You CAN Change Your Emotions
Yes, you CAN change your emotions. You are not a helpless victim of hurt feelings, irritability, and anger. We can and must learn to alter our tempers and deny our feelings, when necessary, and teach our children to do likewise. 

Colossians 3:8 (NAS) tells us: “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, {and} abusive speech from your mouth.” Since here and many places elsewhere in scripture, we are commanded to control our emotions, it’s safe to assume God gives us the ability to do so. God tells us what to do, and that we can do it, so all we need to do is obey Him. In the same way, we have the ability to teach our children to control their emotions. All they need to do it obey us, as we wisely discipline them and train them according to God’s word.

For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.”
– Deuteronomy 30:11

-Excerpt from “Raising Godly Tomatoes” 

 

Not All Emotions Are Good  (From “Raising Godly Tomatoes”)
It is not wrong to have emotions, but unbridled emotions are dangerous and potentially devastating. Adults who feel righteous indignation upon seeing the innocent suffer, or children who grieve the loss of a grandparent, act properly and nobly. But not all emotions, displayed freely, are good. Both the adult who loses his temper when frustrated, and the child who throws a fit to get his way, are equally reprehensible. Emotions are attributes of God Himself, engendered in us when He “created man in His own image”. The challenge is not to eliminate emotions, but to manage them in ways pleasing to God and in accord with His image.

Because God is gracious, He helps us in this task of becoming like Him, by revealing to us in His word, when we are to feel certain emotions and to what extent. We are to “hate” evil, for example. We are to “be miserable and mourn and weep” over our own sins. We are to “rejoice” in Him. We are to “love” our neighbor. And so on. In addition to His direct instructions, God offers His example, so that we might imitate Him. Thus, when Exodus tells us that God is “slow to anger,” we too must be slow to anger. When the Psalms describe Him as compassionate and longsuffering, we are to seek to be the same. 

Jesus is, of course, our supreme example. His emotional repertoire was vast and we are given many examples thereof. Jesus was “consumed with zeal” when He saw God’s house being misused. He “felt compassion” for the lost and taught them, and for the sick and healed them. He “wept” when His dear friend Lazarus died. His soul was “deeply grieved” when He prayed in the Garden. And ultimately, Jesus demonstrated “love”, beyond compare, by laying down His very life for our sakes. In all that He did, He set an example for us to follow and gave us the power to do so.

Along with the biblical descriptions of wisely managed emotions, the Bible also gives us many examples of mismanaged and unrestrained emotions, beginning with Cain who murdered his own brother in anger, to Moses who lost his temper and struck the rock, to the malice of the Jewish leaders who sought to put the Son of God to death. Never are these displays excused because the perpetrators did not have the ability to control their tempers. Apparently God felt they did. In the next few chapters I am going to discuss emotions as they relate to parenting small children and how, in practical ways, we can help our children become masters of their own spirits and hence live the rest of their lives free from the bonds of emotional slavery. 

Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth”
– Exodus 34:6

 

 

 

As you can probably tell, I hadn’t lost all of the weight from my previous pregnancy before this one came along, so I’m gonna have a lot of workin’ out to do after this baby!!!  Yikes! 🙂

Most Christians are confused when it comes to the issue of judging.  Should Christians judge?  Should they be accepting and supportive of sin because the alternative is to judge and that would be wrong?  Fortunately, scripture doesn’t leave us in the dark on the issue of judging.  As I was researching, I came across this article.  It’s a thorough, yet simple article about the issue of whether or not Christians should judge.  I found it both enlightening and convicting, as I have been guilty of wrongly judging others in the past.  I was missing crucial scriptures and only had a partial picture of what righteous judgment was.  Sometimes I made right judgments, but the delivery was all wrong.  Sometimes I made right judgments, but didn’t follow through with encouragement.   And I can definitely think of a time or two that I just flat out wrongly judged someone (two people immediately came to mind when I read the section about bad judging). 

So, read the article.  I found it very helpful to have such a great number of scriptures regarding the matter all in one place.  Let me know your thoughts or if you have anything to add.  This is an issue that has been on my mind a lot (especially since my pastor preached on it about a month ago) so I welcome more scripture and Christian perspective to add to my understanding! 

“Should Christians Judge?”

by,
Mason Barrett and B. Waldrop

You have probably heard this saying many times: “The Bible says not to judge.”  Christians and non-believers both use this statement often to try to avoid exposure of wrongdoing in their lives, and yes, the Bible does say for us not to judge, but although it does say this what does it really mean?  Take the statement “don’t drink and drive” for example and ask yourself what it means.  Does it mean never drink anything while driving?  Of course not, it means do not drink alcohol (bad drinking) and drive, but non-alcoholic drinks (good drinking) is ok.  You have probably heard this saying many times:  “You should not judge a book by its cover,” but what if the cover of the book reads “The Satanic Bible?”  Should we make a judgment about the Satanic Bible or should we open the book to investigate?  The answer is obvious.  We should avoid this book because of the warning sign written on the cover.  If we are unsure of a warning sign we should approach the situation with extreme caution.  For example, if we drive down an unfamiliar road and see a sign that reads “Dangerous Curve,” we do not usually turn around and go home; instead we approach the curve with caution.  If we are unable to determine whether something is safe or unsafe, it is safer to avoid the situation.  1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NIV says: “Test everything.  Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”  King James Version of this same verse passage says: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  So we definitely should judge all things (movies, books, music, and behavior of people).
When the Bible says not to judge it is talking about the bad type of judging.  So in order not to practice the bad kind of judging, we must understand the two types of judging.

Two Types of Judging

1. Discerning (Good Judging)

  • Identifying the spirit behind an action

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV says: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 4:2 NIV says: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction.”  Notice that in this verse we are told to rebuke and encourage; so we should not correct if we do not encourage.

Titus 2:15 NIV says: “These, then, are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority.  Do not let anyone despise you.”

Ephesians 5:11 NIV says: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 NIV says: “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?  But we have the mind of Christ.”

So, believers should judge all matters and issues.

I John 4:1 NIV says: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  Believers should test the spirits behind a person’s action to see if the action brings glory to God.

Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, judged someone in the church.  See 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.  Then see 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 to see where Paul encourages the church to forgive the person.
 

2. Condemning and Criticizing (Bad Judging)

  • Using people’s sin as an excuse to lower or belittle them.
  • Harsh punishment without encouragement to follow.
  • Cursing a person or prophesying destruction into their lives.  Note: it is ok to warn someone of possible consequences, but it is not ok to say things which may discourage the person or lead them to believe that the worst is the only outcome they will have.
  • Sentencing with no mercy.
  • Correcting someone when guilty of the same thing.

People who practice the bad kind of judging often are guilty of the same sin they are using to belittle another person.  Jesus addressed this scenario in Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:41-42, and these are the verses which people sometimes twist in order to defend their sinful desires.  The problem is that people sometimes quote Matthew 7:1 only which reads “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (NIV), but one must also read verses 2-5 to understand the point Jesus was making.  The point Jesus was making was not to judge someone of the same sin we have in our own lives.  Another way to look at the point Jesus was making is by answering this question: How can a person help someone escape quicksand if that person is also stuck in the same quicksand?

Paul echoes the point Jesus was making in Romans 2:1-4.  This passage reads: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (NIV).

Christians should judge and Christians should not judge – both are true.
 

What makes judging right or wrong depends on the spirit, motive and attitude in which judging is being done.  So, the conclusion is that Christians should judge the actions of other people, but Christians should not make conclusions about the degree of punishment that a person will receive from God.  The only conclusion that a Christian can accurately make is that if a person does not accept God’s plan of salvation, that person will be separated from God throughout all eternity, because this is what the Bible tells us (see Revelation 20:11-15).

Bad Judgment Statement:  “You are going to hell because of what you do.”
Good Judgment Statement:  “God will help you with your problem and God wants to save you from spiritual death if you choose to let Him.”

If we are going to make a negative comment to a person about their behavior, we should be just as quick to give encouragement, and tell the person about the rewards of repentance.

God, who is the ultimate judge, is full of grace and mercy, so we should also be full of grace and mercy.

James 2:12-13 NIV says: Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Christians should remember and understand that we too were once lost.
Titus 3:3-5 NIV says: “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”

Non-Christians are unable to make sound judgments about Christians.
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 NIV says: “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he (non-Christian) may instruct him (Christian)?  But we (Christians) have the mind of Christ.”

When people hear the word “judge” or “judgment” bad things usually come to mind, but often, good things come out of judgment.  A judge rewards a person who has done the right thing.   After death, everyone will face judgment.   “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27 KJV).  For non-believers, the judgment mentioned will be the Great White Throne judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15; where all who trust their own good works for salvation are to be judged according to their works and Jesus will say “depart from me.”, because the works of men cannot redeem them from their sins.  Only God’s sacrifice can redeem us from our sin.  People who put their trust in Jesus alone for their salvation will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ which is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:10; where they will receive what is due to them according to what they did, but they will be told to enter into everlasting life because they are covered by the blood of God’s sacrifice- Jesus.  For people who trusted God, their final judgment will be a good event, but non-believers will face a bad judgment.

People often do not come to God and receive salvation because they are afraid their sins will be exposed and they are afraid they will be judged (see John 3:19-21).  They do not understand that God is full of grace and mercy and that it pleases Him when men confess their wrongs.  Christians should also be full of grace and mercy, but this is not always the case. It is a shameful and sad situation when church people treat others like they are trash because of something they did or because of an unjustified judgment. God knows about these situations and He will hold the slanderers, unmerciful, and graceless accountable.

Obamacare    by, Lori Jackson

From “Nine Assumptions of Schooling, and Twenty-one Facts the Institution Would Rather Not Discuss” by Taylor Gatto:

 

 

Nine Assumptions of Schooling

 

1. Social cohesion is not possible through other means than government schooling; school is the main defense against social chaos.

2. Children cannot learn to tolerate each other unless first socialized by government agents.

3. The only safe mentors of children are certified experts with government-approved conditioning; children must be protected from the uncertified, including parents.

4. Compelling children to violate family, cultural and religious norms does not interfere with the development of their intellects or characters.

5. In order to dilute parental influence, children must be disabused of the notion that mother and father are sovereign in morality or intelligence.

6. Families should be encouraged to expend concern on the general education of everyone but discouraged from being unduly concerned with their own children’s education.

7. The State has predominant responsibility for training, morals and beliefs. Children who escape state scrutiny will become immoral.

8. Children from families with different beliefs, backgrounds and styles must be forced together even if those beliefs violently contradict one another. Robert Frost, the poet, was wrong when he maintained that “good fences make good neighbors.”

9. Coercion in the name of liberty is a valid use of state power.

 

 

21 Facts About Schooling

 

1. There is no relationship between the amount of money spent on schooling and “good” results as measured by parents of any culture. This seems to be because “education” is not a commodity to be purchased but an enlargement of insight, power, understanding and self-control almost completely outside the cash economy. Education is almost overwhelmingly an internally generated effort. The five American states which usually spend least per capita on schooling are the five which usually have the best test results (although Iowa which is about 30th in spending sometimes creeps into the honored circle).

 

2. There is no compelling evidence to show a positive relationship between length of schooling and accomplishment. Many countries with short school years outperform those with long ones by a wide margin.

 

3. Most relationships between test scores and job performance are illegitimate, arranged in advance by only allowing those testing well access to the work. Would you hire a newspaper reporter because he had “A”s in English? Have you ever asked your surgeon what grade he got in meat-cutting? George F. Kennan, intellectual darling of the Washington élite some while ago – and the author of our “containment” policy against the Soviet Union – often found his math and science grades in secondary school below 60, and at Princeton he had many flunks, “D”s and “C”s. “Sometimes,” he said, “it is the unadjusted student struggling to forge his own standards who develops within himself the thoughtfulness to comprehend.” Dean Acheson, Harry Truman’s Secretary of State, graduated from Groton with a 68 average. The headmaster wrote his mother, “He is…by no means a pleasant boy to teach.” Einstein, we all know, was considered a high-grade moron, as were Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. Is there anybody out there who really believes that grades and test scores are the mark of the man? Then what exactly are they, pray tell? Q.E.D.

 

4. Training done on the job is invariably cheaper, quicker, and of much higher quality than training done in a school setting. If you wonder why that should be, you want to start, I think, by understanding that education and training are two different things, one largely residing in the development of good habits, the other in the development of vision and understanding, judgment and the like. Education is self-training; it calls into its calculations mountains of personal data and experience which are simply unobtainable by any schoolteacher or higher pedagogue. That simple fact is why all the many beautifully precise rules on how to think produce such poor results.

 

Schools can be restructured to teach children to develop intellect, resourcefulness and independence, but that would lead, in short order, to structural changes in the old economy so profound it is not likely to be allowed to happen because the social effects are impossible to clearly foretell.

 

5. In spite of relentless propaganda to the contrary, the American economy is tending strongly to require less knowledge and less intellectual ability of its employees, not more. Scientists and mathematicians currently exist in numbers far exceeding any global demand for them or any national demand – and that condition should grow much worse over the next decade, thanks to the hype of pedagogues and politicians. Schools can be restructured to teach children to develop intellect, resourcefulness and independence, but that would lead, in short order, to structural changes in the old economy so profound it is not likely to be allowed to happen because the social effects are impossible to clearly foretell.

 

6. The habits, drills and routines of government schooling sharply reduce a person’s chances of possessing initiative or creativity – furthermore the mechanism of why this is so has been well understood for centuries.

 

7. Teachers are paid as specialists but they almost never have any real world experience in their specialties; indeed the low quality of their training has been a scandal for 80 years.

 

8. A substantial amount of testimony exists from highly regarded scientists like Richard Feynman, the recently deceased Nobel laureate, or Albert Einstein and many others that scientific discovery is negatively related to the procedures of school science classes.

 

9. According to research published by Christopher Jencks, the famous sociologist, and others as well, the quality of school which any student attends is a very bad predictor of later success, financial, social or emotional; on the other hand the quality of family life is a very good predictor. That would seem to indicate a national family policy directly spending on the home, not the school.

 

10. Children learn fastest and easiest when very young; general intelligence has probably developed as far as it will by the age of four. Children are quite capable of reading and enjoying difficult material by that age and also capable of performing all the mathematical operations skillfully and with pleasure. Whether kids should do these things or not is a matter of philosophy or cultural tradition, not a course dictated by any scientific knowledge about the advisability of the practice.

 

11. There is a direct relationship between heavy doses of teaching and detachment from reality with subsequent flights into fantasy. Many students so oppressed lose their links with past and present, present and future. And the bond with “now” is substantially weakened.

 

12. Unknown to the public virtually all famous remedial programs have failed. Programs like Title I/Chapter I survive by the goodwill of political allies, not by results.

 

13. There is no credible evidence that racial mixing has any positive effect on student performance, but a large body of suggestive data is emerging that the confinement of children from subcultures with children of a dominant culture does harm to the weaker group.

 

14. Forced busing has accelerated the disintegration of minority neighborhoods without any visible academic benefit as trade-off.

 

15. There is no reason to believe that any existing educational technology can significantly improve intellectual performance; on the contrary, to the extent that machines establish the goals and work schedules, ask the questions and monitor the performances, the already catastrophic passivity and indifference created by forced confinement schooling only increases.

 

16. There is no body of knowledge inaccessible to a motivated elementary student. The sequences of development we use are hardly the product of “science” but instead are legacies of unstable men like Pestalozzi and Froebel, and the military government of 19th century Prussia from which we imported them.

 

17. Delinquent behavior is a direct reaction to the structure of schooling. It is much worse than the press has reported because all urban school districts conspire to suppress its prevalence. Teachers who insist on justice on behalf of pupils and parents are most frequently intimidated into silence. Or dismissed.

 

18. The rituals of schooling remove flexibility from the mind, that characteristic vital in adjusting to different situations. Schools strive for uniformity in a world increasingly less uniform.

 

19. Teacher-training courses are widely held in contempt by practicing teachers as well as by the general public because expensive research has consistently failed to provide guidance to best practice.

 

20. Schools create and maintain a caste system, separating children according to irrelevant parameters. Poor, working class, middle class and upper middle class kids are constantly made aware of alleged differences among themselves by the use of methods not called for by the task at hand.

 

21. Efforts to draw a child out of his culture or his social class has an immediate effect on his family relationships, friendships and the stability of his self-image.

 Read the rest of Taylor Gatto’s article here.

 

 

 

 

So, after reading this, can you see how Obama’s ideas on education in America…

 

“We can no longer afford an academic calendar designed when America was a nation of farmers who needed their children at home plowing the land at the end of each day. That calendar may have once made sense, but today, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage.  Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea. That is no way to prepare them for a 21st century economy.”

 

…is just plain wrong?

 

 

My Lori taught me how to make gauchos. 🙂

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They are really quick and easy to make (I made these during Mira’s nap).  They’re also really fun to dance around and play in!

 

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Sammy wanted to be in the pictures (for once) so I jumped on that!!!

 

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I soon realized that he only wanted me to take his picture so he could see what he looked like in a handstand. 🙂

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Thanks to much help from my friend, Lori….

 

Here are some pictures of my “Lena Dress” (my own version of the “pillowcase dress”).  It was made out of a vintage pillowcase I bought for $1 at the thrift store.  Instead of doing the ribbon sleeves from the standard pillowcase dress pattern, I added a strap with a short, gathered sleeve.  So sweet!  Thank you, Lori for helping me with this!  Now I know how to make 100 more!

 

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 By the way, as much as I would love to claim it, I did not make the bonnet that she’s wearing.  That one was all Lori. 🙂

 

And…here’s a couple of pictures of the purse I finished today.  Thank you for the pattern, Lori!  …and the fabric 🙂

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Powerful…very powerful…

And now presenting…Amira’s Unassisted Birth Story!!!  YAY!!! 

When I found out that I was pregnant with baby number 3, I knew right away that I wanted to do things differently this time around. My previous pregnancies were over-medicalized. What should have been a natural process that my body was created to experience, was instead treated like a sickness- something that needed to be monitored and treated. I had normal, healthy pregnancies. So why was I expected to spend so much time in a hospital- a place where you go when you are sick? Couldn’t I trust in God’s perfect design for my body to bring forth children and in the well being of His tiny creation growing inside of my womb? If there was something that needed medical attention, wouldn’t the Holy Spirit lead me to see a doctor, if it was in fact necessary?

Around the third or fourth month of my pregnancy, my husband and I agreed that we were going to have this baby at home, without the assistance of a medical “professional”. During my pregnancy, I did not receive the standard prenatal care from an OB, and instead just took care of myself. I didn’t get any blood tests, glucose tests, or STD tests. I did not even step foot inside of a doctor’s office except on one occasion to get a pregnancy confirmation for vital records (in order to get a birth certificate after baby was born). I had no complications during the pregnancy and felt very comfortable (and excited) about giving birth at home with just my husband by my side.

On December 4th, about three weeks before my estimated due date, I was up until almost midnight trying to design some modest Barbie doll clothes for my niece (not the smartest thing I’ve ever done). When midnight came around and I was so tired I felt like my eyeballs were going to fall out, I finally put my things away and laid down for bed. My husband wasn’t home from work yet, but I expected him home any minute. As I laid there in the bed, I started to feel uncomfortable on my right side, so I carefully turned over to my left. As I rolled over, I heard a little “pop” coming from inside of my belly. I wondered for a quick moment whether it could have been my water breaking, but dismissed the idea right away. My water hadn’t broken with my previous labors (it had been artificially broken at the hospital both times). I closed my eyes and tried to get to sleep, but as I moved slightly, I felt a tiny gush. This sort of “tiny gush” was not unheard of throughout my pregnancy, so again I dismissed it and closed my eyes. As I adjusted again to get comfortable, I felt a bigger gush. This time my pants were wet. Ok, now this was not normal! I went to the bathroom and the gushes continued. Now I knew that my water had broken, but I didn’t know what to do! In the movies, the woman’s water breaks, there is one big gush and…all done! Well, in real life, apparently you have to put on an adult diaper to absorb the numerous gushes that follow! In case this might be valuable information for anyone reading this someday, adult diapers hold an incredible about of liquid without leaking. 🙂

 After I got the “water” mess under control, I tried to call my husband at work, only to learn that he had left an hour prior. This meant that he was not on his way home and must have been with a friend. Of course, we do not own cell phones, so my only choice at that point was to start calling around. I felt very silly doing this considering the fact that it was about 12:30 at night, but I really didn’t have any other choice. I just laughed as his friends completely freaked out at the news and asked if I needed a ride to the hospital. They were surprised at my lack of worry, but they didn’t realize that although I wanted my husband to be there, if it came down to it, I was prepared to give birth to this baby all by my lonesome.

After calling all of the numbers in my phone, I put down the phone and started picking up around the house. It was now about 1am (an hour after my water had broken) and I hadn’t had any contractions yet. I called my sister and my friend Lori, to let them know that I was in labor and to laugh with them about the fact that my husband was MIA. Just after I got off the phone, my husband walked through the front door. He had no idea that tonight was the night we would have our baby. You should’ve seen the look on his face when I told him the news! It was priceless!

A few minutes after my husband arrived home, the contractions began. It didn’t take long at all (about ½ hr-45 min) before they were all under 4 minutes apart. My husband started to fill the birthing pool, and by the time it was just halfway full I was ready to get in. The contractions were getting pretty intense and the warm water felt wonderful. At this point I was still able to relax during contractions with ease. I took slow, steady breaths and tried to visualize the baby moving down and my cervix opening. I really feel like this helped me to work with my body, instead of fighting against its efforts.  I also spent many contractions praying and repeating scriptures like Phil 4:13 and Isaiah 66:9, reminding myself of God’s faithfulness and His promises.

Around 3am, the contractions started getting really intense.  At this point I really started to regret staying up so late!  I was practically falling asleep in between contractions and it was getting much harder to relax through them. But Sam was right by my side, holding my hand and encouraging me every step of the way. It wasn’t long after that (around 3:45) that I started crying “I can’t do this”. My husband was unaware of the fact that this was a sign of transition, and although the thought had crossed my mind, I dismissed it on account of the fact that maybe I was just being a big fat baby. 🙂 I checked my cervix and could feel the baby’s head, but it was still high and I couldn’t tell how dilated I was because of the awkward tilt of my uterus that made it hard to reach. I had been feeling a lot of pressure for awhile, but tried to relax through it and let my body do the work without any extra strain. It wasn’t long before I felt as though I couldn’t take it anymore and started pushing with each contraction. My husband realized what I was doing (mainly because I was holding my breath while pushing) and told me that I needed to breathe. I looked at him like he was nuts. Breath while pushing?? Is he crazy??! But, I listened…and it worked. When I pushed while breathing, I could feel much more progress being made than when I had been holding my breath (otherwise known as “purple pushing”).

Even with all the pressure and the signs of transition, I still didn’t feel at all as if the end was near. How could it when it just began??!! The thought that I would be holding my baby in my arms in just a few minutes honestly did not even cross my mind. I had just checked my cervix and felt that the baby’s head had not moved down any further. But for some reason, out of nowhere I said to my husband, “The baby is coming now!” I started to push and out came the baby’s head (along with that lovely “ring of fire“ I had heard so much about). We checked to see if the cord was wrapped around the neck, and it wasn’t, so with the next contraction my sweet baby entered this world (on December 5th at 4:35am) into the loving hands of mommy and daddy. My husband immediately turned the video camera on so that we could record the first moments of our sweet baby’s life. It was AMAZING! My husband was at a loss for words, just repeating over and over again, “Wow…wow…WOW!” It’s truly a feeling that cannot be described! A minute or two passed before I even realized I didn’t know the sex! I looked down…it was a girl!!! Amira Lee Bryant, welcome to the world!

My children woke up from the commotion of those final pushes, and came downstairs to meet their baby sister. Although they weren’t present for the actual birth, their being part of her first few moments outside of the womb has made such a difference in the bond that they share with her. They were a part of something very special that day, and although they may not fully grasp that, the effects of that event are present in the relationship that they have with her everyday.

About 45 minutes after Amira was born, I birthed the placenta. We waited a couple of hours before cutting the cord (after it was limp and we could see no more blood flowing through it). I cuddled up with my baby girl on the couch and took a nap, in the comfort and warmth of my own home, and with my family close by. No one was there to deprive her of a quarter of her blood supply (by cutting the cord immediately after birth) poke her with needles (a vitamin k shot and hep B vaccination), vigorously rub her with towels (stripping the vernix ~ a natural moisterizer ~ from her skin), or smear gunk in her eyes (antibiotics in case mom had an STD). She was brought into this world just as God intended; naturally…peacefully…and at home.

And just as an extra added bonus, after Amira’s birth, nobody pushed forcefully on my uterus and pulled on the cord (a rather painful experience) in order to force my placenta to deliver (a practice that most doctor’s do and GREATLY increases the risk for hemorrhage).  There were no strangers there, bothering me or trying to take my baby from me to run “tests”, during our crutial mommy-baby bonding time.  Instead of trying to rest in an uncomfortable twin size bed, in a cold empty room, I was sleeping comfortably on a full size futon I bought especially to share with my baby after birth.  My baby girl kept warm against mommy’s skin, rather than the “warmer” that they use in hospitals (my husband calls it the “fry warmer”).  And unlike my other two who cried and screamed for the first hour after birth while they were poked and prodded, Amira didn’t cry for the first four days (aside from the two tears that she shed immediately after she was born). 

It was a wonderful experience, and I am so thankful to the people in my life that informed us and helped us in our decision to have an unassisted home birth.  I cannot adequately describe to you what a difference it made in the birthing experience and how much of an impact it has had in our family relationships.  I cannot even imagine going back to the hospital to give birth after the experience of unassisted home birth.  I pray that others learn what we have learned and we begin to move normal healthy births out of the hospital and back at home where they should be (unassisted or otherwise).