by Lani

Hearts Turning to the Children

January 13, 2015 in Abortion, Intuition, Lani, Missions, Motherhood, Pain, Personal Revelation, Prayer, Prenatal influences, Traumatic Birth by Lani

And whoso receiveth one such little one in my name receiveth me. -Matthew 18:5

When I attended Felice’s yoga and meditation retreat at the beginning of the month, it was many things I expected it to be, but there were a few things that surprised me. One of those surprises was how many people told me that they had recently discovered a “castaway” in their family. I knew that the ranks of previously-aborted children coming to earth were growing, but I was still unprepared for the outpouring of witnesses I received at the retreat.

When I began my own journey of discovery with my daughter, I had never heard of “castaways.” I didn’t know anyone who talked about them. Finding and meeting pre-birth expert Sarah Hinze in 2010-2012 was surely no coincidence. Sarah has been a sort of lone voice in the wilderness for the past few decades, sharing her growing pool of case histories about previously-aborted children. She herself was highly skeptical at first. A couple of years ago, Sarah handed me a story that had clearly been typed decades ago and said, “I think this was the first abortion story I ever received.” She shook her head, saying, “I couldn’t believe it was true.” So she had put it away in a file, feeling sure it was an anomaly among pre-birth accounts. But then she received others, and that pushed-aside file started to grow.

Part of one of my favorite paintings (Source)

Part of one of my favorite paintings (Source)

As more and more of these brave and valiant spirits try to make their way to earth again, the powers of darkness are heightening their efforts at preventing their entrance. Personally, I believe that many of these spirits are God’s strongest “warriors.” Satan doesn’t want them here, and he certainly doesn’t want people acknowledging their existence. Revelation chapter 12 takes on new meaning as we consider the vast number of previously-aborted spirits seeking entrance into mortality: “And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (vs. 4).

Before I met Sarah, God called me to help rescue these “castaway” children, but it hasn’t been an easy mission call. I was initially a little shell-shocked by the opposition and resistance I encountered from many sides when I joined Sarah in the work of helping these special children tell their stories. So I stepped back a bit from my advocacy efforts.

Since that time, awareness of Sarah’s research has broadened. Though the idea (of aborted souls being given second chances at life) is still far from mainstream, more and more stories are coming out of the woodwork, at least among the people I rub shoulders with. When I think about these “wounded warrior” children, I am grateful for the Spirit of Elijah. The hearts of the fathers and mothers are being turned to the children. As I wrote in our book The Gift of Giving Life:

The Spirit of Elijah will come to all of us.  The tendrils of his spirit reach far and wide—into the hearts of married couples, birth mothers, adoptive parents, foster parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  He calls on the highest and best within each of us to turn and welcome, protect, teach, and nurture the children waiting to be and those already among us.  It may not be easy, but the Lord has promised to help us.

The following is one of the growing number of stories I have received… from a mother whose heart has turned in love to her castaway child:

My first child’s arrival was surrounded with anticipation and joy. I was so thrilled to become a mother, and my husband and I were happy to start our family. We loved our little boy so much, but we quickly discovered that he came to earth with various issues. We wanted to help our son, but struggled to know what to do. He had severe separation anxiety, was only happy in my arms, struggled to bond to his father, and seemed to have “colic” and night terrors. I intuitively knew there was a cause behind it and that he was not just crying for no reason. The list went on and on of things that were “wrong” with his physical body. 
  
We tried many elimination diets, we saw many doctors, even natural healers, but did not find answers. I prayed constantly to understand more, to receive answers, and felt disappointed when I didn’t receive those answers immediately. I tried to have faith that God would give us answers eventually, and tried to be the best mother I could be.

I struggled with feelings of inadequacy and frustration when I couldn’t comfort my child, especially in the night terrors in which my son screamed in terror. At times I felt angry that my poor little boy had to suffer for reasons I didn’t understand. As he grew from a sweet newborn to tenderhearted toddler and fun preschooler, our love for him only increased, but we also felt sorrow that we hadn’t solved all of his problems. 

When my son was four years old, I was praying one morning, and I saw, in my mind, or in a vision, my sweet little boy, in the womb of another woman. I felt the pain, the fear, the emotional distress he was in as he was aborted. Amazed, saddened, and yet grateful to have this knowledge, I asked God, “Is there anything else I need to know about this?” And again in my mind, I saw that the woman who had aborted him was my sister, much older than me, who had been raped in college. In my mind, I could feel the fear and emotional pain of both my son and my sister. I cried for both of them. 

Later that day I felt confirmation that what I had learned about my son being a “castaway” was true. As my husband and I discussed it, we suddenly understood why our baby had been scared of strangers, especially strange men, and feared separation from me, his mother. Puzzle pieces seemed to come together as our hearts were given this knowledge. We felt a new level of gratitude to have our little boy be a part of our family and a new responsibility as we begin this journey of healing. 

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by Robyn

Approaching the Throne of God

October 10, 2014 in Fertility, Free Agency, Nourishment, Prenatal influences, Preparation, Robyn, Uncategorized by Robyn

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I really loved conference as always. How is it that the messages are for such a general audience but feel so personal at times?  I wanted to share a few thoughts I had while listening to “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence” by Elder Jorge Klebingat of the Seventy.

He began by asking a few questions in relation to how we would feel approaching the throne of God. Would we shrink or approach with confidence? He followed this up with six suggestions that can help restore and strengthen our spiritual confidence.

I would like to expand on the second suggestion to take responsibility for your own physical well-being. This is the excerpt from his talk,

Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it! Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that we should “regard our body as a temple of our very own” and that we should “control our diet and exercise for physical fitness” (“We Are Children of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 87; Liahona, Jan. 1999, 103).

President Boyd K. Packer has taught “that our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character” (“The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character” [Church Educational System fireside, Feb. 2, 2003], 2; speeches.byu.edu). Therefore, please use good judgment in what and especially how much you eat, and regularly give your body the exercise it needs and deserves. If you are physically able, decide today to be the master of your own house and begin a regular, long-term exercise program, suited to your abilities, combined with a healthier diet. Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit, with the help of the Savior, is truly in charge of your natural man or woman.

Diet and exercise are two factors that can affect fertility (source). The childbearing process is physically and spiritually demanding. I don’t think we will stand blameless before God if we put ourselves and our babies at risk because we were not willing to take care of our physical bodies.  I imagine we will give an accounting of how we valued and used our gift to give life.

The truth is we should be preparing our bodies to make and carry life long before we are even pregnant or thinking of being pregnant. Each woman is born with the eggs that will become their children. They are essentially carrying life all of their days. We are creating temples. We have a responsibility as co-creators to be in the best health we can be to carry life and sustain it.  What quality of food/materials would you use to build a temple?

I put together six ways we can physically prepare for birth. In doing so I, like Elder Klebingat, hope “to edify and not to offend.” If we are humble we will discard what we don’t need and put into action what we do need to change. Please keep in mind that this is not medical advice. You should discuss any of these suggestions with your caregiver.

  • Before you are even pregnant or thinking about it, take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid and a supplement with omega 3. There are a lot of brands to choose from and not all are created equal. I am not going to recommend a specific one other than tell you to look for one derived from whole foods. A prenatal made from whole foods is more easily digested and used by your body.  Some people recommend skipping the prenatal and eating a balanced healthy diet.  For most people it is not likely that your diet will supply you all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.  Our body needs replenish vitamins and minerals through diet and supplements.  Growing babies depletes the body’s stores of vital minerals.  I didn’t realize how deficient my body was in magnesium until I started taking magnesium.  I feel that I was able to carry my baby longer this last pregnancy because I had built up my mineral stores. It is not enough to assume your baby can just take everything from your body it needs. Your baby cannot take what is not there. This kind of attitude can put you and your baby at further risk.
  • Avoid unnecessary over the counter or prescription drugs. All drugs cross the blood brain barrier of your baby and can affect their development.  Some drugs are more concerning than others. You can be prayerful in your approach discussing the pros and cons with your caregiver and then taking it to the Lord.
  • Take care of your teeth.  You are more likely to have problems with your teeth and gums when you are pregnant so any issues you may have now will only be magnified if you are not taking proper care of your teeth. For more information see this post.
  • Begin exercising or keep exercising. It was harder to force myself to exercise while I was pregnant and tired but I know I felt better for doing it.  Research shows that women who exercise during pregnancy are less likely to experience complications specifically gestational diabetes. This link contains tips for exercising safely during pregnancy.
  • Learn exercises to prepare your body for birth. Some examples are kegels, squatting, tailor sitting, pelvic rocks, relaxation, etc.
  • Nourish your body. Eat a balanced diet.  Choose quality foods.  I am not going to give a specific diet to follow but keep in mind the Word of Wisdom and other references to food in the standard works when deciding how to best nourish you and your baby with food.  Keep a journal of what you eat.  Look for patterns and ways you can improve.

The Lord knows we are not perfect and honors us for continually striving to do better. Do not guilt yourself for past mistakes.  I love the promise Elder Klebingat closes with,

Brothers and sisters, . . . acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don’t be immobilized by them, because some of them will be your companions until you depart this earth life. No matter what your current status, the very moment you voluntarily choose honest, joyful, daily repentance by striving to simply do and be your very best, the Savior’s Atonement envelops and follows you, as it were, wherever you go. Living in this manner, you can truly “always retain a remission of your sins” (Mosiah 4:12) every hour of every day, every second of every minute, and thus be fully clean and acceptable before God all the time.

Yours is the privilege, if you want it, to come to know for yourself, today or soon, that you are pleasing God in spite of your shortcomings. I testify of a loving Savior who expects us to live the commandments. I testify of a loving Savior who is so very anxious to bestow His grace and mercy. I testify of a loving Savior who rejoices when we apply His Atonement daily with the calm and happy assurance that we are facing in the right direction. I testify of a loving Savior who is anxious for your “confidence [to] wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 

 

Further reading from the Gift of Giving Life:

Spirit-Mind-Body Connection page 220

Constant Nourishment to Body and Spirit page 236

Choice & Accountability page 140

 

 

by Lani

Healing Prebirth Wounds

January 15, 2014 in Abortion, Atonement, Dads, Energy Healing, Jesus Christ, Lani, meditation, Miracles, Motherhood, Pain, Parenting, Personal Revelation, Prayer, Prenatal influences, Savior by Lani

 

“I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother.” –Boyd K. Packer

Back in October, I wrote about discovering that my youngest daughter had come to this earth carrying wounds from a previous womb experience. She had been aborted by another mother. As I explained in my previous post, my daughter spent much of her toddlerhood in a state of distress, anger, sadness, and angst. Once I understood why, I felt compelled to do whatever I could to help her heal.

In June of 2013, I attended a meditation retreat taught by Felice. While there, I learned the meditation “Ra Ma Da Sa” for the first time. I learned that this particular meditation is a powerful healing prayer. We sang Ra Ma Da Sa at the retreat, and it was so beautiful that it penetrated every inch of my body and sent my spirit soaring.

The complete mantra is “Ra ma da sa sa say so hung.” It means sun, moon, earth, infinity, totality of infinity, I am Thou. Or, as I like to say, it’s basically a very condensed version of D&C 88:7-13:

This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God.

All healing comes from Christ, and His light infuses and gives life to everyone and every thing in the universe.

After returning home after our summer trip to UT, I decided that I wanted to sing/chant “Ra Ma Da Sa” every morning for 40 days with the intention of helping my daughter heal from her prebirth wounds. So I did. And it was life-changing.

Before I tell you more, I want to also explain some more background. I learned when my daughter was born that she was likely originally sharing my womb with a twin. Since then, I have received line upon line more and more information about her twin, my unborn son. I feel he is a powerful healer-soul, his name is Elijah, and he very much wants to come to our family, in part because he is very close with my daughter and his presence will help her (and me).

Four days into my 40 days of “Ra Ma Da Sa” I had a powerful “vision” type of experience while meditating. It was early in the morning and my daughter was still asleep. As I chanted on her behalf, I envisioned where she was and sent my love to her. Then I saw (in my mind) my unborn son, Elijah, appear at her side. He laid down by her. And then, suddenly, it was like her spirit was in pieces floating around her body. Elijah started gathering all the pieces of her spirit in the palm of his hand.

A few moments later, the Savior appeared at the foot of the bed. And Elijah handed all the pieces of her spirit to Christ. In the palms of Christ’s hands, the pieces fused together in white light. Elijah gathered more and more pieces and continued handing them to Christ, and in His hands they continued to glow and combine.

At the end of the meditation, I kept feeling the urge to cup my hands to receive her glowing spirit. Finally I did. I held her re-combined spirit in my palms. Then I put my hands to my chest and put her spirit into my heart. I told her, “You can be whole now, Baby.” And I filled my heart with love for her. Then I moved my hands from my chest, outstretched in front of me and set her free. It was amazing.

The next day, my daughter was awake while I meditated. When I started “Ra Ma Da Sa,” she sat on my lap and grabbed my arms to wrap them around her. So I sat chanting with my arms around her until she got up. A little bit later she came back in with her baby doll. At first she pushed her doll toward me and put its arms around my neck. Then she sat down in my lap with the baby on her lap and told me to hold the baby. So I continued chanting with my hands holding her arms and both of our arms around the baby. At that moment it seemed so clear that she was presenting the baby doll as her inner child—the spirit who had experienced prenatal and premortal traumas. And we were cradling that part of her in our arms while I prayed for her in song. It was only one of many beautiful, tender moments we shared during those 40 days.

There were many days, however, when my daughter’s behavior seemed to be getting worse. Her anger, neediness, screaming, and obvious emotional pain weighed heavily on me, and I wondered, If this meditation is supposed to be helping her then why does she seem worse than ever? But I carried on, hoping things would settle down eventually. Sometimes the process of healing stirs up subconscious resistance.

For 40 days I prayed in song for my daughter’s healing. And slowly, bit by bit, it came. Gradually, her energy shifted. The angst that had been so much a part of her presence dissolved little by little until it was just gone. She was, quite literally, a new child. But it wasn’t just her. We were all new. She opened herself up to connect with her father in a way she hadn’t ever done before. And simultaneously, my husband felt an intense love for our daughter, unlike anything he had felt for her before. It brought him nearly to tears when he told me about it, and he doesn’t cry.

Once freed from her pain, we watched my daughter soar. While she hadn’t been very verbal before, she suddenly began speaking in sentences. She blossomed socially, becoming a much more chatty and talkative companion. Where I used to feel weighed down by the pain radiating from her, I now could feel her peace and joy. Extended family members who visited couldn’t believe the change in her. She was free!

Another mother who is raising a former-castaway asked me last year:

When I discovered that my daughter had been aborted, it made sense to me why she is the way she is and the love I needed to show her. But I was thinking, why would her soul need healing if she was in heaven in Christ’s presence? Wouldn’t you think being in his presence would heal those wounds?

Her question led to lots of pondering and seeking. The answer that came to me, was this…

In many near-death experience accounts, we see that individuals are often given a choice of whether to return to their bodies or remain in heaven. I believe this emphasis on freedom of choice is a universal principle in God’s plan. As I pondered the aborted children waiting in heaven, the impression that came to me was that some of them are completely healed by Divine Love. But I felt impressed that it was all governed by choice. Some of those children choose to receive complete healing of their previous womb trauma. Their pain and sadness are completely swept away.

IMG_6114However, I believe the aborted are also given another option: to retain a portion of their memory of the experience and their pain upon returning to Earth. I feel that some of these children accept a mission to bring to light the reality of their existence and the truth about the trauma experienced by the aborted. They retain their “scars” just as Christ chose to retain His scars… as a testament to the world. They take up this bitter cup in order to share their truth so that future souls can perhaps be saved the anguish they have suffered.

When all of these impressions washed over me, I was in awe of these courageous souls. I began to weep as I looked down at my own daughter, recognizing the immense greatness of her soul, willing to carry such a painful burden so that others might know the truth. What strength! What love!

What a privilege to have been chosen to bear her, love her, and play a small part in helping her heal. I pray her experience and mine will aid others in their own paths to healing.

If you’d like to learn more about the “Ra Ma Da Sa” meditation

and try it yourself, see Felice’s post HERE.

by Robyn

The Covenants of Mortal Birth

October 25, 2013 in Baptism, Free Agency, Holy Ghost, Prenatal influences, Preparation, Robyn, Savior, Symbolism, Uncategorized by Robyn

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I recently attended two baptisms on the same day for two of my nephews.   As I watched these two boys stand next to their fathers surrounded by water I thought of their first baptism when their place was next to their mother once again surrounded by water.  A friend of mine pointed out that we likely left our Heavenly Mother’s care to enter earth life and be brought toward our Heavenly Father’s care just as symbolized through birth and baptism and other ordinances.

“inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the aspirit, which I have made, and so became of bdust a living soul, even so ye must be cborn again into the kingdom of heaven, of dwater, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and eenjoy the fwords of geternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal hglory” (Moses 6:59).

When my oldest daughter was baptized we spent quite a few family home evenings talking about it.  We even planned a “Baptism Week” in which each night for a week before the baptism we had special baptism lessons.  We are now in the process of preparing another daughter for baptism.  As we make plans for her baptism I have started to ponder our preparations for mortal birth. We prepare for baptism so it makes sense that we must have prepared for birth into this world.   In that birth was the crowning event and purpose of preparation in premortal life I am assuming that much of what we were preparing toward was to hearken to our Mother just as in this life we hearken to ordinances that bring us toward the Father.

“Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first alessons in the world of spirits and were bprepared to come forth in the due ctime of the Lord to labor in his dvineyard for the salvation of the souls of men” (D&C 138:56).

In order to be found worthy of baptism we make covenants.  We promise to take upon us the the name of Jesus Christ, keep the commandments and serve the Lord (True to the Faith, 23-24).  So it begs the question, what covenants did we make before mortal birth?  It makes sense that they were likely similar in nature.  “Those who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were permitted to come to the earth to experience mortality and progress toward eternal life” (True to the Faith, 116)  So we had to actively choose God’s Plan and covenant to accept Christ as our Savior (Moses 4: 2; Abraham 3:27). Before my oldest daughter was baptized we asked her to pray to know if this Church is true and about her decision to be baptized.  It was important to us that she consciously choose baptism for herself.

We receive blessings from being baptized.  We are promised the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, a remission of our sins, and to be born again (True to the Faith, 24-25).  So what blessings did we receive upon our first baptism, or birth? We received a body, the light of Christ, and a new life.  Quite similar to baptism.  And in the temple when we really ponder the covenants there, it all comes down once again to further consecrating ourselves to Christ.

Before the saints left Nauvoo they spent day and night in the temple making covenants.  Covenants that they knew would sustain them on their difficult journey.  My thought is that we made covenants before birth to sustain on our difficult journey through life.  “Covenants sustain us in good times or in difficult times” (Barbara Thompson, Ensign, Nov. 2011).  They are intended to give us purpose and see us through our journey preparing us for further light and knowledge.  Felice also wrote about “sacred contracts” or in other words the more specific missions we were given in life.  We are given some information about them in our patriarchal blessings but often there are parts of our mission that we learn as we go. We likely covenanted to take on our specific missions and life circumstances.  I believe I covenanted to bring my children here.  (The post, “Here Am I” is a beautiful explanation of that.)

If you would like to read more about the symbolism of birth and baptism you can read Heather’s essay, “The Two Veils” in our book or these additional posts “Born Again,” “Giving Light,” and “If Birth Were a Temple.”

*This post is my own thoughts and opinions and do not necessarily represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

 

by Lani

Wounded Warriors

October 4, 2013 in Abortion, Atonement, Depression, Dreams, Energy Healing, Forgiveness, Grief, Intuition, Lani, meditation, Motherhood, Pain, Parenting, Personal Revelation, Prayer, Pregnancy, Prenatal influences, Priesthood, Priesthood blessings by Lani

A reminder of our official disclaimer:

Though we have made every attempt to be consistent with the correct doctrine and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Gift of Giving Life and all related media are an expression of many of our own thoughts and reflections upon pondering the truths of the gospel that we treasure. Our book, website, and facebook page are not official declarations of doctrine in regards to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to which we belong and cherish our membership. Please make sure to pray and ponder about everything you read.

Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to quote a scripture:

“The whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin” (Moroni 8:8).

I absolutely believe those words to be true. In the context of Moroni’s words, I interpret the word “whole” to mean “without sin.” Little children are 100% whole in that sense. However, I have come to understand that while all children are whole, in the sense of being “without sin” themselves, some babies come to this earth already spiritually wounded. I have learned this truth first-hand.

In 2010, when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter (fourth child), something led me to the website of Sarah Hinze. At the time I felt very drawn to Sarah. Sarah has done extensive research into pre-birth experiences, and I found her research fascinating. I felt like God wanted me to connect with her, but I didn’t know why. Simultaneously, I was experiencing (for the first time) antepartum depression. I had never been depressed during a pregnancy before. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so much darkness and misery. It seemed so strange after three previous happy pregnancies.

After the birth, when my baby was eleven months old, I had a striking and memorable dream. Occasionally God speaks to me in dreams. I feel that this was one of those divine messages. Here’s what I saw…

I was walking with someone. I don’t know who it was. The road we were walking down looked like a ghost town. Dark, abandoned buildings. Dirty. Trash everywhere. But we were the only people walking down a deserted road. Eventually, we went over to the gutter on the side of the road, and I picked something up. At first I thought it was just a piece of garbage. But then, as I looked closer, it seemed to transform in my hand. It was a baby!  A tiny baby… only an inch or two or three. It fit in the palm of my hand, and it was alive.

My immediate thought was, “We have to find her parents!” I held her and began searching. As I searched, she grew miraculously (in the space of a few hours) to be five or six years old. A sweet little blonde girl. I took care of her while looking and looking for her parents or at least a suitable home for her. As I cared for her, I felt my heart ache and fill with love for her. Part of me really wanted to keep her, but another part of me thought, “I can’t take care of another kid right now!”

Eventually, after realizing that our search was futile, we brought her to a non-descript building. There was a massive line of children coming from the door. I got the impression that all those children were like her. They were waiting in line because they had nowhere to go. We headed to the back of the line to leave her there, but my heart was torn and breaking. I wanted to keep her, but I also didn’t feel like I could. Then the dream ended.

My interpretation of the dream was that the little girl from my dream was a special spirit who had been rejected and cast aside repeatedly, perhaps through abortions. She was hurting, and she desperately wanted to come to Earth, to be wanted and loved. I felt that I had been chosen to “rescue” her because I have the compassion and experience to know how to nurture a soul acquainted with abandonment. I felt that she would be bringing some of that heartache with her to Earth and that I had the means within me to help her heal. I thought this spirit sister was still waiting to come to my family, that she was a child I had not yet brought to Earth. I also felt that God was calling me to help rescue all the other children like her, castaways waiting for their turn on earth.

IMG_6650When I told my husband about the dream and my interpretation, his response was, “Maybe it’s just telling us where [our youngest daughter] came from?” I assumed he was just speaking from his own lack-of-desire to have any additional children. I wasn’t ready to open my mind to that possibility. No, it couldn’t be her, I thought.

A little over a year later, through a series of divinely-orchestrated events, I finally met and became dear friends with Sarah Hinze—the woman I had admired from afar on the internet since my pregnancy. I devoured several of Sarah’s books and developed a special connection with her. Over the past several decades, Sarah has gathered many stories about the spirits of aborted babies returning to earth. So we started working on some projects together, with a mutual desire to raise awareness about the “castaways” (like the little girl in my dream and countless others like her).

Through my work with Sarah Hinze, I became familiar with two stories that were influential in helping me open my mind and heart to the truth about my dream, my pregnancy depression, and my daughter:

We found that these were the feelings of the little girl in my womb. I was feeling all her feelings with her. . . . we learned that this little soul had been in another body that had been aborted. She was experiencing again the fears, rejection, sadness, and feelings of being not loved or wanted. She was feeling that she was nothing; and that she might possibly be destroyed again (“Learning to Trust“).

 The day I found out I was pregnant I literally danced for joy!  I had known he was coming for a number of years and was so anxious to have him.  I could feel he was pleased I wanted him so much.  Yet, in the ensuing weeks, I could feel a sadness about him.  I did not understand why. . . . In the beginning of February, I finally received the answer I had been looking for.  I was told by a friend who could see and talk to spirits, that Michael was . . . sad because he had been aborted a few years prior by another woman (“Receiving Michael“).

As I pondered these stories, my mind began to open to the possibility that my husband had been right with his interpretation of my dream.

Indeed, our youngest daughter had, over time, grown into a very clingy toddler who cried excessively. Though I had always gone out of my way to help her feel safe and loved and secure, she still seemed to have a constant mistrust of my permanence in her life. Always afraid to let me out of her sight. She was restless, doubtful, anxious, and seemed so often unhappy. And I was exhausted and at my wit’s end wondering what I had done wrong with her. All she had known all her life was love, safety, and compassion. So why was she so miserable?

Then just a few months ago in June, I finally asked God. After feeling little whispers here and there, urging me to open my mind and heart, I got on my knees, and I asked if my youngest daughter was the little girl from my dream. Almost immediately, it was like hundreds of little puzzle pieces clicked into place in my head, and a tidal wave of intense anguish swept over me. I gasped and started sobbing. I felt impressed that the vast portion of the pain I was feeling belonged to my daughter. I believe I was given a small taste of the agony of her festering pre-mortal wounds. And I sobbed and sobbed, bathed in her agony and my own guilt for having been so blind to her wounds (and so resentful of her neediness), for nearly an hour.

Once I had calmed down enough to explain to my husband why I was sobbing, I asked for a priesthood blessing. Within that blessing, I was given divine confirmation of the impressions and revelation I had received. She was the little girl from my dream. She had been cast away multiple times in the past. My heart was broken for her.

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A few weeks later, I had a conversation that served as another witness to my daughter’s pain-filled past. She is now two-and-a-half years old. On that particular morning I had been praying and meditating with the intent to help her heal. So it seemed fitting that she, somehow sensing my focus on her pre-earth self, started a conversation with me about it:

“I was in your belly,” she said.

“Yes, you were!” I said with a smile. “Did you like it in my belly?”

“No,” she answered. And then the moment passed.

Maybe ten minutes later, we were in her bedroom changing her clothes or doing some other morning task, and she said, “I was sad.”

“When were you sad?” I asked.

“In your belly,” she said.

Though I was not excited to learn that my daughter’s womb experiences had been, in fact, painful for her, it was also a relief to hear her little voice speaking the words. I felt that it was both a confirmation that I wasn’t crazy and a confirmation that my efforts were doing something and stirring up something inside of her, which is often one of the first steps to healing. I was happy that something had given her the voice to speak her pain out loud.

I will have to save the rest of our healing journey for another blogpost, but I wanted to at least share this much today. I want to bear my firm testimony that there are many spirits being sent to earth in these days who have “baggage.” They are, of course, whole and pure, in the sense Moroni spoke of. But some of them are also carrying painful wounds that they received before they ever took their first breaths. I believe that many of these children are being compensated for their previous trials and pain through being sent to loving homes where they can be nurtured in peace and heal. Perhaps one of your children (or a future child) is among those wounded souls. These special spirits need special mothering, tenderness, empathy, compassion. You can read more of their stories HERE.

I have written about the Spirit of Elijah in our book. I believe these special wounded spirits are among those Malachi was making reference to when he said:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children” (Malachi 4:5-6).

I invite you to turn your heart to these children. I invite you to gain your own testimony of their existence. I invite you to resolve to do whatever you can to help them heal. It is my belief that some of the most valiant and gifted of heavenly fathers children are among them, and it is for this very reason that Satan has (often repeatedly) thwarted their entrance into mortality. They are the armies that will eventually destroy him. Let’s help empower them to do so.

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by Lani

Receiving Michael

May 27, 2013 in Abortion, Adversity, Atonement, Birth Stories, Cesarean, Energy Healing, Forgiveness, hospital birth, Lani, Loss, Personal Revelation, Prayer, Pregnancy, Prenatal influences by Lani

The following story was originally published on my new website theyremember.org. “they remember” is a project I created in partnership with Sarah Hinze, author, pre-birth experience expert, spiritual giant, and my mentor. We are sharing stories of unborn spirits, particularly those who were previously aborted. Sarah has written extensively about these “castaways” and what happens to them. I, too, have had spiritual experiences centered around these special souls in need of rescue. Shari graciously gave permission for me to share her story here. I love the beautiful healing journey Shari and her son participated in as he made his way to Earth. -Lani

Receiving Michael

By Shari

Mike1

In the summer of 2003, I was sitting with a couple of women friends and we were discussing various things of a spiritual nature.  One of the women who was particularly in tune, said she perceived a man and a boy’s spirit present in the room. I felt that it was my grandfather, and the next child I was to have.  I felt him say that this was Michael, and he was very special.  He also let me know that he was with the family and was within their care.

It was not until the fall of 2005 that I actually became pregnant with Michael.  The day I found out I was pregnant I literally danced for joy!  I had known he was coming for a number of years and was so anxious to have him.  I could feel he was pleased I wanted him so much.  Yet, in the ensuing weeks, I could feel a sadness about him.  I did not understand why.  I tried to focus on him and figure out why he was not happy, but it was difficult getting in tune while dealing with morning sickness.

In the beginning of February,  I was feeling much better.   At that time, I finally received the answer I had been looking for.  I was told by a friend who could see and talk to spirits, that Michael was grateful I was going to be his mother and that he was sad because he had been aborted a few years prior by another woman.  Now he had been reassigned to me.  I was informed that he would probably be a difficult child with emotional issues, and that I would need to raise him knowing the Lord.  I was not terribly shocked, actually I was more relieved to understand why had felt the way I did, but I was concerned about having an emotionally difficult child.  I had one already that was difficult, and this being my fifth child,  I was not sure I could handle another one.  Yet with information comes understanding and possible solutions to problems.

About a month later I was pondering the situation right before going to bed.  I felt impressed to pray for Michael. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I was given the words to pray for him so that, through Christ, he could release his feelings of abandonment, rejection, trauma and fear.  I prayed that he would see his previous mother through the eyes of the Savior and feel his love for her so he could forgive her.  I felt him let go of the negative emotions and forgive.   As he did so, I could feel his spirit getting lighter as a sweet sense of relief came over him.  I also prayed he would forgive his previous father and the doctor who performed the abortion.  This was not as intense as the forgiveness of his mother, but I felt it was important.  I believe it is important to come to earth as unencumbered by grief and trauma as possible and I wanted Michael to have the healthiest and happiest start to his life with us as he could.  As the prayer continued,  I could feel the Savior’s love for Michael.  I felt him bless him with specific spiritual gifts to help him with his mission in this life.

Finally, the time came to give birth.  Michael showed signs of distress, and consequently was born by C-section. Within the weeks following I prayed to understand why he was born this way.  I was given the impression that he had experienced enough trauma and was being spared a difficult birth.  I believe this healing process has altered what could have been a difficult and frustrating childhood. At the time of this writing Michael is almost 4 months old and he couldn’t be a sweeter, happier baby.  I am grateful beyond words for the Savior’s intervention and healing of my sweet son.

Update 2011: Michael has been a wonderful, sweet and easy going child.  The only effects I can see from the trauma he experienced is that he is a bit more fearful and cautious than my other children.  He is almost five.

by Robyn

Our Babies: How We Came to Name Them

August 20, 2012 in Birth Stories, Dreams, Faith, Family size, Fear, home birth, Midwives, Prayer, Pregnancy, Prenatal influences, Robyn, Savior, Uncategorized by Robyn

After reading a post on Bonnie’s blog I asked her to submit a complete version about how she and her husband named their last three children.  I love the meaning that each name was given.  Thank you Bonnie for sharing your heartfelt story.  –Robyn

How We Came to Name Them Joshua, Charles, and Talita

by Bonnie Hansen

The three children born to us since the passing of our son, Tyler, all have names that point toward the Savior, Jesus Christ.  We feel their names were inspired by Him to remind us of His great atonement and resurrection and the faith needed to believe in those realities and the great Plan of Happiness that plan being that we will be able to live forever as a family, that Tyler is not lost to us, but rather has just moved on ahead of us for a while.

About a couple of months after Tyler passed away, my husband, Scott, had a dream where we were both laying in bed asleep.  He awoke to see a little girl, with curly blond hair standing by our bedside.  She looked over me to him and said excitedly, I can’t wait! Then the dream ended.

A few weeks later we were at my mom’s house and Scott was listening to a cd by Daniel Rona about places in the Holy Land and the events that occurred there.  He spoke about the daughter of Jairus being raised from the dead by the Savior as it is written in the book of Mark, chapter five.  He explained that when the Savior said to the young girl, “Talitha, cumi,” he was not just saying, “Maiden, arise.”  The word Talitha in Hebrew means female lamb.  It was often used as a nickname for little girls with curly blond hair.  Daniel Rona believes that the daughter of Jairus was no stranger to the Savior since he spent over a year living in the area where she lived.  He believes, rather, that the Savior called her Talitha as an endearing nickname to someone he knew well.  As Scott was listening to this story, his eyes filled with tears and he knew the name of the little girl with curly blond hair who was to come to our family.

About 5 or 6 months later we learned we were pregnant.  We thought this was our little girl, but an ultrasound revealed it was a boy.  Scott said with a groan, We have to do this again! However, I had a boy name already picked out. It came to me when I was watching a BYU devotional by Elder David B. Haight.  He quoted the scripture that says, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”  (Joshua 24:15).  The mention of Joshua immediately reminded me of an article in the Ensign I had read the month before.  The article had been very timely and felt like it was written just for me.  At the time we were dealing with allegations brought by the DCFS in regards to Tyler’s death and struggling with all the fear and emotional challenges that brought.

The Ensign article was called The Twelve Spies and was about Joshua and Caleb and how they were faithful in doing what the Lord asked despite overwhelming odds against them.  The article begins with these words:

“Among all the philosophies one could choose to follow in life, the choice between two basic but opposing approaches faith versus fear influences our lives more markedly than any other.”

At that time in my life I was having to choose every moment which emotion I would live by: faith or fear.  I was so impressed with Joshua’s faith and knew Heavenly Father wanted me to exercise faith like he had.  I knew right then that if the Lord blessed us with another boy I would name him Joshua.

Through some miraculous tender mercies we were blessed to find the absolute right people to help us deal with the DCFS and the charges were dropped 9 months after Tyler’s death.  Amazingly enough I conceived the night after the whole DCFS nightmare ended.  It was as if Heavenly Father was just waiting for the stress of that period to end before sending us the next precious spirit to enter our family.

I had a wonderful pregnancy, healthy and joyous.  I also went on an amazing journey of discovering natural childbirth and homebirth.  I felt like the Lord was guiding me every step of the way.  Joshua’s birth was absolutely the best of all my children’s births.  The memory of his birth carried me through moments of postpartum sadness and breastfeeding difficulties.  I was then, and still am, filled with gratitude to the Lord for helping me have such an empowering, sacred birth experience.  Now, at the age of 8, Joshua has taught me much about faith and unconditional love as he has struggled with some Aspergers tendencies.  He is sweet, innocent, and loving, and I have no doubt that he was sent here for me to learn much from.

Nineteen months after Joshua was born we learned we were expecting again.  We thought, surely this is our little girl, then we can be done having kids!  An ultrasound at 20 weeks revealed another boy.  Okay, I thought, were we wrong?  Was the dream just a wish?  I knew I should be grateful for any baby boy or girl, but I couldn’t help grieving for the little girl I had thought we would never have.  After all I was 40 years old at the time and 6 kids was a lot!  The Lord blessed me, however, to know we were not done having kids.  A couple weeks after the ultrasound I dozed off while reading my scriptures.  As I started waking up I realized I had been dreaming.  In the dream I was arguing with someone.  The person was saying, “seven kids.”  And I was saying, “no, six.”  They kept saying, “No, seven.”  I wondered who I had been talking to.  I picked up in the scriptures where I had fallen asleep and read, “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand” (Jacob 4:10). I felt in my heart that it was not a coincidence.  I had to take a walk to think it through and to talk to Heavenly Father about it.  By the time I came home, I felt like I really could do it again if the Lord helped me to be healthy and in shape so the pregnancy would not be too difficult and that it could be joyful even like Joshua’s had been.

Still, I struggled with this pregnancy.  I was overweight and uncomfortable.  In my less faithful moments I struggled with feelings of doubt that I would ever have the promised little girl.  I didn’t feel like I knew the baby I was carrying.  I had no boy name picked out, neither did Scott.  One morning as Scott sat at the kitchen table reading his scriptures he was thinking about the baby inside me and asked out of the blue, “Baby, what is your name?” Immediately he heard in his mind “Charles.”  He said, “Are you sure?!?!”  He knew that it was the name the baby wanted.  He told me about the experience but didn’t tell me the name.  He wanted me to receive the name by inspiration as well because he knew I wouldn’t like the name and would have to know it was divinely inspired to accept it.  All he told me was that it was a good English name. It was actually my sister-in-law who guessed the name first.  Scott was right, I didn’t like it at first, but as I thought about it, the name just seemed to stick to him.  It wasn’t until we were watching a performance of Handel’s Messiah three weeks before his birth that I knew for sure his name was Charles and that it was okay.  The director of the performance was a counselor in our Stake Presidency and had the middle name of Charles.  I felt something stirring in my heart as I thought of his love for inspired music and his love for the Savior.  In those brief spirit-filled moments the name Charles came to symbolize the joyful praising, through beautifully inspired music, of our Savior, His birth and His resurrection.

The day after Charles’ birth, (another incredible homebirth) while talking to a really good friend about the birth and his name, she said, “You have to read about Charles Wesley.”  I was amazed she thought of him because I had noticed one Sunday during the pregnancy that my favorite Easter Hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” and my favorite Christmas Hymn “Hark the Herald Angels” were written by Charles Wesley.  Was it a coincidence that this baby was conceived at Easter time and born at Christmas time?  After talking to my friend I asked my daughter, Ali, to look up some information on Charles Wesley on the internet.  I was struck with the knowledge that Charles Wesley was born on my birthday, March 29th, (which also happened to be 2 days after Easter that year) and that he died on December 18th.  December 18 was Charles’ due date.  Coincidence?  Who knows?  But I have to think that it all ties together somehow.  To me it all points back to the Savior, His life and His mission.

Even though I hadn’t felt like I knew Charles while I was carrying him, I fell absolutely head over heels in love with him when he was born.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.  Heavenly Father had sent us another incredible spirit.  He smiled easily and often.  In fact, his birth video shows pictures of him on Christmas day, when he was five days old, smiling joyfully from ear to ear.  Earlier that same day we were listening to a music cd our daughter had received as a gift.  The music was beautiful.  Charles’ eyes grew wide and his wriggling little body suddenly became still.  He was enraptured.  Now at 6 years old, Charles takes great pride in his name and loves the fact that he is a “Christmas baby.”

The Lord generously blessed me with my desires to be healthy and to get in shape for the next and (what I thought was the last) pregnancy.  On Dec. 31, 2007, two years after Charles was born, we learned we were expecting again. It had taken 6 months more than we thought it would to get pregnant.  Never had both my husband and I wanted to get pregnant more than this time.  I doubted at times it would really happen considering my age, but the Lord comforted and reassured me that it would.  We kept it as our delightful little secret for a couple of weeks from our kids and a bit longer from everyone else.  The pregnancy was joyful, even though tiring at times.  I decided not to have an ultrasound to find out the gender of the baby.  I felt like Heavenly Father wanted me to trust him.  I tried to be faithful but doubted at times if I really was carrying the little girl we had dreamed of.  In my more faithful moments the Lord was able to help me understand more of why she was to be named Talita.  In a journal entry dated June 25th when I was 6 months pregnant I wrote to my future baby:

I believe you want to be named Talita to remind me and your dad and everyone you meet in mortality to have faith and hope in Christ, His atonement and resurrection.  Joseph Brickey’s painting of the daughter of Jarius depicts it well.  Though we all have moments of grief and sorrow the Savior stands at the door.  When we are ready, the door is opened, the light comes pouring in and life is restored, joy and reunion take place, and our mortal moment of suffering is ended.  Because of our Lord and Savior, we can have joy forever.   This is what you want me to focus on, not the aching loss, but the hope of eternal life and the joyous reunion with loved ones, all made possible because of our beloved Savior.  From now on, when I say or think your name I will focus on the Savior standing in a light-filled doorway, just waiting to bring life and joy to my life and our family’s life.

On another day I wrote:

Talita means hope, it means joy, it means Jesus wants to answer our prayers, bring back that which was lost or taken away. He wants to dry our tears, fill us with joy, happiness, and peace. We just have to trust Him that those things will happen at the right time for us. The daughter of Jairus wasn’t healed immediately when he asked. Jairus had to wait for the right moment‑‑when he and his wife had suffered just enough, when the doubters and naysayers were gone and they could be alone with the Savior.  We will have to wait for the millennium for Tyler’s spirit to re‑enter his body, to be reunited with him, to be able to embrace him and rejoice together. But it will be the right time then. It will be the right time.

Talita’s labor and birth unfolded much differently than I had expected but was nonetheless amazing and spiritual.  The day she chose to come earthside was September 11, 2008.  I don’t believe the day was coincidental either.  As I have reflected on it over the past 3 years I believe that she chose that day as another reminder to us to focus not on the sorrow and grief of death, but rather to focus on the One who claimed victory over death, to find peace, joy, and healing in His incredible gifts of life to us.

Although my labor with Talita was long—over 30 hours—it was exactly as it needed to be.  Her cord was extremely short and the labor and birth needed to be slow and gentle for a safe birth. She was born at home into the loving hands of my caring, experienced midwives.  My husband was behind me holding me and supporting me.  When my midwife turned her over on my lap both my husband and I exclaimed with joy “It’s a girl!”  Over the next few hours as we said her name, she would turn her head to the sound.  It was as if she knew and recognized her name.

Her hair was dark and more plentiful than any of my other babies.  I wondered if she really would have curly blond hair like in my husband’s dream.  It didn’t take long before her hair lightened, and as it got longer beautiful little curls began to take shape.  Now at the age of 3 her hair is honey blonde and has beautiful waves and gentle curls to it.  She is the only one of our 7 kids to have curly hair and I am loving it. As fun as that is, however, it is her sweet, feminine, loving spirit that is an absolute joy to have in our home.  At the end of her birth video I put these words:

Talita,

God’s little lamb,

sent to remind us

that miracles happen.

Mark 5:35-43 (KJV)

Lovingly dedicated to her brother,

Tyler Boyd Hansen

August 20, 1992 – February 16, 2002.

My heart is filled with gratitude and love to my Father in Heaven and my Savior for Their tender, watchful care over me and my family.  Truly, we have been greatly blessed, and I look forward with great anticipation to the day when our family will be fully reunited. While it has been a sweet, tender mercy to feel my son’s presence at the births of his siblings and at many other sacred moments, my heart longs to see him and embrace him again.  Through our Savior’s sacrifice, I know that one glorious day all of us will get to embrace him and thank him for all he has done for us, not only during his short mortal life, but, with the help of our Savior, all that he has done for us since.

Your Endless Hours are Making a Difference! by Joanna Oblander

July 28, 2012 in Adoption, Attachment, Guest Post, Motherhood, Prenatal influences by Heatherlady

I am thrilled to share this guest post by author Joanna Oblander. Joanna has written the book “A Glimpse of Heaven”, which is a memoir about her near death experience  with God, her vision of  the pre-mortal world, her struggle with depression, and an amazing journey to find her adoptive son. I reviewed Joanna’s book on my blog, which you can read here, and have been so touched by her beautiful testimony and experiences. I have so enjoyed getting to know Joanna and hope you will too!

Now that I can no longer claim to be a young mother (let’s just say that my daughters are young mothers) I like to think that I have gained some amazingly
wonderful insights into the whole business of birth and motherhood!

If you have read my book, A Glimpse of Heaven, you know that I have four children that I have given birth to and 2 children that my husband and I adopted
from Russia.

I was determined as a young mother to stay home with my children. I was a pretty typical run-of-the-mill LDS mother who exercised lots of creativity in figuring out how I could maximize time with my children, maximize our income, minimize our expenditures, and minimize my time away from the home!

I believed President Benson’s admonition to stay at home with my children rather than pursue a career. And….there was that something inside my heart that couldn’t bear the thought missing out on all of my children’s ‘firsts” in exchange for a career. However, I can’t honestly say that I understood…really understood what my sacrifices for my children were about or what they were accomplishing.

Fast forward to our adoption…then fast forward 5 years after our adoption was finalized and VOILA….I understood. I understood in ways that I could have never understood before.

It was about five years after we adopted our children from Russia that I learned about an emotional condition called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I had personally been dealing with two cases of RAD for 5 years but I had not understood what it was that I was dealing with or its causes.

You see…my two Russian children were removed from their birth parents for neglect and abandonment. As a result of not receiving the care, nurturing, and
love they needed as infants and young children their emotional well being was greatly impaired.

What I learned is that when a child does not receive the care, nurturing and love that they need – the appropriate development does not occur. Reasoning ability is delayed or not developed, the conscience is impaired, desire to engage in loving relationships is dismally weak and desire to engage in strange, controlling behaviors is frustratingly strong. For example, my son once deliberately failed an honors class not because he wasn’t capable but because he wanted to show the teacher who was really in control.

In the normal development of a child, the first five years is very important but the time between the ages of 6 months to 18 months is especially critical. It is during those months that a child learns to trust. That’s why we often see babies become so attached to their mother’s during that time of their life.

As a child learns to move and become more independent, they need to learn that we are there for them. They have a dirty diaper and they fight us when we
want to change them yet our changing their diaper communicates our love for them and that we are going to take care of them. They try to climb something dangerous and we don’t let them and they learn that we are going to keep them safe. They try to hit us and we teach them hitting is wrong and they may cry
unhappy tears but they know that we are providing boundaries that they know will help them be secure.

During those formative months and years that we carry our children within, give birth to them, and then raise them are soooo precious. It is through our presence and our care (physical, emotional and spiritual) that we are able to teach them that they are loved, that there is a safe place for them in this world,
and enable them to develop in the very ways that Heavenly Father designed for them to develop. So the next time your baby cries as you leave for date night
or your energetic children are exhausting you – smile! Something wonderful is happening! Know that your endless hours and daily care are making a magnificent difference!

JoAnna Oblander
A Glimpse of Heaven

Eating for Two – What the World Doesn’t Tell You

July 14, 2012 in Pregnancy, Prenatal influences by enjoybirth

This is a guest post by Celestia from Tree of Life Mothering Blog.  Her posts always are interesting!  Diet is important and we encourage all pregnant moms to learn more about a good diet.  From many different sources, including your care provider!

She reviewed our book and loved it.  Though she wished we had included information about the importance of a pregnant woman’s diet in it.  I asked her to write a guest post for us about it!  So here it is. 

I am going to put an excerpt here, but I really suggest clicking over to her post on her blog, as she has lots of great videos I can’t seem to link over here.

Chances are, if you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ve heard the phrase, “You’re eating for two.” Many times it is given as a license for you to indulge in that next serving of pizza, brownie, or bowl of chips. OK, true confessions time, even I have used it myself as a license in my head to eat more of what is not necessarily the most nutrient dense foods. Unfortunately for me when I am pregnant and craving potato chips, there’s a lot more to pregnancy and nutrition then just eating more calories.

Actually, it is really fortunate when you look at it a way other than through tastebuds that crave junk food. Knowing that we women have power to create beautiful babies who are healthful, who will never get ear infections or glasses or cholesterol problems is a fortunate thing! As Chris Masterjohn says, HERE, “Good maternal nutrition during pregnancy can protect the offspring from diabetes, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, and memory loss later in life.”

 

We all hear about how when you are pregnant, a mom should not smoke or drink. That’s because the mom has an organ that passes everything she takes in on to the baby. This organ, the placenta, is the first tree of life to the baby. It supports the baby until the baby is born with oxygen and nutrients. It literally looks like a tree as well. How many of us realize the power of this tree of life? We can use this tree of life to pass on positive things to the baby to increase the baby’s facial beauty, bone structure and density, brain and eye development, gut health (which affects all other health) and to make an overall strong constitution for life.

Not only that, but through proper nutrition, we can decrease and even eliminate the common pesky complaints and challenges of pregnancy that we as moms experience such as:

  • Morning sickness
  • Cramping in your feet and hands
  • Cravings for junk foods
  • Varicose veins
  • Stretch marks
  • Swelling and water retention

In addition, a holistic IBCLC, Jennifer Tow,  over here, says that a mom’s diet can lead to all the common problems we hear about in modern America after someone has a baby. “…post-partum depression, food allergies, milk supply, PCOS, tongue-tie, reflux, ‘high-need’ infant behavior, slow growth, failure to thrive and numerous feeding difficulties may all find origins in the integrity and vitality of the mother’s internal terrain. In attending to the health of the maternal gut, while supporting the infant in his own healing, we may find that many breastfeeding problems are resolved both acutely and chronically.”

Wow, we moms have power to eliminate all these problems by changing our diets! This is good news!

Click here to read the rest of the post and see some great videos with more information! 

 

The Song of the Soul: Singing to your Baby

January 18, 2012 in Heather, Motherhood, Prenatal influences by Heatherlady

by Heather

Singing Madonna” by Brian Kershisnik

When I was just a few months old I was having a particularly rough time and my poor mother had been up half the night with me trying to calm me down. She said that she had tried everything: fed me, rocked me, changed me,  held me, but nothing seemed to be helping. She was exhausted.

Then all of sudden she found herself rocking me and singing me a little song. The tune was one she’d never heard before, but it came naturally to her lips, as did the simple words of the song.

“Little Heather, Little Heather,

You’re my little Heather Lynne,

How I love you, How I love you,

You’re my little Heather Lynne.”

As she started to sing  I immediately stopped crying and calmed down. She sang the song over and over again, changing and adding new words in, until I finally drifted off to sleep.

After that evening that little song became her “secret weapon” and she said that singing it never failed to calm me down and put me to sleep. As I got older she  continued to sing it to me and it was always my favorite lullaby. Still to this day there are times when I, a grown woman, curl up on her lap and have her stroke my hair and sing “my song” to me. That simple little song brings a lot of peace to my soul.

Over the years I’ve pondered a lot about why that song is so special to me but I haven’t ever been able to explain it. Then a few weeks ago a good friend  sent me this quote by N’Shama Sterling. She said:

“When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. They then return to the tribe and teach the song of the child to the village.

When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child’s song. When the child passes through initiation to adulthood, the people would again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song. Finally when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they had at birth and they sing the person into the next life.

In this African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. They sing their song to them. The tribe recognized that the correction for anti-social behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of your true identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.” (In “Music and Aromatherapy” by Karyn Grant)

There is so much in this quote that I love but I am espeically entranced with the idea that each soul has its own song, its own unique vibration, and that if a mother listens for it she can get “in tune” with it even before her child is born.

I think that on that long hard evening so many years ago my mother must have inadvertently tuned into the song of my soul. Because it isn’t the words of the song that are so meaningful to me (my mother often changed them as she sang to me) it is the tune that I love. Somehow that incredibly simple tune touches something inside of me and reminds me, like N’Shama Sterling said in her quote, of my true identity as a beloved daughter of not only earthly parents but Heavenly Parents as well.

Singing to your child, even before he/she is born, can be a powerful way to bond with them and to teach them, or remind them, that they are loved, cherished, and of divine heritage.

Penny Simkin, the “mother” of the modern doula movement, is also passionate about encouraging prospective parents to sing to a specific song to their babies in utero and soon after birth. In her article “Ask Penny: Singing to the Baby Before and After Birth”) she says:

“There’s one thing… that promotes closeness between parents and baby in almost any situation in any environment – parents’ arms, birthing room, infant warmer, operating room, free-standing birth center, or the family home. This wonderful thing is to sing a familiar song out loud to greet and soothe the baby, from birth onward whenever the baby seems upset or uncomfortable.

This is one of my passions. Singing to the baby is a lovely and unique way to reassure the baby and promote a sense of safety and familiarity during this strange, stressful, and not so gentle time. The parents feel special and competent, because only they have the familiar voices and the familiar song.  Even though the parents may not be skilled as the staff in handling babies, changing diapers, and bathing, those skills (which will be mastered in a few days) mean nothing to the baby in comparison with the familiar song and the familiar voices. Of course, being held skin to skin at the same time would be ideal, but the song in itself is remarkably soothing and calming… Even those who are not “good singers” should know that the baby loves their voices, whether on key or not.” 

In her article she also shares several powerful stories of parents who were able to use song as a powerful way to bond with their babies, especially during c-sections and prolonged stays in the NICU.  As a result of what she has seen Penny Simkin encourages all of her clients and expectant parents to:

  • Any time after about 32 weeks of pregnancy (when the baby’s hearing is developed), pick a song that is easy to sing and that you like a lot.
  • Every day either one or both parents sing that song aloud to your baby in utero.
  • Sing it at birth to greet your baby, and frequently thereafter, to soothe, reassure, and calm your baby.

And I would add that even if your “baby” is much older, or even grown up, it isn’t too late to start tuning into the song of their soul. It may take more work but everyone has a song that is worth learning.

My husband and I haven’t consistently sung to our children before they were born and I don’t think that I have yet to discover the songs of each of my children’s souls.  Though it is something that I am certainly going to start listening for more carefully!  It may be a song I already know (I do know that one of my children loves a certain lullaby),  it may be one that ( like my mother experience) just comes naturally from my lips, or it might be one that they discover for themselves when they are older. No matter what it is I want to tune into it. Not only to be able to calm and soothe them now, but so that someday when they have gone astray, I can remind them that they are loved, cherished and of infinite worth. Because as N’Shama Sterling said in her quote, “When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.”

Have you sung to your children before and after they were born? What did you sing?