Saturday, April 25, 2009


The word, "Empowerment," to me, is not a neo-nazi-feminist word that should scare anyone. It simply means: to have the ability, and permission, to accomplish something. Disempowerment is the opposite - it's when the environment is controlled by a dominating force which suppresses the individual's agency.
I believe that at times our own choices disempower us - we give our power away to external forces - and live a far less effective, less satisfying, less impactful life, than we could.
I love Victor Frankl's own example from his experience inside of a Nazi concentration camp, detailed in "Man's Search for Meaning." He teaches that while "liberty" (your ability to move about at will) may be controlled by others, "freedom" is completely up to you - it is a state of mind.
Through this type of "freedom," empowerment emerges.
I believe in empowerment - as a principle. I want to empower my children to have and use their inner compass - to have the character to act with integrity and the self-worth to overcome sin.
I want to empower my husband to feel comfortable in his greatness.
I want to empower my friends to live their dreams.
I want to empower LDS women to be truly happy by shedding limiting beliefs about perfectionism.
I want to empower women everywhere to accept their beauty and potential and to not play small.
In order to do any of this - I must first empower myself.
Homebirth was a powerful experience that added to my sense of empowerment. I was able to create a birthing environment that gave me permission to do, say and feel anything I wanted to, anything that felt natural or necessary. I was not inhibited in the least. It provided me with the space to maximize my OWN abilities and strengthen my faith and reliance on the Lord.
Another empowering experience is marathon running, and since I just REGISTERED FOR THE ST. GEORGE MARATHON, coming up in October, I wanted to highlight this empowering endeavor by sharing one of my favorite clips. I believe that empowerment evolves from sacrifice and pain because they are intrinsically linked to triumph, success and greatness. Here is a look at why 5 people run - it hits home for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Share the Cause

My favorite line is..."anyone who walks away from this, walks away from the obvious." (may be paraphrased).
Really, truly, if we don't have our health, what do we have????
These are some questions I've asked myself lately:
1 - Do I know ANY family that doesn't have at least 1 person with a preventable/degenerative health condition?
2 - Do I know why my kids' immune systems are so low? (Why they repeatedly have colds and coughs).
3 - Do I know what is in the water I drink?
4 - Do I know where my foods come from - where and how they're grown?
5 - Do I know what hormone injected cows and chickens do to my body and my kids'?
6 - Do I see the increase in disease within our society, affecting kids at a younger and younger age?
7 - Do I get that it is an environmental issue - that "toxins" are real?
8 - Is it true what I've heard that this generation of kids will die at an earlier age than their parents - a 1st in the history of America (a "1st world" nation.)
9 - Is it true that obesity just surpassed tobacco as a leading killer in America?
10 - Is it really that common for kids to have bowel/constipation problems? (I thought it was just my kids).
I find more and more moms becoming educated and concerned about these things. I want to learn from any of you - what do you know and what are you doing about it?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Meeting the Brothers

Here are glimpses of the first moments that each Naivalu boy had with their new baby. We introduced each of the older brothers, one at a time, so they could spend some time just with mom and baby alone. Each one was in awe of their new little brother. When it was Aisea's turn, he entered the room and said, "Oh my goodness, it's a BABY!"
Pictured below are the "Birthing Team" members - Grandma Mathews & Liz - the midwife, Sai, Angie & Anja.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Outcome!

(Yes, both eyes open...just not for photos!)
Josaia was overdue, we later learned, because he was quite entangled in the cord, including twice around his neck, so tightly, that the midwife couldn't slip her finger between his neck and cord to release it. When he was fully born, a few sommersaults got him untangled. He had been "held up" inside and had not descended for this reason. Thus my body had not been triggered into labor. I tried everything - even castor oil! Thank heavens the Lord prevented MY efforts until the right timing and spirit were there. It was all a beautiful miracle!

Josaia David Naivalu - born at home on 2:51 a.m. on Friday, April 3, 2009
8 lbs 7 oz. 21 inches long.
I have written a full-length birth story as a record of this awesome event. I would gladly email it to anyone interested in more details. To summarize the lessons learned from this very special home birth, I have listed the following key points:

1. Trust in the Lord. Moments after Josaia’s safe arrival, I reflected on this scripture: Ether 12:6 (from the Book of Mormon) states, “ And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” God WAS with me all along – even when I felt unsure of what decisions to make. I had to make them myself and proceed with faith, knowing that He would intercede and prompt me otherwise if I was not following His will.
2. Letting Go of Pain. Angie facilitated this great lesson. After each contraction, she would smooth her hands over my face and body and say, “Let it go. That one is over and you never have to live it again.” The profound lesson is that with any pain, hurt, discouragement or despair in life, once the moment is over, LET IT GO! Once you’ve lived through it, it’s over and you never have to repeat that exact same moment. Staying in the present this way helped me to not fear the upcoming contraction. It helped me to not carrying the tension of the past into the future. This made each contraction a unique effort and ultimately more bearable. I know that if I can live my life this way, releasing any resentment, anger, fear, shame… the moment passes, I will have healthier relationships and ultimately more joy from day to day.
3. My Joy is Directly Related to My Pain and Sacrifice. I believe there is opposition in all things and that the opposition is always equal in intensity to the potential for joy. Anything I do that is easy, or nearly effortless, will bring that same level of satisfaction and joy with it. Anything I do that requires work, sacrifice, and/or pain will bring with it that same level of satisfaction and joy. A marathon is a good example. For me, running a marathon is the celebration party after months of hard training. Crossing the finish line is pure elation. Homebirth has blessed me with a similar, almost unexplainable level of satisfaction and joy. I never would have understood it, had I not experienced it.

I am truly grateful for this experience and in every way, on every account, I personally prefer my home birth experience over my hospital births.

Thank you Mom. Thank you Sai. Thank you Angie. Thank you Anja. Thank you Liz. Thank you Josaia. Thank you Heavenly Father.
And thank you to all who sent messages and prayers in our behalf!