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GINGERNUT issue one ~ summer 2020

all things mama & baby

moon milk collective / young honest mother / the liquid gold diaries motherhood & science / post-baby body love / mama makers


What started as a passion for creating things for her children, turned into a business eight years later! Laura can crochet everything and anything, from traditional, to modern, to bizarre. Pre-set designs are available and commissions are always welcome.Â

@LOLLIPOPCROCHETUK

Find out more @lollipopcrochetuk or email lollipopcrochet@outlook.com


EDISNI S'TAHW

18

40

INTERVIEWS

18. The Mother & The Maiden: Rosie and Edie of Moon Milk Collective 31. Mama on a Mission: Fee Graham 40. The Mum to Meet: Cilla Aygemang

27

FROM OUR CONTRIBUTORS

10. Nobody Prepared Me For Falling in Love with My Post-Baby Body 27. The Tits Are Ready 36. Young Honest Mother: The Podcast 38. When The Road to Motherhood is Paved with Science 43. Nest

10

FEATURES

5. What We're Loving: Reading, Listening To, Lusting Over & Saving For 13. The Liquid Gold Diaries 23. Mama Makers 4. Editor's Letter 44. Contributors 45. Join The Team

31

13


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

My passion for making magazines started as a child, following subscriptions to the likes of S Club Style, Girl Talk, and Make It Groovy. At around the age of nine, I decided to make my own. My cousin Molly was the one and only monthly recipient and reader of Little Miss magazine (hilariously making her the one and only winner of each issue's competition). I spent hours on the weekend meticulously creating each issue on Microsoft Publisher, rinsing my dad's printer of colour ink, pushing staples through the thick wad of pages, and searching for an unwanted Christmas stocking filler so the magazine came complete with a "free gift" sellotaped to the front. I roped my friends and sisters into posing for photos for quizzes, tutorials and "ads", and wrote all the content myself. Having then bagged myself a column in Hey Girl magazine called Edie's World at age ten, it's safe to say my heart still lies in magazines 16 years later. Since graduating with a degree in Creative Writing & Publishing, my fingers have been itching to create a magazine of my own again, but motherhood has taken over in so many wonderful and not-so-wonderful ways. Combining my love of publishing and my experience of being a mum is something that's been brimming inside me for some time, since having my own little gingernut, Theodore, in 2017. I am so proud and pleased to present to you the first issue of many! Putting the call for submissions out has exceeded my expectations and I'm so thrilled to have so many wonderful, brave, important stories from such talented and authentic mums and womxn around the world. I'm so excited to grow this community and see where it takes off to. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy! Until next time, @EDIEJOYCAMPBELL

Edie


What we're reading, listening to, lusting over & saving for

WHAT WE'RE LOVING

Mama Crush: Rachel Burke

Rachel Burke is a multidisciplinary artist and designer based in Brisbane, Australia. Known for her vibrant, tactile designs and wild tinsel creations, Rachel's style is immediately recognisable and sort out by clients across the globe. Her work has been acquired by notable performers and artists including Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Mindy Kaling, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race stars: Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls & Detox. She has also worked on many creative collaborations with numerous brands including Disney, LEGO, Sephora, Visa and many more. She is mama to adorable Hugo, and has recently launched a collaborative line of pom pom inspired crochet babywear and accessories. Crushing HARD.

@imakestagram / @imakestababy / imakestababy.com / shoprachelburke.com


Candice Brathwaite: I Am Not Your Baby Mother

Candice Brathwaite's debut book arrives at a time of what feels like monumentous social unrest. "From the founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, I Am Not Your Baby Mother is a brilliantly observant and timely book about the problematically homogenous portrayal of maternity in British media. Urgent and eye-opening, Brathwaite's book is an inspirational guide to life as a black mother." An absolute power house of a woman and mother, and while her social media accounts have gained traction for her rightly placed being one of the loudest, don't you pigeon hole her. With a penchant for bright lipsticks, fashion that is in no way meek or mild, and an infectious laugh. She runs Pillow Talk podcast with husband Papa B. Oh, and did we mention that it's a Sunday Times Bestseller? You know what to do. I Am Not Your Baby Mother, £16.99, Quercus Publishing @candicebrathwaite

WHAT WE'RE reading Gemma Ogston: The Self Care Cookbook

"So many of us go about our busy lives without eating wholesome food. Yet without giving our body what it truly needs to fuel us through the day (and night), we get ill, feel low and have trouble sleeping. In this beautiful book, Gemma Ogston introduces us to eating as the ultimate chef, and her journey to becoming a mother and business owner, each recipe has been crafted to be nurturing to your body – and mind. With over 60 delicious recipes including fiery bean stew for the days we feel under the weather, calming miso pasta to give your gut flora a super boost and indulgent chocolate pud because YOU deserve it, The Self-Care Cookbook is for anyone who needs some extra TLC." The Self Care Cookbook, £14.99, Vermillion Photo (left) by Justine Desmond @justinedesmondphoto @gemswholesomekitchen


Custom Portraits by @mamamoonmuse

We mamas find it hard to feel good about ourselves in photos, or even struggle getting in front of the lense! These custom drawings are the perfect way to capture a moment. DM for price

Recipes by Today We Cooked

Stuck for inspiration? Bored of making fish fingers for dinner? Look no further than @todaywecooked's feed of recipes. We rate this easy lasagne (below), and the sticky chilli tofu. Y-U-M.

WHAT WE'RE lusting over

Colour Me Crayons

Raising actively anti-racist children should be the mission of every household. Get diversity and representation into their creativity with these crayons. ÂŁ4, cissywears.com

Bri's Images of Empowered Motherhood

Bri of @moonandcheeze is documenting her journey raising her two girls, and we are just wowed by her artistry. Prints starting at ÂŁ30


Nao: Saturn

She may have released this album back in October 2018, but as big fans of Nao here at Gingernut, the announcement of the birth of her daughter has found us rediscovering Nao's back catalogue and dreaming of the day she blesses us with new music. It is wonderful to see any creative embark on their journey into motherhood and how the two sides marry in often beautiful, transformative ways. Saturn has gained two major award nominations— Album of the Year at the Mercury Prize in 2019 and Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards in 2020, so it's no wonder the album is one that's stayed with us and we continue to go back to it. If you're not sure where to start, find a delicious slice of solitude—we recommend a bath if it's not impossible to come by with small children, and stick on your Spotify. Seconds into Another Lifetime, and you'll melt into Nao's warm vocals and there'll be no turning back. Enjoy. Saturn, Little Tokyo Records, @this_nao

WHAT WE'RE listening to Laura Veirs: Tumblebee Known for charming, melodic folk music she may be, did you know Laura Veirs has an album of folk songs for children? Released back in 2011, it's a much needed change to the dreaded Baby Shark or syrupy voices singing nursery rhymes that your toddler seems to, for some reason, be obsessed with. This album from the mama of two is a game changer for music enthusiast parents. Our favourite songs are Little Lap-Dog Lullaby and Jump Down Spin Around (for your own Rhyme Time fun at home) and the beautiful Prairie Dream and Prairie Lullaby (perfect for a much needed postbath cuddle at bedtime). And hey, what a beautiful alternative gift to the conventional bunch of flowers when someone's brought a new life into the world. They just might need some lullabies too. Tumblebee, Raven Marching Band @lauraveirs


Mini Food Trucks from Odin Parker

What's that? Toys that you don't want to shove in a hamper or box at the end of the day? Playtime just got a whole lot more enticing thanks to these beauties. £34, odinparker.com

Paloma Faith's On The Prowl design for Cosatto

Perhaps pushing a pram like this would give off the illusion we have it all together. Retailing at a whopping £1,100 for the complete bundle, we can only dream. cosatto.com

WHAT WE'RE saving for

Taynee Tinsley's motherhood-inspired artwork

We are BIG fans of Taynee's work at Gingernut. The only problem? Deciding which one we want. Sod it, we'll take them all. A4 Prints start from £15, tayneetinsley.com

Pink Leopard Print Wallpaper from Eleanor Bowmer

Eleanor Bowmer has become the IG go-to for trendy, original prints and patterns. This feline fabulous wallpaper is making us drool. £80, eleanorbowmer.co.uk


WORDS Miranda Veda

NOBODY PREPARED ME FOR FALLING IN LOVE WITH MY POST-BABY BODY I felt what a lot of women feel in their first

the suppressed disappointment I had built

pregnancy—an

body

myself up for, I looked at my body and

changing, closely followed by the niggling fear

thought, “this is beautiful. It’s different but

that it will never look the same again. What no

wow, isn’t it amazing?!” I happened to have

one prepared me for, is that I might fall in love

lost all my baby weight, plus a bit more. I’m

with my post baby body. It came as a shock,

convinced it was the breastfeeding or the

around six months after having my daughter. I

hormones. But don’t be fooled, I wasn’t trim or

didn’t do any post-birth workouts, and I

toned. I didn’t look like the mums with the

breastfed exclusively, on demand, like a

workout bods in magazines, or the Thicc 'n’

cow. We went out most days, and I don’t drive

Sexy mums on Instagram. My body certainly

so I walked a few kilometres a day, often to

didn’t look as neat or tucked as it used to. It

the pub. Let’s be honest—I drank beer and ate

was oddly wider here and there, and definitely

chips, although I ate salads and veg too. It was

loose in places. My bra and knickers sat

varied and balanced, but certainly by no

differently but, for the first time in my whole

means a diet or restricted.

life, that was okay. It was more than okay. I

I looked in the mirror while getting dressed, as

actually loved this body. I fully appreciated

I often do, inspecting the lower tummy sag,

and truly admired it. I watched it go through

the finally fading stretch marks. But instead of

the mad transformation of pregnancy, an awe

awareness

of

my


"INSTEAD OF THE SUPPRESSED DISAPPOINTMENT I HAD BUILT MYSELF UP FOR, I LOOKED AT MY BODY AND THOUGHT, 'THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.'" awe-inspiring physical change. Then the birth;

No one ever told me the body I would get

a mighty miracle in itself. A marathon in my

after having a child would be the body I loved,

case. Then, feeding my daughter solely off my

I adored, I appreciated. Yes, my boobs look

body for six whole months. I grew her and fed

somewhat like the memes with the crudely

her

or

illustrated wonky nipples, a fair few degrees

instructions. My body just did it. Then, I

further south than before. But why can’t I love

watched it change again, shrink back and

that? Why are women not preparing each

mold itself to this soft, kind, patient body. A

other for this possible joy? I’m not saying

wise body, that knew things and had seen

everyone WILL feel this way about their body

things and was grateful for so much more

but why aren’t we more open to the possibility

than

felt

that we might be happier in our skin after

comfortable in my own skin. The surprise of

having a baby? We’re bombarded with

experiencing this emotion almost came with

pictures of celebrities “bouncing back” with

guilt. As if I hadn’t earned this self-love, like

“must-have” workouts, and stupid teas to

the media told me I should only achieve it

make you shit yourself. But your mental and

through

physical health as a new mother is so much

with

my

lack

body.

of

calorie

Without

cellulite. I

counting

training

genuinely

and

intensive

workouts. It really highlighted to me how much we are programmed and mentally prepared to dislike our post-birth bodies. We are warned “it’ll never look the same”, but no one explained that it might be a good thing.

more important than your weight or flatness of your tummy. Why are we not shown more support networks, methods of mindfulness, an understanding of true rest and nutritious eating? Instead, we’re hounded with images of


women “looking fantastic just days after birth” as opposed to realistic headlines like, “feeling overwhelmed and teary, but happy and deeply in love just days after birth”. We’re fed a narrative about the fourth trimester that I don’t think reflects what most of us feel. We need to have more open conversations about what really happens and let our minds be open to the positives, as well as the realities of motherhood.

"WHY AREN’T WE MORE OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT WE MIGHT BE HAPPIER IN OUR SKIN AFTER HAVING A BABY?" So here I am again, 33 weeks pregnant, watching

my

body

stretch

and

grow,

seemingly even more malleable this time around. I see it on its amazing journey, knowing full well it won’t stay like this forever and yet I’m still working on banishing those little niggling thoughts on how my body is changing for the worse, and the stretch marks are coming back. There’s still a way to go to fully accept my body, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been before.  If you’re expecting and worried about your body never looking the same

again,

try

to

let

go

of

all

the

expectation, of your preconceived idea of beauty and happiness. What your body can do, might just blow your mind.

You can find more of Miranda @mirandaveda and at mirandaveda.com


This one's for the milk makers, celebrating breastfeeding in all its golden glory

The Liquid Gold Diaries Lilly & Takaiya 3 years and 9 months

Takaiya will be 4 soon. My goal was always to feed him until he naturally weaned. This could have come at any time from now-ish to age 7 or 8, or sometimes 9. That would have been okay. But now is the time for us. Almost 4 years of breastfeeding all day, and all night. Up until this very day Takaiya has been a sensitive sleeper; he dreams intensely and always has. When he was 2, he asked me to "wear a red dress inside his dream" so he could find me, and have milk in his slumber. It has been a privilege to be able to respond to his want for this closeness, this connection. I believe all children would breastfeed past infancy if given the option, and that it is in our most primitive being to do so. It's probably the most normal state for us, and all the nonsense in our current culture shaming mothers or sexualising breastfeeding has always flown right over my head because it's so very ridiculous. It's the very definition of natural. Takaiya is ready and he understands; he's happy to move on from our blissful milky snuggles, liquid love passing perfectly and harmoniously from mother to babe. It's been a dream. A weird, painful, emotional, beautiful dream to feed my son. And now we make way for new wonderful things to grow in the space between us.


Lizzie & Constantin

2 years, 4 months and counting

I spent a lot of time learning and thinking about pregnancy and birth. It felt natural and exciting to educate and prepare myself for each stage of pregnancy, and to consider several different options when it came to my birth preferences. Breastfeeding on the other hand, didn’t get a second thought. Breastfeeding was the plan and I assumed that it would be straight forward. That’s as deep as the thought process went. My mum breastfed us. It went without saying, in my mind, that I would do the same. Fast forward a few months to a wonderful, if slightly complicated and eventful birth, and we found ourselves with a premature baby on the special care ward. Constantin needed to be fed formula through a little tube in his nose, and I didn’t get that special moment you hear of, when your newborn finds the boob all by themselves ‘just like that’. For us, breastfeeding has ended up being a beautiful and powerful part of our story and, in some ways, the backbone of my experience of motherhood. After 28 months we’re still going. But there was absolutely nothing ‘just like that’ about it. Not for us. Because Stan had to be fed through a tube, the primary focus was learning to do that, not how to breastfeed. I quickly began pumping so he could have my milk through his tube. My milk was slow to come in. Once he was ready to start actively trying to latch, nipple shields were needed. So were formula top ups owing to weight drops and therefore, bottles too. It was messy, tiring, sometimes overwhelming and it took us about 10 weeks to find our way and make it work. What that looked like for us was: Constantin managing to latch well consistently (at last), my body catching up and managing to produce enough milk for him, and my confidence growing to the extent that I could breastfeed him out and about so we were no longer tied to the house. It took a lot of time and perseverance but we got there. I had no idea that breastfeeding could be so hard and I wish I had done. I wish that more people spoke about it. Another (pre-motherhood) assumption I had made about breastfeeding, was that “once a child is old enough to ask for it, he’s too old to have it”. I realise now what an illinformed and silly position this was. I’m a little embarrassed that I ever felt that way. Nursing your baby just doesn’t work that way. It hasn’t been led by me, but by Stan and his needs. The only reason I would have stopped to date would be because of that limited assumption I had originally made. For us there has been no reason to stop. The closeness, the comfort it brings him, the ability it has to make him sleepy or calm him down, breastmilk’s magical healing qualities on cuts and scrapes, it’s all part of ‘our normal’ and I feel so blessed to be able to do it. I know now that it doesn’t always come easy and that it doesn’t have to stop based on anyone else’s timeline. It’s all about what works for us and our family. More profoundly, I’ve learnt the life lesson that anything that ends with success will not necessarily start with ease. This has been life changing and I’m still learning every day.


Ashley & Liam 2 years and counting

Forever grateful for the humbling and life altering gift of providing not just the biologically best nutrition for my baby, but the physical, emotional and psychological connection that we share because of it. It was hard to get here. There were times the formula samples I had stashed in the bottom drawer would call out to me during those painful, middle of the night, newborn cluster feeds. During the time spent in the shower each morning and night, praying for relief as I massaged my aching, swollen chest while carefully trying to keep my sore nipples from touching the stream of water. During the time spent washing my sheets and remaking our bed, from waking up completely drenched in breastmilk every single morning. During the toe curling pain when he would try and latch, over and over as we both felt frustrated and defeated. It was during the hardest, most challenging moments that I felt so deeply for the mothers who felt they had no other choice than to reach for that formula. Just for some relief or a even a bit of sanity. The guilt felt when mixing that bottle, or giving it to your baby for the first time. Seeing another mother breastfeeding their baby, and feeling like you failed because you "gave in". This wasn’t me, but it could’ve been. I was humbled by these difficult moments, and swore never to forget them. I didn't know then what my breastfeeding journey would entail, but I knew I would suffer long term emotionally for something that for me, was short term physically. Each mother and baby are unique. I had no professional support or guidance, just a purely instinctual want. Choosing to breastfeed is an accomplishment in itself, regardless of how long. An hour, a day, a week, a month or a year. Every single drop counts. Never forget that. Your worth is not measured in ounces or length of time.


Bella & Cosmo

15 months and counting

I felt so prepared to breastfeed when I was pregnant. I studied all the different positions, watched videos on how to latch baby onto the breast, and fantasised about days lounging on the sofa whilst my baby fed happily, milk drunk and belly full. Fast forward to a long, tiring but wonderful birth, the ‘first feed’ is something I can’t even remember. Whether it was the 30+ hours of no sleep, or the incredible rollercoaster my body had been on, those first few hours are a blur. On day 5, Cosmo had lost "too much weight" and we were suddenly thrown into weeks of tumultuous back and forth. We visited a lactation consultant on day 18 because we knew something wasn’t quite right; Cosmo never stayed on the breast for long and he wasn’t putting on weight. They showed us some other positions and recommended that I pump and top him up. Things didn’t really improve and we felt pressured by the midwives, who had insisted that we start supplementing with formula. For me, this felt like a failure. I was devastated that my body couldn’t provide my baby with what he needed. Those next 5 weeks or so were exhausting; feeding, pumping, sterilising 24/7, but Cosmo still wasn’t putting on the weight they wanted. In desperation I looked for another lactation consultant. Incredibly, the woman I was put in contact with was someone I had known for years: the mother of a student I used to teach. I had no idea what she did for a living! After 45 minutes on the phone, Zoe had given me an incredible amount of knowledge, and importantly, a sense of hope. She had suggested that I try to use a nipple shield, something I was reluctant about: wasn’t this for mothers who have sore nipples? I anxiously put the shield on my nipple, and Cosmo latched straight away. I burst into tears. My baby was feeding the way I had always imagined he would, the relief I felt was enormous. We met Zoe a few days later, and she diagnosed him with a tongue tie (which 3 midwives, 1 lactation consultant and 2 paediatricians missed) and we started the process of getting a division done by a specialist. Cosmo started feeding much better but still wasn’t putting on weight. We realised that he still wasn’t getting enough milk, reason being my supply had plummeted because for those first precious 6 weeks where milk supply becomes regulated, my baby wasn’t able to take what he needed and my body was getting the signals that he didn’t need much. I then spent months hooked up to a hospital grade double pump every time I wasn’t breastfeeding. I was put on medication to try to increase my milk supply. I drank lactation smoothies, and an excessive amount of fenugreek tea. The cycle of emotions was a truly testing and tearful experience, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, desperate for some miraculous increase in my supply, yearning to see the pump bottles more than half full and verging on jealous for mamas spending days engorged and feeding without all the paraphernalia. Slowly, my supply did start to increase. I came to terms with using formula as a supplement for my baby, realising the gratitude that I had that there was something I could use to ensure he was fed when my body wasn’t able to. The top ups came down. Sometimes, Cosmo wouldn’t finish a bottle, he’d refuse it because he was full. Cosmo is 15 months now, and hasn’t had a bottle since he was 10 months. We still use a nipple shield, it’s our only way to feed, and I’ve come to terms with that. It’s not what I had imagined for our journey, but it has enabled us to continue breastfeeding and bonding. I wouldn’t change it for the world.


Feeding in numbers.

Farah & Fern

2 years and counting

Our girl is 22 months. 1 year + 10 months of feeding. 24-7 boob on demand. I lose count here... I take care of my body, my body takes care of hers. It's been that way for 22 + 9 months. My Mama never breastfed me, 5th in line and her body was tired. I thought I'd feed for 6 months, 9 at best. But 1 year rolled in and now we're heading for 2. I've had mastitis 5 times. My doctor told me to feed on all 4s. I've taken 0 antibiotics. My little girls chats. Chats and sips,  Tweaking my tits and says: 2! Yes, my darling There are 2. 2 weeks ago.  These '2' got tired. Feeding from 5 til 9, Teething... Taking their time. I say, Darling. Mummy is tired. Boobies are tired. Maybe we could do, 1 feed when you wake? + 1 feed before bed? How would it be? Having no more than 3. Drinking water or juice,  or herbal tea? She smiles. No, she beams. TEA! For 2 weeks now, These '2' feed for 2. Otherwise, it's tea for 2.


Gingernut talks to Edie & Rosie of Moon Milk Collective about their mission for womxn's health, the four menstrual phases & their new Empowered Birth project

the mother & the maiden "We met one fateful night around a dinner table. A mutual friend insisted on bringing us together, and we were instantly drawn to each other. We talked all evening; it was definitely a case of love at first sight. We found that we share a vision for a world where womxn are recognised as the fiercely powerful beings they are, where the sacredness and importance of birth is acknowledged, where motherhood is revered and honoured and where the phases of the menstrual cycle are harnessed for their incredibly supportive qualities. We both want this world to prioritise female pleasure, uncover the immense capacity womxn have to experience it and allow for that to be celebrated. Mostly we want this world to hold, nourish, support and nurture womxn to thrive in every phase, whether it is childhood, adolescence, puberty, pregnancy, birth, motherhood, menopause or beyond.

Moon Milk was born from our passion for womxn’s work, and is a platform we have created to focus on four of the foundational elements of womxnhood: menstruation, pregnancy, birth and pleasure. We hope to share our knowledge and experience by cultivating a safe, informative and creative space to shed light on the sacred and potent phases of womxnhood that somehow get overlooked and under recognised in society. We want to celebrate womxn and develop content, products and informative resources for our community to learn and grow, to feel validated and recognised in their experience and to share stories. Most importantly, we want to be a place where womxn can find solace, community and belonging."


GN: First of all, where did the name come from? MMC: The ancient archetypal figures in womxnhood include the Maiden and the Mother. Given one of us identifies with the maiden and the other with the mother, we decided to incorporate both into Moon Milk's content. We wanted the name to reflect that, and initially we came up with "maidens, moon cycles and motherhood" which we felt captured our main focus, but then we dug a little deeper to what was at the core of each archetype for us. Moon for maiden, as it leans into the concept of maidenhood being in tune with the cycles of the moon, and milk as a reference to the milky goodness of motherhood. Moon Milk also sounded somehow sexy to us; while it speaks of the innocence and sweetness of maidenhood as well as the nurturing softness of motherhood, it somehow told us stories of pleasure, of orgasm and sensuality. GN: What makes you passionate about the mission of the collective - birth, pleasure and menstrual cycle education? MMC: There is so much for us to learn! So much potential for change, healing and transformation. We have a whole intricate process of intelligence occurring in our bodies each month that has so much to teach us. There are a myriad of layers we can uncover and understand, and we know that even just one of these layers brought to light can be a life altering experience. We are passionate about sharing information that supports womxn to understand themselves, and truly enjoy the intricacies of womxnhood. We relish the possibility to contribute to the dismantling of negative stigmas surrounding female pleasure, menstruation, birth and the multitude of other significant stages of womxnhood. Not to mention the lack of recognition around postpartum, motherhood, menopause and everything in between.

GN: What are your individual roles? MMC: Everything is a collaborative process; we work well when combining our forces to create magic. Sometimes one of us will find the perfect word the other has been searching for, or suggest the colour that fits just right into our aesthetic. Edie has a background in visual arts and is also an aspiring arts therapist. She designs, creates and brings the artwork to life, manages the social media accounts and collaborates on the marketing, business and production strategies. She is a recently trained Doula and developing her skills in birth work. Rosie's skills are far reaching, on one hand she is the business queen, social networker, marketing strategist and wordsmith. On the other hand, she is the visionary who is involved in the ideas

of the artworks and contributing to their creation while they are still in process. The affirmations mainly rise from Rosie’s 13 years of work and personal experience of pregnancy and birth. The birth and menstruation content is drawn from Rosie’s life's work, of educating womxn around their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, empowered birth and motherhood.

"moon milk sounded sexy to us; of innocence and sweetness as well as orgasm and sensuality" GN: Can you tell us about your upcoming Empowered Birth project? MMC: Empowered Birth is a card deck. Each card has a birth affirmation and a unique hand painted image that speaks to the essence of the words. This deck has been a long awaited project, since the birth of Rosie's daughter the idea has slowly been brewing away. The seed was first sown when Rosie commissioned Edie to make big birth affirmation posters for her to place around the house, and to use to draw strength from in the weeks leading up to and during labor and birth. Eventually the idea grew and formed and led to the creation of Empowered Birth. We have spent months fine tuning each affirmation and artwork while also conspiring with the most sustainable and ethical way for us to share these with the world. The process involved refining our understanding of pregnancy, labour and birth to hand pick the most significant words that will impact the experience of each mother in a positive, uplifting and encouraging way.


"there is nothing more sexy than an empowered womxn, and there is nothing more powerful than a mother literally growing, birthing, nurturing and feeding an entire human being" Which womxnhood myth irks you, and what do you wish society was more accepting of when it comes to womxn's health? One of the many things that is that pregnancy and birth are treated as medical conditions instead of powerful rites of passage. We often encounter womxn who doubt their abilities when it comes to birth, feeling that by relying on the medical system they can birth safely. And by all means we encourage womxn to do what makes them feel safe, however it really bothers us that we live in a culture where womxn are taught to fear birth, that birth is painful and dangerous. You know that ‘ideal world’ we mentioned earlier? In that world, there will also be space for womxn to learn their innate and remarkable capacity to birth, in a way that out numbers fear and overcomes stigma. In a way that our ancestors laid out for us and in a way that feels just right for us and our bodies and our babies, whether that is a C section, a forceps birth, a home birth, a water birth or any other miraculous way of bringing a child into this world. As long as it's a process led by the mother and the baby.

As a collective you're (quite rightly) sex positive, where have you found this overlaps with the doula part of what you do, and your teachings? Motherhood and sex are rarely discussed together, ironically!

And lastly, what can we expect to see from MMC in the future? And if the sky was the limit (which it is), where would you take it? We hope to take moonmilk to the sky and back! We’ve got plans to build a safe, embracing, nurturing community. A community where womxn can identify with our messages around sex, pleasure, menstruation, pregnancy, birth and motherhood, and find a sense of belonging. We hope to watch Moon Milk grow and expand until eventually we have products that are accessible all over the world, workshops and opportunities to share our knowledge with our community and help facilitate the change we hope to see. With sex, pleasure, periods, pregnancy, birth and motherhood, we hope to establish the systems of support that our society has neglected for hundreds of years, and we hope to rekindle the ancient wisdom of caring and nurturing for our fellow womxn.

You can find Moon Milk Collective @moonmilk.collective, and at moonmilkcollective.com

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For us it almost doesn’t make a difference whether the topic is birth, bleeding or orgasms. The fundamental shifts that lead us back to empowerment are the same. It’s all about listening to YOUR body, listening to your quiet voice, undoing the stigmas and ideas that society has intentionally and unintentionally placed upon you and reclaiming your body as your own. There seems to be a pretty clear correlation between the relationships womxn have with their bodies, their sexuality and their periods. It's funny, because sex is such a stigmatised topic, despite it being what leads a couple to the birthing room. What's more, it is also what can help birth a baby into the world

more ease. We often encourage our clients to bring sensuality into their labour, as not only does it stimulate certain powerful hormones that will assist massively in the labour and birth, but it also cultivates a sense of safety, pleasure and at times even euphoria which can change the course of someone's birth experience. While we totally value the sacredness and reverence of motherhood, we definitely don't subscribe to any beliefs that take away from the raw sexuality of motherhood. There is this effortless sexiness to motherhood. There is nothing more sexy than an empowered womxn, and there is nothing more powerful than a mother literally growing, birthing, nurturing and feeding an entire human being. Teaching that human how to be in the word, disciplining them and loving them wholeheartedly.


moon milk's guide to the four phases There are four phases: the dark moon (bleeding), the waxing moon (post menstrual), the full moon phase (ovulation) and the waning moon (pre menstrual). Your dark moon phase begins when you first see bright red blood, and this phase can last for up to 7 or so days. Typically, this phase will leave you feeling tender, soft, perhaps a little dreamy and meditative. At this point you experience the lowest levels of hormones than at any other time in your cycle, as a result you may also experience your lowest energy levels. Significant changes also occur to our brain which can be a gateway into an intuitive state, where we feel more than think and we are open to the more subtle experiences of the world. It is imperative for us to REST in this phase of the cycle, especially because however we treat ourselves in this phase of our cycle majorly affects the next 3 phases, but more on that later. When you move into your waxing phase, which can last for roughly 10 days, there is an increase in the hormone estrogen and a spike in testosterone which can direct us into a more proactive, planning, structured space. This time can encourage a more dynamic approach to life, as it becomes easier for us to assert ourselves and set boundaries. We are also more supported to start new projects, plan strategically and we can easily take a more full on approach to life as we generally have higher tolerance levels in this phase. This is a good time to plan your month or perhaps plan your approach to act on those intuitions you felt in your dark moon phase. Another tip for this phase is to schedule some socialising for next week when you're ovulating, because while you may not feel like it now, when your personal full moon comes around things might change! After that you roll into your full moon phase (most people ovulate on day 10-15 of their cycle). Ovulation itself only lasts for 12-48 hours, however the fertile window of this time can be up to 7 days. The full moon phase might give you a spike in libido, a more extroverted and outgoing side of you may come out. Things that may have felt overwhelming or impossible when you were bleeding might seem effortless or at least doable now! During this time, you might feel the urge to give more of yourself and show up in the world in a bigger way. This is a good time in your cycle to address conflicts, schedule date nights, or make time to romance yourself.

Lastly, you make your way into your waning moon phase. This can start any time after ovulation and last up to 16 days. Then, you begin to bleed and the cycle repeats. In your waning moon phase you may feel a little less tolerant, and you may feel slightly (or extremely) irritable. This is a time where your intuition heightens and you may start to notice some areas of your life that aren't really working for you; some things that felt fine a week ago might just not feel good anymore. This is the perfect time to journal, and to not necessarily act on these insights but to put them away for your waxing or full moon times. Use this time to rest and to nurture your body, to really listen to whatever it is that you need, to let yourself feel whatever it is that's there, dance around the house in your undies or just cry over a pile of laundry while listening to Norah Jones. Really just do you in this phase, and make sure you've set aside some time to let that happen! This is the time in your cycle that you'll either appreciate (or regret) the way you treated yourself in phase one, because this is the time where the month's build up of emotion, tension, stress and energy will land.

What advice would you offer to a mama whose menstrual cycle has returned post-birth, who is struggling to fit self-care in around taking care of her child? Firstly, you’re not alone, the struggle is REAL and you are entirely validated in your experience. Some days it’s hard to create enough ‘me time’ to pee alone, let alone find time to journal, take a long bath or sleep in. Self care as a new mother typically has to be found in the little things. It’s pausing before making everyone breakfast to sit eyes closed and take 20 deep breaths, it’s making a habit of eating leftovers or take out on the first day of your cycle so that you have one less thing on your plate. It’s talking kindly to yourself and giving yourself permission to let things slide especially in your dark moon phase, as well as consciously relishing the warmth and sensuality that’s naturally woven into your full moon phase. An incredible practical resource that has helped hundreds of womxn is the Post Partum Depletion Cure by Dr Oscar Serrelach. Rosie interviewed him recently on the topic of postnatal menstruation, which you should check out! There are ways that you can support yourself as a mum, and while some of them may seem completely out of your spectrum of realistic, some are as simple as stocking up on a specific supplement, or adding certain nutrient rich foods into your diet. These little, easy adjustments can dramatically change the way you feel.


Rosie Matheson is a mother, a word alchemist and a weaver of womxn's work. She has spent over 13 years supporting womxn to experience empowered birth. Her passions lie in educating women on health and wellbeing and her work as a doula, and senior Bliss Baby Yoga facilitator. Her many offerings include workshops and teacher-training courses in yoga for fertility, healthy menstruation, womxn’s life cycles, and both the pre and post-natal phases of life. Rosie's main focus lies in educating womxn on the power of their bodies, the deep intelligence of birth and the tools we have to find enjoyment in all the phases of womxnhood. Her genius is in presenting these ideas in a way that is accessible, nurturing, and inspiring to pregnant mamas everywhere. As well as sharing with the world her wisdom on the intricacies of the menstrual cycle, and guiding womxn through discovering their full potential and harnessing the power of their unique cycles. You can find more of Rosie @rosierosematheson, including her interview with Dr Oscar Serrelach on her Linktree

Edie Bartley is an emerging birth doula, arts therapist and artist. She began her doula path 3 years ago, ever since taking every opportunity to learn from her mentors, her clients and the muses all around her. From a young age Edie was surrounded by strong, empowered and unapologetic female role models, which inspired her to delve into womxn’s work where she can cultivate those qualities within herself and help others to do the same. Edie’s passions are creativity, intuitive art work, supporting womxn to feel prepared to enter the birth portal, mentoring adolescent girls, working with fears and negative belief systems and transforming them through affirmation and art therapy. She is also passionate about the cycles of womxnhood and dismantling negative stigma around menstruation, learning the magic of the menstrual cycle and working in harmony with the changing phases. Her work is inspired by her hopes to empower people to have sovereignty in their beings and feel autonomous and free to be their authentic selves.

You can find more of Edie @ediebartley


mama makers OUR PICK OF THE BEST MAMA-RUN BUSINESSES TO SHOP WITH


MY BAGS OF STUFF

@MYBAGSOFSTUFF / MYBAGSOFSTUFF.CO.UK

My Bags Of Stuff is run a family run business, run from the home and small office of Jen. Fuelled by coffee, this brand "was born out of the love for accessories and their ability to highlight our personalities in a simple, yet powerful way". Sustainably sourced and simply but smartly designed, MBOS products range from tote bags and pouches, to drawstring bags and backpacks, all of which can be customized with the text of your choice. It'll be no news to you if you're a parent, that being (or at least feeling) organised is key to navigating the temperamental waters of day to day parenthood, and there's something about everything having its place (or in this case, pouch) that makes it all seem more manageable. Here at Gingernut, we are lusting over a bestseller, and rightly so: the camouflaged tote. Gingernut Stuff written in neon pink flocking? Yes please! As for the little ones, the drawstring bags made from 100 percent cotton are perfect for storing all their tiny toys. And what's more, they'll look fab in their bedrooms, too.

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Personalised camouflage tote with neon pink flock print, £22 "Play Stuff" large drawstring bag, £8

GEM PANG ILLUSTRATION

@GEMPANGILLUSTRATION/ GEMPANGILLUSTRATION.COM

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Designer, illustrator and mother Gem is known for her beautiful artwork that will make any home that little bit extra special. After studying Textile Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design, she had a very successful career as a printed textile designer in womenswear fashion. Often drawing illustrations for people as gifts and being asked to create illustrations for weddings and design invites, Gem decided to put her passion and love for designing and illustrating into her own business. "I knew I  wanted to create prints that were designed to inspire and motivate. Every element of my designs are completely created by hand, by me. Even the wording and names on the personalised prints are all created with my own drawing," she says. "I noticed after having my children that there were so many prints for children on the market that were very graphic, and I wanted to create my own range that was different to anything else I was able to find." We particularly love her ABC Rock print (which is hanging in our editor's son's bedroom!), and custom family portraits (starting from £45), which make beautiful gifts. Moon Child print, from £10 Mama in British Sign Language print, from £10

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MILK MAKING MAMA

@MILKMAKINGMAMA / MILKMAKINGMAMA.CO.UK Maria Betsworth started Milk Making Mama as a community to help mums get together. To motivate, educate and support each other through their breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding journeys. "With my little self-drawn designs, I want to create little sparkly celebrations for these moments that often get forgotten by others, and that truly deserve so much credit. My designs are  to celebrate the physical and emotional work that goes into breastfeeding and pumping," says Maria. "I am passionate about normalising all aspects of breastfeeding, pumping, and supporting mamas throughout their milk making journey by celebrating these small and little milestones." Other than creating some beautiful products, and raising two young children, Maria is a qualified antenatal teacher, doula, and international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). She has a BSC in Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, specialising in antenatal and postnatal care. She is an incredible source of support for milk making mamas, and we're sure you'll agree the feminine, fashionable designs are truly gorgeous.

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Liquid Love tank top, £13 Milk Making Mama keyring, £7.50

BOO.B

@BOO.B.LTD / BOO-B.COM

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Like many new mothers, Sia's decision to breastfeed didn’t start off as plain sailing. Luckily, her mother decided to research foods that aid the production of breast milk and she began to incorporate them into her home cooking. With her new lactogenic diet and plenty of family support, she was able to overcome the bumpy start so many face. She began making smoothies with the ingredients which were quick and convenient for a busy new mum. More than five years later, Boo.b has over 13,000 social media followers with testimonial after testimonial declaring Sia's blends close to magical, and thanking her for her mission to make lactation products accessible, and also downright delicious. Her feed is filled with encouraging photos from her followers of bottles full of breast milk, comparing the millilitres pumped before and after using the blends, a check-in with followers on how their night of breastfeeding was, tips for boosting milk supply and understanding the science behind it all. This support network is invaluable for a mamas who are struggling with breastfeeding, learning the ropes, or dreaming of the day they will soon meet their baby and begin their journey. Boo.b is for sure a brand you want on your feed, and in your cupboards. 'I Want It All' sample pack, £9

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BETTY RATBAG

@BETTY.RATBAG / BETTY-RATBAG.MYSHOPIFY.COM Betty Ratbag has been a long time favourite brand of us here at Gingernut. So much so that our editor has one of Charlie's illustrations proudly tattooed on her arm! Betty Ratbag was formed from one mama doodling her way through pregnancy, birth and now through raising a toddler. Each illustration has been created from the trails of motherhood, coping with PND and the complete journey through the highs and lows.  They are an honest portrayal of the struggles and the magic of this mothering world.    Charlie is also proud to be a big breastfeeding advocate, which has been a revisited subject in her work many times.  Betty Ratbag started as a dream through pregnancy, which now has involved into a fully fledged business in its own right. We particularly love the sense of story behind each design, from Greek mythology to witches, and the choice of fabrics when it comes to the tees, whether it be acid wash or a super soft-looking stripe. This mama's business is surely one for those rocking the less conventional side of motherhood, and being different has never looked so good!

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Weight of The World print, £8 Stay Strong Mama stripe tee, £25

BLOSTMA & MEREWIF

@FAYE_BLOSTMA_AND_MEREWIF/ BLOSTMAMEREWIF.COM

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Where do we even begin when it comes to Faye's dazzling creations? Based in Ilfracombe on the dreamy North Devon coast, when she's not busy raising two boys, Faye creates watercolour blooms, mermaids encased in glass, and more. Here at Gingernut, florals, deep shades of pink and anything nautical are dear to us, so Blostma & Merewif is a breath of fresh sea air. There is something so wonderful about knowing the gift you give someone, whether it be a friend or loved one or indeed yourself, is handmade with such love and care, and shopping small with a shop like this can guarantee that. Faye has previously with HRP Kensington Palace, The British  Council, Topshop and US Random House. She has even created personalised Mermaids for Dick and Angela Strawbridge, pro surfer and model Laura Crane, and singer and interior designer Whinnie Williams of Poodle and Blonde. We absolutely have our hearts set on a custom mermaid, and have long been lusting over the She Sells Sea Shells collection, for our own trinket of the seaside. Encased "Jean" Merbabe, £35 PEONY initial print in A4, £17

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THE TITS ARE READY WORDS Ella Bee Glendining

Before I had my son, I hadn’t given formula feeding a second thought. Why would I bother when I’d be producing milk specifically designed for my baby? Moreover, I’m a passionate vegan, and buying something derived from cow’s milk didn’t fit with my beliefs. I removed my nipple piercing weeks in advance. I had a feeding drawer—still have a feeding drawer—full of breast pads, nipple cream and vitamin drops for breastfed babies. I also had a breast pump lent to me by my cousin and had bought a single baby bottle, excited about all the pumping and milk-storing I was going to do so that I could keep extra in the freezer. I attended a breastfeeding class, where we practiced different positions with dolls and were taught about the supply and demand nature of breastfeeding—the baby empties the breast, is full up, you make more milk, the baby empties the breast, is full up, you make more milk, the baby empties the breast, is full up, you make more milk, the baby empties the breast. It was good,

but I couldn’t quite imagine my boobs as milkmachines somehow, and that made me uneasy. A few days before my son’s birth during a wakeful night, I went to the bathroom and tried to milk myself. Success! Beads of colostrum appeared when I squeezed. I excitedly messaged my best friend who told me: "The tits are ready." On 26th March 2019, River Mowbray Glendining Stanfield was born by elective caesarean—not the delivery I’d envisaged at the start of my pregnancy, but necessary due to medical reasons, and overall a really positive experience. I was shocked when I first saw him, but it didn’t take long for the trickle of love to explode into something indescribable. In the recovery room, I held him skin to skin, and he latched immediately without encouragement. I was stunned at how natural it felt. After a terrifying pregnancy where both his life and mine had been at risk, things were really looking up, and I couldn’t wait to hibernate with my new family. I stayed in hospital for two days and had midwife


"Looking back I’m aghast that I didn’t put two and two together, but you’re in such a bizarre state after having a baby." support with feeding. Then I pumped on day two, I saw that the liquid I was producing had turned white, indicating my milk had come in, but the amount I harvested was just a few drops. The midwife with me remarked that it was strange, but told me not to worry, as it was early days yet. And I didn’t. We left hospital in hindsight too early, but I was eager for the bliss of home. My regular midwife visited the morning after our first night back, and we told her how surprisingly easy we’d been finding things; that River seemed amazingly contented and that we were totally in love. "That’s because he’s got all he needs. You’re doing so well." But what felt like the second she’d left the building, things started to change. Over the next few days, if River wasn’t feeding or sleeping, he was screaming. Looking back I’m aghast that I didn’t put two and two together, but you’re in such a bizarre state after having a baby. Midwives came every day and assured me the constant feeding was normal. It was only on day five when they routinely weigh your baby— coincidentally my first Mother’s Day—that things started making sense. He had lost over twelve percent of his birth weight, a concerning amount, especially since he had only been 6lb 3oz to begin with. We were sent to the children’s hospital, where I pumped for literally hours, yielding about 15ml. And it finally hit me: I was starving my baby. I was gutted to have to supplement River with formula, but to see my fractious, exquisite, frail little baby transform into a satisfied one—well, it had to be done. And while I hated my body for betraying us in this way, I made it my absolute mission for my lack of milk and the supplementation

supplementation to be temporary. Only then could I begin to atone. I spent weeks hooked up to a pump trying to increase my supply. It was a constant cycle of making up bottles, breastfeeding swiftly followed by bottle feeding, sterilising and pumping, with no time to connect. I would pump and pump and stare at him, feeling sick to my stomach. I loved him irretrievably, but I felt like I had lost him. I’m ashamed to admit that, because I hadn’t lost him, but it was not logical, and I was not well. Every time I saw his face was like a dagger to my heart. I went on a drug called Domperidone that can help with low milk supply, but like the pumping, it just didn’t work. To ease my guilt about cow’s milk, we tried River with soya formula, but it made him constipated, which of course made me hate myself even more. At one point I managed to source some donor breast milk, but ultimately my boyfriend wasn’t willing to commit to that avenue long term, which I chose to respect. On my early search for donor milk, a woman offered to breastfeed River for me sometime, and while a beautiful and generous offer, the jealousy was too much to bear, and I was haunted by the image of another woman nurturing my baby in a way that I could not. From my research, I concluded that formula is a pretty close second to breastmilk. I knew that babies could thrive on formula, but it wasn’t about that. It was about knowing that I could not keep my baby alive. Midwives came and went, often commending my determination to more milk, and while supportive, not one said to me, "some boobs just don’t work". I became obsessed with finding out the cause of my low milk supply. I had heard of Insufficient Glandular Tissue from my research early on, but didn’t feel my boobs had the classic IGT look about them, often descried as ‘tubular’, so had ruled it out. IGT is also rare, and rarely discussed in the pro-breastfeeding community due to fear of deterring women from breastfeeding who are struggling with low supply for a more common fixable reason. For example, a problem with the baby's ability to remove milk or hormonal issues such as PCOS.


Not much is known about IGT, but it is essentially a lack of milk-making tissue due to one’s breasts not having fully developed during puberty, and it can only be diagnosed by excluding all other potential causes of low supply. I begged my GP to do extensive hormonal tests so I could see if I had some underlying condition, and he reluctantly obliged (I think I scared him), but all the results came back as expected for a breastfeeding woman. It was then that I joined an IGT and low milk supply support group on Facebook, and started coming to terms with the fact that I do indeed have Insufficient Glandular Tissue. I quit pumping. Overcoming my denial (I recognise some physical characteristics of IGT now), was immensely freeing and the first step towards healing, though it was of course painful knowing for sure that I would never be able to exclusively breastfeed my baby when it was something I wanted so desperately. While people had been telling me to have faith in my body, and well meaning though it was, I would actually have been wrong for doing so. I have been disabled since birth and am a real advocate of selfacceptance, but coming to terms with my faulty boobs has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and the only time I have ever truly wished for a different body. I was jealous of anyone with boobs who had any problem other than my own—as long as they could make milk. The tits were not ready. They never would be. Wading through the fog and just as I was beginning to make out various shapes, River started rejecting his bottle. This really was a cruel twist of fate, and it got to the point that I was having to practically force feed him his formula. All he wanted to do was breastfeed, and though strangely flattering, he would still be hungry afterwards. I was tormented by intrusive thoughts—when I’d see other breastfeeding mums, I’d imagine handing River over and fading away, knowing he’d be so much happier with them. It was suggested by a number of people that the reason River had become so anti-bottle was having available to him, and in a sense the obvious solution was to quit breastfeeding in the

name of getting him fed. But I had an overwhelming instinct that River wasn’t ready to stop; that whatever he got from breastfeeding was a powerful part of his little life. Plus, how could I be sure that quitting would solve the problem? If he continued to reject the bottle and my milk dried up, we’d be left with nothing. There had to be another way. I visited my local breastfeeding support group (which was a lifeline to me in the early days), and there they showed me how to use a Supplemental Nursing System.An SNS is basically a bottle of milk with a fine tube that you put next to your nipple so that while the baby breastfeeds, he gets your milk and the supplement at the same time. This device turned out to be game changing for my whole family, and the colic that had plagued him his whole life stopped dead the day I replaced bottles with the SNS at three months old. It was truly amazing, and I exclusively SNS’d for the next few months. Some of the lactation consultants at the breastfeeding support group also confirmed River had a tongue-tie, which they suspected was why he struggled so much with his bottle. (Note: in my case, there was never any question of the tongue-tie being the reason for my low milk supply as River has always been very effective at milk-removal — the type of tie he had just made bottles particularly hard.) Although the SNS had been so good to us and a vital part of our healing journey, it was hard work, and River still wouldn’t drink from any sort


sort of bottle or cup. I was at a point where I longed for a bit of flexibility, so after much deliberation, we decided to have his tongue-tie snipped. The procedure was horrible but quick. It took him a few weeks to get used to drinking in a new way, but sure enough it worked, and soon we were doing a mixture of breastfeeding, SNSing and bottle feeding, which made life so much easier. River is now eight months old and the most joyous, expressive, alive little boy. People literally stop me in the street to tell me he’s the cutest baby they’ve ever seen…but that’s by the bye. Together, we are making up for lost time. We’re well into weaning, and his favourite is banana. He’s more than happy with his bottle now, drinking as much milk as ever, and I look forward to transitioning him to veganism when he’s ready. I still breastfeed on demand. River breastfeeds when peckish and for comfort and to sleep, and I really value that I can give him that gift. I value my milk too—I make the same amount as ever: about 30ml every few hours. Though I am rarely away from him, if we have a day apart, I will pump several times and have a bottle of milk to give him by the end of the day. It’s a great pleasure feeding it to him when we’re reunited. I’m learning about myself and learning to love my IGT boobs. I look in the mirror at my disabled body and my tits that don’t really work, and feel quite pleased. It does still hurt knowing my body alone couldn’t sustain my son—I got unlucky there—but I am oh so lucky in so many other ways, and I respect my body not just for giving me River, but because it is mine. Since writing this piece, we've moved house, River has had his first birthday (in lockdown!), has learned to say "bear" (which he seems to think everything is called), and has taken his first steps. He's almost 15 months old and is still breastfeeding. You can find more of Ella @ella_bee_g


Gingernut talks to No Whey! founder Fee Graham about running a business, mum guilt & chasing dreams

Mama on a Mission INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY! I’m Fee! Mama of two wonderful little humans, Noah and Emmeline, who are both 7. One is technically a step child, but I love them both equally, so I’m not sure it’s important to tell you which! As well as being mama, I’m a business owner, chef, master's student and partner to a pretty spectacular man called Joe. He is a very involved Dad, a residential care officer by vocation and also happens to be the brain, accountant and organisational whizz in our co-directed community interest business, No Whey! which is a Mexican plant-based cafe with the community at heart.

TAKE US BACK TO WHEN NO WHEY! WAS JUST AN IDEA. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL AND WORKING LIFE THAT MADE RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS THE PATH TO GO DOWN? I might as well just get to the nitty gritty here. I have dealt with pretty severe anxiety since the age of about 18 and after giving birth, I also suffered from post-partum depression. Having

battled with my health conditions for some years, I got to a point in my life that I was so low that something had to change. Joe and I had joked and dreamed of owning a food truck and being super hipster and cool, slinging tacos and living the high life. I then thought, could there be an element of reality in this? Could I actually create a business that could help me feel more integrated within a community and bring value to my life? Turns out I could! I was on the cusp of the cut off age for Princes Trust Enterprise (I mean literal days before they wouldn’t accept me) but I managed to get a spot on the seven day course. I battled horrendous panic attacks and one day almost couldn’t manage going in at all, but I did. And I’m so glad because it lead to me having the best two years of my life so far.

TALK US THROUGH HOW IT ALL BEGAN! After having completed the Princes Trust Enterprise Programme, we were loaned a little money and appointed a business mentor (he’s called Andrew and he’s amazing). We trialed our business model in a local indoor market, which went down a storm! We started renting a unit inside the market and opened up our own little plant-based taco stall. It started great, but with no heating and a very cold winter, we started to struggle. We then met Nudge Community Builders, a community organisation run by a team of women who involve the community in fun and creative ways to improve


local public spaces. They had recently transformed an old pub called The Clipper into a community space, which had a little kitchen behind the bar and floor space for cafe seating. This is now the home of our business. I can’t thank the Nudge team enough for taking us on board, incubating us and helping us to flourish into what we are today. They’ve given us opportunities that we never thought possible and have helped us create an absolutely invaluable network of incredible people in and around Plymouth. They have never been anything but welcoming, helpful and encouraging. I’m so thankful to them and am now an avid believer in co-operative working, the more the merrier!

DID YOU FIND WHEN YOUR CHILDREN WERE SMALL THAT YOU HAD TO FOCUS MORE ON MOTHERHOOD, AND THAT NOW THEY’RE NOT IN NAPPIES YOU’RE ABLE TO CHASE YOUR DREAMS? OR ARE YOU STILL RIDDLED WITH GOOD OLD MUM GUILT? Mum guilt never dies. It just shape shifts and resettles on new issues that require your attention. It forces you to stay awake at night having an existential crisis about how that one thing you did could reshape your child’s existence, and they’re going to grow up and hate you for it! Seeing my kids growing up is so magical though; they are both so helpful, kind and empathetic. They are becoming more independent every day, and facing new challenges with curiosity and dignity. I’m so proud of them. I think I totally lucked out. I don’t think I will ever focus less on being a mother as they grow, even though they just don’t physically need me as much. I’m still thinking about them 24/7 and I still worry about them indefinitely. I just have to train myself to find the ability to think about other things too, and I guess that’s easier when they aren’t stuck to your boob, screaming at you or being sick on all of your clothes.

NO WHEY!’S MISSION ISN’T JUST TO PROVIDE PLYMOUTH WITH DELICIOUS PLANT-BASED FOOD, YOU’RE ALSO ON A QUEST TO TACKLE FOOD POVERTY IN THE LOCAL AREA. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU AND WHAT STEPS ARE YOU TAKING WITHIN THE COMMUNITY? Due to the fact that this business was born out of my experiences of being failed by the system, which left me in a very vulnerable position, I feel that it is incredibly important that the business reflects this within its ethos and gives value to the community that surrounds it. I still had enough energy to fight it head on and find a way to better my situation, and I want people to now that they can set goals and acheiv.


achieve them, and that I’m here to help them along their way. Food poverty is especially prevalent within my community and I feel that offering nutritious food can be a powerful tool in increasing mental wellbeing, which can then lead to other choices that could potentially impact individuals in a really positive way.

AS A MAMA IN A BLENDED FAMILY, HOW DO YOU FIND BALANCING IT ALL? AND DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW MAMAS STRUGGLING WITH MAKING IT ALL WORK? To be quite honest, it’s great. I’m not trying to give the impression that I somehow am involved in a completely romanticised familial situation, because getting to where I am now has been one of the hardest journeys I’ve ever had to face. Sharing your kids sucks. You have to search for the positives and when you find them, they really do help. We have the kids part of the week and the other parents have them the other part, which gives us time that a lot of parents don’t have and I really cherish it. We enjoy getaways, dates and slobbing out in peace, and having the time during the week means that we can really focus on the business. One thing that that I really believe is just to simply be kind to all of the parents and partners in your children’s lives. Even if your ex is a dick, just try! Blended families that get along are awesome, and if you don't right now, then just being kind will keep your conscience clear and teach your kids invaluable lessons.

HOW DOES NUTRITION PLAY A PART IN YOUR FAMILY LIFE, AND HAVE YOU ANY ADVICE FOR MAMAS WHO WANT TO IMPLEMENT BETTER CHOICES BUT ARE DEALING WITH PICKY EATERS? I tried, for years, to feed the kids with avocados, colourful vegetables, seeds and fruits. I gave in and fed them potato waffles and beans. I spoke to them about plant-based diets and the reality behind eating meat and dairy. They didn’t care. They loved ham and processed foods, so I had to let them take their own journey. Emmy has absolutely fallen in love with our dog Murphy during lockdown; he has become her best friend when she’s been lonely. She really has learned compassion in the past few months, and that’s a real big emotion for such a small person to understand. Because of this, she has now decided to be vegan and is sticking to it. Noah has always been in love with animals and wants to save the planet, and this really makes him consider what he eats. It’s their choice and I’m here to guide them, but ultimately I trust that they will make the right decisions for themselves.


SELF CARE IS SO IMPORTANT FOR ANY MAMA, OR ANYONE IN GENERAL, BUT ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE RUSHED OFF YOUR FEET MANAGING YOUR OWN BUSINESS. WHAT DO YOU DO TO UNWIND, AND LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? I've really had to learn a lot about myself and what I enjoy through lockdown. I’ve become a yogi and practice every day, even if it’s 15 minutes. I’ve a penchant for indoor gardening and have acquired some beautiful plants which help me feel a little more in nature. Most of all, I love messing around and dancing with the kids. Learning to be silly has been hard when life is so serious, but just being a big kid and making your children fall over laughing is probably one of the best things to keep you in the moment.

BACK TO BUSINESS, WHAT DOES YOUR NO WHEY! TEAM LOOK LIKE? At the moment, it’s just me and Joe. Before Covid-19, we had my mum on board. She lives within our local community, was made redundant and deals with a plethora of medical issues, but her baking is also magical, so we asked for her to come on board. She’s been a really important part of our journey and she has also gotten so much out of working with us too. I believe she really sees her own value after going through such a tough time. Plus, she gave me the gift of cooking but she kept the gift of baking to herself, so we need her! I can’t wait to welcome her back at some point.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NO WHEY! CREATION? The markets that we host! Over the past two years, we have hosted small markets that hold stalls for 16 or so small businesses. They sell and showcase their plant-based creations such as baked goods, arts, gifts, soaps, crafts, hot food, booze and so on. We’ve managed to support over 70 local and up and coming makers in the South West, as well as bring in hundreds of customers into our community to spend their money locally. One of the hot food vendors that joined us for our last Christmas Market have now taken over the back of The Clipper to sell their food, and now we seem to be creating   a new plant-based hub during Covid-19. Nothing makes me feel more content than knowing I can support others!

FINALLY, TALK US THROUGH YOUR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF NO WHEY! I don’t believe this business is just for me, it’s a community project. I want others to fall in love with it too. I want to carry on with my education in psychotherapy that I started 3 years ago, in order to be able to help people through talking and art therapies. I’m currently studying an MA in Social Entrepreneurship, and that could lead to a multitude of things. I think I’ll always be part of No Whey! but I want it to expand, change and become something quite unique that serves the community.


Simply whizz it all up in a food processor! Serve with fresh fruit, spread on toast, get dipping with breadsticks, or simply enjoy with a good old fashioned spoon.

summuH

WHAT YOU NEED: TIN OF CHICKPEAS, DRAINED 4 TBSP MAPLE SYRUP 4 TBSP COCOA 2-4 TBSP WATER 1/2 TSP VANILLA ESSENCE PINCH OF SALT 1 TBSP TAHINI (OPTIONAL)

etalocohC

Whaaaat? You can make a delicious, healthy and protein packed chocolate spread with chickpeas? That's totally vegan? Yes! Yes you can!

WHY NOT TOP WITH... grated dark chocolate, chopped hazelnuts, raspberries, orange zest, chia seeds, coconut, dried mango.. the list goes on! Chickpeas contain a huge number of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including folate, magnesium, vitamin b6, vitamin c, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. Perfect for fatigued parents tackling broken sleep and busy days. Plus, chocolate. Need I say more?

You can find more budget-friendly, plant-based recipes @nowhey_plymouth or on Facebook/nowheyplymouth And if you're in the Plymouth area, you can visit The Clipper at 65 Union St


YOUNG HONEST MOTHER: BEHIND THE PODCAST WORDS Maris Young PHOTOS Tyler D. Morgan

WORDS Maris Young PHOTOS Tyler Morgan I remember sitting in the center of all the women who meant most to me. My due date was two months away, and we were all gathered in my living room to celebrate the impending arrival of my firstborn. It felt ancestral, sacred. But a pregnant pause hung in the air after the question left my lips. “What should I really know about being a mother?” I looked around from face to face, waiting for some maternal well of wisdom to pour into the room. Finally, a soft voice pierced through the silence. “Just enjoy that new baby smell. One day, you’ll miss it.” The women nodded around the circle, one after the other, and whispered their nostalgic longings under their breath. Until someone else spoke up. “I don’t want to scare you. So, maybe we talk more about it after the baby is born.” The women all grunted in agreement, pleased to be able to protect me from the raw grit of motherhood for just a little while longer. I tried to resuscitate the conversation, but it was over before it even began. Not long after, I roared my son into the world. And every time I saw someone, I felt like screaming, “I just had a baby! Don't you get it? I'm not the same as I was before!” I didn’t know where he began

and

where

I

ended.

Change

permeated every pore of my being, but I couldn’t find the words to process what I was experiencing. Six weeks was supposed to be enough time to recover, right?


"I DIDN’T KNOW WHERE HE BEGAN AND WHERE I ENDED. CHANGE PERMEATED EVERY PORE OF MY BEING, BUT I COULDN’T FIND THE WORDS TO PROCESS WHAT I WAS EXPERIENCING." Maternity leave ended. I went back to work. Picked up where I left off. Pumped and pumped and pumped in the mother’s room and wondered whether I’d have enough time to run a handful of breast milk bags home to the nanny during my lunch hour. Daydreamed about my son in meetings. Checked the Nest camera app on my phone obsessively when I was supposed to be working at my desk. Raced home to nurse on demand, cook dinner, clean everything up, bathe, kiss and hug on the little one. Then, there was laundry to be washed, dogs to be fed, a husband to be loved. I felt more like a robot than a woman, wife and mother. Everywhere I looked, it seemed as if other mothers had it all figured out. I was slap happy out of pure exhaustion, but their smiles seemed real, genuine. Was I the only one unsure about how to juggle all of these aspects of domesticity? Why wasn’t anyone talking about what they were going through? And why did it seem like the topics that matter most to us are the ones most likely to be kept under wraps? Finally, unnerved by the unspoken, I decided to hold the torch for honest conversations. I published Young Honest Mother first as a personal blog. From the beginning, I had dreams of growing it into so much more. But with an infant in tow, I knew I needed to start small. I was craving a safe space to be able to spark meaningful conversations about all things marriage, motherhood and modern home economics. In all honesty. So, I wrote blog posts that captured my musings, questions and thoughts. And soon, I began receiving feedback from other women, wives and mothers. They felt like they weren’t alone. Like their stories mattered. Sparking these honest conversations blossomed into my mission. I started brainstorming ways to feature more stories than just my own. I wanted to sit in circle with a community of women and hold space for us to witness and be witnessed. And then I remembered all those podcasts I listened to after I had my son. They offered stimulating conversations that I could engage in while still tending to my home and baby.

It made me feel like someone else was in the room, cheering me on. So, I decided to produce Young Honest Mother: The Podcast. As well as sharing solo show episodes with thought-provoking viewpoints on subjects that matter, I also have heart-to-hearts with everyday women who are courageous enough to share their own stories. And you’ll also hear from industry truth-tellers far and wide who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. I want people to feel inspired to start honest dialogues with themselves, their households and their communities. I hope you’ll join the conversation, too.

Maris is based in Texas, USA and lives with son Milo and husband Carlos. You can find all things Maris, including her podcast and blog @younghonestmother younghonestmother.com You can find more of Tyler Morgan's work @tylerdmorgan


When the road to motherhood is paved with science WORDS Lindsey Morris Making a baby should not be a clinical experience. However, for many couples in this day and age, it has become a reality due to fertility issues. As a same sex couple, my wife and I knew that to have a biological child of our own, we would require treatment. We considered fostering, but knew we wouldn't be able to face falling in love with a child who may then be returned to a biological parent or family member, and we knew how long winded the process of adoption was. We were lucky enough to have two clinics nearby, and knew of another couple who'd had a beautiful baby girl through the process. We opted for private selfreferral without needing to involve our GP. It's a common misconception that there is funding available to LGBT+ couples, but consideration of this requires having had several failed attempts whilst paying privately.  The process starts with a blood test to check the ovarian function and egg quality, and a scan to check the ovaries. This all went really well in 2018, and a consultant told us we wouldn't need full in vitro fertilisation, which can be an invasive and risky process. The consultant instead recommended natural cycle intrauterine insemination. This involves having daily scans for the week prior to ovulation to identify an egg, that will hopefully be implanted with the sperm. While we waited for the sperm, there was another bump in the road.

Due to changes in the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act (HFEA), there is now a shortage of sperm donors. As one donor can now contribute to up to ten families, and any child born from the donation can request information regarding the donor when they reach 18, I believe this has put a lot of donors off donating due to the fear they may have all these children come knocking. Due to this, we were told that we potentially faced a six month wait for donor sperm. Many people believe that when you choose your donor you select from a book with pictures, but this isn't the case. We selected the characteristics we wanted, such as hair and eye colour, skin colour, weight and build, so that they would match ours. In early 2019, we were matched with a donor. We began having scans, but it was anything but easy. We missed the ovulation window during the first month. During the second month, there wasn't a mature follicle. The third month came and we were recommended low dose Clomifene, which is an oral tablet to boost the chances of ovulation. This worked, but unfortunately too well and gave my wife four mature follicles. The clinic's policy was not to inseminate if there were more than two follicles, due to the risk of multiple births.


While we felt massively disheartened that we were this far in and no further forward, we tried to remain positive. Soon enough, we finally got the news we were hoping for and went ahead with the insemination. This involved a speculum exam, similar to a smear test, and a small catheter being inserted through the cervix to implant the sperm into the uterus - all of which can be seen on an ultrasound. We anxiously kept our fingers crossed that we'd be lucky enough for it to work first time. After all, we had been reassured that everything looked good on paper; we just needed Mother Nature to bless us. Unfortunately, it didn't work and my wife's period arrived. We never needed to take a pregnancy test. On month five, we were told there was still enough sperm left from the previous donor for us to go again, and so we did. We had to test two weeks postprocedure if my wife didn't get her period, and we hardly dared hope when it didn't appear. One morning, we took a test and could hardly believe our eyes when two lines showed up. Four tests later, just to be sure, we finally began to believe we were going to be mothers!

"EVERYTHING LOOKED GOOD ON PAPER; WE JUST NEEDED MOTHER NATURE TO BLESS US." Thank you to Lindsey for her bravery in sharing her story. For more information & support regarding IVF and miscarriage, visit tommys.org & fertilitynetworkuk.org

The clinic do a scan at eight weeks to check everything is OK and see if there is more than one foetus. Sadly, less than a week later, my wife started cramping and bleeding, and we lost the baby. Thoroughly heartbroken, we rang the clinic to cancel our scan and make plans going forward. The nurse was kind and compassionate, and although we didn't want to think about it, she asked if we wanted to go back on the list as there was going to be a long wait for donor sperm, to which we said yes. We grieved while we waited for news. Since then, we have had another failed round of IUI, and decided that next time we are going to go for egg sharing IVF. To have full IVF would cost over £7500, not including donor sperm and medications. If we were to do the egg share scheme, we would get it at a massively reduced cost, and having already spent nearly the same amount on IUI attempts, we decided to go for it. We felt that we wanted to give someone else the chance to be a mother as we know how much it hurts when you want a baby you can't have. Egg sharing involves donating half the eggs harvested during the procedure to the clinics egg bank for another woman to use, who needs assistance conceiving.  As of now, we have been accepted for the scheme, and are now nervously starting the process again.


The Mum to Meet Gingernut talks to Cilla Agyemang of Mums That Meet about her mission to support mamas through building back their confidence

GN: First of all, introduce us to you! Who is Cilla and what makes you - you? CA: I t ’ s f u n n y , b e c a u s e i f y o u ' d a s k e d m e t h i s question last year, I probably would have broken down

at

the

fact

that

I

didn’t

know

who

I

was

past being a mum. But now, I would say I am a mum

of

twin

boys

and

a

wife.

I

run

a

business

with my husband and I run a platform, which has a goal of helping women build confidence after motherhood,

and

to

ensure

they

don't

lose

themselves.

GN: Can you tell us what Mums That Meet is all about? CA: T h e m a i n p u r p o s e o f M T M i s t o h e l p w o m e n build

and

regain

motherhood, make

sure

that

themselves,

confidence

find

their

they

and

to

after

purpose

are

taking

highlight

entering

and

passion,

time

the

out

for

importance

of

doing this.

GN: What made you start Mums That Meet? CA:

It

meet they

started

each don’t

journey with

have

with

this

Instagram,

off

other,

as

a

any

mum

another

the

in

who

me.

goal

for

the

friends.

mum,

alongside so

platform

especially

to

I

the

struggling

met

help

to

where

started

was

We

was

mums

case

through

other

mums

to meet the same way and build a connection. Unfortunately,

we

decided

to

go

separate

ways

but I still had a strong sense of wanting to help other

women.

personal

I

was

struggles

of

going

through

feeling

like

I

my

had

own

lost

my

identity and was nothing but a mum, but through taking time out for me and working on myself, I started to find what I was passionate about and build would

confidence. Before say

I

was

I

confident

became and

I

a

had

mum, a

lot

I of

aspirations and goals. So, losing my identity and not feeling like myself was such a hard thing to go

through.

MTM

to

I

would

turn

encouragement,

to and

have for to

loved the

help

a

platform

motivation me

make

like and

myself

a

priority, and I hope that is what MTM is for some women out there.


"None of us are

perfect and it s about picking yourself up after a hard time"

GN: What happens at one of your events? CA: T h e f i r s t M T M e v e n t w a s b a s e d a r o u n d from

GN: What is one piece of advice you're able to always give but have trouble taking yourself? CA: I d o n ’ t t h i n k I c o u l d p i c k o u t o n e s p e c i f i c

other women to share tips and advice on how to

thing because I’m only human, and as much as I

do

give advice I forget to take it myself sometimes.

finding

the

this.

been

balance

Obviously,

different

haven’t

had

mums,

as

for

the

as

us

you all

chance

and

know, with

to

have

hearing

this

year

Covid-19 a

has

so

we

face-to-face

However,

I

think

that

that

picking

about self-love, and once again it had the same

and remembering that we will have hiccups along

type

the way, but that’s part of the process.

as

the

first—having

open

and

yourself

are up

perfect.

after

a

For

to

it’s

format

us

important

remember

of

of

so

event. We have had a virtual event on Instagram

about

none

it's

hard

me, time

honest discussions with other women and gaining

hope to have an event where women can learn,

GN: You're a twin mum - what is it like raising two boys? CA: T h e f i r s t w o r d t h a t c o m e s t o m y h e a d i s

talk, let their hair down and have some fun!

interesting! No, I’m joking, it is fun but it is a lot

practical

advice

that

you

can

implement

into

your life. Once we all get some normality back, I

of

GN: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment with MTM so far? CA: B e c a u s e i t i s a p a s s i o n f o r m e I d o n ’ t r e a l l y look

it

that

way

or

think

about

what

I

have

hard

feels

of

have

helped

them

in

are

very

boisterous

so

can be so loving at the same time and now that they

I

twins

raise the blood pressure of every mum! But they

on a post or listens to the podcast, I feel a sense that

My

and pretty much all the dare-devil activities that

achieved. Every time someone likes or comments

achievement

work.

they love fighting each other, climbing on things

are like

two

and

speaking

a

half

to

my

and

speak

little

best

so

much,

friends.

it

I’m

one

excited for them to grow and for our relationship

way or another—well, I hope I have! It is also an

to get even stronger. Also, my husband does play

amazing feeling receiving messages from women

a major role in raising the boys and we do have a

telling me how much MTM has helped them.

team work approach to our parenting and that is a

blessing.

really helps.

We

feed

off

of

each

other

and

it


"We underestimate what having some time to yourself can do for you" GN: What advice would you give to a  mama struggling to find her confidence post-baby? CA: D o n ’ t b e s o h a r d o n y o u r s e l f ! G i v e y o u r s e l f a

GN: What can we expect to see from MTM in the near future, and where do you dream of taking it? CA:   I n t h e n e a r f u t u r e , y o u c a n e x p e c t m o r e

chance to adjust to having a baby. Sometimes we

podcast

put too much pressure on ourselves, but we have

hoping to do a series where I focus specifically

to understand that you do need to give yourself a

on

chance

than

to

adapt

to

your

new

life

with

baby

and

episodes

some

with

practices

that,

more

more

that

guests!

have

helped

encouraging

I

am

me.

content

also

Other

on

the

then after that, take it step by step. Don’t rush, it

Instagram platform and maybe even a few more

is a process. If we remember that, then it’s easier

virtual events. Hopefully, once we are all back to

to not feel so much pressure and understand you

normal,

will

that we can all feel motivated and confident to

get

would

your

say

confidence

make

time

for

back you.

in

We

time. Also,

I

underestimate

really

some

go

for

events

what

with

we

inspiring

desire. My

women

ultimate

so

goal

what having some time to yourself can do for you.

would be to have some sort of weekend retreat

It’s time to do whatever you want, so if you want

that

to

allows mums the chance to get away and really

treat

session

yourself

then

do

and

that,

maybe

or

if

have

you

a

want

to

pamper do

some

happens

every

quarter.

Something

that

think about what they want for themselves, gives

personal development practices, then you can do

them

that

how they can implement that into their lives, and

too,

but

by

having

the

time

to

yourself,

it

time

helps you to feel in control of your life again and

find

in turn really gives you a confidence boost.

themselves

other

to

come

women who

up

with

on

can

a

be

an

action

similar their

plan

journey

partner.

for you. It doesn’t have to be anything big, so for example, just by reading a book to yourself for 5minutes

you

have

everyone what add

is

a

day

to to

do

best

yourself

listening YouTube

can

wake

that,

for to

to

a

then

your

your

make

up

to-do

while

a bit

make

it

family

podcasts,

videos

such

little

but

difference. earlier work.

don’t

list. Also,

I

audiobooks

you

go

Just

would and

about

your

If

than do

forget

to say

even day

is

something that can help, and doesn’t take you out of your usual routine because you can multi-task. And lastly, writing. Even if you just jot down a few high and

and how

low

points

you

of

hope

your to

day

in

the

overcome

evening,

them

the

following day, it should help with looking at things with

gratitude

and

accepting

your

which will help with loving yourself.

life

as

it

is,

You can find Cilla Mums That Meet

to

accountability

GN: You talk a lot about the importance of self-care and that you neglected it during the first year with your twins what manageable  acts of self-love/care would you suggest to a new mama trying to juggle taking care of a baby and also herself? CA: T h e m a i n t h i n g I a l w a y s s a y i s f i n d w h a t w o r k s

10

on

@cillacrystal and @mumsthatmeet


WORDS Red Gray

N E S T

It’s funny how perspective changes. I remember the days when little by little, the belongings of my four precious daughters moved upstairs to their own bedrooms as they started to take ownership of their own spaces. The lounge now beginning to look like a lounge, an adult space, dare I say, when needs be. My husband Patrick and I slowly recovering some ownership of our space to relax in, without stepping on a miniature wooden person, or a pair of headphones. We eventually reached the heady heights of living in a space which was just for us; our daughters all grown up and living away. Not one piece of unclaimed teenage laundry in sight, no "whose IS this mascara next to the toaster? It’s been here for 6 months!" to be yelled. We had been deluged in, survived and had now emancipated ourselves from a quarter of a century of communal living, or as it sometimes felt, running a nursery or indeed a youth camp. What fun adult time with my daughters followed. Meeting for coffee, trips to museums, galleries, and the theatre. The city break weekends away with each daughter on her own are some of my most precious memories. This is the payback for all the years of parenting: independence plus great adult friendships. How funny then as I caught myself a few weeks ago after our tribe of daughters, son-in-laws and grandchildren had left following a lovely family day (there had been 11 of us). Rather than tidying away the wreckage of toys, books and accumulated

random objects so we could settle in to our "grown up" evening of doing entirely what we wanted, I found myself sitting quietly looking at the array of Fisher Price toys scattered around the lounge floor (some much loved toys which are now experiencing a 3rd generation of playtime!). I chuckled as I reminisced about the day, remembering how Teddy, our almost 3 year old grandson, had chosen which toy person to assign to which activity and which family member they represented in his imaginary games. I looked at the dispersed array of books and relived how Cosmo, our 1 year old grandson, had sat on my knee, nuzzled in, wanting the same book read to him over and over again. I sat and felt the palpable reverberations surround me, of the love and life of the day, and in particular of the powerful growing presence of this next precious generation. “Let’s not tidy up just yet,” I whispered. These toys and books had betrayed the so-called adult space we thought we’d attained and exposed the source of our true happiness and gratitude: the ongoing colourful chaos of family life. Maybe a short break was all we needed. Of course, we did eventually restore order, and had a wonderfully uninterrupted grown up evening. The next day we returned to our independent and rich children-free lives, but there is still a muslin comfortably draped over the kitchen chair. I’ll leave it there if you don’t mind, just in case anyone needs it on a next visit.


CONTRIBUTORS Nobody Prepared Me For Falling In Love With My Post-Baby Body MIRANDA VERA @mirandaveda mirandaveda.com

Liquid Gold Diaries LILLY WATERS @lillybwaters BELLA KENNARD @bellaspinks ASHLEY HUNT @mothermadelactation FARAH TANNER @farahtanner

The Tits Are Ready ELLA BEE GLENDINING @ella_bee_g

Mama on a Mission FIONA GRAHAM @nowhey_plymouth facebook.com/nowheyplymouth

Young Honest Mother: The Podcast MARIS YOUNG @younghonestmother younghonestmother.com

When The Road to Motherhood is Paved with Science

LIZZIE EVANS

LINDSEY MORRIS

@lizzieforsmug

@glitterandglue

lizzieforsmug.com/meet-lizzie

Milk Moon Collective EDIE BARTLEY @ediebartley ROSIE MATHESON @rosierosematheson @moonmilk.collective

The Mum To Meet CILLA AGYEMANG @cillacrystal @mumsthatmeet

Nest RED GRAY @stitcheduptheatre


JOIN THE TEAM Maybe there's a story inside you. An experience from motherhood you can't shake from your sleep deprived mind. Perhaps you took to birth like a duck to water, or it went in a direction you couldn't have seen coming and you're still pulling yourself out of the wreckage. You might be approaching motherhood in a way that is talked about only in hushed voices behind your back. You may have beaten the odds and set up a small business, run a venture, or chased one of your wildest dreams whilst raising babies. It could be that your family is out of the ordinary, be it blended, just you and your smalls, or something you never see represented. Gingernut wants to give you a place for these stories, a platform for your words to come to life, and to reach other mamas who might be taking a moment with a baby glued to their boob, or a bottle heavy in their hand, who feel their heart soar with a "me, too". Submissions are open for our next issue, out in February 2021. We want your stories, words, written experiences, poetry, photography, artwork, recipes, parenting hacks, and something else we might not have even though of printing. Surprise us. Got an interesting venture or project to promote? Let us interview you. Email your ideas, drafts and finished work to gingernutmag@gmail.com or DM us @gingernutmag


GN

Profile for Gingernut Magazine

Gingernut: Issue One  

Gingernut is a new indie mag for all things mama and baby. This first issue features stories of post-body baby love, a grandmother's perspec...

Gingernut: Issue One  

Gingernut is a new indie mag for all things mama and baby. This first issue features stories of post-body baby love, a grandmother's perspec...

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