Marcy Axness: Parenting for Peace

I can’t say enough how much I loved the sessions at last weekend’s Trust Birth 2012 conference here in Nashville! Being around women who are passionate about birth and parenting was so energizing. I’m looking forward to sharing what I heard about newborns’ awareness from Karen Strange, natural ways to ease perinatal mood disorders from Deanna Hlywka, ND, how Gloria LeMay sees language color our impressions of birth, the wonders Gena Kirby works with a rebozo during pregnancy and labor, and what biomechanist Katy Bowman says those pesky Kegels are doing to your pelvic floor.

But first up, some of what I learned from Marcy Axness, PhD. Marcy is a mom, an early development specialist, and the author of a new book called Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers. Marcy caught my attention right away because her work gets to the heart of our need—as parents—for self-care. My takeaway from Marcy’s fantastic day-long workshop was that self-care is essential to our being able to raise happy, peaceful, productive children. That’s a truth that has become clearer to me the further I’ve ventured down this path of motherhood: Self-care, for the win! So I really appreciate how Marcy’s work draws on the science of neurobiology and epigenetics as confirmation and acknowledgement of the importance of self-care for parents. And to know that mindful, TLC for ourselves directly benefits our children—even better!

“I had grief and rage bubbling up all over. It was really hard for me to be present.” –Marcy Axness

Here’s why this all resonates with me so deeply: Marcy says her children are now thriving in young adulthood, even though she was years into parenting before she realized that she’d suffered from what she calls Chronic Covert Postpartum Depression. “I had grief and rage bubbling up all over,” she says. “It was really hard for me to be present,” she says.

To which I wanted to jump up and shout, “Me too!” The first 18 months of my second go-round with mothering—not pretty at all.

I’ve been really worried about this. Those times when I’ve lost it, when I’m the one having the tantrum? Dear god, what am I doing to the kids?! That’s the secret fear I carry around, and I am really ready to be done with it. Marcy’s book, Parenting for Peace, gives me hope—and a set of tools—for believing I can be.

But her book also sets a high bar. The question she says we have to grapple with is Are we worthy of our children’s unquestioning imitation as they grow, especially in those toddler and preschool years?

If that just sucked the air out of your lungs like it did mine, breathe, mama! Parenting for Peace offers deep reassurance and a mighty cheer of encouragement: It’s the simple act of striving to be better parents that makes us worthy of our little one’s imitation.

While I may not get this parenting thing right every day, I am damn sure striving!

Next week, Marcy will be here at Mamahhh as part of a blog tour for her new book, and she’ll explain the science behind that striving that makes us better parents than we realize. She’ll talk about the science of neurobiology in a way that is easy to understand and to relate to the practice of parenting. Check in on Monday to learn from Marcy:

  • the amazing research showing that you and your baby are a single biological unit when you interact — and how to use that knowledge to boost both your brains’ power!
  • toys and activities that build brain power (and ones that drain brains, too – like Baby Einstein and other screen-based entertainment)
  • what the heck epigenetics is and how it can work for you! Insights to use right now…
  • how pregnancy is “nature’s Head Start Program”; knowing what lessons take place can help you start your baby off right … and understand if baby’s early weeks aren’t going so smoothly

So join us Monday for this great info from Marcy, along with an excerpt from Parenting for Peace. She’ll also sum up 7 ways to shake a negative mindset when parenting (or life in general, really) is weighing you down. You can also catch up with Marcy at other stops on her blog tour:

Elevating Child Care

Positive Parenting Skills
Creating a Family

See you Monday! Marcy will check in to answer your questions!

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