Category Archives: girls’ empowerment

Reaching for the Moon – a girl’s introduction to her female cycles

I’m delighted to announce the launch of my third book:Reaching for the Moon – a girl’s guide to her female cycles.

(Be sure to read to the end to claim your own FREE e-copy!)

Written especially for girls aged 9-14 as they anticipate and experience their body’s gradual changes. This has been requested time and again by mothers, godmothers and aunts who wanted a gentle, loving, soulful introduction to women’s cycles for the special girls in their lives. 

1-RftMCover

ISBN: 1482363038

80 page paperback or Kindle.

Beginning with an imaginary journey into the red tent, a traditional place of women’s wisdom, some of the gifts and secrets of womanhood are imparted in a gentle, lyrical way including:

* The secrets of the moon.

* The secrets of our cycles.

* The gift of self-care.

 Along with practical advice on:

* Preparing for her first period.

* Choosing menstrual products.

* Herbal healing.

* Celebrating menarche.

Reaching for the Moon is a nurturing celebration of a girl’s transformation to womanhood.

 

It is available as a signed copy + bookmark + FREE greetings card of one of my paintings (usually €2.50) from The Happy Womb£6.99 + P&P (Orders will be dispatched from 11th June. Offer available until 23rd June.)

It is also available from Amazon as a paperback or ebook. (Buy on Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com.)

***TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!***

From today until Sunday 9th June 2013 (midnight PST) you can download your FREE Kindle version, so you can sample it before purchasing for the special girls in your life. (Please note you do NOT need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can be read on tablets, android phones and computers).

Free Kindle copy – UK customers only.

Free Kindle copy – rest of world.

Please do share it far and wide, on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and by email – let’s get copies into as many mama’s hands as possible.

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Having the talk – supporting your girl, and yourself, through her transition to womanhood


Do you remember “The Talk” you received from your Mum, or your school nurse or teacher? How old were you when someone told you about how your body would change as you became a woman?

How did it make you feel?

And now, you have a daughter of your own. Or maybe a niece or goddaughter. Or maybe you are a teacher of girls. And you know that one day, The Talk will be your responsibility. And you are aware of just what a responsibility it is. How it will flavour her own self-image as a woman for much of her early adult life.

What do you say and how will you approach it?

DeAnna L’Am is a menstrual educator of 25 years experience who has created a powerful audio entitled:  “Coming Of Age: How To Stop Worrying About “The Talk,” and Start Talking With Your Girl!” which is part of an incredible eBundle of 22 Mindful Mothering resources which are available for the special price of just $24.95 until June 10th. This recording alone usually costs $29. And yet for that price you get so much more goodness as well.

Witch-Hazel-Maiden-EMPOWER

She shares a little bit with us here, of her own experience which lead to her powerful work with girls and women:

“My first period lacked warmth, celebration, or a sense of belonging, though my mother was present. This experience propelled me to a lifelong passion for welcoming girls into womanhood in empowering and honoring ways. I worked to heal the experience of my own first period, and as a result realized that most every woman has a story to tell, and heal, from her coming of age years. My calling became that of helping women heal their own adolescence, as the spring board to welcoming girls into womanhood in authentic and empowering ways.

This down-loadable recording will deepen trust between you and your girl, and lay a foundation for lifelong openness between you!

If you would you like to feel relaxed, confident, and at ease when speaking with your girl about becoming a woman – this is for you!

You will experience a sense of CALM and PEACE within yourself; An INNER EASE about the girl YOU once were; A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING of what your girl is feeling; SELF-TRUST going into any conversation with your girl; And a growing EASE in your relationship with her.”

Mindful Parenting eBundle Sale: May 28-June 10, 2013

The Mindful Parenting eBundle contains more than 22 carefully selected e-products by renowned authors. Some of these products are only available as a standalone through this bundle! This bundle sale is a one-time opportunity, available only from May 28 to June 10, 2013.

The Mindful Parenting eBundle gives you answers to the most pertinent parenting questions in a variety of formats: e-mail courses, e-books, audio, and e-magazine. Some of the topics in this bundle include children and food, nurturing creativity, relaxation for parents, connecting through play, peaceful parenting, parenting through divorce, and many more.

There are 3 resources for stress relief for parents, 6 peaceful guidance tools, 5 creative play resources, 3 motherhood resources, plus bonus resources and a freebie! All for just $24.95!!!

 
CHECK IT OUT HERE …(Got questions? I’ve probably answered them in the FAQ section here.) 

 

 

Nipples to the wind

Last weekend we went to the swimming pool, the whole family. It brought home to me how alive the gender divide still is when it comes to our bodies. My husband just put his trunks in the bag and went, where as I spent half an hour de-fuzzing my armpits and legs from their winter growth.

And then as we got ready to swim, I looked at my two girls, aged two and four. Each completely themselves. One in a pink floral patterned ultra girly swim suit, with frilly parts to draw the eye to her non existent four year old bust. And the other in a pair of her brother’s old pirate monkey shorts. Topless.

“You look like a boy,” my seven year old son said to her.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because she’s only wearing shorts and I can see her nipples,” was the reply.
And yes, there she was, nipples to the wind, just the same as he was at that age.

And it felt good to me. And to her. And everyone else just got on with their lives assuming she was a boy.
Because truly, there is no shame in a girl’s nipples. It feels ridiculous to even say it.
Why do they need to learn to be “discrete” with a non-genital part of their body, when little boys can bear them in public, shamelessly? It is just learning a body shame which will get worse as they get older. Something is seriously wrong with our culture, when nipples are fine on the cover of lads’ mags, and Page 3 of the daily paper in the UK, but are considered shameful to be exposed for their biological function: feeding a baby.

I see pictures of tribes’ people around the world with longing. There are the women – from 14 to 70 with their breasts, all shapes and sizes, to the wind.

Their beautiful, normal breasts.

But the first sign of civilisation, when other cultures impinge on theirs, is the covering of a woman’s breasts. I remember hearing an Aboriginal elder, one of the lost tribes, who was “discovered” by a white explorer in the 1950s. She looked back at the photographs he took of their lifestyle, this woman who was wearing a baggy T shirt. Oh look she says, we used to go everywhere with nothing on our boobies! And laughs.

And I feel a longing to have that freedom. When the sun shines, to not be tangled in a bra for support, and a T shirt for modesty, but to join my husband and son and every builder in Ireland as we whip off our tops to feel the sun soak into our skins.

Not to make a statement, or to tittilate or shock. Just because the sun is out, my body is not shameful, and I put my nipples to the wind.

Reflected beauty

The other day I saw a woman across the room. And my first thought was – she looks like she’d be a great friend, she’s just my sort of woman. Beautiful patterned artsy clothes, an open face, radiating her own unique beauty, she looks happy in her own skin.

Then my brain caught up. That woman, that beautiful woman was me, reflected in the bedroom mirror as I walked by. What a moment it was! Genuinely seeing yourself as objectively beautiful – free from ego or doubt or intentional self esteem raising. Just seeing. And knowing.

Me and my daughters

And it was in such contrast to another mirror moment three years earlier.

In a restaurant with our children, I caught sight of myself in the mirror across the room – and felt physical disgust as I dissected my faults – my eyes filled with tears, I felt sorry for my husband to be not only married to such a hideous creature, but embarrassed for him that he had to be out in public with me. Then I caught sight of my daughter sitting opposite. Angel faced, the epitome of beauty. I scanned back to my own face, and noticed what I am always told. She looks just like me. So similar its scary. The eyes, the nose, the mouth, the shape of her face. I know her beauty to the depths of my heart. It is truth. So how, if we looked so similar, could she be beauty incarnate, and me a hag? I knew then that I really was dealing with a problem of perception and not reality.

I have had an ongoing hate-hate relationship with my own beauty. A general disgust of my reflection in a mirror, photographs of me, my thighs and belly as they sit quietly… I have always found my physical self unacceptable. Its so cliched. So dull. So pointless. And yet so real, omnipresent in my mind and life. Beauty shouldn’t matter… but it does. With beauty come value, love, acceptance – of self and others.

I know where its roots for me lie. In not fitting in. My dad not thinking I was beautiful. My mother and step mother showing dismay at their post baby bodies and carving them back into shape with diets and harsh exercise routines. A friend’s mother who thought her daughter, aged nine, was fat and should diet. Friend’s comments, magazines, TV… the list goes on. The poison is everywhere. And I swallowed it down like a good girl. Until I hated every part of my beautiful self.

I found myself looking back over our wedding photos, and oh how beautiful I was. But acceptably beautiful. The slimmest I have ever been. Hair dyed back to its natural color. But I remember just how uncomfortable I was in my skin. I showed the photos to my children. And to my shame asked if they thought I was beautiful then, they said yes. And if I was beautiful now, not really, was their response. They make references to me being big, being fat. You know where they learnt that from. Because that is how I have felt.

But recently I have realised, that being heavier I feel fully myself. Full of me. in my own skin. I was never much good at being a teen or in my twenties. When life was about weight and surface beauty. I never cared enough about it to sacrifice myself on the altar of beauty and fashion. I always wanted to be me. But me was apparently unacceptable.

But now, when I look in the mirror, I do not carve myself into pieces of unacceptability. I see the curves and the flesh and the hair and the skin, the wholeness of my beauty. My spirit incarnate. And I shake my booty, and laugh with pleasure and joy at this body that I get to call mine. And I revel in the flesh of my children. Flesh of my flesh. And I tell them that I think they are beautiful. Strong. Kind. Loving. Smart. Creative.

And I tell them that I am too. I show them my work, my actions, my heart. And when I look at myself in the mirror, I share my beauty too.

I am commited to this admiring and celebrating of our beauty, inside and out. And this is why…

“When I was growing up there wasn’t one woman in my environment who I heard saying something positive about her body. Everything I heard was negative, negative, negative. I accept my body. I accept how I am and make the best of what I am given. Children orientate towards examples. That’s why I talk solely positive about my body in front of my [daughter. I say things like ‘Hey, look at my strong arms!’ Or I shake my butt and say ‘Look at my fabulous butt!’ I do that deliberately,”

Kate Winslet, in a new interview with German magazine Brigitte.

And this powerful post by Amanda at Offbeat Mama

“I don’t want my girls to be children who are perfect and then, when they start to feel like women, they remember how I thought of myself as ugly and so they will be ugly too. They will get older and their breasts will lose their shape and they will hate their bodies, because that’s what women do. That’s what mommy did. I want them to become women who remember me modeling impossible beauty. Modeling beauty in the face of a mean world, a scary world, a world where we don’t know what to make of ourselves.”

And finally this powerful performance by Kate Makkai: Now for sale: Daughters $10,000 each

“When my daughter asks me if she’s pretty, I’ll say no! The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be. And no child of mine will be contained in five letters. You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing, but you will never be merely pretty.”

How do you celebrate your beauty? And what has your journey been?

A call to action: girls in need…

I was recently reading Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: a new biography and she shares research in it which proves that sexual abuse is not “just” done to the body. It is the ultimate way to destroy a woman’s sense of self and sacredness. Because of the connection between yoni, spinal nerves and brain, an attack on the vagina literally closes down feminine consciousness.

My biggest fear as a woman, as a mother of daughters is the possibility of my sex, my sexuality being raped or abused. Not just for the moment that it happens, but for the life long consequences of it. It is our biggest vulnerability as women, and one that has been ruthlessly used globally throughout history to punish women, keep them small, keep them silent, shamed, alone, indentured.

I was contacted today by More Than Me, an education and girls’ empowerment non-profit that gets little girls off the street and into school in one of the world’s most dangerous slums in the world in Liberia, West Africa. They work with community leaders to identify the girls who are at the highest risk of being sexually exploited to ensure that education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, defines their lives. They pay tuition, provide school lunch and work with the school and community to make it impossible for her to fail.

 

They have been shortlisted for a $1 million prize and need our votes. Their work is in total alignment with my aims at The Happy Womb, and I ask you all to take 15 seconds out of your day to support their campaign, so that they are financially assisted in helping empower many more girls who need support, love and safety and have nowhere else to turn to for it.

Educating one girl changes, well, everything. Here’s why:

One of the girls they are currently helping is Abigale.

My name is Abigail.

I’m 13-years-old. I live in West Point, Liberia. I don’t know my parents… I was left with prostitutes when I was six-years-old. They took care of me, but life was hard. Often, I didn’t have a place to sleep or food to eat. I never went to school. And I would often sleep at a video club so men could find me and then “rent” me for the night. I was abused, both in my mind and body. I didn’t feel loved.

When I met the people at More Than Me, my life changed. I have a new home now and food to eat. I’m in school now. I’m happy now. I feel like I have a future now. I feel loved. I’ve learned how to bake, which helps me earn extra money.

Please help vote for me so I can continue in this new life and stay in school. Your vote is my future. I’ll do anything to show you that I’ll do my best in school and become something with my life.

Love,

Abigail

Please, take 15 seconds to make the lives of these girls a bit better by doing two very simple and extremely meaningful things: VOTE NOW through Dec. 4 for Abigail and girls like her at voteabigail.org and… then share it with others.