Practice What You Teach…

Practice What You Teach…

About six months after I started teaching natural childbirth I noticed something wrong with my life…I wasn’t exactly living the way I was teaching my families to live.  Yes, I paid some attention to eating healthy and I would exercise from time to time. But my life definitely did not reflect what I was telling others to do.

It is a humbling day when you realize you expect more of others than you do yourself. I had to really ask myself if I believed nutrition and exercise were the keys to living healthy.  If I really believed it, what did the way I was living say about who I was?  How did I expect others to be successful at something I was not even willing to try.

Since that day, two women have made similar comments to me.  Not about themselves, but about the women who serve as midwives, doulas and childbirth educators.  Both were amazed at the number of overweight women who could barely walk up the stairs. The message I received from both women was, “why would I believe what she tells me about how to be healthy?”

I wish I could say I learned how to live a healthy life and maintain a healthy weight.  I haven’t.  I still struggle to find a healthy weight.  I still rely on less healthful food when busy. I still find myself sitting for hours reading and writing (I have to, I’m in school).

But I am happy to say that I have learned one thing that has made a difference for me this year.  That one things is this, “physical activity is not a luxury.” I enjoy walking, biking, swimming and other activities.  Unfortunately I had convinced myself that those activities were for after the work was done.  But with a family and school, the work is never done.  I needed to make physical activity as important as all the reading assignments, all the tests and all the other activities in my calendar.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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