Here’s my latest blurb from the newsletter, all about the ripple effect of our actions:

   Every day we do things, say words, and interact with people, often without thought about the effect.  Though often seemingly small, mundane, or benign, our actions have the potential to make a huge impact on the life of an individual or the entire world. That guy you honked your horn at–was he being overly cautious as he was driving home his newly born baby in the car, and is now so flustered that he gets into an accident? (Those of you with little ones remember that anxiety-laden ride?!)  That child that you said, “Yes, I’ll read one more story before bed”–did you make him feel loved?  That slow clerk ringing up your groceries that you complained to the management about–did that cost her a job?
     This week, I had the honor of hearing two incredible members of the birth world speak.  Debra Pascali-Bonaro, director & creator of Orgasmic Birth

(check it out–it’s as great as it sounds!) and chair of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization, among many other incredible credentials discussed the importance of improving maternal and neonatal outcomes throughout the world. Local birth hero, Dr. Dennis Hartung, AKA “The Midwife in OB’s Clothing,” shared about his philosophy, which includes trust in the process of birth, the strength of a woman, and that many babies enter the world butt-first without much fanfare.  The common thread with these two dynamic speakers, who come from very different backgrounds and experiences, is that their incredible work is the result of a ripple. This ripple started as a small notion, an idea, a suggestion. After years of hard work, teaching, learning, and trusting, the ripple is now a wave–a contagious desire to treat women, their babies, and their bodies with respect, leading to a gentler, kinder birth experience for the whole family.
     The birth experience is it’s own ripple.  Throughout the experience (which I feel includes pregnancy through the entire first year of a baby’s life), the things that are done to the MotherBaby duo, they way they are spoken to, and how they are treated, lay the foundation for the rest of each of their lives, which in turn ripple on to those around them.  It alters parenting styles, coping mechanisms, self-esteem, relationships, trust, and confidence, in both positive and negative ways. There is a wonderful quote, “Peace on Earth Begins With Birth,” (can we say “Ripple Effect?”) I believe that it is true, but I also believe that we have the capabilities to start that positive ripple at any point in our lives, and what it takes, is thinking about our actions, words, and interactions with each and every person. At the funeral of my great uncle who recently passed, this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote was read and I think it sums it up perfectly:
To laugh often and much; 
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
With love and gratitude, Liz Abbene

Jess, Erin, and I with our ripple-creating heroes, Dr. Hartung and Debra