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Let's Be


Issue 4.0 July 2020

5 HOBBIES TO GET YOU MINDFULL Our Mindfulness coach Montse gives 5 simple ways to stay in the now

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS School holidays during COVID? We have the perfect solution to keep the little ones busy these holidays

WINTER PLANT CARE How to keep your plant babies thriving through winter




How to keep your relationship strong through parenthood. Our Journey through parenthood

My Tribe

Mindful parenting Chef Mamma Find your Mummy Match Cheering up parents of premature kids Mamma Q+A

Self Care 5 Hobbies to get you mindful Self Love with Sarah The Cost of PND Product of the month Returning to excersise postpartum

Balance Keeping balance Unplugg

Home Winter plant care DIY bye bye bad vibe spray

Kids School Holiday Ideas Being mum to a special needs babe Bonding Blueprint - baby massage

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR Well, what a crazy two months it has been since our last edition. The last few months have seen us in lock-down, homeschooling and living a very different life. Here at LBM HQ, there have been ups and downs (when is mum life calm and predictable?) We've had two Iso birthdays, and I've been coming to terms with my last baby not being a baby any more. But as we settle into the "new" "normal" was trying super hard to make the most of it, spending time together and appreciating our health and family. I know that for some mammas this situation is causing a lot of stress, pain. So this edition Mammas is for you, for those who are single mammas, mammas who are going through a loss in lockdown, mammas who are waiting for this all to be over to be able to continue their journey through motherhood. Robert Tew said " Trust yourself. You've survived a lot, and you'll survive whatever is coming." Take care and stay safe xx.


LMB issue 4 July 2020

Editorial Pauline Da Silva Editor Contributors Heidi Gee, Kellie Cassell-Morgan, Hayley Thiele, Natalie Claire King, Natalie Tran, Natasha Sau, Natalie Tran, Montse Azaguirre, Samantha letran, Sarah Conte, Kat Jones, Real health NZ, Amy Booker Marketing Pauline Da SIlva

Advertising Pauline Da SIlva letsbemamma@outlook.com Subscriptions Visit www.letsbemamma.com.au letsbemamma.com.au The opinions expressed herin are not necessarily those of the publishing staff. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited unless permission is given from the publishers.

Health related articles are designed to be informative and educational. They are not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace one-on-one health advice from your medical practitioner. Please always consult with your doctor prior to using any health advice.

Letsbemamma.com.au letsbemamma@outlook.com


Published bi monthly by letsbemamma All Rights Reserved.

The Essential Mama co. is a very special place created by one Melbourne Mum. Through her love of her family and essential oils. The Essential Mama co carefully hand-picks products that suit every member of the family.


Lactivist and Feminist inspired accessories are designed in Queensland and made exclusively by Mama's Milk Collection. Wearing our enamel pins, keychains and rings are a subtle way of displaying radical self love, individual self expression and normalizing breastfeeding.

Share the Mama's Milk love, with coupon code SALE20!


How to keep your relationship strong through


By Natalie Claire King, Couples Therapist.

67% of couples experience a precipitous decline in relationship satisfaction in the first three years of a baby’s life


Listen carefully tay connected as parents with this one daily conversation









Balancing new roles and responsibilities during

wanting to be heard, we can get caught in conflict

the first few months of parenthood is no easy

because we slip into problem solving rather than













managing stress becomes nearly impossible and

when we feel a strong urge to reduce our partner’s

any kind of self-care, even for your relationship,


seems far off.

opposite effect. To feel truly heard and understood

It’s normal for your relationship to feel under

your partner may be needing you to validate their







distress and sit with their discomfort. Empathy is about listening to the emotions the other person is

experience a precipitous decline in relationship


satisfaction in the first three years of a baby’s

perspective. A good question to use when listening

life. The same research also found that couples

with empathy is, “How do you feel about this?”



In addition to listening to your partner’s feelings,

conversation were able to cope better with these

empathic listening involves reflecting back what

added pressures, handle external stressors and


stay emotionally connected.

partner feels supported. A comment like, “Wow,









Institute research found that 67% of couples















that’s really tough. If that happened to me, I would What is a stress-reducing conversation?









alone in this moment of distress. A stress-reducing conversation often starts by

This may feel like a daunting thing to do, to ask

checking in with each other (“How was your

them to talk more about their pain. It might go



against the message your body usually sends you

relationship from heavy life demands that occur

when big feelings come up – take the pain away –

externally. It’s a safe haven for each partner to

but being open to your partner like this tells them

relax, briefly unload about their day and have

that you are there to support them in this vulnerable

space to be heard.














emotional world in this way has a helpful and healing influence.

Our Journey to Motherhood By Kellie Cassell-Morgan

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a Mum. When I was 29 years old, I was diagnosed with cancerous cells in my uterus. I was strongly advised to have a full hysterectomy to prolong my life. This was something I just wasn't willing to do so I sought a 2nd and 3rd opinion. They all recommend a full hysterectomy until my 4th opinion. I finally found an oncologist who was willing to take a chance and preserve my fertility and treat the cells. I had to remain cancer cell-free for five years before I was able to look at starting a family. In 2011 I met my amazing wife, Amanda. We both trained and worked at the same gym. From the day we met, we clicked and were pretty much inseparable. We spoke about our future hopes and dreams. And children were a part of our future. We decided that I would carry our children, as this was always something that I wanted to do. Due to my age (35), we decided we would start fertility treatment only months after meeting. It felt right. We completed all the requirements needed to start treatment, the counselling, bloods, physical examinations and the police checks. We were finally given the green light to start. We decided to do IUI (insemination) first and were placed on the donor waiting list. After a long three month wait, we were given a list of available donors. We selected our donor. He was blonde with blue eyes. We were excited to get started. We did three unsuccessful IUI rounds. Our fertility specialist recommended we move onto full IVF. We agreed to transfer over to full IVF where we were informed that we couldn't use the IUI donor and had to be placed on another donor waiting list. Several months passed and we received a call saying we had reached the top of the donor sperm waiting list. We found our second donor and we were all set to go. Daily injections, scans, bloods weekly then I had my first egg collection. Sadly the numbers were not high. We had five eggs collected. The next day we were notified that only three fertilised. I received a call the following day to come in for a day two transfer as I now only had two fertilised eggs.

We went in the following morning hoping for a double transfer. Sadly one of our embryos failed to continue to grow. As devastating as it was we held onto hope knowing all it took was I viable embryo. Fourteen days later we received the devastating news that the embryo failed to implement and I wasn't pregnant. Heartbroken we vowed to move on and try our luck again. Another full round of IVF planned. We were excited to start again, so we did a back to back round. This was my last and final round. Injections, bloods, scans become part of daily life. Egg collection day came around so fast. After egg collection, the specialist writes the number of eggs collected on your hand. I slowly opened my hand; my heart sunk. The number 2 boldly written on my palm. My specialist did her best to reassure me that it only takes one. Due to the low numbers, they decided to do another day two transfer. On transfer day we were informed that only one embryo was viable for transfer. We were hopeful that this was our time. Ten days into our two-week wait, I started to spot. I knew then my final journey was over. I called my specialist and told her. She told me to hold onto hope and wait for my bloods. My bloods returned a few days later, and they were negative. I was so devastated. We were heartbroken. We decided to take a few months off from treatment to grieve and refocus. Six months later, we decided to seek a second opinion. We were extremely fortunate to get an appointment with the head specialist at our fertility clinic. The specialist looked at my history. Looked at me and said "I think it's time to pass the ball over to your wife" He explained that the quality of my eggs wasn't excellent. All those years I had spent with my oncologists trying to prevent my fertility had taken it. My egg store was extremely low, and my egg quality poor. He told me at the age of 37; I was entering menopause. Complete devastation swept my body. I cried for days.

The grief of not being able to carry our children broke my heart. I was angry and hurt. I felt like I had failed. As women, our bodies are designed to make and carry children, but mine couldn't. After a few months of focusing on rebuilding, we decided that Amanda would start her IVF journey. We were lucky that Amanda was still young, super fit and healthy. All bloods came back perfect. We were placed on the donor waiting list. Three months later we reached the top of the list. We picked our three donors. He sounded amazing. Blonde with blue eyes. Perfect medical history. Our specialist recommended we try three insemination rounds and then reassess. 2 failed IUI rounds we were about to enter our 3rd before starting full IVF. Insemination day arrived. We were excited but nervous. Thirteen days after transfer, Amanda cried, looking at a photo of her late grandmother. Amanda very rarely cried. My heart fluttered with excitement. I told her to go and do a test as I thought she was pregnant. She looked at me like I was crazy. She went and did a test. She came running down the hallway yelling "It's broken, it's broken" She handed me the test. There bold as anything was two beautiful pink lines. We were finally going to be Mummies. Because I couldn't carry, I decided I wanted to induce lactation in myself so that I could breastfeed our baby. I wanted that special bond with our unborn baby—months and months of drugs and pumping every 2 hours 24 hours day. To my surprise it worked. My body was doing it. I was so amazed. I was all set for the birth of our first baby.

On the 20th of June 2017, our perfect son was born. Both Amanda and I successfully breastfeed Kai. We settled into life with our son so well. He was and still is a beautiful little soul. Because we love him so much we decided to try for another baby. When Kai was 11 months old, Amanda's journey to conceive baby # 2 began. We completed 5 IUI's over two years, all with a negative result. We were tired and frustrated. We planned our 6th insemination just before a family holiday. No work, less stress and relaxing as a family. We were hopeful this would give us a real chance. On the 14th of February 2020, we found out that we were pregnant with our second child. We are excited and feel incredibly blessed. Not everyone gets their happy ending, but we have twice. Our journey to becomes parents wasn't an easy one. But our journey was worth it.



Home, work, motherhood it all gets a little overwhelmimg but how do we keep a balance for our own sanity?

NURTURE YOURSELF Look after your body and your mind, healthy eating, exercise and developing a healthy mindset, thinking positively, meditating and being grateful. If your new to any of these take baby steps, choose one and work your way to the rest. We Recommend, meal planning, going for walks using a gratitude journal.

PRIORITISE Prioritise things on level of importance. All those things that are of high importance are the things you do first, the others can wait till you have more time. We sugest keeping a list on your phone or diary, theres nothing better than crossing things off a physical list.

Life loves to throw curve balls, and the sooner we realise it's okay to detour from our norm sometimes, the easier it will be for you to maintain a perfect balance.


Unplug With home-schooling behind us and adapting to life working from home, going on a digital diet can be hard. But if there's something that has been learnt from this Pandemic is the importance of being present and now with restrictions easing now is a better time than any to go on your digital diet. So we've come up with a digital detox to help you get back to your normal and be present in person, rather than behind the screen.

Plan the day you are going to unplug - you've got to do this right from wake up to bedtime. This is where you COMMIT to a day of detoxify. Go old school - Remember the 90's? What was a mobile phone? the internet? go 90's for the day. Wake up and start your day with a healthy breakfast Go for a walk - get some fresh air, be in nature, walk in the rain, just be outside for a minute. DO something you haven't done in a while, paint, read, craft, play an instrument, cook something that once sparked you joy. Declutter. There's nothing more satisfying than cleaning out those closets. Be in the moment, go with the flow and don't make a set plan, just enjoy being in the now.

Mindful Parenting

Adapting a more mindful parenting approach during the pandemic By Samantha Latran - The essential mama co

Have you had to adjust your parenting style during the current COVID 19 crisis? I certainly have with my 6yr old daughter, especially who is in grade 1. Once life slowed down & we began to isolate her mild anxiety rose. Bedtimes became a battle, tempers flared & she was having more frequent emotional outbursts. As a family, we were forced to learn new coping techniques, and I searched for tools to help my child express & understand her emotions. “Cosmic kids yoga” has been great fun for all three of my children, my youngest, who is two likes to join in with her big brother & sister. One technique we were already familiar with was simple deep breathing which the kids call ‘yoga breathing’. We saw a similar method on Playschool in which they did the deep breathing with a Hoberman Sphere. Extend the sphere as you breathe in, to match your tummy then make the ball small again as you breathe out. Breathing exercises have worked very well for us. So much so that my 6yr old uses this technique to calm down my 4yr old son when he is worked up. Sending her off for a shower also helps her to relax & wind down. It’s the space & time to herself that helps to settle big feelings. I also have essential oil body wash in there for her to enjoy, so she feels pretty special using Mummy’s fancy soap.

My daughter will often go off and draw when she is feeling overwhelmed. To branch out on this, I’ve introduced the ‘between us journal’. A journal for her to express herself in words. There is also a space in the journal for me or my husband to write notes to our daughter or even respond to letters she has left for us. It’s a simple yet perfect communication tool. Something else I wanted to find for both my four and 6yr old was a tool to use at bedtime. After dinner & baths some nights they can have a ridiculous hour. They are running around, screaming & fighting its’ nuts! So I have introduced two tools for them both to either use to wind down before bed, help them get off to sleep or take to bed with them. How they’d like to use their tool is up to them. 1. Calming stone. A calming stone is a small, thumb-sized stone with a thumb indent in it. The kids hold it in their thumb & pointer finger. The idea is to rub your thumb along the indent as a self-soothing exercise. While doing so, you activate calming acupressure points. The stone is small enough to fit in a pocket to take along to school or kinder if they feel particularly anxious on a particular day. The stone is especially handy for my 4yr old son who has trouble drifting off to sleep in the bed by himself. I tell him to close his eyes while he rubs his stone & to think happy thoughts so that his stone can turn them into pleasant dreams.

2. Worry doll. A worry doll is a small hand-painted, wooden doll. Kids can squeeze it tight & whisper their worries to the doll before tucking it back into its pouch & placing it under their pillow if they wish to. The card that comes with the doll says “… I will take your worries to a land far, far away. So you my lovely can rest & dream the night away” This is especially handy for my daughter who may hang on to things that upset her at school or an incident that happened weeks ago. Having that physical tool to hand those anxieties over to is a massive help. 3. Relaxation music or meditation. Hubby & I each have a calm kids app. on our phone. When our 6 & 4yr old go to bed (they share a room) some nights we’ll put on a 1530min bedtime meditation for them, or just relaxation music/soothing nature sounds to help them peacefully drift off to sleep. It can be easy to forget sometimes that the little people in our lives struggle with & feel such big emotions. There are days when I’ll pull out all the stops: Yoga, meditation, essential oil bath or tools mentioned above and all they want and need is a warm reassuring hug from Mum. Try not to over think and complicate it. Listen to your little people, and you’ll learn to read their subtle signs if you’re currently navigating your own new-found mindful parenting style & are searching for any of the tools mentioned above.

Check out the mindfulness range over at www.theessentialmamaco.com

Mamma CHEF

BANANA PADDLE POPS INGREDIENTS Bananas Yoghurt of your choice we use Vanilla Sprinkles, peanut butter or toppings of your choosing Paddle pop sticks Baking paper

DIRECTIONS 1. Peel your bananas and cut them in half 2. Place a paddle pop stick in the flat end of your banana. 3. Dip your banana in yoghurt and ensure it is completely covered with a spoon. 4. Sprinkle the topping of your choice, we love using sprinkles and caramel topping. 5. Place bananas on a freezer friendly plate or container lined with baking paper and pop into the freezer for about 2 hours.




250g uncooked pasta we love using pene or macaroni Half a head of cauliflower 1 Zucchini 1 Medium Onion diced finely 1 carrot diced finely

DIRECTIONS 1. In a saucepan of salted water, bring to the boil and add pasta. 2. Meanwhile, cut your veggies and steam them until they are just softened.

2 tbs plain flour 2 tbs butter 1 cup milk 1 cup of grated cheese 3 rashes of streaky bacon diced


3. In a pan add butter and lightly brown your onions until softened and cook your bacon. 4. Add the flour and continue stirring for about a minute. Slowly add the milk to avoid the flour from clumping and stir continuously allowing to boil and then reduce the heat. Your sauce should be thick and creamy, if it is still runny add a little more flour.

5. Once your veggies are done, puree them and add to the sauce. Once pasta is cooked drain well and mix your sauce through. 6. Add your pasta to a oven safe dish and cover in cheese. Bake in preheated oven until centre is almost set, 20 minutes at 180 degrees. C


Hayley Thiele is the Founder of Mummy Matcher, Mum of three girls aged 5 and under, champagne lover and can usually be found dragging her family up a mountain in the Flinders Ranges.

Motherhood can be lonely; however, it is People need people. Women need other a different sense of loneliness that I think women and Mums need other Mums. There you can only truly understand once you is a tremendous amount of evidence that are a Mum. You crave five seconds to demonstrates feeling socially connected is yourself away from the tiny humans associated with better physical and mental however you would also give anything to health outcomes for not only us as mothers be surrounded by other Mum’s at similar but also for our children. That building your stages even though you are fully aware tribe and fostering a sense of connection self-esteem, feelings of that the main topic of conversation is increases centred around the tiny humans you empowerment and overall sense of wellhave been trying to escape. Talk about being. So how do we feel more connected #mumlife. A survey of 2000 mothers in a world where we have never been more conducted in 2018 found that 90% of the physically distant? One benefit of COVID-19 women who participated identified as is that there are now a vast amount of lonely and 54% think of themselves as “friendless” since having their babies. That is a lot of lonely mummies out there, and I am reasonably confident in assuming

virtual mother’s groups which cater for just about everyone and everything. Make Google, your friend. Use your kids to break the ice. Comments such as “Oh, my

that these figures would have increased dramatically since COVID-19 took over the world. Then there are the Mum’s who I work with. Their motherhood journey has taken a sharp and unexpected turn from what is considered “normal” in our

daughter has that same dress.” “My son throws tantrums like that too; you’re doing a great job” are great conversation starters which might lead to organising a catch up at the park. Utilise a service like Mummy Matcher who specialises in facilitating online

connections for Mum’s who motherhood journey has taken an unexpected turn off the beaten track. I know for some of you, the thought of putting yourself out there frightening reality that approx 80% of makes your skin crawl but remember that them have a clinical diagnosis of anxiety great things hardly ever come from comfort and depression. The thing is, humans are zones. You’ve got this Mumma! not designed to go it alone. very shallow society. They experience the loneliness like all mothers however the depth of isolation that some of these women are subject to plays a part in the

Website: https://mummymatcher.com.au/ Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/mummymatcher Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mummymatcher

Cheering up parents in NICU

Maddie Francis Founder, NICU Cheer Recipient: Federal Government Jaggajagga Community Volunteer Award 2020.

On Mother’s Day 2016, I lived every mother’s worst nightmare when at just 30 weeks pregnant my son suddenly stopped all fetal movements. I was checked out by the hospital and told to wait a week as he seemed fine to them, but I went back the next day, and this time the tests showed what I already knew – something was very wrong. Ashton was delivered silent and still a few hours later and was rushed straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for lifesaving interventions. He was perfectly formed, yet so tiny and was placed on a ventilator, had wires coming and going out of every part of his body, was hooked up to multiple monitors and he even had tubes going straight in through his umbilical cord, so it was a beautiful yet confronting sight to see him like that. We spent 6.5 weeks in the NICU, and although Ashton is now 4, he still has ongoing medical issues with multiple hospital tests, throat surgery, brain MRIs and more so we genuinely understand how traumatic and isolating being a hospital parent can be and that is why I created NICU Cheer. I started with a simple plan to ask others to help me fill a big hamper to donate

By Christmas 2019 the bags and their contents have quadrupled in size and we expanded to deliver 200+ gift-bags and hampers to three of Melbourne’s biggest hospitals, with plans under way to expand to all 5 hospitals with tertiary level NICUs by 2021, as well as doing Mother’s and Father’s Day deliveries too.

on Christmas Day for NICU parents and staff. Still, so many items were given that I was able to put together 61 individual gift-bags for the parents at every NICU cot plus giant hampers for the staff too.


Companies big and small now donate goods directly to us and we have established a gift registry for the public to purchase gifts from to go into our bags. In 2020 we were ready for our inaugural Mother’s Day delivery, but the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled that unfortunately, but we still have hopes of delivering for Father’s Day 2020 if lockdown restrictions allow and failing that, Christmas Day 2020 will be our biggest and best deliveries yet.




Can you share a bit about your story?

So much pressure these days are put on women to be these unrealistic super mums I started using Instagram as a creative outlet, on social media. You’re always keeping it real and it turned into a hobby. Initially, it started on your socials, what advice do you have for with fashion and interiors as I was very new mums? passionate about this before having kids. After having kids, I, like most Mothers, felt that this I admit Instagram can be deceiving with pretty had changed me for the better. It’s hands images and appearing to be the ‘perfect mum’. I down the most rewarding experience. Don’t feel that social media is not the greatest when it get me wrong; it was no walk in the park. It’s comes to capturing the ‘realness’ of motherhood. also the hardest job in the world. But the For me, I like to write about madness but create positives outweigh the negatives. After having beautiful images because I do love the kid’s my daughter Nora, we naturally wanted Nora interiors and fashion. I know this sounds to have a sibling. My husband has a big contradicting, but I think people do also respond family, so we felt what better gift than to give to appealing images. Other than that, my advice Nora another sibling. to new mothers is, don’t put too much pressure I then fell pregnant with my second child, on yourself and compare yourself to other Michael, whom I miscarried at 22 weeks mums. I think we are all unique in our ways, and gestation. I don’t think many women talk sometimes just because something worked well about miscarriages openly enough, but after with other mums, it doesn’t mean it will work losing Michael, I’ve never felt such heartache well with your baby. I think we do our best to in my life. A big part of me was lost, and I support each other as a community, but at the wanted the world to feel my pain, so I decided end of the day, you should always trust your gut. to share my pain with the world and be Every baby is different and responds differently. opened and honest about my loss. I felt that What I can say is, becoming a mother can also writing about him helped me as part of the change your self-esteem and the self-doubt kicks grieving process. I was also overwhelmed by in but know, that you can always trust your the responses from other mothers who have instincts. come forward to share their loss with me, and I was extremely grateful for that. It made me What’s the best thing about being a mum? feel less alone. One thing I’ve learnt from this experience is miscarriages happen more often Watching them grow and when they start to talk than we think. And for some strange reason, and to watch their personalities blossom has it’s taboo to talk about this. I don’t think it’s been the best thing so far. For me, when they something women should feel ashamed begin to speak is hands down one of the best about. I understand it’s a delicate and things! I’ve had the privilege to watch Nora grow extremely raw and painful experience. But I from being a shy and timid child, into a know one thing I don’t regret is talking openly confident, loving, caring and an affectionate little about my experience with it. I miss Michael person. My husband and I do our best to show every day, and talking about him has kept his her our love for each other and to guide her to memory alive. I am grateful to have fallen be the best version of herself. pregnant again with our rainbow baby, and we cannot wait to meet him/her in September.

What was the hardest thing about being pregnant for nine months? After my miscarriage and falling pregnant again, the hardest part for me was the morning sickness and managing my anxieties that came with this. I think naturally after having a miscarriage; you can’t help but second guess yourself. There were stages where I’d feel like I would panic because I couldn’t feel the baby move or if something didn’t feel right I’d instantly go into panic mode. For a while, when I lost Michael, I blamed my body for failing to carry him. However, speaking to a professional and having the support of my husband has helped me through this pregnancy and to manage my anxiety. I was told that this was completely normal to feel this way and yes there will be things you cannot control…and that’s life. Life isn’t all about keeping things in control. One thing’s for sure is I do not take this pregnancy for granted. I am thankful I am able to go this far into my pregnancy, and for me, having a baby delivered safely in my arms is my main priority.

How do you find time for “you time”?

As Mothers, I do feel this is important to find that balance while it’s hard for a lot of mothers to find some ‘you time’ or you’re just not in the position to do so because you don’t have the help. Which is why I also think if you know someone who needs a break and you’re in a position to help, offer to help them watch the kids so they can go for a massage, get their nails done etc. When I had Nora, my husband would always offer to look after Nora for a few hours, so I could get my hair done or get my lashes done (Lucky me!) But after losing Michael, this ‘you time’ became more important for me to have as part of my healing process. I was lucky enough to have the time to myself when Nora is at day-care a few days a week. I used this time to let myself grieve and to do the things that made me happy or feel like my old self again.

www.floxbotanical.com.au In early March, Flox Botanical was launched. At Flox, we've tried pretty hard to turn traditional floristry on its head, and think we're beginning to do so. Flox is a small family- owned business, run by the co-owners Emily Riley and Mitch Bourke, and have added a personalised touch to sending/receiving flowers. We sell our flowers flat packed in a box, and give our customers instructions on how to put the bouquet together themselves in their home or office. We buy seasonally fresh market flowers every morning and provide free next day Melbourne-wide delivery. We have a huge focus on 0 waste, which is why we only offer next day delivery. With everyone in some form of isolation, DIY is taking off. What better DIY is there than flowers? You have the fun and creativity of putting together the flowers yourself, and then the pleasure of looking at them for the next week or two, proud as punch about what you've created. We Curate, You Create.


Plant care With Natalie Tran @the_interior_passion

As we hit the coldest months in winter, I thought I would share the top 5 tips to care for our green babies to help them thrive through this season. It does come down to understanding each plant’s needs but the following general tips may help. It also comes down to which state you live in. For the southern states like Victoria and Tasmania, it can get quite cold and frosty. I live in Melbourne so make sure my plants make the most of the afternoon sun near the windows. Watering: Do not over water your plants in winter. They still need water especially if you have hot dry rooms but not as much as in warmer months. You can test by using a water meter but I normally use the finger test. To do this, stick your finger into the soil about 4-5cms deep and if it’s dry you can water it. I would still go light with the watering. Some plants do need a good soak but don’t let them sit in trays with excess water. I let my plants dry out almost completely. Some plants will tell you when they start looking a bit droopy like the peace lily plants. You can also pick up the pots and if they feel light check the soil and if dry, water.

Humidity: If your rooms tend to have dry air, you may need to help them with increasing the humidity. I use a humidifier but what also works is putting the plants in bathrooms which usually have higher humidity. I also mist the plants and put a bowl of water near a heater to help increase humidity. There are plants such as the oxalis brasiliensis which does not like humidity at all so place them in areas which tend to be drier. Light: The days are shorter in winter and sunlight is harder to find. I would check what each plant needs for light and place them in a brightly lit room or in front of a window that gets plenty of sunlight. However, take care not to have the plants near any draughts in windows or doors which may be too cold for them. I would also give the leaves a wipe with a damp cloth to clear the dust which collect and settle on the leaves over time. This also makes it easier for the plants to absorb more sunlight.

Pests: I regularly check my plants (check the top and undersides) for pests such as mealy bugs, spider mites or scales as the dry and warm air from heated rooms can encourage pests. Some plants are more prone to certain pests (e.g. alocasias to mites and ferns to scales). If you do find plants with pests, isolate them and ask your local garden shop to recommend products to help you with eliminating these pests.

Repotting & Fertilising: Plants need all their strength in winter so I would hold off on repotting them till it is closer to Spring time as repotting can be tough on the plants as they adjust to the new soil and home for their roots. I would also hold off on fertilizing the plants. If you feel like some may need fertilizer during winter, dilute it before applying.

Get more amazing tips from Natalie - Follow her instagram @the_interior_passion


Bye bye bad vibe spray

I've always been a believer of Karma and bad juju and yes, i'm one of those european raised mums who believes in the "evil eye". So much so that during the Corona Pandemic, I've spent a lot of time looking up and researching ways to cleanse my home of "bad Juju". In my Maltese culture we use olive branches, much like sage, which according to tradition, the smoke will protect the home and family. Sage Smudging has been traditionally used to safeguard against negativity that could interfere with sleep, and with a husband that works shift work and restless kiddies, saging the house before dinner creates a clam and restful environment. But since having kids, I've discovered the FULL MOON, yep you've read correctly. Now tell me that it's not only my kids that go a little kooky around the time of the full moon? Well at LBM we have done some research into the power of the moon and here is what we found.

In a blog post by Yogi Approved, it explains that The Moon has a powerful influence on us as spiritual bodies since it is the closest astronomical body to us. The Full Moon offers the most profound energies that we can absorb, while the New Moon is the next most potent energy. We can use the Moon's power to help set our intentions and clear negativity. Fascinated, I continued researching and found a heap of information on moon water and other concoctions for different things. Then I found something that perked my interest, how about a room spray specifically made to get rid of that bad juju, just like my olive branches and sage? Well here it is, the LBM version of Bye-bye Bad Ju Ju spray. If you give it a try or have your concoction, we would love to hear it on our Instagram @lets_be_mamma

A few drops of Lavender + sage

Half which hazel



Half moon water



Mindful to



By Montserrat Azaguirre


t’s no surprise that after this ‘long haul’ flight of isolation, we are all in need of more than just funsize aeroplane treats and a hot face towel. We need real things to get us grounded and keep our monkey mind calm. So, I’m sharing with you my top five hobbies or pastimes that will not only nourish you but keep you mindful and in the moment.

Number 2. Art

Number 1. Cooking Yes, I perhaps hear you say, I’ve been cooking throughout this whole isolation time and I’m over it. Well, maybe it’s time to have fun with it. Food is not just about feeding your body (and the kids) but also your soul. I invite you to make one meal a week, a ‘Soul Fun Food’ meal. Meaning, get the whole family involved, share the mess and the yumminess. Next, choose a dish that isn’t your usual and one that might take a tiny bit more time to cook. Slow living and cooking is becoming the next lifestyle revolution and with good reason. It sets the pace to ‘relax’, gets you anticipating the delicious result and lets YOU breathe. My favourite Mindful food to cook is fresh handmade pasta. Making the dough gets you in the mindful zone of simply being in the moment. Kneading the pasta until you get the right smoothness makes you slow down and when you finally get to taste the luscious strands, melded with simple tomato sauce and shards of parmesan – that gets the happy endorphins jumping.

When I was a kid, my favourite subject at school was Art class, because it let me breathe out the algebraic equations that haunted me and instead let me carve or paint or sketch my daydreams. Picking up a few paints and a blank canvas is like having a blank cheque, you can dream and feel and have fun! There are no wrong brushstrokes, and pencils never go off, so enjoy it, set aside thirty minutes or an hour and release yourself from the structures we live in and feel free to express yourself. Try painting, clay sculpting or even knitting. The being, the calming is in the creating.

Number 3. Gardening Nature is mother earths hands extending to you; all she has to offer. Fresh air, fertile soil and constant beauty. Whether we have a balcony to potter in or a backyard to prune and plant in or simply a park to walk through, being in a garden is healing. I love to sit on the grass, breathing in and out – imagining my out-breath holds my stresses and my in-breath takes in all the soothing balms from the flowers and trees. Gardening allows you to make a true connection to the earth, it then also lets you grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs – prompting us to be mindful of what we are putting inside our bodies and the importance of being kind to ourselves. As a mother, I often let my own needs take second or third place, so by the end of a week or month or year, I’m feeling like a sultana rather than a happy grape. When we allow ourselves time in nature and gardening, we give ourselves time, time to release worry, feel grounded and mindful of how precious we all are.

Number 4- Music When I was single, after a late Friday night dancing on the town with my girlfriends, you could find me in my pyjamas on a Saturday morning, sipping coffee and devouring a Danish with more music on.  We forget as parents and adults that we are allowed to still have fun.  Music is the best conductor of joy. It brings down barriers and opens up the ‘silly moves’ jar.  You know the feeling when your favourite song comes on, and you can’t help but hum along, that is being in the moment!    Everything else peels away, and you get grooving with it.  So, bring music into your day. Put your headphones on in bed and listen to your all-time favourite hits, make a ‘dance date’ with the family every Friday night, or simply swap out the TV news in the morning for some chilling tunes over breakfast.  Music is a form of meditation, so indulge in it, seek it out and enjoy.   Number 5- Adventure Last hobby on my Mindful list is to find your own adventure. I recognise we all can’t go climbing a mountain right now or sail across the seas. But we can start dreaming about it.  Daydreaming is more than an excuse not to do your homework, it’s a mindful headspace to let your imagination run wild.  Life, like our potential, is limitless because it’s not about where your physical body is standing but where your mind is opening new horizons.  The great minds started their adventures with a daydream – Alexander Bell dreamed of light, Edmund Hillary dreamt of his Everest climb before he even saw the mountain and you can begin your next Mindful adventure right now!  

www.mindfullliving.com Instagram: montsemindfullliving

Self love

Sarah with

Hello Beautiful Mum, So, you have just given birth to a beautiful little baby or even a year or two in running around after a toddler and you start to look into the mirror at a body that looks so unfamiliar to you. You may have some stretch marks, excess skin, extra weight, softer areas and you start to pick and prod each part of your body; forgetting that you created a mini human, you start to spiral negative words into the mirror. Let's pause those thoughts for a minute and go back to the five simple reminders of HOW TRULY AMAZING (YOU) MUM ARE... Over nine months you were able to grow a life inside of your body - creating cells, building organs and developing limbs. Those precious kicks in your tummy and the excitement of who this little human would be; your body has worked overtime during these months to make your precious baby come to life. Giving Birth, only experiencing this 3 weeks ago - I can truly say that Women are STRONG. They say you forget the pain straight after birth when your little human is in your arms; which from my recollection

is so true; but whether you had a natural birth or a caesarean - you have literally run a marathon to welcome your little baby into the world. Feeding, creating breast milk to not only nutrition your baby but to help heal your body and as your baby grows your breast milk changes with your baby to give him/her exactly what they need. Although your body has done all these amazing things above, remember that as a Mum; your little human relies not on your body but on your love and comfort to help them develop and grow. Each change in your body, should be a beautiful reminder of creating your baby, rather than sadness of what it used to be. Now every time you look in that mirror, don't wish for your old body back, just as your world changed the moment you had your little human - remind yourself that this is a new body, a better body, one that created your baby and one that may carry scars but is more beautiful than what meets the eye. Each time you catch yourself in the mirror override those negative thoughts, reminisce your journey to motherhood & remember you are so much more than your body. With Love Sarah x

The cost of PND

Written by Kat Jones Director and Educator at Rise & Thrive At Rise & Thrive we aim to provide practical tools to encourage personal insight and allow people to shift their focus back to themselves to start living a life more aligned with their values. We do this by providing face-to-face facilitated workshops for people who are struggling to maintain their emotional well being, with an initial focus on mothers with young children.

Get in touch with Kat (Educator) and Jackie (Psychologist) at info@riseandthrive.org.au

For more information visit the website www.riseandthrive.org.au or follow us on Instagram riseandthrivemelbourne


I told myself I was so prepared for my second child. I knew about the sleepless nights,constant feeds, the clothes were washed and put away, the nursery was ready to go, I was first aid trained and confident in being able to deal with illness...you know, all the important stuff. I was prepared and in control, I had attended all my prenatal classes again for a refresher, I was on top of all my appointments and was spending some quality time with my first born while I had the chance. I was so prepared for my second child. Or so I thought. But what I wasn't prepared for was Post Natal Depression and Anxiety. I do recall it being mentioned briefly in my prenatal classes, the signs and symptoms but more in a 'tick the box', yes-we-told-you-aboutit kind of way. A sort of 'glossed over' topic, because the hardest part of having a child is the birth itself, right? Wrong. In a report prepared for Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA) estimating the prevalence and cost of perinatal depression in Australia, the total number of people who experience perinatal depression was estimated to be 96,156, including 71,177 new mothers and 24,979 new fathers, with the cost to the health system and our economy estimated at $78.66 million in the 2012 period (Deliotte Access Economics, 2012). These figures are based on peoplewho complete the screening tests and were diagnosed. Unfortunately, contemporary data is limited, therefore estimated prevalence of mothers diagnosed is 1 in 10 (1 in 7 for new mothers) (Deliotte, 2012). What these figures do not reflect are the mothers who 'slip through the cracks’, are not formally diagnosed, or those on the borderline of diagnosis.

If we were able to capture the data for these mothers, it is expected the prevalence of mothers with significant challenges would be much higher. So what exactly is Perinatal Depression and Anxiety and how do I know if I have it? Let’s take a quick look at the terminology. ‘Perinatal’ is an umbrella term that encompasses both antenatal (pregnancy) and postnatal (after birth) periods. Post-natal depression and anxiety specifically refers to a major depressive episode and can include significant anxiety symptomswhich occur within the first 12 months following childbirth. Antenatal depression and anxiety, on the other hand, starts during pregnancy (Gavin, et al, 2005). Symptoms may include feeling low or sad and loss of interest in things that used to bring you joy, changes in appetite or weight, inconsistent sleep (not related to baby’s sleep), low energy, feeling worthless or guilty, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, suicidal thoughts or thoughts about hurting your baby. For a diagnosis to be made, symptoms must be present for longer than 2 weeks and are causing you significant distress with an impact on your capacity to function (APA, 2013). Reflecting on my own journey, the signs of antenatal depression and anxiety were there. Persistent generalised worry, often focused on fears about the wellbeing of my baby, feeling nervous and on edge, constantly tired, little interest in the things that used to bring me joy (like seeing my friends), and being easily annoyed or irritated. I just figured I was a mum with a young child and this way I felt was ‘normal’. I didn't recognise it for what it was and I didn’t get checked initially by a medical professional. Another barrier for me getting help during my pregnancy was the 'everything is fine’ mask that I wore for others. My mask worked so well at hiding my extreme worries and fears, I even hid them from myself.

When I came home with baby number two, I was suddenly faced with a myriad of issues - extreme sleep deprivation (my fatigue and racing thoughts would prevent me from sleeping, as would the constant feeding and wake cycles of my child), a child who had colic and reflux and would SCREAM inconsolably from 3pm until about 10pm EVERY SINGLE DAY, a toddler who became increasingly demanding and I struggled to meet their needs, the constant feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, isolation and helplessness that saw me lose weight because I just didn't eat. People would comment on my appearance - "oh wow, you look so good, you've fit straight back into your old wardrobe!" This just fuelled my low mood as I was actually very unhealthy in both mind and body at that time, and it hurt that no one could see it. It is interesting in hindsight that this fixation of weight loss as a mother and appearance meant so much to others and was attributed to something positive; being that I must be 'doing well' because I looked so damn good!! In actuality, I was wasting away from self-neglect and internally I was so miserable.

At my lowest point I can recall saying to my best friend (and now business partner, Jackie) that I purely existed to feed this child. Beyond that, I truly believed, I was worthless. By this stage I was numb, resolute in my mindset, had lost my identity and I did not believe I would ever find myself again. But what prevented me from having the challenging conversation? It wasn’t a lack of awareness, I knew the signs and symptoms of post-natal depression and anxiety.

Was it the popular view that struggling as a mother is simply part and parcel of the journey? Or was it the perceived judgements from other mothers? Or the shame of being a second time mum who ‘should’ know what they are doing? Perhaps it was the fact that this is a deeply personal, traumatising and confronting disorder that prompts many sufferers to hide so as to avoid any further judgement and pain? The sad part is that this very mindset is what prevented me from getting help earlier. Had I known the support I would receive from other mothers with the same struggles, the friends I would make, the relationships I would build with professionals and the vast amount of education and self-discovery I would undertake, perhaps I would have seen the benefit of getting help far out-weighing the cost of admitting I was struggling much earlier. I am so fortunate that I did find and access services that gave me what I needed, and I had people who could advocate for me. The idea that this exact thought process is preventing other women from getting help or preventative care frightens me. Perhaps as a community we can shift the focus from birth and financial investments in baby paraphernalia to highlighting the transition that occurs in a woman physically, mentally and emotionally during matrescence (the state of becoming a mother) and even with the birth of subsequent children. Invest greater time and resources into holding the mother as she undertakes this growth and expansion of herself and the family unit. This shift would not be possible without recognising the significant impact on men as they become fathers and protecting the mental wellbeing of the entire family unit.

Don't just glaze over the signs and symptoms as though it is something you can tick off and move on. Our mental wellbeing is dynamic and requires our attention EVERY SINGLE DAY. Slow down, take a moment to pause, take a breath. Check-in with yourself, ask yourself how am I today? Observe what you are thinking, (am I being critical or judgemental?) and notice how you are feeling. Give yourself permission to take off the mask, be real, and show up as you are. Maybe then we might see the reality that the 'important stuff' and the 'hardest part' also extend into motherhood, long after a mother is born, and support each other accordingly.

t c u d o r P


The lilli Pili


is specially made for Mammas-to-

be. it might be my coolest formulation the gorgeous Charlotte has made to date.

Upon contact with water this honey-like gel will be activated and turn into a silky and gentle cleansing milk. It's a soap-free formulation, hence it will soothe and cleanse without stripping the skin on the belly for natural oils.

Charlotte shares: "I used it myself throughout my twin pregnancy and my belly was so soft the whole way through. As an added bonus I used it as a bonding session with my unborn twinnies while showering - I actually suffered from prenatal depression and had difficulty bonding with the little ones, so this bonding shower-session really helped me a lot"


Returning to Exercise Postpartum Written by Qualified Personal Trainers, Holistic Health Coaches and Pre-postnatal Exercise specialists Renee Norman and Jenna Smith of Real Health NZ

Getting back into exercise after having a baby is a big deal and for some it can be quite overwhelming with knowing where to start. Below are a few of our tips to returning to exercise safely. We hope these will help point you in the right direction.

1. See a physio to get proper medical clearance We advise all women to get checked over by a Women's Health Physiotherapist who specialises in pelvic floor to assess the health of your pelvic floor muscles, ensure you are doing your pelvic floor exercises correctly and get assessed for Diastasis recti. Most women in NZ get medical clearance to start exercise at 6-12 weeks postpartum from a GP or Midwife. However, generally speaking in NZ women don’t often get checked over by a Women's Health Physio. In our opinion it seems crazy that we can grow a human for 9 months, give birth to a baby and then often not be checked over physically to see where things are at! Even if you feel like everything is fine, in our opinion it is essential just to be sure everything is okay. Treat it like a warrant of fitness! Most women suffer some form of damage to their pelvic floor muscles so it’s super important you have a good understanding of where your pelvic health is at and what you need to do to improve it. Often a lot of pelvic health issues go undiagnosed simply because the majority of women in NZ do not get a physical examination after having a baby. When returning to exercise it’s even more important as some exercises can make things worse. Even if you feel like everything is fine in our opinion it is essential just to be sure everything is okay. Treat it like a warrant of fitness! Knowledge is power!

2. Start when you are ready It’s so important that you return to exercise when YOU feel ready. The media can put a lot of pressure on mums to feel like they need to get back into their pre pregnancy exercise regime and ‘bounce back’, we are here to tell you that exercising postpartum is not about bouncing back! No two women are the same, no two pregnancies are the same, no two births are the same and we all know that no two babies are the same! We all face different challenges on our postpartum journeys. Some women feel ready to get back into things at the 6 week mark while others aren't ready until months down the track. Give yourself time to recover, try your best not to compare your journey to another mums and start only when you feel ready.

3. Set the foundations When you do feel ready and you have been cleared by a Women's Health Physio it’s important that you don’t rush back into your pre-baby exercise regime! Please remember that your body has been through the most physically demanding challenge ever! Growing a human - is a big deal. As tempting as it might be to head back to your gym class, head out for a run, get back into lifting weights or high intensity interval training (HIIT) it is so important that you back the bus up and take the time to set the foundations. You can absolutely get back to your pre pregnancy exercise regime but slow and steady wins the race! When we say set the foundations we are referring to completing a recovery programme for your body that takes into account posture, breathing, activating your deep core muscles (TVA), pelvic floor exercises and functional movement. Consequences of not setting the foundations correctly can lead to injury, prolapse, incontinence and if you suffer from Diastasis recti you could possibly make the separation worse. We recommend focusing on setting the foundations for at least 6 weeks before progressing into further exercise. We also recommend doing pelvic floor exercises for life! Your pelvic floor is just like any other muscle in your body and we need to keep it strong so it’s important you maintain pelvic floor work as part of your exercise regime.

4. Listen to your body When you start to step things up it is essential that you listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right stop doing it. Make modifications where you feel like an exercise is a little too much. A great way to do this is to use an incline - the higher the incline the easier the movement will be. As your fitness and strength increases then you can decrease the incline. If you don't feel comfortable jumping then don’t jump, you can just step or walk your exercises. If a certain exercise is not feeling good for your body then switch it out for something different. With every exercise that you do think about easing into it and putting a progressive pathway in place. For example if you want to get back into lifting weights start with cans from the pantry and start sitting on a bench to ease the load on your pelvic floor, then increase to a swiss ball with light weights and so on. Exercise technique is so important, You are so much better off doing less reps, taking things at a slower pace than you are to be pushing your body beyond what it is ready for. Keeping technique front of mind is particularly important in those first few months postpartum when your body is still producing the hormone Relaxin. Relaxin is produced during pregnancy to help your body to grow and birth your babies but it stays for quite a few months postpartum. Relaxing makes our muscles and ligaments lose so it’s important that you take time to warm up and when you are exercising, focusing on your technique.

5. Embrace short workouts & snack on exercise The biggest barrier for mums getting back into exercise after having a baby is time. But we are here to tell you that you don't need a lot of time to reap all the physical and mental benefits that come from getting a little bit of movement into your day! Steady consistent exercise is what gets results and makes you feel fantastic. You are so much better off exercising for 20 or even just 15 min everyday than you are exercising for an hour on a Monday and doing nothing for the rest of the week. Set yourself a realistic period of time that you can exercise for each day and stick to that. Maybe it’s just 10 minutes to start with, set small realistic goals and then slowly move the bench mark out. The more you are able to experience success, the more momentum you’ll gain! If you are just starting out with forming an exercise habit make it so easy that you can't say no! Finally, when easing back into exercise postpartum we recommend doing so under the guidance of someone who has experience and qualifications in this area. There are many programmes available that do not cater for mums postpartum so please do your research.

At Real Health NZ we offer a full live timetable with 6 workouts per week. Workout timetable includes mum-friendly workouts including a pelvic floor and core restore workout and x2 low impact workouts every week. Our focus is to provide a progressive pathway for women getting back into exercise postpartum to set the foundations and then work towards whatever their goals might be.

www.realhealthnz.co.nz @realhealthnz

School Holiday


Mary brings back family values as well as being funny, silly, empowering and educational. In her live shows she says hello to each and every child by name, many returning day after day to see her again. From yoga and mindfulness, to science play and craft, the sessions are fun, real and have a great positive and educational message. All videos are then uploaded to her social media page and her YouTube channel for parents to put on anytime to entertain the kids, she even offers virtual face painting! “When I had to close my play space, I couldn’t help but feel like I needed to keep a connection with my community. Then I had the idea of doing the live a activities from my living room.



ary Diamond of Little Creature’s Play Space has created the first virtual play centre.

Every weekday at 10.30AM Mary broadcasts, “From my living room to yours”. Like many, due to COVID19 her small business had to close its doors. Combining her love for entertaining and the current need for social isolation Mary has set up a completely free service to assist parents in isolation.

In my heart I knew that I was keeping the momentum of my small business alive, keeping myself motivated at a difficult time and doing what I was made to do: Spreading joy and magic to all the little creatures of the world.”

The closure of her full time business couldn’t stop Mary from spreading the joy to the community with a much needed and generous idea to bring her play centre online. Mary not only gives parents a well earned break each day, but inspires them to play, enjoy and experience their children and the home space they are in. Her 30 minute live shows are completely real and unrehearsed, and feature her own 10 year old daughter.

I set up my living room to look like a play studio with playful backdrops and children’s toys. Instinctively, I asked the adults to write their child’s name in the comments and I was able to say hello to them live!. I received many photos of the children making their creations or in yoga poses. Videos of their excitement when I said hello to them and messages and of gratitude and appreciation from the adults, both for joy that each child felt when they heard their name as well as the educational and magical entertainment they got in their own homes during a challenging time. You can imagine my surprise when a viewer reached out all the way from South Africa and another from New Zealand! The interactive greeting reminded me of an old TV show called Romper Room so I grabbed a tambourine one morning and used it to look through. I told the children it was a magic tambourine and I could see them if I looked through it. We even held a live competition to name my magic tambourine. In my heart I knew that I was keeping the momentum of my small business alive, keeping myself motivated at a difficult time and doing what I was made to do: Spreading joy and magic to all the little creatures of the world.”

Mary has been a professional children’s entertainer for 25 years, a children’s yoga and mindfulness teacher for 4 years and she is the current owner of Little Creature’s Playcafe and party centre, Balwyn. Her kids yoga and mindfulness program is being launched this month on her website

DIFFERENT THE Having special the


SAME kids



struggles inclusivity

and with

Maya Angelou once said " You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out." When you find out you are going to become a mother for the first time your heart races with so many thoughts, what will my baby look like, what kind of person will they be, you hope and pray for them to be strong people with good health. You never imagine your child to have additional needs or for something to be different with them. In society in general difference is looked away from, everyone is expected to conform to an unrealistic "normal". But really, what is normal? As mums we know how different each of our children are and can be and we celebrate that don't we? So if we celebrate our own child's differences why is it so hard to teach our children that being different is ok, that being different isn't a bad thing it's what makes you, you. I'm a mother to a child with "special" needs, I say "special" because its a word I loathe it's a pigeon hole created by society to say that someone is different, and it tells us that that's not okay. My son has a rare neurological condition called Polymicrogyria, when he was born we were told he wouldn't walk, talk or do most of the thing " normal" kids could do (no i'm not paraphrasing) as he grew he hit all of his milestones, walking, talking you name it but he still had his little quirks and at 4 was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a mother hearing that there is something "wrong" with your child comes as a hard hit, for a long time I felt so much guilt and anger to the cards he was dealt. After every therapy session after every assessment of people who don't know him telling me that there are "issues" It was a very hard pill to swallow, for a long time I felt like I failed him in some way. Until one day I looked at him and realised your no different to anyone else, he is an amazing little boy with some quirks and without them he wouldn't be him, he is still mine he is still amazing.

I couldn't tell you how many times I've received that look that look of sympathy one example is a maternal health nurse appointment who after hearing about hid birth and diagnosis said " you don't deserve that, that's just not fair" I don't deserve a bubbly little boy who has the most caring and gentile heart of any little child I know or I don't deserve a child with a difference? why do you feel sorry for me? or him? or our family? We are no different to another family, we have a routine, we have good days and bad and we laugh and cry together just like any "normal" family. One thing that surprises me in this day and age is how may families forget to teach children about difference and accepting people for who they are or just expect that this behaviour is a given, but it's not, children are sponges and mimic and learn behaviour from those around them. Just the other day we had an experience in the Park, where a child who knew mine went up to him and said " why are you so weird?" Now kids are kids of course but when I approached the child and explained to him what my babe had and how sometimes he does things different, they completely ignored me walked off... Yes this hurt.. as a mother this was a blunt knife in my heart which twisted and turned in me for weeks after. So this is where this all came about my thoughts for the last few months, and the reason for this article. How do we teach our babies to be accepting of others, be accepting of the difference around us. As Parents I know our aim in life is to just create good people, people who live in society and are good and be good but what is the definition of the word good? To me its creating people who help others and fight for injustice, for others its different i'm sure and all power to you. But being a mother who sees a different side to life and sees the world for all the difference that there is how do I make my kids inclusive so they are not the ones asking a child with difference why they are weird or different, they just accept and embrace them for who they are.

So how do we go about teaching our kids inclusivity? I'm not an experience I am coming from the perspective of a mother who lives and breathes experiences with a child with special needs who craves a world where it's okay to be different, where everyone wasn't judged for their medical conditions but for the people they are. So if your asking yourself how can I teach my kids to be inclusive of everyone it's simple, talk to them. simply chatting with our kids and explaining to them that sometimes some of our friends can do differently, act differently and needs things that are different to us and explaining that that's okay. In the case of a child with Autism, they don't feel as though something is wrong with them at all it's only when others make them feel different do they feel different and inadequate so by teaching our babies that there are a lot of different people in the world it doesn't come as quite a shock when they come across a child with difference in the playground. Read stories with your babe and promote a discussion: There are so many great picture story books about difference and being included add some to your story time and allow your babe to ask questions. Morris Micklewhite and The Tangerine Dress By Christine Baldachinno The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates Egg by Kevin Henke Lovely by Jess Hong What changes can I make in myself to be more inclusive? Next time you see a child on the floor screaming and shouting and hitting their parent. Don't stare and judge them in your head that they're bad parents, lend a hand see if you can help even a friendly smile can mean so much to that parent.

Bonding Blueprint AMY BOOKER @AMZ_BOOKER

We as parents are babies first teachers, they learn about feelings, emotions and social interactions from us. This gives us the most incredible opportunity to shape how our babies' brains develop and how they perceive the world. This window of opportunity to help support a baby's emotional development is vital to creating a secure child who is confident to go out and explore the world, interact with others knowing that he/she is loved. This sounds simple, but sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to give love if you’re not feeling it for yourself or you have never experienced it. If this is you, do not worry. Not everyone falls in love at first sight with their baby. Bonding with your baby is an ever evolving process, just like with any relationship you have to continually work on it. The good news is there are lots of ways to communicate feelings of love, security, trust, comfort and support with your baby. The skin is the first organ developed by a baby in the womb and it is made of the same embryonic tissue as our brains. Which means we can use gentle, nurturing touch to communicate with our babies immediately.

Babies crave skin contact. The skin is as thirsty for sensory experience as our brain is and the power of touch is often underrated. The effect of skin contact, or the lack thereof, can have profound consequences on all systems of the body. Skin stimulation is as vital as food, warmth and shelter for survival. Baby massage is an ancient art used in many diverse cultures to help with a variety of physical and emotional needs and to promote relaxation. There are so many psychological and physiological benefits of touch for everyone. But massaging your baby is so much more than simply learning techniques to relieve your baby's tummy pain (wind, colic + constipation), teething pain and draining nasal passages of mucus; It is also stimulating their development and aiding relaxation. But most importantly, it is offering you an opportunity to tune in, cultivate connection and strengthen your bond. By carving out the time and space to really connect and spend 1:1 quality time with your babe, toddler or child as they grow you will be creating so special memories of “massage time� together.




Page 43 References American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (5th ed.). Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association. Deliotte Access Economics. (2012). The cost of perinatal depression in Australia: Raising awareness of the impacts of perinatal depression. Accessed 9/6/2020: https://www2.deloitte.com/tl/en/pages/economics/articles/perinatal-depression-australia-cost.html Gavin, N. I., Gaynes, B. N., Lohr, K. N., Meltzer�Brody, S., Gartlehner, G., &Swinson, T. (2005). Perinatal depression: A systematic review of prevalence and incidence. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 106(5 Pt 1), 1071–1083. doi:10.1097/01.AOG.0000183597.31630.db.

Resources Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) support women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood. If you have concerns about your mental health or that of someone you care about, for more information please call the PANDA National Helpline (Mon-Fir 9am-7:30pm AEST/AEDT) on 1300 726 306. Or visit the PANDA website: https://www.panda.org.au/ If you are an Expecting or New Parent, you can also complete a Mental Health Checklist: https://www.panda.org.au/info-support/checklists Beyond Blue works to raise awareness of depression, anxiety and suicide prevention, reduce the stigma surrounding these issues and to encourage people to seek support when they need it. If you would like to talk to someone about your wellbeing you can call 1300 22 4636 available 24/7. Web chat is also available between 3pm and 12am. Or visit the website:https://www.beyondblue.org.au/health-professionals/perinatal-mental-health If you or someone you know is in danger or needs immediate medical attention, please call 000. For crisis support and suicide prevention please call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hours). Lifeline also offer online support chat (7pm-midnight AEST/AEDT; 7 days/week) visit the website: https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/online-services/crisis-chat

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Let's be Mamma Edit 4 - July  

A Magazine by mums for mums full of tips and tricks for all things home, lifestyle and motherhood.

Let's be Mamma Edit 4 - July  

A Magazine by mums for mums full of tips and tricks for all things home, lifestyle and motherhood.