Author, Blogger, Educator

Category: postpartum doula

The Responsibilities of Being a Catholic Author

I’ve written several books and published them. I truly enjoy writing and all my books are meant to serve and help others but they are secular in nature. Becoming a “Catholic” author has been intimidating because I am held to a much higher standard.

Actually, as an educator, God says that teachers are judged more strictly, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1.

I take it very seriously when I say that any Catholic should do XYZ because I could be responsible for damning their soul based on my advice. Not only that, the publics perception of me (who read my books/blog), also needs to align with the Truth of my faith. I certainly can’t be a part of the Girl Scouts as a Catholic (due to their Planned Parenthood ties).

Last August, I was hit hard with humility when a woman admonished me for a blog post I had written. She’s an amazing woman and I am thankful she had the courage to reach out to me and admonish what I wrote. You can click on her blog in the previous sentence. I wish we lived closer so we could meet in person.

It turns out that the way I phrased my blog (men lactating), it appeared as if I was reducing the dignity of motherhood and the woman’s role. I was horrified. Instead of becoming defensive, I prayed and re-read what she was sharing. I could clearly see there was an error and was able to modify what I wrote so that no other person would fall into sin by asking their husband to lactate to feed their baby.

So when a woman shared her “Catholic” book in one of my Catholic groups, I felt courageous enough to reach out to her and tell her that she could be responsible for leading Catholic’s astray. Unfortunately, she wasn’t in the same space spiritually and I was blocked though she did private message me and referred me to The Educated Birth website so I could read about the pagan (Mayan) bone-closing ceremony. The Educated Birth website is full of anti-Catholic, non-science based information; ie. men can have babies and uses the terms birthing person. Do not visit this site.

I find that very sad so this post is an effort to bring attention to an error in the book A Catholic Postpartum: A Plan for Catholic Mamas by Julie Larsen. I do not want to link to her book because I do not want anyone to buy it. It contains a Pagan ritual called “bone-closing ceremony,” which the author denies is Pagan.

This isn’t a “review” of A Catholic Postpartum. I have not read it as I will not pay over $25 for a 113-page, unedited, non-researched “Catholic” book. What I write here is a warning for those who may read it and believe that a bone-closing ceremony is something Catholic’s can do/did do.

I was able to find an email for Julie and I reached out to her and apologized for offending her with criticism about the pagan ritual in her “Catholic” book though I was met with hostility. She shared some information with me on her thought process. For instance, she admitted that she did not even read the information about a bone-closing ceremony on the website that she referred to me.

I was quite shocked! This website is the only place she got her “research?” She also shared, “I thought the bone closing was a Mexican tradition and that’s the only reason I put it in the book – most Mexicans are Catholic.” She also stated, “I don’t know any theologian to ask – I should[sic] have to consult someone to write a book – I based it on my own personal research. It doesn’t have an Imprimatur – ok?” Unfortunately Julie, if you are going to put a Catholic name to this, you DO need to consult someone. At the very least, consult your pastor.

It appears A Catholic Postpartum is not Catholic at all and is Catholic in name only. As a doula and childbirth educator, I am aware of the spiritual dangers that line of work can lead to. Doula’s are all about holistic ideology. The word “holistic” is actually died to pantheism. Despite being a Catholic, when I worked as a doula, I was led to energy fields/healing energy, acupuncture, Mayan abdominal massage, card reading, oils from witches and pagan shops, and all sorts of things that led me AWAY from God.

It seems as if Julie is there, navigating this pagan world with the Catholic one. I really had hoped she would prove me wrong that a bone-closing ceremony was an ancient Jewish practice that we lost. After all, there must have been something that women experienced during the 40 days after birth. Did the local women tend to them?

That is a question I am now asking my Catholic network to answer. There must be something? For now, we do not know and there is nothing that shows the bone-closing ceremony was a part of Jewish tradition or early Christianity/Catholicism. It is wise to avoid this book for now and pray for Julie to be open to doing the research required for this book to be amazing. She has a responsibility as an author to ensure her work is inline with Catholic teaching.

Postpartum Depression – Part 3

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted about my postpartum depression. It’s still here but definitely not as bad. I actually shared with one of my classes that I had postpartum depression because I wanted them to see the “face” of postpartum depression.

When I was going over the postpartum depression section in the last of my four classes with them, I asked them if it looked like I had postpartum depression. They all said no. That’s when I revealed that postpartum depression doesn’t have a “face” and many women are highly functional through it. They all seemed shocked. Probably because I was sharing this highly personal story with them. I certainly didn’t go into details but I wanted them to know that their wives or partners could look this way, go to work, be functional, etc., yet still be suffering silently.

There are some things I have done since I last shared. The first, was getting daily help. While I cannot afford the actual help I need, I am incorporating daily help into my life and paying for the support that I CAN afford. It’s not much, maybe once a week or once every two weeks but it’s helpful nonetheless. In addition, my mother-in-law has offered to come help and I have had a few friends that have come to help.

While this support is detrimental to my health, family and friends aren’t optimal. Here’s why? There is a feeling that I need to entertain them and/or explain the things that need to be done as well as how to do them. The support of the postpartum doula needs no explanation. They just come in and do. We don’t even have to talk. When the postpartum doula asks “When was the last time you took a shower?” It’s followed by, “I will watch/hold the baby while you take all the time you need to shower. Go enjoy it. We will be fine.”

Friends and family have helped with ensuring my family is eating. Many have brought me lunch or dinner for the family. In addition, they ask if I need food before they come over and that ensures I eat. Much of my problem is realizing that I don’t eat regularly and by the time I do eat, I am so famished that it’s causing me problems. If I don’t eat, I am not a good parent. I repeat that when Charlotte is crying and I consider putting off this basic need to attend to her.

I also reordered my supplements, specifically fish oil and Vitamin D3. Both of these are very important to my health and I had run out of them for over a month. Vitamin D3 really helps curb SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and I tend to get that in the winter or at least, cabin fever and taking D3 helps tremendously. Plus, I already know that without the supplement, I am deficient in Vitamin D3.

Finally, I had a therapy appointment. This appointment took a while to get to (she wasn’t available when I was in the depths of despair) but it was important and very helpful. It gave me confidence that the things I was doing were truly right for me and also gave me permission to turn some people away who offered help. Now you are asking, “Why would you turn help away?” Here’s the easy answer.

If the “help” was something that would cause me anxiety, it’s not really that helpful. The type of help most often offered was someone taking Charlotte for me during the day yet I am working hard to get her on a schedule (which is part of my stress and feeling of being overwhelmed) and then there’s my concern about my baby being in someone else’s car. I have such a hard time with any of my kids not being home or riding around with someone else and I needed to be able to say no to this kind of support. While any help is appreciative, my therapist reminded me that it needs to be the kind of help that would not cause me more stress. I learned some techniques for saying no.

I am continuing on my path to healing and I am doing better. I have also started to recognize areas where I can improve, for instance; as soon as Charlotte naps, I need to have my list of things to do handy and begin them immediately. I know her patter and how long I have (about 20 minutes before she wakes as she is transitioning in her sleep cycle), and how long it will take me to get her back to sleep so I can get a full hour or an hour and a half of her napping. When she gets an hour and a half, she is happier and less needy and if I complete some things on my to-do list, I feel more productive and give myself permission to rest/sit when Charlotte needs to be held.

I hope some of this might help another person struggling through. It’s not perfect but recognizing some key things has really been helpful. Self-care is detrimental and I tend to put off all of my own self-care in order to care for my family but the reality of that means I turn into a horrible wife and mother if I don’t ensure I meet some basic needs.

I am a work in progress.




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