Review by Grady Harp
Maria Gavriel is a holistic mom, writer, and healthcare educator with a passion to create positive change. Born in Canada to Greek parents, she says that on frequent visits to Greece, “Mother Earth was forever imprinted in my cells, giving me a deep connection to nature.” A member of the Holistic Moms Network and Waldorf Education parents’ groups, for the past six years she has presented workshops to the community on topics including GMOs in our food, the commercialization of childhood, therapeutic essential oils, and tips for dealing with common health issues, including extensive investigation on the childhood vaccines dilemma. She is a paralegal by training, but she is a ‘compleat mother’ by experience, and it is the present vacuum in the field of realistic and wholesome parenting tips she shares throughout this joyful book.
LOVE CENTERED PARENTING is a parent instruction manual for raising a healthy happy child. In her Preface she states ‘My children have transformed my life. They have helped me grow to understand who I truly am and to trust myself, my family, and God. Throughout history, we have been guided in this role through an Inner Guidance System, like a GPS, based on intuition, mother’s wisdom, God, or whatever you choose to call it, and this has allowed humans to survive. This inner voice has been gifted to every single person, and is what one mother uses to guide another.’ And it is this ‘inner voice’ that suffuses every page of this extraordinarily informed and helpful book. Yes, she is a ‘holistic mom’ but she steps beyond that and refers to her view of the health world as the ‘wholisitc movement – ‘The wholistic movement to me is a way of life that is aligned with nature and who I truly am. This includes every aspect of life, such as diet, health care, daily action, and mostly living life from a place of Truth – meaning that I try to do what feels right deep within me. Currently, the term ‘holistic’ is used more loosely and can have a range of meaning. Throughout the book, you will notice ‘wholistic’ and ‘holistic’ used. Whenever you see the word `wholistic’ it means the whole human (mind, body and spirit). The word ‘holistic’ is used when referring to organic food, supplements, and alternative natural methods or products.’
Maria graciously invites to a journey through her own experiences in attempting conception after years of infertility workups, ultimately discovering the importance of detoxification in preparation for conceiving and the role that spiritual nurturing plays in the successful fertilization process. One of the many aspects of this book that makes it so unique as well as impressively useful is the way Maria shares each step of her pregnancy, her wholistic choices of embracing the Bradley Method that encourages bonding between mother, father and unborn child, her decision to have natural childbirth and embrace midwifery as opposed to the `standard’ hospital course for delivery (Pitocin drip to induce labor, epidural anesthesia, moving the newborn to the nursery upon birth etc) – and the fact that she did indeed need to include induction and undergo a Caesarean section – all of these moments increased her belief system in natural methods of midwifery attention to water births, perineal massage, meditation, hypnotic birthing, and birthing at home. The fact that she found herself in a position of needing to elect C section etc only proved to her that this book or experience was an important one to share with future mothers.
The steps of deciding to have a family through the entire conception and pregnancy, and adapting to motherhood from the important first 30 days (or lying in), a fine section on breast feeding (and the father’s important role here) including information about the unhealthy ingredients of infant formulas, the most healthy way to approach the concepts of sleeping (both for baby and for mother), holding and communication with the infant with the vital information so rarely discussed are all anchored here. Maria divides her book into two sections – the first is preparation mentally and physically for the day of parturition, the second, the aspects of introducing the baby to the family and the world. So many topics are covered that it is difficult to outline the magnitude of information here: topics such as how to use the sling in transporting the baby, the dangers of vaccines (a very important discussion), wholistic healthcare (using natural remedies and relying on the benefits of breast milk to the immune system of the infant, etc), how to make healthy decision regarding choices for the baby’s room, toys, guidance (not `discipline’), and avoiding the media impact are only a few of the details she shares. She is very responsible to always add references to her opinions and resources for the new parents. But the most impressive aspect of this much-needed volume is her idea of trusting our inner voice. `My goal is to help remind parents to listen to their inner voices in a way they never have before. I feel that the world is rapidly changing. We have chosen to have our children and bring them into this world now, and we owe it to them to guide them as best we can. The world needs as many strong, healthy, creative, loving, caring leaders as it can have to guide us in the future. I believe that in order for us to be the parents we dreamed of being, we need to first become attuned with ourselves, heal ourselves, heal our past, and continue to envision the future we always wanted. This, ultimately, will strengthen who we are as individuals and help us truly become loving role models for our children.’
This is a most impressive book, overflowing with care and loving and practicality – a book that has been missing from the parenting library but at last is here. Maria Gavriel could very well become the now generation’s Dr. Spock – and that is meant in the most laudatory way. This book is not only about parenting: this book is about life and the way we all should be living it.
TITLE: LOVE CENTERED PARENTING
AUTHOR: MARIA GAVRIEL
PUBLISHER: BALBOA PRESS