Here at Promise Prenatal, we are passionate about giving back; both to the community and the world at large. We feel particularly connected to issues that affect women and young girls and feel it’s important to support organizations that impact those most at risk. One phenomenal organization we’d like to highlight is Seeds of Hope. Seeds of Hope works with victims of sex trafficking in Costa Rica, providing educational and financial assistance as they steer these young women in the direction of hope for a better future.
Sex Trafficking Facts
Sex trafficking is essentially modern day slavery. Approximately 80% of all human trafficking across the globe is for the purpose of sexual exploitation and it is estimated that 32 billion dollars are earned annually off of the bodies of women and young children. The average age of a child being trafficked for the purpose of sex is 12 – 14 years old, with some victims being sold as young as 3 years of age. These are the sad and shocking realities of an underworld that aren’t talked about nearly enough.
What many of us don’t realize is that sex trafficking takes on many forms. It doesn’t necessarily involve human smuggling, kidnapping, transporting or forcible sex acts through threat or physical violence which is the case in Costa Rica. The young victims here are turned on to the streets not by a pimp or a trafficker, but sadly by their own mothers.
We recently had the opportunity to discuss the issue of sex trafficking with Dana Nuesca of Seeds of Hope and came away from the interview more motivated than ever to help make a difference in the lives of these young women. Please read our interview with Dana below:
How did Seeds of Hope Home get its start?
“Our founder Penny Williams had honeymooned in Costa Rica and continued to visit regularly for about five years. She eventually purchased a home there and felt such a connection to the country and its people that she felt guided to give back to the community. She had already facilitated other projects and was in the process of trying to determine her next one when a chance encounter with some older men on a bridge in Costa Rica gave her the answer. One of the men opened up to Penny revealing he was on a “sex vacation” and proceeded to have a very candid conversation with her about sex tourism in Costa Rica. Originally, Penny had been contemplating building a skate park, but after meeting with community leaders to discuss the issue of sex trafficking, all parties agreed this was a problem within the community and an issue which needed to be addressed. Interpol, an international intelligence agency, has named Costa Rica the fastest growing capitol for sex tourism.”
Can you explain a bit about what sex tourism is?
“Sex tourism is essentially tourists, typically men, travelling to a vacation destination specifically for the purpose of buying sex. Costa Rica is “Americanized” and much easier to travel to than some of the other known sex tourism destinations like Thailand. Sex with local women is offered as an upgrade to many of the tourist activities available in the country making it easy for men to plan and engage in.”
Tell us a bit about the girls and the situations they come from.
“Penny embarked on a fact finding mission in April of 2012 and it didn’t take long for her to find a group of girls willing to discuss their circumstances. Five days into the trip, we met a prostitute who explained that there was an entire community of women and girls being exploited. We arranged to go in to the community and met with some of these young women and it was then that it was discovered there were no pimps involved in the exploitation of these young girls, but it was their mothers who were sending them out to prostitute in order to bring in money to pay bills, buy groceries etc.”
How does Seeds of Hope work to improve the lives of the young women it helps?
“From Day 1, we needed a way to keep these young girls off of the street, yet we didn’t have the resources needed to make an immediate impact. We decided to round up whatever we could and have these girls make jewelry that we intended to sell back in the United States in order to pay bills for the families, or provide food so they wouldn’t feel the need to put their daughters on the street. Seeds of Hope runs a clubhouse program where the girls not only make jewelry, but also participate in classes. We teach things like English, have Bible classes, vocational training, and a staff psychologist who meets with the girls individually, as well as coordinates group work.
Our club house works on a points or buttons program. We don’t penalize negativity, but rather reinforce the positive. Girls are rewarded for being on time, attending all classes etc. At the end of the week, those with the most buttons participate in a field trip. We partner with others in the community and these trips are typically to places that these young ladies would never have had an opportunity to visit otherwise. We recently took them to a high-end resort where they spent the day and had a chance to hear from one of the managers who came from a community like theirs. This shows them that there are other options.”
Do the girls live at the club house?
“No. We did have a shelter at one point but it wasn’t proving to be a good use of our resources, whereas we knew the clubhouse program was working. Girls 8 – 17 years old are the most at risk and none of them wanted to leave home or their families. It just isn’t something that is done in Costa Rica. They love their mothers and for these girls, leaving their families wasn’t something they were willing to consider.”
What is your success rate, and how do you measure that?
“We have a good success rate. No money exchanges hands. We pay bills, and provide food and other assistance and for the most part, these girls are kept off of the street as a result. We are very in tune with these girls. We know what they are doing on social media and some of them are very candid . We will hear of some families who are benefiting from program resources and are still putting their daughters on the street, and we make them aware if it continues they will no longer receive groceries or other assistance. The biggest measure of impact though is behavior. For example, we had one girl in particular who came to us very hateful, rude and almost unapproachable. After working with Seeds of Hope she is almost like an entirely different person . She is happy, smiles, talks and even comes to hug. To see girls go from prostitution to the belief that there are other possibilities is really how we know we’ve made a difference.”
What do the authorities do to prevent sex trafficking or sex tourism?
“Unfortunately, there is nothing on the books in Costa Rica to label this as illegal. It doesn’t say it IS legal, but there are no laws prohibiting sex tourism. Fortunately, the US has started to take a look at this and is monitoring travelers with a little more scrutiny. Older men travelling alone to countries known for sex tourism are now being watched more closely. Costa Rica has child protection laws in place; however they will not forcibly remove a child from the home if they have no interest in leaving. We have had the country’s Director of Social Services come to view our program and the organization is amazed by our success. They would like to see us expand this across the country.”
One of the interesting things about Seeds of Hope Home is that you also run a boys program. Can you tell us a bit about that?
“Although, while not as prevalent, boys are victims of trafficking too. We are hoping to expand the boys program but at the moment our boys group meets once a week. We are focused on empowering them and teaching them to have healthy positive attitudes about women. Our aim is to create future leaders.”
Where do you sell the jewelry that the girls make?
“Our jewelry is sold online at: https://www.seedsofhopehome.com as well as in some smaller consignment shops and on college campuses.”
How can people get involved?
“Donations are obviously the most impactful for us, as this aids us in better assisting these families. We also have paid staff who work with the girls, so any donations are definitely appreciated for them as well. We also send jewelry out to those who are interested in selling it at events they may be hosting.”
As much as the realities of this world sadden us, we are so grateful for organizations like Seeds of Hope who work to make a difference. A big thank you to Dana Nuesca for taking the time to speak with us and an even bigger thank you to the entire Seeds of Hope team for all of the amazing work you are doing to change the lives of these young women, all in the name of Jesus. To learn more about this incredible organization, please visit the Seeds of Hope Website at: https://www.seedsofhopehome.com
Biotegrity Corporation implemented The Promise Give Campaign to make a difference. You, our valued customer, becomes part of the solution in the fight for human rights with each purchase. A portion of every sale is donated to a non-profit charity. Find out more at www.biotegrity.com
The placenta is the only organ produced on demand for temporary use, and it rather ingeniously expels itself when no longer needed. From generating hormones and transferring food and oxygen, to protecting the fetus and eliminating waste, it is vital to the growth and development of your baby.
Many cultures around the world consider the placenta almost sacred for its supporting role in the creation of a new life and include it in symbolic traditions like burying it beneath a tree to cement the child’s roots to the land of its birth… and then there is the not-so-new trend that the western world has been relatively slow to embrace, the consumption of the organ after giving birth. Many mammals in nature eat their placenta butbehavioral scientists aren’t sure why. One theory is that consuming the placenta reduces the risk of attracting predators to the birth site.
This practice is known as placentophagy and despite the fact that it has been a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine since the 1500’s, and is more common in other parts of the world, placenta consumption has yet to become a standard practice here, but is steadily gaining ground. In the form of an essence or a tea, various recipes or dried and encapsulated, celebrities from January Jones and Alicia Silverstone, to Kim Kardashian have raved about eating their own placentas.
According to Mark Kristal, Ph.D., neuroscientist at the University of Buffalo in New York, who has studied placentophagia in nonhuman mammals for decades, states the most compelling argument in support of placentophagia is the possible presence of compounds in the afterbirth that may be beneficial to humans. While there is very little scientific evidence to support it, proponents of placenta consumption claim that it speeds postpartum healing and list the below among its many benefits.
· Aids lactation and increases milk supply
· Reduces Postpartum bleeding
· Increases energy levels
· Reduces risk of developing Postpartum depression
· Replenishes valuable nutrients lost during childbirth
Kristal explains such compounds have yet to be identified, and if present, they would likely be destroyed by the heat used to cook or otherwise process the placenta. He also concluded that humans might have good reasons for not ingesting the afterbirth—for example, the placenta acts as a filtering system and therefore could contain environmental toxins.
Scientifically proven or not, a growing number of women in the western world are joining in on the practice of placentophagia. So, how does one go about preparing and consuming their placenta? Even with the help of the placenta cook book (and no, we didn’t make that up – it really does exist), most new moms can barely muster the energy to make a sandwich for herself let alone cook her own placenta. It is for this reason that the preparation of the placenta for the purpose of consumption should be left to someone with experience. A quick internet search will provide a list of people ready and willing to offer the service. For a fee ranging from $200 – $400, there are several doulas, midwives, and actual placenta encapsulation specialists who will pick your placenta up from the hospital and prepare it for you. All you’ll have to do is decide on the best method for you. Some of your options include raw placenta encapsulation, smoothies or teas.
Placenta consumption may not be for everyone, and it appears, like in many non-traditional practices the jury is still out. So, for those of you on the squeamish side who’d prefer to have your little one be the only fruit of your labor you enjoy, you may choose to continue taking your prenatal vitamin. Postpartum prenatal vitamins along with DHA omega-3 will offer many of the same benefits during your post pregnancy recovery and lactation.
Even if your friends and family have come to know you as “Mrs. Christmas”, if you’re expecting or have a brand new baby in the house, the holiday season you ordinarily sing and dance your way through will likely be little different this year.
Finding the time to keep up with the housework can prove difficult enough on its own; then Christmas comes along and you’re faced with gift shopping, Christmas cards, holiday parties, and food preparation. The very thought of it all is enough to make you want to hide until the New Year. Well fear not Mamas because we’ve put together some tips to help you make it through the holidays with your sanity still intact!
You are NOT Martha Stewart
Repeat after us. “I am not Martha Stewart”. Say it, own it, feel it, believe it! Unless Architectural Digest is sending a photographer over to shoot your home for their holiday edition, your house does not need to be perfect. Do you really need Christmas lights on every tree, bush and window around your house? Let’s not forget how that worked out for the Griswold family in Christmas Vacation! Expectant moms will need to reserve their energy leading up to the big day, and new Mommies are already short on shut-eye. The last thing you need to do with baby’s nap time is worry about holiday decorations. If you insist on channeling your inner Martha Stewart, at least ask for some assistance. Call a friend or two and have them come over to help you get your home holiday ready. At least then you can squeeze in some good quality girl time. Otherwise, put up your tree, hang a wreath on your door and get some rest!
Learn to Say No
Rather than stress yourself trying to find the time and energy to attend every holiday event that you’re invited to, narrow your commitments down to those that are mandatory. You may be accustomed to party hopping at this time of year but this Christmas is different. You are not superwoman and it’s ok to gracefully decline party invitations. The hosts will understand, and if they’re the kind who wouldn’t, it’s probably safe to say that’s a party you should skip out on anyway.
There’s No Place Like Home
Dorothy said it best in the Wizard of Oz. There is no place like home! Unless you’ve only got a short distance to travel, it’s probably best to celebrate the holidays in your own space this year. Expectant Moms will want to stay close to their doctor / midwife / doula or hospital, and any new Mom will tell you that traveling with a baby is less than thrilling. Not only does it require you to pack up five thousand accessories, it also interrupts the routine you’ve been working so hard to settle in to. In addition to shortening your “to do” list, staying at home for Christmas allows you to start your own traditions which will stay with you and your children as your family continues to grow.
Employ the Services of Virtual Elves
If you’re expecting or taking care of a newborn, online shopping is the equivalent of having your own little helper elves! You can avoid the mall crowds, the endless line-ups and the battle to find parking! Don’t worry if you missed out on “Cyber Monday” because there’s still time to order holiday gifts in time for Christmas. To further simplify things, look for online retailers who offer a range of products. Rather than bouncing from site to site looking for gifts, and repeatedly having to key in your credit card information and shipping details, one-stop shopping makes things that much easier. If all of the web-browsing still seems like too much, consider giving a donation to a charitable cause in your gift recipients name instead. Organizations like Oxfam, Save the Children, Women for Women and Plan Canada all provide things like insecticide treated bed nets, a pair of hens, a goat, medical supplies, job skills training and education for as little as $10.00. You simply choose an item to purchase online and they’ll send a card on your behalf detailing the impact gift you’ve given in their name. We’ve included some sites below.
Cut Corners in the Kitchen
For the super ambitious among you who’ve opted to host Christmas dinner this year, consider cutting corners where you can. Rather than slaving over the preparation of an elaborate holiday spread, why not opt for a pot-luck affair instead? If each of your guests brings a dish, it’ll give you time to nurse, pump, change diapers or possibly squeeze in a nap. If pot-luck just isn’t your style, you can save yourself some time with an easy stove top stuffing, gravy from a can, and a store-bought pie for dessert. Remember, Martha Stewart you are not. At least not this year anyway.
Take a Breath
Above all else, take a deep breath and try to relax. While it may sound cliché, remember the reason for the season. Christmas is about so much more than parties, decorations, presents and elaborate meals. So this year, allow yourself the freedom to enjoy whatever the holidays bring with the people who mean the most. You can return to you regular “Mrs. Christmas” duties next year.
From all of us here at Promise Prenatal, have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!
Have a great week, amazing moms! You are our heroes.
The Biotegrity Team
Sometimes it may just seem easier to do all of the housework yourself, rather than watch the painful process of a newly trainer worker as he puts things in the wrong place, drops it five times on the way to the shelf or is distracted and forgets the task altogether. Only to see him pull everything back out simply for the fun of doing it all over again. We are here to tell you, your endurance and patience will pay off so don’t loose faith mom.
Your children are part of the family, and as such should play a part in all areas of family life. Taking on chores will help your child to improve their organizational and time management skills. Most importantly, it will help him prepare for the future, and avoid him turning up at college with no idea how to do laundry. Below is a list of age-appropriate chores. Remember, every child is different and you may need to adjust chores to fit your child’s abilities.
It’s strange but true, we’re here to tell you that toddlers find a lot of enjoyment in doing small, age appropriate chores around the house. At around 18 months, your child may start to understand and follow simple instructions. You may be able to ask your child to tidy up toys, or put books back on the bookshelf. Even if he’s not yet old enough to do that, he may copy you when you start to tidy up his toys. Of course, he may also tip the toys onto the floor at the end, because he had so much fun tidying, he wants to do it again. This is an age-appropriate reaction and unfortunately there’s not much you can do about it other than grit your teeth and wait for the phase to pass.
If your toddler eats at a low table (rather than at a high chair), he may be able to set the table with a little help from you. Some parents use mats that outline where each piece of cutlery should go, and the child simply matches it all up. Keeping your child’s bowl and cup in a low down cupboard, can give your child a sense of independence even at this young age. You could also encourage your child to wash up after himself at the end of each meal, by having a bowl of warm soapy water in his reach.
One of the great things about starting these sorts of chores young, is that it becomes a normal part of everyday life for your child. He learns to wash up after himself and, while he may not be very good at it at age two, will continue to do this as he grows up.
Your toddler may also like to help you sort the washing into individual piles, wash the vegetables for dinner or pull weeds in the garden too. If you are trying to get on with something around the house, and your toddler is getting frustrated, try to find a way to include him in the process.
3-5 year olds
As your child matures and learns new skills, you will be able to involve him in more of the housework. We even encourage team work with other siblings to complete these chores. Each child is different, and you will know what your child will enjoy and feel challenged by, but examples of age-appropriate jobs for this age range include:
● unloading the dishwasher
● putting away his clean laundry
● helping unpack the groceries
● caring for the family pet
● peeling vegetables and cutting fruit (under adult supervision)
● sweeping the floor
6 and over
As well as the chores mentioned above, your child may now be able carry out tasks including:
● preparing lunch
● changing his bed sheets
● loading the dishwasher
● washing the car
● doing the laundry
As your child becomes a teenager, you may be able to send him out to the grocery store too. This will help him to feel independent, as well as teaching them about maths, problem solving and social interaction. Older children could also mow the lawn, shovel snow and make dinner. In fact, many teenagers will be able to take on pretty much any household chore, but try to be sensitive to their schedule. Most teenagers already have a lot on their plates with school, homework, extra curricular clubs and activities, and socializing, so try not to fill what little time they have left with chores. Give them a select number of chores and ask them to do those each week, but don’t overload them.
While these are categorized by age, it’s important to remember that all children are different. While one child may be able to empty the dishwasher at five years old, another may not be quite ready for this responsibility. Make sure you give your child tasks he is able to complete, thank him for doing it and let him see the value of his work. Don’t expect things to be perfect, and don’t re-do his tasks in front of him. If his washing up isn’t perfect, don’t mention it – let him feel proud of doing the washing up alone.
Bringing a new life in to the world is nothing short of a miracle and if you’re like many women, you probably think that it will take something close to another one to get your pre-pregnancy body back, but we’re here to tell you that’s not the case. In the early days most new Mom’s will be too preoccupied by a combination of exhaustion and euphoria to give exercise a second thought, but the realization will eventually settle in that even though your baby is finally here, you’re still carrying more of your baby weight than you’d like to be. Well, not to worry ladies – with a little perseverance, gentle exercise and a healthy diet, you can get your body back, and the good news is that it won’t take a miracle to do it!
First things first, you need to be realistic about your weight loss goals. While Hollywood may be home to the select few that seem to bounce back within three seconds of giving birth, that isn’t reality for the rest of us. In the absence of a nanny, chef, and personal trainer at our disposal, most of need a little more time, and that’s just fine. Be gentle with yourself, set realistic goals, and you will eventually get there.
Birth is traumatic to your body and in order for it to properly recover, most experts recommend waiting six weeks before embarking on a post-pregnancy fitness program. Because each of our bodies and birth experiences are as unique as our babies, this recommendation is only a general guideline. You should always check with your doctor or midwife to be sure that you are medically cleared prior to starting postnatal exercise.
Diet plays an important role in any healthy weight loss program and is particularly important after childbirth, especially for nursing mothers. Not only do you need to ensure you are getting enough of the right vitamins and nutrients from a post-pregnancy prenatal vitamin, a healthy diet will also speed recovery and provide you with the energy you need to meet the demands of motherhood. As they say, you are what you eat, and no one has ever lost weight on a steady diet of take-out and donuts. A healthy diet that includes whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables will assist your weight loss goals.
Post-pregnancy fitness should be a gradual undertaking. You can’t expect to launch in to an hour long workout the minute you get clearance from your healthcare provider, but you can slowly work your way from gentle introductory exercise, to increased intensity as your body becomes accustomed to activity again. When setting weight loss goals, expect to reach them in months, as opposed to weeks. One pound per week is considered realistic. So, with that said, if you’ve been given the medical go ahead and are committed to eating right and being patient with yourself, using the exercises below you’ll soon find yourself back to pre-pregnancy shape in no time at all.
The pelvic floor muscles support your uterus, bowel and bladder and they withstand a fair amount of strain during pregnancy and childbirth. Strengthening these muscles is the exception to the six week rule, and Kegel exercises are the way to go. Regaining strength in this area early on can help prevent childbirth induced incontinence. Kegels are performed by contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles. If you’ve never done them before, the first time to try is while using the bathroom as this will help you identify the correct muscles. Practice by stopping the flow of urine mid-way through, and restart. This is a Kegel and now that you know how to perform one, try to contract and release these muscles at least 3 times per day. Contract the muscle, hold for 5 seconds and release before repeating. Start with 3 sets of 5 and try to work yourself up to 3 sets of 10.
Much like swimming, walking falls in to the category of low-impact cardio exercise. Any exercise that increases the heart rate and gets the lungs going is burning fat but it’s important to remember that the hormones responsible for loosening your joints and ligaments enough to accommodate childbirth will keep everything in this same relaxed state for several months after you’ve delivered. It is for this reason that women are cautioned to wait before returning to sports and other high impact aerobic activities for a minimum of three months after giving birth to avoid injury. Walking is ideal because it gets both the heart and lungs working, and targets most of the muscles in the typical “pregnancy weight” hot-spots. In addition, fresh air is good for both you and baby, and sunshine aids the manufacture of vitamin D which helps the body absorb and metabolize calcium and phosphorus. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can opt to walk inside a mall to gain the same exercise value. You should start off with a ten minute walk five times per week, and as you ease in to the activity, slowly work your way up to a brisk twenty minute walk every day if possible.
The first thing most women are anxious to lose after birth is the excess weight around the midsection. Many a new mom has been dismayed to discover that even after baby is finally here, she’s still left with a tummy that resembles the one she had at three months pregnant. While crunches may seem like the logical solution, they are actually one of the worst exercises for a brand new mom, especially if you have Diastasis recti. If you do have abdominal separation, typical crunches can make matters worse. You should allow the rectus abdominus (the top abdominal muscle) to heal before starting a fitness routine that includes sit-ups. You can however work on the transverse abdominus which is the deepest abdominal muscle. You can gently do this by lying on the floor and keeping your lower back flat to the ground. Exhale completely as you draw your belly button inward towards your spine. Hold for a count of 8, then breathe in, relax, and repeat. Start by performing this 10 – 15 times and then work your way up to 20 as you feel comfortable.
When you are ready for more vigorous abdominal exercises, you can start with the shoulder curl. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and shoulder width apart. Keeping your hands at your sides to help with balance if necessary and exhale as you slowly lift your shoulders up off of the floor keeping the small of your back pressed down. Hold for a count of 5 and inhale as you gently lower your shoulders back to the floor. Start with 3 sets of 5 – 8 curls, and gradually work your way up to 3 sets of 10 – 15.
Lying on the floor with knees bent and shoulder width apart, gently squeeze your buttocks as you lift your pelvis off of the floor. Don’t arch your lower back and try to keep it in contact with the ground at all times. Start with 3 sets of 5 – 8 pelvic tilts and gradually work your way up to 3 sets of 10 – 15 when you feel comfortable. When you feel you are ready, you can combine the pelvic tilt with the shoulder curl for a more intense crunch that works the lower and upper abdominal muscles simultaneously.
Lunges are the perfect exercise for a new mom because they work the legs, buttocks, back, and abdominal muscles, and can be done while holding your baby if necessary. Take a step forward and bend your knee lowering yourself towards the floor. Don’t to allow your knee to extend beyond the foot. Return to the upright position and repeat with the other leg. Repeat 5 – 8 times per leg and gradually work your way up to 10 – 15 times when you feel ready.
Just like lunges, squats can also be done while holding your baby making them a mom-friendly exercise. They work your thighs, buttocks, back and abdominals and you’ll likely find that baby enjoys the ride! Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, squat down pushing your buttocks back as though you are going to take a seat. As you squat, take care to ensure that your knees are not bending beyond your feet so that you don’t hyper-extend the knees. Start with 3 sets of 5 – 8 squats and gradually work your way up to 3 sets of 10.
The exercises above are gentle to ensure that you slowly ease yourself in to postnatal activity. Your body has been through a lot so you need to pace yourself and watch for signs that may indicate the need to slow down. These include increased lochia flow or a change in color to a bright red or pink, aches and pains, or increased fatigue. Remember that it took you nine months to gain the weight, so it will take some time to lose it as well. Just keep at it and you will eventually reach your weight loss goal and see the return of your pre-pregnancy body. The most important thing is be gentle with yourself and enjoy your baby as you settle in to your new routine together.
As much as we may not like to think about it, the fact remains that women have long been the targets of violence. Whether it comes in the form of domestic abuse or random attacks, the figures are shocking. In fact, it is estimated that in the US alone, a woman is battered or attacked every 15 seconds.
It is for this reason that women of all ages should be equipped with some basic self-defense skills. While the subject of today’s post may be unpleasant, it is meant to provide our readers with some practical advice that we hope you’ll never need, but will prove helpful should you ever find yourself in a crisis situation that requires you to defend yourself from attack.
We were fortunate enough to speak with self defense instructor Dennis Funderberg, who graciously agreed to be interviewed for our blog. Dennis is the owner of Cobra1 Dojo outside of Ft. Worth, Texas, and hollds a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a red sash in the lesser-known ancient art of Ninjutsu. Because we focus on all things baby here at Promise Prenatal, we were interested in techniques that would benefit pregnant women and new moms in particular, but Dennis has provided us with some basic tips that can be used by women of all ages.
Is it safe for pregnant women to take a self defense class?
Yes. Self defense isn’t really about rigorous training. A lot of it is about awareness and learning to carry yourself in a way that won’t make you a target.
Are pregnant women at the same risk of attack as their non-pregnant counterparts?
Unfortunately, anyone who appears to be an easy target is at a risk of attack. Whether you are pregnant, disabled or simply lack confidence, if you appear vulnerable, you are at risk.
Since attackers seek out victims who seem vulnerable, what are some ways to appear strong and confident and therefore minimize the chances of being attacked?
A lot of it depends on your body language. For example, walking with your head down or your shoulders slumped, or even just sauntering along – you should always keep your head high and walk with purpose. I always tell people that when heading to your car, instead of fumbling around in your purse for your keys, have them ready and in your hand. If you appear distracted, you seem like an easy target.
What is the best strategy for defending yourself if faced with a frontal attack?
If you see them coming towards you and you have enough time, you want to run because avoidance is the best defense. If you don’t have time though, you’ll want to get in to a good stance. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. If you are right-handed, place your right foot behind you, and if you’re left-handed, step back with your left foot. This will help you brace yourself for an attack. You should put your hands up in front of your face with your elbows in to protect your diaphragm, neck and face. Keep your chin down, and always try to be the first to attack. Don’t let anyone who is trying to assault you make the first move. The hunter needs to become the hunted.
What is the best way to defend yourself when attacked from behind?
If someone grabs you from behind and has you in a bear-hug type of hold, you should drop your elevation a bit and pick up your elbows as this will break the hold. You need to become super active and jump, squirm, twist or even throw your head back to head-butt. You want to do whatever it takes to break the hold or knock them off-balance.
Both pregnant women and those who’ve perhaps just had a c-section would need to protect themselves while also guarding the mid-section. Is there a way to do this?
Obviously the best thing is going to be avoidance. The last thing you want to do is end up in a brawl in that type of situation. I would recommend utilizing other strengths. For example if you are heading towards your car, not only having your keys ready, but having the panic button ready, or keeping the keys in between your fingers so that they become a weapon.
What is the best way to protect yourself while holding an infant? Are there any one-armed techniques?
I believe God has given all mothers the instinct to protect their child by whatever means necessary. You will want to put up your shoulder or move whichever are arm you are holding your child in away from the attacker. You want to go on the offensive as opposed to just focusing on defense. Go for the areas that are going to inflict damage and give you the means to get you and your child out of harms reach.
What are the key areas to aim for when fighting an assailant?
All of this happens so fast, but I always tell people to go for the eyes, throat, groin, and knee caps. Self defense is not pretty, and in that situation you want to protect yourself by whatever means is necessary.
What other advice can you offer women with regards to self defense?
I would say the most important thing is to just be aware of your surroundings. Walk with your head up, watch your posture, look around and pay attention to what’s going on in your environment. Make eye contact with people and train your ears to listen. Awareness is really important.
So there you have it ladies. Again, our aim with this post was not to frighten anyone, but simply to provide some helpful and potentially life-saving advice. We extend a big thank-you the talented Dennis Funderberg for his time and his wisdom, and remind all of our Moms to be aware and stay safe.
Now that the start of the school year has arrived, you may be wondering how you can best support your child through his or her education. Children are born with a natural curiosity and a desire to learn, and it is our job as a parent to help them utilize this gift. You have been your child’s teacher since the day they were born and you will still be your child’s most influential teacher, even after he or she starts school. Here are some tips to help equip you as you steer your child to love learning:
For people of all ages, reading is a great way to engage the mind, learn new things and find enjoyment. Babies enjoy the sound of their parent’s voice, toddlers enjoy the story, and older children enjoy working out what will happen next. Make sure your child always has access to a variety of reading materials. By keeping books within reach, you are allowing your child to read whenever she likes. Books can be picked up for next to nothing at thrift stores, so you can build an impressive collection without breaking the bank.
Follow their interests
Your child’s interests will probably change regularly, from outer space one week, to cowboys the next. By keeping track of your child’s current interests, you can best find ways to engage them in learning. If they show a keen interest in wildlife, take them to a local nature reserve for a day of wildlife spotting. If they are interested in science, take a trip to a science museum or try out some simple experiments at home. Make sure you change what you do to match their current interests, because this will encourage them to continue learning about new and exciting topics.
Children learn best when they figure things out for themselves. This will allow self confidence to blossom in whatever it is they are doing. They will soon realize that the square peg does not fit through the round hole, and by figuring it out and finding a solution, they will have built on his or her problem solving skills. If they asks for your help, try to find a way to guide them to the correct answer, without completing the task yourself.
At school, most of your learning takes place within the same four walls. But as a parent, you are teaching your child things everywhere you go. Everything can become a learning experience – a trip to the shops can become an impromptu lesson in math. Seek out new experiences to help inspire and engage your child in learning about the world around them. Libraries, museums, days out and holidays are all great ways to immerse your child in a new and exciting learning experience.
You have years of accumulated wisdom, and your child is hungry to learn, so make sure you share your passions with your child. If you have recently read an interesting blog about human interaction, or watched a fascinating documentary about the women’s rights movement, tell your child about it. Let your passion rub off on them. Though they may not grow to be passionate about the same subjects, they will hopefully learn to be passionate about new information.
Many parents are stumped by difficult questions from their children, “What causes rain?” and “What is time?” are two that regularly feature on top 10 lists of questions dreaded by parents. It’s ok not to know the answer, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or dismiss the question out of hand. By explaining that you don’t know, and that searching for the answer together, you are creating a strong learning experience.
Focus on effort
One trap that many well-meaning parents fall into, is to focus on achievement and not effort. By focusing on effort, you are teaching your child that it is always important to try your hardest, regardless of the outcome. “You put a lot of effort into that drawing, didn’t you?” and “Wow I could see how hard you were trying then, well done.” may not feel natural to say at first, but you’ll soon get into the habit of it.
Whether your child is still at home, homeschooling or has started back to school, the sky is the limit on things you can explore. There are so many wonders in our world and they want to know all about them. Enjoy this season of learning together as you share your passions and most of all, have fun!
With summer coming to an end and the new school year upon us, parents are yet again tasked with lunch box preparation. Perhaps more taxing than the preparation itself, is the task of coming up with creative and healthy lunch box ideas that your child will enjoy. If you’re like most of us, you’re fresh out of ideas by week two, and your child is horrified at the thought of another ten months of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. To make things easier for both of you we’ve put together a list of nine lunch ideas sure to please your child’s fickle taste buds, and keep your prep time down to a minimum.
1. Grilled Tortilla Rolls – These quick and easy rolls are prepared the night before and only take minutes to assemble. Lay the whole wheat tortillas flat and top with shredded or thinly sliced cheese of your choice. Add smoked ham or turkey slices and roll the tortilla, folding the end in. Grill them seam side down in a non-stick pan until the cheese melts sealing the tortilla shut. Remove from pan and allow to cool before wrapping in foil. Keep them in the fridge overnight and simply toss in to your child’s lunch box the following morning.
2. Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas – These mini pizzas are great as you can make a dozen at a time and freeze them for use whenever you want. Spread a dozen mini tart shells on to a baking sheet, and drop in thinly sliced pepperoni or ham, and vegetables of your choice. Top with grated mozzarella and bake at 400 F for 18 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and store in freezer until you’re ready to use.
3. Loaded Unbaked Potato – This is a spin on a classic roadhouse recipe. You’ll need a small thermos type container as it should be eaten warm. It may be difficult to find a thermos in a shape that will accommodate a baked potato so this recipe uses mashed instead. If you don’t have time to prep this in the morning, it can be done at night and reheated before packing. Boil and mash your potatoes adding a dollop or two of sour cream for flavor. Top with cubed ham or bacon, some grated cheddar cheese and add to thermos.
4. Peanut Butter Banana Roll – You will need to check with your school district before sending this one as many schools have started to ban nut products due to the high number of students with peanut allergies. This one literally takes seconds to prepare. Lay a whole wheat wrap flat and spread with peanut butter. Peel a banana and place at one side and begin to roll. Slice wrap in half and place in to sandwich container.
5. 5. Sliced Chicken Dog – This recipe is the perfect use for leftover chicken. Simply slice your leftover chicken in to bit-sized pieces and place in a non-stick pan. Top with grated cheese, or add diced onion for extra flavor. Heat in pan until the cheese has melted and transfer on to a whole wheat hotdog bun before wrapping in foil or placing in a sandwich container.
6. 6. Chilli & Nachos – Chilli is not just for football season and this is a warm and hearty lunch for when the cooler weather kicks in! The next time you make a batch of your favorite chilli, scoop some in to lunch sized containers and freeze. When packing lunch, simply remove from freezer, reheat and transfer to your child’s thermos container. Pack some nachos in to a separate dish along with some grated cheese and your child’s lunch will surely be the envy of the entire lunch room!
7. 7. Chicken Caesar Pita Pockets – This is another excellent use for left-over chicken. Cut a whole wheat pita in half. Open and fill with sliced chicken, romaine lettuce, shredded cheese, and crispy croutons if your little one is a fan. To avoid soggy pita, croutons, and wilted lettuce, keep the dressing in a separate container and your child can add it to their pita pocket before eating.
8. Ice Cube tray sushi – Chances are your little one is in no hurry to eat raw fish, but we bet they’ll love this recipe when made with meat or veggies that they enjoy. Cover an ice cube tray with plastic wrap and press it down in to each hole. Spoon some sushi rice in to each of the compartments and press your finger in to the center of each to form a hole in the middle of the rice. Fill with finely chopped veggies like cucumber, carrots, tomatoes or avocado, or toss in some cubed ham or left-over chicken or beef. Spoon some more rice on top and press firmly. Remove your sushi cubes from the tray by gently lifting the plastic wrap, and pop them in to a container. Make a dressing with 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, 1 tsp of lime juice, and ¼ tsp of sesame oil and store in a separate container. Your child can drizzle it on to the sushi before eating or use it as a dipping sauce.
9. Pizza Muffins – We can’t take credit for this one ourselves, but thought the recipe sounded so good that we had to include a link here. http://www.canadianfamily.ca/recipe/wicked-good-pizza-muffins
We know that parents are busy enough without having to agonize over healthy lunch box preparation. Hopefully the ideas above will you help you switch things up and please your child’s palate in the process. On behalf of all of us here at Promise Prenatal, we wish you and your children a safe, happy, and successful school year!
If you have a home office, you probably spent a while picking out the design scheme for the room. You carefully chose furniture you thought would best suit your needs, and you tried out a few chairs before finding the one. After all if you’re going to be working, you need to be comfortable. Maybe you spent a few hours deliberating over soft furnishings for the room, to make sure you enjoyed spending time in the room. You probably spent time organizing your workspace to be sure everything was within easy reach.
As you embark on your breastfeeding journey, you should probably know that breastfeeding is a bit like a job. The hours can be long, especially in those first few weeks, and you’ll be spending a lot of time in the office. Your boss isn’t great at communicating and has a very short temper, but makes up for it with lots of cuddles and a great smelling head. Ok, so it’s a weird job, but it’s still a job. You might find yourself breastfeeding for up to eight hours a day at first. With that in mind, it’s time to design the perfect office for your new job.
Prime location – your breastfeeding station can be wherever you want it to be. Some newborns cluster feed in the evenings, so you might like to set up your station in the family room so that you’re not missing out on family time during feeds. Despite what the magazines tell you, the breastfeeding station doesn’t need to be set up in the nursery. In fact, with the baby likely to spend at least the first few months sleeping in your room, you may find the nursery doesn’t get much use until your baby is older.
Comfort is key – you don’t want to end up with pins and needles in your foot, a dead arm and back ache during every feed. Your baby could latch on for 40 minutes to an hour at a time, so you want to make sure your breastfeeding station has comfort at its very core. Choose a comfortable seat, and set up extra cushions and blankets nearby so you have everything you need within your grasp.
Entertainment value – for the first few days, you may be happy staring at your newborn’s head during breastfeeds, marvelling at this amazing little person you’ve added to your family. After that, however, you might need a bit of entertainment to keep you awake during feeds (yes, even daytime feeds – you’ll be that tired). You may want to have a television near your breastfeeding station, and have an unwatched DVD waiting in the machine. Make sure you have the remotes within reach too, so all you need to do is press play. Mobile phones, tablets and good old fashioned books are also great entertainment options to have available at your breastfeeding station.
Snack attack – breastfeeding is thirsty work, and you’re likely to become peckish too, so make sure you have a drink and snacks to hand. Keep a bottle of water at your breastfeeding station so you always have a drink within arm’s reach. You may also like to keep some snacks such as nuts or fruit nearby.
Nipple necessities – keep some spare breast pads, muslin cloths and nipple cream at your breastfeeding station, so you have them on hand if you need them.
On the move – the best kind of breastfeeding stations, are the adaptable ones. During night feeds you may decide the nursery or your bedroom is easiest, so you’ll want to be able to relocate your station quite easily. You can create a mobile breastfeeding space by simply keeping everything in a basket or box. Simply pick up your basket and you’ll take all of your necessities with you.
Breastfeeding is natural and most often best for your baby, however it’s not always as easy as it looks. The more prepared and relaxed you are the easier it can become.
From all of us here are Biotegrity, congratulations on your new baby (or babies). We know this job isn’t for wimps and we think you moms rock!
Share your tips and advice. Is anything missing from this list? Add your suggestions in the comments.
*Chair and ottoman pictured from Serena and Lily
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