Friday, October 21, 2016

Why It Is Important to Get Your Mammogram

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while the nation shares it's support by sporting pink everything, we also want to take a moment to remind you why this month is so important. 

Breast Cancer affects so many women in our lives, and annual mammograms can detect cancer early. For every 1,000 women who have a screening, 5 are diagnosed with breast cancer (MammographySavesLives). That is a large number of women being diagnosed, but just think about all the women who may not be getting a screening this year. 

Bravelets wants to send out a reminder to all the brave women we know to schedule your appointment. Early detection makes breast cancer treatment easier! Mammograms can literally save your life. The procedure is quick & non invasive. We challenge you to be brave & make the call. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What to Say (And Not Say) When Someone Has Cancer

Cancer sucks. We’ll say it. The hard times aren’t easy and you may not always know how to navigate the uncomfortable conversations or situations.

Our intention with these suggestions is to offer ways to approach a sensitive situation with care. Sometimes we say things that are well-intentioned, but may be off-putting.

Please leave a comment to tell us what’s worked and hasn’t worked for you and give us feedback on these suggestions.

Monday, October 17, 2016

History Highlight: Maya Angelou

Today is National Black Poetry Day and we wanted to pay tribute to the great Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou was a great author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer, and civil rights activist. 

We are so inspired by this wonderful lady, we even named one of our bracelets after her! Our Maya Bracelet is engraved with "be brave" to consistently remind us that hard times will come but we must always be brave. View it here

One of our personal favorite poems here at Bravelets is from "Still I Rise". Read below:

Still I Rise

By Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 

From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.

Read & Listen to this poem here

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Brave Stories: Kristen Brockman, Little Miss Peanut, & The Preeclampsia Foundation

Kristen Brockman is a volunteer and huge supporter of The Preeclampsia Foundation. She started her own Brave Page with us in support of their organization. Her story below is a beautiful journey of surviving and awareness. We are so thankful Kristen chose to share this with us! Support her Brave Page here:

Read Kristen's story:

I had been diagnosed with hypertension when I was in my 20s. (Thank you, genetics). I was on and off meds for a few years, and for at least a whole year, my blood pressure was measuring fine, and I had not been on any medication.
I got married in 2011, and we were finally ready to start a family in 2014. We found out my due date was smack dab on Valentine's Day, 2015!
I was hesitant to tell family (even my parents) until 12 weeks, but my doctor said we could (I was almost 7 weeks) in case of any complications. At that point - I knew “complications” could probably only mean miscarriage - preeclampsia had not even entered my mind.
So we went on and surprised both of our parents with the news, each in a special way, and caught their reactions on video!
I went to all of my prenatal appointments and did all of the tests the doctor ordered along the way. I asked my doctor how "big" I would get because I was going to be in a wedding at my 20-week mark. She told me I would gain the average 20-30 pounds (I think?). All along though, I knew my belly was still kind of small. I only gained about 15 - maybe 20 pounds. By about the 31st week, they couldn't get a good measurement of baby. I was sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine for an ultrasound where they discovered IUGR. My BP was also starting to climb. I personally had no physical symptoms/pain/signs. If I wasn’t being monitored, this could have gotten out of hand and killed both me and my baby.
At 31 weeks, 6 days, I was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation/24-hour urine analysis, and "luckily" sent home on BP meds. Now seeing a high-risk doctor in addition to my regular OB, I thought it would be under control until at least 37 weeks (our goal)...but our goal was shattered.
At the next appointment at 33 weeks, 6 days, the high-risk doctor told me to go straight to the hospital. Again, I was admitted - the whole 24-hour urine analysis, BP checks every hour, and no food after midnight (I ate a blueberry pop tart at 11PM! Cravings!) thing. Unfortunately, I was by myself (except for a roommate), and I could hardly sleep. I knew despite trying to “will” my BP down, it was inevitable. I was going to be a mother to a premature baby in a few hours. I was terrified to say the least.
In the back of my mind I always thought I would have a C-Section - but not because of preeclampsia. But that is how I delivered my premature, 3lb., 4oz., beautiful, baby girl - 6 weeks ahead of her due date – right after the New Year. My last pregnant picture was on New Year’s Eve boasting a chalkboard that read – “we’re having a baby this year!” Had no idea it would be 3 days later!
People constantly say how she just wanted to come into the world early. I knew that wasn't the truth.
"It was my fault."
Because of preeclampsia I suffered the loss of 6 whole weeks of pregnancy (& I know some people who have the “usual” discomforts would love that & say I’m lucky – but I wasn’t lucky). Because of preeclampsia the details of the later parts of pregnancy are a blur and were not enjoyable. Because of preeclampsia I blamed myself for putting our first born in danger. Because of preeclampsia we had a 24-day NICU journey resulting in PTSD. Because of preeclampsia we suffered financially. Because of preeclampsia, I cried
But because of preeclampsia and the awareness my doctors had, we survived. Awareness saved our lives. Surviving this is how I am able to write this today. Little Miss Peanut and I are survivors. Because of preeclampsia I am now trying to help raise awareness of this devastating condition so everyone can survive - moms and babies - any woman - any pregnancy.

Visit The Preeclampsia Foundation Here:
Support Kristen’s mission to raise awareness here:
Bravelets is so thankful for Little Miss Peanut & Kristen!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How To Be An Ally When Someone Comes Out To You

Coming out is a very sensitive, emotional process for anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or pansexual. It is important to allow them the space to express their thoughts to you, on their own time. Coming out is a stressful situation because as happy and exciting as it can be for some, there are clouded thoughts and risk of discrimination, rejection, harassment, and possible violence. 

Everyone's experience is different. There is no scripted answer on how to respond when someone comes out to you. Many straight people may just not know how to react. What's the right thing to say? How should you navigate the conversation without offending them or making them uncomfortable? The answer is to be their ally. 

A straight ally can be someone who is supportive of and accepts the LGBT person or a straight ally can be someone who personally advocates for equal rights and fair treatment (or both!) (GLAAD). Being a straight ally is so important in the coming out process because the person coming out needs to feel safe, heard, and understood. Allies are said to be some of the most effective and powerful voices of the LGBT movement. 

One of the first ways to be a supporting straight ally is to not assume everyone you know is straight. Not making assumptions will give them the safe space they need to be open and honest. Many wanting to come out are looking for that support from a straight ally, a voice saying it's okay to be who you are. As an ally, it is important to leave that space open and free of judgement.

Another way to be a great ally is to be a listener. Active listening means you are fully engaged in what they are saying. Being a listener also means allowing lulls to be present in the conversation as they come out to you. Don't rush to fill in the blanks, or try to get them to the point. Give them the space in the conversation to gather their thoughts and courage. Let them talk and say everything they have been thinking.

If the person coming out to you has surprised you with this coming out talk, just remember it is the same person you were talking to minutes before they shared this personal information. They are the same person you loved and cared for 5 minutes ago. Nothing should change, because they chose you to strengthen their relationship with and be honest with. Allow yourself to absorb the information and reassure them nothing has changed. You are there for them through it all and thank them for choosing you to come out to. 

Please remember that if the news they are sharing with you is met with a negative reaction, it can be very damaging to someone who is revealing something so personal and raw. For many, it takes years to work up the courage to speak about this to someone they are close to because they are fearful of rejection. When someone comes out to you, it is important to remind them they are not alone and you are ready to help them connect with themselves. Don't use this moment to bring up politics, religion, HIV status or sex life. That is highly inappropriate for the moment and offensive to someone who is trying to be open with you. Be understanding first and foremost. If you have questions or concerns, bring those up in a constructive, sensitive way later at a less stressful moment.

Being a straight ally is accepting all for who they are. Use your voice as a straight person to stand up for your friend or family member in the face of injustice, bullying, or persecution. Human rights are everyone's issue. 

We applaud everyone who has come out for being brave in the face of fear. If you are considering coming out, we encourage you to use your voice, be brave, be you. 

Remember, the bravest thing you can yourself. 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Free Download: Fall Bucket List

We at Bravelets love this time of year. The fall gets a little bit crisper (as much as it can at our Austin, Texas headquarters), everyone's a bit friendlier, and pumpkin love is everywhere! Because we love this season so much, we made a bucket list of fun fall-themed activities! 

Visit here to download a printable PDF
Have suggestions to add? Share them with us!

Happy Fall, brave friends!

Monday, October 3, 2016

How to Spot Nutritional Deficiencies in Children

Today is National Child Health Day and we wanted to share a little knowledge to keep your little ones happy and healthy! We know how hard raising little ones can be..they never seem to want to eat what is good for them. If only we could make broccoli and spinach taste as good as candy and ice cream! 

Nutritional deficiencies can be easier to remedy if they are caught earlier. Here are a few listed early warning signs below:

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is critical both in its own right, as well as for its role in the absorption of calcium. Both Vitamin D and calcium are vital in growing strong bones and teeth.
Our skin produces Vitamin D when exposed to natural sunlight. Children with little sun exposure or that live in higher latitudes might not get enough this way.
The earliest symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are bone and muscle soreness. If the deficiency is not corrected, it can lead to serious skeletal deformities and a condition known as Rickets.

Iron Deficiency (Anemia)

Iron makes it possible for red blood cells to transport oxygen to our vital organs and throughout the body.
Symptoms of iron deficiency, or anemia, include: tiredness, pale skin (especially around the hands, nails, and eyelids), rapid heartbeat or a heart murmur, irritability, low appetite, dizziness, or even a condition known as pica (eating non-food items such as dirt).

B Vitamin Deficiency

The B Vitamins are needed in every area of our body and help maintain a strong immune system and optimal mental function.
Symptoms of B Vitamin deficiencies may include: nausea, abdominal pains, vomiting, loss of appetite, bad breath, indigestion and constipation. These symptoms are easily confused with other medical conditions. If you’re having trouble figuring out the cause of health issues, this could be the missing link.
Especially important for children, a diet that is lacking B vitamins can affect a child’s ability to learn and focus at school. 

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc is a trace mineral that is often forgotten in terms of discussions about nutritional needs. It usually takes a backseat to other well-known minerals like calcium and magnesium. However, zinc is equally important for growth and healthy development in children. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include poor appetite, weight loss, and changes in the sense of taste and/or smell. If left unchecked, zinc deficiency can lead to stunted growth, poor wound healing, and hair loss.

A healthy diet may not always be the solution to these problems. Make sure your little ones have a daily vitamin to help out! We want to make sure our next generation is full of happy, healthy kiddos. 
Do you have advice about how you keep your children healthy and happy? Share in the comments below! We'd love to hear.
Special thanks to The Soccer Mom Blog for her advice!
09 10