Hidden Dangers of Miscarriage Scar Would-Be Moms
Interesting article on Today.com about the devastating risks of physical and emotional complications of miscarriage, and the impact on moms. Worth the the read:
Hidden Dangers of Miscarriage Scar Would-Be Moms
One of the most frequent questions I am asked at every parenting workshop I've done, is on the issue of discipline. Whether the question is over the right way to discipline, or my views on spanking, or how to handle a specific problem the parent is having with the child; no doubt, discipline is on the mind of all parents and something that is a continuing struggle throughout childhood.
A Different Perspective of Discipline
In my opinion, and from years of parenting several children through much trial and error, discipline should be a last resort in parenting, especially as your child grows older.
Let me explain, however, that I do not mean to say that a child should not be disciplined if he misbehaves. What I am saying is that parenting should be about so much more than discipline, and the issue of discipline should play a much smaller role than it often does in a parent's relationship with the child.
The Word Discipline
The word discipline, comes from the Latin word, discipulus, which means, to disciple. While we often associate the word, disciple, with the early followers of Jesus (the 12 Apostles.), I am using the specific definition of the word which means to teach, train or lead.
Biblical parents should practice discipleship long before discipline. In fact, a wise parent will disciple their children so that discipline is only an occasional necessity. Training your children teaches them your rules and expectations of them. Training is more than just handing them a list of do's and don'ts. Training is teaching them how to behave the way you expect them to, and leading by your own example.
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." ~Proverbs 22:6 KJV
The Cycle of Bonding and Attachment
So, let's go a step further now that we have established the idea that training your children--discipleship--should come before discipline. Let's start from the beginning, the birth of your child.
A baby is born. He gets hungry--cries--momma nurses him--he is satisfied--baby learns to trust that his need will be met--mom and baby form a bond. This is an example of the cycle of bonding. Baby has a need--parent meets need--baby is soothed--baby learns he can trust his need will be met--deeper attachment is formed.
As a side note: this is also true in nearly all our relationships-our closest relationships, in particular. Bonding and attachment is developed in a relationship when both people are actively involved in meeting each other's needs; therefore, trust develops and a deeper attachment--or bond--is formed. A healthy adult relationship is established when both individuals in the relationship are equally committed to the relationship, and equally work toward meeting the other person's needs.
In a parent/child relationship, the child is not able to meet any of the needs of the parent; however, the parent bonds with the child because of the work, time and dedication it takes to meet the child's needs. This is why an adoptive parent can build just as close a bond with her adopted child, as a biological parent.
In the beginning, meeting the child's need is done more out of a sense of obligation and that "it's the right thing to do" as baby's mommy or daddy. Yes, there's a feeling of love, and definitely a sense of compassion and empathy for the crying baby, but love is not a biological connection. You do not automatically love your child just because he is biologically related to you.
As time goes on and the baby gets older, the parent forms a deeper commitment and love toward the child as a result of all the love and hard work that goes into raising the child. Note here that the word love is meant as a verb: meaning, something you do and not just a feeling. True love is action! I love my husband, but I don't always feel it!
Parenting is so much more than just meeting your child's basic needs, as I am sure you are already well aware. In my experience, meeting your child's needs is just the beginning to forming a bond with your child. A strong parent/child relationship also requires active parental involvement by meeting your child where he is at, on his level. I call this tying heartstrings.
Tying heartstrings is the additional things you do as a parent that goes above and beyond meeting their basic needs. It's the cuddling your baby long after he has fallen asleep. It's tickling his chin and making goofy faces to make him giggle. It's getting on the floor and playing Barbies with your daughter or Legos with your son. It's reading stories, kissing boo-boos, giving hugs and praising your child for all the good things he does. Meet your child on his level, where he is at. Tying heartstrings is all that and more! And a parent who realizes the importance of tying heartstrings with her child, is a parent that has her child's heart; thus a child who wants to behave because he wants to please his parent. The child has learned that he gets ample positive attention from his parents, so he doesn't feel the need to gain attention by misbehaving.
What Tying Heartstrings is Not
Granted, Proverbs 22:15 says that "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child," so tying heartstrings with your child does not guarantee that your child will never misbehave. There will, indeed, be times where appropriate discipline is needed. However, tying heartstrings does, in my experience, greatly reduce the frequency of the necessity of discipline.
Heartstrings is not a way to bribe your child. In fact, I do not count buying stuff for my children as tying heartstrings with them. Tying heartstrings is also not the absence of discipline, rules, or expectations. Children need boundaries, and feel most secure when parents have established healthy boundaries with their children.
Our Heavenly Father's Example of Tying Heartstrings
As Christ-followers, we should always go back to God's example as our basis for how we live and parent. Think about it for a moment, why do you love and serve God? As Christians, we have a relationship with the Father, it's more than just a religion. True Christianity isn't because we were born into it, nor out of tradition or ritual. God didn't bully or threaten us into conversion. No, "we love God because He first loved us," (1 John 4:19) "and gave Himself up for us." (Ephesians 5:2). Again, the word love here is an action word; it's not passive; it's not a feeling. God loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), so we desire to please our Father and serve Him, because of the heartstrings He tied with us. God met us on our level, where we were at. He saw our need for a Savior--He met our need by sending His own Son--our need was met--we learned we can trust God to meet our needs--a closer bond was formed with our Heavenly Father--heartstrings tied. Such a beautiful picture of the cycle of bonding and attachment.
I encourage you to follow our Heavenly Father's example toward us, and begin to make a conscientious and dedicated effort to tie heartstrings with your children--every day. Childhood is such a short period of time and passes so quickly. Really think through what you can do to show love to your children and truly be involved in their lives, on their level. You won't regret it and God will bless it.
A sweet reminder to expectant mothers, that you are not alone,
there is a child within.
This passage in Psalm 139 is also a sweet reminder that God already knows your baby within you, as He also knew you in your mother's womb, and is lovingly and carefully forming your child within. Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made!
Psalm 139:13-16 NASB
For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret,
and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
and in your book were all written the days
that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
For years I struggled with secondary infertility. Month after month slowly crept by, taunting me with reminders that I failed to conceive, yet again. In an effort to provide me with some sort of hope, and, perhaps, unsure of what other comforting words they could offer, friends would assure me that I could always adopt. They used the word adoption like it was a last resort--since all else had failed--and like adoption was a magical and easy answer to quench my desire for a baby. Like adopting a child is somehow second best--not as good as having my own biological child, but less disagreeable than remaining childless.
Adoption is Not Second Best!
The adopted child is as important, as special, as unique, as wonderful as a biological child. I love my adopted children just as much as my biological children. In fact, most of the time I completely forget they are adopted....and that's as it should be. The adopted child should never identify himself solely as adopted. Just as with any child, they should view themselves first through the eyes of Christ and His everlasting, unconditional love for them; and then, by their own unique qualities, talents and gifts.
Adoption Should Not Be a Last Resort
Adoption should never be the option you turn to as a last resort. There are just too many factors to consider when making the decision to adopt, and a decision that should not be taken lightly. Some questions you may want to ask yourself is:
1. How will my immediate and extended family react to a child that I adopt? Will they consider the child one of their own? Or will they view the child as an outsider because they are not blood relatives?
2. How will my spouse and I view a child that we adopt? What are our reasons for adopting? Do we see an adopted child as our only hope for a family? Can we raise an adopted child as our own, and not consider them second best to a biological child?
3. Are we ready to accept the emotional baggage that comes with an adopted child, even one adopted in infancy?
4. Are we able financially, emotionally and physically to handle any issues that may arise? Just as with a biological child, adoption cannot guarantee a child is healthy, or will remain healthy. Genetics play a role in everyone's health, and often, despite medical disclosure in adoption, it is not completely feasible to think that all hereditary conditions can, or will, be disclosed. The birth parents may not even know the health history of parents, siblings and grandparents. Can you accept that and unconditionally love a child that has physical or mental health issues?
5. How will you handle the subject of adoption when the child gets older and begins to ask questions? There are many, many reasons why you would want to be open and honest about the child being adopted, which I may touch on another day.
6. How will we view the birth parents of our adopted child? Adopted children eventually ask about their birth parents, and, even if the child came from the worst of circumstances, being too negative when telling the child about his biological family can negatively impact the child. Additionally, if you harbor feelings of jealousy or anger toward the birth family, this, too, can potentially be picked up by the child, and negatively impact him.
These are also some of the very same questions that should be asked of oneself before conceiving a biological child.
Adopting is Not Easy
Adoption is called a paper pregnancy for a reason--it's lengthy, it can be complicated, and it's an emotional roller coaster. Whether the decision is made to adopt privately, internationally, or from foster care, there is no such thing as a smooth, easy, quick road to adoption.
Potential adoptive parents have to complete mounds of paperwork, attend classes, submit to thorough home inspections and background checks, humbly ask friends and bosses to write character reference letters, and prove financial readiness and stability. After all that, the most agonizing part of the process begins, the waiting, lots of it.
Adoption IS Worth It
Without a doubt, adopting is one of the very best and most rewarding things I have ever done. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for each of my kids. People have claimed that I "rescued" my adopted children, but, truth is, they rescued me. I have learned so much from them and it changed my life: resiliency, compassion, redemption, unconditional love, the list is endless. Each of my children, adopted or biological, is a blessing and a gift.
Adoption is God's Plan of Redemption
Finally, and most importantly, a proper view of adoption should be taken from God's Word, which says that we all, as believers, are adopted into the family of God as part of His perfect plan of redemption from sin. So, if adoption is God's very own design, then it could never be second best.
"...before Christ came...We were slaves to Jewish laws and rituals, for we thought they could save us. But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own sons. And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father. Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned." ~Galatians 4:3b-7 NLT
This past Saturday my daughter got married. It was a much anticipated and joyous occasion. I have known in my heart since I met the young man that he was THE one for my daughter. Hard to explain it, I just knew. Still, it seems my daughter grew up awfully fast. Wasn't it was just yesterday she skinned her knee and needed momma to kiss it and make it better? Now, she is a grown woman, a new wife, and may become a mother, herself, in the not-too-distant future.
After Josh asked Savannah to marry him, they set a date for the wedding--far enough in advance to make preparations, but not so far out that it would seem that the day would never arrive. Leading up to September 20, 2014, was a timeline of events: order the cake by such-and-such date, determine the bridal party, select a photographer, book the church and reception venue, begin premarital counseling, buy the rings, finalize honeymoon plans--the list went on-and-on-and-on.
Much in life is like that dizzying wedding prep to do list. We wake up each morning, get ready for work, get the kids to school, spend the day at our jobs, make the commute home, clean house, fix dinner, pay bills, make sure the kids get their homework done, family devotions--then it's time for bed so we can get up the next morning and start all over again.
God's Word tells us that life from conception to grave is much like our daily to do list, every matter under heaven is given a season, an appointed time.
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Our family has had its share of times of sorrow in recent years. This past Saturday, we rejoiced that it was finally the appointed time for Josh and Savannah to become husband and wife, and begin their new life together. Praise the LORD!!
Savannah and Josh decided they would have formal photos taken prior to the wedding ceremony. Thought I would share a couple of pictures of the big reveal, where Josh saw Savannah in her wedding gown for the first time:
What is a Birth Doula?
A birth doula, pronounced doola, is someone who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth, and provides support to the family before, during, and shortly after the birth. A birth doula is a coach, a supporter, an advocate, and serves as an informational guide to both parents. Some doulas only practice in hospitals, others only in home births; however, many will attend in the setting is the safest and most comfortable for the mother, supporting the mother's birth plan and choices.
Benefits of a Birth Doula
For centuries women have attended other women during childbirth, and studies have consistently shown that this support has a positive impact on the laboring woman.
According to numerous studies, other benefits of a birth doula include:
1. Shorter labors with fewer complications
2. Reduction in the need for medical intervention (cesarean sections, forceps, ect.)
3. Decreased need for medications during labor (Pitocin to speed up labor, pain relief medications, ect.)
Moms report that having a doula increased their satisfaction with their birth experiences, earlier and closer bonding with their babies, and a decrease in the intensity of postpartum depression.
Benefits to the Baby
The baby also benefits from the presence of a birth doula during childbirth in many ways.
1. Better bonding experience with both the mother and father shortly after birth.
2. Baby breastfeeds better.
3. Decreased NICU transfers and shorter hospital stays.
How Birth Doulas Benefit Dads
Contrary to popular belief, the presence of a doula during childbirth does not diminish or negate the need for dad's involvement in the birth process. Rather, studies have shown that a birth doula actually increases dad's involvement by boosting his confidence through decreasing the pressure he feels, and by increasing his medical knowledge of childbirth, and in measures that he can take to comfort his wife during this time. This has proven to increase dad's overall satisfaction with his part in the childbirth experience.
More information about the benefits of a birth doula can be found by visiting these websites:
Evidence Based Birth
It is a sad fact of life. The terrible reality of living in a sin-fallen world, that we all will experience grief. Grief comes in many forms. Typically we strictly associate grief with the death of a loved one; however, grief doesn't stop there.
Any Loss Can Provoke Grief
Any time there is a loss, there is the potential for grief. Foster and adopted children experience a lot of grief from all the losses in their young lives. Leaving birth family behind, moves from home-to-home, family-to-family. Divorce leaves a trail of grief in its wake, in which the children often feel it the most.
Other losses that may trigger grief, is the loss of a job, lost of feelings of security from being mugged, or loss of property from a tornado or flood. This is not an all inclusive list, we all experience many types of losses throughout our lifetimes.
Generally, there are five universally recognized stages of loss and grief:
1. Denial and Isolation
Described as the first reactions to news of a loss or grief. The tendency to deny that someone cherished has been lost, or is about to be. We isolate ourselves in an attempt to close out anyone or anything that would tell us otherwise, and to protect ourselves from the pain that lies ahead.
Once the mask of denial has worn off and the reality of the loss cruelly made itself known to the point that there is no denying it, an anger may set in. Angry at the situation that robbed us of the person we held so dear. Anger directed toward the person or possession for leaving us. Anger at God for allowing it to happen. Anger at those around us. Anger at ourselves.
PsychCentral says that this stage is "the normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability...often [stemming from] a need to regain control." In this stage, we are dealing with the "What ifs..." What if I would have sought a second opinion? What if I would have just stayed home that night? What if I were a better person?
During this time, we may also bargain with God. "Lord, if you will just let my baby live, I will do anything you ask." "God, take me instead."
The article, The 5 Stages of Loss & Grief, explains this stage so perfectly, that I am quoting it word-for-word:
"Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs and burial. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words.
The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug."
Finally, we come to a place of acceptance. We realize that nothing we do, or say, can bring the person back. However, this conclusion may not always be reached in every grief journey. The loss of a child, or spouse, or parent at a young age, may leave one searching for acceptance of the loss, yet never fully finding it. Sometimes, we just have to come to a place that I call "a new normal." Life after a devastating loss will never be the same, and complete healing never reached this side of Heaven, so, as a way of coping until then, we move into a new normal: establish new routines, begin new holiday traditions, find new ways to experience joy again.
The Stages of Grief May Be More Like a Roller Coaster
Also note that these stages may not follow in order, or you may go back-and-forth. I think that Hospice Foundation of America describes grief best: "Grief is a roller coaster, not a series of stages…Like many roller coasters, the ride tends to be rougher in the beginning, the lows may be deeper and longer. The difficult periods should become less intense and shorter as time goes by, but it takes time to work through a loss.”
The important thing to remember here is that every person grieves differently, and the experience may be different through each loss endured. Give yourself the time and space....and permission....to grieve that you need. Most of all remember that "the Lord is near to the brokenhearted," (Psalm 34:18) and He will faithfully draw near to you.
What a beautiful and touching story. Read below.........
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – A Philadelphia woman was nearly 3 months pregnant when she found out her unborn son had a terminal brain defect.
Completely love this story, just beautiful. Reminds me of the times I had my daughter, Stephanie, sit on my lap so I could rock her when she was pregnant with the twins. Sure, it seemed so silly at the time, but just the year before we were shocked and devastated when Abby was born too soon.
So, so, so many nights I would lay awake in bed, unable to sleep, thinking about all the things I would never get to do with my first grandchild. I regretted that the only thing I ever had the chance to do was rub Stephanie's belly, and talk and sing to Abby within.
When we learned the twins were on their way, I was determined not to lose a minute of precious time. I attended every possible OB appointment with my daughter, and ultrasound photos lined the wall of my office at work...just in case I never had any other 'living' pictures. I rocked the twins with Stephanie on my lap, sang and read Scripture to them, and let them know the sound of my voice....even told them jokes! Haha!
Yes, we fully expected the outcome to be much happier this time around. Did everything we could to ensure the babies would live. But, there was that nagging thought in the back of my mind, "What if...?"
Well one day, the 'what if' did happen, and I was thankful that I took the time to rock my grandbabies while I could....even though it was while they were in my daughter's womb....even if it did look silly....because one day, the next time I rocked them, they were already in the arms of Jesus. Never let a moment slip away, live life to the fullest.