Surprises in Parenting: Motherhood Edition

We all know that parenting is hard, but do you really know everything about it until you are in it? We have asked a few parents to share what things surprised them about being a parent.This month we are going to hear from a few mothers about the things they weren’t expecting when it came to caring for their kids.

Thanks to Karla Griesbaum, for sharing her story!

  1. That each child is different, and require different parenting. There are so many books, articles, magazines, and products that try to tell us how to raise our children. How to get them to sleep, what they should be eating, when they should eat it, or age-appropriate activities and milestone charts. The most important thing I’ve learned as a parent is to follow my instincts. Before I had kids, I thought that I’d be prepared, and most of my preparations were all for not. I had newborn cloth diapers that ended up digging into my son’s little legs. So that was a bust. I read about independent sleeping and put him down when he fell asleep all the time – something which I regret and vowed to hold my subsequent children as much as possible. I thought a pacifier was an evil devise used to silence a baby in need of attention. If I would have let my first use one, he may not have nursed so much he violently spit up all the time. My second didn’t want it. My third now uses it. I’ve learned that I need to follow their lead. I don’t treat all my children the same. It may not seem fair, and it wasn’t how I thought good parenting should be, but the truth is they are all different people, with different needs. There is no perfect answer for how to get a child to sleep, or to eat their vegetables, or to use manners. Each child learns differently and responds differently, and I have to be three different Moms to each.
  2. That there is nothing you can do to prevent “bad” behavior. Of course, as a parent, I’ve learned to see the behavior that I used to see as ornery as normal child development. Babies, toddlers, and kids are going to test limits. They are going to scream, throw fits, break down at the slightest thing, and break the rules. It’s in their nature and has nothing to do with being a “bad” parent. Of course, I take each episode as a learning opportunity – to teach them how to use their words, to let out their anger in safe ways, to be respectful…and it’s an ongoing process. I’ve gained patience from this (but still need more). I was a preschool teacher before having kids and said all the time “My kids will never do that!”. Well, they did. And they do. Because that’s what kids do; and once again, they are all different. My son is a rule-follower. He listens, wants to please. He is also very sensitive though, and it hurts when something doesn’t go how he planned (he is my clone, basically). My daughter never listens, it seems. She fights me tooth and nail, is dramatic, and screams. It’s not because I let her get away with anything…it’s because it’s in her nature, and while we are working on it, I now know that I didn’t cause her to be that way.
  3. That I have come to love my body more with each baby. As a young woman I would hear mothers blame pregnancy and motherhood for their unhappiness with their aging bodies. That each gained a few pounds with each and never lost it, that their skin never returned to normal, and these were all bad, hated things. However, being pregnant made me love my body for really the first time. Growing up I was never happy – I was too skinny as a kid…I had no curves or breasts. Then I was too heavy. Then too skinny again, then fat. My spine is curved making only my left hip stick out. Every woman around me criticized themselves, and I did the same. However, being pregnant I felt like I finally knew what my body was there for. I cherished the curves. I didn’t care about cellulite or my never ending behind. I felt healthy, like this is how I should always be. After three babies my body has changed a lot. However, I feel good. I feel healthy and accomplished. I may not like what I see when I look in the mirror, but that’s all the more reason to not even look, because it doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m active and healthy, and my children see a positive attitude towards body image that they can carry into adulthood to avoid the perils I went through in my youth. I never thought having three babies would make me love my body.KARLA final.jpg

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

We’re so happy to welcome April Hine, RN to our blog this week in honor of nurse’s week! April is a labor and delivery nurse at Presence Hospital, and we think she’s awesome. She is also a mom and expecting herself! Phew! Thanks for sharing yourself with us this week despite your crazy busy life, April, and thank you to ALL of the wonderful nurses with whom we have the privilege of working. april hine

What am I going to be when I grow up?  Has the thought ever crossed your mind?  I was 17 years old and shadowing a nurse in a 45 bed neonatal intensive care unit in South Dakota.  It was one of the most valuable experiences of my life.  I was able to see the care of the tiniest micro preemies to full term infants who needed extra love and support.  During my experience I had an overwhelming feeling that nursing was the career path for me.   After my experience, I understood that being a nurse is much bigger than being caring and compassionate.

Although tightly knit in the maternal child realm, I realized that being a labor and delivery nurse was more suitable for me.  Now, fast forward years later and I am working at Presence Covenant Medical Center.  I have been at Presence Covenant for almost 9 years and have enjoyed every minute of it.   I love how the unit census of labor and delivery can be low one minute and 30 minutes later you can be concerned with where the next patient will go.  I am blessed to work with some of the best nurses in the C-U area.

As your labor and delivery nurse, I am privileged to see you through one of your most monumental life events.  Let me tell you, no two births have ever been the same.  Most often families come to our unit with a plan and wishes for their birth experience.  It is extremely important to me to support and encourage families to meet their goals.  As part of a multidisciplinary team, those plans can change and it is my role to educate you on those changes, what to expect, and how we can still help you to reach your overall goal.  It is my job to build your trust, communicate, empathize with you, encourage you, educate you, after all this is your experience and I am blessed to be a part of it.

One of my most favorite moments to witness is when a baby is delivered and placed skin to skin with its mother.  The mother will start speaking to the baby and you can immediately see a response of love, affection, and the infant responds to her voice.  It is beautiful!  After delivery, I have the opportunity to educate, educate, and educate.  Another passion of mine is for breastfeeding.  In 2014, I obtained my certified lactation counselor certificate.  There is something powerful about breastfeeding your baby including the level of confidence one can gain.  From helping someone with their first latch to seeing them through potential complications that can arise, breastfeeding is best!  Practice and patience can help you achieve your breastfeeding goals!

Becoming a registered nurse was one of the best decisions of my life.  This week I was able to celebrate Mother’s Day at work. I helped a first time mom through the labor process.  It was a complete honor!  Now, we as a profession celebrate nurses week!   Being a nurse is so much more than caring and compassion although those are important pieces as well.  Nursing is about advocating, educating, critical thinking, promptness, being selfless, health promotion, communication, following gut instincts, intuition, and being assertive.     Someone once said, “It is a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.”  I do not believe there is a better quote to describe my feelings regarding becoming an OB nurse!


International Day of the Midwife!

We are so pleased to be featuring a guest on our blog today! Laura Lawson, CNM, is the owner and midwife of Her Choice Midwifery Services in Bloomington, IL, serving the Central Illinois area with CNM attended home birth.

Laura Lawson photos2

Happy International Day of the Midwife to all my colleagues , midwives, and midwifery students. International Day of the Midwife (IDM) was an idea to honor and recognize midwives around the world. Wikipedia states IDM was first celebrated May 5, 1991, and has since been observed in over 50 nations around the world. The idea was conceived at the 1987 International Confederation of Midwives conference in the Netherlands.

The word midwife is translated “with” “woman”. A midwife comes in all varieties here in the states from a CPM, certified professional midwife, to a CM, certified midwife, to a CNM, Certified Nurse Midwife. We even have male midwives, we don’t discriminate. Midwives practice in the hospitals, clinics, birthing centers, free standing or attached to hospitals, and in homes. In some states it is possible for midwives to be in solo practices/own their own practices. Midwives work with women and their families and generally support and encourage natural childbirth. However, they can prescribe medications. In addition to providing care during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, midwives provide well women care.

Regardless of our training, education and practice setting I do feel that midwifery has one common belief and that is to support, guide, educate and empower women. We as midwives specialize in normal and it is our job, passion and role to give to our patients the tools and knowledge to let them make an informed decision regarding their care.

I recently had the opportunity to open my own practice. I named it “Her Choice Midwifery Services”. I truly feel that every woman should have a choice in her care. Informed decision making should happen and be honored.

Laura Lawson photos3

My most recent homebirth was a returning client and she stated the only way she would do a homebirth was with me. Trusting your midwife/health care provider is important.

My patient had a waterbirth & used hypnobabies with her first birth at a local hospital. She was nervous about not being able to have a waterbirth this time around as local hospitals do no offer waterbirths any longer. So when I opened my practice, it only made since to her and her husband to have a homebirth. Her first labor was very short, 6 hours, and this labor was only 4 hours. She was able to have a waterbirth and she used utilized hypnobabies again.

The homebirth was so peaceful and a non-intervention delivery. It was different from the hospital birth as there were less vaginal exams, she was able to have who she wanted there, she was able to eat, move in any position she wanted, less monitoring, no IV during labor, and was in the comforts of her own home. Her baby was also born encaul, born in his amniotic sac. Her wishes were discussed prenatally and honored in labor. Her and her baby boy and family did well. She had a great homebirth and an amazing experience.


I am so happy to offer this service to the women in Bloomington/Normal and the surrounding areas. Currently there are only 3 CNMs in central Illinois that are offering homebirth services.

For questions re: midwifery services, homebirths or Her Choice Midwifery Services:

Call 309-585-3535

Facebook: Her Choice Midwifery Services

Laura Lawson, CNM/ Owner Her Choice Midwifery Services