Avocado Baby with Stacy Lewis

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Avocado Baby Blog

My Beginning as a Mother

Posted by Stacy on February 8, 2012 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (2)


Becoming a mother was my dream. I wanted to share a connection with my child that I felt wasn't there in my own childhood. I thought that having a child would make me understand motherhood more and that I was going to be the best mother ever because this child would be mine. I swore I would never leave or harm my child and that I would love this child with all my being. I realize it is silly of me to think that having a child would heal these emotional wounds, but I did feel this way. I didn't want a child to share the joy of parenting with my husband; I needed one to fill the void I felt deep inside.

 

I had these feelings because of my experiences in childhood. I had a pretty decent life, but I always felt that something was missing, a link to something or someone. My parents divorced when I was about two years old. My father gained custody of me while my birth mother, you'll understand that choice of words soon, left to join the armed forces. Yes, you read that right; she left and went away. I only received two things from my birth mother as a child and never met her since that time. I do still have some emotional issues connected to that loss, but as I have grown healing has followed.

 

When I was 4 going on 5, my father re-married. I was overjoyed! I can't really recall all those feelings, but looking back at the 1970's photos I'm smiling and begging for my mom’s attention. I recall feelings as a child like when I was in trouble I would cry and be angry. I was angry at my birth mother because I felt deep inside she left me to be alone. Then my mom would do something like make chocolate chip cookies or just smile, and I would feel better. I always just wanted her to love me for me. I knew she did, but I couldn't understand how she could when the woman who had given birth to me did not.

 

The day I discovered I was pregnant with my first child the emotions overwhelmed me. I was happy and scared. I was frightened I would screw up like my birth mother and not love this child. My greatest fear was that I wouldn't love her or him. I felt since I didn't have that natural bonding love a child and mother were to have how would I be able to love my own child. I realize I know this idea sounds so absurd, but that was my belief.

 

So, instead of really addressing my fears and doubts, I did what I always do when I am stressed. I research until there is no end. I do it over and over and over again until I am in information over load. I researched birthing methods, diapers, breastfeeding, cribs, nutrition, pregnancy, and on and on and on. Then that thought crept back into my head, "You will not be a good mother." I had to do something about this thought because it was scaring the hell out of me.

 

The best solution I had was to find my birth mother or how I call her, the woman who gave birth to me. I had done some digging into this before. During University, I found some interesting information. I knew I was adopted by my dad's second wife when I was 8. At 21, I found the papers dealing with the case. I had contacted the lawyer who was of no help. So I just dropped it and moved on. What I had discovered that day was her hometown. She had hired a lawyer near her home town and not where my adoption was to take place.

 

I kept that information in my head for later and now was the time to use it. Keep in mind the internet was just beginning to become more popular and little connections were being made then. I discovered her on classmates.com and then searched for her on the phone directory. I called her. She was elated and crying that I found her. We talked for 2 hours. Now here is the part that stings me. In our conversation, she says she is so sorry, but she just couldn't come around because of my father.

 

Excuse me??? Did I hear that correctly? Sure enough she said it twice.

 

After the conversation, I didn't feel the pain for much of her words until a few days later when thought about my pregnancy. I couldn't understand how a mother who birthed her child could say I couldn't do something for you because of your father. I was not happy and only spoke to her a couple more times. I realized then, I was better; that I wasn't going to do this whole motherhood thing wrong. I was determined to do it right.

 

And how I thought to do this right was to take a natural childbirth class and go medication free for my birth. I wanted my husband there. I wanted to breastfeed. I wanted my family close to me. I wanted the perfect, healthy, happy baby. My feeling was if I did all these things then I would be better than her. I felt if I prepared for this birth, nothing would or could surprise me. Well, I soon found out I was very wrong about that idea.

 

My daughter decided to grace the world by not coming in the specified 40 weeks. In other words, I was induced. It was awful. I felt like a failure.

 

So, I wanted to get breastfeeding and nurturing down right. Well, again I felt like a failure. She, Grace, cried non-stop. She would nurse constantly in the early afternoon. I later learned she was a cluster feeder. She was not happy unless I was holding her or had my boob (sorry) in her mouth. I thought, “Man, this mothering thing really sucks.” I felt I could never console her, so my answer was to visit Grandma many times during her first month of her life.

 

My feelings of inadequacy were dispelled on one such trip. Grace and I went for a little visit to Grandma's. My mom loved seeing her and wanted to hold her and comfort her. This particular night I was doing our normal cluster feeding routine. About the third or fourth time, my mom says, "You just nursed that baby!" Yep, I did. I reminded my mom this routine is what Grace did every night. The next night like clockwork, Grace started her routine of nursing every hour. This time, however, my mom says, "Oh, Stacy M., give that baby to me!" So, I did. I know don't shake your head in disbelief, but if you knew my mom, it's best to just let her do her thing than to argue.

 

For about 10 minutes, my mom tried everything. She did the Dr. Karp thing, before it was labeled his method, of sssshhh and patting her back. She sang to her and danced. She rocked her. She cried with her. Then my mom looked at me and handed her back. Later that evening, my mom said this to me, "You are doing a great job. You know her so well, and I'm so sorry I did not believe you. Never let anyone tell you that you are not a good mother."

 

I know I shouldn't let others define me, but at that moment I knew I was doing it right. I knew I was a mother. I knew that my attachment was so strong to her. I knew I had accomplished my goal of being the best mother I could be to MY child and that I could love just like nature intended me to love my child.

Stacy Lewis, B.A. Ed., AAHCC, LE

Childbirth Educator and Lactation Educator



Promote Avocado Baby

Posted by Stacy on April 26, 2011 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm trying out a new service to promote Avocado Baby!  I am so happy to annouce that thumbtack will be promoting natural childbirth classes to the masses :)  I have always enjoyed teaching and helping new parents achieve the birth they desire.  

Bringing harmony to your birth


Stacy Lewis, B.A. Ed., AAHCC, LE

childibirth educator and lactation educator

 


Taking fear from childbirth: Starting with our Daughters

Posted by Stacy on February 9, 2011 at 12:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Having a baby can be a scary event.  But, does it really have to be?  Does the mother have to feel alone and afraid and on guard that her birth will not go as planned?


Labor support is such a great need in our world today.  I wish in a way we could go back in time in how we view childbirth and children present at birth.  Think about it...if you were a girl in the 1800's chances are you viewed some child being born and nursed at her mother's breast.  It was normal.


However, today, girls are excluded in many ways of seeing what their bodies were created to do. We were created to birth our child and to nurse our child at our breast.  Girls are typically not brought into a laboring room when their mother, aunt, or female cousins are birthing.  


I recall a few years ago when I was teaching one night and preparing a birth video.  Grace walked into the room and made a comfortable spot for herself.  It was a new video that she had not seen. I started the DVD.  The soon-to-be father's countenance had a look of deep concern.  He asked if we should turn this off, and I chuckled a little and told him how I liked how she was interested in viewing the films and how when our last was born she new more how he would be born than how get got there.


I love that my children are growing up seeing birth as a normal event in our lives.  I love that they have witnessed me teaching about normality in birth and breastfeeding.  My daughter knows that childbirth should not be scary and that you can surround yourself with love and guidence during the birth to have a peaceful journey.  She is understanding the anatomy behind the birth experience and can show you how the baby will turn through the pelvis and decend to become a baby into our world.  


I know this isn't particulary about helping you in labor; I have a call to action in this post.  I want our children to learn what birth is and witness more births.  I want them to know it is not something that is taboo. That seeing a woman labor and witness that life beginning is important.  It is important for understanding of her body and what will become of her body someday.  It is important so when she feels those surges for the first time she will understand that it is normal to feel the pain and moan and cry and speak her feelings.  It is important for her to witness the movement of a mom in labor so she knows that yeah, standing and swaying are normal and not the lying in a bed strapped to a monitor.


I'll just end here saying our children are smart beings.  Yes, we should protect them from the unhealthy things in life (drugs, violence, etc.), but keeping them away from birth and shutting them out and treating it like is taboo will change them forever.  They will not guard life as precious and birth as a normal event.  It will become scary and lonely for our daughters.  I ask all you mommas to include your daughter in birth in a way that is comfortable for you and for her.  Show her births on video if you cannot bring her to a birth.  Surround her with breastfeeding mommas so she can see the actually process at work.  Talk to her about your birthing experience and what you would have changed or not changed.  Show her pictures of her birth or the moment after her birth or her siblings births.  Let her see joy in childbirth not the fear.


Blessings,

Stacy Lewis, B.A. Ed., AAHCC, LE

childbirth educator and lactation educator


What's in a Name? The Story behind Avocado Baby

Posted by Stacy on February 8, 2011 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (1)

I been away awhile musing in my head what to write lately.  I have a ton of topics coming this month and cannot wait to share them all with you!  


First, while I know this is Book Talk Tuesday, but I have a changed for today.  I want to tell you where Avocado Baby came from because so many people have been asking me were did you get that name?  So here it goes...don't laugh :)


Long ago, in a land called Illinois, a girl of superior beauty was born.  She had a mother and father who loved her so much and dooted on her daily.  Her mother, Stacy, was patient and kind. Her father, Craig, was gentle, loving, and immensly attached to both her and her mother.  This little angel's name was Grace.  


She had hair pure and white and gleamed like fresh snow.  She smiled and drooled and loved avocados.  She loved the feel of the sweet, buttery flesh smooshing through her fingers.  She would giggle as she sucked the green fruit from her fingers.


One day, her mother visited the medicine man.  Grace had to visit him to see how she was growing.  The medicine man walked in the room, and Grace smiled and cooed.  He smiled back but told her momma Grace was too old now to be so close to her.  "Momma, you must walk away at her cry.  If you keep coming back to her, she surely will never grow up to be herself."  


Well, Grace had a smart momma and a smart dadda.  They thought that was ridiculous and thought the medicine man must be wrong.  They looked at their sweet girl, her soft velvet baby skin, and knew keeping her close was the best choice.


The next day, they visited a new medicine man in hopes that he would help them.  This medicine man seemed a good choice.  He spoke with a gentle voice and smiled and cooed back to sweet Grace.  Then he asked about books they read to learn more about caring for their little angel.  


To that they replied, "Well, the great medicine man Sears is our favorite."


The new medicine man squished up his nose, gave them a look of disgust, and rolled his eyes replying, "Well, that's a bit avocado, west coast for me, but if it works for you...." and slunked away feeling defeated that they would leave to see the great Sears.


Some time later, her parents had a dream to build a place where children and parents could eat healthy organic foods and play.  They looked at their Grace whose hair was now golden and curls and recalled her days loving avocados and the medicine man who called the great Sears avocado and west coast. A name emerged....Avocado Baby .   


To this day the dream still lives on that Avocado Baby will some day form, but for this time perhaps this blog could serve a little purpose to help mothers, fathers, and babies feel safe, learn, and laugh.




Blessings to you all,


Stacy Lewis, B.A. Ed., AAHCC, LE

childbirth educator and lactation educator

Classes Forming!

Posted by Stacy on January 2, 2011 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Need a great childbirth class and you live in the Inland Empire?  I'm forming my class for February 7, 2011 and can't wait to have you join!  Email me for me details.


Classes are small with plenty of individual attention. Videos, music, and healthy snacks often accompany my classes which focus on overall education and relaxation. Classes will be 10 weeks meeting on either Monday or Tuesday evening. Classes begin at 6:30 and are approximately 2 1/2 hours. For 10 weeks, my class fee is $300 with a $50 non-refundable deposit to secure your spot. With your fee, you will receive Brio Birth's workbook, Childbirth the Bradley® Way, student binder, and unlimited email and phone contact.


Stacy Lewis B.A. Ed., AAHCC, LE

childbirth educator and lactation educator


A Message to the birth partner

Posted by Stacy on December 29, 2010 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

When I am teaching class, I have moments when I want to talk to my mom's labor support person. I think it is important that he feels included in the birth and that he is an integral part of the birth. We, as Childbirth Educators, must help our mothers feel comfortable to express to their support person the kind of help she will need during labor.  My idea to help is to create a message to the birth partner.  The birth partner is the mother's main support person during pregnancy, labor, and after birth.

*This post is continually palgiriazed by Brio Birth, LLC.  This posting is the original.  It is also featured on Blogher.com.

All birth partners must read this:


Labor can be a scary, lonely place for you and for the mother.  You have taken the steps in learning about the process of labor, the process of birth, and the emotions that will come with both.  I applaud you and know that you will be the best person to help the mother.  With your gentle guidance and support, the mother will feel a peace and calmness.   


You, like the mother, have an important job in this process.  Above all, your biggest job is to love her without limits and without judging.  Your gentle reminders of "I love you" and "I'm still here" mean more than you will ever know.   


If she decides she wants no touching, take this comment lightly meaning; do not be offended.  Try feather touches and placing your hand on areas you notice that are tense.  These touches are meant to tell her to let all the tension go.  Remind her to open up her jaw and let it go loose.


If she decides she desire no one talking, do not be offended.  She desires a quiet environment, low lights, and without discussions.  Talking and carrying on a lengthly discussion will take away from her labor.  She will not be able to turn into labor.  Allow her to remain quiet and make her own noises.  


Pack your necessary items well before labor begins.  Lay out your clothes and toiletries you will be taking to the hospital with you.  In early labor, gather your power snacks and drinks.  Change into comfortable clothing and relax with mother.


During labor, your job becomes dynamic.  You become the person she relies on to remind of things she would never do outside of labor.


Reminders:

  •  offer a drink between contractions
  • offer her light snacks during early labor
  • encourage her to empty her bladder often
  • change her position if she is in the same one for too long
  • offer the warmth of a shower or bath in later stages
  • rub her back, as low as you can go
  • use soft touches to help relax
  • walking for some moms feels great
  • so does swaying and rocking
  • tell her this contraction will be over soon
  • use a birth ball position that is comfortable for mom
  • remind her to open the jaw, drop it, let it go 
  • watch her breath; make it a low deep abdominal breath to avoid tension
  • allow her to moan in labor 
  • tell her you love her
  • protect her privacy
  • give her space to move

Labor is an important beginning for the both of you. Enjoy the moment. Bring peace and harmony to the labor, and the mother will feel safe and secure to birth in her manner on her time.


Blessings,

Stacy Lewis, B.A. Ed., AAHCC, LE

childbirth educator and lactation educator


 


What others are saying

  • "Stacy's natural childbirth classes were great. I am so glad my wife and I enrolled. It was well worth the time and money. We both new close to nothing before the classes. Her cl..."
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    Satisfied dad
  • "My husband and I don?t know what we would have done without Stacy's doula services for the birth of our first child. Stacy was always quick to respond to phone calls with an as..."
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