June 17, 2010

Midwives

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:07 am by Gina

Hi all,

The title of this post comes from the title of the book I’m currently reading, recommended and lent to me from an avid reader and elementary school teacher, by Chris Bohjalian. The book has been slightly difficult for me to get in to, but I can respect the descriptions and appreciate how different of a topic it’s about–midwifery.

It made me start thinking about midwives. How many are there? What do they do exactly? Benefits? Cons? It’s natural, but how safe is it really?

The Columbia Encyclopedia describes midwifery as “the art of assisting childbirth.” It continues to say that originally in ancient Greece and Rome these women had some formal training. During Medieval times however, the medical arts declined and midwifery became a trade learned solely through experience and oral tradition (two things that shouldn’t be deemed unimportant.)

Now, most midwives are certified nurses and can practice in all 50 states. Lay-midwives, usually trained through apprenticeship, are regulated by state about what duties they can perform.

Why choose a midwife over a safe, regulated, “normal” hospital birth? While reading the novel one of the things that most struck me (all while keeping in mind that of course it is fiction etc etc) is the level of emotion. The woman can choose who is in the room, who will deliver her baby. A midwife who chose to deliver babies because she believes in the absolute beauty of birth and life and believes in doing that in the most natural way possible. Still, other benefits include payment plans, sliding fees and a high number of accepted insurance plans. Also natural methods, choices, and low-intervention rates (cesarean sections.)

MANA, the Midwives Alliance of North America, has a list of definitions of the various types of midwives and their differences among one another.

Would you use a midwife? Is it something that ever even crossed your mind in today’s science, institution based world? Would it surprise you to hear that the United States provides the world’s most expensive maternity care but has worse pregnancy outcomes than almost every other industrialized country? Let me know!

~Gina

May 20, 2010

Yes!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 11:56 pm by Gina

Readers-

Lately I’ve been feeling blah about myself. Nothing too bad, no worries. The only reason I’m posting this is because I don’t want you to think that by any means I always think positively or always feel great about my work/my actions/my body. Thats ok though, because in the end I’ll always turn/try to turn the positive way instead. 🙂

Now for the star of the post! Jessica!

How AMAZING is this? This little girl knows how to do it! Stand in front of your mirror and sing, dance, scream what you love! Make that mirror your friend instead of your constant foe. Anyway, I really liked this short video and the adorable and adorably brilliant little girl.

Your disgustingly corny friend,
Gina

April 18, 2010

What I Love

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 3:18 pm by Gina

Morning readers!

I love a lot of things, I’m talking a really large amount of things (I bet you do too if you took the time to think about it) but what I love today is yoga. I know I’ve talked about it in previous posts but even since then my practice has grown considerably. I go to “power yoga” (the title the gym decided to give it to warn people that its more than your basic yoga class) twice a week from 4:10-5:30.

I’ve been a yoga fan for years now, but classes at the YMCA were on-again off-again because frankly, they weren’t really cutting it. As a student of Ohio University I have “free” access to the many programs offered by their gym, which includes many different yoga classes.

Power Yoga is different from the other yoga classes, and for once offers something that I had unknowingly been searching for in my other classes- a mental aspect. Yoga is practiced by many as simply another work-out. A new way to get some strength training and gain sculpted arms and a sexy butt. Don’t get me wrong, yoga has a bajillion health benefits, but as my new teacher says, we’re not only working on our sexy butts, we’re working on our sexy hearts.

My roommates and friends know the importance of my yoga classes, missing them is hard as a regular school/work week can bring more than enough stress and tension. Yoga class is where I relieve that. Sure I often count it as my strength training and a workout, but that is not the thing that continually brings me back.

For me, it is my time of the week to calm myself, look inward, and challenge my body physically. The days that are the hardest are sometimes the easiest mentally because you are forced to remain in the present moment when you’re doing complicated and difficult poses. Others are calmer with some restorative work for the muscles which tends to restore my mind as well.

If yoga is not your thing then no worries, I’m writing this post to share with others one thing that I really love. (I can actually do the pose picture below! ha that was an exciting day!) Everyone has something, or needs something that they really love. Something that eases stress and leaves you feeling better afterwards!

I encourage you to take some time to look at the linked articles from Women’s Health, they have an entire section of their website dedicated to both the physical AND mental aspects of yoga. And as always share! How do you feel about yoga? What do you love?

Loving yoga and you,
~Gina

March 31, 2010

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 6:31 pm by Gina

When I first walked in to the theater I was surprised by how many people already filled the limited amount of seats, evidence that there is a hunger to hear about these issues and perhaps an excitement to get rid of them. I’ve come to hear a presentation from Courtney Martin about her book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, and how “the quest for perfection is harming young women.”

Courtney, a young writer and graduate from Barnard as well as NYU has a personality so friendly and relatable it is easy to feel comfortable around her, as if she is a close friend. Characteristics that, to me, make her all the more qualified to write a book on the struggles of young women.

She says outright, “I am not an expert on eating disorders, nutrition, health, or psychology, but I do have expertise in quiet desperation…In this book, I act as an observer, an outraged idealist, a story teller, a bleeding heart, an eavesdropper, and an ordinary young woman.”

Courtney begins by asking us to close our eyes and imagine our morning.

“One minute debating whether to have a bagel and be “bad” or a protein shake and be “good”; two minutes chastising yourself for choosing the bagel: two minutes contemplating how fattening the cream cheese was. Three minutes poking your face in the mirror, feeling bad about the dark circles under your eyes. Four minutes reading that Lindsay Lohan lost a bunch of weight; another minute chastising yourself for being so vulnerable to the media; five minutes thinking about how crazy it is that woman as smart as you spend so much of their days obsessing about food and fitness…”

The list goes on to include contemplating decisions such as chicken sandwich vs. salad, gym vs. nap and dinner eating plans. Think about your own day, how much of it is spent chastising yourself? Everyone wants to be healthy, but it is not healthy if it comes with a side of hatred, discouragement and obsession. All told, women spend about 100 minutes a day scrutinizing instead of loving their bodies. These are ambitious, driven, impatient women who have settled on wasting this time and energy obsessing over their bodies.

What fascinates me most about her book is the focus not just on eating and body image disorders, but also on the perfectionism that seems to have taken over our generation. We were raised by parents of a feminist, rebellious generation who taught us “we can do anything” and yet we heard “we must do everything.” It is this complex that is also represented in the title of Martin’s book—Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters.

I am positive that everyone knows the perfect girl. They have struggled with it themselves and seen their peers/relatives/friends struggle as well. Perfect girls are the captains of our sports teams, honor roll students, winners of scholarships, peacemakers, do-gooders, socially conscious and involved. We have 5-year plans and must be thin, beautiful and effortlessly perfect.

On the other hand, the starving daughters are dying for attention, recognition, a hug. They are constantly being pushed away by the perfect girl who only wants to show the world her beauty, strength and willpower, not her doubt, fears and cravings. The starving daughters are tired of trying so hard all the time and constantly being at war with the perfect girl.

I am not trying to blame the media, our parents or our friends. I am not trying to say that every person you know has an eating disorder, and I don’t think Courtney is either. Instead, this book brings to attention the harm that destructive thoughts and attitudes can have to one’s well-being, which, in a world where two-thirds of females ages 18-35 would rather be mean or stupid than fat, is something every single person has to conquer to some degree.

A few weekends ago I came home from school stressed and emotionally drained from trying to support a friend I know who struggles with some of these same problems. Collapsing on the couch I looked at both of my parents and genuinely thanked them for never making me feel like I had to be perfect, I did that to myself more than enough.

Don’t wait until you are 50 to love yourself, life is too short and perfect is far too boring. 🙂

With love,
Gina

~If you are interested in hearing Courtney speak and read excerpts from her book click here

~Much of this post was paraphrased from Courtney’s book. I encourage you to check it out!

March 2, 2010

Yes! 10 Things That Will Make You Very Happy :)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:27 pm by Gina

Hi ladies!

I feel like I haven’t talked (…written) to any of you in far too long! So to start off March (a very important month for becauseiamawoman- it’s National Women’s History Month!!) I thought I’d do another list!

This list comes from Yes! Magazine’s website, an “award-winning, ad-free, nonprofit publication that supports people’s active engagement in building a just and sustainable world” and to inspire people to say Yes!
Researchers have studied people all over the world to determine how things affect our well-being and happiness. This is their list of 10 scientifically proven strategies to HAPPY!

1. Savor Everyday Moments
2. Avoid Comparisons
3. Put Money Low on the List
4. Have Meaningful Goals
5. Take Initiative at Work
6. Make Friends, Treasure Family
7. Smile Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
8. Say Thank You Like You Mean It
9. Get Out and Exercise
10. Give It Away, Give It Away Now!

For explanations of these strategies click here, or check out the fun (and printable) pdf!

The number one thing that struck me was the obviousness of these tips. We all know these things right? We live hectic lifestyles and yet that moment that forces you to center yourself is more powerful, no matter how insignificant the moment. We know how much money and money worries can stress us, yet living beyond our means has somehow replaced “living the American Dream.” Far too often we go through our days, at work or with friends or family as if praying for the next day (I am hugely guilty of this.) We know if we lived with passion and gratitude towards our work, family and friends than smiling would come much easier. The benefits of exercise are known to all, I am sure, but my favorite strategy is number 10. This is the explanation they give for it,

“Make altruism and giving part of your life, and be purposeful about it. Researcher Stephen Post says helping a neighbor, volunteering, or donating goods and services results in a “helper’s high,” and you get more health benefits than you would from exercise or quitting smoking. Listening to a friend, passing on your skills, celebrating others’ successes, and forgiveness also contribute to happiness, he says. Researcher Elizabeth Dunn found that those who spend money on others reported much greater happiness than those who spend it on themselves.”

So true!! Now tell me what your favorite strategy is, or which one you struggle with the most. What event/habit/person prevents you from committing to these things everyday? I’d love to hear what you have to say and Happy Women’s History Month!!

Love,
Gina Marie

December 19, 2009

Video Series: Part 1, Odanadi Cycle

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 3:16 pm by Gina

Hi all!

Everyone seemed to love the video I included in the CARE post, which is great because I loved it too! I have found a ton of informative, interesting, and awareness-bringing (yes I made that a word with a hyphen) videos celebrating and encouraging women!

This video I found on another fun blog was practically made to be seen by me! Traveling is my obsession, yoga is my hobby and volunteering is what makes me happy. Not to mention that India is on my list of dream places to visit and study. It is about 12 minutes long, but I promise it is worth it. Play it in the background while getting ready in the morning! Or with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee like I did 🙂

The only problem is, I can’t seem to figure out how to embed it in the post, but take a second to check out this beautiful video here: http://www.vimeo.com/8104963

“For 19 years Odanadi has been providing a safe haven for victims of human trafficking. They are committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of enslaved women and children.”

Bye sisters,
Gina

December 8, 2009

Holiday Hell

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 6:44 pm by Gina

Ok, I know I just posted yesterday but this post is going to serve as my very necessary outlet to VENT.

I consider myself a happy person. I have never had much road rage and am polite to strangers and friendly to new people. I’m not calling myself perfect- just congenial. So why is it that now that I am home I have found myself angrier and more impatient than ever? I have picked up about 20 hours a week at work while I’m home for break, and find myself thoroughly enjoying the change from kid/teenager packed afternoons to the over 65 club that comes in the early morning. They are all very pleasant and sharing stories helps to pass the time. Yet as soon as an instructor gets in to teach a pre-school class (right as my shift is ending) I find myself physically restraining from taking over the class. She was a horrible instructor, the children were bored and she wasn’t even paying attention to them! I was able to make it out without saying anything- a good thing because I knew it would not have been said nicely.

After work I had to rush over to the eye doctor and run a few errands. My eye doctor is a jolly, pleasant man who would make a stunning Santa Clause impersonator and I didn’t mind the visit one bit. Then, I get out and am completely overwhelmed with my negative feelings towards every person in a car around me. The things that come out of my mouth (aimed at them) while driving surprised me! “Tis the season for sh*tty drivers” (that was one of the milder ones). I don’t know where this came from. Maybe it is because I haven’t driven in a while and forgot how it was…I don’t know. I do know that I don’t have many reasons to be stressed or angry and yet I am.

For many people, this is what the holiday season is like. It is filled with stress, frustration, anger, resentment, maybe even fear. The holidays are meant to be filled with peace, joy hope and love…yet that often comes after the stress etc, if it comes at all. I don’t want or need that to be me. I did need to vent though, so thank you all for that.

So besides dropping expectations, living in the moment, and not being so hard on yourself- you may also like this hilarious article from the Onion.com titled “Out-Of-Control Holiday Revelers Deck Shit Out of Area Halls” haha a little comedic break never hurts anyone! enjoy!

How do you all feel during the holidays? What makes you the most stressed? The most happy? Any stress relievers during the holidays (besides a time machine)?

Here’s to a HAPPY holiday season!! (or attempted one :] )

~Gina

December 2, 2009

Victoria’s Secret… Not So Secret?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:37 pm by Gina

Ok Ladies,

I know you all saw it, the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show. Am I right? mmmyes. Anyone with a DVR/Tivo for sure! This is a loaded show for me; for one the girl in me still thought it was fun and exciting and amazing. But then the woman in me who struggles with body image (just like nearly every other girl/woman on earth) was horrified!

I’m in a good place in my life with my body image and it took a lot of years to get to a point where I am comfortable. I’m sure many women are still struggling. It helps that I have overhauled my eating and exercising habits to live in the healthiest way I can! It also helped when I stopped comparing myself to those, far too often, unrealistic images on TV, such as the Victoria Secrets models. Why would I compare myself to them anyway, we don’t have the same body type by any stretch of the imagination. I’m 5’1″ altogether– a far cry from the mile high legs the models sport on the runway!!

The final reason the show was loaded for me is a more recent, and more personal one. I recently have made a very, very close friend at college who, I realized rather quickly, struggles with her eating/body image. Watching this show with her nearly broke my heart. When I scoffed at some of the skinniest of the models she was in awe. I know that we cannot blame the media for all our problems, but it certainly doesn’t help that these models are made into some kind of superwomen, revered by all. Too often we forget that we are just as good as them, just as strong, just as beautiful.

As women it is our job to shatter this narrow image of “beauty” and show the world how broad that definition can truly be. I don’t want to see my friend hurt herself any longer because these thoughts are so deeply embedded in her brain that she doesn’t know any other way. I love her and I love the strength of women and I hope we can take positive things from the show, such as another great blogger mentioned, the model’s confidence.

My sister ended a conversation we had about the Fashion Show with this truly insightful thought,

“I think that there should be a minimum weight limit of all models of 150 lbs, because if you’re 5’7″ you should be at least 150 lbs. Thats just the way it is.” haha Gotta love the sis!

Another friend (a boy) put this as his status: “I watched the Victoria’s secret fashion show last night. Their new models are pencil thin. Not womanly like they used to be. Much disappointment.”

I think September’s issue of Glamour is a great example of this common problem when they featured this picture in an article about feeling comfortable in your own skin:

The positive outcry women made about this gorgeous image proves other women are on the same page as me! Read the entire article here

Celebrate yourself!
~Gina