Take Care of Yourself

As new moms, often we forget to take care of ourselves. We work hard to meet the needs of our family and forget that we too have our own needs, even if we don’t recognize them anymore. It isn’t uncommon for women to withdraw after giving birth, sinking into our routines. Many mothers also have a not-so-loving inner voice that frequently tell them they aren’t a good enough mother, aren’t doing enough, don’t look good enough, or a host of other negative thoughts. This can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, leaving you feel as if you never have time for rest or pleasure because there is always something more you must do or do better.

Love Yourself

This often comes down to nothing more than practice. We need to learn to deliberately catch ourselves speaking to ourselves in a way we would never talk to our friends or loved ones. Rather, try to replace those thoughts with something more affirming. Nurture your mind. Create a self-fulfilling prophesy of joy!

What might you say to someone in your shoes? What would you say to your friend, or a heart-broken child? Say those things to yourself, or try some of these:

  • I am loved.
  • I am the best mother I can be.
  • I deserve to nurture myself every day.
  • I am a good wife.
  • I am worth nurturing.
  • I have time to do all the things which are most necessary.
  • My life is filled with joy.
  • I am blessed.
  • I am choosing to surround myself with people who love and support me.
  • I have done my best for today.
  • I have earned my rest for tonight.
  • I have put my love into all my deeds.
  • I have used kindness in all my thoughts.
  • I have all I need to make this a great day of my life.
  • I have all the information I need to solve any challenges that come up today.
  • I am filled with gratitude for another day on this earth.
  • I am worthy.
  • My body is getting strong, slimmer and healthier every day.
  • I choose to be kind to myself.
  • I am enough.

There are many books filled with inspirations and sayings. Pick one up for yourself. Write them on your walls, in your journal, on your bathroom mirror, the corner of your computer screen, in your heart… If you haven’t been introduced to Pinterest, please go explore. Creating your own file full of your favorite affirmations is reason enough.

Share your favorite affirmations in the comments!

Treasure verses Poison

The functional and integrative medicine aspect of our practice continues to grow, as does our client’s success. It is often that we find the source of our client’s concerns is rooted in their diet in spite of many already making very healthy food choices. Other practitioners may even have recommended a gluten-free or diary-free diet but symptoms persist. The issue is that one person’s organic and nourishing food may be a source of inflammation for others.

Each of us have an individual body chemistry which responds differently to the various foods, even dyes and preservatives, in our diet. When clients can obtain a very objective list of food sensitivies specific to their own chemistry, compliance with limiting those foods from the diet is greatly increased. It can be exceptionally challenging to avoid gluten or diary, and for many this only offers partial improvement.

This past year we’ve had a number of clients undergo IgG testing which identifies the body’s sensitivity to these foods, as opposed to an IgE response which is allergic. Some may be sensitive to the corn the cow has eaten rather than the milk itself. Others are sensitive to the nightshade family of vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers) or the oxalates in foods such as spinach, Swiss chard and beets. Gluten isn’t as prevalent of a sensitivity among our clients as one would expect and the literature suggests less than 10% are truly sensitive. Interestingly, some can be sensitive to bananas, avocadoes and chestnuts because they cross react with latex.

This past year, we’ve also discovered clients with paprika sensitivity and another with turmeric, who admittdly, I had recommended turmeric for reducing inflammation. We also discovered clients with various dye sensitivities, some of which were actually in their pharmaceuticals and yet others even with sensitivities to various preservatives – one a client found in her pickle juice!

We are blessed to have the resource to not just identify these foods, but to provide a six week plan for eliminating them and then reintroducing them into the diet. Sometimes, as I think we all appreciate, knowledge is wonderful but application can be the challenge that keeps us from success. Having this resource is incredible and while many can simply cut down on their intake to their higher sensitivity foods, some have found they aren’t able to tolarate even a smaller amount. Having said that, those clients are not overly tempted because they know that endulging will mean return of headaches, cystic acne, or even anxiety attacks.

It has been suggested by nutritional experts that anyone of us can not tolerate anywhere from ten to twenty foods. Overall, allergies haven’t impacted our family what-so-ever. Not one person I’ve ever known in all the various lines of our family tree has ever suffered from asthma or the more obvious allergic reactions, but many of us have central obesity, bowel issues and anxiety. Our responses to our sensitivies can be as diverse as our biochemical make-up. Personally, I realized more than a decade ago that Splenda causes me severe migraines and it has thus far been the one and only reason I have ever had a headache! There is nothing appealing to me about foods that contain Splenda.

The reality is that some people can eat what seems like just about anything and have great vitality, while others eat seemingly well and are generally rather exhausted or anxious. Infertility is another area where we have seen great success with IgG testing, but like many conditions, this is a very complex issue that often extends beyond nutrition. The pillars of health should not be ignored however. Pharmaceuticals are not the best go-to strategy, particularly as you hope to grow a fetus within the most optimal environment. We work hard to establish a firm foundation when clients have any chronic issue and then implement integrative medicine strategies that can enhance success. We feel this is a perfect blend of the art and science of healing.

It’s ironic to me that each and every healthcare provider is taught about the importance of a healthy diet and adequate exercise, yet when we work to address those issues there are enough that share their opinions with our clients that the diet is rather irrelevant and pharmaceutical management is and always will be absolutely necessary. I suppose this might somewhat stem from the fact that most clinicians aren’t familiar with the great difference between allergies and intolerances. It of course is also related to the pervasive nature of the marketing success of our pharmaceutical industry.

Allergies create a rather immediate response, often local, and reactions are well perceived by the client. Some have numb and tingly lips, while others get profuse nausea or even diarrhea. Food intolerances are less clear-cut than food allergies. They are not dependent on interactions between food antigens and our immune system. It is less predictable and less consistent. Lactose intolerance might be a familiar example.

Today we received IgG results for a client who has long suffered from brain fog and debilitating anxiety, even PMDD, and she has an otherwise seemingly perfect diet. However, on her list was avocado and apples. I can’t wait to meet with her for her follow-up visit because these fruits are known to have cross-reactions with those who have latex sensitivities. The rubber tree has a similarly shaped protein molecule and can be involved in a number of issues that have been described as latex-fruit syndrome. She has never shared before that she has an issue with latex so I wonder if she has ever recognized it herself, and ironically, her symptoms largely presented after the birth of her hospital-born daugther (where latex is bountiful).

Sulfites, nightshade alkaloids, oxalates, purines, and goitrogenic substances are also issues for many clients – goitrogenic specifically for those with thyroid conditions and it amazes me how many of our clients didn’t know this even after suffering for decades with hypothyroidism. Why aren’t they being educated by their doctors!?!

Yes, I agree. This is all too exciting. Why anyone of you continue to suffer without joining us on this exciting journey is beyond me. We really couldn’t be more excited to guide our clients towards optimal healing and take such joy in teaching them about their individual needs. Keep reading. Join one of our free talks. Call the office. Make an appointment. Invest in yoursef.

We aren’t accepting patients.

There is a sort of culture change when healthcare consumers choose practitioners who work outside the insurance model, as opposed to those within the conventional medical model. While I believe most our clients choose our practice because they “want something different” or they “want to be an active participant in their healthcare,” I am not sure they always understand this transition requires a shift in their mindset.

We don’t accept patients.

As a young nurse starting to recognize how the medical system was railroading women in childbirth, I started to question the relationship between healthcare providers and consumers. It seemed we were too often forgetting these women were adults, with their own thoughts and opinions, their own rights as human beings. I understood the culture in the emergency room when patients were brought in by ambulance and were dependent upon our every skill to save their lives, without question trusting our management. Childbirth however, was a different scenario. Women weren’t ill. They weren’t incapable of making decisions. In fact, many came in quite educated and knew what they wanted. Why were we so challenged by this? I think because we wanted them to be patients, and didn’t recognize them as clients.

As a nursing instructor I was very clear that while in their maternity rotation, students were to avoid using the term patient, and rather refer to women as clients. I do believe this helped them approach their daily assignments with a different mindset, one that shared responsibility in decision-making and one that considered their client’s points of view. Most importantly, I hoped they recognized that this experience was the client’s and she was the expert in her own individual care.

As a midwife, not once have I slipped and used the term patient, nor have my staff as I am aware. In fact, those that fail to utilize this term clearly indicate they don’t have the right mindset for our practice. As we’ve expanded our services to functional medicine and have started implementing programs of care, we are also referring to our clients as members. This is important because it creates a community of like-minded individuals with a similar goal. It also eliminates the fee-for-service mindset.

Ironically, we still have clients who prefer to be patients. They may not recognize this, and some would argue with me, but we find that there are those that want something different, but they really aren’t ready to change their mindset. They still want us to make their decisions. They want a quick fix. They want us to manage all their insurance claims. They don’t want to invest time, travel, or any expense to invest in their health. They want to be dependent entirely on their practitioner, and entirely on their insurance company to cover the fees.

Visit our functional medicine page for more information on insurance companies and functional medicine. We choose to work outside the health insurance model so we can work together to determine what is best for your individual needs, rather than being director by a third party payer who is responsible first to their own shareholders.

Our system isn’t set up for patients. We don’t allow for walk-ins. We don’t have a wall with a sliding window to converse through that separate us from you. We won’t tell you what to think. We won’t just write you a prescription. We won’t stand during your visit as you share a few thoughts and we give a few instructions before we’re out the door. We won’t email you clinical advice. We do not care for clients on an assembly line, allowing only six minute visits.

Our model is different, and here’s why: WE ARE DIFFERENT.  We value education. We value one-one-one care. We want to give you our undivided attention. We want to hear you and we want to create individual plans of care for each client. We value informed consent. We believe you are the expert in your individual plan of care.

If you are eager to be our client, consider a mindset change.

If we are extending this commitment to you and you get it, and you want to be our client, Yeah! The truth is midwives have the WOW factor. We spend an incredible amount of time with our clients, and really invest in them. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve heard a nurse or physician say, “I’ve never seen a practitioner spend so much time with a client, helping them breastfeed in the NICU, visiting their home, or coming with them to their procedure.” However, keep in mind, we extend this same dedication to all our clients. Investing in clients is demanding. It is time intensive. We spend hours teaching and hours upon hours in consults or laboring with women. We work all hours of the day and night, and all days of the week, including holidays. When we’re serving a client, we do not simultaneously review labs and return phone calls for others. You have our undivided attention.

As a client, you have to work, invest, and engage. You have to follow through with the plan and communicate your needs so we can adjust accordingly. You will have to return for follow-up visits and trust that long term changes require patience, perseverance, and persistence. You will also have to recognize that we will commit to spending hours, or even days, with clients – the same client without ceasing. While it may make us somewhat distracted from the routine of the daily clinic, remember, we will dedicate the same time to you – which is why you chose us in the first place. We don’t have a staff of twenty to delegate all our clinical care, because our clinicians want to be involved in every aspect of your care. We value you. We have a partnership.

We don’t blame you when you have unrealistic expectations. Our culture has trained us to be patients. We have been trained to be demanding. We’ve been trained to demand being put first or our needs will go ignored. The loudest squeaky wheel gets oil. The biggest bully wins the greatest attention. However, this isn’t our culture. We are different. We want to educate you in how to be your best advocate. We want you to see yourself as a healthcare consumer. We want to be your partner in healthcare. We have high standards of clinical excellence, and we have standards for how we want to be treated as well. If you’re seeking a partnership and are willing to invest in that, I can’t imagine you’ll find anyone more committed to your success than our clinicians.

Food For Thought

Food for Thought

"It is much more important to know what sort of patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has." Sir William Osler

Food for Thought

Happiness is underrated and critically important to health. Seriously! Unfortunately, many people just have no idea how to be happy. Aviva Romm

Food for Thought

Physicians simply do not have time to be what patients want them to be: open-minded, knowledgeable teachers and caregivers who can hear and understand their needs. Snyderman and Weil

Food for Thought #1

They say that time changes things. But you actually have to change them yourselves. Andy Warhol

Food for Thought

To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking. Johann Wolfgang von Goether

Food for Thought

"Birth isn’t about avoiding one set of realities in favor of another. It’s about embracing all facets of birth--contradictory, messy, or unpleasant as some might be--as vital to the whole." Rixa Freeze PhD

Food for Thought

Why I appreciate being a certified nurse-midwife, as opposed to choosing another route for midwifery: I feel learning the science is vital so the art of midwifery is safe and effective. Dr. Penny Lane, nurse-midwife

Food for Thought

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates

Food for Thought

To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. Anatole France

Food for Thought

"Science and uncertainty are inseparable companions. Beware of those who are very certain about things. There are no absolute truths in biological sciences - only hypotheses... 'We need to train medical students and residents more in the art of uncertainty and less in the spirit that everything can be known or that it even needs to be known.'" Grimes (1986)

Food for Thought

American physicians are rewarded for doing things to patients, not for keeping them well. Grimes, 1986

Food for Thought

The false idol of technology. "Having a widget screwed into one's scalp has become an American birthright." Grimes, 1986

Food for Thought

"Between 1985 and 1987, a hospital instituted a successful program to reduce its cesarean rate. The rate fell from 18% to 12%, losing the hospital $1 million in revenues - no small sum in those days." Goer & Romano, 2012, p 37

Food for Thought

"Obstetricians are much more likely to perform a cesarean when they wrongly believe the baby weighs 4000 g or more based on sonographic estimates than when the baby actually weighs this much but the obstetrician did not suspect it." Goer & Romaro, 2012, p 35

Food for Thought

"If you play God, you will be blamed for natural disasters." Marsden Wagner (2006)

Food for Thought

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't. Anatole France

Food for Thought #3

"Birth is not only about making babies. Birth also is about making mothers - strong, competent, capable mothers, who trust themselves and know their inner strength."

Barbara Katz Rothman PhD (1996)

Food for Thought #4

Believe there is always, always, always a way.

When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven't. THOMAS EDISON

Food for Thought #5

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer

Food for Thought #2

Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.

Psalm 22:9