Q: As a mom to four kids, you've gained oodles of hands-on experience and wisdom over the years. If you could share any parenting advice with an eager mom-to-be, what would it be?
A: Alrighty, here's my top 10:
1. Don't sweat the small stuff - and most of it really IS small stuff.
2. When they make a mess, instead of freaking out -- grab the camera.
3. Take lots and lots and lots of pictures. Don't forget to hand the camera to someone else so you can be in the shots, too.
4. Newborns cannot be spoiled. You cannot hold them enough. And if you think you're a human pacifier - you are - and that's okay. You won't be forever, and trust me, you're going to look back some day and miss it.
5. Your husband, the man you love and wanted to spend the rest of your life with, is presumably and barring any tragedies, going to be with you forever, while your children will, eventually, grow up and go off to live their own lives. Don't forget about, underestimate, or neglect him in the midst of raising your children.
6. A clean house is less important than a toddler's need to explore their world.
7. Food is not a battleground. Children will eat when they are hungry, and should never be forced.
8. Teenagers tell you about 1/4 of what's really going on for them. Pay close attention when they do talk to you, and remember to times their information by four. Don't panic, they're more able to handle themselves than you think. But they still need you, your advice, your comfort, your care, and your attention.
9. You are not your child's friend, you're their parent. You don't need to be liked, but you do need to maintain a level of respect - on both sides.
10. Admit your mistakes and apologize to your children when you're wrong.
Q: What little known fact about you might surprise some of your readers?
A: Readers?? Bwahahahaha! ;) I think most of the people who read this little blog probably know most of my secrets... which aren't so secret.
How about this one: I spent the night in jail once. For driving on a suspended license. That I didn't know was suspended. It was four in the morning, and I was on my way to a birth. So I have a mugshot and the cops have my fingerprints, and I even got to pee in the toilet in the middle of the room (because I always drink two Diet cokes before leaving for a birth to wake me up, and if I didn't use the toilet, I was gonna pee my pants!) Why was my license suspended? Because I got a ticket in a residential area for doing five over the speed limit. Which didn't get paid. Why? My husband "forgot." He also "forgot" to tell me they sent a notice suspending my license because he "forgot" to pay my speeding ticket. :x The good news is, he bailed me out, and I did make it to the birth.
Q: Now that you've lived in the country for a while, can you ever see yourself moving back to the city?
Q: Tell us about your experience as a doula. How long have you been doing it? What do you enjoy about it?
A: I've been a doula since just before my third baby was born... since the year 2000. My first two children were born in hospitals, the first with an OB, the second with a nurse-midwife, and although I was interested in the idea of home birth at the time, I didn't have the resources, connections, or the support to carry that out. When I got remarried and we decided to have children, I revisited the idea of home birth with my new husband--who was completely supportive. So we had our third and fourth baby at home, I got involved extensively with the local birth community, learned about doulas, and went through the training to become certified.
Having the privilege and honor of witnessing a new life entering the world is always a gift, but being there for women, with women, watching their power and grace and ability during labor, is even more powerful for me. Giving women choices and options they didn't know they had thrills me. I don't judge anyone who gives birth they way they would choose... I wouldn't wish a home birth on every person. Women are different, and it isn't right for everyone. But I would wish an educated birth on every woman.
As a psychologist, I've dealt with too many women who've experienced trauma during childbirth who now have serious regrets about the way things happened. Too often, I hear, "If I'd only known then what I know now..." I've been there myself. As a doula, what I really want is to give women that information now, so they don't have regrets later. That, I think, is my true gift to give.
Q: Let's say you are going to be stranded with your family on a deserted island for 90 days. What 3 things would you take with you and why?
A: 90 days!? Are you kidding me? I'd take a GPS unit, a fully charged cell phone, and a boat! :P
Now it's your turn. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment including the words "Interview me." I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. If you don't have a valid email address on your blog, please provide one.