Written By Lifebook Member Diana Shea My mother has always said that the three most amazing days of her life were the days that I and my two sisters were each born. Every year, on our birthdays, she would tell us our birth stories. To this day, she still recounts the details. Among them was her determination to give birth naturally and the pure joy she felt in doing so. Year after year of this retelling was one of the most amazing gifts she could ever give to us. She set the premise in our minds that birthing is a beautiful, natural and extraordinary experience that we wouldn’t want to miss! She repeated to us, time and again, that we are lucky to be girls because we get to have the babies! Likewise, from a very young age, I have held the conviction that birthing naturally is beautifully awesome! Our bodies are expertly designed to grow and birth our babies without intervention. The entire process is natural. Fast forward thirty years to becoming pregnant myself, and it was hard for me to imagine birthing in a hospital environment where medical interventions are the norm. How could I create the birth experience that I wanted? Everyone’s pregnancy and birthing journey is their own. There is no “right way”. For me, however, I knew that the best place for me to birth my babies was at home, so that it would be as unencumbered of institutional rules and policies as possible. My husband and I agreed that with a Certified Nurse Midwife, a top rated hospital close by, and doula support, we would feel safer staying home than going to the hospital for childbirth. And so that’s what we did. If you ask my girls where they were born, they’ll say, “in the dining room”! Now, I know that home birth is not for everyone. And that is ok. We all have to decide what is best for ourselves and our families.   I do feel passionately, however, that our culture needs more examples of and strategies for pursuing natural childbirth in order for more of us to consider it a valid option. And so it is in that spirit that I share with you the following resources. Along the way, I’ve become a trained doula and prenatal yoga instructor, so these suggestions are favorites from my collection. Want to learn more about natural childbirth and the reasons for pursuing it? Check out ‘Natural Childbirth Resources’ (below). Looking to build your toolkit of strategies for a healthy pregnancy and birth experience? Visit my website (www.DianaShea.com) for detailed Childbirth Preparation and Relaxation Techniques. Have a question or want to connect? Email me at info@dianashea.com.

By Jessi Kohlhagen “To love yourself as you are is a miracle, and to see yourself is to have found yourself, for now. And now is all we have… and love is who we are.” - Anne Lamott As parents, it’s up to us to teach our children to love their bodies. We get the sacred task of showing them how to respect and enjoy their beautiful form, even when the world gives them so many reasons to do the opposite. To remind them that they get only one, that it is sacred and miraculous, and to cherish every moving moment. To instill confidence and self-love in them, by demonstrating what it looks like, how it feels, how it moves. To teach them that their bodies are magical in what they can perform, that they are constantly changing, and worth loving no matter what. Here are 20 ways we can raise our kids to love and respect all bodies -- most of all, their own.