Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Healthy Pregnancy

Being pregnant is sort of like climbing a mountain. You think you're prepared--Pregnancy books? Check. Many words of wisdom from everyone who has ever been pregnant or knows someone who has been pregnant? Check. Lots of water? Check. Exercise? Check. Healthy diet? Hmmmm . . .

There is SO much information out there about healthy diets and pregnancy, and much of it is conflicting. Some people believe that a meat-less diet is a no-no during pregnancy, others believe that vegan or raw food diets are the way to go. Protein--how much do you really need? Are you getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients your baby needs? Don't eat foods like eggs, sushi, or other dishes that might be dangerous to eat raw or undercooked. How much weight is okay to gain (some sources indicate less than 20 pounds, some say up to 35 or 40).

So, here you are, on this journey weighed down with this huge pack of information and on top of all these things running through your mind, your hormones are a little wacky, making you cry during a commercial your un-pregnant self would have found eye-rollingly stupid, and your body is doing strange and wacky things.

I'm now nearing my last month of pregnancy and though I'm no expert, here are some things I've learned and would like to pass on:

1) Do NOT read too much pregnancy info, whether in books, online or in magazines. Do NOT listen to all the advice everyone gives you. Be selective, do some research on the things that you are most interested/worried about, make a decision and let it go.

2) Eat healthy foods and don't stress out about counting every gram of protein or carbs. On the other hand, don't be so "free" with your diet that you are gaining gobs of weight and feeling like crap. Remember, what came on, must get off at some point. Moderation, moderation. (NOTE: Sometimes, no matter how healthfully you eat, you will gain more weight than you thought possible in a one week period. Try not to let it get you down.)

3) Remember that babies are hearty little creatures. As long as they have milk, clean, warm clothes, a place to sleep and your love, they will most likely be very content. You really do not need a whole slew of baby toys, matching bedding, an entire set of new nursery furniture or most of the other stuff that is advertised to new parents. Keep it simple.

4) Your body really can change so much that you don't recognize it anymore. Often when I catch a glimpse of myself (still!) in the mirror, my first thought is, "whose stomach is that?"

5) Ignore everyone who feels the need to comment on your body. Constantly. As though you weren't standing right there.

I'm really lucky that my pregnancy has been pretty easy. I'm very happy with my pregnancy overall and I'm so looking forward to meeting my new son or daughter!

Here are some great Web sites that I often visit for inspiration, both during my "normal" life and during my pregnancy. They will definitely make you want to put down the Taco Bell burrito and make a fruit smoothie!

Oh my Blog! a raw/vegan mama's journey to remain a raw food eating vegan during her pregnancy is really inspirational. And of course, Happy Foody is still one of my favorites, though not specific to pregnancy or babies. Also, check out We Like it Raw for inspirational stories and some great recipes. The notorious Vegan Lunchbox has a GREAT treasure trove of archived posts on the most creative lunches I've ever seen. Plus check out the adorable lunch kits in her most recent post--CUTE!

Making Music for Change

I'm so excited to tell everyone about a cool event that I will be hosting on Sunday March 8th, from 1-3:30 p.m. at the STAART Gallery in St. Albans. If you haven't been to the gallery, you have to check it out--it's beautifully set up and the artists whose work is showcased there is just spectacular.
For the past several years I have been holding an annual Victorian Tea to raise money for organizations working to end sex trafficking around the world. This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart, and though it might seem like a very different cause than the environment (which is obviously very important to me!) I find them similar on many levels. Both involve abuse on silent parties who are often unable to speak for themselves. Both are atrocious. Both make me very angry. Of course, I do not place human suffering below say a polluted river. Sex trafficking is my very worst nightmare and to realize that between 1-2 million women and children (some as young as five!) are trafficked every year around the world is heartbreaking.
The Music Matinee will be a fun way to bring community members together to learn more about the sex trafficking industry and also enjoy some foot stomping, blood warming good music by local musicians, Carol A. Jones, Lisa Judge, Rebecca Padula, and others.
No need to RSVP, just show up at the gallery and bring your family and friends. No charge, donations are greatly appreciated.
Oh, and did I mention the free refreshments?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What do You Worship?

Sometimes I spend more time worrying and wondering and fretting than I should. I have a very hard time letting things "just be".

I just read a great passage this morning from Weekly Wisdom. I'll share it here:

"Everyone worships. Some people worship money, possessions, popularity, prosperity, or other people. They may not sing worship songs to their bank account, but by the way they live they worship (i.e. give value to) their money."

Amen to that.

It made me stop and realize how often I worship things. A constant mental struggle with money and bills is a form of worship. So is forever wondering what others think of you. Checking your bank account or 401K several times a day could be considered worship. Spending large chunks of time focusing on things like food, sex, alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes are all forms of worship.

I think the way people look at religion can be worship in itself. I made the artwork above several years ago because I feel like many Christians get caught up in the "act" of worship. But to me, God is not about statues and stained glass and pretty Sunday clothes and candles and money. And the fact that so many of us have let these things become the focus of our religious experience is scary.

Let's remember where worship belongs, and where it doesn't.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NOFA How I Love Thee...

The Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) is such an incredible organization. I just learned about them maybe a year ago and since that time have found so much great information about organic farming, farmers' markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), local food sources, classes, workshops, and more educational opportunities, all listed on their Web site.

This weekend is the annual Winter Conference and I'm SO excited to attend! I've been looking forward to it for months. My sister, Faith ,and my friend Renee and I are going together. The photo above is a shot from last year's conference which I attended with my Mom. Picture a long day of friendly, happy people, learning new things about gardening, farming, beekeeping, soap making, herbs, foraging, livestock care and more, combined with a great (mostly local food) potluck, and sprinkled with a resource area chock full of freebies and business displays and you've pretty much got the winter conference.


This year I'm determined however, not to fall into the impatient, "I wish it was spring RIGHT NOW so I can start these outdoor repair and garden projects!" trap. I am trying to truly enjoy the winter months--no bugs, no sunburn, no sticky humidity, and lots of fresh, brisk air and fluffy snow. Spring will get here soon enough, and while winter is a great time to work on plans for next year's garden and read up on homesteading and other interesting things, I don't want to rush any of the seasons.

But of course, being around all those farmers and gardeners and being inspired by the cool workshops and resources will be challenging. Here's to my attempts to stay focused!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Making Changes

How do you make changes? Do you make them gradually, over a long period of time? Do you make them hastily and then fight with everything you've got to make them stick? How much information do you gather before you attempt to make a change? Do you do careful research or are you more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type person?

I am someone who has a hard time making a decision, but once I've made up my mind that's usually the end of it. I don't like loose ends and "maybes". I like to know what to expect and what the final outcome might logically be for decisions that I make.

Expecting a baby has brought with it a whole slew of new decisions to be made. Some were, for me, no brainers. As someone who is passionate about recycling as much as possible and trying to waste as little as I can, I certainly didn't rush out to create a huge baby registry at some overpriced store. I'm not interested in stockpiling the nursery full of a bunch of stuff we'll probably never need. Yes, it took me months to create an alternative gift registry, and yes I've probably forgotten to include things that we will end up needing. But by putting time and thought into our registry, it will result in a more eco-friendly option for us.

Other things to consider when planning for a baby have ranged from minor, like which type of prefold cotton diaper do I want to use versus more involved, like will I choose to breastfeed? There are so many decisions to make.

One thing that I've learned is that while doing research on a subject is good, it can also paralyze you. Sometimes you need to shut out all the voices, advice, and information and be still. Think about what you truly want to do and why. And then choose to do that, no matter what others think and say about your decision.

My husband and I decided we'd rather have a big summer outdoor "eco-friendly, meet-the-baby" party, instead of a traditional baby shower. Some people don't seem to like the idea, others do. But instead of worrying about pleasing everyone (a habit that's very hard to break), I've decided to let go and just enjoy the parts of my decision that feel good and right to me.

How about you? What are some areas of your life in which you find it challenging to make a decision? And once you've made one, do you stick with it no matter what, or do you tend to change your mind?