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To Thine Own Self Be True

September 18, 2012

by: Kimberly Bowman

The definition of selfish is: “concerned chiefly or only with oneself, without regard for the well-being of others.” Think about the last time you heard someone identified as selfish. Was the description accurate? Often times when we use this label we are actually talking about someone (usually a woman; the words we use to describe this same trait in men generally have a different flavor.) who is protective of their energy, time and sanity or they simply have a good handle on their capabilities.

Our limits are something that through the experiences of life we hopefully come to understand and learn to stay within. In doing this we protect ourselves from sure destruction. This phenomenon is called self-preservation. For many women this is difficult. There are many metaphors – if you only make withdrawals and not enough deposits, eventually the bank will be empty, learn to exercise your “no” muscle, a tree with enough chops at its trunk will someday fall, etc. etc.

When we try to please everyone one of two things will happen. You will either try to do it all, inevitably fail all the while punishing those you are trying to please for their lack of comprehension that you are there to make their lives more wonderful, or you will try to do it all, inevitably fail and end up in the fetal position in the back of your minivan amongst the groceries and the mulch. Both scenarios end with everyone neither helped nor pleased.

The metaphor about exercising your no muscle is a favorite. Like everyone else, we were probably quite adept at using this word when we were toddlers but along the way seemed to get the impression that we should instead be saying oh, of course, yes, absolutely, sure, I can be there, do that. Saying no is not about selfishness or being a charity miser. It is not about lack of manners or laziness. It is about guarding your soul. It is about knowing who you have time for. Since they are the one in the mirror and those most precious to you, that knowledge is golden.

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Five Tips to Better Sleep During Pregnancy

June 4, 2012

By: Stephanie Duhon

I always knew I’d be sleep deprived once the baby arrived, as newborns require around the clock feeding and care, but I was surprised at how little sleep I was able to get during the pregnancy! And I’m not talking about the last couple of months where it’s hard to even move, much less get comfortable. I had trouble sleeping from the second month of pregnancy until my daughter was born! I was jealous of my mom-to-be friends who said they were sleeping great, including extra naps whenever they could. I could sympathize with others who were more like me, lucky to get 3 to 4 hour stretches at a time. Toward the end of the pregnancy, I would get so frustrated when a well-meaning person would remind me to get my sleep before the baby comes! But that’s the thing … I couldn’t!

It’s so important for expecting mamas to get their rest. Lucky for me, my friends at The Motherhood Center were full of good advice since they see moms and moms-to-be every day! They made great suggestions that helped me get a few extra hours of sleep here and there before the baby arrived. Here are five tips to help you sleep better during pregnancy.

1 – Prenatal Pillow Wedge: Support that bump with a pregnancy body pillow or wedge. These pillows are specially designed for use during pregnancy and not only make you feel more comfortable, but promote better spinal alignment and help you maintain a position of sleeping on your side, which is recommended, especially later in pregnancy, for optimal blood flow. You can find a prenatal pillow wedge in The Motherhood Center’s retail store.

Prenatal Fitness

2 – Light Exercise: Light exercise not only keeps a mom-to-be in shape, but it can relieve stress and release energy to help you sleep more quickly and deeply at night. Some moms are hesitant to head to the gym during pregnancy, but most doctors agree that for a healthy pregnancy, you can generally keep up a comparable workout to what you did before. Just be sure to modify it for your pregnancy and avoid any movements that affect your belly, such as crunches. If you are unsure of how to exercise safely during pregnancy, try a prenatal yoga class at The Motherhood Center! Prenatal yoga offers a low-impact workout that improves flexibility and balance and helps relieve stress. Breathing exercises used in prenatal yoga also come in handy during labor! Since each pregnancy is different, you should always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program to make sure there are no special concerns.

Massage at The Motherhood Center

3 – Prenatal Massage: A professional pregnancy massage reduces stress, encourages relaxation, increases circulation and soothes aches and pains commonly associated with pregnancy, all of which helps you to sleep better too! Therapists at The Motherhood Center are specifically trained in prenatal massage therapy.

No time for a full massage? Have your husband or significant other rub some Mama Mio tummy rub on your growing belly. Not only will it be relaxing, but it’ll give dad a chance for some bonding time with baby and help protect you against stretch marks!


4 – Get Comfy: Wear as much or as little as you need to be comfortable at night. Make sure nothing is tight fitting and offers plenty of room for your growing baby. Buy a sleep bra if you need extra support. Staff at The Motherhood Center can help you find the right style and size for your needs.

5 – Embrace the Late Night Snack: Is your growing belly making your tummy rumble at night? You and the baby need the extra calories, so don’t worry about giving in to the occasional midnight snack. Just make sure to munch on something nutritious, such as a bowl of fruit, that won’t be too heavy and keep you awake.

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Benefits of Massage

April 28, 2012
by: Mary Bratcher, Retail Manager
For the woman on the motherhood journey, it can be especially important to have regular massages. As a woman transitions from wanting to become pregnant, becoming so, growing as baby does, and then birthing and taking on the new role of mother, she is in special need of therapeutic touch. The Motherhood Center is a great place for mothers as well as mothers-to-be to get healing from professionally trained body workers for the childbearing year and beyond.
If you are planning to become pregnant it is important to prepare your body, mind, and spirit. Many responsibilities lay ahead , and taking care of yourself is the first step to being able to take care of others. This is necessary groundwork as you are becoming a parent. Making healthy decisions like eating well, exercising, and getting regular massages are important not only to your fertility, but also to making smart routines that you and your family will continue to stick with. Purchasing massage packages are a great way to get your massages in regularly at a discount.

Benefits of Pre-Conception Massage

  • Give your body alignment and cleanse yourself of bodily impurities
  • clear any pelvic adhesions
  • blood flow increases to your uterus and other reproductive organs
  • compliments medical fertility treatments with hormone and chemical free bodywork
  • supports hormone balance
  • reduces stress and promote relaxation
When you become pregnant, specialized massage continues to be of great importance. From the first trimester on into the “fourth,” your body is going through so many changes that a regular massage can be a therapeutic constant all the way through. Also, massages help you stay healthy and clear, reducing common aches and pains associated with pregnancy, and help you identify and treat imbalances earlier. Too often women wait to get a massage until they can hardly get on the table, then it is a tough road back. Like i said before, take the responsibility and make the decisions that benefit your body, it is working hard for you and your new baby! Also, be sure to receive a prenatal massage from a therapist trained in the modality. All of the therapists here at The Motherhood Center are required to have extensive training in prenatal as well as postnatal massage. If you find yourself on bed rest, make energizing, stress-reducing massage a part of your home environment with an out call from one of our therapists.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
  • Reduced back pain
  • Reduced joint pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced edema
  • Reduced muscle tension and headaches
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
  • Better sleep
  • Hormone regulation
  • Reduction of swelling
  • Improvement of nerve pain
Finally your baby arrives! Your body has been through many changes and now massage is a necessity to bring your body back into alignment, and to help you be healthy so you can extend that energy to your new baby. Remember to take care of yourself so that you can give care to others. As a new mom, sometimes this is hard. You may feel that you have obligations that do not leave you time for self care, but think again. During pregnancy you have built a support system of people who can help with household chores, the baby, and life’s errands. Take time for you either here at The Motherhood Center or at home where our therapists can come to you!
Benefits of Postpartum Massage
  • A postpartum massage helps realign the body to prepare for the coming challenges and joys
    of mothering
  • Birthing, posture changes, breastfeeding, and carrying a baby may cause shoulder, hip, and back strain: massage can relieve this.
  • Nurturing touch in the first 6 weeks after birth reduces the occurrence of postpartum depression
Here at The Motherhood we make it easy for you to incorporate massage into your wellness schedule. We provide packages with massage at a discount and even have the opportunity for you to register for massage as a gift for your shower! You can schedule a massage from morning into the late evening hours. We provide a shower so that you can relax before or after, or even recharge to get back to “life.” The massage experience at The Motherhood Center is one not to be missed!

As our Founder says, “Prepare to drift away,” and embrace the pampered body that you deserve.

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Spring Photography Special!

April 6, 2012

by: Shannon McDonald, Photographer

We had a great turnout for our Spring Party last Saturday. There were lots of cute kids in pretty spring attire and I got to photograph several!

We also have a spring photo session special going on through the month of April. Like us on Facebook and print out the coupon! Think Mother’s Day and Fathers Day photo gifts!


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The Importance of Breastfeeding Support

April 5, 2012

By: Stephanie Duhon

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that moms exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months, but preferably longer. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more moms are achieving that goal in the United States. In 2011, 14.8 percent of 6-month-old babies were exclusively breastfed in the U.S. That’s an increase of 4 percentage points since 2007.


But despite growing evidence of the benefits of breast milk for babies and increased efforts to offer support to moms, that’s still a small number and a recent study out of Scotland suggests increasing that percentage is not as easy as it sounds. According to the report, published in the journal BMJ Open, researchers interviewed 36 pregnant women and a significant other about what it would take to breastfeed exclusively and why the ones who stopped choose to do so. The report says some of the women said breastfeeding wasn’t the bonding experience they were expecting and was much harder than expected, while others said they lacked a support system.


I can definitely relate to women who planned to exclusively breastfeed and yet still struggled. While breastfeeding is indeed natural, it is far from easy for most women. Breastfeeding takes a lot of time, practice, commitment and support. I learned that I could be doing everything “right” and still encounter problems.


My daughter was born in September 2010 and I fully intended to exclusively breastfeed her for at least 6 months. I know the benefits of breastfeeding and was excited to be able to offer my daughter the very best. I took a class, I read up on nursing and what to expect and had access to an amazing lactation consultant. I knew going in that it may be a bit difficult at first, but I was terribly disappointed when breastfeeding turned out to be much harder than I expected. My daughter didn’t latch well and it took her a long time to nurse. Despite nursing for what seemed like forever sometimes, she was not gaining sufficient weight. Per doctor’s orders, I had to supplement her with formula because her weight was too low. I pumped, I took supplements such as fenugreek to increase my supply and I dealt with painful clogged ducts because my daughter wasn’t properly draining my milk supply. I was devastated and thought I was doing something wrong. Renee, the amazing lactation consultant at The Motherhood Center, was extremely supportive and showed me different nursing positions and helped me figure out how to effectively use the breast pump. Unfortunately, I was never able to get my supply up completely, so I had to supplement breastfeeding with formula, but with the amazing support of Renee, as well as my husband and friends, I am proud to say that I overcame some of the other early obstacles and was able to successfully feed my baby girl at least some breast milk for the first six months of her life.

The key aspect I learned from my experience is not to be afraid to ask for help. Women go through many emotions after having a baby and when you combine the hormonal changes, lack of sleep and commitment of breastfeeding, it can become overwhelming very quickly. The Motherhood Center has wonderful resources to help moms reach their breastfeeding goals. In addition to lactation consultants, TMC offers hospital grade breast pumps to rent and has a large variety of breastfeeding supplies, such as nursing tanks and bras, nipple cream, My Brest Friend nursing pillows, nursing covers and more. Experienced staff members can help you determine what you need and can also help you figure out the proper size of nursing tank or bra, which as many moms know can be difficult to figure out!

One thing that some people may not know is that The Motherhood Center also helps local businesses offer support to moms! You may have heard of some offices having a pumping room for moms. These rooms are invaluable for moms who need to pump at work. It gives them the opportunity to pump in private and not have to spend the 15-20 minutes pumping at their desk, in the bathroom or closet or in their car. Breastfeeding experts say to successfully pump, you have to be relaxed so your milk can let down. That’s hard to do if you are worried about someone entering the room mid-pump!

TMC founder Gabriela Gerhart says moms who have support from their employers not only have an easier time exclusively breastfeeding, which can cut down on medical costs because of the health benefits of breast milk, but they are also more productive because they don’t have to worry about finding time and space to pump during the day to feed their baby.

Are you an employer who wants to learn more about creating a pumping room? Call us at 713-963-8880 and ask us about our corporate membership and how we can help you help nursing moms at your office.

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No Need to Panic Part III: Plugged Ducts

April 2, 2012

by: Kimberly Bowman

If you notice a hard lump in your breast while breastfeeding do not burst into tears and call the oncologist. Instead, let your baby finish his calm nursing session and check for the lump’s perimeter. Have you noticed feeling run-down or any flu-like symptoms? If the answer is yes, take your temperature. If you have an elevated one, you may have mastitis and you will need to see your doctor for an antibiotic prescription. Do this without delay and read my previous post Anti-Antibiotics? Let it Go When Facing Mastitis.

Another possibility is that your answer to those questions is no and you are experiencing plugged ducts. By finding the edges of the lump you will be able to sufficiently massage it while nursing and apply warm compresses to help relieve any discomfort. It is safe for your baby to nurse while you cope with plugged ducts and will also help. Also gently massage the area while in the shower as the warmth and pressure can help clear the duct. Watch your symptoms for any increase in severity. Plugged ducts, and your susceptibility to them, are often pre-cursors to mastitis. They are a clear sign that you are overwrought.

When mom is overwrought, everyone in the family loses. Make sure your partner is aware of your situation. Extra rest and vigilance will keep you out of the doctor’s office but we ultimately have to take responsibility for trying to be in more than one place at a time. Knights in shining armor are super rare these days. If you want to be saved, you must rescue yourself. You only have two hands and one head. Use them in coordinated ways that enable you to get reasonable things accomplished while staying healthy. Putting yourself first ensures that everyone else gets a place in line for their dose of mommy.

Previous Posts:

No Need to Panic Part I: Breastfeeding Issues

No Need to Panic Part II: Blebs

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Creating a Baby Gift Registry… What to Choose?

May 15, 2011

by: Rachel McKenny

I’ve been asked by many expecting moms what they should include on their baby gift registries. Here at The Motherhood Center, you can register for services as well as baby products. If you live in Houston, I’d recommend registering with us for prenatal massages, hours toward a baby nurse visit (for those exhausting weeks post delivery), and even a maternity and newborn photography session package. If you are still undecided, you can have family and friends buy gift certificates for you to use towards any services or products you later choose.

When it comes to registering for baby products, I do have my favorites that I think are must haves for every baby gift registry. Some of the items I’ve covered in previous blogs, and others I will cover in the next few weeks so be sure to check back on our website. To start with, I think every mom should include swaddle blankets in her registry (you’ll want to have plenty). My favorite brand is aden + anais because they are super breathable and get softer after every wash. You’ll need to register for bottles, and Breastflow makes a great choice, especially for breastfeeding mamas. You’ll want a simple baby bathtub for those first few months, and the best choice on the market is the Puj Tub. If you plan on breastfeeding, I absolutely recommend adding My Brest Friend to your registry.

If this is your first baby, you’ll want to invest in a Nap Nanny Chill Infant Sleep Aide. This is a great item to include on your registry because it benefits not only you and baby, but also grandparents and relatives who may be watching your little one for you from time to time. A lot of grandparents feel like they need to purchase a crib for their home, because they want their grandbaby to be comfortable and able to sleep easily when visiting. An affordable alternative is the Nap Nanny. It’s small and lightweight and can be brought with you on visits to see loved ones. I’ve even had some moms register for more than one, so Grandma and Grandpa can keep one permanently at their house. For more details on the Nap Nanny, check out our previous blog and video.

You’ll of course need to register for cute baby items as well as strictly practical ones. I’ve noticed that friends and family get excited about shopping for “baby stuff” and are drawn to the cutesy items. My recommendation is to include items that are cute, but also happen to be functional (your friends don’t have to know). For the adorable yet necessary items, I suggest including Sophie the Giraffe. This item is one of the most popular here at TMC. It’s the teether that moms have been recommending to each other for years. Your friends will also enjoy buying your little one their first WubbaNub. With so many cute choices of this Soothie pacifier, you may want to add one of each to your registry. I also love wrist and ankle rattles. They’re bright, fun, and entertaining as your baby discovers his hands and feet. Apple Park makes a sweet little daisy wrist rattle and Learning Curve’s Gardenbug wrist and ankle rattles are ideal for both boys and girls.

Lastly, if you don’t put this item on your registry, please be sure to at least buy one for yourself. Baby Memory Books are a beautiful way to document the milestones in your baby’s world. Memory Books are also a great way to help older children understand the growth and progress of their new sibling. Writing and reading through the book can become a family activity. Your baby will also enjoy looking back at his Memory Book when he is old enough, and you can revisit those precious beginnings with your child.

The important thing to remember about creating your baby gift registry is that it should be fun! The idea of having a registry is to make preparing for your new arrival as easy as possible. Here at TMC, our baby planners will make it simple and painless. If you don’t have the time, we can even create your registry for you. All you have to do is give us a call!

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