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Posts Tagged ‘baby’

I finally finished the mobile I was working on for our baby!  I decided to go with a woodland theme because I definitely want to instill a love of nature in my daughter. I included some subtle Pagan hints, mostly because they are protective.  I used a combination of natural, found materials, felt, cotton thread and twine, and brightly dyed wool.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out!  I hope our Little Bee likes it!

Included are leaves, a bumble bee, a rowan charm, a white doe, an amanita formosa, an apple blossom, and a red trillium.  Everything was selected for the symbolism and the fact that they are from her surroundings.  The rowan charm is for protection and has a connection to Brighid.  The white doe is a subtle nod to Celtic mythology, as such creatures are often considered to be fairy women in disguise. The deer is my spirit guide, so there’s a protective element to it too*.

 

*The doe looks a little like a llama…  I had a difficult time making the legs slender enough…  But a friend sent her a plush, white llama so either way the little one should be happy!

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My new Hygeia breast pump! Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

I have some thoughts brewing about my impending move and my garden, but I can’t help but gush!  Huzzah!  My new Hygeia breast pump is here!

With all my talk about desiring a natural birth, it probably won’t be a surprise that I also hope to breast feed.  A friend of mine actually gave me an old Medela pump, but I decided not to use it for various reasons.  There was a broken bit, for one, and it is what’s called an “open system” meaning that “the pump motor is ‘open’ to contact with the mother’s milk particles” compared to a “closed system” which is not (La Leche League).  I just couldn’t get past the giant warning on the front of the device stating that it wasn’t meant to be used by more than one person.  Now I’m sure my friend is a very healthy individual, but what if she didn’t know about something? What if?!  Another friend of mine, who is a lactation consultant, warned me that I should listen to my instincts.  Perhaps it’s a first time mother’s irrational worries, but the threat of contracting another person’s bacteria or virus (or giving them to my baby), scared the heck out of me.  Beyond that, my lactation consultant friend explained that many open system pumps are very susceptible to mold.  So the pump, while generously given*, ended up getting three strikes – a broken part, LLL and the FDA do not recommend using another’s open system pump, and mold issues.

I was lamenting what to do because breast pumps are expensive and my budget is currently quite tight.  My consultant friend suggested looking into Hygeia pumps and, maybe, I’d get enough money at my shower to purchase one.  I hadn’t heard of Hygeia before.  They’re not in major shops and I hadn’t seen them on the more popular pregnancy websites such as The Bump and Baby Center.  Turns out La Leche League endorses them!  And the more I browse more naturally-leaning parenting stores, the more I see them offered as an alternative.  Reviews looked pretty positive.

All sorts of accessories to learn about! I’m not opening the box until I know I can breast feed, though. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

The biggest selling point to me is that it’s a closed system.  Most closed system pumps are only available through hospitals.  Hygeia only utilizes a closed system because they aim to be “eco-friendly.”  They don’t want their pumps ending up in garbage dumps – the ultimate destination of many open-system breast pumps**.  It’s a purchase I can feel good about because I could lend it to friends and family without worrying about the germ issue.  I can send it back to Hygeia for recycling.  It’s reusable.  It’s recyclable.  It meets my desire to live a more sustainable life and breast feed my baby while still having to work full time.  

I’m very grateful to my mother and my husband’s uncle for the money they gave or sent for our baby shower.  So I couldn’t manage to schedule a doula for my birth.  So my hope for a natural birth may be complicated by some unforeseen health issue (I hope not!).  At least I have a breast pump I like from a company I feel I can support!  Now I just pray to Brighid that I can actually use it!

 

*Seriously, I’m VERY grateful to the friend who tried to help out by giving me her old pump.

**The irony isn’t lost on me.  Yes, I purchased a brand new pump (reusability aside) and will likely have to dispose of the old Medela.  Again, I just can’t shake the worries…  At least I may be able to recycle some of the plastic bits and the motor…

 

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The news is full of tragedy.  Sometimes, it’s easy to forget it exists.  We wrap ourselves in cocoons of modern comfort, alternative realities, and a seemingly never-ending lists of things to do.    It can be easy to take comfort in the forest, the river, the garden and let the rest of the world fall away.  I can see the value and truth in Buddhist thought – that attachments lead to pain.  The things we own sometimes bring us grief because they cost money and energy to maintain.  Our friendships, while often joyful, can be complicated by disagreements.  And our families – oh, our families…  Despite our love for them, despite the happiness that often comes with family, and despite the comforts –  family brings a whole list of cons.  Your fortunes are bound, you must learn to live together despite dispute or a difference in perspective, and you constantly worry. So much of that worry is concerned with the tragedies of the world and a hope that they don’t visit your little tribe.

Tragedy was a distant concept for me when I was little. With such matters, we really do seem to come into the world tabula rasa.  I don’t really know how I learned about it.  It probably started with the death of my goldfish at five, but I don’t really know.  My mother nearly died giving birth to my sister a few years before that, but I don’t recall knowing that until much later.  I was probably in bed when news of genocide across the pond aired on the news.  “Stranger danger” was probably the biggest hint that the world was not the safest place.  One thing I do remember is my parents often saying that I would understand their worry when I grew up and had children of my own.

Now here I am, in my third trimester, carrying my first child.  So much has happened in the world since this little one was conceived.  There were shootings in malls and schools.  There have been riots, civil wars, and terror in the Middle East.  There was a terrible, deadly gang rape in India.  Starving and dead seals have been washing up on the west coast.  Natural disasters.  Nuclear threats.  Explosions.  My goodness!

Yet I suppose it’s always been that way.  When our ancestors had little contact with the rest of the world, awful things still happened each day.  There were invasions, pillaging, raping, plague,  high infant death rates…  and always some mystical other in the woods.  Goblins.  Witches.  Boggies.  Fairies.  The world has always been threatening.

Despite the worry and the realities of danger, people keep having babies!  Biological impulse aside, a part of me has decided that we do this out of hope. We hope we can raise a decent human being who will not contribute to tragedy.  We hope he or she will rise above difficult situations and perhaps make the world a better, more peaceful place.

Hope.

In Greek mythology, when Pandora opened the box full of tragedy, it’s said the last “spirit” to emerge was Hope.  Like the fire from Prometheus, it is a blessing that gives humanity comfort amidst the greatest darkness.

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing for babies recently – for my child and my niece who is also on the way!  When I sit with needle and thread, I consciously put love and hope into what I make.

There will be difficulties, little ones, but I hope the tribe can give you the comfort and safety you need, and that you can meet your own challenges with grace, wisdom, and strength.

Live and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget that, until the day comes when God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these words: Wait and hope!

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

A play blanket I made for my niece featuring heart-shaped lily pads. My applique technique is improving, but I still have a long way to go. Again, interfacing might have helped… Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

A fun cupcake baby bonnet I made for my niece. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013

A froggy jacket and matching bib I made for my little one. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

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A lovely green corner in Ireland. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2011.

Last year started what is clearly becoming a tradition for me.  As March is Irish Heritage month, I take it as a time to reflect on and honor the sovereignty Goddess of Ireland – Ériu.  Chelly has also been focusing on her and shares some wonderful musings in her latest post.  I was inspired and reminded of my desire to spend some time meditating on Ériu, so I shuffled my pregnant behind to my altar for some quality time with the Triple Goddess of Ireland.

My novice studies of Irish lore lead me to agree with Chelly on the nature of Ériu.  She is not to be underestimated as the Milesian Donn found out.  Yet she is also welcoming to those who honor and respect her. I certainly felt a sense of homecoming when I made it to Ireland a couple years ago.  I long to return but until I can, I must be content to connect with that bit of land at a distance.  I decided that tonight would be a good night to meditate on her and give her some offerings.

Saying my words of praise, pouring offerings, and holding a memento from her land, I slipped into a very light trance.  I envisioned myself surrounded by the mist created by the Two Powers of fire and water.  I wouldn’t let myself go too deeply as I worry about the implications of doing so while pregnant and still a novice to that practice.  My stretching belly kept me from separating too much from my body anyway.  It is taut, and breathing deeply is less comfortable than normal.  Yet I was able to visualize myself in Ireland once more.  I saw myself at Tara, saw the rolling green hills around the mounds, and the clootie tree near the hedge.

Tara in Ireland. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2011.

I found myself staring at the Lia Fáil, and suddenly Ériu was there!  I saw her as a beautiful woman with fair skin and long, wavy hair the color of sunlight on the River Boyne.  Here eyes were as brown as the dirt and she wore a gown green like the rolling hills.  She smiled at me and welcomed me back to her whenever I could come.  As a Druid in America, I often fret about working with very local deities such as Ériu, but she reminded me not to lament over the distance and that she was always part of me.  Images came to me of ancestors eating the crops from her soil, filling them with energy and life.  Some of these ancestors came to America, bringing about my existence.  They flow in my blood, blood energized in part by the land of Ireland.  What’s more, she showed me my ancestor’s grave – the ancestor buried in Watertown, NY.  The soil of Ériu became the flesh, blood, and bones of her people.  Some of those people, like my ancestor, are now in the soil here, thus intermingling with the land here in America.  “I am part of the whole world,” she seemed to say.  An Earth Mother linked to all other Earth Mothers, rolling on the globe of our greater Earth Mother.  I now imagine a circle of dancing women bringing life and change as they weave around a central bonfire, individual and yet connected always by the forces of this planet…

She faded out over the sea but left me feeling at peace and connected.

And now my baby is kicking and I think about all the ancestors, land spirits, and Earth Goddesses making up this new little one.  Are any of us really new?  Seems to me that we’re recycled.  We are a continuation – it is the hope we have that springs anew each time.

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