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Top Ten For Toddlers

By June 7, 2017 Home, Mothering

A toddler has attention of a fly, maybe shorter, and that means books need to be creative. The books on this list are short and sweet. It does not have to cost an arm and a leg to show your toddlers books they will ask you to read over and over. All of the books mention below are under $13. This is a Top 10 List for reading to toddlers.

  1. Noisy Farm- By Tiger Tales

This is a family favorite, a book given to my daughter, with love from grandma. It makes animal noises. It explains what farm animals sound and feel like. It also talks about what they like to do. A very interactive book that is surely to keep any toddler’s attention all the way through. This book has eight pages of cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, and horses. A five star book.

  1. Little Mouse Finger Puppet Book- By Chronicle Books

This is a poem turned into a book, including, a finger puppet that can be played with throughout the book. There are other books, like this, that display other animals. Parenting magazine promoted this book by saying “Give your baby his (or her) first taste of story-time magic with this finger puppet board book”

 

  1. My First Bilingual Book Home Zuhause English-German

A book given to my daughter, by a cousin, at a baby shower with a book theme. I could not thank her enough for getting my daughter’s book collection started. The language immersion is great, a toddler can understand the charming illustrations of the word, in German and English. There are other books, like this, with different languages!

    1. Dr. Seuss’s Red Fish, Blue Fish, Old Fish, New Fish- By Dr. Seuss Nursery

Based on and inspired by the book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. It was not until becoming a parent, I realized, they are recreating new series of Dr. Seuss books. These popular childhood stories give old school parents something new to read. Water and bite proof; making this book a great bath time toy. Toddlers understand this book more than the original book.

  1. Touch and Feel Farm- By DK Publishing

Toddlers get touchy with what each animal will feel like with ten pages of chickens, horses, dogs, sheep, and pigs. The book keeps toddlers waiting for the next page to turn, not for too long, with only twenty-eight words. Well made and will last many turns.

 

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar- By Eric Carle

Alluring illustrations on every page. It is a story about a caterpillar eating through food and growing into a butterfly. Every page has holes, to signified, the caterpillar eating the food. This book was published in 1969. Eric Carle is a graphic designer that was born in the US and raised in Germany. For more on his books check out his blog http://ericcarleblog.blogspot.co.at

  1. Where The Wild Things Are- By Maurice Sendak

This would not be a top ten of a books if the The Caldecott Medal was not given to at least one book on this list. Where the Wild Things Are received the award for the Most Distinguished Picture book. Stunning pictures on every page. It is about a boy, that goes to bed without supper, for being bad. He has a big imagination whose room turns into a forest. He sails away from his home to be king of the “wild things”. When he returns home a warm supper is waiting for him.

  1. I’m Wild About You- By Sandra Magsamen

Comes from Scholastic collection. It is a book that teaches toddlers that they are loved with only twenty-eight words in the book they are sure to get the message. It uses monkeys, elephants and pinguins to describe different movements that explain why a child is loved.

 

  1. Pat-a-Cake- Illustrated by Annie Kubler


Takes an old child’s game and turns it into a book. It has the musical notes, at the end, to give parents that would like to turn this game into a more musical experience.

 

 

  1. My Teacher Can Teach Anyone!- By Nikola-Lisa and Illustrated by Felipe Galindo

A poem put to life with illustration. It teaches toddlers that they can learn anything from a teacher. It also teaches children to have appreciation, for the teachers in their life, preparing them for preschool, and what they could learn. An alphabet book, in disguised, that goes through occupations to show the letters. There is also a teacher guide found on this website.

https://www.leeandlow.com/books/my-teacher-can-teach-anyone/teachers_guide

Children should be read to from an early age. It expands their vocabulary and they will more likely become readers as an adults. Books open a wide world of adventure and spark curiosity. I hope this Top Ten List of Toddler books give your toddler a good start in life.

Resources

Teacher’s Guide – My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone! | Lee & Low Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2017.

Borteçin, Hakan Şan. Home = Zuhause: English-German. Rudgwick, Horsham, West Sussex, England: Milet Pub., 2011. Print.

Carle, Eric. “Eric Carle Blog.” Eric Carle Blog. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 28 May 2017.

Dr. Seuss’s Red Fish, Blue Fish, Old Fish. New York: Random House Children’s , 2005. Print.

Kubler, Annie. Pat-a-cake. Swindon,: Childs Play (International), 2010. Print.

Lanning, Kery, Eric Carle, and Jean Casey. The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Lakewood, CO: LINK, 1992. Print.

Magsamen, Sandra. I’m Wild About You. New York: Scholastic, 1920. Print.

Nikola-Lisa, W., and Felipe Galindo. My teacher can teach – anyone! New York: Lee & Low, 2009. Print.

Noisy farm. N.p.: Tiger Tales, 2013. Print.

Put, Klaartje Van der. Little mouse: finger puppet book. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle , 2008. Print.

Touch and Feel Farm. New York: DK Publishing, 2012. Print.

Troy, Anne, Phyllis Green, and Maurice Sendak. Where the wild things are Maurice Sendak. Palatine, IL: A. Troy, P. Green, 1990. Print.

Admin. “Welcome to the Caldecott Medal Home Page!” Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). N.p., 07 Mar. 2017. Web. 28 May 2017.

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9 Ways To Save Money In 9 Months of Pregnancy

By May 31, 2017 Money, Mothering, Uncategorized

 

Most first-timer parents believes they cannot afford a child. One of the earliest stresses to having a baby is having the money. There is no perfect time to have a baby. Here are some simple tricks that can be implementing; nine

Month 1: Disability Insurance: This only will work when the child is planned. Many disability insurance plans include pregnancy. The policy must be in place for at least one year. Be sure to shop around for a disability insurance plan that could give you money for expenses.

Month 2: Home Cooked Meals: Being without child gives a couple more discretionary income than after a child is born. The sooner couples starts bringing lunch; the more money that is saved. It will also mean that mommy-to-be is eating a more healthy diet.

Month 3: Coupons: Any mommy on a budget knows that coupons and sales are the only way to go. Only use coupons that are 30% or more off for a truly good deal. 

Month 4: Try Out Items Before Purchasing: Big ticket item (anything over $100) need to be tried first. To check for yourself the piece is worth investing in and to receive an honest review from another person. Also, be aware of the return policy on any baby things that are purchased.

Month 5: Avoid Baby Clothes, Toys and Babies “R” US: This is a hard one for new parents. DO NOT GO INTO BABY “R” US! I REPEAT “DO NOT GO INTO BABY “R” US”! It can be very hard to resist, your wallet will thank you later. If it is hard to resist clothing than purchase at second hand stores. Chances are the baby that wore the outfit only wore it twice. The stuff in this picture was given to me.

Month 6: Shop Online: Online shopping is perfect for big ticket items, a person can wait until the items go on sale and watch for the price to fall with many retailers. On-line shopping also decrease the chance on impulse buying that happens in stores.

Month 7: Use Baby Shower Wisely: Keep all price ranges in mind. Anything that is not bought for the big day the mom can buy for a discounted price. Scan only things that will be of service later.

Month 8: Receive Items From Other Parents: Many parents will be happy to give away stuff that they are not using anymore. Just be sure baby gear is up-to-date with safety procedures. It is also nice to take second hand advice from friends that have already been there, done that.

Month 9: Resell Items: Buying items second hand off Craigslist or second hand stores is a great way to save money on things that may only be useful for six months. Also, reselling items you are done using them will put money back into your wallet.

 

It is more affordable to have babies than a couple realizes. Babies are rather inexpensive, it is as they become older they become more expensive. No one will want to buy clothes or a car for a teenager. Enjoy the help you get from friend and family 🙂

 

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9 Thing To Do In 9 Months of Pregnancy

By May 24, 2017 Mothering

9 Things To Do In 9 Months of Pregnancy

A woman becomes pregnant for the first time she thinks “Shit, what should I do?” This is an easy to-do list of things that should happen to start from conception until child birth. These are 9 things To Do In 9 Months.

Month 1: Spend More Time With Your Partner. The fetus is growing inside you, it becomes more important to work on the relationship of the person that help you create the baby. Energy levels are sure to drop; find activities that you both enjoy and do not take a lot of energy.

Month 2: Sleep! No one told me it is exhausting to create a human. New-mommies expect to have months until exhaustion hits or morning sickness similar to what is shown on TV. Do not feel guilty about the dishes piling up or other people that lack sympathy for your condition.

Month 3: Find Adequate Child Care. This is huge! Many great day care facilities have wait lists. If you do not plan on going back to work; find out who you can depend on for a baby-sitter.

Month 4: Brush Your Teeth. This one sounds crazy. Bleeding gums is common to experience in pregnancy. I thought instead of a stork, I would see a tooth fairy. The hormones that are filling your system make tooth loss possible. However much you already brush your teeth; double that!

Month 5: Buy Maternity Clothes. Life will feel so much better. These are clothes you can plan on wearing for awhile after giving birth. Still wearing my maternity jeans, two months after the fact. Invest in yourself.

Month 6: Go on a Baby-moon. It the perfect time to do something special with your partner. Morning sickness has become a thing of the past. Energy levels will not fully return until after giving birth. Give yourself plenty of breaks in the trip. For me, New York City was a great choice. You can find a post on this website called “Cheap Ways To Travel: Baby-Moon In New York City

Month 7: Do Kegals. Exercise is always good to do through out pregnancy. Doing kegals will strengthen the pelvis floor. Kegal exercises will prevent According to Heidi Murkoff from What To Expect: One year

“Urinary incontinence, promotes healing, prevent or treat urinary and fecal incontinence, and ease hemorrhoids.”

Great thing about doing kegals is that they can be done anywhere without anyone noticing. It also makes sexy time with your partner better 🙂

Month 8: Start A Blog. After having a baby that forth trimester can be a lonely one. No one (expect grandparents) will care about the color of your child’s poop. Blogging is a lovely way to document the experience and keep those who wanted to be in “the know” updated. See the posts “Top 5 Free Programs To Help You Make Money” Your purpose does not have to making money, this post just gives a place to start in creating a blog.

Month 9: Pregnancy Belly Caste: This was one of the highlights of being pregnant. This one was done two days before giving birth. I was big and beautiful. It is rather inexpensive to do and it is an activity to be done with your partner. Be sure to be in a place that creative messes are allowed 🙂

Keep everything simple with pregnancy, I did not add the common sense things to the list. Those are things that seem quite obvious. Be sure to enjoy this time of life; it goes by fast. This is a list to start your 9 things to do in 9 months of pregnancy.

References

Murkoff, Heidi, and Sharon Mazel. What to expect the first year. Sydney, N.S.W.: HarperCollins Publishers, 2015. Print.

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C-Section: Not The Short-Cut

By May 11, 2017 Home, Mothering

     One-in-three American women will have a c-section. Which makes this topic worth mentioning at Lamaze classes. The picture you see above is my scar two months post-op. It is not flattering by American Photoshop standards. In fact, I did not even crop this photo. There is a stigma that women who choose to have c-sections are taking the “short-cut” or that it can be avoided. If this is your birth route create your own path and do not limit yourself to what you read on the internet. Here are a top five list of truths that many women who have a c-section live with. 

1) Too Posh Too Push

This phrase refers to women who have chosen to have elective c-sections. It is far more common in South America where having health insurance is a mark of wealth. I am here to report, there is nothing “posh” about a c-section; not unless wearing a catheter came into style this season. Most women in Western society do not have elective c-sections; they choose this mode of delivery to avoid health complications.

My Truth: Part of me felt relief when a c-section was offered thirty-six weeks into my pregnancy. It felt like I was making a quick escape through the emergency exit door of the birth canal. I was lured into a false sense of security. Yes, I felt no pain while giving birth. Twelve hours after, is when the labor pains kicked in and lasted forty-eight hours through pain killers. Plus, a full week in the hospital for another ace high kicker. Giving birth sucks! 

2) Your a great mom.

After surgery, I worried about being a competent mother. In my fragile state of mind, recovering from major surgery made me feel less equip to take care of a newborn. Women who just had their babies were leaving the delivery room in wheel-chairs, walking faster and being discharged before I could carry my baby while standing up. Do I sound jealous? You bet! When I made that walk to the bathroom to put on some red lipstick every morning; victory was mine.

 3) Delivery Staff Are Similar to Flight Attendance

If they are not freaking out then the plane is not going down. Looking back on it, the c-section itself was the easiest part of the whole experience. I was completely numb from the waist down in a matter of minutes. I wore a catheter and it was a relief to know if I pissed myself in fear their would be something to catch it. Yes, I am aware this is my second time mentioning the catheter; it was one of the highlights of the experience.

4) Removing the Bandages Can Be a Traumatic Experience

It felt like something out of a Steven King novel, the first time I looked at my stomach after surgery. My body morphed into a science fictional character who must have had the same doctor as Frankenstein. Reading horror stories on the internet validated my gross sense of misjudgment. My go-to line as a massage therapist is “The body needs time to heal” now sounded like crap after two weeks post-op. It is a shame that I did not take pictures of the healing process to prove time heals all wounds. Instead, I rushed to the doctors office demanding an examination of my scar that reminded me of a roadmap.

5) Post Treatment Matters

It will be a solid three months at least before you are back into a yoga class.” the doctor said. My eyes bulged out of my head upon hearing this. It is very important to listen to your team of professional healers. If you are looking for written advice pick-up a book. I listed a great one below and it is the book I reference to for this article. AVOID BLOGGERS! You will want advice from someone who is speaking from their scope of practice. This also includes me. 

The only advice on c-section scars, I will give within my scoop of practice as a License Massage Therapist is a technique called “friction massage”. Ask about this technique from one of your health care providers and only when your body is ready. It is a way to break up the scar tissue and can be self-adminstered. 

My doctor and partner lead me to believe this would be “less stressful” than a vaginal birth. Truth, there is no easy way to have a baby. C-section patients have a higher rate postpartum depression. There are various reason for this. Maybe because it often happens during problems in labor or because women do not typically know they are going to have one until late in pregnancy. Most women do not prepare themselves for a c-section. Many women feel a sense of failure, wondering if they could have handled a vaginal birth or may feel like less of a mother. Some feel saved. A c-section feels more like the scenic route than the short-cut; but everyone ends up leaving the hospital at some point.

Resources

Connolly, Maureen, and Dana Sullivan. The Essential C-section Guide: Pain Control, Healing at Home, Getting Your Body Back– and Everything Else You Need to Know about a Cesarean Birth. New York: Broadway, 2004. Print.

 

 

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Baby Blues: A Tale of Unconditional Love

By April 14, 2017 Home, Mothering

Have you ever seen someone before they have their first baby? It is time of optimism, fantasy and, a bit of fear. Every veteran mother must get a good laugh when they talk to moms-to-be. One of mother natures best cosmic joke and source of entertainment for those already in the tribe. My campaign promises were as delusional as an American politician on an ego trip; I was going to finish a degree on-line, study German, launch a blog about traveling/motherhood, fit back into those skinny jeans and, take care of a newborn. Anyone getting a good laugh? Notice that taking care of the unborn baby was at the bottom of the list. Like many first-timers; the amount of time, energy and, emotions a six pound human takes was drastically underestimated on all accounts. The new goals are as follows: be a good mommy, ditch the on-line classes and skinny jeans, keep up with German lessons (barely), try to leave the house and, write fifteen minutes a day. While my dedication to the art of writing was starting to fade faster than red lipstick once worn when showers happen regularly; the determination to write on the world wide web is still going strong! Even though my husband insist that whatever object he is currently looking for is worth every bit of attention nothing will stop me now! Until the crying begins; who knew husbands could be louder than a train of thought?

A bald headed bundle of joy is a game changer. Mine is six weeks old. One does not know at this level when regular sleep, sex and, social life will appear again (if ever). This must be what they call “baby blues”. A phycologist classify my condition as “bitch be trippin”. Since her prescription to my problems was to relax and not do so much. She was obviously not an American and doubt of her expertise started to shadow into my mind when she sent me back into the world without any pills to curb anxiety. Something about creating a new life with the person I love makes me want to punch him in the face. Just to sure he knew for certain how much it sucked to get off the hormonal crazy train. When a woman has a new baby it becomes the only interesting topic about her. One could be a rocket scientist or Beyonce and if they could only ask one question it would be “How is the baby is doing?”. The truth, taking care of alcoholics is great training for motherhood; proving that time spent in bars before babies is not a complete waste. A bottle, white noise and, someone to snuggle with is all an infant/alcoholic really wants out of life. Babies will break a person down to size. They do not care about accomplishments, money in the piggy bank or, that faint smell of spit-up every new mom wears like perfume. This is why a mother’s love is unconditional through temper tantrums, bad hair days and, unimaginable labor pains. When your newborn baby looks deep into your eyes it all becomes worth every effort.

 

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Lies Society Tells Mothers

By February 25, 2017 Home, Mothering

It all starts from the moment of conception (or not). The birthing classes, books, society, and that little voice inside your head. The lies start pouring in about what motherhood will be like and what a woman “should” feel. These are some of the biggest lies that I have been told over the last nine months.

Your Birth Experience Is Up To You (The BIGGEST Lie)

I wish our American society would quit telling women that childbirth is something that a woman has control over. This would allow for a openness. When women go through traumatic shit (no nice to put that) like unplanned pregnancy, losing a baby, miscarriage, abortions, infertility issues, adoption, en vitro, c-sections, genetic abnormalities, martial issues and the list goes on to the unimaginable. Women often go through these experiences alone. Genetics, God and modern medicine have more control than a woman could ever dream of having. When deciding to have a baby expect the unexpected and lower your expectations. Healthy lifestyle choices are only preventive care and not meant to “cure” infertility issues. None of the issues stated above make the woman at fault. If you have a friend going through it, spare her the advice. She has been doing her own soul searching.

After Giving Birth You Will Be In Love

If this is picture does not resemble what you felt after child birth than you are normal! Many women experience fatigue after a long labor and feel more relief it is over. One-in-three births, in the US, end in a c-section and most women are not prepared for it which only adds to distress. Some may be on mind altering drugs from delivery. Post postpartum depression can strike any woman and this will make it harder to form an attachment to the baby. The point to all of this is that many women do not have “instant love” that is seen in movies. Loves grows with time.

Your Life Is Over (The Second Biggest Lie EVER Told)

Half of all pregnancy in America are unplanned. Which would make this quite possibly the second biggest lie told to women. It is part of this fear culture around the unknown and unexpected. While pregnant I fell in love, had new experiences with my body, slept a lot, quit smoking, traveled, learned a new language, worked, had two baby showers, made new friends, lost some friends, migrated to Europe, got married, became closer to my family, started this website, and prepared space to have a baby. So yeah, it is safe to say life does not slow down after having a baby. People create there own lives. It is all about perspective. Playing the blame game leaves a woman in less control of her life. This website is about empowering women. People should prioritize what they want out of life; with or without children.

Breastfeeding Is A Choice

Well maybe for some and if bottle feeding is for you then OWN IT! People assuming that this is the best choice for all women and babies are being unrealistic. There are many health and emotional concerns that need to be addressed first. No apologizes or tears needed when someone asks “Are you breast feeding?”. While it is okay to have these moment in the privacy of your home/doctor office; scrambling for excuses only makes a woman appear weak. After nine months of pregnancy/child birth a woman should feel confident in her strength and finding a graceful automated response to this question should be walk in the park. Just try to remember that most people are not trying to be hurtful or judgmental. When coming up with your automated responses; keep it light, simple and confident.

You Will Love Being A Mom

If this picture does not resemble the way you feel about motherhood than you normal, lol. Being a parent is a big responsibility. There are certain stages of life a child may go through that parenting will be harder. It is okay to miss parts about the life once lived before children. Somedays it will be about keeping your head above water until you reach a point where life is enjoyable again.

Bonding Should Happen Right After Birth

Shit happens, that is mostly what I have to say about that. Do not over think those first few moments of life. Skin-to-skin contact is incredibly  important after birth, no question about it. For some people, this simply will not be possible. What matters is a healthy mother and baby. Once everyone is safe and sound there is the promise of many sleepless nights ahead when mom will be in-charge. Again, loves grows with time and bonding will take place.

I am sure that there are many lies that you have been told about motherhood. Please, feel free to share them in the comments below. Every birth story is different and no one gets a “perfect” story. For a story to have a good plot there has to be trials and error. These were just some common lies that I was told during my pregnancy.

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Tips For Meditation During Pregnancy

By February 23, 2017 Home, Mothering

Pregnancy can be a joyful time. It can also cause stress and fear of what is to come. Lamaze classes focus on the breath for a good reason, it gives life, replenishes the body and calms the nervous system. Quick mindful meditations can reduce stress and help relax the body for the big day. Here are some insider tips I like to offer people on meditation.

Guided Meditations

If meditation is not something you have tried before, guided meditations are a great place to start. When beginning a meditating practice, five minutes can feel like an eternity. Guided video and audio will put into context a fix set of time to put into mediation. These guidelines allow a person to know intellectually that it is “only five minutes” even when it feels like longer. Anything that is soothing will help clear the mind. One can find free guided meditations on Youtube. I personally, fell in love with “The Honest Guys”. It is a group of people who are unaffiliated with any spiritual practice that put out really great guided meditation videos one can find on youtube and there website thehonestguys.com.uk for more details.

Essential Oil

Be careful of the essential oils used during pregnancy. Some favorite herbs/plants can be harmful while pregnant. As a rule of thumb, while pregnant stick to floral scents that will help calm nerves and under most circumstances will not be harmful. Roman Chamomile, Geranium and lemon are typically pretty safe in pregnancy. They can also be used to cure morning sickness. This picture is me at work, using Roman Chamomile to get over the dreaded morning sickness; that would usually attack in the afternoon.  Essential oils are powerful, be sure to use with a carrier oil (for example, Sunflower oil). A couple drops of essential oil mixed with a carrier oil is that is really needed to create a comforting scent to calm nerves. This can used for massage, inhaled or put in warm baths to unleash the healing powers. Be sure you bring a tinkerer with you to the hospital on the big day as a small comfort from home.

Set the Mood

Create a calm environment to relax the mind. Take five minutes to do any preparation to make your space sacred. Make the bed, light a candle or open the windows. Whatever makes you feel good about the space. Do not get caught up with details. If the house is a mess, it does not have to clean it spotless before meditating.

Transition From Getting Here To Being Here

Take a deep breath from the belly and release negative energy from the day. It is time to allow the breath to massage the heart and oxygen from the air to enter into your bloodstream. As you release CO2 and negative energy, feel the relaxation that along with it. Use the light in room to positively charge your body. Feel the wavelengths of light enter into your cells. Light attracts light.

Practice Gratitude

Bring thankfulness to yourself and others. Be aware of the family in your life. Thank them for being here to share space with. Appreciate the contributions your body is making to the life cycle. As you start to feel the stress of giving birth come over you, do not view it in a negative manner. Stress is not a bad, it is your mind and body preparing you for the experience. You came into this world as a student, just like your baby. Now, it is your turn to the guru. Trust your body.

Giving birth maybe one of the most painful experiences a woman will ever go though and will test her pain threshold like nothing else will. It hard to tell how a person will react until the time comes because pain changes the thought process. A woman can only do her best to mentally prepare herself with mediation.

 

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Austrian Mama VS. American Mommy

By February 23, 2017 Home, Mothering, Travel

In my first couple weeks in Austria, I met women who are bound to become my new friend. They are the long time friends to my husband and people that I am bound to run into during social events. A huge benefit to moving to a small village that my partner has spent the better part of his life in was a built-in friend group that zero effort for me to obtain. They are warm and welcoming; even excited about adding new person to their group. While most of the conversation I do not understand; the people who make an effort to speak English with me made me feel welcome. During casual conversation, it has become quite apparent that every culture has their own outlook on the delivery experience.

Epidural Please!

Yes, there are thousands of women who have gave birth naturally, no drugs and felt all of the pain. These women do not live in United States. While I have personally known American women to go the all natural route; this is becoming an alternative lifestyle in American culture. More than half of all women who take the plunge use an epidural. When I told my new Austrian friend that I wanted to be numb from the waist down, she was very polite and did not throw figure or facts at me. In Austria, doctors and midwifes do discourage women from using pain killers. My American stance on this issues: Do You, Boo! The less I know the better.

Hand Sanitizer VS. Soap

My mother bought me all these sweet smelling hand sanitizer before coming to Europe. The idea that I would bath my hands and potentially whole body in it 😉 Thus, reducing the chances of ever getting myself or the baby sick. On a night out on the town (a local village pub), using the bathroom for the third time in one hour made me a bit lazy about hygiene and I used some of the hand sanitizer that my mother gave me. A girl ask me “What is this?”. There I found myself explaining what hand sanitizer was a to group of European adults that just over heard my request to take drugs during labor and now viewing my alcohol based bathroom paraphernalia with a bit of mystery. One guy joked that it must be used to get high with 🙂 I offered some to my new friend who politely declined. I must admit their assumption of hand sanitizer was not completely wrong. Unless it is hospital grade and has a very high percentage of alcohol, it is doing nothing more than spreading germs around. My “Christmas morning” smelling hand sanitizer that I was possession in, was mostly not going to make the cut in any hospitals and was in fact spreading bacteria around my hands verses killing it. It seems like these folks already knew the best way to kill germs, fight infection and live to see another day: USE SOAP!

Placenta: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Several of my American girlfriends talk about having your placenta encapsulated to take after pregnancy. This would help wean my body off all the hormones that a pregnant person grows accustom to in last nine months and a new way of preventing postpartum depression. My Austrian friend gave me some advice “We know American’s do this; we do not eat our own organs in Austria. Just tell the doctor that you want to keep it and do not tell them why. Maybe bring a beer cooler to bring it home in?” Okay, maybe I exaggerated what she said; it was not that far off from the conversation. In my personal experience, making a placenta is one of most exhausting thing I have ever done in my whole life. If there is anyway to reduce energy, reuse my placenta and recycle it for the next pregnancy then that is the path I would like to take. In fact, I would like to take pictures of this organ with my phone and post on Facebook as one my greatest achievements. Since this is not social acceptable in earthier cultures then “Yes, I would like to use it for any nutritional value it may have.”

While all of this conversation is meant to be a generalization, not hard science and certainly not anything to taken too seriously. It is apparent that cultures have their own way of doing things. I see it in the way my friends approach motherhood. Both my American and European friends want whatever is best for their families. Their are just differences in how this goal is achieved.

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Cheap Ways To Travel: Baby-Moon In New York City?

By February 23, 2017 Money, Mothering, Travel

It may seem like NYC is a city only for singles. It is also a great place for a baby moon with your partner on a budget. While New Yorkers have a reputation of being rude, I found many smiling faces while pregnant visiting this city. There are some great things to be done that will still keep up until after midnight that do not require a alcohol. Here are some ideas for cheap ways to travel to New York City while pregnant. Since the Zika virus may have killed any dreams for a tropical holiday.

Research items online. Groupon.con is a great place to find cheap one a done deals and one my favorite websites in America. Since baby-moons are often done when money starts becoming tight. (This how I found tickets to Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway for half the cost) Many people who work in tourism, work on commission and can be flexible. Do not allow people to pressure you with TIME! Be prepared to walk away if they do not honor prices found on-line or through competitors.

AirB&B is a great way to find cheaper and unique accommodation. Since the hosts will specify what their space is like; the hosts will know who will be arriving. It is a great way to avoid staying in hotels that do not create a atmosphere that makes you feel unwelcome

 Central Park (FREE) is a great way to spend quality time and saving money. It can be done anytime of year. If the weather is right, make a picnic or look for events going on depending on time of year.

Coupon Book just say “No”. Unless you plan on staying in New York for five or more days, do not make the investment. Sure this is great way to pay in advance for all the touristic things a family would like to see in a trip. The questions is “Will you use them all?” When a person is traveling pregnant plan on taking things a little slower. Be sure not to create a overloaded schedule. That extra $20 being saved on a trip to the museums could cost more if all of those coupons are not used. Most coupon books in NYC expire after ten days and cannot be used on another trip. Just pay for the things that are actually of interest.

Museum of Natural History is the perfect choice for pregnant women or moms. There are lots of children around which makes families feel comfortable; ample security and safety for people with children. Avoid eating at the museum because the cafeteria is very expensive. A pre-made meal/snacks are recommended. Since the museum is across the street from Central park eating in the park can add some magic to the experience on a nice day. A place like this could fill the whole day. Start with the exhibits that are must sees to allow for time before becoming tired.

Ask a New Yorker, Americans all have that one friend or colleague who lived in New York City. Ask that person what they recommend and what they would avoid. If one can have that person on speed dial while staying in the Big Apple that is even better.

Holiday seasons are a great time to visit. New York City during Christmas is beautiful and walking around the city just to view decorations is a thrill in itself that can keep a person up until after midnight. Try to schedule times of year that will offer a great experience with no extra cost.

 Brooklyn Bridge (FREE) is an iconic place to go that cost absolutely nothing. It is a great way to see the city and the Statue of Liberty with going on a boat. Be sure to dress according to the weather.

The most important part of vacation is spreading time with the people you love. Sometimes those people act like assholes and sometimes your hormones can get the best of you. Perfect vacations do not exist for anyone. Despite those adorable pictures posted on Facebook. When I was single traveling to NYC, I wanted someone to share it with; when I traveled there pregnant with my partner, I wanted a shot of tequila. And when I go there with my daughter, I will most likely want to throw her over the Brooklyn Bridge. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am the adult and set the tone for what kind of traveling experiences my family has.

 

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Top 10 List For Birth Plan Abroad

By February 23, 2017 Home, Mothering, Travel

Giving birth in another country gives a whole new meaning to “birth plan”. If you decide to go this route you are not alone. Birth tourism and migrating is becoming less expensive than rising healthcare cost in America. A birth plan abroad will require more than visiting hospitals and picking out a medical team. There will be legal and cultural obligations that one will become acutely aware of. My top ten list is meant to be a universal check-list for Americans that could be used in any country. However, my own experience is based out of Austria. Please, do you own research when deciding on a country to give birth in and trust your own instincts.

  1. Check with an immigration lawyer before leaving America. Immigration laws can change greatly with political climate. Do not rely on family/friends to give advice based on how it was for “Mrs. Johnson”. Every situation is unique, find out what your family is legally entitled to. Giving birth in another country does not necessarily entitle a baby to citizenship to that country and being born to an American citizen may not be enough for American citizenship. If you are an American having a child abroad, upon leaving the hospital register the birth with the local embassy as soon as medically possible.
  2. Educate and compare healthcare systems. Healthcare outside of America can cost less money, time and can be more comprehensive. No one system is perfect. Public healthcare can create longer waits and some doctors who are more concern with the amount of people they see verses quality of work. Healthcare providers are different and developing a relationship with doctors is very important.
  3. Start learning the dominate language to the country, if you are planning migrating permanently. Languages opens door professionally, personally and culturally. On one of the most stressful days a woman will encounter, an English speaking birthing team will be a lifesaver. In some countries, one will pay more for this luxury. It is also harder to find English speaking staff in rural areas. Find a hospital with nurses and a doctor that understand English fluently before the big day. Be flexible and speak slowly. Show appreciation for their efforts when hospital staff makes an effort to explain procedures in English. Nurses will be who you spend most of your time with in the delivery room.
  4. Visit the local embassy to the country you wish to give birth in. Learn about visas, resident cards and legal rights before leaving America. If you are married to a person from that country; have them come with. The person you are meeting from the embassy will trust a native more than a foreigner and will make the process easier.
  5. Bring copies of your criminal records. FBI checks and any other documents supporting legal documents. It is easier to receive these items in the US than it is abroad. FBI reports expire after three months. Try to hold off on retrieving these until a couple weeks before leaving.
  6. Have your fingerprints archived before leaving America. This is an insurance policy for anyone living outside the US and for any reason need criminal background check. It will save time and money.
  7. Do a hospital visit. Find out what the hospital will test for after birth, policy, how long is the typical stay in the hospital, vaccination process, and whatever you find important. Hospital policy on the birthing process is not universal. There are no stupid questions when it comes to giving birth.
  8. Create a birth plan that is flexible. Try to only pick a couple things that you wish to be concern with. Lengthy birth plans are hard for a medical team abide to. Remember that the medical team is at work, they have other patients and are human. Show them gratitude for their work, even if they cannot full fill all requests. If they already have a negative stereotype of Americans, one will not want to feed into it. People work harder for people they like.
  9. Prepare for cultural norms and the unexpected. Every country has their own cultural norms that might be different from what you are use to in the US. Try to assimilate as much as possible before the birthing process to avoid unexpected stress.
  10. Air travel while pregnant can be exhausting. Plan for lots of rest, lots of fluids and good nutrition. Get up and walk around the plane to avoid swollen feet. A note from medical staff, in America will help you get through international security. Plan for extra time, in air ports to avoid x-ray machines. Waiting for a female officer to do a pat down can be time consuming. However, one maybe unlikely to encounter a x-ray machines outside of American air ports

No Matter where in the world you give birth. Expect the unexpected. Birth plans can change in heart beat. Stress comes from how a person perceives a situation and unmet expectations. The more flexible a woman is with her birth plan will directly effect her perception of her birth experience. This top ten list is way to prepare.

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