I can't help it - I'm a serial learner. Before starting Nested Mama, I was an academic, and I thrived devouring books and articles. I loved the work of teaching at the university level because I was constantly learning from my students as well as uncovering new depths in the subjects I taught.
Becoming a doula and educator in sleep, childbirth, and breastfeeding hasn't changed my insatiable desire to learn. If anything, the one-on-one support of parents as they navigate one of the most beautiful and challenging transitions of their lives heightens the need to bring more knowledge and skill to the table.
While welcoming a new bundle into the home can be a time of joy, it can also be a time of remembrance where old hurts or the empty arms of loss come alongside those waves of joy.
Statistical estimates of miscarriage suggest that 1 in 4 women will experience a loss.
1 in 4.
And, this number doesn't include stillbirth or those who lose a little one in the days or weeks after birth.
That means if you have not experienced a loss yourself, you won't have to look far for a family member or a friend who has or will experience loss in pregnancy or shortly thereafter. And, because our culture offers little space to speak about and process and remember these losses, you may not even be aware the full extent of the losses experienced by those you hold dear.
That also means when we support families, we need to do better.
I need to do better, too.
This winter and spring I'll be working my way through a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Advocate (P.A.I.L) Training. Once complete, this will count toward certification as a Loss and Bereavement Doula. On this topic, I know I have so very much to learn, and as I do, I hope to share a bit from time to time in this space.
Because we can all do better.
I am so jazzed to share this collaboration with fellow Doulas of Iowa City members Emma Benson and Allison Carfizzi. Read all of our tips for surviving and enjoying the holidays while expecting over on the Doulas of Iowa City blog.
It's December - hurrah! I'm dreaming of that crunch of snow, the smell of fir trees, and warm hot cocoa over on the Doulas of Iowa City blog where I share tips for baby's first holiday season.
While it can be tempting to hibernate all winter long, getting outside - even for 20 minutes a day - can be crucial for maintaining our circadian rhythm. So layer up, and get out!
A few tips for winter adventures:
When the weather is truly cold, I like to pick locations that offer dual outdoor/indoor fun. We start outdoors and last as long as we can, knowing the fun can continue inside. All four of the winter adventures listed below have that indoor/outdoor option!
If you have children who are reluctant to layer (ahem, my children, cough cough), ask them to pack a backpack to take on the adventure with necessary layers. This way they have what they need if they need it, and they can listen to their bodies and make changes.
Keep a wind chill chart bookmarked on your phone and consult the forecast before you go. (This can also give you a sense of whether or not layers are negotiable for outdoor play.)
Invest in winter gear. If you have the layers you need to stay warm, you will enjoy the time outside so much more.
If you or your child needs extra motivation, a thermos of hot coffee/tea/chocolate can go a long way in helping you meet your outside time goals.
If you haven't been before, ICNC boasts a trail network that traipses through prairie, woods, and wetland. Beautiful in warmer temps, the trails offer lots to explore in colder weather, too. The outdoor classroom is a favorite of mine when I want to get us playing in chillier temps. Inside the ICNC the lobby includes several stations to explore nature as well as a bird watching room, perfect for warming fingers and toes after outside play.
The fun at Wickiup Wandering Woods, just a short walk from the parking, continues even in snowy weather. With lots to climb, build, and explore, we like to burn off some steam before heading in to play in the kid-friendly exhibits.
If you park at the Conservation Education Center, you'll find a half-mile, crushed stone, stroller-friendly trail. The perfect length for little legs on a chilly day, this hike allows you to bundle them in stroller if the weather proves a little too fierce. Pop inside the CEC after the hike and enjoy the museum area, complete with hands on exploration.
Winter Night Hike in Your Neighborhood
While I often bemoan how early it gets dark in the winter, I find it presents a unique opportunity to get us all out and moving. With the proper layers, a headlamp or flash light, and some hot cocoa at the end, my crew enjoys a night hike around our neighborhood to see lights on display. This is the perfect way to fit in some outdoor time after work and dinner, too!
What are your favorite outdoor winter adventures in the Corridor? Share in the comments below!
Are you looking for more eco-friendly cleaning options? Do you love to DIY your own cleaning products? Looking for a inexpensive, kid-friendly alternative for toilet bowl cleaner?
I'm so excited to share with you a simple, inexpensive recipe for to make cleaning your toilet a snap. In fact it is so simple, that you can involve your kiddos in making the cleaning product and the actual work of cleaning, too!
If you search on Pinterest you'll find lots of DIY cleaning recipes - I prefer mine to be as simple as possible and easy to scale the size up a batch up or down, so I drew on a few different recipes.
1.) Add the Citric Acid and Baking Soda to the bowl with a 1:1 ration and mix well.
2.) Mix in several drops of essential oils. Even though these tabs are going in the toilet and not on my children, I still choose to use those oils considered safe for children, with citrus varieties being my favorite options. The kiddos often help tossing the tab into the toilet or making them, so it is important to me that I feel comfortable with the ingredients. If you prefer unscented, skip this step.
3.) Slowly add a SMALL amount of water. Ideally use a spray bottle and slowly add a couple sprays at a time. You want the mixture wet enough to clump but not so wet as to lose all the citric acid fizz. (I confess to not having a spray bottle on hand when I made these . . . and I just add a few drops of water at a time.)
4.) When the mixture feels even, press into your chosen molds. Ice cube trays, mini muffin tins, jell-o molds, etc. all work just fine. The mixture will likely expand a bit as it dries, so leave a bit of extra space.
5.) When fully dry, remove from molds and store in an air tight container.
6.) Put a couple in your toilet as needed (pending the size of the molds) and let them fizz! Then use a toilet bowl brush to scrub as normal. Enjoy your clean and fresh toilet!
Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.