Monthly Archives: August 2012

How Pregnancy and Postpartum are Affected by Eating Disorders

August 31, 2012

Over the course of a single spring, I worked with three women struggling with postpartum anxiety. During our time together, I learned that they all had a history of eating disorders. This connection motivated me to research and talk to women about how eating disorders affected their pregnancy and postpartum experience. [Names have been changed.]

Eating Disorders as Related to Childbearing

The two most common eating disorders (EDs) are anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN), estimated to affect 5 – 10 million females in the United States. Approximately 4.5% – 9% of women of childbearing age have a past or active eating disorder. AN is characterized by extreme calorie restriction, obsessive dieting and loss of periods. Symptoms of BN include repeated episodes of binge eating followed by purging, fasting, excessive exercise and abusing laxatives, diuretics and enemas. Both experience extreme fear of weight gain and distorted perception of body image.

Women struggling with EDs often exhibit perfectionism, obsessive behavior, extreme sensitivity, seriousness, anxiousness, self-consciousness, impulsivity, a feeling of being out of control, negative self image and a high level of self-blame. There is a strong correlation among perfectionism, anxiety and eating disorders.

While there are some contradictory study results, EDs have been linked to maternal and fetal risks including excessive vomiting during pregnancy, cesarean section, postpartum depression/anxiety, anemia, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, miscarriage, intrauterine death, preterm delivery, breech presentation, low Apgar scores, low birth weight, fetal growth restriction, small-for-gestational-age infants and slow weight gain.

Research also indicates a significantly greater incidence of anxiety and depressive disorders in women with EDs than in the general population. Shame and guilt about their illness can cause secretiveness, denial of a problem or reluctance to disclose symptoms to providers.

Eating Disorders and Pregnancy

Studies indicate that many women with EDs have a temporary remission during pregnancy which changes in the third trimester and the first three to six months postpartum, when symptoms often reemerge more severely than before pregnancy.

Improving Birth – Rally for Change

August 28, 2012

improving birth rally labor dayCan you imagine going to a cancer doctor or a heart surgeon if only one third of their professional organization’s recommendations were based in scientific evidence? Yet that’s what’s going on in obstetrics in America.

Organizing Kid’s Art

August 23, 2012

mermaid painting, mermaid art, drawing mermaids, kids art tips, art books, photo books for artwork, ariel painting, how to organize kids artAs the new school year approaches, how will you manage your kid’s art projects and the heaps of paintings, drawings and craft creations? Whether you have a preschooler’s colorful stick figures or a teen’s 3-D science presentation, here’s a solution that I love!

Many years ago, before I was in the digital mode for photography, and pre-smart phones, I read about an idea that stuck with me: take pictures of your children’s art work and then assemble a book of the pictures. I’ve only done this for the last three school years, but with everything electronic now, it’s a task that’s quite easy, with a little organization. (So why haven’t I started last school year’s book yet?)

When I do start it (writing this is motivating me to get to it) I use and really like Shutterfly. (You can click the link on the sidebar to go directly to Shutterfly). I am comfortable with their tools and products, they offer frequent discounts on photo books and their customer service has been exceptionally responsive when I’ve had any questions. There are other options out there (iPhoto, Tiny Prints, Snapfish, Mixbook, Lulu) for you to peruse. checked globe

When a kiddo comes home with a Groundhog Day hat, I put it on their head and take a picture, then throw away the hat. When the paints come out and the creativity flows into stacks of masterpieces, I snap a shot of each one, and toss them.

Big Sister, Little Sister

August 20, 2012
[caption id="attachment_521" align="alignleft" width="250"]sisters Our first meeting[/caption]


I met my Little Sister when she was seven. We sat in a booth and started to get to know one another over chicken with broccoli. I remember she politely made sure to empty her mouth before speaking or answering any questions. We were both hoping to make a good first impression, and even more, a lasting connection.

When I toasted, “Here’s to new friends!” this sweet second-grader looked up at me and corrected, “Here’s to sisters!” She has been a part of our family ever since.

Understanding Milk Supply

August 16, 2012

Fenugreek for nursing is a popular Google search, and a post I wrote years ago about fenugreek is read daily by someone somewhere in the world. But really what these Moms are seeking is ways of increasing milk supply. I’m a big believer in working to get to the crux of the issue instead of […]

Healthy Snacks for Kids

August 13, 2012

Kids love to snack, and as Moms, we want to give them healthy snacks that they’ll like to eat. I have to say that I get made fun of a little for the unusual things my kids like, so I know I have it a bit easier than others, but maybe one of these healthy […]

Birthday Party or Heart’s Desire Day – Birthday Rituals

August 9, 2012

blowing out birthday candlesFor birthday celebrations, starting around first grade, we have offered our kids a choice between having a birthday party or a Heart’s Desire Day for which they design the day and select everything we do. I didn’t coin the phrase Heart’s Desire Day, it’s my neighbor’s term, but we’ve been using it for six years now and it’s become a part of our family vocabulary.

I have my pros and cons for both kinds of birthday celebrations. We’ve thrown some fun, home-grown birthday parties over the years: we had the DeCesare Zoo with a giraffe cake, a foam core cage and animal stand-ups for kids to take pictures as a monkey or zebra. One Mom even RSVPed and said, “I’m sorry, can you tell me where the DeCesare Zoo is? I don’t know that zoo.” Yup, that’s our house.

Rockets, princesses, smiley faces, Ariel, bugs and luaus have all had their run at a birthday party themes at our house but one of my favorites was the one my son invented for his third birthday, the Blue Party. Everything, including the cake inside and out, was blue. Blue pinata with blue candies and my clever husband built wooden cars for all the boys which they decorated with all things blue and raced them down a ramp in our foyer (January birthday) with all the boys dressed in blue.

[caption id="attachment_456" align="alignright" width="150"]birthday boy with cake The Blue Birthday Party[/caption]

When Okay isn’t Okay

August 6, 2012
[caption id="attachment_430" align="alignleft" width="234"]mom talking with boy, parent and son on couch, serious discussion with kids, when okay isn't okay, saying okay to kids, “Clean your room, okay?”[/caption]

About 12 years ago I read a little blurb in a parenting magazine about the one word parents shouldn’t use with their children: the word Okay. I didn’t retain the details of the article but it made sense and I consciously decided not to end my sentences with “Okay?” when speaking to our then one-year-old.

When we tell our children to do, or not do, something, then say, “Okay?” it implies that we are seeking their input or opening an invitation to discussion. If we say, “Johnny, come here,” it is much more effective than, “Johnny, come here, okay?” the simple “okay” gives Johnny a choice we never intended to give him.

In communicating with children, from very young ages, we cannot be ambiguous, we need to be succinct and specific. We’re much more likely to get the results we’re after (good listening is on every parent’s wish list) if we deliver a clear directive: “Do not touch the plant.” Even a pre-walker can understand what his parent wants. He may test you, but repeating the same, concise message with a gentle removal of his hand will teach him that you mean what you say without question.

Birth Survey Guest Post

August 6, 2012

I’m happy to have been invited to share my Young Women’s Birth Survey and the motivations for doing this work on Birth Literacy. Please read my guest post and share it with women in the 18-26 year old age group who are eligible for the survey. Take the survey here This survey is intended to […]

Boys and Bruises

August 2, 2012

Boys and Bruises, climbing a palm tree | MothersCircle.netI remember a time when Michael was little and always had a bruise, or two, or three somewhere on his shins, his forehead, his knees. Some of them had hurt, others just seemed to appear. His bruises were badges of his explorations and were part of the process of him learning about his body in space.

A social worker friend once told me that a sign of abuse is a person having bruises in all stages of healing, but that described my non-abused, well-loved little boy and he had made the bruises all on his own. He was 100% rough and tumble boy from his earliest days.

He bumped into tables when he learned to walk and got bruised. He tipped back in a chair at dinner as a toddler and got bruised. He balanced himself to go up the slide backwards and he learned. Experimenting with body mechanics and spacial relations is all part of growing up, and for many boys, it seems they do it with more energy, more gusto and more brute force than girls (though girls get their fair share of bruises, too!).