Impending motherhood serves up a confusing cocktail of heroic strength and terrifying vulnerability. Our culture has seized on the “vulnerability” part of this experience and tends to reinforce a pregnant woman’s insecurities instead of encouraging her to embrace this most natural time and trust her body, her intuition, and her own mind. Feng Shui Mommy takes a different approach, helping the expecting mother build her own unique, epic journey to motherhood. It’s about supporting her while she shores up her mind-body-spirit alignment so she can best handle the cosmic kick in the uterus and juicy kiss on the soul that pregnancy is. Bailey Gaddis guides women through the experience, providing specific suggestions for mind, body, and spirit for each trimester (including the “fourth,” after birth), leading to birth preparation designed for each mother and baby, and culminating in strong mother-child bonding. She includes detailed and practical information about prenatal exercise and nutrition, birth preferences and birthing positions, breath work, breastfeeding, and much more. Her advice allows mothers to welcome delight and curiosity into the journey while taking each phase with purpose and calm — and even a sense of fun. This comprehensive guide makes challenge and change joyful, allowing new life to be as incomparably wonder-filled as it is meant to be.
|Publisher:||New World Library|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
A percentage of the author’s revenues will be donated to support maternal health care.
Read an Excerpt
Feng Shui Mommy
Creating Balance And Harmony For Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, And Motherhood
By Bailey Gaddis
New World LibraryCopyright © 2017 Bailey Gaddis
All rights reserved.
JUST BREATHE: Focus your attention on your breath. Envision peace, clarity, and courage flowing in with each inhalation, while fear, tension, and stress flow out with every exhalation. You emit a brightening glow with each breath, until you find yourself enveloped in healing energy. Let this energy enter every nerve and cell of your being — centering you for your reading experience.
The most zealous of all the sperm has nuzzled into your waiting egg, and it's all systems go. Your body (and mind, and spirit) are now pooling their reserves of building blocks to create a new human. How do you feel about that? Thrilled? Terrified? In denial? Whatever your answer is, it is perfect. Pregnancy is the epitome of change, and it's your prerogative to completely freak out (in a good or bad way) over this development. It's strange to have a brand-new person growing inside of you! It's extraordinary! It is an everyday miracle in a global sense, but a cataclysmic shift in a personal sense. You are allowed to break down, whatever that looks like for you. There's no time when it's more socially acceptable to "lose it" than when you find out you're pregnant. And by losing it, you just might find all of it.
Pregnancy can trigger an identity crisis. You are no longer the person you thought you were, but you are not yet the person you will become. It's a time of awesome transition and change, which is always scary. Becoming a mother doesn't mean you stop being yourself — your fun Self, your carefree Self, your sensual Self. What it does mean is that you have the unique opportunity to become the person you truly want to be, the person you're meant to be: a woman who experiences herself as centered, whole, and stronger than she's ever been before, your true Self. During this time, your feng shui, composed of the energy connecting your mind, body, and spirit, is shaken up in the great cosmic maternal martini shaker — and you don't even get to have a drink! But once the head spinning slows, you will find that you have more resources, more resilience, and more creativity than ever before.
It's All Connected
Because you are a holistic being, your mind, body, and spirit are designed to work together in a state of dynamic fluidity, constantly realigning around your optimal balance point. When you bring awareness to this connectivity, you allow powerful change to happen.
Pregnancy is a profound chapter of life, for sure, but it's not the whole story. What pregnancy offers is a chance to get your holistic house in order so you are beautifully prepared for the rest of your life. Now is the time to find your joyful and courageous core. Now is the time to connect with your authentic and best Self.
Eating fried bacon–wrapped pastries for breakfast but thinking happy thoughts won't optimize your holistic connection. Doing an hour of yoga while focusing on the stressful tasks you have to do afterward won't optimize your holistic connection. Removing your partner's action figure collection from the bedroom while panicking about your future ability to breastfeed won't optimize your holistic connection. What will optimize it is becoming grounded in your experience, learning to express your needs, and finding the right kind of support.
Releasing the Fear
"The agony of childbirth" is one of the most pervasive messages in our culture. The first image of birth I was exposed to was a sweaty, red-faced woman, screaming PG-13-rated profanities at her partner while nudging a human out of her vagina in a comical movie. It was hilarious, and horrifying. I've never seen one scripted birthing image in the media that doesn't contain terrified men, yelling — and needles, so many needles! The births that are featured on reality shows are often flush with trauma and "excitement." Anxious voices, screaming, and tears sell, I guess. Peaceful companions, gentle births, and intact perinea are "boring."
The frightful cousins of these traumatic birth images are the harrowing sagas many women relish sharing about their excruciating forty-hour births, emergency C-sections, and bruised babies being yanked from tiny vaginas. Our society is a cultivator of childbirthing fear. Fear that we'll grow a child who is not brimming with health. Fear that our bodies will forget how to birth when the time comes. Fear that we'll make a critical mistake and dismantle our optimal birth.
This fear can turn a self-assured, courageous, and intelligent woman into a quivering mess. In addition to the external bombardment of fear, that little bratty voice within, the inner critic, loves to repeatedly ask, "How the hell is that going to squeeze out of this tiny hole?" Knowing that countless other women have accomplished this feat helps a bit, but the thought still lingers that those other vaginas were somehow ... better at this.
There is another way. There is a healing room within you that holds space for the opposite of fear — hope, courage, and empowerment. These forces are much stronger than fear; they just need some encouragement from you to come forth. When fear of childbirth is exposed to the light of reality, it begins to fade. This opens the door of possibility for your experience to be flush with joy, relaxation, and happiness. And fun! Believe it or not, pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood can actually be fun.
In the end, when I got over the initial terror of it all, I had a really fun pregnancy. But I did not wake up one morning with a sudden gusto for this process. I had to do heaps of fear-release work before I felt at ease with the prospect of a big head with a long body attached coming out of my body. So I invite you to meditate on the notion that when you release the fear, the possibilities will rush in (we'll dig into this further in chapter 6).
Wisdom to Remember
Long ago, in a land far away, fear did not grip the guts of pregnant women. In ancient times, childbirth was viewed as an organic, orgasmic process, as natural as a bowel movement, albeit a sacred one. The birthing stories that were passed from woman to woman possessed a tone of spirituality, connection, and knowing. Women trusted that their bodies were made for childbirth and that their babies would cooperate in the process. Birthing women and birth keepers in these times were revered as goddesses, able to channel the sacred creation of new life. So what the hell happened?
The reverence ended when pregnant women who needed medical assistance began to be viewed by law as "undeserving ill." The gross logic went like this: these women must have committed some kind of "sin," otherwise their pregnancies would not be complicated. Then the real craziness kicked in: Doctors were forbidden to offer care to these women, and as a result many died. These unnecessary tragedies planted in pregnant women the seed of fear that they too would be denied medical care if they needed it. This was the dawning of the culture of fear that still surrounds childbirth today. While this fear is still a powerful force, it has no basis in reality.
The medical resources of the modern healthcare system have significantly improved, and, compared with the era when this "culture of fear" arose, today it is much rarer for a woman in need of these resources to not receive them. But that old fear persists, and it has colored how many in the medical profession (and the media) still view women and childbirth.
It's time to put this fear down for a permanent nap.
Spiritual Intention and Introspection
Women used to place as much focus on the spiritual intentions of their pregnancy as we now place on combing through baby-stuff reviews. Navajos honored the divine feminine power of the pregnant woman with a ceremony called a Blessingway, which inspired what many now call a Mother's Blessing. This Blessingway celebrated the woman's rite of passage into her new identity as a mother, and set the intention that with the growth of the baby came the growth of the mother's spirit.
In "Navajo Ceremonial System," Leland C. Wyman explains that "Blessingway is concerned with peace, harmony, and good things exclusively ... for good hope, for good luck, to avert misfortune, to invoke positive blessings.... Thus they [Blessingways] are used to aid childbirth." Blessingway ceremonies, which would often span "from sundown of one day to dawn of the second day after that," often consisted of chanting and prayer, and as Wyman explains, "there is a ritual bath in the forenoon, sometimes drypaintings made of variously colored cornmeal, pulverized flower petals, and pollens strewn on a buckskin or a cloth substitute spread on the ground, with more songs and prayers. The final night is taken up with all-night singing."
You may not be up for a forty-eight-ish-hour ceremony. But your spiritual life is important right now. When you purposefully pay homage to the miracle of pregnancy, you take back your power. You no longer feel like a victim of circumstance, especially if your pregnancy was unplanned, like my own was. Set the intention that the being who is meant to come to you will, and trust that your baby is choosing you for a reason. Cultivating this trust can be especially beneficial for parents of children who come into this world with special needs.
Instead of focusing on your identity as changing, think of it as expanding. As your belly grows, so does your place in the world.
From Her Heart to Yours
I once heard a spiritual leader say that nine months of pregnancy, if harnessed in its potential power and ability to heal, is equivalent to twenty years of meditation. I realized that my unborn child was presenting me with a chance to look at, resolve, understand, repattern, and mend things that perhaps never would have emerged had I not become pregnant with her. Like an angel, it appeared that this was in fact one of the purposes of her coming into the world, to assist me in healing pieces of myself, my history and my ancestry, that would affect not only me — but how she, herself, experienced life. Within me arose this primal urge to give her the best possible future, free of the things that weighed me down. I didn't want to pass them on to her. I wanted the buck to stop here. I wanted to gift her a legacy of healing, not of wounds. One of courage and strength. One of love, compassion, optimism, and hope; power, truth, and grace.
— Jessica Cauffiel, California (mom, actor, writer, producer, shaman, and spiritual rockstar)
Intuition used to be queen. Women valued the voice of their intuition above all else — more than the voice of their mother, their sister, their guru, their cat, and (gasp) even their doctor. A woman's intuition led the journey, plotted new trails, and drew the map.
The first of the three elements of faith in Buddhism is intuition. Listening to this "gut reaction" or "sixth sense" is the first door that must be opened in order to access the other two core elements of Buddhist faith, which are reason and experience. When birthing, Tibetan Buddhists are encouraged to follow the wisdom of their subconscious, turning inward to discover right action. Our intuitions, however, have been shoved into the dark recesses of our psyches and rarely see the light of our consciousness. But tapping into your intuition — by listening to the first voice that answers in the moment after we ask our Self a question, before the mental chatter begins — is crucial to a successful birth, so we must learn to trust and follow that sacred inner voice. When we unlock this voice of wisdom, the important questions we're being asked, or are asking, will be answered.
Tapping Into Your Creativity
I remember oozing with pride, and a little cockiness, when, as an eleven-year-old hiking in the mountains of West Texas, I discovered a little cave whose walls were covered in petroglyphs. These ancient drawings depicted new life: seeds transforming into thriving trees, buds unfolding into blossoms, and a voluptuous stick figure depositing humans from her womb. It was a wonderfully scandalous discovery for a prepubescent girl. I envisioned glowing Native American pregnant women floating into the cave, their hands drawing on the cool rock.
For too many of us, fear has stifled our creative expression. Instead of working through the flux of emotions that pregnancy brings by tapping into our creativity, we use television, sleep, or my personal favorite, sweets, to check out when the new and potentially uncomfortable emotions check in. While the treats of entertainment, rest, and food are wonderful, they don't facilitate the exploration of the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes of pregnancy.
When you feel overcome by the unknown, follow the lead of our ancient Native American sisters and utilize a creative medium of your choosing to explore the questions, insights, or bursts of transformation you are experiencing.
If you feel separated from your changing body, turn on some music and dance. Allow movement to reconnect your body with your spirit, so you feel at home in your morphing body. If you have dreams you would like to consciously explore, paint your impressions of these visions on canvas. If you have powerful emotions surrounding a relationship, use free-flow writing to allow the voice of your intuition to speak up. Much like the act of putting on your shoes to exercise, the hardest part is turning on the music, picking up the paintbrush, or opening the journal. The rest is magic.
And if you, like me, just end up drawing pregnant stick figures — that's great too!
Our foremothers spoke of the grace, wisdom, and expansion of childbirth. Their stories were not laced with warnings and trauma, but neither did they deny the reality that childbirth is a challenge. The purpose of the stories was not for personal aggrandizement, but to uplift and encourage their sisters who were stepping into their own experience. These women wanted their sisters to reach the great moment of release — birth — filled with hope and expectation, and a sense of awe.
In ancient Malaysia and Indonesia, mothers would surround a birthing woman and offer to tell the tales of their own births. If the laboring woman moved into a challenge during birth, a supportive sister would share words of hope and insight from a similar experience. These tales served to instill a belief in the woman in transition that she was protected by the women who had traveled this path before her.
Feng Shui Mommy is a call to action to speak our birth stories with reverence, positivity, and truth. Our C-sections, epidurals, natural births, squatting births, and belly-dancing births — all are as valuable as the next in this space.
So set the intention that you will attract positive birth stories. Ask the women in your tribe to share positive childbirth stories with you, or find women who can. Find a special time and place to gather these women and fill the space with the electric energy of encouragement. Record these stories, or take notes, so you can draw from this optimistic wisdom anytime you need a dose of "Yes I can." Tell anyone who lapses into framing their birthing story as a calamity that you will only listen to her tale of woe if she is willing to rub your feet while she's telling it.
Tibetans have long held the belief that you must fill your baby with love before she is born, ensuring she enters this strange new world with deep reserves of assurance and comfort, which will soothe and support her when she is feeling out of sorts.
A baby in utero can hear the melody of your voice, feel the intention in your touch, and taste the flavors of the foods you eat. Prenatal care and bonding used to be viewed as a sacred time that warranted just as much attention as the first few weeks of the newborn's life. This prebirth bonding period served to gradually connect the mother and baby well before they came face to face.
It can be difficult to absorb how a new human will fit into your life. You've settled into your patterns, social groups, and the diaper-less landscape of your life. The idea of bringing a new human, completely dependent on you, into this scene is daunting.
When I first felt my baby move, I sat on my bed in an absolute state of awe. There was a person inside of me! This person was going to come out of me, and this person would be in my life forever. I tried to conjure images of what this child would look like, hoping he would be a bit plumper than the darling scrawny figure on the ultrasound printouts. I tried to imagine what it would feel like to have this child try to obtain milk from my tiny breasts — What if he didn't get enough food? What if he didn't thrive? Wait a minute — Who was I to take care of a baby? ... and before I knew it, my moment of bliss had become obliterated by fear and doubt. I realized then that looking too far ahead wasn't good for me. Instead, I had to circle back and find my way into the peace of the present moment.
I stopped jumping forward, and focused instead on connecting with the baby who was inside of me. I talked to him, I sang to him, I danced with him, I asked him what he felt like eating (frozen yogurt), I wrote to him, I read to him (mystery romance thrillers), and generally included him in everything, except when I was having fantastic prenatal sex with his dad.
Excerpted from Feng Shui Mommy by Bailey Gaddis. Copyright © 2017 Bailey Gaddis. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Preface: My Pregnancy and Birth Story xiii
First Trimester: A Time of Transformation
Chapter 1 Reclaiming Serenity 13
Chapter 2 Feng Shui: Harmonizing Your Outer and Inner Worlds 26
Chapter 3 Nontraditional Healing through EFT and Shaking 35
Chapter 4 Prenatal Exercise: From Squats to Kegels 44
Chapter 5 The Nourishing Basics: What to Eat 59
Chapter 6 Dissolving Fear through Acceptance 70
Second Trimester: The Golden Age
Chapter 7 Creating the Birth Sanctuary 81
Chapter 8 Birth Preferences: Planning for Positivity 96
Chapter 9 Nontraditional Pregnancy: What If My Baby Doesn't Share My DNA, or My Womb? 113
Chapter 10 Water, Water, Water - and, Oh Yeah, Water! 122
Chapter 11 What If I Have Special Circumstances? Finding Calm in Chaos 130
Chapter 12 Hypnosis: Traveling Within 145
Chapter 13 Past Life Regression: Opening the Eves of Your Past 156
Third Trimester: Countdown to Birth
Chapter 14 How to Organize the Bedroom - Where the New Kind of Magic Happens 167
Chapter 15 The Journey of Birthing: Phases of Labor 176
Chapter 16 Birthing Positions and Light Touch Healing 191
Chapter 17 How to Breathe 205
Chapter 18 Enhancing Spiritual Health: Caressing Your Sacral Chakra 216
Fourth Trimester: First Steps into New Life
Chapter 19 Maintaining Some "Me" Time 225
Chapter 20 Breastfeeding: Dissolving the Mystery of the Liquid Gold 233
Chapter 21 Postpartum: My Body Does What after Birth?! 246
Chapter 22 Odd Yet Common Baby Care Questions: Poop Coles Spit-Up, and Beyond! 255
Chapter 23 Mommy-Baby Lovin' 265
Parting Wish 277
Recommended Resources 285
About the Author 299
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Oh where do I begin! Reading this book was the best thing I could have done now that I'm in my 3rd trimester and only a few days away from birthing my son! I'm so glad I found it. It's different and special definitely nothing like other birh and labor books you have read before, it truly speaks to you in a way the makes those fears you may have about childbirth dissipate and empowers you!! May I say also the author writes beautifully, you know when your reading and you feel like you're actually listening to that person kind of like you could imagine how their tone of voice sounds like as you read, well that's how you feel when you read this book and I love love that makes reading it even that much more enjoyable! It's full of useful information from relaxation recordings and the end of each chapter to ilustrations on positions to ease pain during labor, talks about the "fourth trimester" (that new chapter of your life once baby is born) and much more. It is so complete!! Highly recommend!!!