You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Labor offers lessons for motherhood, Austin author Julia Aziz says


With her new book, “Lessons of Labor: One Woman’s Self-Discovery Through Birth and Motherhood,” Julia Aziz says she wanted to “reach out to women that were struggling with anxiety and perfectionism in motherhood.”

Mothers, she says, have so much external input from friends, family, the media and Internet that they often begin to question if they are doing the right things. In reality, “No one knows what they are doing,” she says.

You have to find what works for you in this moment, at this time.

The Austin mother of three and licensed social worker is the director of student and career services at the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, has been a hospice chaplain and has worked with teens and families in private counseling.

She wanted the book to connect women who are all going through similar-yet-unique experiences in motherhood. “We are all in this together, but we are all different,” she says.

In the book, Aziz takes you through her three labor experiences of having Kaleb, 9, Jeremiah, 6, and Marisa, 4. Even though she had all three naturally, each birth experience was very different.

With her first child, she was trying to get ahead of the pain and control it. She had a doula and a hospital birth. Her second child arrived at home with a midwife. That birth was filled with cussing, but she found ways to get through the contractions by spelling her son’s name over and over again. With her third child, she was in early labor a long time. She kept doing things around the house and taking care of her sons. Then, after the kids were asleep and she and her husband had watched a movie, she realized she was in active labor and had a baby about an hour later. The midwife got there just in time to catch the newborn.

Through each birth story, she delivers lessons she learned and how it now relates to raising children. Each chapter has a different lesson, including “Asking for Help,” “Facing Fear,” “Responding to What is Real,” “Change Happens,” “Best Laid Plans,” “Less Can Be More,” “One Foot in Front of the Other,” “Real Acceptance Brings Real Change,” “Flexibility” and “That Old Friend Worry.”

She also shares lessons of loss when she talks about a miscarriage early in her marriage.

This isn’t a book only for women who have done natural childbirth, she says. “It’s OK to do it however you want to do it,” she says. “There are as many ways to give birth as there are women.”

Women who have Cesarean sections, induced labors or choose epidurals still have many experiences that leave them feeling out of control and anxious about what is happening.

One of the early lessons Aziz learns is about letting go of the need to control what is not in your control. Your body naturally knows how to give birth; you just have to let it, she says. With children, control quickly goes out the window because no one is getting any sleep and children get sick. They also change so rapidly that just when you think you’ve figured them out, they’ve moved on to another stage. What worked before no longer works.

“It has to do with trust and letting go of needing to control things and being able to embrace a certain level of chaos and uncertainty,” she says. “It’s about admitting what you don’t know and going forward anyways.”

And, like her three very different births, she has had to be a different parent for each child because each child needs something different.

Remembering her children’s births also reminded her that, while parenting is very child-centered, it’s also about the health and mental well-being of the parent.

“Parenting is a lot more about us than we admit,” she says.

She remembers the first year after her second son was born being particularly rough. She was worn out with a very active toddler and a new baby.

“I remember dreading every day and not wanting to do it,” she says. “I was feeling overly stressed by all the things going on.”

Postpartum depression, even long after the baby is born, is not something many moms will talk about. They see other moms doing it seemingly well and think there must be something wrong with themselves.

When Aziz’s daughter came around, her boys were older and starting to go to school and preschool. She took a part-time job that gave her a refuge that was not about the children for a couple of hours a day. She had figured out what worked for her.

Now, Aziz sees herself in a good phase of parenting, with two children in elementary school and one in preschool. But she knows — like the birthing experience — there’s always the next stage that will bring the unexpected. That’s when you do the best you can do, take a deep breath and go with it.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

Report: 'Hotbed of anti-Semitism' is not a foreign country. It's U.S. college campuses
Report: 'Hotbed of anti-Semitism' is not a foreign country. It's U.S. college campuses

As violent attacks against Jews worldwide drop to their lowest level in more than 10 years, the United States, particularly college campuses, has been the "hotbed of anti-Semitism," according to a new report. The report by researchers at Tel Aviv University, which covers data from 40 countries, found that violent anti-Semitic incidents, which...
Today’s horoscopes - Sunday, April 30

ARIES (March 21-April 19). You pull things together in the most interesting ways. Your approach to life is fascinating! Of course, not to you. You’re used to it. But someone close to you will be duly impressed. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). The well-known solution is not the one you need to try right now. Your openness to the unconventional will...
See dragon boats race, find fossils, more family fun, April 30-May 6
See dragon boats race, find fossils, more family fun, April 30-May 6

Events Dragon Boat Festival. See the dragon boats race in this 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Festival Beach, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St. asianamericancc.com. “Never Grow Up: A Disney Art Show.” Mondo Gallery presents this show through May 13. Mondo Gallery, 4115 Guadalupe St. MondoTees...
Today’s birthdays - Sunday, April 30
Today’s birthdays - Sunday, April 30

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Cloris Leachman is 91. Actor Burt Young is 77. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is 71. Movie director Allan Arkush is 69. Actor Perry King is 69. Singer-musician Wayne Kramer is 69. Singer Merrill Osmond is 64. Movie director Jane Campion is 63. Movie director Lars von Trier is 61. Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen...
Dear Abby - Sunday, April 30

Dear Abby: Six years ago, not long after I announced to my family that I was going to be married, my parents decided to divorce because Dad had been cheating on Mom. Because I allowed him to walk me down the aisle, she didn’t attend my wedding. I was extremely hurt by it, but decided to forgive and forget. Unfortunately, my mother could not do...
More Stories