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April 16, 2012

Goshen author Laura Oyer offers a spirited approach to parenting

GOSHEN — Becoming a new parent can be an overwhelming and often frightening experience. Local Christian author Laura Oyer seeks to help new parents replace that fear with a sense of empowerment in her new book, “Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year.”

According to Oyer, a mainstream approach to Christian parenting has emerged over the years that promotes sleep training and feeding schedules for infants, warns that spoiled children and marital discord are certain by-products of homes where newborns are over-indulged, and promotes these methods as the Biblical way to care for a new baby.

However, according to Oyer, the message of mainstream parenting advice too often preys on the universal fear of new parents everywhere — the fear that if they stray from the program their babies and their marriages will suffer.

In “Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year”, Oyer and fellow mother and co-author Megan Tietz share their personal stories of new motherhood and how they discovered that parenting with a spirit-led approach that draws from Christ’s unequivocal call to servanthood has led them to an understanding that parenting can be as unique and individualized as the parents and children themselves.

“Megan and I actually met on an online community for new mothers. Our daughters were born in the same month, and as we became friends, both of us realized we have very similar stories,” Oyer said. “I think before I was a parent, I just thought that there were these set rules about the way you should parent. Throughout most of my life, I just assumed there was a right way and a wrong way to do the parenting thing.”

However, when that “right way” described in all the how-to books given to her by friends and family didn’t work for her, Oyer said her parenting journey began to change from joyous to often fear-soaked, tear-stained days marked by an overwhelming fear of failure.

“Once I went through my own sort of crash, though, I really began to lean on my faith, and began to understand that since God created us uniquely, and our children uniquely, then maybe there are other ways to raise our children than just those described in these mainstream books,” Oyer said. “After that redemptive process, it just became a really intense source of passion for me to be able to share my experiences and empower other parents to find the freedom that I found through my own journey, and really allow them to enjoy those first few months of their children’s lives.”

Throughout their new book, Oyer and Tietz give numerous examples of how parenting with a spirit-led approach has allowed them to become more peaceful, happy mothers, more intimately connected to their husbands, and closer and more connected to their faith.

“The overall message is really just one of freedom, of setting aside expectations of what you believe that first year of parenting should look like, and just really opening yourself up to God’s leading, opening up to the uniqueness of your child, and setting aside those fears of failure,” Oyer said. “Every new parent is wracked with fears such as, ‘Will I succeed?’ or ‘Will I be a good parent?.’ A lot of the books out there, they work really well for some families, but there are other ways as well. God has a unique path for each person, so it’s really about finding freedom over fear. That’s the message I want to get across to my readers.”

And it appears readers are getting the message. While it has only been out for a little over two weeks, Oyer said the book is already selling incredibly well on Amazon.com, and even had a brief run on the best sellers list under the parenting section.

“After we were finished, even when just giving the manuscripts to friends, parenting mentors, etc., and hearing the feedback from them, it was just really encouraging, and really unexpected and a truly wonderful experience,” Oyer said. “So far, reaction to the book has been just really overwhelmingly, stunningly positive.”

If you’re interested

“Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year” is available for purchase on Amazon.com. The book can also be purchased directly through the publishing company, Civitas Press.

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Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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