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Love Centered Parenting
Contributing to Your Child's Wellness by Living From The Heart and Cultivating Your Inner Wisdom
By Maria Gavriel
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 Maria Gavriel
All rights reserved.
How It All Began
I am currently a very happy mother of two little angels, who give my life direction. When I first began writing this book, my son was four and a half (never forget that half) and my daughter was twenty-one months old. Every time I sat down to write, they were at the core of each message. I was just like any other mother out there, trying to keep it all together, while at the same time figuring it all out as I went—juggling my many roles, including mothering, parenting, advancing my career, keeping up the house, and doing my best to be a loving spouse.
Despite the sometimes frenetic lifestyle, I am very happy to be a mother. However, ten years ago, if you had broached the subject of motherhood with me, I would have said that the thought was almost nonexistent to me. I was consumed with plans for traveling and for exploring myself, my husband, my life, and our world. Ideally, I could have become a geologist studying rocks up on a Swiss mountaintop with my professor, maybe lived at a Buddhist monastery in Asia, or perhaps extended my time with the Peace Corps.
Suddenly however, in the midst of being high on love, and inhaling the Southern Californian air, I somehow had the urge to have children. It crept up on me in a way that changed my life and who I would be forever, as you can imagine. Interestingly, I felt I had to become reacquainted with myself all over again: "Hello Maria, so nice to meet you ..."
What's the Hold Up?
Being married to a gym addict, I thought I knew how to keep my body healthy and fit. I trained in the gym four days a week, had my protein shakes after my workout, enjoyed my yoga on the weekends, biked once a week, did martial arts once a week, and enjoyed enough hiking to last me a lifetime. I was in pretty great shape. At least it looked that way from the outside. Healthy enough, I thought, until I moved back to New York and began trying to have my first child. Because I thought there was no reason why we would not conceive right away, since I was fit and thought I was living a healthy lifestyle, I made sure that we were ready for this major step in our lives. I had to make sure for myself that our life was in a state to include children, because I was under the impression that we would have one immediately, and life would change overnight.
After six months of trying, I began to wonder if we were doing something wrong. I mean, throughout my relationship we were always careful to prevent pregnancy, because we were not quite ready to take such a big step. So why now, just when we were actually intending to have a child, wasn't it happening? Well, I figured that the answer was just to have more sex, like every single day, maybe more than once, and ... eventually one of those little guys would make it to my egg. But after we did that unsuccessfully for another six months, I decided to talk to my gynecologist about our situation. Could there be something wrong with one of us?
My gynecologist suggested that since we had been trying for a year, I should go have my tubes "flushed out" by the blue ink dye test, known medically as the hysterosalpingogram, and better known as the HSG test. I wondered, what did that mean? I was willing to do whatever my doctor said, and so I went, only to go through one of the most painful procedures, just to be told my fallopian tubes were not clogged and my uterus was fine, too. At least I left feeling a bit more optimistic. The nurse explained that once a woman's tubes were flushed out by this dye, most conceive right away. I thought, how exciting.
But after trying for another six months, back to my doctor I went. I was feeling pretty bummed out at this point. "What is going on?" I asked. And after the doctor attempted to comfort me, he suggested that I see a specialist. After much research, and asking around, I got the courage to visit a very well-known fertility specialist in Manhattan. The one-hour trek from my home once a month was difficult, but at that point, I was willing to do anything in order to figure out what was "wrong" with me or us, simply to have our long-awaited child.
After my first consultation, my husband and I were told that we would be checked out thoroughly by going through a complete physical and medical assessment. The doctor also cautioned that the tests don't always find the reason why a couple can't conceive naturally. In an attempt to be supportive, he suggested we begin to think seriously of in-vitro as an option and to consider storing and freezing my eggs. The doctor told us much more than we were able to take in at the moment, and it was really hard for both of us.
My husband and I went home and talked about this for days. We found the subject draining and slightly depressing. Regardless, we decided to go ahead with the medical check-up, because we really just wanted to have a child already—and had been ready for over a year. The scenario had already begun to suck the life out of us, and we were not sure how much more we could take.
The following month, bright and early, my husband was handed a magazine and a cup, and was instructed to go into a closet-sized room and fill the cup with his little swimmers. Some time later, we were informed that my husband actually had "super sperm," and all was very healthy on his part. Wonderful news—I was next.
The next month, I had my ovaries tested and my blood work done, along with several other procedures that I believe my brain somehow deleted in order for me to be strong enough to go through all of what was ahead of me. A few days later, I got the great news that I was also very healthy and capable of conceiving and carrying a child. Yay!
Although this news should have been exciting, and maybe even reassuring, actually, it was far from that. Could anyone explain what the hell was going on here? Even more depressing, I began to experience constant anxiety, wondering if this month was going to be a huge success or another disappointing failure for us. I was so consumed with having a child that this was all I thought of, all that my life revolved around. This was not fun anymore.
For the next few months I had my blood work done once a day, every single month, to know exactly when I was ovulating. If I was, we were given a cup to fill the next morning with my husband's magic potion. And on those mornings we would have sex, fill up the cup, drive for an hour to the clinic, have the sperm inserted into my uterus, and pray, hope and keep our fingers crossed that this would be the time that our baby would decide to enter our universe, through my womb. My heart would pound so loudly—as I waited for an eternity for the sonogram technician to check my uterus to see if a sperm and egg had implanted—that I was sure he could hear my heart beating. Months went by like this, and every month, the news was even more discouraging.
One day, I was called to make an appointment to see the specialist, who informed me that there was no reason to keep going this route, and that I should now begin injecting myself with the pharmaceutical drug Clomid. This would increase the number of eggs I produced every month, in other words increase the number of targets that my husband's sperm would have. I almost began to cry, and I could not believe that I was on the path of having to go through in-vitro fertilization. I never would have thought that I would be unable to conceive. I could not stop thinking that there was something wrong, and that no one had been able to identify it.
I went to the pharmacist with a huge rock in my throat, got my shots, and began injecting Clomid into my uterus, as instructed. When I went back a few weeks later, my sonogram showed something for the very first time. How exciting! The technician wouldn't tell me exactly what it showed on the screen, but again, I was led into the specialist's office and sat in his awful chair. "What can it be now?" I thought.
I recall him saying to me, "The Clomid has created a large cyst on your ovary, and you must stop any attempt to conceive a child until it goes away."
I felt my face begin to heat up. And then I exploded. "I've done everything you have told me to do. There is nothing wrong with either me or my husband, and now you're telling me I can't even try to conceive due to the medication you put me on? And if that's not bad enough, you are not sure how long it will take for the cyst to go away? Your advice is to 'simply wait and see'? Are you seriously having this conversation with me?"
After I lost my lid in his office, I stormed out, returned the remaining injections to the pharmacy, and went home. I should have followed my gut and never gone down this path. Now what was I to do?
A Moment of Despair and Feeling Lost
I went home and called my childhood friend and confident, Olga, and vented to her about my whole experience with the fertility clinic and the specialist, and how it just did not feel right for me personally. Although I knew we wanted a baby, I also knew that it was just as important to me to have the element of magic and surprise, instead of all this technology and elaborate dissection of baby making. Not that there is anything wrong with it at all, which is why I even tried that route. Many parents are very grateful for in vitro technology. It was just not right for me personally, since magic and spirit have been a constant part of my life, for as long as I can remember.
And so I couldn't understand why this magic was not happening with conceiving our child. As my best friend heard my complaining about all this for the fiftieth time, she paused as usual, and then spoke from the heart with a response that truly resonated within me. Her response allowed me to be able to take a deep breath, and my body eased up for the first time in years. She said that my child was in the heavens, simply waiting for the perfect time to arrive. He is making his travels to us, and he knows we have invited him, but something has held him back. When the time is right, he would join us. Nothing could have been truer than what she said. After all, she should know—she is my son's godmother.
Our Gateway to a New Way of Life
Well, why was he not joining us already? I wondered if my unborn child had a purpose as we all do. Maybe ... when he chose to come into our realm, he made certain decisions about what purpose he was to fulfill, and what hardships he would face during this process. I feel that my son knew what kind of home and global environment he was coming into. In fact, my son began schooling me before he even got here. Honestly, both of my children created the life that I lead today. If it wasn't for my first born having me wait all this time, and for overcoming all of our fertility challenges, I would never have realized that I wasn't truly honoring my body. Through this journey I was led to my acupuncturist Michael Gaeta DAc, MS, CDN —our gateway to this lifestyle—who helped me see how to eat and live in a more wholistic way. Once my body, my environment, and my life were in a much healthier state, our child knew it was time to join us.
Michael came into my life at the perfect time. I had heard of an acupuncturist, who was very well known for helping women, including his own wife, to conceive. I met Michael right before all went sour with the fertility specialist. I remember that during my first conversation with him, I had been thrown off by his subtle suggestion that my body might be toxic. I thought that he simply did not know how well I had been taking care of my body, and that he simply didn't have the details about what I had gone through to make sure I was "healthy." So of course, I proceeded to explain myself, and his response was simply life-altering. Dr. Gaeta spent the next two hours helping me understand that everything that I had been through had burdened my body with toxins, and that he believed that once all this toxicity was cleared from my body, I would be able to conceive. It would take a lot of work and commitment from both our ends to reach this goal. I wasn't quite sure what this work involved yet.
For the first time I realized that my body had been bombarded with chemicals for years, starting with the synthetic and highly toxic vitamin-store supplements, harmful synthetic vitamins, cancerous protein drinks, so-called "natural" skin care products, diet, clothing, and many other things. "Overwhelmed" is not the word for what I felt when I left the office. If it wasn't for that initial acupuncture treatment, and the inexplicable trust that I had for this man, I would have never returned. But I did, once a week for a year.
There were so many other concerns that he also helped me, my husband and children with, and the more he helped us and improved our life and our health, the more he felt like family to us. He became our "go to" person for illnesses, my husband's acid reflux, my fractured bone, my children's colic, and much more.
* * *
Find a quiet moment in your day. If you can't find it, request it of yourself so that you allow yourself to create one. Maybe first thing in the morning, or the last part of your day. Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. When thoughts arise, notice them, let them go, and return to your breath. After several breaths, when you feel calmer, slowly return to your normal breathing.
Visualize a beam of blue light being shined down on you from above. You are encased in this beam of blue light. Hold this vision for a while.
While you are enjoying this bath of blue light, visualize your heart projecting a golden light full of love down towards your uterus. Fill your uterus with love and golden light. Hold this vision also for a while.
Repeat once a day or as often as possible.CHAPTER 2
So how exactly did this wholistic lifestyle evolve for me? Well, I first began by cleaning out all my products, such as those for body, skin, and hair care, and replacing them with toxin-free products. I found that this was not easy, initially because of the difference in cost for each product, and then because many items that are labeled "natural" are truly far from it. My suggestion here is to educate yourself about those large chemical-sounding and scientific words written in small fonts under the "ingredients" section of your products. To keep it simple, if you can't say the word, then just stay away from it. And "environmentally friendly," unfortunately, does not mean non-toxic. You will find that although there is a selection, there are actually not as many products out there that are truly pure, clean, and organic.
Forging Ahead and Inner House Cleaning
During that time of change, it was important to ensure that I no longer unintentionally added any chemicals to my body. Simply walking around in our world today exposes us to more poisons than we realize. So whatever was in my control, I wanted to control, and within a short period of time, I was making healthier and more conscious decisions about what went into and onto my body. Somehow, my body actually felt the difference from these clean products, and it felt as though my body was thanking me. My mood was better, and I felt lighter, the more I used organic, non-toxic products.
It is much easier to find clean products nowadays, and a good place to begin is at a local health food store or supermarket, such as Whole Foods, Fairway Organics, Trader Joe's, and Henry's. Browsing the Web will bring up a good number of websites where you can easily find what you are looking for.
So basically, you have to make sure that the labels state that the products are free of chemicals such as parabens, laurel sodium sulfate, propylene glycol, phthalates, and any synthetics. Ingredients like parabens are cancer-causing and affect the hormones of men and women. Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate are also seriously harmful. According to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, they can cause cancer, fatalities, eye damage, liver and kidney damage, and depression, to name a few of the side-effects.
Because of my background in research, I had a strong urge to investigate until I reached a point where I felt I had read enough to make better-informed decisions about what I was purchasing to put in and on my body.
At the same time, I had to make sure that whatever I ingested was also organic, at least to the best of my ability. When I say organic, I mean the "real" organic, which is labeled as "USDA Organic." This means it is 100 percent organic and pure, as far as the government can certify it, with no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, genetically modified ingredients, hormones, or anything else that will harm you. All else is junk. Don't go for the simply "certified organic" or "all natural" labels. These labels are misleading and many foods labeled this way contain a large percentage of harmful ingredients, which can actually negate the positive benefits contained in the remaining organic ingredients.
Excerpted from Love Centered Parenting by Maria Gavriel. Copyright © 2014 Maria Gavriel. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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
PART 1: Inviting a Child, 1,
Chapter 1: How It All Began, 3,
Chapter 2: Clean-Up Time, 10,
Chapter 3: Conception, 19,
Chapter 4: Healthy Pregnancy, 23,
Chapter 5: Who's Delivering My Baby?, 33,
Chapter 6: Welcome, Little One, 39,
Chapter 7: From Career To Motherhood, 48,
Chapter 8: The Next 30 Days, 54,
PART 2: Now What Do We Do?, 61,
Chapter 9: Spiritual Parenting Inside the Womb and Out, 63,
Chapter 10: Sleeping, 69,
Chapter 11: Holding And Warmth, 77,
Chapter 12: Breastfeeding, 87,
Chapter 13: Healthy Diet, 95,
Chapter 14: Wholistic Healthcare, 103,
Chapter 15: Vaccination, 110,
Chapter 16: Garments And Accessories, 127,
Chapter 17: Baby's Room, 130,
Chapter 18: Baby's Toys, 136,
Chapter 19: Loving Guidance, 139,
Chapter 20: Media, 147,
Chapter 21: Holistic Education, 153,
Cheat Sheet (aka Resource Pages), 161,
About the Author, 177,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A recipient of the Mom's Choice Awards! The Mom's Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for parents and educators and is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. Using a rigorous evaluation process, entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost. Around the world, parents, educators, retailers and members of the media trust the MCA Honoring Excellence seal when selecting quality products and services for families and children.
I was disappointed in this book. The first few chapters were not about parenting and, instead, focused on the author's journey to have a child. While that was interesting, it wasn't the purpose of the book. Also, I did not agree with several of the author's opinions contained within the book.
Like the author I too had trouble conceiving and after persuasion from good friends found that acupuncture and natural herb supplements aided in my journey to motherhood... so I felt an instant connection with the author. I like to consider myself an in-betweener when it comes to holistic and modern medicine, as I am still learning so much. While this books speaks with a holistic voice, the messages relayed can be heard by all. I am currently 39 weeks pregnant, days away from meeting my little man and after reading this book can honestly say that I am ready (as I'll ever be) to conquer the daily challenges parenthood has in store for us. After following the author's journey through her first days as a mother and through the various stages of infancy and childhood I now feel confidence in listening to my own inner voice when it comes to mothering and nurturing my baby. This book provides you with the tools needed to customize your parenting style to what you need it to be for your family. This was a quick read for me since it was so interesting and it will stay on my shelf for years to come as a point of reference for the great topics discussed and for the reminder to listen to myself over anyone else. I applaud the author for packing in so much information on so many topics with a professional yet personal voice. Reading this felt like having tea with a friend. I recommend this book to all parents, soon to be parents, and family members... all can benefit from this book.
Why The Best Parents Are Good Self-Listeners I have listened to the ramblings of child experts all my life and was refreshed to hear the key message of author Maria Gavriel in “Love Centered Parenting” that parents are really the ones who know best what is good for their children and family. In her book Love Centered Parenting Gavriel urges parents to learn the skill of listening to the sound of their inner wisdom and relying on intuition to determine what is best for their child. Husband and wife working together can discover the best approaches to take and then can rely on community for support. Gavriel’s holistic approach to life includes an emphasis on healthy foods, natural birth, breast feeding, and avoiding the traps of the commercialization of children, the negative impact of media, the dangers of processed (refined) sugar, and the risks of vaccinating children. Gavriel writes with conviction, backed up not only by personal experience but with extensive research which she cites throughout the book. In the early pages I was hesitant about taking an intuitive approach to parenting and shying away from experts, but pages later the approach is not only becomes less of a concern and actually begins to make sense. Anyone facing the prospect of raising a child for the first time, or of raising a teenager for the first time, will benefit greatly from reading “Love Centered Parenting.”