Birth story

My new baby’s birth story is already written. 

Psalm 139:14-16 says 

Certainly you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother’s womb. I will give you thanks because your deeds are awesome and amazing. You knew me thoroughly; my bones were not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and sewed together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll before one of them came into existence.

Thus, the Lord has already written my baby’s birth plan.

I wrote up this baby’s birth plan a few days ago. But I know We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps (Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬). And the Lord’s plan is the best plan, so I lean in Him. He is the Rock of my Salvation, even in delivering my babies! 

As I come to the end of this pregnancy, I’ve been consuming lots of birth stories as my reminder of what’s to come. I started anticipating this time with some fear, but I’ve acknowledged it out loud to my husband, and to the Lord, as a sort of (cathartic) confession of sorts, and now I’m feeling ready. The fear is mostly just a remembrance of the reality of pain in childbirth. I now can acknowledge that if I have pain, it’s because God blessed my uterus to know exactly how to birth a baby – what a total blessing! Habakkuk (3:19) says The sovereign Lord is my source of strength. He gives me the agility of a deer; He enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain. Childbirth is rugged terrain… I have the ability to move however I want, but it’s mainly the kind of situation that you accept and embrace as God takes you on a ride. You can move and breathe, and you must, but you must also fix your thoughts.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

It gives me great comfort to know that whenever I remember (Jesus) on my bed, and think about (Him) during the nighttime hours… (He) is my Deliverer; under (His) wings I rejoice. My soul pursues (Him), (His) right hand upholds me. PSALM 63:6-8

My message to my baby Hope is Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weak to deliver you; his ear is not too deaf to hear you. Isaiah 59:1. I believe that babies can communicate with God and their mothers even before birth. Thus, her spirit draws strength.

I want her to be able to say I have leaned on You since birth; You pulled me from my mother’s womb. I praise You continually. Psalm 71:6

And I want this to be true for us as parents: May your father and your mother have joy; may she who bore you rejoice. Proverbs 23:25

I believe we will be full of joy in this labor! The Lord said He would help me. What a delight I have in that assurance! I need no other help than His! We are ready, Lord!

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Monkey Mind

monkey
As the Active Mama’s yoga instructor, one of my jobs is to help people meditate. Usually I lead a short meditation at the end of the yoga class, after the muscles have worked and stretched. Under these circumstances, meditation is relatively easy; all you have to do is close your eyes and let your body melt into the floor. The body instinctively relaxes and allows the mind to do likewise.

As an every day practice, however, it’s a little more challenging.  Most of us suffer from some form of “monkey mind,” where thoughts jump from place to place, unable to stay anywhere and therefore unable to produce any real, well, thought. This is one of the hallmarks of anxiety, and the faster the monkey jumps, the more anxious one feels. Meditation, or practicing mindfulness, teaches people to clear their minds of all thoughts and thus induce a state of relaxation. Release all thoughts, the theory goes, and you exist exclusively in the here and now.

Easier said than done.

There are many, many techniques to tame the monkey. The point of all of these techniques is to occupy the mind on something abstract and allow it to settle. No matter how I feel at the beginning of these exercises, I almost always feel calmer, more relaxed, and more in control by the end. Here is a sample:

  • Take ten slow, deep breaths and count backwards with exhale. If you have a little more time, start at 30.
  • Picture a shape or color with you “mind’s eye.” try to hold that image, or watch as it changes form.
  • Think of a word or phrase (mantra) either silently or out loud. It can either have meaning to you or be non-word syllable.  Repeat the word or phrase for the duration.
  • Observe your thoughts as they occur to you, but try to withdraw any feeling or judgement from those thoughts.

Whichever technique you choose, start with 5 minutes in a quiet, dark place. Set a timer so you won’t have to interrupt yourself to check your clock. Just relax and give it a try. Don’t worry if you have trouble; it takes practice. After a few days, try 6 minutes, then slowly build up to 20 or 30. If you want something more organized, you can try the group meditation every Wednesday at 7pm at the Georgia Meditation Center on Tilly Mill Rd.

Now that you’re a pro at meditating, it’s time to introduce a new challenge: meditating with your kids. More on that another time.

For information about meditation’s history, cultural relevance, etc., see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation.

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Judith is our Active Mama’s Munchie Maven and Yoga Maven. That means she teaches Active Mama’s Cooking Basics Chef classes, and is also our instructor for Active Mama’s Mommy Yoga with Judith.

Judith is refreshingly laid back, exceptional at what she does, and is the able mother of 3 beautiful children.

Judith comes well-accredited. She earned her Masters of Public Health and her passion is helping people find ways to make their lives healthier.

If you have questions for Judith she can be messaged through http://www.meetup.com/Active-Mamas