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Spirituality & emotions

Your Maternity Care Education Guide




Wine Mums, guilty? Connected Parenting and Discipline


Sexts, texts and selfies

Enriched with goat milk for baby’s delicate skin from top to toe.




Suitable for sensitive skin. Goat milk is sourced from country Victoria.

Available at


and selected pharmacies

contents 6



EDITOR’S TOP PICKS Nourishing beauty products, amazing life-style items and trendy accessories for the harsh winter months ahead!


BABY STYLE ADVENTURE AWAITS Equip your baby for all possible adventures, from a cozy day indoors to thrilling explorations outdoors, with these perfect outfits!


GIRLS STYLE MISS FREE Fuel your heroine’s dreams of gypsy travel and magical quests with these winter essentials.

14 BOYS STYLE WANDERERS OF THE EARTH The chaos doesn’t stop even when it’s cold: several great skate-and-surf style pieces for your little troublemakers. 16 BOOK REVIEW Top books to cuddle up with in Winter. 18

COVER STORY TURIA UNMASKED Turia Pitt shares her story of survival in the face of extreme adversity and how to maintain a healthy mind-set during motherhood.


HEALTH WINE MUMS, GLASS HALF FULL OR BOTTLE ALMOST EMPTY? Wine Mums expose the health implications of habitual drinking and the possible risk of Alcohol Use Disorder.


PARENTING SEXTS, TEXTS AND SELFIES A guide to protecting your children as they navigate cyberspace and social media.


18 12 24 28 14 melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring



SPIRITUALITY SPIRITUAL CONNECTEDNESS THROUGH EMOTIONS Kate Durack interviews renowned psychic medium, Oscar De Souza, on how we connect with our inner guidance and ways to help our kids become more spiritually in tune.


PARENTING CONNECTED PARENTING AND DISCIPLINE Psychologist Dr. Vanessa Lapointe discusses the importance of balancing kindness and firmness.


 ATERNITY CARE M YOUR MATERNITY CARE The many choices for maternity care don’t need to be intimidating — here’s how to choose the perfect one for you and your baby.


 ABIES B SLEEP BABY SLEEP A holistic approach and putting “foundations” in place will help a baby sleep well.

52 COMMUNITY CHINESE-AUSTRALIAN MOTHER OF TWO STANDS UP AGAINST RACISM Lisa Chappell examines her fight against the ‘Ching Chong Burger’ at Johnny’s Burger Joint and how she strives to be a role-model for her kids.

71 36 53

 EAL LIFE R MADELEINE WEST: SUPERMUM OF 6 Actress, writer and mother of six, Madeleine West, mother of six, shares her view on juggling parenthood and a flourishing career.


 DUCATION E SCHOOLED UP How do you choose the best school for your child? We look at the options so you can make an informed choice.

71  PERFORMING ARTS BROADWAY, BABY  The performing arts is a transformative experience essential to a child’s wellbeing and development. Whether it’s drama, music or dance, we’ve got you covered with the best professional programs and stay-at-home fun!


 OMMUNITY C HEALTHY MOTHERS, HEALTHY BABIES An important program designed to address the unfinished work of addressing maternal and newborn deaths in PNG.


 PIRITUALITY S HOW TO BE A MINDFUL PARENT Dr. Elise Bialylew, author of The Happiness Plan, explains the benefits of parents developing a ‘beginner’s mind’ while trying to engage with their child’s world

ISSUE 35 WINTER 2018 Produced and published by Offspring Magazine Pty Ltd. ABN: 95 159 474 245 Website Editorial enquiries Advertising enquiries Phone 02 4326 1178 Mobile 0415 267 414 Subscription enquiries

Turia Pitt

Managing Editor Kate Durack Contributing writers Brooke Evans-Butler, Claire Armstrong, Ann Marie Bradstreet, Jessica De Freitas Cardoso, Rebekah Sheedy, Jenny Pang, David Bova, Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, Elise Anastas, Dr Elise Bialylew, Maryanne Sayers, Dr Michelle Scoullar, Kate Durack. Graphic Designers Steven Lillywhite, Naomi O’Bryan, Keely Goodall and Nathalie Berger. Printed by Spotpress

Offspring magazine is an independent magazine published quarterly by Offspring Magazine Pty Ltd. Opinions represented are not necessarily those of the publisher. Offspring magazine contains general information and does not claim to substitute for health or parenting advice. All content is subject to copyright, and may not be reproduced without permission.


Average Net Distribution per issue.

This publication has been independently audited by the Circulations Audit Board.

Audit Period: September 2017 - March 2018


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Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Australia’s largest gloss A4 parenting magazine
















Department of Communications and the Arts

Editor’s note – Winter 2018

In nine years of producing Offspring, this is our favourite edition as well as our largest.


yet strong, position she maintained is secret to disciplining children within an attachment parenting framework – kind yet firm was a very clear message - so I was delighted by her contribution to this issue, “Connected Parenting and Discipline”. “Sexts, Texts and Selfies” contains mandatory guidance on protecting your social media.

here has been no article we’ve

Ann Marie Bradstreet created an

published that has moved me like

entertaining and informative piece: “Wine

“Turia Unmasked”. I felt very

Mums, Glass Half Full or Bottle Almost

privileged to have Turia as our Cover Story

Empty?”, a sobering look at our drinking

- what a phenomenal parent role model.

habits as parents. I am guilty of too easily associating relaxation or socialisation with

publishing Offspring over the past nine

Bubbles, whether there’s a real reason

years, and reminds me why I love creating

to celebrate or not. I recently attempted

it, despite the challenges that come

the 100 Day Alcohol Free Challenge and

with print publishing in this ‘techno’

got to Day 84 … [I had a lot of important

environment. The recent demise of

social occasions in those final 16 days!]

some established parenting titles means

A poignant article thanks Ann Marie.

Offspring is now the only National

We have our usual dose of Spirituality:

parenting publication in Australia. So, if

“How to Be a Mindful Parent”,

you enjoy reading Offspring for free please

which has nice reminders of

support our advertisers and sign up for our

appreciating the moments with our

newsletter to get the mag delivered to you

children and encouraging them to

as soon as it comes out.

develop mindful awareness.

Another amazing mum we feature in this issue is Madeleine West – how can she look that good, have a bustling career and have SIX KIDS? I admire the limitations

I interviewed amazing psychic medium, Oscar de Souza, in “Spiritual Connectedness Through Emotions” and struggled to get the word count down from 3600 to 1500. This man is a wealth of

she puts in place and values

wisdom and spiritual insight; this will be

she instils in her children

the first of a series where we can explore

to make sure the family

more detail about developing spirituality

runs smoothly as a whole,

in ourselves and our children, adding to

including allowing only

deeper peace and richness in our lives.

one curricula activity

I hope you enjoy it as much as I

per week per child and

have enjoyed producing it. And please

encouraging her kids to view her as Madeleine of many hats, not just as their mum. I was fortunate to see Dr Vanessa Lapointe present at a Maggie Dent Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

impressed by the nurturing, empathetic,

children as they navigate cyberspace and

This is my proudest issue since


conference recently and was really

remember to enter our competitions through Facebook to win great stuff for you and your babies.

Kate Durack xx

Editor’s top picks Welcome winter in style with these luxurious products that will keep you glowing from head to toe.

EMU Australia Beach Mini - RRP $129.95 Made with natural suede and fully lined with beautiful Australian Merino wool, the Beach Mini is a comfortable yet stylish suede ankle boot that will keep your feet warm all year round.

Hair Thickener – RRP $29.95 LENDAN has released a chocolatemint-coconut scented treatment that promises 10 unique fortifying benefits, including; increased strength, volume, shine, hydration, protection and nourishment.

Skinstitut Derma Roller – RRP $79.95 Skin-inject™ DNC Derma Rollers utilise patented Disc Needle Care technology to provide a fast, safe and comfortable skin needling experience that rejuvenates, regenerates and revitalises the skin’s own natural healing response.

Galaxy Silk Pillowcases – RRP $159.00 Allow yourself to drift away into the stars with Shhh Silk’s Galaxy pillowcases and say goodbye to frizzy hair and pillow lines.

Funkita ‘Midnight Marble’ One Piece – RRP $89.95 Whether you’re off to find the winter sun or you enjoy racing laps of your local pool, make a statement with Funkita’s newest swimwear collection, Fly Free.

Skinstitut 101: Brightening Sun Damage – RRP $49.00 Each. Rich in vitamins B3, C and antioxidants, Skinstitut’s Even Blend Serum, Multi-active Mist and Hydrating Mask clarifies uneven skin tones, brightens the complexion, reduces inflammation and nourishes dull, stressed and lack luster skin. Available online and at select professional clinics.

Silk Eye Mask – RRP $50.00 Not only are Shhh Silk’s oversized silk eye masks perfectly plush, but they’re also filled with silk too. The result? Your softest, most comfortable sleep yet.

Tigi Hair Care – RRP Shampoo: $21.80; Conditioner: $25.30; Mask: $27.00. Infused with turbo hydration molecules, Tigi’s Bedhead Urban Antidote Recovery Range leaves stressed, moisture-deprived hair feeling instantly soft, sleek and hydrated.


Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Face Mud – RRP $38.99 Herbs and Heart’s Face Mud gently exfoliates and removes embedded dirt, whilst potent bioactives deliver deep nourishment & hydration.

By Elise Anastas

Wilson and Frenchy (pic: @alexandrenaparker)

Popupshop baby $49.99

s t i a w A e r u t n e Adv

Sooki Baby

Nothing brings more warmth than the smile of an adorable bub full of future wanderlust. Whether it’s a winter day cuddled up inside, or out into nature, these get-ups are sure to bring much excitement to your mini treasures. Pic Credit:

Wilson and Frenchy (pic: @alexandrenaparker)

Milk and Matsuki

Children of the tribe $59.95 Tiny Cottons $39.95 Bonds (

10 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Australia’s leading model & talent agency for kids “over 20 years experience in the entertainment industry”

Having discovered and developed many little (and big!) stars over the years, we take as much delight in seeing our talent in print and on screen as they do. Our talent has featured in TV commercials, TV series, feature films, major ‘Hollywood’ films, catalogues, billboards, magazines and more!

Does your little star love the camera? Our experienced staff will explain what makes the industry ‘tick’ and can give you feedback about potential opportunities for your child.

“I’ve learnt to be confident and happy in what you are doing....” - Harry

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“She got a lot of attention as a newborn so we thought why not give it a go!....” - Tali (Mum of Miika)

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Billibag $69.95 (photo credit

Milk and Masuki $54.95

Bambolina clothing $50 shopbambolinaclothing

miss free spirit Gypsy dreams of far away adventures leads style for girls this winter. For the bold, the brave and whimsical. Team simple dresses, tops and leggings with a chunky knit and boots. For that special time out, pack away treasures in the billibag by Bivouac Kid.

Mini Rodini $69.99 Marlo Kids

Nico Nico $79.99

Cherokee Sunset Kids $54.95

Pavement $44.95

Dr Martens $139.00

12 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

“keeping kids covered” Do your kids kick off their sheets or get tangled during the night; waking up cold and even climbing into your bed?

From this

Then, we have the solution that might offer that sound night’s sleep you’ve all been looking for. Kids Zip Sheets are an innovative sleep solution providing plenty of space for your kids to toss and turn, but not enough to tangle themselves up in. Each set of zip sheets is a flat sheet attached to the fitted sheet with colour coordinated zips either side allowing kids to get in and out of bed easily. And, making the bed is quick and easy – around 60 seconds! Kids Zip Sheets are also perfect for bunk beds and other ‘hard to make’ beds too.

To this! The sheets come in a range of sizes including Cot, Single, King Single and Double; and in a choice of vibrant colours.

From $59.95

Order online at Pay by PayPal and major credit cards

By Elise Anastas

Nununu $101.95

Adam and Yve $54.90

Curious and wild, the chaos of kids. This collection of boys’ skate and surf style will bring out that nomadic adventurous spirit this winter. We love that the fashion is ethical too!

Adam and Yve $49.90

wanderers of the earth

Munster Kids DC Shoes $55.95

Sunday Soldiers $49.95

Minti $59.99

Munster Kids

Milk and Masuki $39.95

14 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne



Australia’s largest parenting media

Spring 2015

Nat Bass chats family & fashion

WIN tickets to The Wiggles!

OFFSPRING MAGAZINE is AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST PARENTING PUBLICATION with three separate hard copies in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth which are all published as digital publications.

Special feature

Having a Baby?

Birth story real life

Tips for vegies & kids


01 PERTH COVER.indd 1


Kids & meditation

30/09/2015 19:13

We are looking for the right people to join our team to sell advertising space into all three publications, as well as online. This a wonderful opportunity for the right person.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? The opportunity to work your own hours, from home. There are very generous returns for the right person.

THE ROLE To manage advertising accounts, selling advertising space into Offspring Magazine hard copies and online. Be part of a lovely small team and a great product! There are very generous returns for the right person.

Please send all expressions of interest to the Publisher, Kate Durack or for further enquires please contact Kate on 0415 267 414


Here are our top picks for young readers this Winter season. 0-5 years

Along came a different

Migration Incredible Animal Journeys

The Reds sure do love their hats and their music, but this is a problem for the Yellows, who consider the Red’s music to be far too loud. Don’t forget about the Blues, wearing their fancy bowties and playing their blue guitars, further dividing the groups up. All three colours strongly dislike each other, until one day a new colour turns up and wants to be friends with the Reds, Yellows and Blues! Young readers will learn that everybody can be friends, even if there are people out there who are different.

This book contains 20 stunning animals, with vivid illustrations and exciting facts about these creatures, including the great white shark, African elephants, and the emperor penguin, just to name a few. Not only will you get to view and learn about these fascinating animals but you will be joining them on their migration journey.

Author and Illustrator: Tom Mclaughlin

2-4 years

Lets Go ABC! Author: Rhonda Gowler Greene Illustrator: Daniel Kirk

A unique and exciting way for children to learn the alphabet, all the way from A to Z! Every letter in this wonderful picture book has an association with a vehicle of some sort. Kids will not only learn the alphabet but also be taken on a thrilling journey with the wonderful illustrations, making it an even more enjoyable experience to learn.

3-5 years

Being a Princess is very Hard Work Author: Sarah Kilbride Illustrator: Ada Grey

It’s not an easy thing being a princess. There are far too many thrones you have to sit on, too many hands to shake, and worst of all, too many frogs to kiss! From the bestselling author of Princess Evie’s Ponies comes a story for young woman about the struggles a princess must endure.


7-9 years

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Author: Mike Unwin Illustrator: Jenni Desmond

8+ years

David Walliams Book of Stuff

Author: David Walliams Illustrator: Tony Ross & Sir Quentin Blake

A Hilarious book for David Walliams fans, old or new. Inside you will find quizzes, facts, and all sorts of wacky knowledge about the characters in David’s books, providing hours of entertainment for all readers. Not to mention it’s also a wonderful companion alongside any of David Walliams’ novels.


The Doctor’s Diet Author: Alessandro Demaio

Doctor Alessandro Demaio, star of ABC’s Ask The Doctor provides not only 120 healthy recipes in this book but some fantastic advice and tips on how to stay in shape. Alessandro explains why the best diet is a simple one that is based on unprocessed ingredients, and just as importantly, should always taste great.


unmasked Turia Pitt is a name synonymous with survival. She is renowned for her pure grit to thrive in the most phenomenal story of triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. But she is humble in her pragmatic approach, always seeking the positive to whatever life throws her way, even when that includes the unknown world of parenting. She takes the time to tell Claire Armstrong her story.


he sound of a car engine picking up pace and the faint hum of a radio and we are being swept along into the bustling life of Turia Pitt. It seems nothing slows her down these days. A far cry from the knife-edge existence she faced just seven

years ago after being trapped by a horrific grass fire in Western Australia’s remote Kimberley region while competing in a 100km ultra-marathon. She kicks off our phone interview colloquially addressing me as “mate”, making her down to earth nature instantly obvious. We go over the usual pleasantries and she is upfront that she doesn’t wish to dwell too much on the fire. At the time, the Tahitian born ex-model and fitness junkie was living in Kununurra, WA’s far north-east, with her childhood sweetheart, Michael. She had just landed her dream job at the Argyle Diamond Mine as a mining engineer, shortly after graduating University with a double degree in Mining Engineering and Environmental Science. She refers to herself as a vivacious over achiever. Flourishing in the red dirt and dust landscape with an insatiable thirst for adventure, Turia found the idea of running 100km across rugged outcrop, rocks and riverbeds oddly appealing. Accepting the organiser’s

Turia and five other athletes were unsuspectingly met with a huge three metre wall of flames so deafeningly loud she likens it to a freight train.

Racing the Planet offer to waive her entry fee, the then 24-yearold unsuspectingly entered a sliding-doors moment, which would forever change the course of her life. That fateful day on 2nd September 2011 started with so much promise as some 40 athletes took to the start line with visions of pushing themselves to the limit to trek the isolated desert between 18

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Kununurra and the El Questro Wilderness Park. Shortly after passing the second check point and entering the rocky, uneven terrain of Tier Gorge, Turia and five other athletes were unsuspectingly met with a huge threemetre wall of flames so deafeningly loud she likens it to a freight train. With the treacherous path into the gorge shrouded in smoke, the group made the desperate decision to scramble to a rocky outcrop halfway up the side of the valley, vainly trying to protect themselves, but realising they could not outrun the fierce flames. It caught them and was unrelenting. Four competitors suffered shocking burns, two escaped injury, the worst by far was Turia. With burns to 65 per cent of her body, mainly affecting her face, neck, chest, arms, hands and legs, there was a very real concern Turia would not survive. The burns were so deep, nerve endings had been destroyed. The area was so isolated it took nearly four hours, with little more than Panadol, for rescue. Family were too devastated to see her at first, not wanting that image to be their last memory. It was touch and go. But against all odds she survived. A month in an induced coma, six months in hospital, two years of rehabilitation and hundreds of operations, not that she is counting, and slowly and surely, she began to rebuild. “Sometimes I think it’s weird to be well known for some random accident,” she confesses. “A few seconds of my life that have changed everything.” But she brushes it off quickly, refusing to believe her fame comes as a result of being burnt, but of the accomplishments since. “I believe people recognise me because of my charity work, my physical feats, my optimism and resilience,” she affirms. “But no matter how I look at things, my life will always be divided into two parts: Before and After the accident. But let’s focus on the after.” Turia is eager to tell me about her brand new book - an

We all face challenges in our life. Part of living is accepting that very often things will be completely out of our control. Tough times teach us resilience and the knowledge that whatever difficulties we face aren’t going to weaken us - they are going to make us stronger

adaptation of her popular memoir Unmasked into a teenspecific version of the same name published by Penguin Random House Australia. The catalyst for the reinvention of the book came after the overwhelming response by teens and new parents alike to her e-book Good Selfie, released last year. “In Good Selfie I shared a lot of the mindset strategies I use every day and I found it really resonated with teens,” she says. “Mentally, there’s loads of little tricks and strategies we can teach kids and use ourselves to find more confidence, strength and optimism. I wanted to share more of these strategies in Unmasked, alongside my story told plain and simple, and hope that it connects with young people in some way.” “We all face challenges in our life. Part of living is accepting that very often things will be completely out of our control. Tough times teach us resilience and the knowledge that whatever difficulties we face aren’t going to weaken us - they are going to make us stronger.” melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


Umasked’s powerful message of a positive mindset, Turia hopes, will remind her young readers of how lucky they are for the life and opportunities waiting for them, as well as help new mums adjusting to motherhood to stay in the moment and find gratitude in the mundane. Most of us will sit up and listen when these words are written from someone whose mum proudly hung her two prestigious University of NSW degrees above her hospital bed, while she had to excruciatingly re-learn how to close her mouth, pronounce words and eat, with now seven missing fingers. “Every painful moment was another hurdle to overcome,” she recalls. “I knew I could get back on my feet, but it was slower than I could have ever imagined. I could barely move my tongue or use my facial muscles and had to undergo daily physiotherapy and occupational therapy just for the slightest bit of progress.” And when asked if she ever felt like giving up? “In hospital there were definitely times I felt I didn’t have the strength to keep living,” she admits. “But if there is ever a sure-fire way to motivate me, it’s to put limitations on what I can and cannot do. So I set myself a goal. Ironman. The doctors told me I might never walk, or run again and would probably need constant care, so I decided I was going to prove them wrong. I was going to compete in an Ironman challenge.” And compete in Ironman she did. Well two in fact! Proving we can achieve absolutely anything when we break it down into small steps. Since the fire, not only has she competed in the Ironman Australia race in Port Macquarie but the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, trekked the gruelling Kokoda Trail, walked the Great Wall of China, rode a bike from Sydney to Uluru, swam across the Kimberley’s Lake Argyle and tackled the Inca Trail in Peru. And was named NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year and a finalist for Young Australian of the Year. And always by her side, no one can forget the unrelenting support of Turia’s boyfriend, Michael, and mum, Celestine. “I had a lot of time to think while in hospital and I realised I was fortunate to be blessed with such loving parents and a boyfriend like Michael,” she muses. “I had to wear a mask for 23 hours a day for two years to help smooth my facial scarring and a full-body compression suit over my dressings to help with healing and I didn’t know if I could still be Turia. I couldn’t see myself sharing the same outdoor adventure experiences with Michael anymore. But Michael still saw ‘me’. He was in love

I couldn’t see myself sharing the same outdoor adventure experiences with Michael anymore. But Michael still saw ‘me’. He was in love with my personality and that’s something I’ve still got. 20

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Turia explains as a new mum she found herself saying ‘I have to go get Hakavai’ … And simply changing her inner voice to say ‘I get to’ has been monumental to see motherhood as a privilege rather than a chore. with my personality and that’s something I’ve still got.” Together Turia and Michael set about building a new future and last year that including tackling the challenges of parenthood. On 7th December 2017, their first child, Hakavai, entered the world. Turia chuckles recalling the questions from well-meaning strangers about how her body would cope during pregnancy, but she is blunt in the fact that on the inside everything still works just fine. In what has become typical of Turia she brushes off her 13-hour labour, epidural and vacuum extraction as just the journey she had to take to meet her amazing little boy. A song on the radio interrupts her train of thought. “Being Hakavai’s mum is intoxicating and scary and incredible. It’s a kind of love I simply couldn’t have imagined before I had him.” Motherhood has thrown a new curveball her way, learning how to make time to care for herself, remembering that ‘me’ time is not her opportunity to clean the house. She admits even with her mum living close by, in-laws just down the street and a group of friends also nursing newborns, she still found the adjustment hard. “People try and prepare you. I don’t think anything prepares you for life with a new baby.” Turia explains as a new mum she initially found herself always saying ‘I have to go get Hakavai’ or ‘I have to go wash Hakavai’s clothes,’ seeing life as a long list of chores and obligations. And simply changing her inner voice to say ‘I get to’ has been monumental to see motherhood as a privilege rather than a chore. “I’m lucky I can leave Hakavai with Mum and go for a surf, yoga class or catch up with a mate. melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


I knew I could get back on my feet, but it was slower than I could have ever imagined. I could barely move my tongue or use my facial muscles. For me, at this stage of his life, the focus is on

“People often ask me if I’d change things if I

fitting my work and fitness around Hakavai, not

could. There is no point thinking like that. Instead,

the other way around,” she says.

I think of all the people who don’t have access to

Her version of slowing down might still look a little hectic for some. Today, 30-yearold Turia lives in her idyllic hometown of Mollymook on the New South Wales south coast. She still travels giving inspirational speeches, provides online mentoring, has

the kind of medical care I had. That’s why I’m devoted to Interplast. It’s not the best-known charity but in terms of the impact on the lives of those whose work it touches, it punches far above its weight.” She explains that people always say

just published the young adult edition

they don’t have enough time and marvel

of her bestselling book Unmasked, has

at how she fits everything in, when time

ambitions to get back into marathons and

is really the one thing distributed evenly

epic hikes next year, maybe even Everest

between every single person on the

will be back on the cards after the trek

planet. “We just have to make the most

was interrupted by her pregnancy. As well

of the time we have.”

as fitting in her own care and appointments including a recent surgery to straighten the bridge of her nose and continuing her wellrecognised humanitarian efforts. Interplast is one such cause she is passionate about; a charity that provides free reconstructive

Turia finishes our chat telling me she has arrived at her next appointment. I thank her for her time and wisdom and she replies she is probably luckier than most, frankly stating that when you are written off for dead and claw your way back to existence

surgery to people in developing countries,

you kind of learn to not take a single moment

and one in which Turia has raised more than

of any single day for granted. And with that


sobering thought she bids me farewell.

“I don’t know what the long-term plan is for my surgeries and rehabilitation. At the moment, we are doing two to three surgeries a year. I no longer keep track of how many surgeries I have had. I have really wanted to get my nose improved this year and I’ll see what happens next year,” the indicator ticks loudly as we wait for our journey to continue. 22

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne


1 Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people who support you

2 Be grateful for what you have each day

3 Always work towards a goal




s ’ t e L







Bigger, thicker & softer, Baby Bumkins Fragrance Free premium baby wipes are created with care, to use with love. Using only the purest of ingredients, they contain no parabens & their easy-grab moisture-locking flip top lid will keep your wipes fresh for longer.


Wine Mums

Glass Half Full or Bottle Almost Empty? BY ANN MARIE BRADSTREET

Many of us enjoy a little tipple here and there but ‘Wine Mums’ has become a phenomena that can all too easily get out of control.


o you ever leave just a sliver of wine in the bottle you’ve just drunk to yourself before you and your lopsided grin shuffle off to bed? Just so you don’t have to admit to yourself that you’d drunk the whole thing, again? Or is that just me? As it happens, Morning Me just rolls her eyes at Wino Mum’s clumsy veil of deception, knowing full well that she drinks too much and too often and if Wino Mum is honest with herself, she knows it too. The thing is, until recently I didn’t think it was much of a problem. My life is far from unravelling and most people I know wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off a bottle to themselves and let’s face it, medicating the stresses of work/family life and any other gremlins lurking in the depths of your soul is essentially, a National Pastime. There’s just been one thing not buying it though, a worried little voice that wakes in my head at 2am and cries, “this isn’t fun!” As the National Healthy Drinking Guidelines (see box) begin to penetrate and I begin to contemplate the health risks of my habit, I discover that a bottle of wine is between eight and nine standard drinks, instead of what I believed to be four, and decide it’s time to rein it in. Depending on which study you happen upon, Australian


Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

drinking trends have been cast in varied shades leaving us wondering do we have a problem or don’t we? Imagine an easy Sunday afternoon, dappled sunlight filtering through the trees of a beer garden as children play and mothers’ laughter tinkle against glasses of crisp Sauvignon Blanc and the situation seems bright, if we are to consider a recent study released in August 2017 by DrinkWise revealing Australians are drinking more responsibly than they did 10 years ago. According to DrinkWise, an independent charity funded by the alcohol industry, our cultural attitude toward drinking practices is maturing and evolving. While their research tells us the number of Australians drinking to excess is decreasing and Moderate Drinkers, Abstainers and mercifully, Adolescents delaying their first drink are rising, it also details why we drink.


National guidelines for healthy drinking practices


GUIDELINE 1: REDUCING THE RISK OF ALCOHOL-RELATED HARM OVER A LIFETIME The lifetime risk of harm from drinking alcohol increases with the amount consumed. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury


GUIDELINE 2: REDUCING THE RISK OF INJURY ON A SINGLE OCCASION OF DRINKING On a single occasion of drinking, the risk of alcohol-related injury increases with the amount consumed. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion. GUIDELINE 3: CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE


For children and young people under 18 years of age, not drinking alcohol is the safest option. Parents and carers should be advised that children under 15 years of age are at the greatest risk of harm from drinking and that for this age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important. For young people aged 15−17 years, the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible. GUIDELINE 4: PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING Maternal alcohol consumption can harm the developing foetus or breastfeeding baby. For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option.

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


DrinkWise reports Younger Families with children under 13 years are drinking smaller amounts than in 2007, using alcohol to relax, unwind and cope with the pressures of parenthood. (Taking an elementary guess, I shall confidently deduce that Sherlock was not called upon to tease out this motive.) Older Families, with children above 13 years are said to be rediscovering their identity and freedom as the responsibility of parenthood tapers. For those drinking at risky levels, they are returning to pre-parenthood drinking habits, whatever that means. If they’re referring to me then I’m stage diving off a Santorini Bar and letting my alarm clock bleep away for two hours before waking up in a haze of Ouzo with my sneakers still on. Shikes, that’s not such good news. This carefully optimistic data, however, is supported in premise, by other research such as the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey by the Australian Institute of Health

After three years of sobriety while pregnant and breastfeeding, Leah began to have an occasional glass of wine but began to drink more heavily after moving to a street populated with mostly stay-at-home mums. “After each Groundhog Day, we’d meet out the front of our houses while the kids played, waiting for our husbands to come home from work,” she says. “It was very Stepford Wives. We’d done our chores, tended to the children and finally showered so we could meet up on the lawn and wind down over a glass of wine. It all felt quite civilised until it got to the point that dinner was being made later with the drinking starting earlier.” Friday after work drinks is an ingrained ritual embedded within our cultural landscape, yet in the strained world of parenthood where working hours blur like an indiscriminate crayon smear on a cream suede couch, a long week can easily be traded for a long day and before you can shout, “Get your bottom out of your brother’s

“Once the bottle is open … I definitely use alcohol to wind down after a day with the kids. I have a few habits that I need to address this year.”

and Welfare which shows a reduction in alcohol consumption except, notably, for a rise in women between the ages of 50 - 59 but we’ve all got an Aunty Joy, so no surprises there. The survey does acknowledge, however, that the consumption of alcohol is widespread in Australia and entwined in many social and cultural activities which poses the question, is the decline meaningful enough to claim we’re half French or are we just a goon pillow away from half cut? Leah, a 33 year old working mother of two recently decided to moderate her drinking habits after her husband asked her to cut down. “Up until recently I was drinking approximately four times a week,” she says. "Mid-week, I’d drink a few glasses of wine at night and on weekends, if there was a social function, I’d drink one or two bottles of wine. A special occasion would call for cocktails, champagne and perhaps even shots if I was trying to be really fun.” 26

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

face!” There seems a legitimate reason for Wine O’clock, even though it’s only Monday. Sally (44), mother of four, whose three glasses of wine each night can easily escalate as she toys with the “once the bottle is open scenario,” admits that “wine time” can easily get out of hand. “I definitely use alcohol to wind down after a day with the kids. I have a few habits that I need to address this year,” she confesses. A study released in June 2017 by The Centre for Alcohol and Policy Research, found that although there had been a reduction in parent drinking from 2001, parents in 2013 were less likely to be abstainers than non-parents. And, let’s face it, it’s easier to knock back a glass of red and watch Married at First Sight (my personal research findings reveal reality TV is completely shit sober) than it is to make a yoga class, leaving your husband to “put the kids to bed” and “do the dishes”. It is easier to drink, an immediate hit to your reward centre, when your life feels everything but your own, but is it really helping? Is it sustainable? And, what are the long term ramifications to physical and mental wellbeing? We all have a pretty good idea of the answers but they can be scary to contemplate. Hannah, a 43 year old mother of one says, “I drink two glasses of red wine every night after my daughter is in bed. I definitely associate wine with winding down and having some “me” time. That said, I do have concerns about the health implications of habitual drinking. If I’m honest, it’s something I would like to change but find difficult to do.” As the sun begins to seep on the Sunday session, deepening the shade over the beer garden and the kids start to whine while couples bicker over who was meant to drive, we may take a more sober view of an in-depth seven year study investigating

For bookings and further information

Tathra, Sapphire Coast NSW

It is easier to drink, an immediate hit to your reward centre, when your life feels everything but your own, but is it really helping? Is it sustainable? alcohol dependence in Australian women aged between 35 to 59. Conducted by Dr Janice Withnall, from the University of Western Sydney, the study, Researching with Women in Recovery, identified 16 per cent of the group were alcohol dependent and the healthcare required to meet their needs, was inadequate. The study highlighted a lack of acknowledgement of Alcohol Use Disorders within the demographic who often suffered from misdiagnosis or, “preferable diagnosis”, having symptoms treated instead for PMT, anxiety, depression, PTSD or menopause related. Leah, who now makes a point not to drink through the week says, “I thought drinking gave me a sense of wellbeing, eased the stress but it actually increases my guilt and anxiety. Motherhood and married life made me feel like I’d lost myself and drinking seemed to bring me closer to my old self but I’d gotten to the point where I just felt lost.” If you, or someone you know have concerns about alcohol misuse, numbers to call are Alcohol and Drug Information Services (ADIS) within your state or territory (numbers differ), Alcoholics Anonymous Helpline (AA) 1300 222 222, Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 or contact your local GP. Names have been changed in this story for the sake of privacy.



ll sw fireS

n fu ack i

r the see and e m o -C lf! urse o y r fo


melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


Sexts, SelFIes: rdoso By Jessica De Freitas Ca

92 percent of adolescents aged between 13 – 17 are online daily and more than half of these kids are online several times a day. Younger children are also accessing online apps daily. This is a concern because frequent use of social media exposes children to risks of cyber-bullying, low self-esteem, sexting and other serious dangers, such as online-grooming, identity theft and pornography. Given our children’s large online activity, it is crucial we guide them through the digital world and how to use it safely.


lthough most of us remember a time before the internet and social media, adolescents cannot imagine the world any other way.

While we acknowledge there are great things about the digital world, we can’t ignore the potential risks:

p Children may be tech-savvy, but their cognitive development is not yet matured.

p Social media is their primary form of communication with each other.

p They feel a strong urge to always be connected no matter where they are.

p There are pressures during adolescence to conform to what peers are engaging in.

Whether we like it or not, smart devices and social media apps are part of our children’s lives and they have a strong influence on the way children communicate, share and exchange information. Susan McLean, who was a member of the Victorian Police for 27 years and widely recognised as Australia’s first ‘cyber cop’ has released a book titled Sexts, Texts, and Selfies, published by Penguin Random House Australia. Mclean has extensive experience with youth and Cyberspace since first handling a case of cyber-bullying with Year Eight girls back in 1994. She has also raised three children, whilst navigating parenting as online technology has continued to grow over the last 17 years. So, what do children and

adolescents do while they’re online? If you allow your children to have accounts and apps on their 28

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne


devices, you MUST make sure you know what they are using so you have an idea of the level of interaction the game or app allows for the users.

e B lock and delete. If your child is being bullied, they should

block or delete the bully from whichever site or app they’re on. And make sure you investigate the extent of this bullying, that way the bully can no longer hurt your child.

Apps and games children frequently use include:, Facebook, Facebook messenger, Facetime, Fortnite, Instagram, live-ly, musical-ly, Omegle, Minecraft, Sarahah, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Wishbone, and YouTube or YouTube kids.

e K eep a copy. If you are reporting a serious comment or

There is another app called the Secret Calculator which is downloaded by children to hide content they don’t want adults to find out about.

e A dvise your child to exit any site or game that

Given the popularity of these interactive forums, it’s unrealistic to command children not to use these sites or simply trust they won’t. As parents, we have it in our power to minimise the risks accordingly:

e K eep tech devices out of the bedroom. It’s a lot easier to

monitor what your child is getting up to if their devices are in common living spaces.

e P arental monitoring. It isn’t invasive to walk past and check

what your child is doing. Check for changes in behaviour. Make sure they’re on a pre-approved site and communicating with people they know.

series of harassment, it’s important to screenshot or save the comments on another document for evidence as schools or the police will usually need proof.

makes them feel uncomfortable. Make sure your child knows some warning signs and that if they feel slightly uncomfortable, that they can come to you and they will not get into trouble.

e H ave a family Internet contract. Have set guidelines

including which games/apps they can use, who they can talk to, what information they can share and how long they’re allowed on these sites. There should be consequences if rules are broken.

e Never threaten total disconnection. If you ban your

children from everything, they will most likely hide things from you.

There is another app called the Secret Calculator which is downloaded by children to hide content they don’t want adults to find out about.

e D on’t social stalk. If you see your child do or post something online you don’t like, don’t make an online comment. Speak to them directly about it.

e S et an example by not responding to abuse. If something upsets your child online, make sure they come to you first about it. Make sure you don’t retaliate and post something abusive back. Set a good example.

e R eport the abuse. If your child receives a nasty comment,

make sure they know how to report it. Go through the settings of each site/app with them so they’re aware of how to deal with abusive language.

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


e M ake sure they know you’ll help them no matter what. Kids fear they’ll get into trouble if they tell their

parents about a problem or something they’ve seen. Make sure they understand they can tell you anything.

e M onitor your child’s phone plans and credit use. Check their

phone usage regularly and keep an eye out for any changes in usage or communication with unknown numbers.

e Learn the lingo. Spend time online with them. Learn the abbreviations and common terms.

e Set social networking profiles to private. This will

greatly increase your child’s safety online. Make sure they also come to you if they receive friend/follow requests from people they do not know.

e O nly interact with people you know. People aren’t

always as they appear online. Strangers should not be accepted simply because there are mutual friends between your child and the stranger. Online predators do this to gain access so make sure your child does not communicate with strangers online.

e O nline scams. Teach your children about

pop-up ads and to steer clear of icons saying they’ve won something. Ignoring these will keep your device and your child safe.

e N eed and want – know the

difference. Children will often say they need the Internet to do homework but usually they will only need it to download something or do the research. They do not need to be connected to write the essay or do the worksheet. Be aware of this!

e Install filters. Make sure there

are parenting controls and locking software on any device your child uses.

e K now the device. Do not allow your child to use a device that you do not understand! Find out the ins and outs of it before you give your child access to it.

e U se parental controls. There are systems in place for

every device. You can turn the camera off, limit the age rating, not allowing in-app purchases to avoid a bill, and not allowing them to add friends themselves. Doing these things will protect your child.

e T urn off location services. Having location services on

can be dangerous as it gives people the ability to find out where your child is. Make sure this feature is turned off. Children can also post photos/statuses where they ‘check in’ or tag places on apps like Facebook and Instagram. Make sure they don’t do this or that they wait until they have left.

e S et time limits. Set a time limit. It’s recommended

that children get no more than two hours of screen time (excluding time used for school work). Don’t allow young children especially, to use devices when you’re asleep and can’t monitor them. Make sure everybody understands this.

e Check their profiles. Have a look at the content on their

profiles. Make sure they’re not posting inappropriate images, videos or comments. Remember they don’t always know right from wrong, or if something puts them at risk, so teach them.

e Keep personal information private. Make sure your

child knows what personal information is and how much to keep private.

e Obey age restrictions. Make sure your child knows they shouldn’t lie about age online. There is a reason why each site and app have age restrictions in place.


Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

e U se strong passwords. Make sure your

child’s passwords are not easily guessed such as their birthday, favourite team or pet’s name. Make sure they know NOT to share their passwords with their friends. Teach them why this is dangerous.

e T rusting older children. Susan suggests

older children writing their passwords down and putting it in a sealed envelope. Put the envelope in an agreed safe place. This allows the child to see if someone has opened it and to build some trust.

Frequent use of social media exposes kids to risks of cyber-bullying, low self-esteem, sexting and other serious dangers, such as online-grooming, identity theft and pornography.

e T urn the webcam off. If your child isn’t skyping with

relatives or talking to friends, there is no need to keep the webcam on. Make sure the light is off or you can cover it with some tape or Blu-tack.

e identities are not always as they seem. Make sure

your child knows that not everything online is correct. Information and even people’s identities isn’t always as it seems. If they’re researching, make sure they know to consult a few different sites.

And lastly, ask for help! If you need more information and assistance, there are plenty of websites and campaigns that can educate parents including:

i i on-the-web/

Schools are also great for this. Alternatively, there are great articles and books out there that can give you in-depth strategies to keep your children safe online. Susan McLean’s book Sexts, Texts and Selfies is a useful resource for parents who want to know all about what children do online and how to keep them safe.

A motherless newborn child is one of the most heartbreaking sights imaginable. Your gift can help save a mother’s life in Papua New Guinea.

In a country like PNG where there are some of the highest maternal and child death rates, baby Tessie* managed to survive. She is one of the lucky ones. Tessie’s mother, Rose*, was not so lucky. She died from postpartum haemorrhage, one of the most common causes of maternal death in PNG. Imagine this happening to 1,500 different families in PNG each year. This is a tragic event that you can help stop.

* This is a real story from PNG, but all names have been changed for privacy reasons.

You can give a gift to other babies like Tessie – the gift of their mother’s life.

To make a tax deductible donation or to find out more about our Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program visit or call Burnet Institute on (03) 9282 2111.

Spiritual connectedness

through emotion

Oscar de Souza is a special sort of a person who shares his divine wisdom to help people lead more enriched and happy lives through embracing their emotions. By KATE DURACK


was at a party in February and dropped into a conversation between friends about the extraordinary gifts of Oscar, a psychic medium who lives on the New South Wales’ Central Coast. One of these women, Jasmine*, a converted Sceptic,

was sharing her experience about how Oscar’s clairvoyance has helped her find peace with losing her mother suddenly, and how he provided accurate and personal details about her mother’s passing, the funeral and a special relationship with her granddaughter, details only known to her. Jasmine’s readings with Oscar have comforted her greatly knowing her mother is at peace and that their connection remains. The experience has also helped instil a belief for Jasmine in a spiritual realm beyond the human existence. Anything Clairvoyant excites my curiosity - I too was hopeful of receiving a special ethereal message - so I excitedly tried to arrange a reading. I was informed Oscar could do a reading for me at “11am on 17th November” … a while nine months away. Oscar de Souza’s reputation precedes him; people have been waiting 18 months for a reading with him. Curiosity ensued so I went along to one of his Meditations … wow. I have practiced various styles of mediation daily for years, so am familiar with its revolutionary benefits, but sessions with Oscar are especially powerful.

32 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Oscar and his guides enable a spiritual energy current in a group meditation, which elevates the vibration of the room for people to feel spiritually relaxed and alleviated. Oscar receives insights and messages from entities and spirits outside of himself, whom he refers to as “masters of light and a council of light who are made up of many evolved souls who have previously walked this earth”. He also refers to loved ones and Angels. During my interview with Oscar and in meditations, he revealed astonishing knowledge about my children (he knew I have two kids), details around this magazine, my personal life and that I am from Perth. I felt Read and understood, and was offered helpful guidance from The Other Side. Apparently, we all have Guides. They can include loved ones who have passed, loved ones who didn’t get to see us when we were born so they watch over and members of our Soul Group. “Our soul chooses to come to this earth and be in human

I felt Read and understood, and was offered helpful guidance from The Other Side.

form while other souls who are connected to us will work with us, like a team,” Oscar says. Oscar insists people should always have a Beacon, so they know in times of necessity they can turn to that Source.

“Ultimately we all come here to acquire emotions. When

“Whatever deity or religion it may be, it’s very important. That’s

we leave this earth it’s all we take with us, the emotions and the

why religion was put there and not necessarily the institution.”

wisdom that came with that. That is the biggest purpose above all.”

Francesca, Oscar’s previous Personal Assistant and friend

At just four years of age, when Oscar’s parents asked him

of more than 10 years, says he helps people to see who they truly

what he would like to do, he responded: ‘I’ve come to facilitate

are. “We all have that flickering light, and Oscar helps fan that

the evolution of humans, I was put here to help them spiritually

flame until you believe in yourself again. He helps us to listen

connect’. Even at four, Oscar expresses his biggest concern was to

to our own spirit within.” Oscar, who says he has had hundreds of lifetimes as a spiritual teacher, maintains our primary purpose is to

remember where he had just travelled from to be back as a human. “At that age, I was already recalling faint memories from not only ancient Egypt but also of ancient times prior to Egypt, known

experience emotions.

as Sumerian and also Atlantis. I recalled many symbols which I

We all have that flickering light, and Oscar helps fan that flame until you believe in yourself again. He helps us to listen to our own spirit within.

would write down and gaze into, meditating on these to recall where last in another life had I seen them.” Oscar’s father, a business person, was a very “grounding” man and his mother, a former nun, was a very “Out There” woman. “At times I used to think that was a bit stifling, but I can see how important it would have been for such a crazy old soul like mine not to have that anchoring.” He believes we choose our parents to acquire the emotions we get from them, not the incidences. “Many people are convinced they would never choose their parents, but our soul is way more aware of what and why it’s choosing its parents than we could ever fathom. For instance, ‘Why would I choose my father, he was a bully and molested me?’” Oscar’s response: “You didn’t, you didn’t even have a brain at the time, your soul chose to acquire those emotions. The spirit is immortal, it’s impermeable.” ‘But, why would my soul choose to put itself in a situation of such violence?’ Oscar’s response: “To acquire the emotion that it did. When we’re violated we feel vulnerability, humility, sensitivity, and we turn within.

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 33

Manifesting reality isn’t based on thought patterns, it’s based on what energy, emotions, we emit. ‘’If we’re emitting fear, that’s the natural flow of nature – what goes out, comes in.” But to Know that it is prosperous and to not need to try to make it prosperous, and hold that reality without hope, just an unmitigated Knowingness is Key. “If we trust everything is perfect as it’s meant to be then that’s exactly how it will be.” Oscar uses this metaphor: We have a paper cut and constantly look at it and touch it, and tell ourselves it will heal, it often becomes sore and gets worse. But, when we are busy, preoccupied and disregard this cut, knowing it will heal, one day we will look at our finger and realise it has healed. “The more we pay attention to something, the more we make it happen, without directly knowing about it.” Another example: When a child is in pain, a natural tendency for a mother is to quickly hold the child and stroke her head, because love emits from the hands. There are two potential outcomes – panic or knowingness that everything is fine.

“The brain, which is mortal, or temporary, will look at it from a sense of cruel, unfair, unjust and violated. And that’s real and needs to be taken into account because we are in a human world, but these emotions have lead you to be who you are now.

Ultimately we all come here to acquire emotions. When we leave this earth it’s all we take with us, the emotions and the wisdom that came with that. That is the biggest purpose above all.

“If we are panicking when we hold the child, she becomes more agitated. It is really all about what’s inside of us, the emotions that lie within us.” Oscar believes people take life too seriously, while not taking emotions seriously enough. “If we took our

A better judge of character, a little more prudent with people’s intentions.” The spectrum of emotions cannot be experienced in one lifetime, and are something unique to the human experience - other dimensions don’t experience the richness of emotions - and this is what life on Earth teaches us. It’s all energy, according to Oscar; and life is about Polarity. “The amount of energy used to feel anger is the same energy to feel kindness. It’s the same emotion, but on a different spectrum. We need to understand variable frequencies of energy, with the concept of emotions; such dialect pertains only to the human being. “We live in a world of polarity - day and night, good and bad, up and down. The world functions in polarity so if we are exercising extreme positivity, we’re not really being at one with all that is.” We manifest life by synchronising the emotions we emit with our thoughts. “Visualising is ok, but the energy and emotions you have really determine the outcome. If you’re visualising that you’re ‘going to be healed’, you are implying that you are not healed. “Or, our business is financially not doing well, and we think, ‘Oh My God, it’s going to shut down. No, no, no it’s going to progress’, we’re coming from a place of fear. “If we’re afraid the relationship isn’t right, it won’t be right!” 34 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

How do we develop spirituality in our children?

emotions more seriously, then we would manifest life more easily. We don’t say, ‘I don’t want to go there, because that’s going to impede on my emotional structure’. We go there because we’re alone, and then we get all these emotions…” We should nurture and be aware of our emotions, not just roll

Our children pick up a lot from how we perceive ourselves and how we refer to ourselves and our life’s journey. We need to open up to our own perception of our soul and its spiritual journey, to enable our child to also do the same, and acknowledge our child as a soul rather than just the baby we created.

from one incident to another. “I find sometimes we’re on a roller coaster ride, it’s uncontrolled. To stop, and convert that roller coaster into a playground of manifesting life, friends, children and prosperity, is to go back to oneself and be Still. “Practice the Art of Stillness, because therein lies the connection to our energy field, and within that lies the connection to our spirit. “How disciplined are people to be able to sit down without distraction, no television or mobiles, for an hour? Many people like to think of it, but don’t do it. “Therein lies the beginning of something growing beautifully, or something that we neglect.” n *Jasmine’s name has been changed for privacy.

Due to demand, Oscar is embarking on a National tour whereby he will be sharing his insights into spirituality. He has also developed a newsletter to address the many questions he receives. To find out more visit



____________________________________ Nourish your spiritual journey with his monthly and weekly spiritual and psychic insights. It includes videos and downloadable guide on the esoteric insights such as spirit wisdom, crystal energy, the current planetary, luna and zodiac influences, elements, symbology, tarot messages, number vibration, chakra insight, oil and incense rituals,

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melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 35

Why parents need to be in charge BY DR. VANESSA LAPOINTE, R. PSYCH.

We all have challenges with getting the mix right between child discipline and nurturing support. Dr. Vanessa Lapointe provides refreshing advice on how to get it right as parents, so we can give our children the enduring love they need under a bigger, stronger foundation from which they can depend and feel safe.


created for the child is one of emotional rest, created by caring adults who are simultaneously in charge and full of compassion. Knowing you are meant to foster attachment and connection with your children, you don’t want to mess that up. So you bend over backwards to keep them happy, to make sure you don’t rock

e all want to grow up happy, well-adjusted

the boat too much, to prevent experiences of upset. Oh the angst! At

children who find their way in the world.

some point in all of this the child cannot help but wonder, “Does my

The “parenting” world is meant to inspire

big person really have this?” An adult being able to manifest an in-

our journey as big people in the shepherding

charge kind of energy doesn’t really fit with an adult who is thrust

of our littles along such a path. Yet, while it is true that being informed in the raising up of your children can be a wonderfully


hearts to grow exactly as nature intended. The crucial experience

into a storm of angst over how to parent their child. Angst-y parent energy ultimately undermines what the

helpful thing, it can also create the backlash of having you

child actually needs. This is what I call the seedy underbelly of

question whether or not you really know what you are doing.

attachment parenting. It is the slippery slope that comes with

It is at this point that angst can creep into our parenting

longing to do right by your children according to the science of

dynamic and begin to interrupt our children’s growth. This is

child development, and in the process, surrendering the natural

perhaps no more true than in the world of attachment-based

hierarchy of the adult-child relationship. Children need their big

parenting. The science of child development has very clearly

people to indeed be BIG. If you shrink to the fear-based reality of

revealed that children absolutely need to marinate in an

molly-coddling, happiness-at-all-costs, anxiety-driven parenting,

environment of connection in order for their brains and their

you are not at all in charge. In fact, quite the reverse. You are more

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

likely being lead by your child and running to keep up from behind. How does today’s parent avoid


Do not confuse being firm with being mean. With the increasing awareness of the importance of attachment to healthy child development, parents can

falling into the trap of parenting

sometimes feel trapped into being a bit of a doormat for their

from a weak place of angst rather

kids. The thinking is that being firm, having boundaries, and

than a powerful place of confidence? Before rushing in to figure out what to do

establishing expectations doesn’t fit with attachment parenting. This could not be further from the truth! The caring, compassionate, in-charge parent oozes energy that

about all of this, consider,

is absolutely firm, full of boundaries and has high expectations.

as Dr. Wayne Dyer said,

Having a big voice or an unwavering presence is not the same thing

that “we are human beings,

as being mean. Rather, it is one of the loveliest things you can do

not human doings”. So

for a growing child.

rather than focusing on the concretes of what to do, it might actually first be more helpful to focus on how to BE. To support this, I have


Know that you do not need your child to love you. In the pursuit of what renowned psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld calls “right relationship” with your children, be

very aware that you do not need your child to love you. Right relationship is all about parents being in the lead position, and

developed a three-part

children being able to lean into the support of that very in-charge

mantra for all parents to use

parent. When you concern yourself with whether or not your

as the foundation of how they

child will like you or be pleased with you, you sell out on your

act and react moment to moment. The


mantra is: “See it, Feel it, Be it.” See it simply involves observing the moment from a very present kind of place without assigning judgement


Do not look to your children as a source of your happiness. Your children are not here to care take of your feelings. We do not have children to be happy. Instead, we

or value. It might be that you see

have children because of the gift inherent to that relationship. This

your child crying, hitting someone, or

gift is that you have to grow yourself in order to grow a child. Your

not doing what was asked of them.

growth is to be aware of the programs that are being triggered

From there, move to Feel

inside of you (shame, lack, etc.) as you parent your child, and to

it. This is where you put

then go inside yourself so that these things may be addressed.

At some point in all of this the child cannot help but wonder, “Does my big person really have this?”

yourself inside the heart

Very few among us will actually do this difficult work outside the

and mind of your child

experience of being parents. We do for our children what we often

and really understand

wouldn’t do for ourselves. It is nature’s way.

empathically what is happening for them. Once you have landed there, you can then see the world through your child’s eyes and… Be it

for them. It is in this place of BEing that we land with what to do. That will look very different for every parent and child from moment


Be the provider and never the pursuer. In the context of the parent-child attachment relationship, it is the parent’s job to be the provider of contact, closeness and connection,

and it is the child’s job to be the seeker. Never, ever, should the two positions be reversed. If the child begins to step into the role of provider, it will become quite impossible to grow them up. You cannot be in the lead of a child who is in the lead of you. So, you take care, fix, mend and provide, regardless of the circumstances.

to moment. There is nothing about the human condition that can be scripted precisely. In fact, in scripting anything, you abandon your BEing to get to the DOing. Eckhart Tolle describes the difference between knowing about


Get your swagger on. Above all, as a parent you have got to have swagger – that intangible and all-powerful way of BEing that will have your child absolutely believing in you.

something and knowing something. It is the difference between

It isn’t that you have to KNOW all the answers. Rather that you

knowing about your child and knowing your child. The drive to

must BE the answer. And this is something that comes from deep

“know about” divorces you from the essence of simply “knowing.”

down inside the core of who you are. It is the look in your eyes, the

It is in the simplicity of knowing that you find your being.

tone of your voice, the posture with which you carry yourself, the

To bring this all to life in your day to day world, here are some ideas about how to BE the kind of big person that is beautifully

certainty with which you declare something. Swagger is where it is at for any parent who truly wants to be in charge.

in charge:

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


So, the next time you feel that angst-y urge to google something about what is happening for your child and what you should be doing about that, pause for a moment and go inside yourself first. How big are you? How sure are you that you are your child’s very best bet? What is the

Angst-y parent energy ultimately undermines what the child actually needs. This is what I call the seedy underbelly of attachment parenting.

invitation here for you as a person? How can you BE for your child who is depending on you? Then square up your shoulders, take a deep, powerful breath and STEP IN. Step into your power, compassion, and humanity as the very large, very in charge parent that you are.

To follow Vanessa visit IG: dr.vanessalapointe Facebook: @drvanessalapointe Twitter: @DrVLapointe Vanessa’s latest book Discipline Without Damage can be purchased at discipline-without-damage/


EMBRACE YOUR BEST LIFE! Yvette is an expert in the field of empathic communication with the subconscious layers of the human body. Working in service of the clients process to self empowerment and emotional wellness.


Yvette Clarke is an Internationally renowned Clairvoyant, Lightworker and Emotional Channel

Testimonial... My first session with Yvette was the most unique and mind-blowing experience I’ve ever had. Yvette is spot on with tuning into what’s happening for me (emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically) and has helped me create the reality I truly desire. Kylie Cooper - Social Worker Yvette has amazing clairvoyance, knowledge and clarity. She reads my soul. She facilitated a deeper understanding of myself and others, which enables greater happiness and authenticity. Kate Durack – Offspring Magazine Founder For a phone consultation please contact Yvette: PH: 0416 167 307 • Email:


Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

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Your maternity care Are you pregnant or planning a pregnancy? Choosing your maternity care is a very important decision to ensure you make the best choice for you and your baby. By BROOKE EVANS-BUTLER


inding out you are going to be a parent is a very exciting time, but it can also be a little overwhelming when you are faced with making decisions about your maternity care. We take a look at some options available.

Private care.

If you have maternity care included in your private health package, you may wish to choose private care for you and your baby. If you receive care through the private system, you choose a private obstetrician, who will care for you from your antenatal appointments, right through to the birth and postnatal check-up. Dr Stephen Lane, president of the National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (NASOG), says in the private system, the baby is delivered by very experienced care givers, with obstetricians going through six or more years of

In the private system, the baby is delivered by very experienced care givers, with obstetricians going through six or more years of specialist training, on top of their five or six-year medical degree.

specialist training, on top of their five or six-year medical degree. He says the most common reason many people choose to have a private obstetrician is continuity of care.

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 41

Katie Lavercombe says she chose a private hospital because she wanted to be able to access any pain relief that she wanted during childbirth and was afraid her wishes might not be respected at a public hospital. “I loved giving birth at a private hospital, the care was great, it was never too busy, and the staff were attentive,” she says. “We loved being able to stay together as a couple and have time to bond with each new baby.” Katie is currently pregnant with her fourth child and does not have the right level of cover to choose a private hospital this time, so is receiving care through the public system. “We are utilising the public system, and while it is full of hard working doctors and midwives, there are long wait times at each appointment, meaning a large chunk of my time is taken up by waiting for medical appointments,” she says.


NOTE: Ask about your chosen obstetrician’s fee schedule and check with your health cover provider to find out exactly what is covered so you can be prepared for any out-of-pocket expenses.

Dr Lane says some considerations expectant parents think about when choosing an obstetrician include:

✪ Gender (for some women, choosing a female obstetrician is important).

✪ Location (“Is there a suitable carpark that is accessible? Are the rooms easy to get to? I think these things are important to consider,” says Dr Lane).

✪ The obstetrician’s desk staff (“If the desk staff are friendly and approachable that is a good sign,” Dr Lane says. “It gives a good feel that they are a mirror of the person you will be seeing.”).


NOTE: Most private health providers will have a waiting period for obstetrics (which can be around 12 months) so you will likely need to have obstetrics as part of your health insurance policy before you fall pregnant.

✪ Cost (Dr Lane says the majority of obstetricians and gynaecologists in Australia charge well below the Australian Medical Association’s rates, with the average out-of-pocket cost for delivering a baby throughout Australia around $2000). “Australia is recognised as one of the safest countries in the world to have a baby, and this is a reflection of the world class education our specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists undertake, with many completing more than 12 years of study and training,” he says. “NASOG believes that the care provided by specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists is worth every cent to the patients who enjoy improved health outcomes as a result of our professional care.” 42 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Multiple pregnancies

If you are having twins, or if you are classified as having a high-risk pregnancy for another reason, is it important to get advice about the best maternity care choice for you and your baby (or babies).

“A lot of my first-time parent friends seemed to choose private obstetricians and private hospitals, however, most said that if they had a second child they would just go public,” Naomi says.

Naomi Dorland, originally wanted to give birth in a birthing centre, but says when she found out she was expecting twins she was not allowed to use the birth centre.

“I did look at our local private hospital, but they (couldn’t) birth babies under 32 weeks, nor did they have a NICU. Even if I did make it to 32 weeks, if they needed NICU time there was every chance there would not be two NICU cots available at the same hospital. “So absolute worst case scenario, we would have one baby at one hospital, another at another and then me still at the private hospital. That was all too hard to fathom, so we decided to just go through the local public hospital. “I could not fault their care. I did see a lot of registrars, so my care provider was never really consistent, but I was able to ask to speak to their Superior at any time, and I did have him for several of my appointments.”

New maternity unit now open

Tour our new maternity unit: Tuesdays 8pm and alternate Saturdays 1.30pm Obstetrician run open days are also held once a month. Check our website for dates. Come along, tour our maternity unit and see why everyone’s talking about our new hospital.

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melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 43

Public care. Public hospitals offer great care for mothers and their babies and is a very affordable option for those with an Australian Medicare card. Unlike the private system, you don’t usually get much choice when it comes to the hospital you go to for your delivery. Often, a woman will be referred to her closest public hospital. Crystal Henderson decided to have her daughter at a public hospital because her GP recommended it. “We had planned to go Private, but when he recommended it, along with many of our friends, who shared their very positive birth stories after giving birth in public hospitals, we thought we should at least look at it,” she says. “When we went to the public hospital, and they took us through the rooms and birth suites, we were blown away.” Ms Henderson says she was very happy with the care she received. “There (were) some minor complications during the labour and I needed extra medical assistance, however I felt very safe, in control and informed of everything the whole time,” she says.

There were some minor complications during the labour and I needed extra medical assistance, however I felt very safe, in control and informed of everything the whole time.

Shared antenatal care. If you have a great relationship with your trusted family GP, then shared antenatal care might be an option to consider. In a nutshell, antenatal shared care involves a woman’s appointments being shared between maternity care providers (usually GPs, midwives and obstetricians), and is most commonly between a GP and maternity staff in a public hospital. Dr Wendy Burton, chair of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ antenatal/ postnatal care specific interest group, says women choose to have shared antenatal care with their GP for a number of reasons. “They may have a good relationship with their GP and are confident that they will be well taken care of,” she says. “The GP’s rooms may be closer or more convenient than the hospital/obstetrician or GPs may work extended hours, making appointments easier to plan around work commitments. “The best models of shared antenatal care involve a

Antenatal shared care involves a woman’s appointments being shared between maternity care providers - usually GPs, midwives and obstetricians.

collaborative team effort with well-informed GPs communicating effectively and efficiently with the other providers of care,” she adds. “If your usual GP is not up-to-date with current best practice for antenatal care, they may be able to recommend another GP who is better placed to provide care for you. Work is currently underway to create digital records and an app for women, which will give additional options for the sharing of the pregnancy health record.”

44 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Your support Who will be your support person when you welcome your baby into the world? Many women will choose a partner, family member (such as their Mum) or a close friend to be their support person. However, there are some options to consider. For example, a midwifery student is a good choice. They will attend antenatal appointments with you and, if you consent, can also attend the birth. Another support option is a doula (a professional, non-medical birth and/or postnatal companion who is able to provide continuity of care, and emotional and physical support during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period). Michelle Perkins, chairperson of Australian Doulas, says many women hire a doula after experiencing a negative or traumatic previous birth experience. “Some hire a doula to help them understand the maternity/obstetric systems. Some hire a doula to provide emotional and physical support if they do not have a partner, or if they believe their partner may also need support and guidance.�

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melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 45

Second time was much easier – four hours of active labour and my baby was born in to the water, straight into my arms and onto my chest.

midwife attend shortly before my babies were born. For my first birth, I was also supported by a private obstetrician. I saw her a few times during pregnancy and she

was open to supporting me, if I needed to transfer to hospital, if I needed more medical support from home.” She says her experiences were wonderful and empowering. “My first birth was very tough, long and in the end, I did transfer to the private hospital with my obstetrician, as I had a long second stage. In the end, I had an episiotomy, which couldn’t be done at home. This was handled beautifully by my midwives and by my obstetrician. I spent about 30 minutes continuing to labour in the private hospital, once I arrived, then we all discussed the option to do an episiotomy. I consented and this was done well. I

Nearly a decade of a sustained witch hunt against homebirth midwives has meant that midwives in private practice are scarce, and book out early.

felt wonderful when my baby arrived, despite 18 hours of active labour and a previous night of no labour.” “Second time was much easier – four hours of active labour and my baby was born in to the water, straight into my arms and onto my chest.” n

Home birth. Do you want to have your baby at home? Grace Sweeney, coordinator, Homebirth Australia, says a woman who chooses to birth at home is guaranteed to receive continuity of care from a known midwife. Ms Sweeney says the most important thing that a woman considering homebirth needs to do is to seek out a midwife as soon as possible. “Nearly a decade of a sustained witch hunt against homebirth midwives has meant that midwives in private practice are scarce, and book out early,” she says. “It’s worth doing research on midwives in your area before you’re pregnant and making a booking as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed.” Dr Lane says NASOG does not support home births in Australia. Sarah Purvey decided she wanted a homebirth for her first child. “I had two private midwives,” Sarah says, when asked about her care. “A primary midwife came to my house regularly in pregnancy, so I built a very close relationship with her in that time and all the options for tests and injections were managed by her, with my consent and our discussions about them first. My primary midwife was there during the birth and then I had a second 46 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne


Epworth Freemasons Maternity provides a new standard of luxury for new mothers and babies.

ou’ve probably heard that in the early stages of labour, it’s better to stay in familiar surroundings. It’s more comfortable and actually can help keep those contractions rolling in the right direction! We’re lucky to live in a country where our hospitals have stateof-the-art equipment, but it’s tricky, because the vast majority are also so clinical-looking. One hospital that’s changing the way we think about birthing suites and maternity wards, is Epworth Freemasons. They’re setting a new benchmark for maternity services in Australia, with a luxe makeover of its East Melbourne birthing suites, special care nursery and post-natal rooms. Head of Epworth Freemasons Maternity Unit, Jennifer Francis, says they’re thrilled with the new look that’s currently being rolled out as part of the $1.9 million refurbishment. “Our rooms have always been lovely, more like a hotel than a hospital. But these are like nothing I’ve seen in a hospital before,” she says. “After all, when you’re having a baby, it’s probably the only time you’re actually excited about being a patient in a hospital. “Drawing on inspiration from Mother Nature herself, the rooms have been styled with elements of fire and earth or air and water. “When you book at Epworth Freemasons Maternity, you’ll be able to nominate which elements you feel most at home in. We’ll then prioritise your choice, subject to availability. “We’re proudly home to Victoria’s very best obstetricians and midwives, who help deliver more than 3200 babies, each year. “It’s such a privilege to be a part of a baby’s birth. But, it’s more than that. We’re often also witness to the birth of a mother. It’s that incredibly special care from our midwives, and bond they share

with our patients, that sees families return and have more babies here! “The four night stay is standard at Epworth Our rooms have Freemasons. I think that’s always been lovely, so important. It gives you more like a hotel some time to catch your than a hospital. breath and enjoy those first precious days with But these are like your baby, in a relaxed nothing I’ve seen in environment. a hospital before. “Our midwives get a real buzz out of seeing mums gain confidence with things like feeding and settling, and they’re on-hand to help you 24/7,” Jennifer says. Epworth Freemasons also offers the Outreach Program at Park Hyatt Melbourne, providing a luxurious transition between hospital and home. For eligible mothers and babies, you can spend time in Five-Star surroundings, getting to know your new addition. For more information about Epworth Freemasons Maternity, call 9418 8300 or email maternity.bookings@

Don’t forget to join the Epworth Freemasons Maternity community before you arrive via Facebook and Instagram, where there are lots of tips from pre-pregnancy through those first few months with a newborn.

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


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EMBRACE YOUR BEST LIFE! Yvette is an expert in the field of empathic communication with the subconscious layers of the human body. Working in service of the clients process to self empowerment and emotional wellness.


Yvette Clarke is an Internationally renowned Clairvoyant, Lightworker and Emotional Channel

Testimonial... My first session with Yvette was the most unique and mind-blowing experience I’ve ever had. Yvette is spot on with tuning into what’s happening for me (emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically) and has helped me create the reality I truly desire. Kylie Cooper - Social Worker Yvette has amazing clairvoyance, knowledge and clarity. She reads my soul. She facilitated a deeper understanding of myself and others, which enables greater happiness and authenticity. Kate Durack – Offspring Magazine Founder For a phone consultation please contact Yvette: PH: 0416 167 307 • Email:


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Sleep Baby, By Maryanne Sayers, Dream Start Baby

You have a beautiful new baby but instead of feeling elated you are feeling exhausted, irritable with your partner and maybe even a little resentful towards your new baby. Or perhaps you have an older baby or toddler and you’ve been struggling with their sleep for a very long time. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue for parents of babies, with recent research showing one in four new Mums are getting just three hours or less of sleep a night. What’s more, one in five admit they have experienced severe depression or post-natal depression when their babies weren’t sleeping well, according to a study by Galaxy Research.


here is an plethora of information on baby sleep and routine, and so much of it is conflicting. It’s no wonder parents are overwhelmed, confused and exhausted. Our babies are exhausted too – “caught” in the same sleep deprived cycle as their parents. The common perception has been for a long time that baby sleep is complex. However, when we strip it all back, sleep is an inherently primal and essential human function for our babies. Our babies NEED sleep, they WANT sleep and they CAN sleep. There is no baby on this earth who hates sleep. Here’s the thing - it is not just about the going to sleep process. That is where so much attention is focused but that is only one piece in the bigger pie. Baby sleep requires a holistic approach and all the “foundations” need to be in place before a baby will sleep well. 50

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Here are 5 fundamental guidelines for you to implement with your baby. The key is to stay consistent at all times. If you aren’t consistent, we can’t expect consistency from your baby.


Establish your baby’s daytime and nighttime to be aligned with their 24-hour body clock. This means having a consistent bed-time at night and get-up time in the morning Your baby’s circadian rhythms (and ours too as adults) is regulated by night and day. Their daytime consists of naps when they are tired, interspersed with periods of awake time. For night time, their body clock wants to be having one long continuous stretch of sleep for 12 to 13 hours (with or without feeds dependent on

"Our babies NEED sleep, they WANT sleep and they CAN sleep."


age). The ideal bedtime for babies is 6pm (6.30pm for toddlers), meaning their get-up time to start the day the next morning falls somewhere between 6am and 7am. Establishing these timings consistently will help your baby’s natural body clock fall into place. Be mindful also that your baby’s day naps don’t finish too late in the afternoon, otherwise this will impact the 6pm bedtime.


When at home, always put your baby to sleep in one location – i.e. the cot or bassinet. Avoid putting your baby down for sleep in multiple locations throughout the house such as on a lounge, on a bed, in a pram, in a baby swing. Your baby should always sleep in their bassinet or cot for all sleeps day and night. By doing this, your baby will form a strong sleep association with their own sleep space (just as we have a consistent sleep location – i.e. our bed)


Respond to tired signs. Learn to recognise your baby’s tired signs during the day. Common tired signs include becoming irritable / grizzly, rubbing their eyes, yawning, arm and leg movements becoming jerky and rigid. Babies tire very quickly. If they are kept up for too long, they become overtired and over-stimulated very quickly and this makes it very difficult for them to fall asleep. If this is happening every day (and so often it is) then a baby will constantly be in an overtired cycle and will never sleep well.


Create the optimum sleep environment. Your baby’s cot / bassinet area should be free of musical toys, hanging mobiles, play mirrors etc as these all equate to noise, colour and movement. These are strong stimuli and distractions and not conducive at all to good sleep. Don’t be lured by the promise on the packaging that they will help soothe your baby to sleep. They won’t!

Ensure a safe sleep space for your baby – so no bedding, blankets, soft toys in the cot or bassinet. Just the mattress with the fitted sheet and that is all. Make sure your baby is cool and lightly dressed in summertime and in warm/hot climates in general. Likewise, in wintertime and cooler weather (including the lead-in to winter), your baby needs to be dressed warmly and also the room temp needs to be adequately warm too. A baby who is not warm enough won’t sleep well.

"Baby sleep requires a holistic approach and all the 'foundations' need to be in place before a baby will sleep well."


Help your baby to acquire the self-settling skill. Each time you put your baby down to sleep, allow them some time and space to self-settle. Go into them as needed to provide hands on comfort (such as patting) or pick them up for a quick cuddle, but also try and stay out of the room for periods if you can, to allow them time to put themselves to sleep. For more information on baby sleep concerns visit www. melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


Chinese-Australian mother stands up against racism

Self-titled as “stubborn”,

Chinese-Australian mother-oftwo, Lisa Chappell, is making headlines for her battle against Johnny’s Burger Joint and their ‘Ching Chong Burger’. By JENNY PANG


Lisa’s determination and passion shines as she states, “I think now in the age of political correctness, it is inappropriate to be using words such as ‘Ching-Chong’.” “I don’t care that Johnny is Asian. If anything, it is worse to me that he is using that, being

isa Chappell, 38 year-old Chinese-Australian in

Asian himself…to be negative to his own race.” She adds, “If he is

Canning Vale, Perth, had been enjoying a family

using that term and if he thinks it’s okay, then it opens a whole can

outing with her two children, husband and mother-

of worms for other people to use it as well.”

in-law when she spotted the ‘Asian-inspired’ burger

on the menu. Despite feeling “disgusted, annoyed and angry,” she felt it was too late to leave as they had already ordered drinks and the kids were hungry. Instead, she talked to an employee at the restaurant who apologised and promised to let the owner know. John Wong, the Malaysian owner of the restaurant, finally returned one of Lisa’s calls, only to refuse her suggestion to change the name. Instead, he claimed that ‘Ching Chong’ was a “direct translation” of ‘authentic’ in Cantonese. Sceptical of this claim, Lisa investigated to discover that it was not a translation. Instead, ‘Ching Chong’ remained only what she

Her immediate short-term objective consists of getting Johnny to rename the burger, which she considered the “main goal”. As for long-term aims, she turns to “the bigger picture of political correctness. As a community, [these terms] shouldn’t be accepted.” Reflecting on her position as a mother of two, Lisa also states, “I absolutely believe that being a mother has influenced my decision to fight this because I don’t want my kids to grow up in a society where terms like that are still acceptable to be used.” “I’ve been drumming into both my kids: You’ve got to stand up for yourself, you’ve got to stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves. You see something you don’t believe is right, you need to stand up and do something about it.” n

had recognised it for: a pejorative slur used to mock the Chinese language and other people of East-Asian descent. This propelled Lisa to start a petition on, demanding the burger name to be changed. On her page, she wrote, “Johnny’s Burger Joint serves up an extra side dish that is frowned upon by many. Racism!!” 52 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

You, too, can sign Lisa’s petition here:

: t s e W e n i e l Made h Sheedy

By Rebeka

Actress, and now children’s author, Madeleine West, may have her hands full as a mum of six, but she’s not about to let it stop her from setting out to achieve her career and personal goals, including releasing her new children’s book series.


or almost 18 years, Madeleine West has been gracing our television screens. Most memorably, she played fan-favourite Dee Bliss in Neighbours and boasts an impressive filmography, with appearances in Australian household shows such as House Husbands, Underbelly and The Wrong Girl. But what you might not know about West (37), is that she is a super busy mum raising six children: Phoenix (12), Hendrix (10), Xascha (7), Xanthe

one extracurricular activity per term which are important to everyday function of the family. “It has been difficult [to juggle family life and career],” she says. “But no more difficult than any other challenges that life throws your way. It doesn’t matter how many

“It doesn’t matter how many children you have, whether it’s one or twenty, their purpose on this planet is to turn your life upside down and give it a good hard shake, and empty your wallet.” (6), and twins, Xalia and Margaux (3) with her partner of 13 years, Vue de Monde restaurateur and regular MasterChef guest judge, Shannon Bennett. And with six children and two big careers, it often means that near superhuman feats of patience, strength and organisation are required. West says, for her, it is the little things, like keeping track of multiple To-do lists, having ‘backup’ school lunches organised, and only allowing her children to pick

children you have, whether it’s one or twenty, their purpose on this planet is to turn your life upside down and give it a good hard shake, and empty your wallet, but to accept that, you can accept all the amazing joys that they bring to your life.” “It’s about balancing schedules, being extremely organised and just being aware there has to be some give and take, … [and] not having unrealistic expectations.” But West believes that “nobody melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


should be scared of ambition”. Her own motto is “don’t make excuses, make it happen”, which she made up herself when she realised that achieving her ambitions means “being brave enough to take opportunities that comes your way, and taking risks at times”. “Everybody has dreams and ambitions—even as mums. The onus is on us to fulfil them.” And, for West, being able to work on her projects is about being able to carve out little pockets from amongst the chaos. “It is about finding ways to do what we are passionate about, the things that keep you sane”. “I have always been a creative person, and to be the best version of myself I can be, I need to give time to that. I have always explained that to my kids from a very young age that, ‘I am Madeleine, your mummy’," but that I am also ‘Madeleine, Shannon’s partner’, ‘Madeleine, the actor’, ‘Madeleine, the writer’ and ‘Madeleine, who likes to bake cupcakes’… they are all parts of me, they make up me and to be the best mum I can be, I need to give a bit oxygen to all of those things”. West’s creativity is certainly evident in her love for stories and storytelling which has led to her newest endeavour, the children’s book series, Lily D V.A.P. West has long-held a deep desire to write, even writing short stories throughout her time studying Law and Literature at The University of Melbourne. “A famous quote that my friends often quote back at me is that I say, ‘Words have incredible power, and if you treat them with respect, they give you a voice’.” “It’s such a beautiful, powerful medium that I pray will never be replaced by social media or screen time”. The series, which was published in May by Hardie Grant Egmont and illustrated beautifully by Joanie Stone, features many constant recurring


Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

themes for West’s own life, including her drive and ambition for meaningful accomplishments. “At the heart of good writing is writing what you know. It’s important to harness on what you know and what you have experienced in life, in order to pass on that knowledge.” And West’s new series certainly has a lot of knowledge to pass on. West says, that as a mother of six, she wanted to challenge the expectations of contemporary fame and celebrity culture, and was inspired to write a children’s book series that helps teach children that success comes through hard work and respect. “I wanted to create a fictional character that wants to be in the entertainment industry, but for all the right reasons, and that is to tell people’s stories, and to walk a mile in another person’s shoes… because with that comes what I believe is the most important lesson we can teach our children, the greatest gift we can give in this world, is to treat others with respect and kindness.” “And it’s about achieving that special sense of satisfaction when you work hard to achieve your goals.” “These are traits that I feel have kind of gone missing in the modern age. It is nice to hark back to these themes and give them some emphasis again.” Madeleine was also inspired to a write a series that allows parents to, very gently and organically, open a discussion with their children about social issues that they face, such as bullying, illness and death. “I am hoping that I am providing parents with a vehicle to help them dive into these more awkward conversations, through the medium of a children’s book.” And despite how busy life with six children continues to be, West says that this is not the last time we will see Lily D V.A.P, with three more books in the series due to come out later this year.

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How do you choose the best school for your child? We look at the options so you can make an informed choice.


hoosing a school

I chose a local public School

for your child is a big decision. After all, your child will be

Kate Freebairn’s eldest boy attends the local public school. “We could have sent him to the local private school, but we are not Catholic so it didn’t seem like the right choice.” “Given that other schools are at least 20 minutes away, we were happy to choose the local public school. Living in a country town, perhaps we are lucky that the public school is still quite small so I know he is getting the attention he needs.”

spending a large amount of their time there, so you want to ensure you choose an environment where your child will not only be happy but will be supported to reach their full potential.

Government/public education


hoosing public education is a very popular option in Australia and for good

the street. If you choose a Government education, chances are you will not get to choose which Government school your child attends, as most Government schools have a set ‘enrolment zone’ so your eligibility will be determined by which zone your address falls into. Check with your local school about their enrolment requirements.

decisions at a local level.

Independent schools


here is a wide range of schools within the

which includes Christian,

education, and chances are, your local as across the road or just down

Government schools that have increased autonomy to make

Independent school sector,

reason – the schools offer a high standard of public school might be as close

There are also Independent public schools, which are

non-denominational Christian, Jewish,

I chose a independent School Last year, Nicole Ashby says she took her two younger children (Grade 2 and Grade 5), and placed them into a much smaller school that offers more autonomy and freedom, but still teaches under the Education curriculum. “I found my 10-year-old son was feeling heavily burdened by the pressure of large classes and having to conform, and my 7-year-old thought her year 2 teacher hated her.” “Since moving schools, both of my kids are so much happier, contented and confident. It has made such a dramatic difference.”

Steiner, Montessori, Islamic and Community schools. According to the Independent Schools Council of Australia, Independent schools have a reputation as providers of quality education. The schools are not-for-profit entities and have their own boards or management committees. Many Independent schools are religious-affiliated. School fees vary within the Independent school sector. melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


Government schools, plus a wide selection of electives, sporting and creative arts programs. “An important difference is that Catholic schools provide their curriculum through a Catholic perspective and also provide the opportunity for students to learn more about the Catholic faith through Religious Education, and to experience their faith through regular prayer, special liturgies and the celebration of the sacraments,” Mr Collins says. “Catholic schools are known for the quality of their teaching and pastoral care

I chose a Catholic School Catholic Education


ay Collins, acting executive director of the National

Catholic Education Commission, says Catholic schools are faith-based schools that offer parents the choice to send their children to a school that

Sara Capacci had originally planned to attend her local public school until she went and checked the school out. “Every child’s needs are different.” “My child is introvert and I know for sure, a loving and calm environment is important for him to feel safe and shine academically. The local public school might be great, but it is really big with lots of student and it would have been overwhelming for him.”

aligns with their values and beliefs. He adds,

programs, which means students are not only challenged in their learning but are equally supported in their social and emotional development.” Mr Collins says the majority of Catholic schools belong to a system of schools and charge lower fees to make them as affordable and accessible to families as possible. He says Catholic schools also provide a range of scholarships and fee assistance to support families in financial hardship.

Catholic schools offer the same curriculum as

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I chose to Home School Renae Smith says she chose to home school so her family could travel whenever they wanted (they are from New South Wales, but currently in France). “My children have spent the past six months seeing the world and learning first-hand about the struggles of the world, how to convert currency, geography, learning languages, time management etc,” she says. To parents considering home schooling, Renae says it is hard, spending four to five hours a day teaching her two children (in years 9 and 10). “It’s hard and I often think it’s too hard, but then I look at how much they’ve grown seeing the world and it’s all worth it.”

Some things to consider when choosing a school for your child: Location. If your chosen school is out of your neighbourhood, it is important to consider the travel time required to get to and from school. l

The school’s uniform requirements.


Home education

If your child has a special interest, such as music or sport, you might want to consider a school that offers specialised programs. l


yfanwy Dibben, committee member for the Home Education Association, says many parents decide

to Home School their children before their children reach compulsory school age. “Some find they need to withdraw their child from school because the child’s educational and developmental needs are not being met in the classroom. “Among these, Special

The cost. The expense of fees, uniforms and additional requirements can vary considerably between schools. l


under 5 sta y


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Needs feature largely, both for children who are accelerated in their learning and those who struggle to learn using the methods and resources used by their teachers. Anxiety and depression, often associated with unresolved bullying at school, are increasingly being cited by parents inquiring about Home Education.” Ms Dibben says, in addition to the Home Education Association, there are state-based associations, as well as hundreds of online home education support groups to help parents find resources and information to help their children learn at home.

Steiner education


irginia Moller, CEO of Steiner Education

Australia, explains that based on a holistic and integrated approach, a Steiner education aims to nurture and develop the unique qualities and

I chose a Steiner School Kim Mears says they had always considered a Steiner education for their daughter. “We lived overseas in developing countries and felt she had a freedom in those younger years, she would lose at a State school,” she says. “As it turns out she was also quite artistic and we loved the focus in Steiner on art and creativity and critical thinking. We felt it suited her nature. She gets to really be a kid, get dirty, pick mulberries, make decisions herself, learn woodwork, and become a well-rounded child.”

capabilities of each child.

“It seeks to lead students towards healthy sea-knowledge, as well as deep understanding of the world they live in, so they can be positive, creative and resilient citizens who can envision a future which they believe they can help create,” she says. “This is achieved through balancing academic, artistic and practical

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I chose a Montessori School

life experiences throughout the Steiner curriculum, which is designed to bring thinking to life through imaginative teaching.” Ms Moller says some of the advantages of sending a child to a

Lu Sekerkova says she heard about Montessori by chance and went for an ‘observation’ (a Montessori-style tour) of the junior classroom. “We were blown away with how the environment is structured to encourage independence and to enable the children to explore their abilities.” “We were surprised how a full room of such young children can be busy but calm, productive and full of intentional ‘work’ (such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, self-care, reading, basic arithmetic, play etc). The philosophy of ‘the love of learning’ also really resonated with us and we wanted our daughter to develop that.”

Steiner school include: l

High standards, but less pressure


Integrated approach with focus on teaching through the arts


Sense of connectedness to self, to the environment, to the

past, present and future.

Montessori education


ictoria Marshall-Cerins, Chief Operating Officer of Montessori Australia Foundation

says Montessori is a wider approach to human development. Their education program, which focusses on independence, has an individualised learning approach, where children (who are in multi-

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how to follow a sequence of steps, how to concentrate on a task and

I chose a Christian School

to complete the task. They start with something simple and as their ability grows, more activities are introduced to fit those needs.”

n Debra Balhatchet chose a Christia us ting put is “It . son her school for it will backwards financially, but we feel ” life. in put him forward their “A lot of my friends home school t quie this into ed look I kids and I day the of end the at but ly, ous seri son my g think I would be doin an injustice schooling him myself.”

Ms Marshall-Cerins advises that parents ensure when they are considering a school or centre they look for one that it is ‘Montessori Registered’ through the Montessori Quality Assurance Programme (MQAP).”

age classrooms) are provided with education materials, which they explore at their own pace. “The educator’s role is to provide the children with the materials and observe the children’s own insights and capability,” she says. “The materials given to the younger children (three to six years) enable children to learn how to do things for themselves – for example, wiping a table.” “However, they are also learning





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around mentoring of the individual in small groups to ensure personal support and attention. Casey Grammar School is dedicated to forming confident, successful and well-educated members who strive for excellence in all aspects of their life. To discover more about Casey Grammar School, please visit their website or enquire into Meet the Principal tours and Open Days or contact the Enrolments Officer on 5991 0800 or enrolments@







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Ruyton Girls’ School’s signature programs develop a deep sense of belonging The journey begins for our students at Ruyton in Playgroup and Early Learning. Each year provides unique experiences as the girls move through the Junior and Senior School, living our values and engaging in authentic learning that becomes the foundation for living beyond the school gates



uyton believes in nurturing curiosity, wonder, adventure and joyful learning as children discover and explore their world. The Reggio Emilia Educational Project is central to the Early Years focus on learning at Ruyton. Young children are recognised as competent learners, able to construct meaning, develop thinking abilities and be resourceful and creative. Children are provided with opportunities for challenges and success. The learning environment affords space and time to explore and experiment, to reflect and revisit learning, and to develop awareness of their own abilities. The Kindergarten year nurtures a sense of belonging. Children are invited to explore, think and wonder. Independence is encouraged and educators support children to develop selfhelp and self-regulation skills. Pre Prep builds upon children’s rich experiences and is designed to enhance the development, creativity and learning opportunities of each child. Prep to Year 2 provides an environment where collaboration, creativity, exploration and interconnectedness become the focus. Our girls see themselves as part of a larger school community


Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

and build connections through the buddy and Star Sister Programs. The Creative Minds project explores expertise within and beyond the school community to create an experience curated by Year 1 students. Year 3 and 4 sees the world view of Ruyton girls expanding. The girls begin to see that there are many ways of being, thinking and believing. The Year 4 South House program is designed to connect with the community and understand our role in the wider community. The girls learn to live sustainably and work collectively within their indoor and outdoor learning spaces. The kitchen garden program provides an authentic context for understanding the importance of nurturing the environment and eating healthily. Year 5 and 6 provides opportunities for our girls to gain a deeper insight into their identity, by leading themselves, leading others, knowing their strengths and where they have the potential to grow. The girls are exposed to powerful role models from whom they draw inspiration. Citizenship is an important component of all of the School’s programs. This promotes development of a sense of belonging to different groups and communities, broadening an understanding of the world and preparing girls for the senior years and ultimately life beyond the school gates.

The journey starts here ... OPEN MORNING Thursday 30 August 9am-11am with Principal’s address at 9.30am SCHOOL SNAPSHOT Tuesday 5 June Tuesday 13 November 9am-10am

PRINCIPAL’S CONVERSATIONS (small groups) PLAYGROUP (Fridays term time) BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL Contact the Registrar, Mrs Nadine Hibbert, on 9819 2422 or

RUYTON GIRLS’ SCHOOL 12 Selbourne Road Kew 3101 Victoria Australia Tel +61 3 9819 2422 CRICOS 00336J

At Genazzano FCJ College, the vision for the Junior School is for the ‘full flourishing’ of each student through a holistic approach to the physical, emotional, social, academic and spiritual development of all learners.

Building the right foundations C

atering for girls from Prep to Year 6, with a co-educational Early Learning Centre (ELC) for three and four year olds, Genazzano encourages all students to approach life with optimism, to be creative learners and take risks in their learning.

The magnificently restored Victorian mansion, known as Grange Hill, is home for the Prep to Year 4 girls and provides a positive and supportive learning environment, where the curriculum builds learning confidence and capitalises on student interests.

environment, where the curriculum builds learning confidence and capitalises on student interests within and beyond the classroom. The Early Childhood experience at Genazzano Year 5 and 6 students enjoy The ELC is a place of wonder, where children can a purpose-built and flexible be observed deeply engaged in learning that learning space that offers diverse stimulates, challenges and provokes their possibilities for learning and enables thinking, curiosity and inquiring minds. the students to develop both independent and collaborative ibility flex e’s Ther The valued partnership with families working skills. Students have access to a number of specialist for families, whereby and the ELC team supports each child spaces such as science labs, art rooms and the library, as well they can select to e to gain a greater understanding of as shared learning spaces for quiet study. thre two, attend either e thre themselves and their world; becoming Students in the Junior School also for days or four competent, compassionate and experience a wide range of specialistyear olds, whilst four community-minded young citizens. taught subjects including Languages, year old ELC offers The Nature Play Program teaches Physical Education, Art, Music and Drama. either three, four or five days. children to think and act sustainably. As The Junior School also has the support part of this program the children engage of Literacy and Numeracy Coaches, a in hands-on, garden-to-table practices Learning Enhancement Teacher, a Digital in the edible garden and learn about bio Technologies Teacher and a Gifted and diversity, indigenous gardening and other Talented Program. The team approach to sustainable practices. the education and formation of the girls is There’s flexibility for families, whereby critical to the success of the Junior School, they can select to attend either two, three where each student is known and her needs or four days for three year olds, whilst four met in a personalised and targeted way. year old ELC offers either three, four or five With beautiful landscaped grounds, days. Before and after school care is also spanning over 17 acres, and state of the art available. facilities, including indoor pool, world-class playing fields and exceptional performing Discover Grange Hill arts centre, Genazzano FCJ College The magnificently restored Victorian provides an excellent learning environment mansion, known as Grange Hill, is home for your daughter. for the Prep to Year 4 girls and provides For more information visit www. a positive and supportive learning


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We invite you to experience the Genazzano FCJ College difference.

Open Mornings From 9.30am

Years 5–12 Thursday 26 July ELC-Year 4 Wednesday 22 August Whole School Friday 26 October Our innovative curriculum in the Junior School supports our Gen girls to explore, create, solve and imagine. 20 March Tuesday The Reggio Emilia inspired ELC program nurtures children’s natural curiosity for 5.30pm - 7pm learning. With over 17 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds, discover what makes our Junior School so special.

Limited places are available in select year levels for 2019

BOOKINGS: p: 8862 1207 A Catholic Day & Boarding School All Girls Prep-12; Co-educational ELC 301 Cotham Road, Kew VIC 3101

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eyond Perception: Seeing the Unseen is a ground-breaking immersive experience for teenagers open now in Melbourne’s West. Reflecting the latest and greatest in science and technology, this new exhibition immerses young adults in large-scale experiences that reveal the incredible hidden side of science, from black holes to invisible light, turbulence to synchrotrons. Developed for teenagers, the exhibition aims to spark curiosity, and raise questions about the more complex and fascinating corners of science, exploring themes of Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Advanced Technology. Beyond Perception


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explores the invisible fields and forces that surround us, such as gravitational waves, invisible light, sound and aerodynamics, and draws on current research which is continuing to uncover amazing imperceptible worlds of science and technology around us. The entire space is a pulsating realm of discovery ready for exploration developed in consultation with scientists, acoustic engineers and teenagers to ensure the content reflected the latest in scientific and technological development.

“This new exhibition immerses young adults in large-scale experiences that reveal the incredible hidden side of science, from black holes to invisible light, turbulence to synchrotrons.” Science is

looking deeper, and seeing further than ever before. Beyond Perception: Seeing the Unseen is an intriguing space with a fresh and awe-inspiring new design approach which will inspire visitors to look at how far we have come, and ask what will be next...


can be read on our website!

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Extracurricular activities fill up the calendars of most school aged children these days. However, sport is usually the dominant feature over more creative pursuits. But did you know engaging in the performing arts, whether it be dance, drama or music has phenomenal benefits for kids’ wellbeing and development?


erforming arts have the ability to provide kids with a wide variety of skills to set them up for life. It’s not about becoming a star or getting the leading role, it’s about stimulating the body and mind and the vast emotional, social and

educational paybacks. Being a part of a performance process, exposes your child to

new ways of thinking, moving, engaging and doing. Research shows that children who sing, dance, act or play instruments are more likely to be recognised for academic achievement compared with their non-performing counterparts. But the benefits don’t end there. Here are some of the key rewards children receive from participating in performing arts:

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 71

Self-esteem and Confidence - The safe environment of a class, as well as the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, will help bolster your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Children will make mistakes, we all do, but they will have the chance to practice and learn, and eventually succeed at a given task, generating immense feelings of pride, which can have a flow on effect to reducing anxiety and depression.

Social Skills - Most creative activities require team work or some collaboration. This expands children’s skills in communication, conflict resolution, negotiation and empathy. By learning collaboration kids begin to see that their contributions have value even if they don’t have the biggest role. Through team work kids can learn to see things from different perspectives and understand the motivations, feelings and opinions of others.

Perseverance and Resilience – Learning an instrument or dance requires practice, patience and persistence. On the journey to success children learn the old anecdote ‘the show must go on’ when things don’t come together perfectly, and they may be required to accept constructive feedback, which will prove a vital skill in later life. Once the performance is complete the sense of accomplishment will drive perseverance in their next endeavour.

Concentration and Control - The ability to listen, retain and contribute in a creative class demands a great deal of focus. Equally the core strength, coordination, flexibility and balance required across all performing art forms such as sitting with an instrument for extended periods or executing ballet are all skills that will help enormously when transferred to a school setting.

If your child is shy and lacks confidence introducing them to performing arts could be a life changing decision. The combination of a safe environment and engaging activities could be the trigger to bring them out of their shell.

But performing arts aren’t limited to music lessons and dance studios. Perth’s Fringe World Festival Director, Amber Hasler, says we just have to look at the expanding programs and performances drawing huge crowds to the 750 events that made up this year’s Fringe World, with genres from comedy to circus and cabaret acts to realise the endless options and opportunities available in today’s performing art scene. “Events like Fringe get people out of their houses and interested in the arts in general,” she says. “The annual program is a month-long celebration of talented artists including film makers, circus acts, puppetry, mermaids, magic, illusion, comedy, dance, musicals. It really is a joy to bring culture and an array of art forms to the public and open up their perception and appreciation.” With so many possibilities and endless benefits it can be a daunting task finding the right activity for your child. Offspring has put together a guide to help you navigate the options.

72 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Dance Dance is an expressive art form. It is active and a great way to improve fitness, body awareness, motor skills, strength, posture and flexibility. Dancing has recognised social and psychological advantages to a child’s development from problem solving and critical thinking to developing resilience and team work. For many dancers, the activity provides an outlet for emotions, stresses and an escape from daily life. A dance class will introduce children to the notion of a troupe. It’s not just you on stage but a larger group that is counting on you to do your part. The sense of responsibility and relying on peers gives an incredible sense of belonging. Most often dancers bond tightly together to develop a strong friendship set within their dance school. It is a great way to increase connectivity with others. Many dance schools offer classes from toddlers to adults. Dance classes focused on enjoyment and movement are perfect for little ones looking to burn off some energy. Lots of dance schools, recreation centres, day care centres, churches and community groups offer specific toddler classes where technique, routines and costumes are not so important. For older children looking for more structure and the opportunity to become involved in competitions, exams or concerts, there are many styles from which to choose including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Acrobatics, Cheerleading and Hip Hop.

A dance class will introduce children to the notion of a troupe. It is a great way to increase connectivity with others.

Talk to your child about their interests, ask around for recommendations, visit a few studios and ask about trial classes.

Music super food for kids


hildren under six create over one million new neural connections per second. Making music is ‘super food’ for a child’s developing brain, as it simultaneously engages areas involved in speech, listening, movement, intellect, socialisation, emotions and creativity. Mini Maestros for babies to five year olds specialises in fun, whole-brain development through play-based sequential learning. It is the longest-running and most successful Australian business of its kind. New students are welcome to join at any point in the teaching term, subject to availability. Enrol today and receive a FREE “At Home” Educational Activities ePack. Visit now.

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Drama Drama puts children in exciting, funny, thought-provoking and interesting circumstances to expand their view of the world and the people within it. It is not just limited to stage shows but encompasses circus acts, illusions, puppetry and theatre sports. “Not every child that takes drama will become a famous actor, but they will walk away with the tools to speak in public and speak up for themselves. They don’t have to be the best, they just have to be involved,” Bronwyn Edinger, Director of Northern Sydney’s Glen Street Theatre told Offspring. Drama classes cover many skills including voice training, improvisation, role playing and creative movement. Drama, like dance, is suitable to a range of ages and abilities from three years through to adults. Many primary and high

Bring the benefits of drama into your home:

✪ Set up a box of dress-ups and props to help children create imaginative scenarios, include a large sheet to use as the stage curtain.

✪ Create your very own sock puppets. Puppets are a great way for shy kids to engage. ✪ Instead of simply reading a story with your child, why not role play and act it out?

schools offer a drama program and some local youth centres provide opportunities to be involved in regular theatrical productions. Otherwise, ask around for recommendations of a good drama club.

Drama puts children in exciting, funny, thoughtprovoking and interesting circumstances.

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Learning an instrument can teach perseverance, build self-esteem and assist with other school-based education such as reading and maths from learning to read music and count beats.

Music Music is a powerful form of expression. It has the ability to change moods and evoke emotional responses simply through sound. Your child doesn’t have to be a prodigy musician to get involved either, signing up for a choir or a band is a great place to start as it removes the pressure associated with solo instruction and performances. Most schools will have a choir your child can freely join. One of Australia’s most admired conductors, receiving an Order of Australia for his passionate advocacy of music education Richard Gill, believes physical education and arts education should book-end the Australian curriculum, with music being at the forefront, as early as possible in the life of a child.

So how do you choose the right instrument?

Choosing an instrument to learn can be exciting and full of possibilities. Talk to your child about their interests and visit a reputable music store to see the instruments in their grandeur. Most formal music lessons start between five to nine years old, group classes are recommended for even younger children. The Forte School of Music gives these ages and instruments as a guide: The piano is highly recommended as a child’s first instrument, it can be played as soon as a child can reach the keys and has enough strength to press them down. Recommended age: 5+

“The impact this type of education would have on children, with respect to creative thinking, imaginative problem solving, resulting in classrooms full of engaged and interested minds with the capacity to think, perceive, analyse and act upon ideas, would turn the educational decline on its head,” he said during a recent speech to the Collegiate of Specialist Music Educators. You don’t need to be a wonderful singer or musician to share music with a child, nor spend a lot of money on musical activities, with many local libraries or community groups offering free ‘rhyme time’ sessions to introduce babies and toddlers to rhymes, songs and instruments. For older children, learning an instrument can teach perseverance, build self-esteem and assist with other schoolbased education such as reading and maths from learning to read music and count beats. Your child’s school might teach certain instruments or offer a music program. Otherwise word-of-mouth is always a great way to start looking for a teacher. If you are seeking private tuition check the qualifications of the teachers and find out costs, expectations and ensure they match your child’s desires, some will be more casual and others will expect participation in examinations and recitals. Ask about hiring instruments before committing, as some instruments

Bring your own music to life:

✪ Have the radio or music stream playing during the day instead of the TV. It will encourage you and your child to sing and dance along.

✪ Construct your own musical instruments such as shakers, drums and cymbals from pots and pans, household and craft items.

are expensive and need a lot of practice and persistence.

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 75

CLIENT CONTACT DETAILS Business Name Contact Name

✪ The recorder is a common choice in a school

Hush a Bee setting. It is cheap, children can play it easily and E. hello@in Bianca Ritchie it provides a good introduction to making music.


Tips to help your child overcome anxiety before a big performance:

✪ Normalise feelings of anxiety and remind your child, everyone, even adults feel nervous before going on stage.

✪ Talk your child through their worries and remind them of other moments when they felt anxious and things ended up being successful.

✪ Help your child calm their nerves by taking four or five long, deep breaths or counting backward from ten.

✪ ✪

Recommended age: 5+ Stringed instruments often come in smaller sizes Half Page specifically for kids. Some children can handle a Reduced to 50% Size violin from the age of four. Recommended age: 5+ (violin); 9+ (viola and cello) Other wind and brass instruments should not be attempted before your child’s permanent teeth come in because of the pressure on the teeth when they are played, the actual size of the instrument, the lip strength required and the “puff” needed to make a noise. Recommended age: 8+ (flute, clarinet); 9+ (saxophone, trumpet, trombone, French horn) Drum and guitars tend to be a big favourite among kids. Recommended age: 7+ Singing is something that can be enjoyed at all ages, but it is best not to start learning formally until 9+ years.

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Not keen on the spotlight? If your child is shy and lacks confidence introducing them to performing arts could be a life changing decision. The combination of a safe environment and engaging activities could be the trigger to bring them out of their shell. But don’t push too hard, there are other ways to expose your child to the wonders of the art form without participating: A trip to the circus - there is nothing quite as awe inspiring as aerial acrobatics. A dance performance - seeing classical ballet at the theatre or a local dance school’s concert is a lively and colourful experience. A balloon twisting, puppet or magic show - the illusions will captivate your child’s imagination and open them to the possibilities within performing arts. Activities like these are easy to create at home. A concert - there are many touring music acts for kids, teens or adults to provide a great shared experience. Local community events - whether it is the local choir or dance troupe, carolling, a drama production or an idol contest, there are often opportunities to see an array of performances in your own community. n

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there are often opportunities to see an array of performances in your own community.

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melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 77

Some of Burnet's Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies research team including (right to left) Rose Suruka, Lucy Au and Elizabeth Walep together with Sr. Jacklyn Telo (Clinic Nurse 2nd in-charge).

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies: The unfinished work of addressing maternal and newborn deaths BY DR MICHELLE SCOULLAR

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies is working towards a healthier Papua New Guinea, focusing on improving outcomes for women and babies in order to save lives.


hen women in Australia ponder their pregnancy and the upcoming birth of their child to be, they often think of the joys (and sleepless nights) they’re likely to face. We’re lucky that it’s rare to ever hear of a mother dying in childbirth, and whilst some families do face the horrendous tragedy of stillbirth or newborn death, it’s thankfully uncommon. We’re so fortunate to have excellent prenatal care and ready access to quality and timely healthcare throughout pregnancy and birth. But this is not the case in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where the maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. PNG is our nearest neighbour and so it is astonishing that the risks facing mothers and their babies there is so profoundly different to those we face here, just a hundred or so kilometres away. Around 1,500 mothers lose their lives as a consequence of pregnancy or childbirth per year in PNG, and more than 5,000 babies die in their first month of life. This is a devastating reality for families in PNG. The good news is that one of Australia’s leading medical 78

Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

research organisations, the Melbourne-based Burnet Institute is working hard to change this. The Burnet has been working in PNG for close to 20 years. The cornerstone of their work in PNG is Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies research program (HMHB), which is designed to help women and their babies have the best chance of surviving childbirth and give babies the best start possible to then thrive through childhood. There are many factors that contribute to PNG’s very high mortality rates, rugged geography and poor infrastructure, especially in rural and remote areas, can mean access to health care is very difficult. There can be a lack of understanding around the importance of antenatal care with many women attending clinics late in pregnancy or not at all. There can also be small but significant financial constraints on families, which add to the burden of travel or the cost of accessing care, or there could also be the lack of partner support, or a preference for traditional birthing practices within villages. All these issues can be further complicated by the complexity surrounding common diseases that are often present such

as malaria, undiagnosed sexually transmissible infections, tuberculosis as well as malnutrition and high levels of anaemia, all of which can contribute to poor maternal and newborn outcomes.

and then also seeing them and their baby at one month, six months and at 12 months.

“At each visit we’re taking a whole series of blood tests and swabs, and growth measurements to identify any issues such as infectious diseases, anaemia, nutritional deficiencies and stunting.” We’re also interviewing families and healthcare workers identifying barriers to families accessing available health care, and looking at ways to improve the quality of services currently provided, all factors that ultimately influence outcomes for mothers and babies. Our team of researchers is working alongside local facilities and communities to better understand some of the difficult One key issue that has arisen from our study is the issues that contribute to poor health outcomes for women and significant lack of knowledge about family planning. babies in PNG. HMHB is aiming to “Only one in four women identify what the main drivers are for interviewed as part of this study had poor maternal and newborn health, used a modern method of contraception Around 1,500 mothers lose especially for babies being born too and we’ve found there is a huge demand their lives as a consequence small. Babies born too small, either for these methods of contraception but because they haven’t been able of pregnancy or childbirth less than half of the demand is being to grow adequately in pregnancy met,” Dr Scoullar says. per year in PNG, and more or because they’re born too soon, “Supporting women and couples than 5,000 babies die in their face a much higher risk of dying in to plan for healthy timing and spacing childbirth or early infancy. For those first month of life. of births is a cost-effective approach babies who make it through, they to reducing maternal and infant face a higher risk of poor growth and mortality and has proven benefits development in childhood, often not just in preventing death, but also for gender equality, referred to as stunting. educational attainment and poverty reduction.” Burnet’s Senior Researcher, Dr Michelle Scoullar, has been “Were only part-way through the Healthy Mothers, Healthy working on the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program Babies program and very limited by funding, so any additional since 2014, and having lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, support from the Australian or Papua New Guinea community understands just how difficult it can be to improve a system will help us make a huge difference to women and children in that is so complex. Papua New Guinea.” “There are many gaps in our understanding, but through Dr Michelle Scoullar is a paediatric doctor who is our Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program we are already also completing her PhD as part of the Healthy Mothers, identifying some of the key issues that are impacting on Healthy Babies program. mothers and babies that can be targeted to improve their health,” Dr Scoullar says. Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies is working towards a healthier PNG, focusing on improving outcomes for women and babies in order to save lives. It is a broad research program examining medical causes and behavioural risk factors for poor health, and also looking at social factors influencing health, the provision of health services, and how to encourage effective uptake of services.

“As part of our first study, we have recruited 700 pregnant women in East New Britain Province and we’re following them from their first antenatal clinic visit, through to their labour,

For more information about Burnet Institute and Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies or to make a donation go to or call (03) 9282 2111

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring


How to be a Mindful parent Entering a child’s world and engaging with them in the moment is a natural, and highly effective way, to practice Mindfulness as a parent. By DR ELISE BIALYLEW


One key attitude in the practise of mindfulness is the ‘beginner’s mind’. This is the ability to bring a freshness to your experience, seeing things ‘as if for the first time’, which allows you to drop your assumptions, ideas and desires, and instead be completely open to your experience. I’m often reminded of

s humans we have a unique evolutionary

this quality by my two-year-old daughter. When I took her to the

advantage, with minds that can project into

snow for the first time, she became completely absorbed in her

the future, solve complex problems and

exploration. In mindfulness we’re invited to bring this quality of

generate creative ideas that transform what

attention and curiosity to our meditation practice.

is possible. However, this unique talent comes

at a cost. With minds that are free to time travel between past, present and future, we get excessively caught up in future thinking that creates unnecessary worry in our lives. But, in its most cultivated form, the mind can be a resource for our deepest happiness, and for the flourishing of

Through beginner’s mind, the fog of ‘ordinary’ starts to lift, and we see our lives with freshness and delight. Rather than seeing what we think is there, we see what is actually there. This new way of seeing opens us to new possibilities as we step out of our self-limiting assumptions, beliefs and habits. Imagine how bringing a

all humanity – and the planet. We are

beginner’s mind to just one day

only just beginning to understand the

of your life could change how

potential impact that meditation can

you experience your family,

have on the brain, but what is clear

friends, work and the many

is that mindfulness, when practiced

aspects of your day.

regularly, can lead to long-lasting transformation. 80 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

Life can get so busy that it’s easy to take the people closest

These days my daughter is my main teacher as I navigate the extended, not-so-silent mindfulness meditation retreat that is motherhood.

to us for granted, and not be truly present to them. The ‘beginner’s mind’ that we practise through mindfulness reminds us to wake up and experience the preciousness of those around us. Beginner’s mind helps me cut through the sometimes monotonous daily routine of motherhood and experience precious moments where my full presence meets my daughter’s, and

I’m moved to tears. Looking into the deep, dark-brown eyes of this little girl, I’m overwhelmed by her purity and innocence, and the complete miracle of her existence. I’m aware that she is still very close to an original, non-separate consciousness that connects all living things; the incomprehensible intelligence of life is peering out at me, the intelligence that has transformed itself from an embryo into a complex human being. Children are a potent source of mindfulness. These days my daughter is my main teacher as I navigate the extended, not-sosilent mindfulness meditation retreat that is motherhood. Some nights after book time, I lie with her and we meditate together.

The fog of ‘ordinary’ starts to lift, and we see our lives with freshness and delight. Rather than seeing what we think is there, we see what is actually there.

I’ve introduced her to the concept of meditation, experimenting with how much she can understand of the practice. We watch a teddy move up and down on her belly as she breathes, and she giggles with delight. Then we do a few Om chants together – there is nothing religious in this chant, we’re just enjoying the sound

melbourne | winter 2018 | Offspring 81

The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. Whenmindfulness embraces those we love they bloom life flowers. Thich Nhat Hanh

Here’s an exercise to practice stepping into ‘beginner’s mind’ with your child, amplifying your presence as a parent. This practice can be explored with toddlers as well as older children.


Decide on a time of the day when you have 20 minutes and dedicate this time to being fully present to your child and activating your curiosity.

of singing in unison. We chant, ‘Om, Om, Om,’ as we gaze into each other’s eyes. To enjoy this stillness with a toddler feels almost holy, a rare moment, as we manage to maintain eye contact for a few minutes. In these moments it often occurs to me that my partner, my parents, all the people in my life and the strangers I walk past in the street are also mysterious living, breathing expressions of consciousness. Yet somehow, as we get older, it gets harder to maintain this wonder about one another, this beginner’s mind. Somehow the complete innocence of my daughter seems to be a direct line to presence and pure consciousness. It’s this exact quality of being that we try to return to through the practice of meditation. n


Ask your child what they would like to do and follow their lead over this 20-minute period without suggesting other options (assuming of course what they are suggesting is safe).


As you engage with your child see them as if for the very first time. Notice the tone of their voice. Notice whether or not they make eye contact. Notice the different facial expressions as you engage in this activity. Notice your tendency to want to suggest something other than what they are suggesting. Bring awareness to your own emotional state: notice if there is joy, impatience, a tendency to think about all the things you need to do, then bring your attention back to your child. Notice all the details of their physical appearance as if you were going to draw them.


After the exercise find some time later in the day to journal about your experience. Reflect on these questions: l What was it like to engage with your child in this way? l How was it different to how you normally interact with your child? l What did you notice about your child? l What did you notice about yourself? 

DR ELISE BIALYLEW (pictured left) is the author of The Happiness Plan (Affirm Press, $24.99) and the founder of Mindful in May, the largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign that features the world’s leading experts and raises funds for clean water projects in the developing world. A doctor trained in psychiatry, and a mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing. 82 Offspring | winter 2018 | melbourne

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