Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is there a boggart hiding in your closet?

Have you ever noticed that when your worries are stashed away in your brain where no one can see them, they always seem scarier? I know that when I talk about them & state my fears out loud, they often sound silly, a little embarrassing and lose some of their power. For the past year or so, my kids have been obsessed with Harry Potter (an understatement). In the third book, there is a chapter where Professor Lupin teaches the young witches & wizards how to face their boggarts. A boggart is a “shape-shifter that takes on the form of its intended victim's worst fear”, but it is only an illusion – a trick. Once the person looks it in the eye, finds the humor in their fear & uses the spell RIDDIKULUS with courage, the boggart turns into a humorous shape & the fear melts away. Laughter and calling your fear out for what it truly is are essential.

How do you use magic in your everyday run ins with fear? How are you able to distinguish between real danger & what’s simply a boggart hiding in the closet?

Monday, February 16, 2009

4 - 7 Minutes of Fame - YouTube Style

Wow - are you concerned about the dramatic rise in babies born by cesarean? I firmly believe that every woman should have the informed choice to birth how ever she wants. I also firmly believe that we are lucky to have this medical miracle to help save the lives of mothers and babies in emergency situations. But did you know that cesarean rates have surpassed 30% nationally and the US ranks 29th in the world for infant mortality rates? Something needs to change. Here's an exciting opportunity - pass it on!

Birth Matters Virginia announces a birth video contest!

* 1st place prize: $1000 * 2nd place prize: $500 * Honorable Mention: $100 * Deadline for Entry is 11:59pm on Mother's Day, May 10, 2009*

As the national rate of c-sections surpasses 30%, it is more important than ever for women and their partners to be educated about the options they have during pregnancy and birth. Our organization works to improve the culture of birth in Virginia by promoting an evidence-based model of maternity care and supporting care providers who practice mother and baby-friendly care.

A series of feature length films (starting with the Business of Being Born). have inspired women to make decisions about their maternity care as carefully as they make other consumer decisions. Demand for evidence-based models of care is rising, and there is hope that we can turn the tide of medically unnecessary surgeries and interventions, saving them for when they are truly needed for the safety of the mother or baby.

As a step toward our goal of educating women about their choices and options, we are soliciting short videos about evidence-based maternity and delivery care. We want videos that will appeal to and inspire new audiences that may not have previously been exposed to any model of childbirth other than the version we see on television and in movies: dangerous, uncertain, excruciating, and usually in need of extensive and often emergency medical interventions. Birth doesn’t have to be this scary, and people need good information in order to make good choices.

We are thrilled to announce guest judges:
Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, acclaimed producers of The Business of Being Born.
Sarah Buckley, M.D., international birth expert and author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering.

The first-place winner will receive a cash prize of $1000. Second place: $500 and Honorable Mention: $100.

For rules and to see how to enter, please visit http://www.birthmattersva.org/videocontest.html

You can also join our Facebook group (whether or not you intend to make a video) to get updates about the contest and exchange ideas with other participants at

And if you have questions, email Sarah at Richmond@birthmattersva.org

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Untapped Creativity

After writing my last post, I was thinking about how people with anxiety - who have lots of "what if" scenarios - may have an untapped source of creativity. Think about how quickly an anxious brain can go from, "My husband should have been back by now" to "How will I raise the children on my own? Will the baby even remember him?" If you scroll through just a few of your "what if" scenarios, I bet you'll find a rich pool of material.

Imagine all of the unpublished authors out there, just waiting to put their imaginations to good use! And, what would happen to all those obsessive worries if they had a place to be unleashed? Imagine the healing. And, thinking about Dr. Wilson's paradoxical approach - when you invite the worry and doubt - even encourage your brain to go down that rabbit hole of worry & create a story, you can't help but get better. Need inspiration to get writing? Try this or this and when the final draft is complete, check out Lulu!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What if?

One morning, after dropping my two "big kids" off at school, I was walking to the car holding my baby. "Whashat?" she babbled and pointed to this large, gray, generator looking thing outside of the school. It was noisy and seemed to have seen better days. As I scanned my brain for the name of it to tell her, the thoughts calmly enter my head and start to build, "What if it blows up? Oh my God, I've got TWO children in there." The frames come quickly now - the building in flames, rescue workers on site, rushing up to the building to find my babies. Now, I'm not getting worked up, but I am realizing that I'm allowing myself to entertain this improbable occurrence as if it was real. My brain is asking the question, "Is this safe?" and scanning for ways to get them out if that ever happened.

Most people who deal with anxiety like to know how they would handle any situation imaginable if it happened to them.

"Babe," I said to my husband the other night, "What would you do if you heard someone down stairs breaking into our house?"

"What? That would never happen. I guess I'd . . ."

"Well, I tell you what I'd do. First I would call 911, quickly in a whisper; then I'd keep them on the line, so that the police could not only here what was going on, but could trace the address and get there faster."

"Wow, you've really thought this through," he says looking stunned.

"Yeah, then we'd grab the girls and lock ourselves in the room, open the window and scream loudly as we climbed out. Our neighbors are pretty aware & would come running. Haven't you ever thought about what you'd do?"

"Uh, yeah, no. My brain just doesn't go there."

Tell me, superheroes, does your brain go there? Do you experience normal anxious thoughts, but take them a bit too far when it comes to planning elaborate escapes & daring rescues? I look forward to hearing from you!