.
Mommies with symptoms are then pre-disposed to having miscarriages, complications, extended morning sickness, bed rest, pain with pregnancy, gestational diabetes, C-sections or inductions, a traumatic birth experience and prolonged recovery. Furthermore, the baby is pre-disposed to having food allergies, colic, sleep issues, reflux (spits up all the time - which means they are not braking down their food to grow & thrive properly, which affects learning, behavior, and so much more), and maybe has diaper rash or eczema... the list goes on and on. What's in our body DOES pass on to baby, whether it is a toxin (yeast, heavy metals, vaccines, parasites, chemicals, etc), medication, emotional baggage, fear... OR... good nutrition, love, peace & healthy emotions. I strongly encourage mommies-to-be to make an appointment BEFORE getting pregnant, and then surrendering and trusting God with the timelines for conception. It's worth the wait. God directed me to WAIT on Him after He gave Zach and I the desire to have a baby, and IT HAS BEEN WORTH IT. I was coming off of a stressful, busy season. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. My cycles were getting a little irregular. The warning signs were there that I needed some self-care. There were other things to "get in order" since God has not called me to close my practice and become a stay at home mom. I heeded His conviction, asked Him for direction and how to best prepare MY BODY...and waited. This is the verse He gave me at the beginning of 2017 as I sought His lead for my body to heal and prepare to conceive in HIS time.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
We actually CAN avoid unnecessary consequences of prolonged morning sickness and nausea, excessive fatigue, miscarriage & infertility (of course I'm only talking about those with all their "parts" still), gestational diabetes, c-sections... moreover, babies born with colic or cradle cap or reflux (spitting up excessively), food allergies, eczema, even autism and ADD, etc. I realize this will offend or bother some people, but my intention is to bring people HOPE for what IS possible, not to shame or blame. Grace.
My intention is NEVER to cause shame or regret, but to give you HOPE. Hope that you can change. Hope to share with others. Hope because there are answers. Hope because God is merciful and gracious and powerful to heal and redeem what the enemy has meant for destruction! I see it happen in my practice every week!! This is HOPE for those who doubt they can get pregnant. Hope because we don't have to suffer as a society as much as we are. If you don't know my story, I was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 24 and told I'd never be able to have kids. LIE. But God... I haven't had "endometriosis" for a long time, and I never had to battle "infertility" in trying to conceive at age 37 (Medical Doctors say I'm HIGH RISK; God says "this is the perfect timing"). I'm having a wonderful pregnancy so far! God is able to far above what we ask or imagine, but we must take responsibility for our health and our sin so that we can heal. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE with God. Yep, Bible says! ;)
Neglecting ourselves before & during pregnancy has consequences to our babies and the next generation. It breeds years of stress dealing with your own and your children's health problems. It can wreak financial havoc and marital tension that even leads to divorce in some cases. It robs other people in our families of quality time together. Who wants to spend their life running to Doctors, filling prescriptions, run down and chasing another diagnosis?? It's exhausting trying to change your own lifestyle habits & your children's diets once you have a family with poor health habits. BUT it's never too late! Don't let that discourage or stop you if that's where you are starting. Ideally, we get well before the next pregnancy.... proactive & intentional. Prepared. Trained. HEALTHY >>so we can enjoy the moment & bond with our baby instead of spending 9 months sick, miserable, depressed, medicated or overwhelmed. If you have already had all, your children, but they are sick. Grace! Let's get started. Bring them in. We will find a plan that works for your family. YOU CAN CHANGE and YOUR BODIES CAN HEAL!!!
So much of this is the result of us not being informed as to how to properly care for our temples. Most of the traditional information and training and education and beliefs about childbirth and pregnancy are fear-based and not rooted in Truth or HOPE. Even much of the nutritional advice, books, apps and other resources are full of garbage, lies & fear. Anyone can put anything on the internet. We must learn to sift everything through the hand of God.
Childbirth has become big business, man-made, mechanical and treated like a disease. This is NOT God's plan. Childbirth is every bit physical, emotional AND Spiritual. We were designed to carry & deliver babies (not plan their due dates for our convenience and have them cut out of our bodies because it's more convenient or because we are afraid of the pain or because we are 2 days past our due date. What??) Now before someone gets offended, I am aware and grateful that there is a time and place for emergency C-sections. Praise God for them! But much of what leads to a high risk pregnancy or emergency CAN BE PREVENTED if we are properly educated and encouraged. We must prepare and learn what proper pre-natal care is. Fear & hospital birthing are 2 of the biggest inhibitors to natural birthing. The statistical concensus is that ~80% of women who enter the hospital will end up with a C-section now. That is so sad! A C-section is easy to justify if insurance covers it, your Doctor promotes it, and you think it's the easier way to go. Please, ladies. Wake up. Get informed. We are hurting our bodies, our children and the next generation. There is so much to learn about how enjoyable & simple childbirth CAN BE. There is a better way, the narrow way (literally...haha), the way that leads to more abundant life.
We have NOT been taught to seek God first before letting our insurance or Doctors dictate our healthcare decisions, or before letting fear convince us we "can't" do this or that. Are we seeking GOD before reading this book or that blog or taking this class or listening to that friend? We are taking advice from people who don't have the experience we desire for our pregnancy and childbirth. We hold onto stories of fear and trauma, and then other people's baggage & realities become the LIES we believe. This all passes into the womb, onto our kids and into our parenting, and then it becomes our childrens' stories. God is ultimately in control, but there IS MUCH that we are given control of. We can do better, friends.
Sisters, we are not our friends. We are not our parents. We are not our last birth experience. We are not motivated by fear. We are not the lies we have believed. A baby doesn't complete us and a baby won't save a marriage.
WE ARE a clean slate, a new generation, a new story, a new creation in Christ, daughters of the MOST HIGH GOD (the God of peace, power & miracles). We are forgiven, teachable, redeemed, and unconditionally LOVED by a GOOD FATHER who knows how to parent US and our children and lead us perfectly. We CAN birth our children naturally and with much less pain. We are not afraid of pain for pain itself births so much healing and goodness as we work THROUGH it instead of constantly trying to avoid it. We cannot avoid pain in this life. The FEAR of pain is a place God wants to heal in us.
Here is a list of things you may or may not be familiar with about pregnancy/birthing:
Midwife vs Medical Doctor (Obstetrician):
Midwives are specialists in (healthy) pregnancy and giving birth with the role of looking after a pregnant woman and her baby during pregnancy, labor, birth and for a time, post-natally. The care and education you receive working with a midwife is so special and personal. They serve as an advocate FOR you, respecting YOUR desires, YOUR birth plan, and YOUR beliefs surrounding NATURAL CHILD BIRTH. They are licensed practitioners and beyond qualified to help women birth their babies naturally. They support the belief that less intervention is best, allowing you to birth in peace, without fear, without pressure and surrounded by lots of love and encouragement. They are also equipped for trauma, stitches, etc and know when to transfer a woman to the hospital in special circumstances. Since anyone can find an OBGYN or deliver in a hospital, I want to educate you more on the alternatives and the benefits of choosing a midwife. Perhaps you'll be inspired to consider giving birth at home or in a birthing center vs a hospital. Here's a link to my midwife's FAQ's page to help you.
A few more resources about midwifery:
Midwives Alliance of North America
California Association of Midwifery
California Families for Access to Midwives
Medical Sharing vs Insurance:
Personally, we made the switch from Health Insurance to (Christian) Medical Sharing in 2014. Zach and I are both self-employed and could not justify paying $700+/month for 2 healthy mid-30's adults to have insurance that doesn't cover real health care. We only use traditional health care in the case of an ER visits or trauma. We switched to Medi-Share (but after baby will likely switch to one that covers more alternative health care like Acupuncture, Chiropractic care & Supplements) and have never looked back. We pay less than $200/month and CHOOSE how we want to INVEST in our health. We CHOOSE to carry a high deductible that won't "sink us" in the case of a major health tragedy but at a risk level we are comfortable with. We can get our monthly Chiropractic adjustments, Acupuncture as needed, all our supplements and even pre-natal massage as needed for less than what we HAVE to pay for full coverage insurance we don't use. We don't waste money on alcohol or junk food anymore, so it is more affordable to buy organic, healthy foods (though we still try to be frugal with our spending). We can save the rest (now it's being applied to our home birth... yay!). For my pregnancy we KNEW we wanted to do a home water birth, so we are paying the discounted, out-of-pocket, cash price for that (still less annually than what we would have paid for insurance!). All pre-natal labs are included in the $5400 midwifery fee, Ultrasound is not. When you pay out-of-pocket, you see how much is "covered by insurance" that is not really necessary, and how the traditional health care system is so abused and confused. You THINK about every decision you make when you SEE the money come out of your bank account. We will meet our "deductible" with the pre-natal expenses this year, so if anything unexpected comes up (or for some reason I did have to get transferred to a hospital during child birth or otherwise) all those expenses will be covered at 100%. This is what works for OUR FAMILY because we choose to take responsibility for our health, use natural medicine, and don't run to Doctors quickly. We have been proactive for many years.
Typically, families with traditional insurance will choose whatever is covered by their plan. I get it. I would simply encourage you to get informed and educated and hire a doula to help you and advocate for you if you will deliver in the hospital. It is still possible to have a healthy, enjoyable, natural birth in a hospital setting, but you may have to fight for it. You may need to ask trusted friend WHICH hospital is best. You'll want a birth plan. You'll want to know how to best prepare. You'll want to know the different pressures you will likely face.
I personally want to enjoy every second of this once in a lifetime experience. We want the freedom to make certain decisions ahead of time (such as: knowing my midwife WELL & knowing SHE will be the one at my birth with another certified birth assistant/midwife, no vaccines, no Vitamin K shot, no Hepatitis B shot, no antibiotics, no chemical induction or drugs, no epidural, no early cord clamping, freedom to choose my birthing position, freedom to use herbs & essential oils & flower remedies as needed, freedom to use the birthing tub, freedom to be patient/breathe without fear/pressures for C-section, freedom to snuggle our baby immediately and welcome her in a loving, peaceful environment and then remain in the comfort of my own home, freedom to play worship music & read scripture cards, freedom to open the windows, eat healthy, drink, etc etc). Statistically, home birthing is safer and healthier (facts you won't get from the hospital, Doctors, or traditional western medicine). Bottom line >> Be informed about your rights, your options, and God's ability to provide for you and your family!
Did you know that there are risks to having routine ultrasounds, 3D/4D ultrasounds and excessive doppler heartbeat checks?? The rule of thumb is the less intervention, the better. They should ONLY be used when medically necessary. Ultrasounds are supposed to be DIAGNOSTIC tests, not a photo booth for the fetus each month. We are abusing these privelages (we need to train PATIENCE & FAITH) and our children are likely suffering for it. Even the FDA (shocker) warns AGAINST 3D & 4D screenings. Here is a great article that thoroughly covers this topic.
Umbilical Cord Clamping:
Traditionally (especially in the hospital), the cord is cut immediately. It is ideal to WAIT until the cord quits pulsing (20-30min) before clamping/cutting the umbilical cord. There is vital nutrition and immunity that comes from NOT rushing the birth process. Again, patience. This makes a huge impact on baby's future health.
Read my blog called: Educate before you vaccinate
There is a growing list of resources at the bottom of the blog for you to do your own research.
God's lotion! This is the cheesy white stuff that covers your baby's skin at birth. Try to prevent your support team from wiping it off. Instead, rub it in and don't bathe baby for a few days...or a week!
Vitamin K & Delayed Circumcision:
Regarding Vitamin K, we personally will NOT do this (and wouldn't even if we were having a boy). Babies are not supposed to have high Vitamin K levels the day they are born. It's NORMAL. Their levels actually peak on Day 8 as they develop and get good nutrition from mommy's perfect food, breast milk. Isn't it interesting that God told Abraham to circumcise all newborn males on the 8th day?? Genesis 17:12 "From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth." Interesting eh?
Check out this blog I found that co-references scripture with science! And for the record, if we ever have a baby boy and decide to circumcise (my husband gets the final say on that decision- ha!), we would still wait until Day 8. Typically, you can find a Doctor's office or Rabbi to do it.
Mega-dosing babies with Vitamin K (which is NOT a vitamin, by the way >> Learn more & see ingredients in the Vitamin K shot) is dangerous and illogical. Oral Vitamin K is safer, yes, but in my opinion (IMO) still unnecessary and risky (I simply ask God to give me wisdom because you'll find arguments & "research" these days to match anything you want to believe). IMO, the benefits DO NOT outweigh the risks. I plan to intentionally eat Vitamin K-rich foods and drink Nettle tea in my last month of pregnancy (we should be eating these regularly anyway).
My opinion: The further we have gotten from taking responsibility for our own health, getting good sleep, eating real, organic foods, and eating PLENTY of servings of produce each day (some people get none), the more we are seeing serious chronic health issues and gut problems. Thus, our children are suffering for it. Western Medicine sees the "symptom" and makes another medical intervention and drug for it instead of educating and encouraging people, never getting to the root of the problem. Thus, there will be no "cure". Medical research also fails to include Biblical, foundational Truth. When it comes to health and "health care", we tend to follow the world's ways blindly without question, uninformed of the risks involved. Does injecting a NEWBORN baby with all these drugs and vaccines really make sense? Does it feel natural? Please pray about this... and make sure you cast down ALL FEAR and pride ;)
MERCY REIGN. God has already used this baby girl to bring so much healing, revelation and joy to Zach and I. GOD'S MERCY is a promise to all of us!! We get another chance, whether you're a mom-to-be, pregnant, a mom already raising her children or a grandmother. YOU are a mouthpiece of HOPE & TRUTH for your family and other women! Praying blessings and Truth over all of you and for a healthy new generation, in Jesus name!!
Stay tuned for a related podcast I had the honor of recording with Alisa Keeton, founder of the Faith-based Fitness Ministry: Revelation Wellness. The RevWell Instructor Training Program changed my life!
My mission is to educate, inspire & equip people to be healthy & to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My goal is to deliver hope, truth, wisdom and freedom to everyone I can by keeping JESUS the main thing in our pursuit of "wellness".