Lauren Hasz shares the moments and memories that stand out from her transition to motherhood. She is the wife to an incredibly good-looking nerd, David, (tall, dark, handsome, AND brilliant) and the mother to her heart’s desire, Abby. Lauren describes herself as…Passionate about exquisite coffee blends. Passionate about blog writing. Passionate about healthy living. Most importantly, passionate about birth and motherhood.
After 3.5 years of infertility, I am finally a new mom.
My life has new goals. Take a shower…every couple of days. Make dinner…and eat it in bed. Go to the grocery store…in between nursing sessions if possible. Drink coffee…every single morning.
My life has new smells now too. Poopy diapers. Soured milk hidden in baby neck rolls. Nipple balm. Brewing coffee (because not even teaching seventh grade required as much energy as motherhood!).
Becoming a mom has taken my life by storm. Those of you who are experienced parents warned me that it would, but I’m not sure that it is possible to truly understand the physical and emotional changes until you arrive home from the hospital with a completely dependent infant in your arms. Then you understand. Nothing will ever be the same. Life becomes a beautiful mess.
And, on top of it all, most of us wear many hats. Doctor. Mother-of-two. Stay-at-home-dad. Counselor. Engineer.
For me, I am also a DONA-certifying birth doula, writer, and natural health junkie. Not long after my daughter Abby was born, I resigned my teaching position to immerse myself in these roles. And, I’ve found it more rewarding and the local parent community more welcoming than I could have ever imagined. Pursing my doula career full-time while staying home is the perfect fit for the “new me.”
While pregnant and in these early months of parenthood, I’ve been transformed. Among other things, I’ve come to realize how my passion for “natural living” means something so much more to me now. I want to protect Abby from harsh chemicals and as many pharmaceuticals as possible. I want her to love spinach and taste dirt occasionally while playing in the grass. I want to promote natural care alternatives as much as possible with my family, my friends’ families and with my birth clients.
But, to be perfectly honest, I’ve also come to realize that it is not always possible. After following a nutritionist’s advice and using herbal remedies to no avail, it took IVF for my husband and I to become pregnant. Then, with an eventual diagnosis of intrauterine growth restrictions (IUGR) during pregnancy, it took high tech testing every week to guarantee Abby’s safety between the diagnosis at week 28 of pregnancy until week 37 when we were able to experience an amazing natural birth with my doula and midwife.
Even now, I would love to only serve my family “whole foods” prepared at home and to only treat their ailments with natural alternatives. But, that is not always realistic. Abby got pinkeye and needed antibiotics. I’m in a rush and too tired all too often and reach for cereal and leftovers many evenings. And, I drink caffeinated coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
But, we all do our best as parents when and how we can.
It is amazing how much respect I’ve gained for my own mom. She kept our home nearly sugar-free (hence my “rebellious” addiction to ice cream in college. LOL). She researched herbal/natural remedies and kept our kitchen filled with the fragrances of healthy foods. She instilled in me a love for the outdoors and for serving others. She also introduced me to essential oils. As a kid, I remember my mom rubbing oils on the bottoms of my feet to naturally boost my immune system. I remember her applying specific oils on my bug bites and skin abrasions to promote healing. My sisters and I sometimes complained because we “smelled weird” or weren’t in the mood for her doctoring, but I’m so grateful now.
As a mom myself, I’ve begun to incorporate many of her traditions, including the use of essential oils, into my home and doula practice. I can’t always prevent pinkeye, but I can complement antibiotics with lavender oil to ease the symptoms. I can’t always protect my family from sickness, but I can use peppermint essential oil for headaches and stomachaches and a cloves and cinnamon oil mixture to help fight off germs. I can diffuse essential oils, take them internally, massage my baby with them, rub them on my husband’s temples to help him sleep, and support my laboring mamas’ desires to use aromatherapy or massage.
Essential oil use is becoming one of the truly realistic ways that I can regularly “fragrance” my home and care for Abby naturally even on the days that I don’t get a shower and one cup of coffee just doesn’t cut it.
Probably one of my favorite essential-oil-related memories from some of those first hazy moments post-delivery comes from about Abby’s third day of life. Cuddled in bed, I was attempting the sloppy business of early nursing when my mama brought me deliciously pungent orange slices. Juice dribbled down my chin, as milk dribbled down Abby’s face.
And, then, my baby girl smiled.
Not the “I-just-passed-gas” infant smile. Not the “grimace-in-my-sleep” smile. No, the smile of a newborn recently delivered who recognized a familiar scent and found comfort in the citrus aroma.
You see, one of my traditions while pregnant was to rub my belly with tangerine essential oil and a host of other therapeutic-grade oils to uplift my mood, increase circulation and help prevent stretch marks. While massaging my growing bump, I would talk to Abby, pray for her, and dream about her growing strong and healthy inside of me.
After she was born, her brain remembered the comforting smell and registered pleasure at the fragrance of my juicy, dripping orange. Tangerine and other citrus were part of our special bond. Even now, she’s napping in the next room, and I’m smiling while writing this. That infant smile was worth all the sleepless nights that followed.
I’ll still do just about anything to elicit one of Abby’s dimpled grins.
These days that involves quite a bit of talking, playing, massaging, nursing and very little sleeping. Abby loves to lay on my bed and be rubbed with a base of sweet almond oil and a few drops of whatever essential oil we are in the mood to use. Usually lavender to calm her before bed. Sometimes a blend such as Young Living Thieves™ for its immune-boosting properties or Young Living Gentle Baby™ for its skincare benefits. I’m not a massage therapist, and I certainly don’t know everything there is to know about essential oils. But, I do know that these continue to be special moments with my daughter.
So, as a doula and healthy living enthusiast, I recommend drinking less coffee than I ashamedly consume. I recommend whole foods and a whole lot of nursing and pumping. I also recommend looking into how therapeutic-grade essential oils could benefit your family. I’m new at this motherhood adventure and would love to learn from you and share our common passions. If you are in the Denver/Boulder area, email or call/text me and we can chat about your ideal birth wishes and/or how to incorporate essential oils and other natural practices into your family’s traditions.