How to Empower Birthing Mothers

We had the honor of interviewing Karen Brody, playwright of BIRTH and founder of BOLD, the global arts movement that inspires communities to make maternity care mother-friendly. We are so proud to be holding hands with play organizers in our own local community of St. Louis to empower pregnant women to make the right birthing choices for themselves.

Interview with Karen Brody (AUDIO 27:15)

How can we support each other in birth, this amazing transformative moment in the life of a woman? We can create the circle of women that Karen describes. That’s what we are doing for Virginia Kerr, and through her, all other birthing moms in the upcoming event, A Mom Is Born. Please be our guest here on August 25.

If you have a mom/woman-focused site, we invite you to co-host this event with us. Send us a message and we’ll send you details.

And if you are in St. Louis, don’t miss this year’s performance of BIRTH at Schlafly’s Bottleworks on Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 5pm. Tickets here!

26 Weeks: Stretch Mark Stress and My Bama Mama

Two more weeks until the third trimester! I’m so excited, I think I may have to celebrate that day with ice cream!

BUT it also makes me worry stretch marks are right around the corner. So far, so good but I’ve been reading women get them as late as three days before they give birth.

I’ve been dedicated to putting lotion on my belly, hips and chest every day. I started with that Tummy Butter but it’s too greasy so I just use my Bath and Body Works lotion. Then, I read this week that you can’t do ANYTHING  to prevent because it’s all genetics.

Well, my mom doesn’t have them but I don’t think she and I look  alike so I don’t know if that counts. Okay, maybe a little.

Here we are visiting our alma mater the University of Alabama ROLL TIDE!

Sorry I got distracted (can’t wait until football season and this baby better not be born on the day of the AL/Tenn game–he’s due three days before one of  the BIGGEST GAMES OF THE SEASON)

Okay, back to stretch marks.  I’m trying something new. Baby Belly Massage. Zen Mommy sent me this link.

Watch her video. It looks very relaxing. Skittles will love it even if it doesn’t keep the stretch marks away.

Back to my Bama Mama.  I have never felt so close to her or missed her as much as I do now. It’s this whole initiation into Club Motherhood. I already appreciate her so much more and I know she is going to teach me so much when she comes back in October to help with Skittles.

She is coming in town Friday for my shower and I am over the top excited! She hasn’t been here in over a year. But I have the guest room looking very Southern for her and look…

Jason finished the nursery just in time for her visit! Yes, Skittles real name starts with an “R”

Stop. Don’t even bother trying to figure out his name. YOU WILL NEVER GUESS. But it is a little Southern sounding 😉

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

*You’re invited to a baby shower for Virginia on Wednesday, August 25. More details.

25 Weeks: Worried

Three weeks from the third trimester and all of a sudden I’m worried. Not sure what sparked it.

Now I worry more about what I am eating and drinking.  I also went back to the doctor to see if the choroid plexus cyst on the baby’s brain is gone.

It’s not.  In fact, they found a second one. The ultra sound tech said they usually go away in the third trimester but if it doesn’t it could be a soft marker for down syndrome.  I go back in four weeks to check again.

The baby looks normal other than that. Oh here’s a new picture.

Scratch what I said before. Now I think the baby has MY nose. Poor child.  He will be cute no matter what. And he will be loved a ton no matter what.

My gut tells me every thing is fine, but I know now what moms means when they say “you will always worry about something”

How do you cope with that sick, gut feeling?

Meanwhile, Skittles is kicking something fierce. He’s kicking right now in fact.

Now when I look at my belly at night I can see my skin rise.  That is freaky looking! I like it though.  I love all of it.  I think I will miss having the little guy in my belly.



Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

*You’re invited to a baby shower for Virginia on Wednesday, August 25. More details.

24 Weeks: Packin’ On the New Mom 15

24 weeks and 15 pounds.  I’m actually okay with the weight gain. That’s a big deal coming from me. I have struggled with my weight since 9th grade.  Mainly emotional eating issues.

I tell you this, because it’s part of this positive force that’s taking over me during my pregnancy.  I know I was griping last week about the hubs, my mood swings and the lack of nursery progress but most days I am high on life. And it’s all because of this baby boy I like to call Skittles.

BTW, no, I am not naming my child Skittles.  Someone asked me that this week.  But the name is the only secret I seem to be able to keep so it’s Skittles for now.

I know I have to gain weight for the baby.  Every time I start to feel light headed or have stomach pains, that little boy starts kicking. So I don’t waste anytime getting my hands on some food.

I also started exercising this week. I do it because I seriously think the baby enjoys it.

I know it sounds crazy, but I am so convinced he is just like my husband I do things that I know my husband enjoys. Jason is super athletic and he gets grumpy if he’s hungry,  can’t be outside or doesn’t exercise. He’s also in love with our yellow lab Saban and plays with him several times a day.

So Skittles and I are exercising and we run around outside with Saban at least once a day. I know. Psycho.  But there’s more.

I am also convinced that this little guy is laid back and drama free like my husband. Yes, I was crazy last Tuesday but that is only the second time during my whole pregnancy I have felt like that.

I remember when I met Practical Mommy Ria for the first time I told her I actually think when I’m exhausted from this overnight shift, the baby tells me to go to bed.

She told me some prenatal psychologists say unborn babies and their mothers are so connected they both influence each other’s moods and thoughts.  I believe it!

If this is all true, I am going to have a laid back, fun loving baby!

As for his fun loving father..he is almost finished with the nursery.

Here’s a small sample. Not a great shot. I took it at 2:30 this morning before I left the house.


Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

*You’re invited to a baby shower for Virginia on Wednesday, August 25. More details.

38 Weeks: We are so BLESSED!

Welcome our sweet babies, Hadley and Colin Tucker, born Monday, February 1 at 9:58 and 10:02am weighing 6# 7oz and 6# 4oz.

We feel SO blessed and are thankful for all your thoughts and prayers all these months!

Photos will follow I promise….

With love,
Shawn, Suzanne, Reilly and Morgan

[Read more…]

37 Weeks: Crystal Ball

It seems our twins have tricked a good number of people into thinking they would already be born by now.

At 36.5 weeks a pregnant, I saw my OB last Thursday, whom, after measuring me at 3 cm dilated and 75% thinned raised her eyebrows and laughed a little when I said, “See you next Thursday.” She and the entire front desk staff felt I would most likely “go” that weekend (if not later that day). My Doula, after hearing my progress report, put her money on the weekend as well, though she did qualify her quess with “If I could predict which day you’d go into labor… I’d be a very busy Doula!”

Me? Well, hearing how encouraging all the signs were, one night this weekend when contractions started coming every 10 minutes or so… I excitedly repacked my hospital bag, certain I would be delivering that next [Read more…]

Week 35: House Arrest

HiltonThankfully, there is no clamp on my ankle, but my doctor told me last week in no uncertain terms that I am to “lay low”. She put me on house arrest.
50% thinned and 1 cm dilated, she said eat, sleep, shower and relax until we hit the 36 week mark. HA! She left out the two children, dog, cat, husband, home and two businesses I help manage.
I really did appreciated this advice though, and for the last 7 days I HAVE been taking it easy. Well, OK, I have been taking it “easier”, but I would say I’ve modified her house arrest orders just a tad. FAR from bed-rest, I have [Read more…]

Week 34: Like “Cantaloupes”

cantaloupeDon’t you LOVE how in medicine everything is compared to the size of fruit? Well, I can say with confidence after our resent ultrasound that I am carrying two beautiful cantaloupes. Baby boy and girl are each measuring nearly 5 pounds and are predicted to “ripen” in the next 4 weeks or so. Yes. I am the mother of two beautiful, hair on their heads, head down, well positioned cantaloupes. Word has it that due to their ever increasing sizes, they are no longer “floating” inside me but resting their sweet little heads on my pelvic bones. and if you asked my bladder, I promise you, it would concur with this theory.


One major surprise for me in all the pregnancy reading I have done of late is that all this itchiness I am feeling these days may actually be caused by my pregnancy. I had written it off to dry winter skin and a belly pulled as tight as the Little Drummer Boy’s drum. Turns out it could also be due to the increase in estrogen experienced during pregnancy. Sure, I’m still going to limit those long hot-hot-hot showers that feel so good. I’m going to keep applying belly oils and lotions like they are going out of style. But somehow I feel better knowing this itchiness might simply be a hormonal thing.

I am also relieved to not be suffering from something I just read about called “pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy” (say that five times!) PUPPP for short, this awful, itchy skin condition effects about one percent of pregnant women and causes red bumps or welts on the belly, thighs and buttocks.

‘Ya know what? All this itching and scratching I’ve been doing isn’t bothering me so much anymore. Isn’t it funny how all things are relative?

Gotta Love Estrogen

I wonder if it’s this same itchy inducing estrogen that had me crying (for seriously no reason!!!) yesterday. My hubby asked me what was wrong when he found me boo-hoo-ing on the bed and I answered him “I have no freaking idea!” with a laugh and a sob.

Can I also blame estrogen for my long honey-do lists of late? It’s a challenging combination to have one’s mind in full nesting gear but one’s body in more like “resting” gear. Running on few hours of solid sleep and the need to get horizontal every few hours to avoid Braxton Hicks contractions; I’ll tell you what, having a strong, able-bodied man around the house is just too tempting to ignore. We’ve made a joke out of it. In the mornings my husband asks me, “Am I your waiter or your servant today?” I generally answer with a smile, “Both.”

I love the way my husband marvels at all the changes my body is going through. It reminds me to cut myself some slack when I am feeling like a slacker. My body is, at this very moment, putting the finishing touches on two sets of lungs after all. If you are pregnant, how are you feeling? What’s new with your ever changing pregnant body? And which changes have you most in awe (or dread)?

Related Articles:

39 Weeks : We are so BLESSED!
37 Weeks : Crystal Ball
36 Weeks : Pre-Birth ENERGY
35 Weeks : House Arrest
33 Weeks : Blessingways and Birth
32 Weeks : Other New Moms & Icing
31 Weeks : Newborn Baby Checklists
30 Weeks : Sage “New-Mom” Advice from a Friend
29 Weeks : Placental Encapsulation
28 Weeks : Pregnancy Calf Cramps to Wake the DEAD
27 Weeks : Holiday Maternity Fashion Tips
26 Weeks : The Nursery
25 Weeks : Back to Baby Names
24 Weeks : Cord Blood
23 Weeks : Baby Fat
22 Weeks : Baby(s) Moving! Time for Belly Massage
21 Weeks : Flu Bug
20 Weeks : Parents As Teachers
19 Weeks : Sleep
18 Weeks : Breastfeeding
17 Weeks : Childbirth
16 Weeks : Sex of the Babies. We’re having…
15 Weeks : Baby name Game
14 Weeks : Prenatal Yoga
13 Weeks : Mindful Nesting
12 Weeks : My Changing Pregnant Body
How Spirit Moves

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ZenMommy’s Pregnancy Journal is published in partnership with Due Maternity, a great place for maternity clothes.  xoxo

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy

In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003 and expecting twins in Jan of 2010, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Educator of  Infant Massage and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne is a Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yogi Parenting, a positive parenting approach for raising kids of all ages.

Week 31: Newborn Baby Checklists

listI am making my list and checking it twice. It’s been almost seven years since I’ve brought a newborn home from the hospital and I am definitely suffering from some sort of mommy amnesia when it comes to remembering what I’ll need to have on hand. If you too are suffering from this rare disease or if perhaps it is your first time welcoming home a baby, let me enlighten you on what I’ve found. Here are are a few Newborn Checklists to help you prepare: [Read more…]

Week 29: Placental Encapsulation

wpman holding capsuleWow. I thought I’d heard it all in terms of natural childbirth and all the baby and mom friendly options we pregnant mamas have to think about. In pregnancies past I’ve taken Bradley Method Classes, Hypno Birthing Classes, read Birthing From Within and done prenatal yoga all second and third trimesters long. I’ve used birthing balls, water and birthing bars to help my kids enter the word drug free. My husband was on the receiving end of my first two deliveries. I held each baby on my belly even as the cord still pulsed. We asked to have the eye drops held. I was the first to give each their first bath (an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world) and so on and so on and so on…

But with all the healthy, conscious birthing choices we mamas have to consider… I’ve gotta say, this latest one I’m considering seems the furthest out there (at least upon first talking about it.) It’s definitely the hardest one I’ve come upon for me to admit to considering. It’s placental encapsulation… another way of saying I am seriously considering the health benefits of eating my placenta(s) post delivery of our twins. [Read more…]