Author Archives: Lucy H. Pearce

Memory Box

Loretta joined us at the East Cork Red Tent in June and spoke incredibly movingly about a poem she was writing. A poem about memory and forgiveness, about the line of pain and healing which passes down from mother to daughter, and its location in our wombs. I immediately asked her if I could see it for The Happy Womb, and am so honoured that she has allowed me to share it with you here as a guest post.

Memory Box

I am kneeling in my Grandmother’s kitchen
Slippery smells of iron and blood
Hang
Clotting in the air
Wearing my childbirth apron,
I gently unfurl my wounded inheritance
Poultice applications and salves of love
and forgiveness
Ready to apply.

I unstitch my foot soles, two flapping footprints
Examining the roads and trails these
Sentient beings have taken
Each labyrinth a path and player
In my identity.

I pop my corneas and holding each up to the light,
I peer through these misted lenses
These look outs which have captured all that myself
And my grandmothers have seen, watched and
Looked away from.

I scrub my tongue, lengthways and widthways,
Scouring at the sounds, roars and attempts to be heard
Embedded on it
All that we have spoken and hushed and cried and howled
I slice my belly open and reaching in
I touch my womb, pulsating and piping hot
In my cradling hands
Our womb, which has drawn down life and death
In dark bogs and air conditioned rooms
I run warm water through it, better examining the
Cemented imprints of coiled foetuses and smudged
Out souls, I cry for my grandmothers
For their children and mine.

I am resolute in my demand
That the pain stops here
I pray for healing in
The cleaning of this
Old memory Box.

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lorettaLoretta Kennedy is a freelance writer and advocate who lives in Cork with her partner and children.

Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as ‘The Stinging Fly’, ‘The Burning Bush’, ‘The Cuirt Journal’
and the poetry anthology ‘Jacobs Ladder’ (Six Gallery Press).Her parenting articles have appeared
in magazines such as ‘Juno’ and ‘Easy Parenting’.

She has worked as a stage manager, a magazine
editor, a nurse and an advocate and now primarily as a mother to three wild girls. She is currently
training as a birth doula.

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Your Receptive Time: what it is…and why it is valuable

This is a guestpost by Barbara Hanneloré, founder of Women’s Way Moon Cycles.

Recently I was asked why I referred to the menstrual time of the month as being “receptive,” when it is, physically, a release of a flow outward. The woman said she would not think of that time as being receptive, and of course I could understand her point.

Why is menstruation considered a “receptive” time?

A receptive time of month is when we are more sensitive to impressions and more inwardly focused, which is what happens around the time of menstruation for most women. This is an energetic quality, more than a physical one. Menstruation is our “inner time,” energetically, when we turn toward ourselves and focus on our own feelings and needs.

This offers us a necessary and healing balance to all those other times of the month when we are most likely to be extending ourselves outward and focusing on other people!

When we think of our cycle as having “phases” throughout the month, like the moon or seasons, we can begin to appreciate these different qualities, and use them to our advantage.

“My cycle makes so much more sense, now that I understand what is happening all month long!” Renee, Realtor, TX

Generally, the time around ovulation is considered to be a “radiant” time of the month for a woman, like full moon or summer; our energy expands outward into social activity, projects and conversations. We are fully engaged with our community.

The balance to this outer focus is that the “light” then wanes as menstruation approaches – we enter a different phase, just as the moonlight and sunlight wane at certain times. Our quality becomes one of Being, more than Doing; we sit within ourselves, like dark moon or winter; our energy is drawing inward.

We are letting go of what no longer serves us, physically and on other levels as well. As we release the old, we absorb the beginnings of the new. Boundaries are more fluid at this time, and that means two we want to be open to new guidance and inspiration,while guarding ourselves from disturbing or exhausting input that has no value for us.

One of the reasons this time of month is so challenging for us is that we try to continue on with our lives as if nothing is happening, when we actually are being gifted with a highly sensitive time that can be a powerful tool for change! We are more affected by our surroundings, easily impacted, and need to take care of ourselves so as not to become overwhelmed or

“When I didn’t have enough energy, I just kept pushing, and really as I look back over the last couple decades, that
hasn’t served anyone!” Eva, Health Coach, OR

This is the time to step back and take a break – to gain wisdom by evaluating and making sense of the month that has just gone by. To receive guidance for the coming month. To absorb the subtle messages we may need in order to stay healthy and inspired.

We want to refresh and renew ourselves with yummy and comforting impressions – not deplete and exhaust ourselves with the overwhelm that we may deal with on a daily basis. The true gift of the menstrual time is that the sensitivity allows us to attain exquisite and transformative “inner” states of being – if we are not continually distracted by the “outer” concerns of

So – try to create a space for some “time out,” and guard this time as you would any other important appointment – free from unnecessary interruptions and disturbing images or drama. Take a break from the media! Save complex activities for a later time! Don’t engage in conversations that don’t feel good.

You can do it! This will be different for each woman, of course, but these personal “seasons” can become predictable, and used to your advantage. Not only for productivity, but for fulfillment as well…and when you’re happy, others are happy too!

Once you begin with small steps, more ideas will occur to you, and you will begin to transform your month into one that serves you, as it was meant to.
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Barbara HannDisplaying Image.jpgeloré is founder of Women’s Way Moon Cycles, a creative program that embraces the natural beauty of women’s cycles in a holistic and healing way. She has helped women re-discover the power of their inner rhythms through the gifts of Nature, Sacred Space and the Healing Arts for over 20 years. She is author of the award-winning book, The Moon and You: a Woman’s Guide to an Easier Monthly Cycle, and host of the virtual workshop, Welcome Your Rhythm.

Learn more at WomensWayMoonCycles.com.

Struggling to Conceive?

Struggling to Conceive? Learn How Fertility Tests May Help

Although 85% of women are happily pregnant within a year of trying for a baby, for other couples it takes far longer than this to conceive. If you have not managed to conceive within a year of trying or within 6 months if you are over 35, you may decide to undergo fertility tests to see whether there is a particular reason you are struggling to become pregnant. Making this decision then allows you to get access to the necessary treatment, which may include assisted fertilisation.

Tests to diagnose possible infertility

As it’s possible for both men and women to have problems with infertility, it is wise that you both take part in fertility testing. For women the first step is usually a blood test to measures levels of your hormones that control ovulation, as this can assess whether you ovulate, which is essential if fertilisation is to take place. Your family doctor will usually carry out this test and at the same time check for levels of other hormones that control reproduction, such as those produced by your thyroid and pituitary gland. Your partner may also be asked for a semen sample, as analysis of this shows whether his sperm are in good health. If the results of these tests show that you are not ovulating or semen analysis highlights a problem with your partner’s sperm, you will usually need to see a fertility specialist, though if either of you have a history of STDs, pelvic or urogenital surgery, these are also indicators that you need more specialist advice.

Although your specialist will decide on the most appropriate fertility tests given your own circumstances, they may decide that an ultrasound scan to check your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries is advisable. This can find conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome, all of which affect fertility and are treatable. However, your doctor may need a more detailed inspection of your reproductive organs, in which case they will arrange a hysterosalpingography (a specialist X-ray) or a laparoscopy (a form of non-invasive surgery) to take a closer look. If these tests show any irregularities, your specialist will advise on the surgical procedures available. Your doctor may also recommend that your partner has a scrotal or rectal ultrasound to rule out any obstructions or other problems with your partner’s tubes.

Rarely a genetic condition may explain the cause of your infertility, so if other tests do not show any reason for your difficulty conceiving, your specialist may offer genetic testing to you both. However, you should bear in mind that with each further test you have, this will often increase the size of the bill you receive from your fertility clinic.

Undergoing fertility treatment

The results of your fertility tests will decide the most suitable treatment option for you, but these broadly fall under taking fertility medication to induce ovulation, undergoing a surgical procedure to correct a blockage or another structural problem, or starting assisted conception. If assisted conception is advised, IVF is the not the only option available to you, and your specialist will discuss the range of procedures available to aid conception, though the cost of these varies, which you may need to take into account. Whichever option you choose, your doctor will probably tell you not to give up on any lifestyle changes that you have already made to enhance fertility, as these may also increase the effectiveness of assisted reproductive treatments. For instance, research shows that losing excess weight, eating a well-balanced diet, taking regular exercise, managing stress and reducing caffeine and alcohol intake may all increase the chance of a successful pregnancy following treatment.

If you are keen to explore complementary therapies that may enhance the effectiveness of fertility treatment, acupuncture shows promise for increasing the rate of pregnancy and live births. Research also indicates that yoga boosts mental wellness among women before they receive IVF, which theoretically may improve the outcome of your treatment.

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Laura Wright worked in nutritional science and health provision before turning to writing for a new career. Now she combined ghost writing for a wide range of businesses and organizations with spreading the word about a number of health guides she’s personally invested in. When not writing, she likes spending time with her family and going for long hikes.

Treat Yourself!

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How do you treat yourself?

My treats of choice are soft fruit. cake… and BOOKS!

I’m doing a Midsummer Sale – so that you can treat yourself (or a sister, friend or daughter).

So if you’ve been waiting to grab a paperback or e-book copy of:

  • Moon Time,
  • The Rainbow Way,
  • Reaching for the Moon,
  • Moods of Motherhood
  • Or a moon dial…

They are all 20% off till this Sunday night.

(The discount is applied direct to your shopping cart, no coupon required!)

And whilst we’re on the subject of treating ourselves, my ultimate way has always been with CAKE!

But unfortunately I’ve have had to rethink this recently for health reasons.

I have talked to many women over the past couple of months who have also realised what a big impact wheat and sugar have on their energy levels, weight, mental health, mood and menstrual cycle… Today’s post over on my other blog, Dreaming Aloud, is about my reluctant journey to low sugar, gluten free eating …

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Encouragement For Women’s Workers Everywhere: When You Are Feeling Downhearted, Alone and Misunderstood

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I was blown away by the response to yesterday’s post: Why Aren’t Women Interested in Women’s Work? It received over ten times the usual daily views. And elicited an outpouring of support and empathy from readers and fellow women’s workers from around the world. What a circle of women we have gathered here!

It showed me that a lot of us are dealing with the same sort of feelings and responses… are nursing the same worries and concerns. We are showing up wholehearted… and finding few out there who are yearning to engage wholeheartedly with us. Or finding that people are expressing interest… but not showing up. And it can be disheartening. Leading us to question: ” am I on the right path, am I doing the right thing?” If my passion is helping women, how can I become more accessible, how can I be more of service, whilst staying true to my values and supporting myself?

I believe our work really matters, and so it seems to hundreds of others who registered their support yesterday –  on Facebook pages, message chats, over a kitchen table with a steaming hot cup of lemon balm tea, and in the lounge after dinner. I wanted to condense the insights that I garnered here to share the immense collective insight.

“All around me I see suppressed people, crying out for SOMETHING, but they don’t even know what that is, because they’ve been kept in the dark so long.

 I used to think if a lot of the stuff I now hold as my core belief system, as claptrap, hooey… I suppressed everything and was a total mental and physical wreck as a result!

Look around you. These women NEED you. They just don’t know it yet!”

Zoe from Raw Yoga

Continue reading

Why Aren’t Women Interested?

This is the thought that struck me between the eyes.

I had just done a book reading of my #1 Amazon Best Selling book, The Rainbow Way… to an audience of one.

I had just led a red tent circle with 14 women… most of whom had travelled 40 minutes or more to be there.

I am about to lead a workshop… a free women’s workshop… and am aware that numbers may well be small.

Where are all the women? If this truly is women’s work… then why are they at One Direction in their tens of thousands… and not here? Why are they reading 50 Shades… and not Moon Time?

 

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Why aren’t women interested in women’s work… if it’s about women… and if there is no price barrier? Why is if off-putting? Why are creative mothers not interested in learning more about how to support their creative selves? Why women aren’t interested in learning more about how their bodies work if they are struggling with fertility or PMS? Why women don’t feel a need for women’s space? Why many women would rather run a mile than engage in stuff which could directly benefit and support them…

I often apologise to people that my work is niche…

But how can something which is accessible to 50% of the population be “niche”?

But it is. It truly is.

I know that most of the women I know personally, who I meet in the course of our daily lives have zero interest in what I do. They would not come along to a red tent, or read a book on womancraft, even if they were paid.

Partly because of preconceptions about what might be said or done at such a thing. But mainly because they do not feel a need.

My mind boggles at this… how can women NOT feel a need to find a way to live at ease in their bodies, in our patriarchal culture? Are they not chaffed by it every day? Are they not shut down by it in all the ways I was, and am, and do they not long for a little space to breathe freely, to speak freely? A few ideas which, like oxygen, can keep them alive, which speak to how they see and feel the world?

Apparently not.

And that confuses me hugely. For if my work is not attractive to the women in my local area, if it is not desirable… but rather avoidable, awkward, embarrassing… then surely it is not women’s work… if women don’t want to do it…

For every woman who finds it and cries tears of relief for finding a space which feels like home. For finding words which speak to her soul and shift her life. There are hundreds of others left cold by it.

I feel an edge-walker in my community. I realise there are women in the world who would walk over hot coals to work with me, who eagerly await my next book. But here I am a weird anomally. My work almost incomprehensible. What is it? Why would we want to do that?

Two clues for me emerged: one at church over the weekend. I was there for the funeral of a much-loved woman in our community. The church was standing room only, the crowds spilling out into the sunshine, to pay their respects to this beautiful loving soul. But instead of focusing on her tremendous hearts and gifts, the priest, one of 5 there officiating, spent 20 minutes telling us about the male god and how he created the world, and how the son of god saves us from it, and how it was humans who brought suffering into the world, how we were unworthy sinners… my bile rose. I bit my tongue. it has been a long time since I was in a church. But most of my community would go every week. And if you listened to this every week, as well as mascerating in our culture of male agendas, you have to have some way of justifying it, of squaring it and making it bearable… as to why your gender, and therefore you, were irrelevant, second-class… and have been for centuries.

The second clue is dropped by  Sue Monk Kidd in her superb book on feminine spiritual awakening which I am reading for a second time:

“Like the Sandman from the nursery story, who stole into children’s rooms and put them to sleep by sprinkling sleep dust over them, our culture, even the culture of our faith, has helped anesthetize the feminine spirit.

“I like the way that Clarissa Pinkola Estes puts it:

“When a woman is exhorted to be compliant, cooperative and quiet, to not make upset or go against the old guard, she is pressed into living a most unnatural life – a life that is self-binding… without innovation. The world-wide issue for women is that under such conditions they are not only silence, but put to sleep. Their concerns, their viewpoints,  their own truths are vapourised.”

Women don’t see the need for this work, don’t feel the need for it… because they don’t see or feel that there’s anything particular wrong…in their lives, or their culture.

But there comes a time, when a woman feels herself chaffed  too hard. When she finds herself going mad in the ordinary world. When traumatised by a birth, depressed post partum, angry at having no support whilst working and caring for a home and family, navigating menopause and she finds herself alone, abandoned and uncared for by the culture to which she had given her allegiance in return for her silence… in that moment she feels her longing rise, a longing for a culture which supports her, in which she does not have to hide her full self, or apologize for herself. Which can help her to navigate this inner world to which she has been numb her whole life.

Then, and only then, she will run towards womancraft like a thirsty woman towards a desert oasis. So grateful that it is there.

And I am there, for that moment. Waiting quietly in the dark… calling you home. An anomally, a holding space. With no agenda but to hold and hear you, and offer you a bag of tools.

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I was deeply touched and honoured that this post was UBER popular amongst women workers around the world. For a compilation of their wise and insightful responses see this post, as well as the comments below and on the Facebook page.

The Power of Peri­menopause and Menopause: Guest Post from Diane Salisbury

Some years ago I was fortunate to discover the work of, the wonderful, Alexandra Pope, author of
‘The Wild Genie’ and ‘The Women’s Quest’. It was from there that I immersed myself in the world
of menstrual awareness. I became increasingly aware of the wisdom of the menstrual cycle and
the gifts within it. On this journey I discovered much, one of the main things being that as women
we are often sold a story that is incomplete. In the popular media periods are portrayed as just a
physical phenomenon; they are not seen as a gift that offer self­ awareness, which I, and
increasingly many others, believe them to be.

As I approached middle age I realised that I had been sold another half story, this time about
menopause and peri menopause. In fact, it was not until I started on this journey that I had even
heard of the phrase ‘peri­menopause’. It made me realise just how little I knew about the next
transition that lay before me. So I started looking for the rest of the story. For somewhere inside I
could feel that as middle age woman I was not going to quietly recede from society and that
maybe even the opposite was true. Could this phase of our lives open up opportunities?

Like pregnancy, labour and the menstrual cycle, it is usually the horror stories that we are told. I
recognise that these experiences maybe challenging and not always ‘positive’, but they are not
always negative either. It is often the positive aspect of the story that is left out. Menopause might
be challenging in many different ways, both physically and emotionally, but what of its gifts? I was
intrigued as to what lay ahead and what these gifts might be. I wanted to enter this phase of my
life consciously, with awareness and with more of the story. So I began to explore what might lie
ahead.

I discovered that before entering menopause many women experience times of tiredness, anxiety,
doubt, depression and anger. So while they might not have any physical symptoms, this phase
can have a huge impact on their emotional lives, especially as many do not realise that these
symptoms may be caused by peri­menopause. It is often only with hindsight, when they enter
menopause, that they realise this. This reminded me of the menstrual cycle. How many times
have you heard either yourself or a friend say ‘I thought that I was going mad but then I got my
period and realised I was just premenstrual’? However what do we leave out if we dismiss these
feelings and emotions?

Dr. C. Northrup likens this peri­menopause phase to the pre­menstrual phase of the menstrual
cycle. A time for going inwards and reflection. This can be challenging, particularly with our busy
lives and within a society that doesn’t always value quiet reflection and withdrawing. It is seen as
optimum if we can always be switched on and dynamic. But I feel it’s vitally important to harvest
the gifts of the peri­menopause phase and to hear what is calling you.

There also seems to be a split between women around menopause. Between those who take
HRT and those who don’t. There seems to me to be some judgments, on both sides, that I believe
can stop women coming together. If we can respect that we all have our own medicine and own
journey, we can then cultivate a non­judgmental attitude towards each other. This coming
together itself could be very supportive and healing. It may also be very powerful, and that is
essentially what I think we are really talking about with the menopause transition. It’s about a
woman, and women coming into their power.

I think that’s really exciting; the thought that, at menopause, women do not fade from society, but
rather they come into their own power. I now run workshops in which women can come together
and explore this, and other ideas and issues around peri­menopause and menopause.
Together we can write the other part of the story and tell it to others.

dianeGuest Post from Diane Salisbury
I currently work as a counsellor in private practice in North London. I also run workshops on peri­menopause / menopause, the next one is in the 8th June in North London.

You can contact me via
Email : dsalisbury101@gmail.com
Web : www.dianesalisbury.co.uk
Facebook : www.facebook/dianesalisburycounselling.