Friday, February 22, 2013

Control Freak

A wise woman once told me to take responsibility for the things I can control in life, and learn to manage well those I can't. For instance, I can choose how I spend my money, what I eat and how often I exercise. The results of those choices are evident in my bank account and whether or not my jeans are getting a bit too tight. I must choose wisely to reap the rewards. And take responsibility for the times when my choices lead to less desirable results. Back to the treadmill I go!

However, there are some things I can't control. My genes, for instance. I didn't ask for a big nose or a longer than average second toe. (Sorry, you didn't want to know that, did you?) I have no control over the air quality when I leave my home or if the water in the water cooler is purified or not. Those are things I just have to learn to manage as best I can, like bring my own water bottle.

When it comes to preparing for birth, it is no different. Many times a woman feels like she is at the mercy of prenatal hormones, her doctors orders or her body's changing shape. She may feel as if she has no control. And, it while it is true that many things are up to genetics, hormonal changes and general changes that occur while growing a baby, there are things she can do to improve her overall health and feelings of well being, even while pregnant. There are also choices that she needs to make while pregnant in order to take responsibility for her own birth experience and to be prepared for postpartum and breastfeeding.


  • Healthcare provider (Doctor or midwife)
  • Place for birth (Hospital, home or birth center)
  • Diet (are you getting enough protein?)
  • Exercise (remember, birth is much like running a marathon)
  • Information and Education
  • Birth classes and preparation
  • What she takes in from the media concerning her body and birth, in general
  • The choice to breastfeed or not
  • Create a Birth Plan that reflects your preferences
  • Choice of birth partners/doula/supportive birth team
 The other things you just have to manage:

  • Gravity (in labor, that means harnessing it to work FOR you)
  • Genetics 
  • The unexpected (sometimes that means an unplanned Cesarean)
  • The unsolicited opinions of friends and family (turn a deaf ear)
  • If your healthy prenatal diet causes a weight gain you are uncomfortable with, eliminate the junk food, while continuing to munch your way through veggies, fruits, lean protein and high fiber foods. 
No one makes perfect choices 100% of the time, so don't beat yourself up over that double chocolate muffin you called breakfast. Just make a healthier choice at lunch (or sooner, if possible). Take charge of the things you can, and manage well or simply relax about the things that are out of your control. I have learned that simple principle has helped steer me well when it comes to making choices and accepting those things I can do nothing about. Besides, I think a longer second toe makes for sexy-sandal-wearing feet.

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