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Editor’s Letter Welcome to the relaunch edition of Nurture Parenting Magazine. I’m Debbie Jay, and I’m delighted to be your new editor for Nurture. I live in Brisbane, Australia, with my two young children and my husband. My passions are all things pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and postpartum support, gentle parenting, eco-conscious living and homeschooling. So this role is pretty much a dream come true! This marks a huge occasion for Nurture, after eight years of publication, we’re excited to reveal your new and improved reading experience – it’s about me time, not screen time! Part of our initiatives for the magazine are an entirely new rebrand, soy-based ink ensuring Nurture is 100% post recyclable and eco-friendly subscriber satchels with bio-compostable packaging. No plastic!
Nurture is proudly published bi-monthly by Nurture Global Pty Ltd.
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In Issue 22 we’re covering the very important topic of Self-Love. More than just self-care, more than a massage or a foot soak (although they’re both nice!), we’re diving deep into what genuine care and appreciation for ourselves looks like. With many ah-ha moments and loaded with practical tips that you can apply every day, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the articles. Be sure to check out the Sharing Kindness Challenge on page 49, for your chance to win a Burleigh Wagon Bundle worth $499. We also have articles and Q&A’s from our regular parenting mentors. Our mentors are also available to answer your questions in our Facebook group; we invite you to join. Simply search ‘Nurture Parenting Magazine’ on Facebook, or use this link. facebook.com/groups/nurtureparentingmagazine Enjoy the gift of Nurture, we’re so delighted you’re here with us.
& The Nurture Team 2
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SELF - LOVE DURING PREGNANCY BY CAROLINE BAGGA
THE TRUTH ABOUT SELF - LOVE BY ANNA SIEBERT
BABY LED WEANING BY GILL RAPLEY & TRACEY MURKETT
PROBLEM SOLVING BY BONNIE HARRIS
DIVINE INTERVENTION STORIES FROM REAL MUMMAS
GIANT COCONUT PANCAKE WITH BERRIES & CHERRIES BY JODY VASSALLO
WWW.NUR TUREPARENTINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU INT_TheYogicKitchen_001-256.indd 121
2/11/18 5:52 am
Inside Issue 22
8 Self Healing
12 Tested on Humans
36 Daddy Talk
14 Stop - Take a Breath
41 Your World is Bigger
49 Sharing Kindness
18 Peri - Natal Anxiety
56 Brands we Love
20 Shaping & Reshaping Our Relational Blueprints
66 Nurture Change Makers
26 Co-Sleeping with Your Children
68 Between the Lines
30 Nurturing the Sense of Wonder in Young Children
Dr. Peter Haiman
32 Babywearing: Ring Slings
74 Showcase 78 Ask Naomi
34 Your 12 Step Program to Become a Recovering Perfectionist
Dr. Laura Markham
42 Cyberbullying - 7 Tips to Teach Kids to be Resilient
44 Grief Declarations
46 Talking About Pregnancy Loss
52 Keeping Beezy
54 Build an Insect Hotel
58 Companion Planting
64 Medicinal Mushroom
Melanie Lock ND BHSC
70 Helping Your Child to Read
Dr. Ian Burgess
77 Share Abode
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WIN TURN TO PAGE 49 TO WIN A BURLEIGH WAGON WORTH $499
ON THE COVER Bianca Smith is our stunning cover model, photographed by Shannon Smith of La Bella Vita Photography. Shannon shares some of her most moving maternity shoots in our feature on pages 50 & 51, covering the full spectrum of love and loss.
[ P H O T O ]
Self Healing Words Naomi Aldort Photo Daphne Sky Studios
We often think of parent’s self-nurturing as taking time off; a bath, a movie, or a holiday. We wish to get away from the stress and challenge of living with children so we can come back with greater patience and kindness. However useful, such “recharge” does not resolve the real source of the stress. What if you could care for yourself in a way that your children’s behaviour will not stress you as much, if at all, and become the parent you truly are? Doing so, will not necessarily lead to cooperative children and a peaceful home. However, taking a class, a private session or utilising other methods, could free you from the source of your stressful reactions. The best gift we can give a child is modelling our own self-love, healing and growth. To be the person you want your child to model after, you must love yourself and keep growing, so you can treat your child from your true being. It is not sufficient to take breaks from stress (although useful). Working on your healing and self-realisation can make you a better parent in a sustainable and long lasting way. 8
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LOVING YOURSELF IS STAYING TRUE TO YOU To love yourself and build your calm confidence, you must free yourself from the need for approval or defence of your position. Pleasing, impressing, or fearing judgment cause us to react to the child in ways that do not fit with our true loving intention. In fact, the main cause of struggle between parent and child is responding from an automated need to live up to expectations. Such self-care will give your child a learning parent; a parent who is vulnerable, imperfect and human. Life is a lot less scary this way; the child can feel safe, to be honest and expressive, to make mistakes, and to feel. SPILLING THE DISH SOAP In her session over Skype, Maya said to me, “I wish I could give my children a different me; I am so messed up. I just yelled at my 3 year old child.” She sighed and continued, “He played in the kitchen, emptying the dish-soap into the sink and was watching it going down the drain.”
So often we get upset with a child, while inside we know better and wish we stayed loving. Maya expressed it clearly when she asked, “What is this out-of-control monster that speaks out of my mouth in spite of myself and, how can I tame it?” Maya was one who did take breaks, including yoga, dance, and evenings with her husband. But she found that, although wonderfully nourishing, her need to run away returned quickly, because her automated reactions did not change. When you realise that “the monster” is just an innocent automated voice and not who you are, you don’t have to obey it any more. This voice is most often a yearning from the past – a desire to please, be good enough and live up to expectations. Being imperfect, as we all are, is a gift to the children. It allows them to have space to make mistakes (and see them as feedback) and to feel powerful and worthy through the ups and downs of being human. The reason an angry voice speaks out, or an “unauthorised” action shows up is not lack of love, but lack of awareness of oneself. If you were aware, you would not choose to hurt your child - ever. And, if you were aware, you would not need anyone’s approval and would be able to act peacefully. Any time you are angry, demeaning, upset, or trying to control, you are giving your children someone other than your true and loving self and you both suffer. It is not you responding in impatience or rage, but the little insecure child within you, still yearning for approval rather than being authentic. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILD’S “WRONG” ACTION? I can hear the obvious question, “But what about the child? He did spill the dish soap!” Yes, he did. But all the thoughts in your mind he did not create. That is you; not to feel guilty, but to inquire and heal yourself. Without blame, there is power. Without the thought that he shouldn’t spill the soap, there is no problem. “Spilling” parental love out the window is a much greater loss than dish-soap. The child poured (“spilled” is already a judgment) some colourful thick liquid very cleanly into a hole in the sink. That is all reality tells us. Of course, sometimes we do have to stop a child from doing harm or causing pain, but we absolutely NEVER have to cause pain in the process, nor do we need to feel stressed and desperate. To be such a parent, we must love ourselves enough to listen to the heart and not to what anyone else might say. Some parents tell me how they go against the child in public places, “So as not to hurt the feeling of another parent,” or, “To make a good impression on my mother-in-law,” (often when she is not even present). Self-love enables you to respond from your own heart, impressing no one and proving nothing. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU The preliminary step toward self-love is freeing yourself from blame and from seeking approval so you can be your true self. Blame, shame and guilt are toxic, while responsibility is power and emotional freedom. Blame is courthouse and evaluation;
responsibility is the ability to respond to life without adding drama or trying to impress anyone. You cannot change your child (or, for that matter, any other person), but you can heal, care and raise yourself such that spilled soap, a broken vase or an aggressive child don’t trigger an old pattern. THE HEALING PROCESS Maya was committed to healing herself. “My inner voice gets revengeful, angry, fighting for justice,” she said. “It says that my child knows not to spill,” that, “He is doing it on purpose to aggravate me.” I asked Maya if she believed that he knows not to spill the soap. “No,” she said, “He doesn’t know that.” When I asked her how she felt believing this (untrue) thought, she said this thought made her angry, frustrated and creating more thoughts, such as, “He wanted to torment me.” “Where in your body do you feel this reaction to your thought?” I asked. “In my chest,” she said while wiping her tears. “It is like I am exploding with rage when I believe he is out to get me… so I yell and mistreat him.” “Do you feel connected to him then?” “No, I feel totally caught in this struggle in my head and unaware of him. I am aware only of my story of him as defying me on purpose.” “That is very painful,” I said. “When, as a child, did you feel such rage?” “Oh, all the time,” Maya said. “Nothing I did was right. My mother was constantly disapproving of me and putting me down.” At this point, Maya followed my guidance to inquire into childhood memories, until she did not believe any more that she was not worthy, or that she needed her mother’s approval. Maya was now ready to see her child’s reality. “How would you be, seeing your child spilling the dish soap if you didn’t have or believe the thought that he knows better?” I asked. “I would laugh and think it was funny and cute,” she responded, laughing through her tears. “I would put the soap out of reach next time, and, with a kiss and a smile, tell him what he could spill into the drain for fun.” I asked Maya if she could see a few reasons for why he poured the soap. She easily came up with a few: he was curious; the soap was a nice pink, which he loves; he was learning physics; he found something interesting to do… all innocent engagements. To these, I added one important realisation showing Maya’s skilful mothering: He was feeling free to explore and not afraid of mummy. In spite of her tendency to anger, she has been
“Being imperfect, as we all are, is a gift to the children..” 9
kind and nurturing so that he felt at ease to explore. To go deeper in self-healing, Maya explored separately the painful thought: “He did it on purpose to aggravate me.” Again we went through the questions, and she connected this automated thinking to the way she was defending herself as a child and having to be perfect and in control. Very quickly, she became clear, that like all children, her son was focused on fulfilling his own interest and not at all about her. Then Maya realised that there was something aggravating her and that was not the child but her own thinking that the child was doing it to torment her, that he should know, that he shouldn’t spill… These thoughts were the direct and only cause of her anguish and angry outburst. PARENT’S SELF-NURTURING BENEFITS ALL When we think of taking care of ourselves, we often assume it is about pampering ourselves. Although that’s worthwhile and can even help in staying more peaceful; without cultivating your own human unfolding, it is only a temporary patch-up.
“After a bath, you may manage more easily to ride over your knee jerk reactions. But with selfhealing and self-love, there will gradually be nothing to ride over.”
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Children who live in a family that is engaged in life but also in constantly expanding their human capacity, are likely to learn the joy of errors, corrections and growing, free from seeking approval or needing to be perfect. The best gift you can give your child is being a model worth learning from. And, the best gift you can give yourself is nurturing your own self-realisation and love, so you are free to be the mother or father you really are. Author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves.
NURTURE TIP Ask yourself: When, as a child, did I feel these feelings? How has this created the automated thinking that I’m acting on now?
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Stop - Take a Breath! Words Venetia Moore Photo Kelly Ryan Creative
Have you ever thought, ‘Stop the world, everything is moving too fast?’ This article looks at how some simple mindful breaths can slow your world down so that you make clearer, more relaxed, healthy decisions in your everyday life, and as a result, feel more confident. Parenting can be a mixture of joys and challenges, and you may be feeling that it’s proving to be far more challenging than you expected. No one can really prepare us fully for the complexity of parenting; there’s no college or university course to enlighten or equip us in advance. We can read all the books, google and talk to other parents, but the truth is we just have to jump in and experience it to truly learn how to be a parent.
so many people are feeling so stressed and overloaded. Being a new parent means leaning into the mystery of life, the unknown, which can sometimes make us feel disorientated, and anxious. If you do, you are certainly not alone! Everyone is different, and time and space is naturally needed for things to change and settle.
In reality our days can be a jumble of practicalities, surprises, chaotic spins, and extraordinary heart-warming moments. Becoming a parent opens us up to a new chapter in our lives; as our children grow and develop, so do we! Situations arise, giving us an opportunity to discover new depths within us, of emotions, joys, strengths, and sometimes exposing aspects of ourselves we just don’t like!
The general pace of life has sped up to a point that stress is now an habitual part of it. When we feel anxious or stressed, physiological and psychological responses automatically occur in the mind and body, these are referred to as ‘fight, flight or freeze.’ Such as: » Adrenaline is released into the bloodstream » Heart rate increases » Cytokines proteins are produced causing inflammation » Cortisol levels impair clear thinking, and it’s harder make good decisions » Feelings of irritation and anger » Feeling overwhelmed, tearful and anxious » Persistent stress can lead to higher risk of cancer, heart disease, accelerated ageing and depression
There is such pressure today to be a ‘Super Parent,’ to efficiently juggle work, the home, and relationships while finding time to document it all on Facebook and Instagram! It is no wonder
Taking responsibility for our health and wellbeing means it is time for us to consciously slow things down and make a little space for a moment or two. In doing so, we can feel more
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in charge of ourselves in different situations, more grounded and confident with any parenting decisions. Taking a couple of simple mindful breaths can help us to do just that! HOW TO TAKE MINDFUL BREATHS » Stop, be still » Take a breath in through the nose, breathe out with a ‘sigh like’ breath through the mouth » The key is to focus on your breath coming in and out of your body » Repeat once more » Two breaths are sufficient to help you to calm and focus, but if you feel you need to take a couple more, leave a gap before repeating another two HOW DO THESE BREATHS HELP? They are simple but effective. A mindful breath helps to: » Calm our nervous system » Bring more oxygen to the brain helping clarity of thought » Make better decisions » Connect us to our balanced, loving self » Tune in to our intuition, our sense of knowing, inner wisdom and guidance » Be more positive » Focus on the present moment » Be less reactive and more able to hear the needs of our child
» Be more compassionate and kind toward others and ourselves » Prevent or reduce levels of damaging stress hormones in the body If you are faced with a challenging situation take a couple of these breaths. They will help you to STOP before reacting in an unloving, ineffective way. All that we think, do and say has an impact on ourselves and others and a breath helps us assess the situation more clearly and thoughtfully helping create a much better outcome. The calmer you can feel inside the likely your baby will settle sooner as there is a strong, energetic bond and link between you both. Consciously taking a couple of mindful breaths throughout the day, especially when engaging in a new task, can help our general focus, concentration and energy, meaning things can be done more smoothly and efficiently. These breaths help us to connect our minds to our bodies so that we become more in the moment, more in the now. Negative thoughts and feelings distract us, dampen our energy and influence decisions. A medicinal breath can help those unhelpful thoughts and feelings to be quickly defused, leaving more space for us to feel brighter, and notice all the positives and joys that we do have in our family life.
“Parenting can be a mixture of joys and challenges.”
Self -Love DURING PREGNANCY
Words Caroline Bagga Photo Photo Collective Co
Matrescence (Noun) The process of becoming a mother. Pregnancy and giving birth is a rite of passage, transforming a women’s identity into a mother, and forever changing the way life is both lived and perceived. It is one of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience. In today’s fast-paced society, we are often so busy that we don’t take the time to slow down, enjoy and honour the experience, giving ourselves the self-care that we truly need and deserve. Advertisers urge us to prepare for the birth of our babies by purchasing material objects like prams, cots and clothes. But the real preparation should be taking place on a mental, emotional and physical level. After all, when you’re pregnant, your baby relies on you for everything and feels everything that you feel, so pregnancy is the ultimate time to put on your own oxygen mask first. So here are some self-care ideas for Mums-to-be…. 1. KEEP MOVING – BUT SLOW DOWN. It’s important to stay active and healthy during pregnancy, but exercise needs to be safe and appropriate. Pregnancy is generally considered a time for maintenance, rather than progression of your fitness levels. Try a pregnancy yoga class, walking or swimming. Yoga in particular is highly effective in endorphin production, which lifts your mood and makes you feel great. Choose a pregnancy-specific class with an experienced teacher to ensure you and your baby are kept safe. 16
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Try this…Commit to a regular activity and schedule it in to make sure it happens. Sign up with a pregnant friend for accountability. If you don’t feel like going, then trick yourself into it by taking it one step at a time….thinking “OK, I’ll just get changed into my exercise gear and then decide” – chances are when you get into your clothes you’ll feel more like it. 2. MINIMISE AND FIND WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS. Research shows that chronic stress can cause inflammation and long term damage to your body. While a certain level of stress is normal, good self-care will keep it manageable. Try to identify the triggers for your stress. Can the things that cause your stress levels to rise be minimised or removed from your life? For instance, if your stress is work-related, perhaps you can request to work part-time. When you’re pregnant, tired and hormonal, even minor everyday things can cause you to feel stressed. Can you change your attitude towards these things? For example, instead of being annoyed that you have to wait for your appointment, use it as an opportunity to focus on your breath. By becoming more aware of your triggers and your physical and emotional reactions to them, you can prevent stress from escalating via relaxation and breathing techniques. Try this…Take a few deep breaths, sighing away the exhalation. Then close your eyes and move your awareness down your body, starting at your forehead and ending at your toes, consciously relaxing each part as you go.
3. HEALTHY EATING. With morning sickness, indigestion and food aversions, sometimes it’s hard to eat at all, let alone eat the ‘perfect diet’. But eating well is a big part of selfcare. Eating little and often will help. Try to eat whole foods and avoid anything that is processed. Think fresh fruit and vegetables in a rainbow of colours; a variety of grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat; lean meats and fish; seeds and nuts. Low iron levels are common during pregnancy because your body is making lots of extra blood. Give your body a boost with iron-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables like spinach; seeds and nuts like pepitas, almonds and cashews; legumes like lentils and kidney beans; dried apricots – and my favourite – dark chocolate! Try this…Instead of reaching for a sugary snack when the midafternoon slump hits, make yourself a green smoothie. Blend a handful of spinach, orange, banana, blueberries, almonds and chia seeds with almond milk or coconut water. It’s a great way to sneak in those greens, and you’ll get an instant energy boost! 4. MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS. Devoting just five minutes every morning to meditate can set a positive course for your entire day. Meditation can refill your cup like no other self-care activity – giving you inner peace, energy to enjoy your day and spreading that positive energy to other people. Meditation and mindfulness practices can easily be built into your day – from eating mindfully to a walking meditation. Try this…Sitting comfortably, turn your attention to your breath. As you exhale, imagine you are breathing out thick, black smoke, the essence of all your negativity, tiredness, anxiety and pain. As you inhale, imagine you are breathing in pure white light, the essence of positive energy, happiness and inspiration. Feel your mind becoming more peaceful and your body becoming lighter. 5. BREATHING. With a baby squishing up all your internal organs, it’s fairly common to fall into the habit of taking shallow breaths or chest breathing. Taking some time to consciously breathe deeply can counter the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure, helping us feel more present and calm. Try this… Sit upright, either sitting cross-legged on a cushion or on a chair. Place your hands on your belly and send some deep breaths and fresh oxygen down to your baby, feeling your belly filling up with air like a balloon. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, keeping the breath calm and comfortable. Make the exhalation longer than the inhalation by counting to 3 as you breathe in and 4 as you breathe out. 6. MASSAGE. What better time to treat yourself to a massage than when you’re pregnant? Massage will help to ease the aches and pains that your pregnant body experiences and help you to relax. Try this...If you have a toddler or preschooler at home and find it hard to get time for a ‘proper’ massage, improvise by getting them involved! Put towels down on the bed and lie on your left side. Get them to ‘massage’ you with some oil or body lotion. It’s fun and relaxing, something you can both enjoy – plus you get to lie down for half an hour!
7. POSITIVE THINKING AND REFLECTION. Treat yourself to some pregnancy affirmation cards for inspiration and positivity. You may find they bring a new-found respect for your body. Journaling is a lovely way to reflect on your transformation into a mother and create emotional space. When you are inviting new things into your life (like a baby!), you need to make space for them emotionally as well as physically. Try this… Take ten minutes at lunchtime or before bed to reflect on all the things you are grateful for. 8. TAKE TIME OUT OF YOUR ROUTINE. Slow down and connect with yourself and your body by doing something you love. Build mini-breaks into your week – take a bath, go to a yoga class, or walk by the beach. For a longer break, consider attending a Pregnancy Day Retreat, which is a beautiful way to spend the day focusing on just you and your baby and truly honouring your pregnancy. Try this…Make a cup of tea and sit quietly to drink it. Notice the colour of the tea, the temperature, the steam rising from it. Allow yourself to feel open and relaxed. Take small sips and really relish the act of mindfully drinking your tea. Turn this into a morning ritual to start your day before the family gets up. 9. REST, REST AND MORE REST. Growing a human being is hard work!! Don’t underestimate how tiring it is. Pregnancy insomnia and aching hips might also be keeping you from sleeping well. There’s no need to ‘push through’ to prove that you can still keep up or be the same as you were prepregnancy. Give yourself permission to slow down and rest or sleep whenever you need to. Afternoon naps are a beautiful treat! Try this…If you struggle to sleep or only have a short time to relax, try Yoga Nidra. This is a deep form of guided relaxation, whereby the body is completely at ease, and only the subconscious remains active. It’s known as ‘yogic sleep’ and 30 minutes is equivalent to 4 hours of sleep! You’ll find several Pregnancy Yoga Nidra options available on YouTube. 10. DON’T LET PEOPLE ‘SHOULD’ ALL OVER YOU. People will freely offer you all sorts of advice during your pregnancy. They’ll tell you what you ‘must’ buy, what you ‘should’ eat and how and where you ‘should’ give birth. Try this…Avoid confusion and guilt by filtering what you want to take on board and letting the rest of the advice wash over you. Caroline Bagga is Mum to 3 beautiful girls. She’s passionate about helping women to have a healthy, active pregnancy and an empowering birth. Caroline is author of The Pregnancy Yoga Handbook and Founder of Mother Nurture Yoga, Sydney’s Pregnancy Yoga Experts, offering Pregnancy Yoga Classes in 8 locations around Sydney, as well as Online Classes, Retreats, Couples Birth Preparation Workshops. Find out more:
Peri - Natal Anxiety Words Amanda Robins
It’s happened! After trying, waiting and hoping for a long time you’re finally pregnant. Maybe it’s an unplanned pregnancy, but a very welcome surprise. It’s an exciting time for you and your partner. There’s a lot to think about, and if you are like most women, you’ll receive a lot of conflicting advice – do this, don’t do that, read this book, follow that guru...Preparing for a new baby can be exhilarating – and bewildering. Most women have thoughts about what their baby will be like, and if it’s your first birth, how you’ll cope with labour. It can be quite scary, and being able to contain all these racing thoughts can be a challenge, especially for first time mothers. You may fear the loss of your old life. Pregnancy and birth make huge demands on our bodies, but the emotional demands of this period can be just as great. We’ve heard a lot about post-natal depression, but for many women, anxiety can also cause problems before and after birth. Some women are affected by both anxiety and depression and having anxiety (during pregnancy or at other times) is a risk factor for post-natal depression. Most women who are first–time mothers will feel anxious from time to time. You may have had a lifelong struggle with anxiety, or maybe it’s something that hasn’t bothered you, but has become much more troubling during your pregnancy. For some women, natural fears and thoughts can lead to rumination, with worries and self-doubt spiralling into something more serious. You might struggle to find answers to the questions that plague you. Whilst some of these questions are innocuous, others can raise the spectre of more serious fears and forebodings. What will my baby be like? How will I cope with the birth and with a new baby? Will I get the support I need? Will I be a good enough parent? What if something goes wrong? TIPS FOR COPING WITH ANXIETY » Acceptance: low-level anxiety is a normal part of life and if we can understand and accept ourselves more, we can begin to experience anxiety as slightly unpleasant, rather than overwhelming, learning to let go of anxious thoughts rather than dwelling on them. » Mindfulness: take time out to notice your surroundings. Simple exercises such as taking a deep breath or noticing five things in the room (their colour, texture and shape). Sit down and increase your awareness of what is around you - what can you hear, smell, see and feel?
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» Meditation and breathing exercises. » Maintain your physical activity and gentle exercise with the support of your care provider. » Making sure you are sleeping well. » Take time out from preparations or looking after others to pamper yourself – get some “me” time and do the things you enjoy. POST-NATAL ANXIETY In the post-natal period, the arrival of a new baby brings a host of new demands: how to look after the little one, sleep and feeding, the often tricky and sometimes painful process of breastfeeding, coping with a niggly or hard-to-soothe infant and the constant underlying fear of something going wrong. A difficult birth can cause trauma to you and your baby and interfere with the natural bonding that needs to happen for the attachment relationship to develop. This can have a huge effect on your well-being and cause more anxiety. You might also be worried about your changing relationship with your partner. Sleep-deprivation can exacerbate post-natal anxiety and even the most well- supported and “chilled out” new mum can get frazzled by a baby who doesn’t settle or cries a lot. Looking after yourself and getting the support you need is vital during this period. It’s important to understand your own triggers and weak points, to be kind to yourself and to ask for help when you need it. It’s a challenging time and many women feel under pressure to ‘perform’ during pregnancy and motherhood, as if it should all come naturally and without effort. Yes, most of your instincts are good, yes, nature has designed things to work, but no they don’t always work perfectly and that is no reflection on you as a woman, or a mother. SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY Anxiety is part of the human condition, but if it stops you from enjoying this exciting time, if it feels isolating or overwhelming, then you need to seek help. Many people don’t realise they suffer from anxiety and this can stop them from getting help at the right time. SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR » Feeling anxious, on edge or worried most of the time. » Feeling overwhelmed or frightened. » You might experience a range of physical symptoms as well, such as a racing heart, butterflies in the stomach, muscle tension, shaky hands or perhaps feeling nauseous. » Panic attacks (a racing heart, palpitations, shortness of breath, shaking or feeling physically ‘detached’ from your surroundings). » Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health, wellbeing or safety of the baby.
» The development of obsessive or compulsive thoughts and/or behaviours. » Being nervous, ‘on edge’, or panicky. » Problems with sleep. » Being easily annoyed or irritated. MORE SERIOUS SYMPTOMS & SIGNS OF PND: » Abrupt mood swings. » Feeling constantly sad, low, or crying for no obvious reason. » Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy » Having little or no interest in all the normal things that bring joy (like time with friends, exercise, eating, or sharing partner time).
HOW CAN PSYCHOTHERAPY HELP ME? Psychotherapy can help you manage anxiety in several ways. 1. Psychotherapy provides a containing space where your anxiety is met with empathy and understanding. 2. Psychotherapy can help you to explore what is really going on for us when we are experiencing anxiety. 3. Psychotherapy can allow you to recognise the signs that you are anxious (including the bodily states and symptoms) and to become more understanding towards our own vulnerabilities. 4. Psychotherapy can help you understand the emotions underlying anxiety and why you may have developed it.
» Feeling angry.
5. Psychotherapy can allow you to experience anxiety and understand that it will not destroy us. It can encourage you to follow our own values and life goals (and to work out what they are!) whilst also experiencing any accompanying anxiety, knowing that it will diminish with time and experience.
» Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember (people with depression often describe this as a ‘brain fog’).
6. A therapist can also help you by modelling good ways of managing anxiety and by being a containing presence in the face of your overwhelming anxiety.
» Sleeping too much or not sleeping very well at all. » Losing interest in intimacy. » Withdrawing from friends and family.
» Engaging in more risk-taking behaviour (e.g. alcohol or drug use). » Having thoughts of harming your baby. » Having thoughts of death or suicide.
Amanda Robins is an experienced psychotherapist who has helped many women during this challenging time. If you are suffering from anxiety or would like support for your wellbeing and your relationship with your baby, please get in touch with Amanda.
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Shaping & Reshaping OUR RELATIONAL BLUEPRINTS Words Anne Thistleton
Attachment theory pioneer, John Bowlby (1907 – 1990), introduced the formal term ‘attachment’ to define the deep and enduring emotional bond that connects infants and their primary caregivers. Although bonding usually suggests a more instantaneous or at least shorter term process, attachment suggests a more complex, developmental process, which occurs over time. Bowlby believed that when infants form attachments with their primary caregivers, their unique bond provided an internal working model, or blueprint, of how their needs for safety and security can be met. Bowlby also believed that the early attachments, and attachment challenges that babies experience during the critical periods of development, can strongly influence the relational blueprints (patterns of attachment) they will encounter in later relationships with their parents and siblings, as well as their future friends, peers, partners and children. Babies enter the world as fully conscious, sentient beings. They also enter the world with a significantly under-developed nervous system, which means that they are completely vulnerable and totally dependent on their caregivers for coregulation. Contrary to many outdated beliefs, their birth does not represent an immediate transition to independence, but rather, marks the continuation of an indefinite period of further dependence, that began in utero. Babies are also predominantly social beings, and their brains are structured in a way that requires them to be in relationship with others. Throughout the formative years, every key emotional system in the brain is being powerfully molded by the early and ongoing relational moments that babies and young children experience, with their parents and significant caregivers. When babies and young children experience a primary caregiver, who can predictably and repeatedly recognise, make sense of and respond to their needs, it provides them with a deep sense of security, safety and wellbeing. Over time, these nurturing and responsive parenting practices and relational moments can have a direct effect on the way in which a baby’s brain is wired; their short and long term capacity for nervous system regulation; and their natural ability to develop profoundly enriching and deeply connected relationships with others.
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Any social separation or isolation from their caregivers, regardless of a baby’s age, can impact upon the way in which a baby’s brain will function and develop, and potentially lead to profound disruptions in their ability to regulate their physiological state; which can compromise their future physical and mental health. It will also impact upon their capacity to begin to seek out appropriate others, with whom they may form dyads capable of symbiotic regulation, and a relational connection. During the first few years of life, babies gradually develop the ability to display a complete range of attachment behaviours, such as protesting when their mother leaves, excitedly greeting them upon their return, steadfastly clinging to their primary caregivers when frightened, and curiously shadowing their caregiver’s every move, when able. These attachment behaviours are instinctual, and rooted in the biological fact that proximity to a primary caregiver, is essential to survival. This intimate physical and relational connection helps to create what Bowlby called a ‘Secure Base.’ Bowlby ultimately identified four distinct characteristics that are essential for an infant to form a healthy attachment with a parent or caregiver. These characteristics are: » safe haven » proximity maintenance » separation distress and » secure base SAFE HAVEN The provision of a safe haven is essential throughout the first three to five years of life. Babies depend on and trust their caregivers to recognise and promptly respond to their needs. Having entered the world without a completely functioning myelinated vagal system, and with a significantly underdeveloped nervous system, they are not able to adequately self soothe when their needs for comfort and safety are not met. If there is any delay in responding to their physical or emotional needs (such as being left unsupported and alone to cry, or in the provision of food or touch) babies can become highly dysregulated. A baby or young child cannot experience ‘safe
haven’ when they are dysregulated. Babies continuously rely on and require a well regulated caregiver to recognise and respond to their physical and emotional needs - by reducing their stress and overwhelm, by providing them with safe, nurturing, empathic and compassionate care, and by protecting them from any potential threats to their physical and emotional safety and wellbeing. This way of supporting babies, enables them to experience a relational space within which they can begin to internalise the sense of safety and connection that their caregiver’s well regulated state and prompt responsiveness offers. When the safe haven component of attachment does not form, it can impair a baby’s capacity to seek out support and comfort from those closest to them, and can also compromise the development of healthy relationships later in life. When it does form, babies enter into a deeper sense of physical and relational safety, and connection, with their caregiver. PROXIMITY MAINTENANCE Bowlby established proximity maintenance as the most essential ingredient in providing children with a safe and secure base from which to explore their world. Around the time babies begin to crawl, they might also begin to experiment with maneuvering themselves, in a range of distances, away from their caregiver. At first glance, this may appear as if a baby is ready to venture out, and further explore their world. However a child’s confidence that it is safe to move away from their caregiver, will always be predicted by previous positive experiences of a caregiver being available, when needed. This is why it is important to continue to tune in to any subtle
or significant signals that babies are experiencing a sense of anxiety around the degree of separation that has been initiated. Any signal that they have travelled beyond their security radius, will require their caregiver’s availability and support. This feedback loop helps develop a baby or young child’s capacity to follow their innate curiosity and need for mastery, whilst also affirming their trust and confidence that their caregiver will provide them with a sense of safety, at a moment’s notice. When babies experience their caregivers outside of their security radius too often, and are not provided with the on going relational support they need to feel safe and secure, or the comfort they need in times of discomfort and stress is withheld, they can begin to develop a sense of anxiety about being alone. As such, when proximity maintenance is not supported, it can lead to future problems such as separation anxiety, and difficulty returning to an attachment figure or protective adult, for comfort and safety, in the face of a fear or threat. When proximity maintenance is supported, it can lead to greater autonomy in babies and young children, as well as an increased capacity to confidently explore the world around them; while still maintaining an internal sense of a secure connection and close proximity to their caregiver. It also promotes an immediate (as well as long term) desire, to seek out people who make them feel safer, more secure and well loved. SEPARATION DISTRESS Bowlby viewed this particular element to be the most crucial to a baby or young child’s healthy development. Babies experience
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themselves as so deeply connected to, and so much a part of their mother, that even the shortest amount of time away from her, can feel like an eternity. From a baby’s perspective, when their mother or primary caregiver is no longer in view, they no longer exist. As such, it is developmentally appropriate that babies show some form of distress when they are separated from their main caregiver. Although Bowlby argued that (over time) children will eventually begin to develop a more independent sense of self, that is separate from their caregiver, if they are not secure in the knowledge that any caregiver absence will either be brief or temporary, and that a reunion will be promptly or later re-established, a sense of disconnection from their caregiver may begin to develop. When separation distress is not responded to, or supported, this could potentially lead to bonding challenges, whereby the baby or young child experiences a failed sense of connection with their primary caregiver. The anxiety that comes from imploring a caregiver to meet their needs or concerns, can lead to a more extreme struggle to develop the capacity to act on their own behalf, especially in times of adversity, or in situations that require them to be more competent. It can also lead to more extreme struggles to develop normal empathic responses towards others, or difficulty in being able to form healthy bonds with others, throughout their childhood and in later life. When separation distress is responded to and supported, babies and young children internalize these responsive and relational patterns, and in doing so, develop more capacity for healthier bonds and relationships throughout their later life. They also develop a healthier capacity for self-regulation, and greater confidence to explore their external world. SECURE BASE When babies and young children feel safe and secure, their capacity for curiosity and exploration naturally increases. They feel confident enough to begin to explore beyond their security radius, and depending on how their caregivers support and protect their exploration, they begin to figure out what is safe, and what is not. Although babies and young children may feel safe enough to move beyond their security radius from time to time, they will still also continue to maintain a close enough physical connection to their parents, to ensure they are still present, and available to provide protection and comfort if something stressful should occur. When caregivers behave in a responsive, protective and welcoming way, the secure base continues to form. However, the forming of this secure base will become compromised if a caregiver does not have the capacity or the willingness to provide the level of security that a baby or young child’s exploration may require. When this occurs, a baby or young child’s exploration will likely come to an end.
a secure base for babies and young children to confidently explore their relational and physical world. REPAIRING RELATIONAL RUPTURES Many parents worry that any early attachment challenges they may have faced, or will face, with their own children, could lead to a permanently faulty set of blueprints. Whilst it is not uncommon for disruptions to early attachments to occur, more often than not, these challenges are as a result of experiences that are beyond a caregiver’s immediate control - such as their own childhood trauma; bonding and attachment disruption during the pre, peri or postnatal period; birth trauma; postnatal depression; post-traumatic stress disorder; medical procedures and hospitalisations; ongoing stress and / or stressors; or inadequate parenting support. It is important to keep in mind, that secure attachment and relational patterns do not develop overnight. They develop, commencing in utero, and continue on throughout the varied and numerous interactions with, and reactions to caregivers, that are accumulated over time. When ruptures occur, safety is enhanced when caregivers actively facilitate a repair, as quickly as possible. Attachment research strongly indicates that when we engage in opportunities to heal, change and grow from these early ruptures and challenges, we can positively influence the fate of our original blueprints, and those of our children. Patterns of attachment between parents and children can and do change over time, and as they do, the parent/child relationship also changes. As such, it’s never too late to begin shaping and reshaping our relational blueprints.
thebabycalmer.com.au REFERENCES: Allen, J. G. (2013). Mentalizing in the development and treatment of
attachment trauma. London: Karnac Books
Grille, R. (2008). Heart to heart parenting: Nurturing your child’s emotional intelligence from conception to school age. Sydney: ABC Books Heller, S. (1997). The vital touch: How intimate contact with your baby leads to happier, healthier development. New York, NY: Owl Books Hughs, D. A. (2009). Attachment focused parenting: Effective strategies to care for children. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc Kain, K. L., & Terrell, S. J. (2018). Nurturing resilience: Helping clients move forward from developmental trauma. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books Karen, R. (1994). Becoming attached: First relationships and how they shape our capacity to love. Oxford: Oxford University Press Porges, S. W., & Furman, S. A. (2011). The early development of the autonomic nervous system provides a neural platform for social behaviour: A polyvagal perspective. Infant and Child Development, 20(1), 106–118. doi:10.1002\ icd.688 Powell, B., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., & Marvin, B. (2014). The circle of security intervention: Enhancing attachment in early parent-child relationships. New York, NY: The Guilford Press Siegal, D. J. (1999). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. New York, NY: The Guildford Press
When a fully secure attachment between a child and caregiver is established, this relationship will repeat itself throughout the child’s life (including in sibling, peer and adult relationships), and the child will ongoingly return - again and again - to a secure base, during times of overwhelm and stress. These four components of attachment: safe haven, proximity maintenance, separation distress, and secure base, provide an effective way of understanding how connectedness and safety provide the foundation for healthy attachment, and create
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Siegal, D. J., & Hartzell, M. (2003). Parenting from the inside out: How a deeper self-understanding can help you raise children who thrive. New York, NY Penguin Sunderland, M. (2006) The science of parenting guidance on sleep, crying, play and building emotional weelbeing for life: London: Dorling Kindersley Tronick, E. (2007). The neurobehavioural and social-emotional development of infants and childrend. New York, NY : W . W Norton & Company, Inc
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The Truth ABOUT SELF-LOVE
Words Anna Siebert Photo Jasmin Sleeman Photography for Eco Intimates
I’m going to come right out and say it: we are being sold lies about how to love ourselves.
of coherence within our minds, hearts, bodies, cycles and environments.
Self-love is not a massage. Self-love is not a bath. Self-love is not whispering ‘you’re worth it’ while simultaneously crumpling with shame on the inside. There are some good reasons why self-love is so hard for so many of us, and it’s not because your partner isn’t picking up their share of the load – though I’m not excusing that for a second, either.
FIRST THINGS FIRST When we’re able to cultivate a relationship with our entire self, body, heart, soul, mind, pleasure, we’re able to actually benefit from actions such as having a massage, enjoying a cup of tea, or going to a yoga class. We’re able to set the boundaries that are the absolute crux of self-care, because we have the foundations. We’re able to receive the nourishment of catching up with friends or taking a walk in nature.
Yes, we’re short for time. Yes, the expectations on mothers are higher than they’ve ever been and the support is arguably lower than at any other point in history. Yes, guilt is real. Yes, isolation is a problem. Yes, we’re carrying a disproportionate amount of household duties and the mental load is crushing. Yes, we’ve become compliant with a system that needs a huge value shift.
The problem is we’ve become too connected with our brain and too disconnected from our heart, body, pleasure and nature. I’m going to focus on our heart and body today, because these topics are too big to do justice in one article. But in no way am I minimising the importance of pleasure, nature and our cycles just because I’m not addressing them here.
But I actually don’t think these are the problem. I think these things are the symptoms of the problems that lie at the root. Love is not a thought, and it’s more than a feeling: it’s the expression of connection. So if we want to love ourselves, we need to learn to reconnect, to get back to the state
CONNECTING WITH OUR MIND I start here because it’s the easiest. Our culture loves to think. Our culture prizes mental activity above almost everything. Even ideas like ‘connection’ now happen on devices that involve mostly mental activity (ahem, social media). Analysing
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has its place, absolutely, but it can also become a trap. We don’t need to sharpen our mind; we need to learn to give it a rest, to allow our heart to speak, to let our bodies flow. We don’t need to think things through; we need to learn to become aware of our thoughts enough to practice following the helpful thoughts, and learning to lovingly let go of less helpful thoughts. It might feel foreign, but your mind itself is not the problem. It’s the absence of awareness and connection with the rest of your incredible self. CONNECTING WITH OUR HEART For many of us, despite our parents’ best intentions, we emerged from childhood with battle scars that we weren’t even aware of…until we had children, that is. I remember feeling so shocked by how birthing my children brought me face to face with my own childhood pain and trauma. While it’s easy to feel like it’s an assault, it’s also an opportunity to reparent ourselves and offer ourselves the love and compassion that we needed. While I absolutely advocate seeking out professional therapy and holistic healing, I also believe in learning to make space for our pain. Learning how to hold yourself internally and externally, physically and figuratively, is a crucial tool that we must practice on a daily basis. Without this ability, we declare parts of ourselves ‘too much’, ‘not enough’, ‘bad’ and ‘too shameful’. We learnt to do this because there were times when the big people around us were unable to hold space for our little bodies, with our big feelings, thoughts and impulses, and left us feeling like we were the problem. Fast-forward to today, and we struggle to hold space for these parts of ourselves, partly because of those ‘too much’ labels which make us avoid the intense discomfort of facing the vastness of our whole self, and partly because quite simply, no one showed us how.
CONNECTION WITH OUR BODY The process of holding space for ourselves require us to inhabit our body. Loving ourselves is not a mental exercise, though it certainly involves making mental decisions: to show up for yourself in as many moments as you can, to dismiss the plethora of thoughts about how bad you are, to focus on what you’re doing right. But when you decide to be present to all of yourself, you need to also feel your body. It’s a radical thought in a society that has taught us to, above all, be ‘rational’ and ‘think’ our way through life. But learning to open our heart and connect with our body offers us a new opportunity to love ourselves in a sustainable way. This can be unbelievably difficult, especially if there is a lot of big trauma on board. And while sadly many of us fall into this category, that doesn’t preclude us from being able to heal. It just means we need to learn to go as slow as the slowest, most reluctant part of ourselves. A great place to start is learning to track our breath as we breathe in and out, and then progressing to imagining lovingly following our breath around our body. It’s a quiet, unobtrusive way to rekindle a basic relationship of holding ourselves within our own skin. I do recommend having professional support with a trauma informed practitioner as you develop this relationship if you’ve experienced trauma. Another roadblock to reconnecting with your actual flesh and blood is the myriad messages we’ve received about how deficient our bodies are. Without spending too long going into all the criticisms, confusion, disgust and difficulties we’ve absorbed living in a culture that devalues the incredible creative power of our bodies, it’s worth deciding to act in deliberate opposition to these messages when they come up. Don’t go digging for them, but if you notice a thought of ‘god I’ve put on so much weight, how gross’ try and catch yourself and replace it with something much kinder.
In truth, emotions are just messengers. They offer us information about where we are at, where we have been, and invite us to consider a different way forward. They are tools that can help us, if we let them.
What works for me probably won’t be the same for you, but I like to use a variation of ‘look at you, incredible body that grows life and keeps me going, thanks for being my partner today.’ and then gently touching all the bits that I had suddenly been critical of. Find your own version that works. This is your body. There is beauty in it, no matter it’s size, shape, or ‘ability.’
To reconnect with our heart, we need to gently, gently learn to call in all of ourselves – not just the parts of ourselves that we think are acceptable. It’s the presence paradox: the more we only stay with the ‘good,’ the louder and sneakier the ‘bad’ becomes in order to be seen. But as we practice what I like to call ‘radical self-compassion,’ embrace our deepest and darkest self, we slowly show ourselves the way to love.
SIMPLE, BUT NOT EASY The way home to love has many different paths, as cliché as that sounds. What I’m offering you is not the singular truth. We can learn to love ourselves with many modalities, and in particular pleasure, nature, cycles and being with other incredible people are important parts of coming home to love.
If you can find some physical space away from everyone and everything, spend some time with your hands on your heart. Imagine light pouring down from the heavens through the top of your head, and up from the centre of the earth through your perineum, and meeting in your heart space. Spend a few moments holding space for every feeling that arises, letting the emotion rise and fall, letting it release as you need it to, with sound, tears, breath, shaking, whatever. In your daily life, learn to get to know your feelings. What message are they sending? What is the beautiful learning that you are being offered? How can you love yourself deeper in this moment? It’s not comfortable, for sure. But when we get comfortable with being uncomfortable, we open ourselves up to a capacity for love that we could have previously only dreamed of.
The process is almost always very simple, but not always easy. It’s important that we choose to be so very kind to ourselves, to sit with our own pain, dreams, desires and fears and treat them with the gentleness we treat a small child. Go slowly, slowly. Practice a little each day. Catch yourself doing something right. Hold off the unkind thoughts, and hold onto the kind ones. Above all, remember that self-love is not a journey. It’s not a utopian paradise we arrive at and get to set up house in, where we are destined to live out our days in laughter and joy. Instead, self-love is a moment-by-moment decision to embrace our entire self, to connect deeply with our heart, body, pleasure and cycles, and practice radical self-compassion.
[ P H O T O ]
Co-Sleeping WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Words Megen Hibbins Photo Oaka Photography - Rachel Parviainen
There’s much confusion about co-sleeping. Red Nose (formerly Sids&Kids) recommend co-sleeping for the first 12mo of a child’s life, but many doctors caution against it. What are the benefits, and what about beyond 12mo, what is a good age to stop? Let me share my experience.
following safe sleep guidelines, bed-sharing is shown to have many benefits. I have had each of my children in our bed with their own little baby bed to avoid any problems and it has meant that they are able to sleep peacefully knowing that I am near.
Gypsy (2yo) has her own big girl bed as do all the other children but she likes to be able to sleep with me during the night sometimes. I find that this gives her comfort and a better sleep rather than trying to make her stay in her bed.
Co-sleeping with your baby means that you don’t have to get up to attend to them. It is also easier to breastfeed when your baby is close. All this means that you get more sleep yourself. So what about as your baby becomes a toddler or older, what then? And are there benefits to allowing them to co-sleep?
We are told by society that bed-sharing with our children is dangerous and could lead to suffocation. However, when
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The sweet snuggles and cuddles and the little handholds that
come with co-sleeping are of course amazing. The closeness that you have with your child is one that is precious and only a short period in their life. Let’s face it, you get such a short time in your babies life where snuggles are regular. My beautiful little toddler is prone to the occasional nightmare. Co-sleeping when she chooses means that she gets more sleep and I am right there to calm and relax her when this happens. Having your child cuddle up during the night also has lasting benefits, some of which have been proven, and others are only known to parents through intuition and instinct. These include your baby doing better in school, having a stronger immune system, becoming confident and independent, emotionally they are stronger (due to feeling more secure), they wake up happier and here is the clincher for me, I am happier too. Why are mum and baby happier? It is due to the happy hormone oxytocin being released. So does baby become clingy through co-sleeping? I have coslept with each of my children. Nayer, who is now 7, slept with me at every opportunity and is now VERY comfortable in her own bed as well as a confident happy child. Roger, now 6yo, was the one I slept with least. This is due to problems I was having with my eldest son at the time. I found that I tried to be a better parent by having him sleep in his own bed even though he wanted to sleep with me. He is our clingiest child and far more emotional than the rest. Rubin and Gypsy, who are 4yo and 2yo, got to co-sleep with me and are far more independent children and emotionally relaxed.
With all this in mind, I believe that co-sleeping instead of trying to detach my children has worked out better. Despite all the information that states children should sleep in their own bed’s, co-sleeping proves itself to be emotionally, physically and spiritually effective for both mother and child. Today we see co-sleeping as something foreign to our nature, yet our forebears used to have children in with them from birth. These people raised strong healthy adults. An article by Rickey Bower in the Huffington Post, states that ‘Co-sleeping isn’t a new age thing.’ I know that I will continue to co-sleep with my children until they are ready to move towards their own sleep patterns. There is nothing surer than our daughter will sleep more in her own bed as time slides by. As with all our other children, the day will come when they become independent sleepers, snuggles and cuddles will end. I will continue to co-sleep and enjoy the life that I have, as our children are only children for a short time. I will love and hold them, snuggle and cuddle them until they are ready to leave the nest.
yogahippy.com.au For safe co-sleeping guidelines, please see the research and information on this site:
Baby Led Weaning Words Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett Photo Janice Milnerwood
part 1 of 4
Baby-led weaning: You’ve probably heard of it and you may even know someone who’s doing it – but what exactly is it, how do you do it and what are the benefits? The buzz around baby-led weaning (AKA BLW or baby-led solids) has swept around the world in recent years and BLW continues to grow in popularity. But it’s actually nothing new. It’s something many parents do instinctively, especially those with larger families. And it’s almost certainly what our ancestors did, way before the invention of spoons and blenders.
years. What makes BLW different from conventional weaning is that it’s the baby who gets to decide when that first mouthful will happen and it’s the baby who sets the pace for how quickly her reliance on family meals increases and how fast she will reduce her milk feeds.
Baby-led weaning isn’t simply a way of feeding babies, it’s an approach that helps your baby to enjoy family mealtimes and develop a healthy relationship with food. It’s about trusting her to know what she needs and to feed herself. And it’s about respecting her abilities and her autonomy.
BLW looks very different from the conventional approach. There’s no separate mealtimes, no spoon feeding, no cajoling or persuasion (“One more spoonful for Grandma!”), no games of aeroplanes or trains – and no battles over food. Instead, the baby sits with the family, joining in their meals when she’s ready, and choosing what to eat, and how much, from whatever everyone else is having. Breast or formula feeds continue to be offered on demand (and before meals in infants under 12mo), with the baby herself deciding when and how quickly they will start to be phased out.
Weaning (or complementary feeding) means the gradual change from only milk feeds to no milk feeds. It begins with the baby’s very first mouthful of solid foods and ends with her last mouthful of breastmilk or formula, and it can last several
WHY BLW MAKES SENSE Baby-led weaning is based on the way babies develop naturally. Healthy, full-term babies are able to feed themselves from the moment they are born, locating their mother’s nipple
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and stimulating her to produce milk. Those who are breastfed continue to feed themselves and control their own intake, provided they have access to the breast whenever they want. The only food most babies need for the first six months is breastmilk (or infant formula). However, from then on, the stores of micronutrients they were born with begin to diminish and they start to need small amounts of iron and zinc (in particular) from elsewhere. This works well because, at around the same time, their digestive and immune systems have matured enough to cope with a wider diet. Plus, their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and ability to chew have also been developing gradually, alongside their curiosity, and they are beginning to reach for objects and take them to their mouth to explore. This means that, if they have the opportunity to explore different foods they will spontaneously add them to their diet just as they begin to need them.
him to ignore what his body is telling him – a recipe for future overeating. It’s also likely to lead to his cutting out milk feeds earlier than he should.
This instinctive transition can happen only if the baby has the opportunity to reach out and grasp food – in the same way that the transition to crawling or walking relies on the opportunity (and space) for movement. If food is within reach, babies will grab it. Indeed, parents of larger families commonly report that their youngest baby’s first taste of solid food was something ‘stolen’ from a sibling’s plate!
“This instinctive transition can happen only if the baby has the opportunity to reach out and grasp food.”
WHAT’S WRONG WITH SPOON FEEDING AND PUREES? Spoon feeding and purees were adopted as ways to get solid foods into babies who – we now know – were really too young. For babies of six months spoon feeding is unnecessary because they are able to feed themselves. And purees aren’t needed because they can chew. There are also some risks attached to spoon feeding and purees, for example: » Foods that need chewing are unlikely to be introduced until the baby is older, and she may find them more difficult to manage as a result. » Purees are easy to swallow, and fast to eat. This, together with a tendency for parents to encourage the baby to focus on the game of eating (rather than on the signs of fullness coming from her own body) means that she may end up eating more than she wants. » Pureed food looks different from everybody else’s. This can make eating feel scary and unsafe, as well as less fun. » Lack of exercise of the muscles needed for chewing may compromise the optimal growth of the jaw and facial bones. It’s often said that babies need to ‘learn’ how to chew, and that purees are an essential part of this. This isn’t true. Like walking and talking, these skills develop naturally when the right environment is provided. Babies get good at chewing through experience with foods that need chewing, not through sucking smooth foods off a spoon. Plus, of course, there are plenty of cultures that never use spoons, whose babies still develop the ability to chew quite happily! CAN I DO A BIT OF BOTH? For generations the amount a baby should eat has been decided by doctors, baby-care experts or even baby food companies. As a result many parents worry that their BLW baby isn’t eating enough and decide to ‘top him up’ at the end of the meal by spoon feeding him. The problem is that this takes away his autonomy. It overrides his instincts and his ability to feed himself and stops him from responding to his feelings of fullness. As well as being frustrating, it teaches
Finger foods have long been recommended from around six months, alongside purees, so doing a combination of the two is only really what happened in conventional weaning, but without the earlier start. What sets BLW apart from the conventional approach – and makes it pretty much impossible to combine it with spoon feeding – is where the control lies. Of course, the problem isn’t the spoon itself. Using a spoon to offer your baby runny foods, such as yoghurt or soup is fine, provided he’s the one directing what’s happening – either by holding the spoon himself (pre-loaded) or by guiding your hand. But this isn’t what most people mean when they say they’re ‘doing a bit of both.’
Baby-led weaning isn’t about getting food into your baby; it’s an overarching approach to how he learns about food and eating, and how he experiences mealtimes. The benefits come from his having the freedom to explore and handle food at shared family mealtimes, being in control of his own eating, and being trusted to know what he needs. SHARING HEALTHY FOOD One of the key elements of BLW is including your baby in your mealtimes, rather than making different food for him and feeding him on his own. For the first few months almost all his nutrition will still come from his milk feeds, so family mealtimes are about allowing him to share your meal and explore the food you are eating, rather than about what or how much he does or doesn’t eat himself. This makes life much simpler for you, and means your baby is under no pressure. Your baby can be offered almost anything you eat – as long as it’s healthy, not overly processed, and doesn’t contain added ingredients such as salt, sugar, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. And there’s no need to restrict him to one new food at a time. The conventional approach, in which parents are advised to start with a few teaspoons of a particular food and wait three days to see if there’s any adverse reaction, is based on the decision to introduce food to the immature gut of a baby under six months old. There’s no need for this when you start at six months because your baby’s gut is sufficiently developed to cope with a variety of foods. And there’s no need to limit him to bland tastes, either: BLW is about offering your baby a broad learning experience, so a variety of taste, texture, colour and smell is important. If you let your baby explore food at his own pace and try lots of new flavours and textures, you may just be surprised at how adventurous he is with food and how much he enjoys mealtimes. And if he enjoys his food, the chances are the rest of the family can too! Read part 2 in this series in Issue 23 of Nuture Parenting Magazine.
Nurturing the Sense OF WONDER IN YOUNG CHILDREN Words Dr. Peter Haiman, Ph. D.
Rachel Carson wrote in 1965: “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy, who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from sources of our strength.” “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. Parents often have a sense of inadequacy when confronted on the one hand with the eager, sensitive mind of a child and on the other with a world of complex physical nature, inhabited by a life so various and unfamiliar that it seems hopeless to reduce it to order and knowledge. In a mood of self-defeat, they exclaim, “How can I possibly teach my child about nature—why, I don’t even know one bird from another!” “I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel.
If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused—a sense of the beautiful; the excitement of the new and the unknown; a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration, or love— then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.”1 In recent years, the field of early childhood development, historically a field committed to the whole child, has focused primarily on cognitive and academic issues, from the point of view of the child, however, the most important dynamics of life and learning are emotional and social. Where are we today in our understanding about the sense of wonder in young children? What thought and theory have been proposed, and what research has been done on this centrally important aspect of being? Is our problem that we have so lost within ourselves the sense of wonder that we do not value - are even threatened by - its presence in children? Have we bought the powerful societal messages about which the poet, William Wordsworth, alluded to so perceptively many
years ago when he wrote in 1952: “The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!” 2 How can we, as parents and teachers, most effectively become the companions that help each child discover the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in? How do we make sure that the opportunities and social environment we provide young children foster and strengthen the sense of wonder in them? The sense of wonder is an integral part of every newborn infant. It is possible when children feel secure and are free from threats and fears. Here are some ideas which parents and teacher-educators can put into practice to provide an atmosphere in which wonder can flourish in children. A sense of wonder is created, nourished, and sustained when: » The child feels secure in the childsatisfying love and attention of her parents. » Parents and other adults who are models for the child regularly show their surprise, interest, and attraction to the natural world and its happenings—from the movements
“Wonder becomes possible when children can risk being themselves, without there being any risk at all.” 30
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of a worm, the wag of a dog’s tail, bubbles popping in a bath, the shadow cast by the sun, and a spider’s web, to the mould on an old slice of bread. Parents and other adults close to the daily life of the child interact with the child and her world from evident interest, spontaneous humour, and joy. Parents and educator-teachers encourage children freely to experiment, taste, feel, hear, see, imagine, explore, and get into things that are interesting to them and safe. Parents and educator-teachers show their pleasure and delight and create novelty in what otherwise would be life’s daily mundane chores and routines. Children see and hear their parents and educator-teachers become engaged and responsively enlivened when doing such things as reading a story and playing or listening to music. Children safely and playfully enact the stories in their imaginations or the imaginations of creative,
empathetic parents and educatorteachers. Children notice that their parents and educator-teachers let themselves get lost in the fun and creativity of play. Parents and educator-teachers find something good about the mistakes children will make as they grow and learn. Children in schools and preschools are influenced by educators who often ask, rather than teachers who usually tell. Educator-teachers and parents are flexible enough to postpone their planned activities from time to time and let a child’s creative idea or direction lead the way. Children are encouraged to voice their emotions and to talk openly about their hurts and fears with attentive, responsive parents and educator-teachers. Young children can choose play activities based on their feelings of interest or boredom, and not the decisions or mandates of another person.
» The efforts of young children are regularly encouraged and prized. Children’s sense of wonder is damaged and grows weak if their efforts are often met by regular corrections and criticism. » Wonder becomes possible when children can risk being themselves, without there being any risk at all. Oh, how I hope and pray that parents, educator-teachers and community members, in their efforts on behalf of young children, deliberately choose to become allies of the good fairy. If they do so, it might come to pass that we may develop, preserve, and enrich the sense of wonder in children - of all ages.
1. Carson, R. (1965). The sense of wonder. New York; Harper & Row: 42-45. 2. Wordsworth, W. (1952). The world is too much with us. In Williams (Ed.), Immortal poems of the English Language. New York; Washington Square Press: 260.
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Babywearing RING SLINGS
Words Kellie Rakich Photo Sarah Walker
Ring slings are often touted as being one of the best options of carrier for newborns, and beginner babywearers. Once mastered, they are quick to slip on and off; easy to thread and tighten; and best of all, they are usually no larger than an A4 booklet when folded up, so are able to be popped into most regular size handbags.
personal preference. Here are descriptions of the two most popular styles.
THE HISTORY The modern-day ring sling is the brainchild of Rayner Garner; a Hawaiian man who created a carrier that had two rings and padded edges, for his wife to use for wearing their baby. That was in 1981 - and today, nearly 40 years later, the modern babywearing movement has several different types of ring slings, in a variety of fibres and styles, for parents and caregivers to choose from.
Pleated: The pleated shoulder style is extremely useful for beginner ring sling users, as it fans out over the shoulder, and doesn’t require much adjustment.
THE BASICS A ring sling is a piece of fabric around 2 metres in length, with two specially made rings at one end. It is designed to be worn as a one-shoulder carrier, with the child positioned on either the front or hip of the wearer. The fabric is fastened by threading the end through the rings and is secured by the tension created from the weight of the child bearing downwards, thus stopping the fabric from slipping out of the rings. THE SHOULDER STYLES There are several different shoulder styles of ring sling, which provide wearers with options for comfort, depending on 32
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Gathered: The gathered shoulder style is a simple ‘gathering’ of the fabric, which allows the wearer to widely distribute fabric. This is especially useful for carrying heavier children.
THE FABRIC Ring slings, like other woven carriers, have a multitude of fabrics and blends available; all of which is personal preference. 100% cotton is a common option available, and is popular for several reasons; it’s a breathable fabric that is supportive, easy care, and able to be sustainably produced. Cotton blends using fibres such as linen, tencel, hemp, and wool are also popular options. These blends create further choice that recognises differences in climates, as well a support for heavier children. OTHER BENEFITS Ring slings are extremely portable, as previously stated. They’re a convenient carrier that is easily transportable, as well as being relatively quick to use. This comes in handy for situations such as inclement weather, whereby you need
a quick ‘up’; a fussy child who is impatient for their needs to be met and cannot tolerate a longer timeframe of getting into a carrier; at an airport or when travelling, where the tool of babywearing is invaluable for ease and convenience. I highly recommend going along to a babywearing meet if you can, to try out some different styles and blends of ringslings, to see which suits you best; but in general terms, a ring sling is a wonderful addition to any babywearing parent orcaregiver’s toolkit, and will serve you from newborn to toddlerhood and beyond. When teaching caregivers how to use a ring sling, I always say that setting up the rings correctly, before you pop your baby in, is paramount to a comfortable carry. The most common mistake made is that the fabric is all bunched in the rings and when it comes to tightening, they pull down on the whole tail of fabric. This moves the rings, doesn’t make the fabric firm in the right areas and can make the carry feel uncomfortable and at times, unsafe.
1. To thread your ring sling, begin by placing the end with the rings over one shoulder. 2. Gather the fabric of the tail end in your hand and bring it through both rings. 3. Bring the fabric over the top ring, then through the bottom ring. Make sure the top rail and bottom rail are sitting neatly on the outside of the rings. 4. Pull the tail end of the fabric down to create the pouch for your baby.
5. Pick up your baby and hold him up at your shoulder. Bring one hand up underneath the pouch of the ring sling and use it to guide your baby down into the sling. 6. Position your baby on the gathered fabric to make the M shape with his legs (knees higher than hips). 7. Keep one hand on your baby to support him while you position his knees above his bottom and pull the fabric of the sling up to the base of his neck. 8. Pull the top rail to tighten the sling. 9. Tighten, ‘strand by strand’ by working along the width of the tail to pull any excess fabric through the rings until your baby feels supported entirely by the sling.
10. Lastly pull down on the bottom rail. Not too tight or your baby will lose the M position and ‘pop’ their seat. Baby is high, supported and close enough to kiss. If you remember these three things, then you have a safe and comfortable carry.
TICKS FOR SAFE BABYWEARING
Sources: ‘The History of Babywearing and ‘Modern’ Slings.’
Tight In view at all times Close enough to kiss Keep chin off the chest Supported back
Your 12 Step Program TO BECOME A RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST Words Dr. Laura Markham
“Perfection is the lowest standard any human can have.” -Heather Forbes Think your child needs a perfect parent? Think again. In fact, your quest to be perfect gets in the way of loving your child unconditionally, because it stops you from loving yourself unconditionally. How can you be emotionally generous with your child if you’re harsh with yourself? So let’s just renounce perfection. Aspiring to be perfect doesn’t get you any closer to being perfect; it just makes you less loving. In fact, perfection is the lowest standard a parent can have. We aren’t going for perfect. We’re going for love! Here’s how:
Drop that list of all the ways you need to be different before you’re good enough in your own eyes.
You know what I mean. That voice that says you should be a little more together, a little thinner, a little nicer...a much better mother or father. That’s right; if you want to heal your ability to love unconditionally, you have to start by loving yourself unconditionally. That means with no conditions, as in, you love yourself exactly as you are, “faults” and all. (This gets easier if you look at your faults as an opportunity to grow, not by making yourself more perfect, but by loving yourself more!)
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that life holds constant choices. Should you be harsh with your child because you’re frightened that if you aren’t, he won’t learn? Should you point out to your partner that you were right? Should you let yourself stop cleaning and instead have a pillow fight with your child? At core, every choice is between love and fear. Choose love as often as you can. Your life is the sum of your choices. You’ll make bad ones, sure. But those mistakes you’ve already made? They don’t matter in the long run. Because you get new opportunities every single day to turn your love ratio around. No one can go back and change the past, but anyone can start today to make a new future.
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Notice the fear.
If you recorded the chatter in your mind, you’d think you were supposed to be perfect: “That was dumb....What an idiot I am....If only I were a better mother/father.....What have I done wrong that she’s acting like this....Have I damaged him for life?...I should have known better...” Unfortunately, our minds run on old belief systems that at some point in childhood we decided might keep us safe. So our thoughts worry constantly and find fault with everything, so we’ll keep striving to make things better! Whenever we buy into those belief systems that we aren’t good enough and are making a mess of things, we reinforce our fear. Fear is the opposite of love. So we need to notice this habit of fear running our thoughts, and...
Shift into your heart.
The only way to stop the vicious cycle of negative thoughts is to shift out of those thoughts and into the heart. Your heart can’t be negative. It functions at a higher level. Your heart is looking for connection and growth. It can only be compassionate. So next time you notice a negative thought about yourself, just Stop, Drop (the thought) and Breathe. That deep breath unplugs you from the tape loop in your thoughts. Now you have a choice. Put your hand on your heart and breathe love into your heart. Use a mantra if it helps, like “I am more than enough, exactly as I am.” Consciously choose to feel love. Research shows this process has physical, mental and emotional benefits, which increase the more often you do it. Watch your whole sense of well-being shift.
Change your internal chatter to support and reassure yourself.
Anne Lamott says, “Take yourself through the day as you would your most beloved mental-patient relative, with great humour and lots of small treats.” Why not transform that inner critic, so you become your own fairy godmother? Every time you notice self-criticism, remind yourself that your goal isn’t perfection. Your goal is loving yourself and others. Retrain your mind. When it starts catastrophising, change course:
“Nobody bats 1000....You can handle this....Easy does it... This too shall pass....Two steps forward, one step back still gets me where I want to go.....I am more than enough....My child is getting better parenting than I got, LOL; he will be ok....I don’t have to know what to do, I just have to love him through it....I can trust my instincts....Love never fails.”
Ok, you made a mistake. That’s not because you stopped striving for perfection, it’s because you’re human. We all make them, all the time. Really. Can you still have a happy, responsible, fabulous life and be a good parent? YES! The key is to forgive yourself, so you can accept your imperfections graciously. That makes it easier to admit when you mess up, and to make amends. You can’t be compassionate to your child when you’re beating yourself up inside. Just commit to doing better, and take a step in the right direction.
So you’re mature enough to see that you made a mistake and you’ve created a problem. What a terrific role model you are for your child! Focus on solving the problem you’ve created, not on blame and guilt. As long as you can forgive yourself, you’ll find a way to repair those little rifts with your child, a way that strengthens your relationship. Your child will survive your mistakes. In fact, when you acknowledge that you messed up, and apologise, and work to repair the relationship, your child learns some of the most important lessons in life.
Don’t even try to be a perfect parent. Try to model graciousness while being humanly imperfect.
Your child will never be perfect, because she’s human. So having a perfect parent would be a terrible role model. If your child sees you as perfect, she’ll feel worse about herself, since she knows she’s not. And if your child sees you as imperfect but not willing to admit it, what are you modelling? We’ve established that it would be terrible for your child if you were perfect. (Liberating, huh?!) What your child DOES need, is a role model for how to graciously acknowledge when we miss the mark, apologise, and make amends. So give up on perfection. Forgive yourself for being human. Heck, APPLAUD yourself for being human and appreciate the amazing opportunity you’ve been given to live as a human and try to make the world a better place. That means you’ll make mistakes. They aren’t mistakes if you grow from them and repair any problems you create. They’re opportunities to love more. Starting with yourself.
though I get scared and tired sometimes, I love my body’s strength and energy....Even though I’m tired at the end of the day, I’m so grateful I have my kids, my home, my health, a bed to sleep in, and a fresh start tomorrow.”
We all judge ourselves harshly. A forgiveness practice can heal that tendency, help us to atone for times we’ve missed the mark, and increase our compassion for ourselves. Every religion and wisdom tradition has one. My personal favourite is the Hawaiian (Ho’oponopono) prayer:
“I’m sorry...Please forgive me... I love you... I thank you.” Try repeating this prayer to yourself for self-forgiveness, even if you don’t know what you’re asking for forgiveness for. It is actually harder to forgive ourselves than anyone else, and we all need to practice. Try speaking it (in your mind) to anyone in your past or present who occurs to you, even if you aren’t quite sure what you are asking forgiveness for. You don’t even have to think about what’s being forgiven. Just forgive it all! See it as repairing any damage. Speaking from experience, using this little mantra for a few minutes daily is very powerful.
Realise that there is nothing to forgive.
Guess what? You aren’t perfect. You never will be. You’re human. But don’t worry, the goal is not perfection. The goal is expanding your heart and creating more love in the world. If you fill yourself with love, it will automatically overflow to everyone around you. Go ahead. Nurture yourself with infinite tenderness. Let your heart stretch past its boundaries. There is nothing you need to change, or do, to deserve love.
You’re already more than enough, just the way you are.
Watch your life -- and your parenting -- transform and notice that you’re healing your ability to love unconditionally.
Practice self-appreciation, the antidote to shame and guilt.
Appreciation and gratitude interrupt negative thoughts and give you access to more love. When you notice you’re criticising yourself, change gears and find something to appreciate about yourself. Nothing to appreciate? You can shift that. Just start with, ‘Even though...’
“Even though I sometimes get annoyed at myself, I deeply love and accept myself.....Even though I sometimes lose my temper, more and more I am patient with my child.....Even though I make mistakes, I am good enough just the way I am....Even though I don’t always know what to do, I keep listening to my inner wisdom so I can hear it better....Even
Daddy Talk WHAT MAKES A GOOD DAD ?
Words Mark Chipperfield Photos Jasmin Sleeman Photography
Grief is a strange, unpredictable beast. It follows you around like a stray dog, forlorn and loveless but somehow comforting. Once you open the door to grief there is no turning back. When my father passed last year, I expected a defined period of grieving and a speedy return to normality. But his death has left a huge chasm in my life – a keening absence I had never anticipated. I often hear something funny on the radio and want to call him. We often chatted about books. “Have you read so-and-so?” he’d ask. “He’s as hot as mustard.” It was his favourite compliment. A few weeks before he fell ill we had a long conversation about Albert Camus, the French existentialist. “What a marvellous writer,” he said. Dad, who had left school at 15, was a voracious reader and a curious one. A graduate of the school of hard knocks, my father worked every day of his life. He was still
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running a furniture restoration business at 88 and had recently taken on an apprentice. Like many men of his generationad was more comfortable at work than at home. Babies terrified him. Young people annoyed him. Lots of things annoyed him. When I presented him with my youngest son, Myles, four years ago he said bluntly: “Bring him back when he’s ready to go to uni.” But when I look at those photographs today, I can see the love and pride in his face. He was a marshmallow in an iron glove. Sadly, for much of his life my father saw family primarily as an obligation, rather than a source of joy. As a child he’d been a distant presence in our lives, always working, always preoccupied. When he came home, the fun ended. There were no dinner parties, no BBQs. “Don’t think of me as your father, but as your bank manager,” he once said. I never went to the
pub or the football with dad. He once took my brother and I hiking on the English Moors for a couple of days – that is the only act of father-son bonding I can remember. We ate Irish stew from a tin. Luxury. Too often ours was a combative, fractious and generally awkward relationship; my fault as much as his. As a teenager I hated his politics and he hated my music. “The Beatles are rubbish,” he said with finality. “How can you compare that to bloody Mozart.” Curiously, my parents had met at a local dance in the 1950s jiving to the latest American hits. “I noticed him as soon as he walked into the room,” my mother once told me. “He was so handsome in his RAF uniform, with this mass of blonde hair. I told my girlfriend ‘He’s mine -- you can dance with the other one’.” I can safely say that Dad was my sternest critic. He didn’t approve of my career, my girlfriends, my jet-setting lifestyle (as if) and my spending habits. But he often complimented me on being a great father to my two boys, Courtney and Myles. While genuine and heartfelt, I also saw this as an admission of his own failure as a father, a role he just felt emotionally unequipped to perform. But my dad was a good dad. He was caring, supportive and generous with his time. I’d always seen his awkwardness and lack of physical affection as a type of rejection. They weren’t. That’s just the way he was. Towards the end of his life dad, the most non-tactile person I’ve ever met, became a serial hugger. “Come and give your grandad a kiss,” he’d say to Myles whenever we went to his house. I don’t believe there are bad or second-rate fathers, just absent ones. And my father was always there for me.
Credit: Baby Muslin Swaddle @frankielanestore
[ P H O T O ]
Problem Solving Words Bonnie Harris Photos Jasmin Sleeman Photography
“So if I don’t punish or give consequences, what DO I do?”
» Revenge and retaliation.
Even after I outline problem solving to a frustrated parent of a child who just keeps pushing the limits, I get the same reply. “Yeah, okay, but what do I DO?”
Who learns to be better when they are miserable? I’m not suggesting that after your child has thrown a book at his sister you want him to feel good. But blaming him will send him into defensive reactions—fighting back, blaming sister, or laughing and pretending not to care.
It’s hard to understand at first that logical words, emotional understanding and empathy, and asking the child to think is actually DOING anything. We are so accustomed to grounding, time outs, taking away privileges, threatening, and withholding. It’s hard to think a respectful process of working it out is doing something. What’s hard is dropping the notion that we have to make our children miserable in order to teach lessons. Break it down. If you do any of the above, you are necessarily causing hurt (understanding behaviour). The misguided thinking is that if our children are miserable enough, they will decide not to do the deed again and voila — learning takes place. Well, yes, learning takes place, but not the kind you are counting on. What they feel is anger, frustration, resentment, misunderstanding, being unheard. What they learn is: » You are not the one to share feelings with or get advice from. » How to get sneaky so you don’t know what they’re doing.
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BLAME When we blame our children, they naturally start building a wall of defense to protect themselves from what they perceive as an attack. In defense mode—lying, retaliating, laughing, running—they miss the opportunity to take in the natural consequence of their behaviour—what their behaviour has wrought—because all they can think about is getting in trouble. Blame never serves a purpose. It is the retaliation of an exasperated parent. It’s using power to intimidate and force a child to do it our way. Isn’t that what bullies do? CONNECTION The first and most important stage of problem solving is connection—empathising with your child no matter what has happened. Empathy is understanding why your child, due to his temperament, stage of development, circumstances, etc. thinks or feels the way he does. Empathy says to your child, “I get it.” It
does not say, “I agree with you.”
that you couldn’t control yourself.” Pause. NO BUTS.
TYPICAL SCENARIO: When Joseph hits his brother Ian, causing screams and tears, Mum yells, “How many times have I told you there is no hitting in this house? What is wrong with you?” and takes screen privileges away. Joseph learns: » Mum likes Ian better. » I am bad. » I’ll get back at Ian for getting me in trouble. » Nobody ever sees what Ian does. I’m the only one who EVER gets in trouble. » I have to grab computer time cause mum takes it away all the time. » How to get what I want from somebody weaker than me.
Joseph will likely agree and possibly explain what happened. Then mum has more information. “I get it. You thought Ian was about to wreck your lego ship. I certainly understand why that would make you crazy. You worked so hard on that ship.”
Frustration and anger builds the more Joseph gets in trouble. Joseph’s behaviour gets worse. The cycle continues. Notice how many times “get in trouble” comes up. When you use problem solving instead of punishment and threats, “getting in trouble” is not feared and is never a motive for defense, protection, sneakiness, or blaming others—because it’s not in the family lexicon. NEW SCENARIO: Mum comforts Ian without mentioning Joseph. After all emotions have cooled (it’s pointless to use reason when emotions are flooding everyone) and the thinking brain is back online, mum gets a quiet moment with Joseph and says, “I know you know it’s not okay to hit your brother, so when you did, it told me that you must have been so annoyed or angry with him
Now Joseph feels understood—connection. Then problem solving: “Can you think of another way you could have handled the anger you felt without hitting him?” At this point, Joseph is calm, he feels understood, and his thinking brain can work. He might come up with ideas you don’t like and you can say, “I get why you might want to do that. I’m not okay with that one. More ideas?” Keep facilitating Joseph’s thinking process until he says something you can agree with. “That sounds like a great idea. Think you can try that next time?” There’s no guarantee that Joseph will do this. Impulses take over in young children. But he has created the mental pathway and will get there sooner rather than later. PROBLEM SOLVING TEACHES CRITICAL THINKING After connection has been made and the child feels understood, then thinking is called on. The parent or teacher facilitates the child’s thought process by asking questions, not by telling the child what to do. When the child thinks through the possibilities, it becomes a process he can do. It never works to expect him to do what you would do. The #1 rule of problem solving: Everyone involved must agree
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on the solution. Don’t stop until agreement is reached. Therefore no one loses, compromise is learned, and everyone’s perspective is respected. Children engage in the process when they know they are not getting in trouble. No blame, no punishment, no misery. Cooperation is far more likely. Your role is facilitator and guide. You do NOT need to know the answer.
tive next time you want my help. How can we work this out so that doesn’t happen?” It’s easy to punish—because it’s what was done to us. It’s hard to problem solve—because no one ever did it with us. But there is no greater skill to teach your children.
5 STEPS TO PROBLEM SOLVING: 1. Empathise, connect. Share power rather than impose it. 2. Clarify your concern; own it. “I don’t like it when….”
3. Guide child’s thought process with questions. 4. Brainstorm solutions starting with child. How can we make this work for both of us. Can offer suggestions, choices, but don’t solve the problem or dictate what to do. 5. Come to a mutually satisfactory solution to the problem. OTHER USES OF PROBLEM SOLVING: “Calling me names is not okay with me. Let me know when you can ask for what you want in a respectful way.” “You want to watch your video and I want help with the dishes. How do we make it work so we both get what we want?” “I’m worried about what will go on at the party. I know you aren’t. How can we work it out so I feel okay and you get what you want?” “If you refuse to help then I am not going to feel so coopera-
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“Share power rather than impose it.”
Your World is Bigger TALES FROM A TRAVELLING DOCTOR Words & Photo Robert M Biter, MD
There remains something extremely nostalgic about a suitcase. Perhaps it is our need to consider the limited amount of clothing or necessities that can be contained inside that causes us to evaluate what we really need to live our daily lives. Perhaps it is the invariable marks and scratches on its surfaces that document our past travels, experiences and length of our time on this planet. Perhaps it is merely the reminder that our lives and landscapes shift and change as we shift and change. No matter what, our travels offer us unique opportunities to gain new perspectives of sometimes far away lands as well as greater insight into ourselves and our everyday lives. As the scenery changes and people may exit and enter our journeys, the only constant remaining is ourselves. And with that realisation, we can begin to know ourselves better, whether our travels are figurative ones through parenthood, local trips to grocery stores or exotic locations beyond our imagination. We can also understand better the unique perspectives of others and appreciate more deeply the beautiful intricacies of cultures that share our planet. My first long journey occurred after completing my OBGyn residency training when I drove my silver Honda with manual roll-up windows that barely closed, an FM radio with almost worn out speakers and a backseat filled with all my material possessions across the United States to California from the only world I ever knew in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Little did I know when I arrived in San Diego to
work as a doctor for underserved populations that this would become my home. That I would eventually open my own practice and create the first free-standing fully licensed birthing centre in the entire county, that I would throw out the opening pitch for the San Diego Padres as Medical Community All Star, grow accustomed to seeing the Pacific Ocean from my window and eventually become embroiled in a political struggle to change how the hospital where I became Chair of the Department treated birth, death and the most vulnerable populations who entered our doors for care. It has been almost three years since I left that struggle behind to once again travel, to see the world, to care for populations most in need and to check off some items on my bucket list. In doing so, I lost my anger and frustration and found my mission again to build better options for birth and death. I choose to live in joy. To build something new rather than fight an old system. I will be sharing some of my experiences building birthing centres, catching babies, and providing medical service around the globe over the next few months. I hope to inspire others to remember their own missions, to live and parent and love consciously through the inevitable ups and downs of our journeys. I hope these tales will encourage others to reflect upon the lessons our livesÂ´ landscapes provide. And perhaps to even join me somewhere on this planet to take part in a service trip and in doing so realise that Your World is Bigger. 41
7 TIPS TO TEACH KIDS TO BE RESILIENT Words Michael Hawton Photo Myrtle & May Photography
Cyberbullying affects children, teenagers and even adults all around the globe – and the effects can be terrible: self-doubt, depression, social anxiety and in severe cases, teen suicide. And, with social media growing in popularity, even among young children, so too grows the impact of bullying as it takes on new forms. Cyberbullying, as it’s been stamped, has been a growing concern for parents and educators everywhere who are learning to manage bullying that is happening online and away from spectators. Over the 30 years of experience I have had as a child psychologist and parenting expert, I have seen and dealt with all types of child behaviours and especially bullying. Although no two children or situation are the same, bullying is pretty consistent over the years - I really don’t think things are that different now than they were when I was growing up. The very same kind of bullies that existed then - exist now. I look back at how I dealt with being teased (although I would never have said I was bullied) and what I remember, is fighting back. I suppose I was taught by my parents to ‘appropriately’ stick-up for myself; I was also taught how and when to walk away. “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” my mother used to teach me. While the name-calling could hurt, I also learnt quick-smart that I didn’t have to sit there and take it, nor did I have to let it cloud my judgements or my views. In other words, I learnt to discriminate between what was harassment and what was just mucking about. The research has shown that bullying usually starts face-to-face and then it morphs to an online form. So, when it comes to your child, no matter what age, here are my seven tips for helping them to rise above the poor behaviour of others in real life or online: Tell them to ‘self-talk’ themselves – both sternly and strongly. It is important to let them know that only people close to you matter and should impact your feelings and actions. Someone once told me that in life many people will hold views about you and some of those views will be ill-founded. Only worry about what your family and close friends think about you - the others do not know who you really are, and their views are less important. Report the bullies. The more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle an authority has (e.g., a school leader, coach, parents/family) the
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more they can see a pattern, which they can use in holding a tough conversation with a bully. So, encourage your children to speak up and open the discussion up about any inappropriate behaviour they see or engage in. Disconnect – whether it is walking away or just ‘stop’ using their device for a while – can give your child time to work out what to do. It’s tempting to go into a ‘tizz’ when you first feel insulted by someone, but part of becoming more mature is knowing when and ‘how’ to give a proportional response. This includes when to stop worrying about things that have no easy solution for an example, and realising that you can’t control other people, but you can control what you do and how you respond. Sleep well – and even meditate. Sleep plays a major role in how well-balanced our emotions are. The younger you are, the more your body needs sleep for growth and emotional stability. We’ve all been a little guilty of being overly emotional and irritated from lack of sleep. Children and teenagers are no different and suffer the same effects. Therefore, sleep, for a minimum of 10-12 hrs per night, for children is important and makes us all more resilient for life’s situations, and more capable of making the right decisions in the face of bullying. Teaching your child how to meditate and use breathing techniques to stay calm can be a powerful tool. Also, great for us adults…
Don’t confuse people’s ‘right’ to complain or disagree with you as abuse or as an affront; they’re not the same thing as bullying. Ask your child to tell you what happened and give them constructive feedback. For example, someone looking at you the wrong way is not bullying. It may be unpleasant but it’s not that bad. While comments and disagreements can feel hurtful and challenging, it often is the way we manage these that can ease or escalate a situation. Of course, ongoing and deliberate attack and bullying is after all bullying and needs to be spoken up about. Encourage your child to build an army of allies: It can be intimidating for children to step in when they see bullying occur. But your child needs to understand that being a bystander is being complicit to bullying - seeing it happen and doing nothing is just as detrimental as being the one to throw the harsh word (or fist). But being part of a bigger network, who refuse to allow bullying to occur and report it as a team, is empowering. Likewise, being with your group makes it less likely for bullying to occur. Embrace social media, positively: There is always an underlying concern when it comes to children on social media as it can be harder to monitor and regulate. And, of concern is that the age of children using social media is dropping drastically, largely with little monitoring by parents. But it doesn’t have to be “off-limits” or as scary as parents think. Education is key here: teach your children how to block, mute and report trolls and hate speech. Digital abstinence is unrealistic in our society, especially the older your child gets as you don’t want
them to alienate themselves either. Therefore, managing a supportive and welcoming ‘friendship’ so allies are central, is key to using social media to be… social! On a concluding note, and as a reflective notion for all of us parents, we encourage our children to learn to defend themselves in Karate or Taekwondo. Shouldn’t we also be helping them to defend themselves psychologically? Growing up is all about finding our way and place in society, this is very real and accounts for many of the life skills we attain through the school years. Not necessarily in the classroom but at recess and before and after school. Equipping our child with social tools and the confidence to use them can make all the difference. Helping parents to understand this importance and teaching them techniques that help their children has been at the forefront of my work over the past two decades. The growing demand for these programs, especially in the face of bullying, stands testament for the importance this has and that it allows our children to do better socially – be it on, or offline.
StartingBlocks.gov.au A government website that provides families with information on early childhood education and care. FIND CHILD CARE NEAR YOU ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO AT HOME
LEARN ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES
UNDERSTAND CHILD CARE QUALITY RATINGS PREPARE FOR CHILD CARE
TIPS FOR PARENTS ON STARTING CHILD CARE OR PRESCHOOL
Brought to you by the Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) 43
Grief Declarations Words Megan Osborn Photo Aila & Lior
My story begins the same way that many happy pregnancy tales do. After a week of mood swings, nausea and no period, I used a magical pee-stick to find two pink lines. I didn’t believe it. Off to the shops I marched, with my dear husband in tow, to buy two more packets of tests. Well, several bottles of water and pregnancy tests later, those tiny pink lines physically brought me to my knees, and I sobbed on the bathroom floor, in complete overwhelm. It was 2014, Regan and I had been married only a year. “This wasn’t the plan!” I found myself saying. We’d just commenced a five-year degree, together, embarking on our dream careers. In the meantime, my belly and breasts swelled, I had nausea and fatigue like nobody’s business and every night I could be found tucked up in bed reading all of the pregnancy books. Joy filled my heart, and I can recall this one spectacular autumn day with crisp air and bright blue skies. I was hanging out the washing, beams of sun warming my skin. I closed my eyes and found the deepest gratitude for mother nature and my mother body, working on miracles I couldn’t see or fathom. I
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was thankful, and in awe. I was a mother. I had a midwife booked, a birth plan in my diary, and our dear friend Taylor, who was a student midwife waving a doppler over my belly to find there was a little train-like heartbeat, chugging away inside. Regan and I took the pregnancy in our stride, deciding to carry on with studies and our best laid plans. Regardless of the timing we were grateful for our baby, and we were committed to creating and raising our family in our small Melbourne home. I was a naive first-time mum. I never considered that gifts could be given to me, and then snatched away. It began with some spotting. In my mind, alarm bells were ringing. I searched all the forums (bad move) but figured that the logical answer was some first trimester old period blood. But it continued and got brighter. I called my midwife, who assured me but referred me straight to an obstetrician. He was a lovely, kind man. He felt my little tummy and measured it, saying that an ultrasound would be helpful. Taylor rode her bike across the city, and waited with my husband and I, in the imaging clinic. The waiting room was
full of heavy pregnant bellies. I swallowed hard but could feel I had hope stored in all my cells that my baby was okay. I learnt that sometimes, hope is not enough. We went into the dark ultrasound room. “This will be cold” the technician said, squirting gel on my abdomen. I didn’t feel a thing. I was craning my neck to see the monitor and she pushed it towards me. She waved the wand over my belly for what seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t hear that little train heart, just my own beating loudly in my ears. After an age, she turned the screen back away from me, as she excused herself from the room. My heart sank. A doctor came in and suggested an internal ultrasound would be the best way to tell what was going on. I asked if it would harm my baby, and he didn’t say a thing. I got undressed and put a gown on. So many unspoken moments, stretching out across time. Regan never left my side. The internal confirmed the worst. The doctor told us there was no heartbeat, and things didn’t look right. As I looked up at Regan, I watched a single tear fall from his eye. It hit the top of my hand and opened up the river in me. The doctor left the room, and Regan and Taylor surrounded me in a hug, and we cried.
All meaningful, visceral experiences. And loss has marked my world in ways that makes some days much harder than others. And it has also given me an abundance of new moments to appreciate. We are now in the final year of our degree. Our sights are set on the end goal of graduating to become Chiropractors. Regan and I are passionate about healing ourselves and others. We speak about our babies often, their names are Aila and Lior. We cherish their memories; we hold them close. We don’t have any living children, yet. I think we both have a little way to go before we are ready to try again. But I so look forward to the day when we can both look at our baby and marvel at how wonderful they are. I look forward to carrying a pregnancy to term. I called our collection of affirmation cards “I Carried You” in honour of our babies. It feels like a distant dream, but I cannot wait for the day that I carry our babies, and finally get to hold them.
There are no words for the moment you find out that your baby is no longer alive. It’s not really spoken about, because it’s beyond the realms of what our language offers. It takes the breath from your lungs, as the room closes in. There’s no comfort in that cold ultrasound room. I remember walking out into the busy street after that moment. I was almost surprised to find bustle and noise. Life was still moving around me, but everything had changed. I felt as if my world had stopped spinning, and my inner voice was silent. Unsure if my own heart could keep beating, when my babies had stopped. We scheduled a dilation and curettage; at 14 weeks along, there is a high risk of infection if my body hadn’t allowed all the tissue and the baby to pass. I had to wait a few days, as the surgery schedule was full. Those four days, I walked the earth knowing that my baby was no longer living inside me. I felt as if I stood at the cusp of the realms between life and death. My womb was meant to be the safe, life giving place; and now it was a tomb. To me, miscarriage is the death of a baby. A baby I had grown and grown to love. There is a baby shaped hole in my heart, and in our family. There is always a space where a child was meant to be. Complications from that pregnancy were revealed after the D and C. I had a partial molar pregnancy, which means that placental tissue can lodge itself in the uterus, continuing to produce hormones with the possibility of becoming cancerous. I began 6 months of testing to make sure that my body was healing. The doctor’s advised I wasn’t allowed to conceive for about a year. I went on to have a second miscarriage, in 2017. I would never wish this pain on anyone, let alone multiple times. I have travelled a long journey of physical, emotional and spiritual healing, in the deep places that have been broken. Moments of joy and fear and miracles punctuated the days I spent, carrying my child. The moment I lost my baby, I knew things about life that I wished I didn’t have to. All of these moments were awakening, life changing. All of those moments took my breath away for different reasons. 45
Talking About PREGNANCY LOSS
Words Megan Osborn Photo Hadas Images
It’s a heavy topic, and not light dinner conversation. Miscarriage is a difficult, overwhelming experience - it’s real and no one really knows what to do, or how to talk about it. It’s true - there’s no words that can change the situation, but there’s some lovely things that you can do to show that you care. My high-school art teacher used to say “people won’t always remember what you said, they’ll remember how you made them feel” and speaking from experience, when you are in the vulnerable place of trying to recover emotionally and physically from miscarriage, these words never rang more true. If a friend, loved one or colleague opens up and tells you that this is a part of their story, here’s a few ideas to help you navigate the process of being supportive and helping the healing process.
TRY Let her guide the conversation, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask your friend about herself, ask how she is going today. Overall, she’s probably not feeling so good, acknowledge the day-by-day process that grief is, and ask how she is going in the present moment. Make space for her truth, and listen. Ask if her baby has a name, and use that name when you refer to her baby. “I’m sorry for your loss” is the most fail-safe, simple but necessary offering you can make. Follow up in a week or two, a simple check-in text acknowledges that grief and healing is an ongoing process, and you’re there for her on that journey.
THE RIGHT CONVERSATION If a friend has disclosed to you that they have had a miscarriage, don’t shy away from talking about it. Yep, it’s difficult to find the right words to say, but it’s not about the right words; it’s about creating the environment for the right conversation.
DON’T Don’t change the subject rapidly, or dismiss her words.
Allowing her to feel heard, and acknowledging her experience is incredibly validating and a large part of the healing process. Miscarriage is unique in that the loss is often unseen and unknown by many people.
Some of the most disheartening phrases can be “you can try again soon,” “at least you know you can get pregnant,” “at least it happened early on,” and plenty more. While the intentions may be well driven, words can fall flat and even hurt a woman who is grieving the loss of a baby. She most likely doesn’t care that she can try again, or what your opinion of pregnancy is, she is grieving the baby she has lost.
My general advice for finding the right words in these conversations is to ask open ended, non-judgemental questions; avoid statements and phrases.
Don’t try to assume how she’s feeling. Keep your ideas of children, pregnancy and loss to yourself.
This is just a quick guide to navigating the tough conversation that pregnancy loss can bring. Engage, be an active listener. 46
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Speaking about grief and harrowing experiences is difficult. You don’t need all the right words, simple compassion and active listening is a powerful tool to allow a woman to tell her story. I believe that when we share from this heart space, we heal ourselves and allow others to heal too. PRACTICAL HELP A lovely consideration is to ask what she is struggling with in daily life right now. Pregnancy loss is difficult, not only is there a significant emotional component involved, the physical toll can be huge. Blood loss and surgery are possible factors in miscarriage, the physical process and recovery of pregnancy loss is truly difficult. Many women need to take time off work to allow their bodies to recoup. Offer practical help - ask if she needs help around the house, or cook a meal. If you’re prepared to follow through, offer something specific and get on it. Cheryl Sandberg in ‘Plan B’ describes the sentiment as being lovely to say “I’m here if you need anything” and mean it, but often the feelings of overwhelm can prevent your friend from being able to specify areas they need support in. Be specific in offering help, or even better - just do something. Order some groceries online or a meal box and have them delivered. Do it yourself, or pay to have her laundry washed, folded and ironed. If she has other children, offer to baby-sit, even for an hour or two so she can get some rest. After childbirth, it is common for women to gather around the
mother and child, and help with daily chores or bring a meal to allow the new mother to rest and focus on her new bundle of joy. This comforting community should extend to other aspects of pregnancy as well, including loss. The simple act of kindness and support that ‘showing up’ offers is a valuable tool to help women heal. SAVE HER DUE DATE There are many reminders during the year that seem to renew the heartache of pregnancy loss. Friends’ baby showers, holidays, even seeing babies in the shopping centre. In my opinion, there is no reminder more painful than the due date of a pregnancy lost. It is dreaded as the impending date comes closer, and it is awful when it arrives. If you have a close relationship, and she wouldn’t mind you saying so - acknowledge her baby’s due date. A simple reminder set in your phone, with a follow up text “Thinking of you this week” or “Your baby is loved and never forgotten” is a powerful way to offer solidarity during a week that will be fraught with emotions. She will appreciate you remembering her baby more than you will know. GIFT IDEAS A beautiful gift, or momento goes a long way for a woman who has lost her baby. It doesn’t have to cost much, simply popping a little gift at her front door (or mailing it, because there’s nothing more exciting than an unexpected gift in the post), will let your friend know that you’re thinking of her. In my own experience, I had thoughtful friends give gifts of flower bouquets. This was lovely and made the house vibrant for a few weeks, but of course they withered and died. Somehow this was painful. A reminder of how fleeting life was. 47
I cried as I poured the vase water down the drain and binned the dry blooms. It’s a strange phenomenon, I’ve spoken to many women who also felt devastated looking at faded flowers - reminders of their loss. Some other thoughtful gift ideas may include: » A new pair of snuggly pyjamas or socks. Is there really anything more comforting? » An uplifting piece of artwork. Something fresh and new to lighten up her room. » A luxurious body lotion or body wash. Doctors often advise women not to bath for at least a month after miscarriage. Showers are fine though, so a little something to upgrade her shower routine encourages self-care. » “I Carried You” Collection of Personal declaration cards. It would be remiss of me not to mention the collection of cards I’ve created as a way to show your support. Combining my studies in Psychology and Health Science, from my own experience with two miscarriages, I wrote a collection of Personal Declaration cards. Based on positive psychology principles, each card represents an encouragement for different aspects of the healing journey.
SEND A CARD/WRITE A NOTE You don’t have to spend money to let your friend know how much you care. A note can be a lovely way to sit and collect your thoughts and write a poignant message. Sometimes, in the moment it can be hard to find the right words. Even a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” acknowledging the loss of her baby and the difficult time she is facing is a validating way to show your support. I hope this list of ideas is helpful to showing up for the woman in your life who has lost a baby. You don’t have to spend heaps of time or money to show you care. The main things to remember are sensitivity, acknowledgment and the simple act of doing something (rather than nothing) are powerful ways of showing up for women who have lost a baby. Pregnancy loss isn’t spoken about as much as it deserves to be. Supporting women through this difficult time allows us to end the stigma of pregnancy loss and empower women in their healing journey.
They are a beautiful gift, and we’ve had so much positive feedback from women who have said the cards provided healing and meaning during the difficult journey after pregnancy loss. They’re a simple, beautiful way to provide encouraging support.
WHOSE PENIS? WHOSE BODY? WHOSE RIGHTS?
FROM GENESIS TO JEWEL Handcrafted jewels featuring your milk, tears, ash, hair & memories. Celeste will help you capture the unique story of your joy & sorrow.
LET HIM CHOOSE FOR HIMSELF
Precious moments of love to treasure now & forever.
Australian medical authorities actively discourage circumcision. Safe sex prevents sexually transmitted diseases, not circumcision. Leaving him intact preserves his right to a natural complete body.
For more information visit us online
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Enquiries are welcome email@example.com
The 8 week SHARING Kindness Challenge the new way of staying healthy and happy! At Sharing Kindness, we believe that CONNECTION is what the world needs right now. We need get back to basics and reconnect with the golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated. It’s so simple, but if we all do it together, it will make this a world a better place. This challenge encourages you to embrace kindness and empathy by incorporating it into your day-to-day life. We want kindness to become a habit, because we believe it is the secret recipe to a healthy and happy life!
For a chance to win, simply do one Act of Kindness each week for 8 weeks! Week 1
Give someone a hug
Write down what makes you happy. Stick it to your mirror!
Smile and say ‘Hi’ to as many people as you can
Learn to say ‘How are you?’ in another language
Write a note telling someone why they are special to you
Ask someone if they are ok and be a good listener
Help someone who looks stressed or in need of help
Write a list of 3 things you are proud of
Ask someone you know what they do in their family to show love
Write a list of 5 things that makes you kind
Bake cookies and give to a neighbour
Think about a time when you learnt from one of your mistakes
Write down 3 things you are thankful for and stick them to a wall
Try something you’ve never done before (a new sport or mediation)
Draw or write about how it feels being angry, sad and happy
Say something kind about yourself in the mirror
Leave a thank you note for a teacher, postman or shop assistant
Before bed, repeat to yourself: ‘I am enough, just as I am’
Identify and talk about what someone else may be feeling
Support or stand up for someone
Write a kind note for someone to find
Talk about a time when you put a lot of effort into something
Smile at as many people as you can. It makes you feel good!
Draw a happy picture and place it in someone’s letter box
Together we can create a kinder world WIN the Burleigh Wagon Bundle! Includes the Wagon with Umbrella, Bluetooth Speaker with 2 charging ports, Surfboard Rack & Snack Tray!
Valued at $556!
HOW TO ENTER: 1. Download the challenge resource kit from sharingkindness.com.au 2. Choose a minimum of one Act of Kindness to do per week from the above (but feel free to do them all!). 3. On Instagram or Facebook, post a picture or video doing the Act of Kindness 4. Follow and tag @sharing_kindness_ + @nurtureparentingmagazine + @burleighwagon in all of your posts
www.sharingkindness.com.au T&Cs: Competition starts 15/5/2020, for close and winner announcement date please check website. Prize cannot be exchanged for cash. One winner with a minimum of 8 posts in total (consecutive weeks not necessary) will be selected randomly and announced via the next ‘The Nurture Parenting Magazine’ edition and on Instagram accounts. Entries must be users 18+ with an Australian postal address. This contest is not sponsored by Instagram, Facebook or The Nurture Parenting Magazine.
Divine Intervention STORIES FROM REAL MUMMAS Photos Shannon Smith - La Bella Vita Photography
Chloe Vella Staying pregnant wasn’t always easy for me, I had suffered from miscarriages and also lost Scarlett at 23 weeks gestation due to going into premature labour. After I had Scarlett, the specialist finally decided to run some tests which lead to finding out I have a blood disorder called Antiphospholipid syndrome. The specialist advised with any future pregnancies I would have to inject myself daily with Clexane to help thin my blood. Losing Scarlett is by far the hardest thing I have been through in my life but with the help of a team of specialists, I received the best care throughout the next pregnancy which lead to our beautiful ‘rainbow baby’ (a baby born after loss), Spencer. Shannon: Chloe lost her baby Scarlett prior to this pregnancy and the day of her photographic session, it rained. We were messaging each other deciding what to do and Chloe said to me “Maybe I will get a rainbow for my rainbow baby.” At the time I thought: “If we even get any outdoor photos done, it is going to be a miracle, let alone get a rainbow...” I set Chloe up in a spot on the hill and then I saw a rainbow appear through my lens. Chloe didn’t initially believe me when I said: “There is a rainbow behind you!” Then she turned and saw it as well. It was so vivid and strong.
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Bianca Smith My story is not a typical story of loss as such. It’s the story of a woman grieving the birth she wanted but never had. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I felt I had done everything right. I had eaten well, exercised up until my due date and even refused to use chemicals. I had planned to have a low intervention birth and hopefully, a water birth where my baby would be born calmly into the world. Shortly after my labour began, I experienced severe back pain alongside my stomach contractions and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. My midwife checked the baby’s position and announced he was posterior so I would have to be transferred to another hospital. After being transferred, I had an epidural in the hope of my son rotating to a better birth position. By this point I was grateful to receive some pain relief. It had been almost 24 hours since my waters had broken, and my son was beginning to show signs of distress. The epidural didn’t help as they hoped and I was told my next option would be to have a forceps assisted birth. And if that didn’t succeed I would go in for an emergency caesarean. By this time things felt like a whirlwind and it was difficult to fully comprehend the possible consequences of a forceps assisted birth. I agreed readily though wanting the experience to be over with and my son to be in my arms. I was exhausted physically and emotionally but I chose to stop fighting the situation and surrender to what was. It was what we thought was successful and Bodhi was
Ashlee Lanzini born. The moment he was put into my arms was surreal. After such a lengthy labour, it felt like he would never be born. Four hours later Bodhi had a seizure and was wrenched off me to be transferred to a NICU unit for the following week where they monitored him and ran tests.
On March 27th, 2017 I gave birth to our sleeping baby girl Milo Lily Lanzini. After a rather normal 37 week pregnancy, I noticed a decrease in my baby’s movements, so my husband and I went to the hospital to double check everything was ok.
During this time, guilt ate away at me as I wondered if what had happened was my fault. On top of this I felt physically beaten up, in a wheelchair for the first two days and could barely walk. Finally, we received good news; we could go home soon as the MRI results had shown no damage. We were ecstatic. The cause of the seizure was ruled to be most likely a hematoma as a result of the forceps.
Tragically we were told that our baby had passed away in the womb. Two days later, I was induced and gave birth naturally to a beautiful baby girl. Milo was our babies nickname throughout my pregnancy and it felt only fitting that she was remembered as “Milo.” Our world forever changed the day we became grieving parents. We will never know why our healthy little girl was taken from us. I don’t have many memories of our daughter but those I do have, I hold very close to my heart. Amongst these beautiful keepsakes are my beautiful images taken by Shannon. I am so grateful to have these, as they capture a very special & very memorable time I shared with my little girl.
Two years on I have been told I have a prolapse as a result of the birth and I am still emotionally working through having such a traumatic birth experience. Although my birth wasn’t what I wanted or expected, the experience showed me I am stronger than what I ever thought and I have gratitude daily that my son was not left with a disability. It has also inspired me to work with women who have also had traumatic births. Although I would never have wished for the birth I had, with time I have found meaning in the experience.
“Our world forever changed the day we became grieving parents.” 51
Keeping Beezy Words Susan Presto Photos Beetanicals
The Buzz If you were a bee the hairs on your legs would give you very important information, a 3D overview of everything that is going on in your hive. Your antennas, containing 60 000 smell receptors each, smell in stereo. Your role in the hive depends upon the food you were fed when in larvae stage. If you were chosen as a drone, youâ€™d also be adept at mating mid-air if you happen to come across a queen bee from another hive flying in your zone. This will kill you, but your progeny continues on with a queen bee who can lay up to 2000 eggs a day. Funnily enough, even with all these amazing skills, most species of bees canâ€™t survive living on their own. Bees living in hives only survive if they work together to form a superorganism, where the whole hive is actually the animal. Bees play a crucial role while out and about collecting pollen for their hives. Their hairy little bodies and legs carry pollen from one flower to another which pollinates the plant and allows the fruit or vegetable to begin to grow. Without bees and other flying pollinators, it is estimated that at least onethird of all food wouldnâ€™t exist. Basically, coloured and fragrant plants are pollinated by insects, plain and dry plants are pollinated by the wind. In parts of China, bees have completely died out and some plants now have to be pollinated by hand. There are very few places in the world where bees no longer need chemical assistance to survive the pests and insecticides which weaken them and their ability to continue pollinating food crops that humans are dependent upon. Some breeds of bees are struggling to stay in existence and an infamous bee from Africa which is known for its aggressive behaviour, but prolific honey production seems to be surviving in modern environmental conditions where other more docile and traditional bee breeds are not. Businesses which depend on bees for the survival of their crops are shipping bees in, from outside beekeeping companies, to do the pollination for them. The multi-million dollar almond business in California depends upon bees, bought in on consignment, to pollinate their entire crop. Without these bees being shipped in on trucks, almonds would not set on the almond trees, and their businesses would die. Australia hosts over 1500 species of bees. We are not immune to the problems other countries are facing from a slow but sure disappearance of bees. Recently, insecticides known to kill
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bees have been removed from Australian garden store shelves and recommendations for alternate, environmental pesticides have replaced them. One response this international bee problem has prompted, is the rise of the home beekeeper. Suburban hives are popping up in backyards all over Australia, and it is becoming common again to find local honey sitting on the counter at suburban grocery stores. Maybe we are simply going back to where we came from and the big corporate production of totally natural products such as honey, has had its hand forced by nature.
“It is rumoured that Einstein stated that once bees die, humans are four years behind. ” So now you know you need a hive at home, what do you do? Willow Hankinson runs beekeeping courses in Byron Bay and is passionate about helping families learn to keep their own beehives. His main message to families interested in beekeeping is the lessons to be learned about cooperation. He talks of a community in Scotland that would send uncooperative children off to observe the beehives. Their mission was to learn about how and why cooperation is so important. Ultimately the children would misbehave purposely so they could go hang out with the bees. Ahhhh parenting! However, according to Mr Hankinson, the best thing about beekeeping for families it is not just learning about cooperation,
or the honey, he says beekeeping is ‘an intermediary for a deeper relationship with the natural world,’ children start to notice nature more. Beekeeping requires an awareness of the seasons and the cycle of flowering plants. On top of this, it means more eyes on the ground helping with biosecurity. A family of eyes on one or two beehives is much more intense scrutiny than industrial beekeeping. This is important because hives are the first to show a reaction to anomalies in the areas their bees spend the most time in, your neighbourhood. To start the process of keeping bees, Mr Hankinson’s advice is to get some expert support and choose the right hive. Join a local beekeeping group, do courses, and look for mentorship from an established bee keeper. Find out the obligations of becoming a beekeeper in your state and register to become a beekeeper. These contacts will be important for maintaining the health of your hive and adding to local ecological knowledge. The Kenyan Top Bar Hive is Mr Hankinson’s recommendation. The ability to remove one comb at a time means there is none of the real heavy lifting involved in almost every other hive design. It makes beekeeping easy for children and older beekeepers and is simple and most importantly, beefriendly. European honey bees are a common choice due to their honey output, however, native stingless beehives are found in primary schools around Australia for obvious reasons. So now you have the honey about beekeeping, wherein the garden is your family going to keep the beehive?
Build an Insect Hotel Words Alanda Young Illustration Bianca Stanton
One of my greatest passions is for the tiny world of insects and how incredibly important they are in our big world. Not a lot of people know just how big the role of insects are and how much we, and a lot of other animals rely on them. Insects are also the sole food source for many amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Pollination is done by many different types of insects and even some mammals but bees, butterflies, moths, flies and beetles are the insects we rely on most. There are over 1,500 species of Australian native bees (the commercial honey bee is not native), with only 11 species being social (live in a hive), the rest are solitary. Approximately half of the solitary bees nest in the ground and dig out their nests, and the other half nest in sticks and stems and hollows. Building homes to protect these creatures is very important due to habitat loss, pesticides and disease. They can use the insect hotel that you make to build nests in which to raise their young. It’s a very simple project for the whole family and fascinating to watch what kind of insects move in! Another important job we can do to help bees and insects is plant lots of nectar producing flowers in the garden to provide a food source and shelter. Many pollinating insects are also beneficial to have in the garden to naturally control pests like aphids, scale and mealybug. PROJECT: Start by finding or making something that will be the outside of the house, like a wooden box or an old ceramic pot. It’s good to have a roof or water proof top to keep it dry and
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protected. Next, arrange all the things you have gathered so there is a selection of different materials in your hotel, this will attract a wider range of insects. You can make your insect home as small or as large as you want. There are countries around the world which designate entire parks to insects and build giant insect hotels! Once you are happy with how it looks you can fix the materials using non-toxic glue or nails, or you can create a front with wood or mesh to hold everything in.
things you can use » » » » » » » » »
Bamboo (thick and thin pieces) Rolled up pieces of paper Leaves Twigs Pinecones Woodchips Cardboard Pieces of wood with pre-drilled holes Clay blocks (use a mould and fill with clay from the garden, carpenter bees will burrow into the dried clay to make their nests)
Environment TITLE HEADING By Article Author
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Look forante these little helpers that could be laoreet. out Donec metus, malesuada id molestie rhoncus, placerat vitae felis. Nullam molestie rhoncus viverra. Phasellus living in your garden orscelerisque insect home! nec turpis dapibus, hendrerit velit vitae, nunc. Proin a tincidunt nisi.
SOLITARY BENEFICIAL POLLINATOR PhasellusNATIVE gravidaBEES: et nisi at maximus. Duis sed leo est.INSECTS: Mauris
mi bee.. et urna hendrerit Nunc fly.. lobortis dignissim » facilisis Leafcutter » ornare. Hover/flower tristique elementum. Integer » diam Teddy bear bee.. » Ladypulvinar beetles..in quam ut aliquet. Nunc venenatis justo sed auctor mattis. » Blue-banded bee.. » Green lace wing.. » Metallic carpenter bee.. » Cryptolaemus (Native lady beetle).. Sed vel elit a diam lacinia iaculis sed quis nisl. Cras condimentum auctor metusApis abore sume aut dolorum acil invenda pra doluptae porem am, consequas sitatem ea volupti doluptatque voluptios rempore dolupta verita nonsequatur sectet laborrum faccullam fugia voluptam es net laut de dolore nis ipsae expel il inullaci cus et et la volut escietu riasped itatem qui illecul laccum
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Everybody has somewhere they go to find a moment of peace, for me that place is the ocean. Willow and Sea started as an outlet at a time when serenity felt like a distant memory or something to aspire to. I spent my life keeping the beach at a glance up until moving inland in 2016, it was this move that made me realise I had to create a place to find my moment of peace. Creating something that represents the ocean was inevitable. Bringing the ocean to others who are both near and far from the beach has fuelled my passion. Bowls RRP $45.00 Serving Board RRP $130.00
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Smooth as a babies bottom, beeswax forms a natural barrier to soothe, moisturise and protect babies precious new skin during a nappy change and following application. This gentle balm contains a unique blend of Australian Beeswax, Coconut oil, Australian Jojoba, Olive and Avocado oils, combined with Helichrysum & True Lavender essential oils. Baby Beetanicals: Bee-hind Balm Natural Barrier Balm
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Words & Photos Susan Presto
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We all like a good companion. Someone who enhances who we are and enables us to face the world with resilience. Companion planting works the same way. Plants from different families, combined within a garden bed, can actually enhance each other’s resilience to pests and disease and provide you and your family with stress-free, organic, homegrown vegetables. With a little old fashioned knowledge applied in your own particular ecosystem, it won’t be long until you find everyone in the family proudly eating their favourite fruit and vegetables straight from the garden!
bour. If you plant with a little consideration right from the start, growing your own fruit and vegetables will not feel like work at all.
One of the reasons most families don’t persist in maintaining a vegetable garden of their own is simply the word ‘maintenance.’ At the end of a hard day, attending to a garden may seem like just another chore that needs to be done. A few simple things can really make a difference to the time needed to be spent producing a successful garden. Mulching around the plants to save time and water is one, companion planting is another. In the early stages of any gardening project, it is important to remember that help will definitely appear once the family begins to eat the fruits of your la-
Plants with flowers attract beneficial insects like wasps, bees, garden spiders, lacewings, dragonflies and most lady beetles. Planted in and around a vegetable patch, the different leaf shapes and colours also confuse insects looking for any easy feed form your crop. Onions disguise the smell of other vegetables grown nearby, providing camouflage through odour. Onions also produce magnificent flowers if let go to seed, so every veggie patch can be enhanced by the addition of an onion or two. There are plenty of herbs with strong odours which will camouflage in the same way.
Plants from the daisy family, for example, are great at attracting beneficial predators and parasitoids which help control pests naturally. Nasturtiums are beneficial in a vegetable garden because they attract some types of nibbling insects away from the main crop. The nasturtium leaves and flowers are also edible by humans and enhance the beauty and nutrition of any salad.
Legumes, such as the pea and bean families, help the nearby plants through their ingenious root system. The roots of plants from this family add nitrogen to the soil, which fertilises itâ€™s neighbours. Some farmers are using legumes in this way, instead of paying for expensive nitrogen-based fertilisers. To enhance the nitrogen in your own soil, through a handful of peas or beans into a garden bed, let them shoot, then simply dig them into the soil and prepare to replant. The soil will have become more nitrogen-rich. Peas and beans also tend to have deep roots, so there is no root competition with the neighbours. Even clover has a purpose in the garden, it also produces nitrogen for the soil and bees love it. Marigolds are known to be particularly useful in controlling pests on vegetables and fruit such as tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, cabbage, cauliflowers and kale. Parsley, once turned to flower, attracts a variety of beneficial insects. Parsley and marigolds also easily self-sow. Most plants grown from seed tend to be stronger and more resilient than seedlings so if you are patient, scatter the spent flower heads around and watch them thrive.
There are many combinations of plants that are better together than in a single mass planting. By abandoning straight rows and neatly ordered vegetable patches, by introducing colourful combinations in random patterns, you can protect your hard-earned, homegrown vegetables without using pesticides or constant vigilance. Companion planting is something which helps each plant do better than it would have done on its own. Sometimes a helping hand from a good companion is as simple as a taller plant protecting a shorter plant from too much sun. It is all about nurturing great relationships in your garden to get the very best out of each and every plant, which in turn will nurture your own family in countless other ways.
[ P H O T O ]
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bun bowls Recipe & Styling Jody Vassallo Photo Luisa Brimble
WHAT YOU NEED
HOW TO MAKE IT
100 g fine rice vermicelli 2 carrots, finely shredded 2 Lebanese cucumbers, finely shredded 1 cup (160 g) bean sprouts 1 cup (20 g) coriander sprigs 2 tablespoons fried shallots
To make the lemongrass chicken, pound the lemongrass and coriander root to a paste using a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a shallow dish, add the coconut water, fish sauce, sugar and oil and mix well. Add the chicken and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight or as long as time permits.
LEMONGRASS CHICKEN 2 lemongrass stems, pale part only, finely chopped 1 tablespoon chopped coriander root 2 tablespoons coconut water 2 tablespoons fish sauce 1 teaspoon coconut sugar 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, melted 2 chicken breast fillets, sliced DRESSING 2 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce 2 tablespoons lime juice
Whisk the dressing ingredients with 1/3 cup of water in a jug. Add the cucumber and carrot and allow to pickle while you cook the chicken. Return the chicken to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking. Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Heat a barbecue grill to mediumâ€“hot. Chargrill the chicken for 10 minutes, until tender and cooked through. (Alternatively, cook under a grill or in a chargrill pan). Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the vermicelli and allow to stand for 10 minutes, until soft. Drain well. Pile the vermicelli onto a platter, top with the chicken, carrot, cucumber, sprouts, coriander and fried shallots. Drizzle the dressing over the top and serve.
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2/11/18 5:52 am
giant coconut pancake WITH BERRIES & CHERRIES Recipe & Styling Jody Vassallo Photo Luisa Brimble
WHAT YOU NEED
HOW TO MAKE IT
1/2 cup (50 g) almond meal 1/2 cup (60 g) coconut flour 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut 1 teaspoon baking powder 5 eggs 1 tablespoon rosewater 2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) coconut milk or water 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus extra to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 26 cm deep fry pan with baking paper.
TOPPING 200 g cherries, pitted and halved 200 g mixed fresh berries
Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Tip into the prepared dish and bake for 30–40 minutes, until set.
Combine the almond meal, coconut flour, desiccated coconut and baking powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, rosewater, coconut oil, coconut milk or water and maple syrup.
Top the pancake with the cherries and berries and drizzle on the extra maple syrup. Serves 4–6 The Yogic Kitchen offers a quiet argument for a food-as-medicine approach to health, based on the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda. $39.99
Words Melanie Lock ND BHSC Photo The Hollow Store
I’ve watched the reactions of many people at the mention of Mushrooms for their health over countless years. Some people think I’m peddling Mushrooms from the grocery store and others assume I’m offering a psychedelic experience. There’s very little middle-ground in the world of mushies and it’s entertaining to say the least. Specialty Mushrooms have spored their way into supermarkets and onto our plates, and what was once a bland choice between button or flat Mushrooms, is now a smorgasbord of shiitake, oyster, swiss or enoki varieties. Like the thousands of years that preceded their arrival, they bring with them a sense of fascination, wonder and intrigue. Mushies belong to neither the plant nor animal kingdom - they belong to their own exclusive kingdom of Fungi and I think that’s why they’re regarded almost alien in their appearance, aetiology and behaviour. Palaeontologists have found Fungi fossilised in amber dating back 90 million years ago. Which is very old indeed and it’s in this incredible age and steady evolution throughout millennia that mycologists have uncovered an ancient wisdom. Just think about that for a second - from their earthly roots millions of years ago, through the evolution of mankind, ice ages, dynasties to the post-modern Mushrooms in our hands today. A timeline worthy of some reverence. We live in a fast-paced world where medicine, technology, tablets, pills and 6-week-shred diets are common course for the masses. Health is sold in air-tight plastic containers with glossy brochures and supermodel endorsements. One pillpopping model has been duplicated by another and people are bamboozled by empty promises and generic outcomes. I believe we are consciously looking for a more real, authentic and intelligent approach to our health and that’s why Medicinal Mushrooms are so ‘on trend’ right now. And here’s a few reasons why:
NURTURE PARENTING MAGAZINE
Medicinal Mushrooms exercise the immune system to make it stronger, more adaptive and help normalise its responses to stress and viral attack. In fact, experiments on tissue cultures show that the polysaccharide Lentinan, isolated from the Shiitake Mushroom stimulates cells of the immune system (in mice) to attack cancer cells and cells infected with viruses. I’m not suggesting it should be a replacement for Chemotherapy but certainly it’s a notable action for science to uncover. The fibre and polysaccharides in Mushrooms create the perfect prebiotic fuel for resident bacteria living in our GUT establishing a better environment for the bacteria that keeps us healthy. The benefits of a healthy bowel microbiome is well researched and that’s what makes Medicinal Mushrooms one of my favourite applications for stressed, inflamed and intolerant Gastro-Intestinal tracts in both adults and children. The bowel itself houses up to 2kg of microbes, trillions of neuronal cells and over 3 million genes unique to each person. It’s relevance to our total wellbeing has been historically underrated. The processed and pre-packaged Western diet and the daily drudgery of stress is a lethal weapon within our gut responsible for unleashing all kinds of immune and neurological imbalances.
Mushrooms have been scientifically proven to be a beneficial source of B2 riboflavin, B5 pantothenic acid and B12 cobalamin vitamins, iron and protein but they also contain selenium, vitamin D, glutathione and the amino-acid Ergothioneine. All function as antioxidants that can mitigate oxidative stress and are also known to decline during ageing. Which makes Mushies an utterly worthwhile addition to our diet wherever possible, and certainly promising as a Medicinal tonic for our wellbeing. To appreciate how Mushrooms function it’s important to understand their purpose in Nature. Fungi fortify the forest floor with their mycelium - fine branching, thread-like tendrils beneath the soil and within decomposing matter. These tendrils are known to spread over hundreds of square miles. Mycelium continuously responds to changing demands within the forest floor, communicating information and transporting nutrients between species of trees - it’s Nature’s Homeostasis, and this ingenuity is thought to be part of the innate healing wisdom of Medicinal Mushrooms - their ability to unify the systems, organs, cells and tissues of the physical body. Medicinal (functional) Mushrooms you may be familiar with are Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail and Lion’s Mane (among others). Each contain a unique bounty of nutrients like beta-glucans, fibre, antioxidants and various polysaccharides that regulate immunity and improve GUT function. Current research is shining a light on how these compounds work, though traditional Chinese Medicine harnessed the power of these Mushrooms thousands of years ago.
Reishi is known as the Queen of Mushrooms. It grows wild in parts of Northern China and upon the Southern mountain ranges of the USA. It has a slightly bitter flavour and thrives on the bark of living and dead hardwood. Reishi, like all Mushrooms is an intelligent and adaptive powerhouse of nutrients and immune-enhancing antioxidants. It’s survival in the wild from internal bacteria and external predators is the precise way in which it consolidates its Medicinal power. Ultimately, Reishi produces the necessary compounds to protect itself from such stressors much like it does for our bodies when we take it. It’s used by traditional Taoists for mama’s during pregnancy and breastfeeding to protect the baby’s developing immune system and instil a sense of peacefulness and calm - a very old Chinese tradition. If you’re choosing a Mushroom tonic remain respectful of the living bio-active properties of the fungi and the handling of raw material before you purchase. Intelligent compounds don’t thrive under extreme processing, ultra-violet lighting and long periods of storage in plastic containers. Be sure the company you choose supports the sustainable growth and ethical trade of the Mushroom and has the relevant experience and research to clarify their claims. Refreshingly, the best approach to taking Medicinal Mushrooms is by slow and steady integration. No fast fads. No one-hit wonders. Just a genuine relationship between you and the Mushroom(s). Like food, health is better when it’s built with purpose, intention and intelligence and not swallowed on a momentary whim. Digging deep for the meaning of health can lead us down the forest path but it’s here that we may find some interesting and powerful truths… and probably some Mushrooms too.
Beta-glucans have been shown to build our resistance to allergies and bacteria and improve the metabolic processes of fats and sugars in the body. In our grossly over-weight and pre-diabetic Western culture, this alone is a remarkable gift. 65
nurture change makers
Danish by Design
When I had my first child, I was young and inexperienced. I could not understand why my son was so irritable, constantly crying and in pain throughout the day and night. I was not sure what I could do to relieve him of his discomfort.
My name is Gillian Rose and I started this business in 2001. Today we import a substantial range of stylish, modern designer nursery furniture and infant products and toys based on true craftsmanship and innovation. Our aim is to offer Australian parents well designed products that not only look good but are super practical for both parent and child; products that have versatility and longevity and are great value.
With the help of my beautiful mother Sammy, I learnt how to make a special beverage widely used in our culture to help relieve my son’s pain of colic, wind and other symptoms associated with gastrointestinal problems. My mum’s teachings now became my lifesaver. Six children later (with another on the way), I still prepare this home remedy for my kids for the soothing relief of any colic and stomach pains. I always wondered why there was nothing as natural as this on the market. It was after I had my first daughter Giselle after already bearing 4 sons that I realised I needed to be a role model for her. A majority of us women put our lives on hold to raise our families, we give up our job, our income, our friends, we become selfless and somewhat lose our identity, including myself and I needed to show her you can still be a mum and still reach out and achieve your dreams, you just need to work hard and believe in yourself. This was the birth of giselle&i. It was that moment in 2013 when I decided to release our cultural tradition, “soothe me baby” and began the process of perfecting this natural remedy to treat colic, wind and gastrointestinal pain for infants and children. I wanted to do this in the simplest and safest way possible, ensuring the most convenience for parents anywhere, anytime. Natural, organic and approved by the Australian Government Department of Health AUST L 286802, soothe me baby is a natural, safe and simple approach to treating colic, wind and gastrointestinal pain for infants and children. Completely prepared, packed and individually sealed for every parent’s convenience, you can rest assured knowing that your child’s discomfort can be taken care of. Made with Love giselle&i
Our team thrives on the challenge of trying to find more unique products to add to our range, preferably from Scandinavia. Each product we take on board has to match our design, function and quality standards. The range of baby products available now is varied and exciting. It wasn’t 20 years ago and I am very proud to have been part of that change although in all honesty it was not something I had really planned.... When our first child was 6 months old we went back to Denmark for Christmas. Naturally, we collected all sorts of baby gear and when we got back here, people around us started to ask where we bought it. This got us thinking and although I had no wholesale, retail or sales experience, I started Danish by Design! It was hard beginnings with few products (all “fancy” and relatively pricey compared to the offerings at the time) and small children but I persevered (with gentle nudges by my husband when it was all too much) and slowly but surely the business grew and now we are approaching 20 years! Our product range is now large and varied, still with a focus on European origin although we do have some other countries represented, too. As long as the products, and the people behind them are great, then we don’t really mind where they come from. Today it is almost overwhelming to enter a baby store but we don’t apologise for that as having a choice is better than not. We hope you find a few of our products on your journey that you love and we are always happy to offer advice on what might work best for you. The team and I strive to be the best we can be when it comes to customer service and trust that your dealings with us will be a pleasure.
LOVEKINS is an Australian wellness and skincare company specialising in a range of pregnancy and baby skincare and feminine hygiene products. Founder & CEO Amanda Essery is a 6th generation Australian Chinese, born and raised in Darwin, The Northern Territory. Heavily influenced by Indigenous Australian culture, Amanda shares a strong connection with her nurturing land. Incorporating native Australian ingredients from her hometown, Amanda created Lovekins to purposefully solve her daughter Heidi’s, dry skin condition. That’s how LOVEKINS was born.
At the heart of Wriggly Toes, it’s our belief that families deserve more education and more choice when it comes to the home and our most precious ones - our kids. But, safe kids’ bedding doesn’t have to be boring! That’s why we have brought fresh and inspiring designs to life with the help of some very lovable characters. Bedtime stories about each character can be enjoyed for free at wrigglytoes.com.au.
Lovekins products harnesses the healing power of Australian nature. Honouring ancient Indigenous ingredients, Lovekins incorporates powerful bioactive ingredients such as Kakadu Plum, Blue Cypress, Kangaroo Paw Flower, Rosella Flower, Snowflower, Tasmanian Pepperberry and Finger Lime. Lovekins vision is to improve the health and happiness of families by empowering them with unique Australian products. Lovekins supports local communities by using sustainable native ingredients. Their eco-friendly products provide families with a simpler approach to parenting to enable future generations to thrive and be healthy. On the road to holistic wellness, Amanda realised that self-care was pertinent to herself and fellow sisters. LOVEKINS Women feminine hygiene range was a natural attrition to the Lovekins brand to support women and allow them to achieve their best. Lovekins is available online www.lovekins.com and selected Priceline stores in Australia. Please check the stockist page for further details.
“Beautiful products used on my granddaughter. The range of products are practical and useful for everyday use and they smell absolutely amazing! ” - Gail lovekins.com
We are genuinely trying to do something extraordinary for all parents and their kids. Making bedding products that aren’t enhanced with harmful dyes, available to families just like yours. We are taking on the bedding industry, one kid’s bed at a time. Who is behind Wriggly Toes - one mum and one dad, just like you. Our philosophy for our own kids’ lives is simple but meaningful: Safe + Happy. That’s wriggly-ology 101. Knowing how much time your family will spend in bed makes the bedding you choose an important decision. For carers on the lookout for the very best for their precious little ones, Wriggly Toes can guarantee, the search ends with Wriggly-ology 101. A discerning carer will find that not all bedding is equal. In fact, children’s bedding isn’t required by law to be completely free of chemicals that are known to be harmful. There are 24 chemicals that have allowable levels in the production of children’s bedding according the current Australian product safety guide. This standard is not high enough for Wriggly Toes. Fortunately, there is now a choice and the standards don’t get much higher. We at Wriggly Toes concluded that the only way to ensure the quality we wanted for our own children, was to raise the bar ourselves. We have done the research and achieved the certification that everyone, at every stage of the manufacturing process, can feel safe and happy enough to fall asleep on, containing nothing that could irritate delicate skin, even with prolonged contact. Wriggly Toes bedding is non-toxic, sustainable, and ethically made with minimal environmental impact. Wriggly Toes bedding is certifiably safe because it is manufactured to the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. This is a worldwide independent certification that guarantees its quality through traceable, scientifically tested methods and upholds The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Made with love and care from our family to yours, Alex, Victor, Olivia + Spencer
between the lines
It’s 20 August 2018, late summer in Stockholm, and it feels incredibly hot in the city. The TV news is reporting rising temperatures, and there have been numerous fires throughout Sweden.
A gentle guide for parents and educators to help foster a love of reading in children from birth and beyond. Award-winning teacher librarian Megan Daley unpacks twenty years of experience in children’s literature in this personable and accessible guide, enhanced with up-to-date research and firsthand accounts from well-known Australian children’s authors. Megan says, ‘creating “a culture of reading in your home encourages self-awareness, kindness and empathy, reduces stress and opens up new worlds and ways of thinking.’ Easy to follow, practical, and bursting with great book recommendations, activity ideas and more, Raising Readers is essential reading.
Fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg decides she can’t wait any longer: politicians have to do something to save the environment - she takes a placard to go on strike and sparks a global movement. This is her story, but also that of many other girls and boys around the world willing to fight against the indifference of the powerful for a better future. RRP $19.99
ALL BY MYSELF & ROCKING IT! Suzanne Duncan All by Myself & Rocking It! articulates what it takes to rock it on your own through a combination of mindset and practical advice that is easy to read and easy to implement. Ideal for any parent who is single due to loss or separation and who is ready to make a change. The book will help you gain insights into managing the single parent journey and move you from feeling powerless to feeling empowered. A must-read with simple messages and techniques for anyone needing support to create a life of their choosing.
RRP $22.00 discoverywithin.com.au
WHEN YOU’RE NOT OK Jill Stark
From Jill Stark, author of Happy Never After, comes this practical book of tips to help guide you through the tough times. This is a self-care manual for days when you feel alone — days when you worry that you’re too broken or unfixable to be normal. With compassion, humour, and honesty, Jill offers signposts to help you find the path back to yourself.
Whether you’re having a bad day, or a run of bad days that seems never-ending, When You’re Not OK is an emotional first-aid kit for your body, mind, and soul, written by someone who’s been there too. RRP $19.99 scribepublications.com.au
INNER CHILD JOURNEYS Robin Grille
Children are our greatest teachers; they bring us unimaginable joy but also trigger our deepest fears and subconscious patterns. In this book, Robin helps us to explore those fears and patterns in a gentle, supported process. With self-awareness, we are able to recognise when we have been triggered, and by taking the Inner Child Journey, we can release these old wounds. Step by step, we can understand our own childhood, and in
BABY, IT’S ONLY NATURAL Talita Sheedy Hey Mamas, I wrote this book as I was introducing foods to my 1st son, Jet. I was shocked to read the out-dated advice compared to what we now know today about gut health, natural immunity & allergies and intolerances. Being a Naturopath & Nutritionist I knew it was vital to get these early years of food optimal to set my children up for the future, especially to avoid the greatly concerning rise of health conditions in children. This book is research-evidence based, includes recipes and your week-to-week guide through this vital chapter for your bub. I’m sure by following my book you will have healthy happy children that love food as my two boys do. RRP $34.95
THE POWER OF SHOWING UP Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne
One of the best predictors for who any child becomes is whether someone has consistently shown up for them. As Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson explain, it’s not about time, energy, or money. Instead, showing up means offering a quality of presence. Every child needs to feel the Four S’s: safe, seen, soothed, and secure. The Power of Showing Up shares strategies for when our children are struggling or when they’re succeeding; when we’re consoling, disciplining, or arguing with them. Demonstrating that mistakes are repairable, this book is a powerful guide to cultivating your child’s healthy emotional landscape.
turn, understand our children better. Through this Journey, we can become more conscious, mindful and present with our children, our family, and our friends. Inner child work is some of the most important that we will ever do, this book is essential for all parents, and professionals who work with children. Reviewed by Nurture RRP $33.00 bookdepository.com
NATURAL LEARNING Beverley Paine
Natural learning lies at the heart of unschooling and reflects and nurtures the needs of the child and family. Beverley Paine’s easy to read Natural Learning Answers seeks to demystify and simplify the philosophy and practice of this style of home education. Using a question and answer approach. Beverley uses real examples to help parents understand how natural learning can enhance their educating experience. In her friendly way, Beverley walks you through learning to see the educational value in what our children do each day and learning to trust in ourselves as natural learners.
RRP $12.00 alwayslearning.com.au
RRP $29.99 scribepublications.com.au
FOR HELPING YOUR CHILD TO READ Words Dr. Ian Burgess
Use an Acknowledgement Sheet as a visual record of your child’s reading achievements. Sit down with your child when you are both relaxed. Ask them about their goals, for example it might be to read a particular series of books, or to read a chapter by themselves without your assistance. If the goal has several parts, break it down into small components, so they’re able to feel the sense of achievement with each step. Write down all the goals, be sure to include tick boxes or some other way to check off the goal. If the goal includes smaller steps, write the final goal at the bottom, and the series of steps above it. If your child is creative, they can decorate the sheet too. As they complete each component and each goal, your child can place a tick (or a stamp, or whatever they like) on the page. Ask them how they feel in achieving this goal, without prompting. ‘How does that make you feel?’ is a more open-ended question than ‘Does that make you feel good?’ This allows the child to feel into their body, and speak from the heart, rather than in any way seeking our approval. This approach supports intrinsic motivation, where we are following with their desire to improve their reading skills, rather than a parent or teacher imposed desire (extrinsic motivation).
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Hard Words Sheet
A Hard words Sheet is a way of giving your child a preview of the most difficult words in the text. You can read the words on the Hard Words Sheet to your child and explain their meanings, and even engage in some games with those words, before embarking on a reading of the text. You can also revise the Hard Words before any re-reading of the text. You can work with your child to compose a Hard Words Sheet, especially if your child has selected a text (perhaps from the library or a bookshop) that is beyond their instructional reading level (that is, your child makes more than one error in every ten words). Firstly, ask your child to indicate all the words in the first paragraph or on the first page that he/ she can’t decode or doesn’t understand. These words are then written by you onto a sheet of paper (the “Hard Words Sheet”) and are discussed and explained before the paragraph or page is read. As a guide, children usually struggle with long words, words containing vowel combinations (such as board, view, their) and words with apostrophes. Sometimes, though, even simple words like jig can be troublesome for children if they have no prior knowledge of the word. Ordinarily, the books children bring home from school will be at a level they can handle. A Hard Words Sheet opens up the possibility for children to choose more difficult texts that may seem appealing to them or that offer information on a topic connected to their interests.
“Letters Show Sounds”
Whenever reading is being attempted, ask your child to slide his/her index finger under the words in the text. This is NOT the same as bouncing the finger from word to word to show one-toone correspondence; nor is it a case of starting at the middle of one word and then sliding to the middle of the next word. Sliding Finger is meant to emphasise the strict, unique sequence of letters that comprises each word. When sliding, children are trying to match their finger placement to the letters representing the sounds they can hear as they
You read the text aloud while your child follows along using Sliding Finger. Your child only says the words he/she definitely knows. The parent prompt is: “Slide, Look and Listen”. This takes the pressure off children to have to decode the text individually. When Chorus Reading is paired with Sliding Finger, it enables you to monitor your child’s capacity to remain on-task and to match the placement of Sliding Finger to the parts of the words you are reading.
Use the prompt, “Letters Show Sounds”. This reminds your child that the letters have no agency, they do not produce the sounds, but are used by writers to represent the sounds. In contrast to prompts like: “letter ‘C’ SAYS /k/” or “the letters ‘EY’ MAKE / ee/”, (which give literal students the impression that letters and sounds are fixed), “Letters Show Sounds” enables children to recognise the complexities of the English language. Children who have a fixed view of language, whereby letters are seen as actually producing sounds, struggle to navigate the wide array of letter/sound correspondences that have evolved in English. For struggling readers, introductory encounters with phonics such as “Letter ‘S’ says /ssssssss/, like a snake” may instil a misunderstanding that the letter itself is responsible for the sound. Imagine the confusion for those students when, soon after being told that “Letter ‘S” “says /sssssss/” or “Letter ‘C” makes /k/”, they are exposed to the word circus. These confusions are exacerbated when vowel combinations are introduced: children who have been told that “letter ‘O’ says /o/ and letter ‘I’ makes /i/” now have to
read themselves or listen to their parents doing so. Sliding Finger begins under the first letter of each word and continues to the end of the word, then on to the end of the sentence. Initially, children may need assistance with the fine-motor requirements of this skill. Accurate Sliding Finger should improve decoding, fluency and even spelling. Sliding Finger is a good counter to the “blurt response”, wherein children tend to call out any word that has some of the same letters (especially the first letter) as the word they are trying to decode. A useful prompt here is: “Say the sounds you see”.
Chorus Reading is far more preferable to turn-taking reading, wherein your child may feel under pressure to “perform” when it is his/her turn. Parents can use Chorus Reading to read and reread a text, allowing children to build up confidence and fluency before attempting to read the text on their own. Chorus Reading also enables you to model fluent decoding, with appropriate expression, phrasing and attention to punctuation.
believe that ‘OI’ “says /oy/”. Whilst capable readers may take all this information in their stride, reluctant readers tend to become overwhelmed by it. A far more effective explanation for struggling readers should convey the understanding that letters are used to represent sounds. If, for example, a child is trying to decode ‘soil’, the prompt should be: “In that word, ‘o’ and ‘i’ chunk together to show the sound /oy/; let’s slide under the letters and say the sounds - /s/ /oy/ /l/; yes, that’s how we write the word ‘soil’. Do you know what ‘soil’ is?”. In this situation, the child is doing the speaking, not the letters. It is important for parents to understand the concept of letters showing sounds, especially in regard to digraphs and letter combinations, otherwise children who have been instructed at home to “sound it out” may attempt to say each letter separately (e.g. /s/ /o/ /i/ /l/). This elicits cumbersome, ineffective reading, and children attempting to employ this method tend to give up. If possible, letters that chunk together to show a single sound can be underlined on the Hard Words Sheet (whilst other letters can have a dot placed beneath them to signify that they each represent a single sound).
road trip back to you
Retreat Me Happy
MeTreat Women’s Retreats Billabong Retreat
Retreat Me Happy is here to inspire you with amazing Retreats in Australia, New Zealand, Bali and around the World.
Are you exhausted and feeling overwhelmed? Want to feel lighter, healthier, more energetic, more motivated and connected with yourself and some other amazing women?
What is a Retreat? It’s an event that someone specialised has organised that has scheduled activities planned for the duration of the day or your stay. They often include incredible locations, inclusive food, activities and all you have to do is pay and get there. What kind of Retreats are available? Yoga, Business, Detox, Wellness, Foodies, Women’s, Men’s, Mothers, Adventure, Equestrian, Art, Writing, Dance, Wine, Fitness, Surf and so very much more. When this is all over and you are ready to indulge in some well needed and well-earned self-care and indulgence, please pop over to our website for the best Retreats Australia has to offer. Or visit now and let us inspire you. The future is bright when we have beautiful Retreats ready and waiting for us.
Let us support you on your journey back to health and happiness at our weekend and one day women’s wellness retreats. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after sharing a retreat experience with us. It’s a great way to increase your vibe and start making positive and long-lasting changes to your life. We’d love to help you reboot your energy, increase your focus, find your purpose, make beautiful connections and most importantly, rediscover your ‘Inner Smile’! MeTreat’s women’s wellness retreats take place at a variety of stunning retreat venues in Victoria, Australia.
Need to hit the reset button? Staying at the Billabong Retreat is just the beginning…. Overlooking a natural billabong, this allinclusive wellness eco-resort is 5.4 km from Sheyville and 8 km from Scheyville National Park in NSW. Only 45 minutes from Sydney. Heal your gut with delicious whole-food organic meals & nutrition workshops. Take a healing soak in their aqua therapy magnesium pool. Be Inspired with evidence-based wellness workshops and reconnect with nature in amazing water view treehouse cabins, there’s also a spa and an outdoor pool. Reinvigorate your body with daily yoga and meditation classes. Children age 12 and over are welcome also. Winners of Best Health & Wellness Retreat and Most Unique Accommodation NSW Tourism Awards.
Vikki 0410 745737 or Tanya 0407 332212
41 Mcclymonts Rd, Maraylya NSW 2765
(02) 4573 6080
Sarah 0402 187 887 retreatmehappy.com billabongretreat.com.au 72
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Relax. Restore. Retreats.
I AM THAT - YOGA
What a year 2020 has been? More than ever, you need to prioritise self-care! You might need to reset some patterns and restore your health. Taking yourself away, out of routine is such an important way to regenerate. Reconnecting with yourself and nurturing all parts of you so you can move forward being the best version of you.
Let’s take a lockdown trip … all the way to your dining table. It’s time to clear off the laundry and home-learning packs and set a place for dinner because sharing joy with our children matters now more than ever. If fussy eaters, broccoli battles, unfair clean ups, or just the dreaded ‘What’s for dinner?’ are blocking your journey, Bec Lloyd’s Flawsome Family Mealbook is your roadmap. It’s a book! With 200 pages in print or digital editions, Bec’s Mealbook reads like you’re talking to a friend – one who’s spent 20+ years writing about education and food, and feeding a family of five. She’s the voice you need now to get your family together. Join Bec’s free ‘family meals mindset’ program at unyucky.thinkific.com, and watch for family food market tours once we’re social again!
Community, Connection, Yoga. Those were the things that defined our Yoga business. How were we going to keep serving our community if the world was asking us to stay apart?
Mealbook Chapters • Plan • Prepare • Serve • Enjoy • Clean Up • Recipes
0481 277 023
This five-day transformational experience is more than you could imagine! You’ll connect deeply to yourself to fully reset and renew, revealing a new energised you. Hosted by Karlie McKeand, experienced Naturopath and retreat facilitator, includes accommodation, all meals and fresh juices, yoga, healing experiences as well as mindset enhancing workshops. Places are limited. Book now. You need this more than ever! 0434 223 450 karliemckeand.com.au
The answer was right there: By building a vibrant virtual space that has been described by so many as: safe, comforting, welcoming, generous, warm, fun, considered. So, same same, but different.The world doesn’t need another Yoga app. Or more Instagram or Zoom live classes. It needs Community. And those fortunate need to support those less fortunate because we are all in this together. So we built a Virtual Yoga Community that offers so much and is affordable for those who can afford it and free for those who can’t. Victoria Csarmann
NURTURE TEAM PICKS
1. Moulin Roty Australia Travel the world with Chausette the fox and friends from Moulin Roty’s Voyage d’Olga range. Join the adventure with a family of geese, a whale, and a polar bear. The range includes soft & wooden toys, nursery accessories, musical instruments and more.
3. Little Aussie Monster
5. Little Greenies
7. Joolz Australia
Multipurpose change mat that allows you to change bub and keep their hands clean out of the messy nappy, with a soft barrier that folds up in front of bub.
Hevea rubber bath toys are 100% pure natural rubber, free of phthalates, PVC and BPA. Handpainted with pure natural plant pigments. Soft, malleable and easy for tiny hands to grasp. No holes, no mould.
As parents ourselves, we know young families want the best stroller possible. So, we made it easy to (un)fold in a second, lightweight at just 6kg, and designed with ergonomic comfort and travelling in mind. It’s compact, foldable, well ventilated, and stores everything you need for the big journey ahead. Joolz Aer, more than a stroller.
RRP $29.00 littleaussiemonster.com.au
RRP $ $67.95 moulinrotyaustralia.com.au
Havea bath toys start at RRP $15.95 littlegreenie.com.au
RRP $749.00 my-joolz.com.au
2. Danish by Design
The Bednest was developed by midwives and has all the right features for safe co-sleeping with your baby. Bednest is beautifully crafted from beech wood and has a fully height adjustable stand and breathable mesh sides. It is easily put up or down in less than 2 minutes without using tools.
Nuna AACE™ Booster Seat (Suitable for: 4 years to 8 years) The side impact protection pods and belt path indicators make riding super secure. They’ll enjoy wearing a seatbelt and you’ll be happy because you know they’re safe. When you have an adjustable headrest, and 8 recline positions, how could they not be?
RRP $499.95 incl mattress danishbydesign.com.au
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RRP $199 nunababy.com/aace
6. Compassionate Parent Developed by a Clinical Psychologist The Compassionate Parent App draws upon evidencebased strategies from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology to offer health and wellbeing strategies for parents. RRP $4.49 thecompassionateparent.com.au
8. Heal With ideas to inspire everyone to make a change in their lives - no matter how big or small - Heal by Pete Evans will help you to find the path to your healthiest self. RRP $32.99 panmacmillan.com.au
9. Lively Living
Lively Living have worked with the world leaders to bring you the latest in sleep technology, underpinned by evidence based research on the science of sleep. Never before have so many sleep features, been incorporated into the one device. The AromaSnooze assists your child to get to sleep quickly and stay asleep too! RRP $115.00 (Includes Certified Organic Snooze Blend) livelyliving.com.au
10. Wriggly Toes
Safe and Fun Organic Kids Bedding that lights up little faces. Each character is accompanied by a unique bedtime story to read to your little ones. Lovingly made with 100% Organic Cotton. RRP $139.00 wrigglytoes.com.au
11. Angelrock Jewellers
Gorgeous keepsake Stainless steel Treasure Locket which opens with a twist-screw action giving security to the treasure within. Keep the memories with you with babies hair, a picture or for an additional cost, a handcrafted jewel containing breastmilk or other DNA. RRP $38.50 angelrockjewellers.com.au
12. uPang uPang is the world’s first UV Toy & Bottle Sterilizer. This clever unit enables rapid sterilization of a wide variety of products removing 99% of potential pathogens. Sterilize your bottles, teats, dummies, plus many other household items such as mobile phones, toys, keys, remote controls. Can’t imagine life without it. upangsterilizer.com.au
13. RAWr RAWr Modern Cloth Nappies Trial Pack: Helping you reduce baby’s carbon bumprint. What are RAWr Nappies? Reusable versions of single-use disposables.Used as a modern alternative to folded nappies, pins and pilchers. Hemp. Bamboo. Eco Friendly. RRP from $45 rawrnappies.com.au/nappy-trialpacks
14. Lion & Lady
Everyone can be a change maker, an eco-warrior, and it’s never too early to start. Lion & Lady gives you the security & adaptability of a bottle that is easy to clean and easy to heat, while being sustainable and eco friendly. RRP $29.95 lionandlady.com
15. The Mama Circle
This set of 24 Breastfeeding Affirmation cards feature useful, easy to remember facts about breastfeeding, and positive phrases to assist in maintaining a good mindset, and overcoming challenges. The perfect gift for any expecting or new mum. RRP $29.95 themamacircle.com.au
16. Bayard Magazines
Nurture your child’s love for reading, curiosity, and knowledge with Bayard Magazines! Loved by parents and educators alike, Bayard’s magazines have been consistently recognised by the Parents’ Choice awards. Beautiful stories, comics, games, and valuable tidbits of science and history are woven together to nurture children’s passion. Helping them develop their true potential. RRP 1-year subscription: $113 bayardmagazines.com
EDUCATION OPTION OR LIFESTYLE CHOICE? Words Debbie Jay
When first considering homeschooling, I was mainly concerned with the education system and whether it would support my children to thrive. In deciding to homeschool, I was aware of some of the impacts and commitments. For example, one parent needs to be available the majority of the time. And the kids are around alllll the time (for most parents), there is no break! However, it’s only a few years into our journey that I can truly appreciate the homeschooling lifestyle and all that it affords us. I’m going to list a few of my favourites, I’m sure that each homeschooling family has different aspects they enjoy, and there’s likely more that I haven’t thought of. RELAXED SCHEDULE We can choose to be as busy, or as quiet as we like. In the first few terms of homeschooling last year, we took on a few too many activities, and the kids were getting very tired by the end of the week. So, we scaled it back, and we’ve found 2-3 organised activities per week is our sweet spot. One of these is usually a park play with other homeschooling kids, and the others are organised along with other homeschooling families, like language lessons, ninja warrior, bush kindy or ice skating lessons. Some of these also allow for some downtime and socialisation for us mums, too. SLEEP INS! This is a big one for us. None of us are morning people, and having worked in construction before having kids, I can confirm that I’m not a cheerful person when I have to get up really early. We’re all night owls, so it works perfectly for us to go to bed a little later, and get up when we’re ready in the morning. We don’t book any activities that start before 10am, so we don’t have to battle traffic to get anywhere, either.
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HOLIDAYS WHENEVER WE WANT This is partly homeschooling, and partly because my husband and I both run our own businesses. We’re not reliant on school holiday windows or when we can book time off work to go on holidays, we can take spur of the moment trips or travel for several weeks during the school term. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but after seeing other families juggle school holidays and having to compromise because it’s always peak (= most expensive time) to travel, plus everything books out really quickly, I’ve realised how much freedom we have in this aspect. THE JOY IN THEIR FACES I know that all parents have the opportunity to see their children’s faces light up as they perfect a new skill, or learn something for the first time. I feel that opportunity is amplified with homeschooling though, with the ability to follow the child’s lead, see them learn when they are ready for it, and watch that joy as they realise they can add up sums without using their fingers, or work together in a team to build a raft. I think we vastly underestimate the importance of children being able to learn in their own time. My kids favourite time to do ‘maths’ is in the car or just before bed! This is clearly when their minds are open to this new information, and as a result they pick it up SO quickly. We don’t have to do anywhere near the repetition that’s required in schools in order for them to pick it up. I’d love to hear your favourite aspects of homeschooling! Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll run an article featuring your responses.
Happy homeschooling adventures, from our family to yours.
Share Abode Words Wilhelmina Ford Photo Photo Collective Co
I am all about empowering mums, especially single mums. Being a single mum myself to a 3.5-year-old and 14-month old I really think that caring for yourself is vital. Single mums struggle with this because of the challenges that they are faced with daily. That can be anything from financial stress, emotional challenges, loneliness, self-care time, or just a shoulder to cry on. Because of all of these challenges, and a huge passion within me to help this community of single mums, I created a platform three months ago called ShareAbode. It works on the principle that two single mums raising children together, sharing resources, rent and living expenses together can achieve more than one going it alone. If rent and expenses are half the cost, then savings will be doubled and financial obligations for a single mum would be less stressful. A less stressed mum can help alleviate fatigue and depression, allowing healthier interaction with themselves (self-confidence), with their children, and with life in general.
The resource of having another single mum living under the same roof has benefits for the daily burdens. Chores such as cooking, cleaning, garden maintenance, laundry and even some child care aspects such as homework or carpooling, are not just dependant on the one mum but are shared between both families. At the heart of it is the chance to empower single mums to come together and create their own village for their own tribe and get a step up in life to come closer to achieving whatever goals they have. It’s a chance for them to help themselves, and one another, and truly care about doing it. I hope that by offering single mums this platform, to connect with one another for house sharing, it can make a significant difference in the social and economic lives of single mums in Australia. She can have that bubble bath and glass of wine, now that the kids are being taken care of for a while, too!
ask naomi you are your child’s lawyer
With Naomi Aldort Author of Raising THE STRUGGLE Our Children, RaisingTAKING Ourselves. new cover.qxd
— Pe g g y O ' M a r a E d i t o r a n d P u b l i s h e r, M o t h e r i n g m a g a z i n e
Naomi Aldort reminds us that we really can trust our children and our natural instinct to love them unconditionally. Not only that, she shows us how, with clarity and consistency. Her formula for parenting truly is a SALVE for the soul in troubled times. — John Breeding, Ph.D. A Psychiatrist and Author of The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses
Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves is a book long overdue and should be on the must read list of all new moms and dads. This book could carry a subtitle: “Saving the Emotional Lives of Our Children and The Future of Humanity…” As Naomi states: “Love must be unconditional for a child to stay in integrity with his own authentic self.” — Ja m e s W. Pr e s c o t t , P h . D . Institute of Humanistic Science
Naomi Aldort is a miracle worker. I know; I am married to her. — Harvey Aldort
is a parenting and
Parents in this culture feel obligated to make children unnoticeable. Like you, most parents do whatever they can to protect the adult world and to let adults have a life in which there are no “disturbances” from children. In contrast, I teach to let children interact with the real world and be fully included. In this way they learn from direct experience, and are equal social beings. We are all humans, at all ages, taking part in the experience of being alive. Therefore, we must stop protecting people based on age, and, stop acting from fear of inconveniencing adults. Instead, it is time to realise, in action, that children are people. In fact, children learn best through real authentic interactions. Since society seems to still see children as second class, you have to be your child’s lawyer; instead of thwarting your child’s intent to protect the adult, stand for your child’s right. At age 2-3 our oldest son loved restaurants but not for eating. He loved going from table to table and talking to people at length, often reciting whole memorised books about dinosaurs. Although many enjoyed the charming visitor, for others it may have gone too long. I did not protect people from his chattery visits. I didn’t remove him when he interrupted a romantic dinner, nor did I intervene when he went into a long lecture while people had a business meeting. That would be very disrespectful of my child and patronising (disrespectful) towards the adults (as if they cannot take care of themselves.) If these adults cannot assert themselves when they need to, that is for them to live with. When they did, the child responded very respectfully and learnt from real life. He also learnt to value himself, to be self-directed, and to feel autonomous. And the biggest prize: It spared us from having parent child struggles since I was not the orchestrator of my son’s life. Your job is not to thwart your child’s intent in order to protect others, but to stand by her in case someone does her harm.
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writer and public speaker. Her advice
Tr a n s f o r m i n g p a re n t c h i l d re l a t i o n s h i p s f r o m re a c t i o n a n d s t r u g g l e t o f re e d o m , p ow e r a n d j oy
columns appear in parenting magazines around the world.
My daughter is very active in public and I don’t know how to keep her from disturbing other people. For example, In line to the movie she meanders between people. I keep telling her to stay with me; she stays for a short while and then off she goes again. In the playground she is very loud and I keep asking her to quiet down. For her; joy means screaming. How do I teach her to respect other people?
PA R E N T I N G / S E L F - H E L P
Naomi Aldort, Ph.D.,
R AISING O UR C HILDREN , R AISING OURSELVES A LDORT
OUT OF PARENTING
Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves operates on the radical premise that neither child nor parent must dominate. Aldort offers specific suggestions for relinquishing control in favor of authenticity. Lots of help for those who want to give up scolding, threatening and punishing. Her SALVE “formula” alone is worth the price of the book.
“A child has an equal right to exist and do what she needs to do.” She is not a transition towards a person, but a person. Your child will learn best from direct encounter with people of all ages. As long as everyone is free to take care of themselves and no one is hurting anyone, life can continue and be respected. The result is consistent; children learn best this way and behave extremely well precisely because they do not experience being controlled, manipulated and losing power.
TO HELP YOURSELF, ASK THESE CRUCIAL QUESTIONS: 1. Why is the need of the adult to stand motionless in the movie line (while passing time talking, reading or thinking) more important than your child’s need to pass time by moving between the people? 2. What happens to you, emotionally, that gets you more concerned about these adults than about your child? 3. Are you protecting these people because you think they are inept and cannot take care of themselves? 4. Or: Are you insecure, trying to impress or look good in their eyes (usually as a result of anxiety about pleasing parents when you were a child). Once you answer these questions for yourself, you will find it much easier to stand by your child’s right to exist in her own ways. The deeper work that you may need is to deal with possible anxiety you carry from your childhood, that drives you to fear the judgment of another adult. To do that, imagine a time when someone actually said to you, “What kind of father are you? You child is disturbing everyone, running about between them, and you are doing nothing…”
Notice if this turns you into a child yourself, and you feel paralysed, anxious and needing to defend yourself and prove that you are worthy. That focus about yourself is what gets in the way of being your child’s lawyer. The comment from the adult won’t hurt you once you know your job and stay focused on the child. Feeling powerful and confident yet caring, you can validate, “I understand that you prefer that the child wouldn’t meander between you and your friends. Please feel free to ask her to skip around the three of you.”In fact, you can even empower your child direct connection with people. A parent told me about a child who refused to get out of the swimming pool when the pool was closing. This mother kept telling the child to get out of the water. The child was having such a good time; he saw no reason to get out. I suggested to this mother to ask the lifeguard to talk directly to the child. Next time, she did, and the child cooperated promptly because it was real and believable.
Do you have a parenting question for Naomi? Send us an email! email@example.com If Naomi answers your question in the next edition of Nurture, you’ll win a copy of The Power of Showing up by Daniel J Siegel, MD & Tina Payne Bryson, PhD. Courtesy of scribepublications.com.au Valued at $29.99
Needing to protect an adult from a child is rare; more often you may have to protect the child from the adult - not by talking to the adult, but by acting or talking with the child. Or, you and your child can always discuss things later for clarity. Most often, however, the nice thing about being on your child’s side is that there is no courthouse and no job at all. Unless someone is unsafe or hurting, just stay out of the way and trust that living beings of all ages can and do find their ways.
To book a private skype session visit naomialdort.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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