Category Archives: Healing

Shall I Drive You to the Red Tent? – Guest Post

I am honored to be joining DeAnna L’am and 29 other leaders in the field of menstrual education and women’s wisdom in the month of February for a free online red tent gathering. There are so many of my own real life heroines taking part I can hardly believe I am standing shoulder to shoulder with them. 

Today’s guest post from DeAnna explores a really important aspect of red tents, and one that has stalled me in my tracks in establishing one… HOW to make one and make it sustainable? There is so much emphasis on making a pretty space that we can get distracted from the main purpose – just making a space to nurture ourselves and the women in our lives.


How would the world be different if girls growing up today had a Red Tent to go to, in their own neighborhood?
Many of us would love to see a Red Tent where our daughters, stepdaughters, granddaughters, nieces, cousins, or any cherished girl in our life — could regularly find a haven.“Yes, but who would hold such Red Tents for them?” you may ask… and the inevitable answer is: YOU!

Imagine your girl coming home from school. She feels tired. She is actually crabby, and the sullen look on her face warns you to keep your distance. Throwing her backpack on the floor she runs into her room, not interested in answering any of your questions about her day. Her shoes fly off her feet, one at a time, on her way up the stairs, and land randomly on the floor. Her door is slammed shut, and you are not welcomed inside. You want to ask her about her feelings, to understand what is going on, but the door’s message is clear, and you know it will not open for a while…

Imagine, though, that you had a magical key to this closed door… Imagine softly knocking and whispering to your girl: “Shall I drive you to the Red Tent?” Imagine her door flying open, her eyes meeting yours, a sigh of relief rushing out of her mouth: “Oh, thank goodness! I’ve just got my period!” Imaging the two of you getting in the car, since it feels too cold to walk the otherwise pleasant road to the nearby woods. You likely wouldn’t talk much during the short drive, since your girl clearly wants to be quiet. She curls up on the passenger seat and closes her eyes. You arrive at your destination in no time.

The red flaps of the Tent are hanging down to keep the warmth in, and you lift them to allow your girl to walk in first. It feels like walking into a different world. It is blissfully quiet. You start lighting a few candles while your girl walks up to the pile of red blankets and grabs three of them. She sinks onto a mattress in the corner, and huddles under the blankets, letting all the air out of her lungs. She knows you are busy making her a cup of herbal tea. This is a familiar routine… You’ve been here many times before, and the roles have changed back and forth between you: barely two weeks ago it was you who flopped gratefully on a mat and curled into a ball under a pile of red blankets, while your 13-year-old was skillfully brewing a cup of Raspberry Leaf tea to soothe your womb and soul.

This is an easy reality to imagine… And, as surprisingly as it may seem to you, it is also an easy one to live! This can become a reality for you, and for your daughter, stepdaughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, or a cherished girl in your life, since it is up to You, up to Each Of Us, to make it so! A Red Tent in your neighborhood is only as distant as the limitation your mind puts on it. It is as close as your belief in its possibility!

We can make this a reality in our life time! You can create a Red Tent in your living room, in your back yard, in a friend’s home, in a nearby forest, meadow or beach. It can be made of anything: you can pitch a camping tent, or raise a tipi. You can drape Red cloths from tree branches, or build a yurt. The outer structure is not nearly as important as the space it holds inside — a space in which permission is given to simply BE…

Nothing is more essential than this: we need spaces where we can BE when we flow, either alone or in the company of other women. Anything beyond this is luxury (and we can create luxury, of course we can!) but lets not make luxury become the reason for not having a Red Tent right now. Lets remember the bare necessities: Space and Permission. And these, my sister, you can provide for yourself, for your girl, for your community – right now!

© by DeAnna L’am, All Rights ReservedJoin me to get inspired by the Red Tents In Every Neighborhood World Summit
A Free Online Event featuring women leaders from:

USA, Spain, Germany, U.K, Italy, Ireland (that’s me!), New Zealand, Australia, and Israel

Airing February 1-28


Email signature_html_m4c93903d
DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™, and of Red Tents In Every Neighborhood Global Network! A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming women’s and girls’ lives around the world for over 20 years. She teaches women how to love themselves unconditionally; how to dissolve PMS symptoms and draw spiritual strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); and how to hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com

Woman’s wellness (an interactive post)

Today’s guespost comes from Sile Walsh. We invite you to read this and experience it, grab a cup of your favourite warm drink, hide away in a quiet spot and prepare to explore …

Image: sparrowmagazine.com

Image: sparrowmagazine.com

What do the following words conquer up for you?

WOMAN’S WELLNESS

Stop and take a breath a moment, and notice what impact these words have for you.

Take another breath and notice the images that come to mind.

Breathe again and notice what emotions come forward.

Lastly take a breath, what thoughts do you have when you focus on the term ‘woman’s wellness’.

Sit for a moment and soak up whatever these words bring you to.

Did anything surprise you when you did this?

Did anything show you where you may be out of sync with your own wellness as a woman? Did your mind conquer up excuses or did it conquer up images of what looks like a fairytale in comparison to your current life? Did you even have a space in your life where your wellness is even on the agenda?

I have to admire the women around me, always giving, doing and caring but if I am really honest I have felt let down in the past by this image of a female role model, I have seen a double standard. I have watched smart, empathic, intuitive and loving women give every ounce of what they have to the world until they have no more to give but seldom have I seen these woman turn this kindness inwards.

This kindness is deserved as much by us as by anyone else we love and it can only be given to us by us! Where did we learn that it’s all about giving?

What happens when we have no more to give?  Why do we wait to be worn out before we are willing to say no?

Again take a moment, a breath and see what this is stirring within you? Mull it over, feel it and acknowledge your thoughts…..

There is another way, another way you can be more available, be more present, feel better with in your-self and live in a way that honours you and the ones you love equally ( it is not a case of one or the other). It starts with a slight shift in perspective, gentle self-care, internal dialog and an offering of basic kindness to your-self.

It’s this thought process that inspired a conversation which led onto a woman’s wellness morning, for woman by woman. It would be beautiful to have you and some friends join us on the day to explore these areas. Information can be found at  http://www.silewalsh.com/womans-wellness-workshops.html

sile

Sile Walsh is a wellness coach & holistic practitioner in East Cork, Ireland, specialising in the release of emotional blocks, mind-set work and restricting or reoccurring patterns in your life.

Sile is passionate about empowerment and believes that’s the key to true change in any area of our lives. She can be found on Facebook or at www.silewalsh.com

Event Details

Woman’s wellness relaxation morning

7th November, 10am-2pm

For tickets contact info@silewalsh.com or 0870660688

Your Story is Sacred: 5 Steps to Find your Sacred Path

Today‘s guest post comes from Leanne Chapman

sacred story

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” 

Joseph Campbell

 

What if everything you had come to believe about yourself wasn’t true?

What if the person you thought you were was built on the stories of others, projected on to you by their own untended wounds, their lack of understanding, their confusion?

I have let go of one story after another over the years – the story that I’m invisible, the story of being second-best, the multitude of stories about how I’m not OK as I am, the stories that told me to change so I could fit in, be OK, be enough.

Without clear guidance, how easy it is to fall into step with the rules and expectations of others – rules which don’t feed or nurture our souls. Who guides us into womanhood when those around us are asleep and don’t see or know us as we are?

Here are 5 suggestions for finding your own sacred path:

1. Step back and see the bigger picture

When you stand in front of a tall building, you can’t clearly see the whole structure. It’s difficult to get a clear view of the floor you need to get to from this viewpoint. But when you stand back further, your view  is much broader and you can see all the way to the top.

Our lives are the same – when we’re in the midst of transition and upheaval, we get up too close and our focus becomes very narrow. This is exactly the time when we really need to be taking a step back so we can see the whole story. Our momentary discomforts are often leading to longer term growth and learning, we just can’t see it when we look at them from a micro perspective.

2. Look for the answers inside you

Research psychologists have discovered that when behaviour is uncertain, such as when we try something we’ve never done before or go to an unfamiliar place, we are more likely to copy the behaviour of others. So when we’re feeling lost and confused about our life direction, we tend to go looking for answers from others. We ask friends what they would do, we check in with psychics, oracle cards, astrological forecasts, and still we can’t decide our next step.

That’s because the answers aren’t out there. The only way to find your true north is to look within. Our heads are so full of ‘what ifs’ and ‘yes buts’, while our heart usually has only one answer – the real one. Our heads are so busy sorting through all the external advice that we don’t learn to go to the source of our own wisdom. Our intuition, our ‘gut’ feeling, our inner knowing – this is where the real answers lie.

3. Focus on your progress, not your stumbles

It’s easy to focus on what we haven’t achieved yet and what didn’t turn out the way we hoped along the way, but we can do this to such a degree that we filter out our successes. It’s important to notice what’s working for us and celebrate our accomplishments so that we keep a balanced view of our journey.

One way to do this is to compare ourselves only with ourselves. For instance, when you started learning a new language three months ago you might’ve only known three words. Now you’re able to hold basic conversations. Of course there are times when you use the wrong word or misunderstand something, but you’re using a lot more of the right words and understanding far more than you were three months ago. It doesn’t matter if other people are fluent, you’ve made progress – celebrate it!

4. Recognise that this is a journey with many segments

Our life path never takes a direct route to success, healing and happiness. The trail follows a winding course, disappearing around corners, dipping into gullies and climbing mountainous terrain. There are sunny days but there are also wild stormy days that almost knock us off our feet. We can’t judge our footing by looking at any of these single points in the road.

The path is made up of many segments which twist and turn in numerous directions. We can only tell if we’re moving forward by taking a series of measurements over time. You’ll have good days and days where you take three steps back. But if the overall trend is in the direction you want to go, you’re on track.

5. Realise that you can create your own path rather than following ready-made ones

The mythologist Joseph Campbell said “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

We often find ourselves on paths that are influenced by the wishes and expectations of others. This works for many, especially those who might otherwise feel directionless, but if it’s not working for you then it’s OK to get off that path. Your own path might take a different route to existing ones, and you might have to beat your way through the undergrowth with a machete to find it, but it will be there and it will be waiting for you.

You’ll know you’ve found your unique path when time slows down. You’ll no longer be lost and unsure or feel as though you’re running out of time. You’ll be caught up in the moment and your future will light up in front of you. All the previous challenges and detours into the unknown will suddenly make sense because they were bringing you to this, your sacred path.

 

leanneLeanne Chapman is an art therapist, writer and founder of Claim Your Treasure, a place to discover your sacred path, reclaim your lost treasures, and connect with who you really are through self-expression, creativity and intuition.

Leanne creates Treasure Maps and Sacred Stories to help you unlock the true meaning of your journey, uncover new pathways to success, and intentionally take the next steps on your sacred path. You can also find her on Facebook.

Moving Beyond your Childhood Pain

I am a big fan of the site, Tiny Buddha, it was my ambition, ever since discovering it to contribute to it.

I have now contributed to it three times (on Perfectionism, Anxiety and The Importance of Connection for Healing. 

So you can imagine my excitement when one of my pieces was selected for Lori Deschene’s second book: Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself which is published on 1st October this year by Conari Press. And if you pre-order it from her site for the month of September you get a whole raft of e-goodies, including my e-book The Creative Mama’s Soul Book!

So to whet your appetite, here’s some powerful words from it that touched me deep…

 

Top 4 Tips about Moving Beyond your Childhood Pain
1. Tell empowering stories of healing in the present instead of sad stories of hurting from the past.

When you live in the story of how you were hurt, you define yourself by your pain, and you essentially pick up where others left off in mistreating you. It’s hurtful and crippling to rehash these events over and over again (though it can be helpful in a therapeutic setting). When you find yourself dwelling on an old story, tell yourself that you’re creating a new one—a story of forgiving and loving yourself in action. Try to understand whoever hurt you, and recognize that their actions were prob- ably caused by their own pain. Then proactively choose to do something to take care of yourself in the way you wanted to be taken care of years ago.

2. Challenge the limiting beliefs that make you feel bad about yourself. You may be holding on to all kinds of limiting, inaccurate beliefs about your worth, your potential, and what you deserve. Realize these are not facts—you formed these beliefs based on difficult experiences and years of misguided thinking, and you can change your life by challenging these beliefs and forming healthier ones. When you start thinking the old belief, look for evidence to support the opposite one. It’s there—proof of your intrinsic value is in your choices, your actions, and your daily life. You just have to start recognizing all the good you do.

3. Shine a spotlight on your shame and douse it with empathy.

When people abuse us, disrespect us, silence us, or disregard our feelings or needs, we often internalize that and feel shame, as if we deserved to be hurt because we were unworthy, bad, or flawed. We then feel the need to hide ourselves to avoid the pain of being seen, but hiding just creates more pain. It’s not your fault that you feel shame—it’s a natural response to the way you were treated—but it is your responsibility to heal it.

Researcher Brené Brown wrote that shame requires secrecy, silence, and judgment to grow exponentially, and that it can’t survive when doused with empathy. Offer yourself that empathy by choosing not to judge yourself for what other people did to you or what you did in response; and let someone else into that process, whether it’s a friend or a professional.

4. Recognize the beauty in your journey.

You may not feel that all parts of you are beautiful, but there’s beauty in the strength and courage that have helped you get where you are. Whatever you did in the past, you were doing the best you could, based on what you learned and experienced. Shift your focus and take some time to acknowledge how amazing your journey has been thus far. How have you displayed grace and bravery? How have all the chaotic dots of your past shaped up to create something unique and inspiring? If your life were a movie, what positive message would viewers take away?

Lori Deschene has dedicated the last  four years of her life building a supportive online community for those seeking and looking to share wisdom. Since she launched tinybuddha.com in 2009, she’s helped more than 650 writers share their stories with over 17 million readers. In addition to writing her first print  book, Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s  Hard  Questions, Lori has self-published the Tiny Wisdom eBook series, and recently launched her first eCourse, Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the Hero. Formerly a writer for nationally distributed ‘tween publications, she has also written articles for Tricycle: The  Buddhist Review, Shambhala Sun, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A native of Massachusetts, Lori now splits her time between the Boston area and the San Francisco Bay Area with her fiancé Ehren

 

Healing Birth Trauma: Guest Post

Despite all of the working through I have done over four and a half years, it was timely really that the release of my e-book on Amazon this week coincided with a close friend’s baby’s arrival.
 
They had the ‘perfect’ hospital birth…a quick labour, minimal intervention, a placid baby, an easy beginning to breastfeeding.
 
The day we visited them, she said she would have another baby that evening.
 
I felt the bitterness rise within me.
 
How could she even say that?
Why the fuck couldn’t it have been so easy for us first time round?
Another part of me felt I should be ‘over’ the resentment and bitterness and feeling hard done by.
 
This is despite having a glorious home-birth with my second daughter…a perfect birth in every way.
 
Having finished the e-book, I (wrongly) assumed I was ‘over’ a lot of my first daughter’s birth.
 
Maybe I was feeling a little smug.
 
Just goes to show that these feelings will always be there in some way.
 
This couple have taught me again the lesson that it is OK to feel these feelings as long as I don’t act them out on others. 
 
This is my stuff, not theirs. 
 
I believe a part of me will always feel robbed of those early precious newborn days when all I wanted was to feel well, not in horrendous pain and emotional turmoil from my daughter’s hospital delivery.
 
So here it is…..my raw personal story of the arrival of my first daughter. As a mother of two and a psychotherapist in private practice, the book provides a comforting reassurance that your feelings are normal and that you are not alone. I also provide lots of practical guidelines and worksheets in order to help you in embarking on your healing journey and to support you along the way.
book cover
Nicola Hogg writes at Empowered Womyn. She is mother to two beautiful little girls and an accredited psychotherapist working in private practice in Co. Limerick, Ireland. Her passion is working with women antenatally & postnatally. She started blogging in 2012 about my experiences of birth and motherhood as a way of supporting other mothers, particularly those who have had a less than satisfactory birth experience.

For private mother-to-mother support/ counselling appointments you can call her on 087-6836922 (phone/Skype appointments available for those living a distance away) or send her an email.

Guest Post: Miscarriage as a Rite of Passage

At the time of writing, it is exactly 2 months to the day that I gave birth to my stillborn son. Perfectly formed, yet utterly helpless at just 21 1/2 weeks’ gestation. Even writing those words now brings the emotion of the whole event welling back up, but I am glad to say that it is a only a feeling of healing that washes over me with the tears. There is no blackness to my memory of that day and of the weeks that followed, no dread or fear or trauma.

Even before I ever thought of having children myself, I could not mentally compute how a woman could survive the ‘horrors’ of pregnancy/childbirth followed by an emptiness – nothing to hold and nurture, nothing to show for all of the effort, all the months of expectancy. Why would you not just fall apart completely with the grief, the torture? How could you be expected to go on living life as normal afterwards?

My son’s birth was neither one thing or the other in medical terms: too late to be deemed a ‘regular’ miscarriage; too early to be ‘viable’ as a living, breathing human baby boy. In my mind, this was absolutely the worst part. To me, he was my baby, and he was absolutely healthy and perfect – yet the matter of a few weeks meant he just wasn’t ready for the world either biologically or bureaucratically. If he had just held on for 3 more weeks, all might have been very different. Equally, if it had happened earlier, I may not even have noticed him slipping away and it would have been sad, yet understandable – it is thought that about 1 in 7 known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 8 out of 10 of those happen during the first 13 weeks.

Technically, our son was a “late miscarriage”. On our postnatal notes the midwives have recorded his birth as “stillborn”. Both terms are correct, but having spent the day giving birth to him, I feel that the midwives’ description does more justice to the event as well as the perfect little creature who arrived. We got to meet him, to say hello and goodbye at the same time. And I had all the usual postnatal recovery to go through, including milky boobs and uterine contractions. Still, it was a miscarriage, and like every woman who goes through this, my heart and head could only keep coming back to the same bewildered question: WHY?

In my case, nobody had the answer. I was ultra low-risk, had just had a very healthy looking 20-week scan, and everything looked great and bang on track. If I’d been a smoker or a drinker; if I’d been overweight or had a particularly unhealthy diet, the authorities may have pinned those down as possible factors. But no, one morning I woke up and my placenta had detached itself. Baby had died probably during the night as a result. End of story.

And this is what makes us animals. This is what takes us back to our roots. Because, hard as we find the truth to swallow, we are not infallible. Humans, like any animal, simply don’t always function to perfection, for whatever reason. Miscarriage is one of those things that just happens sometimes. Having a cerebral cortex and living in a world with the incredible capabilities of medical science cannot alter that fact.

That is why there is no doubt in my mind that any woman – and indeed any family – who goes through a miscarriage should see it as a rite of passage. The more that miscarriage is seen as horrific, as something which somehow could have been preventable, and is therefore blamed on the woman’s health, fitness or diet, the more we are denying ourselves as fallible animals. We are making women responsible somehow for these acts of nature. We are instilling guilt and fear, layer upon layer. The result is a woman, and by extension her family, who no longer trusts her body to do what is right. It must be faulty – it miscarried. Her body was not healthy enough, not experienced enough or somehow not adequately formed to be able to carry the pregnancy to full term.

This is not a healthy attitude to have, and can only result in more negative birth outcomes. One of the reasons I do not have a black tinge around my memories of my son’s birth is that, through it all, I trusted in my body. I did what I could, and although I couldn’t understand WHY it had happened, I came to accept that this time was just not meant to be. I am an animal, and I am fallible. This time I fell into the statistics of 1 in 7 pregnancies failing. There’s really no more to it – no guilt, no shame, no fear for future pregnancies; it’s just not appropriate.

Having gone through this whole process I now feel more of a woman. Yes, really. Not only have I experienced the horror myself, but I have had countless other women suddenly willing to share their own story with me. In a sad way I feel as if I have entered a secret club, something taboo and a bit shameful. I’m not really sure why nobody wants to discuss miscarriage, when it affects so many of us. If it were accepted as a rite of passage for any woman, as much as childbirth itself, I feel we’d all have a more positive outlook on all births, whatever the outcome.

 Zoë Foster is a yoga teacher and real food ambassador, following her dreams in South Devon with her husband and two small children. Read more about her exploits, experiments and adventures at www.rawyogauk.com and giveanearthly.blogspot.co.uk, or find her on Facebook and Twitter under RawYogaUK.

 

Call for Submissions

Over the past months I have been approached by a number of women looking for information on a variety of topics – topics I would LOVE to see covered here, but have no personal experience of. One of the keys of The Happy Womb is valuing women’s sharing from authentic personal experience, rather than dry journalistic “expert” voices telling you what to do, feel and think. I receive almost daily requests to host content from companies and pro bloggers, but I am committed to only hosting empowering words written from women’s personal experience. So I am opening up submissions on a number of topics:

  • Endemetriosis
  • Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Transgender and Gender reassignment
  • Being born without a womb
  • Mothering your daughter into womanhood
  • Miscarriage
  • Infertility journeys
  • IVF and IUI
  • Surrogacy
  • Abortion
  • Over Active Bladder and loss of Pelvic Floor
  • Menopause and Perimenopause

Publication on The Happy Womb is not paid, but gives high exposure to your words and experiences, and supports and helps our community of women. It is promoted via all social media. Please note whilst this may be an attractive option for many bloggers, it is also open to those who have no online presence or are currently building it up. Each submission is judged on its own merits and fit with the ethos of this site. Please be assured that this is a safe space where no comments are published until approved, you are safe from trolling and aggression here. I am happy to publish work under pseudonyms if required, to protect your privacy online.

Articles should be:

  • Written from a personal perspective. Focusing on your own healing journey, self care and experience.
  • Can recommend products from a personal perspective but may not be advertorial.
  • 400-1000 words long, plus author bio and image.
  • Author bio can contain links to your other work, websites,business, books, Facebook pages.
  • Should be accompanied by at least one other image if possible.
  • All articles are subject to editing.
  • You will be notified within a week if your work has been accepted, and will be contacted later when it is published.

Submissions open to August 30th 2013. Email to Lucy (AT) the happy womb (DOT) com

I really look forward to receiving your work and sharing your words with The Happy Womb community.

 

My mother’s shame is what I wear as a veil…

My mother’s shame is what I wear as a veil.

It is my modesty.

Handed down, from mother to daughter, generation upon generation, laundered and press within an inch of its silken life. It is my birthright, my dowry. I peer through its gauze and think gauze should be kept for hospital settings, to mop up blood and pus, gangrene and weeping sores.

But it has been taken out, out from the institution of illness and out into the world, carrying within it pestilence and plague upon my mother’s head as she bears her female body with shame, with disgust and anger and misery and disappointment – they ooze from her body with her blood and her sweat and tears that no real woman should have, they pour from her body in the birth fluids of her babies, the tears of her frustration, the sweat of her pain, they pour and pour, covered by the veil, too disgusting to be seen, too shameful and horrific to be seen by everyday eyes.

Of course you did not know, how could you? The veil’s purpose is to keep things nice, and pretty and safe, and most of all, hidden. The veil is the social smile. It hushes the wear’s voice to a murmur. And so what pours behind the gauze becomes her own, her own private suffering, her own personal hell. She is kept in a purdah of shame, behind the veil, not knowing that every woman wears the veil, the veil of her mother’s mother, and she suffers behind it too. Beneath it her libido fires in her youth, dances in delight, then learns to lie still and have headaches and womb aches, and heart aches become a distant memory, as fibre by fibre, the veil falls down upon them too. And they become the white noise of her existence, as little a part of her as the wind in the trees on a distant mountain top. She forgets that all this is hers, was hers. Disembodied, anonymous behind the veil, she floats ghostlike, dead amongst the living with only her shame to keep her warm, her silence to be her friend.

She holds her shames close to her heart. The loves she shouldn’t have felt, the hatred that burned like a fire for the woman that bore her, the child that she could not keep, the husband that she could not live with, the son that she cannot reach though her soul calls out his name in her sleep, the love that she longs for, the art that sits like birds in the top of the tallest tree that she cannot tempt down with the small crumbs from her desolate soul.

The betrayals from friends, who knew just the words to cut her like a knife, the truths from the tongue of her firstborn that she could not swallow and jammed in her throat like fish bones, sharp and malevolent. The body that was not slim enough, brown enough, smooth enough, that did not want to open at the right time and place to suit the clocks of others. And the dreams which haunt her nights, of lovers lost, her dead father, trains and falling from cliffs sex and death and pattern and colour all mixed up into one grotesque charade, this too is hers, and her shame.

The shame that she, in the end, could never be what everybody else wanted, that she couldn’t be kind enough, pretty enough, chaste enough, kinky enough, calm enough, wild enough, to please all of the people all of the time. And so as she walks, beneath the veil you hear her bones rattle, her flesh wobble, her tears, streams of tears like a faucet which cannot be turned off, and the blood, the blood it flows, then drips, then stops, but the tears keep on flowing.

Beneath the veil she learns to avert her eyes, and her heart. The look, of coyness, respect, disdain, distraction, disengagement. All and nothing.

She learns to float through this world, which is not for her, because she is not of it. Cloistered behind a veil of shame.

Can she over throw it? Can she find the courage of the women of the Taliban whose burkahs haunted my teenage dreams. Can she see that beyond the safety of fear, the habits of generations lies a land called freedom? Where women dance bare-breasted in the sun, where the law is made by dreamers from the red tent, where love is the currency, and joy flows through our veins. She can smell it, seeping through her veil, it is intoxicating, but the only hands to remove her veil can be her own, when she decides to wed life, to say “I do”.

Will you?

*Please note the mother I refer to here is metaphorical, not my own flesh and blood mother.

Nourishing The New Mama~ Healing foods & Herbs

“Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip; joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace.”

I have discovered over the past few years that one of the most important things I can do for myself as a mother and woman is to focus on what I take into my body: the thoughts, the food and drinks. In my book, Moon Time, I write about creating a tea ceremony as a way of nourishing yourself with liquid, herbs, warmth and reflective time.

Never is this more important than when you are a new mama. New mamas need all the love and support they can get.

This guest post from Jen of Love and Tea really resonates with me. Jen is based in beautiful Vermont, which is where my American family are based, so I felt a natural affinity with her. She is an artist and trained herbalist who creates the most beautiful herbal teas which nourish every level of a woman’s body and soul. From the names, through the packaging and blends, they are made with a mother’s love and a woman’s wisdom. (Be sure to read to the end for a discount for Happy Womb readers!)

Becoming a new mama takes a tremendous amount of energy. After birth it is especially critical to receive proper rest and nutrition. It is crucial that you focus on…

* A balance of meals; Three full meal & nutrient rich snacks throughout the day are key to proper nourishment and keeping up the supply of breast milk. When a meal is skipped our bodies automatically produce an abundance of stress hormones. Stress hormones inhibit milk production and can lead to reflux in the infant.

*Nourishing grains include: Barley, Oatmeal, Corn Meal, Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Quiona and Amaranth.

* In Ayurvedic post-partum care, it is stressed to avoid cold/raw foods during the post-partum stage. This helps reduce gas, bloating for both mama & baby.

* Proper fats. Yes FATS!!! Healthy fats play a crucial role in the body. They are used as building blocks to create cell walls, nerves, tissues and hormonal balance. They can also stabilize blood sugars – which help protect against mood swings. EFA’S or (essential Fatty Acids) play an essential role in brain & body functions. What we eat, literally affects how we think and feel!

*Sources of healthy fats include: Organic Coconut oil, cold pressed & traditional veggie oils. Also avocados, sesame seeds, raw nuts and oily fish (avoid deep water fish such as tuna due to heavy metal toxicity). 

* Eating organic & chemical free foods not only supports your entire body, but your baby’s health too.

* Water and proper hydration: Getting enough water into your body helps heal and rejuvenate at the cellular levels. Herbals teas are another way great way to keep properly hydrated. Ayurveda recommends avoiding iced drinks.

There are a vast array of herbs to nourish, re-store and re-vitalize mamas after giving birth.

*Nettles: High in Vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting, Nettles is especially useful with post-partum bleeding. Used traditionally to increase and enrich breast milk.  The minerals and vitamins found within Nettles provides an excellent support in restoring and rebuilding the energy levels following birth.

*Dandelion: This little yellow flower is packed full of essential minerals and vitamins. Dandelion is very beneficial for new mamas!  Dandelion is high in Vitamin A, Calcium and rich in Iron. Dandelion also aids in exhaustion and fatigue.

*Lemon Balm: Relaxes and calms the nervous system.  Lemon Balm has been used traditionally for depression and insomnia. Lemon Balms add its hint of lemon aroma and flavor to uplift and refresh the new mama.  Lemon Balm is said to help one cope with new life situations, IE: Motherhood!!!

* Lady’s Mantle: Revered as an herb for the entire female system, Lady’s Mantle has an affinity to regulate and decrease post-partum bleeding.

* Jasmine Flowers: Have an affinity for the entire female system. Energetically these flowers increase compassion and love. Jasmine flowers are said to make the mind receptive, aid and receive while radiating vibrations of mantras.

“Lactation is the nutritional equivalent to running 10 miles a day!”

My Ayurvedic post-partum teachers would remind us this statement each class and I have never forgotten it! For those of you breastfeeding, here are some foods and herbs known to support and increase lactation:

* Roasted Cumin seeds

* Dill seeds

* Anise seeds

* Caraway seeds

* Coriander Seeds

* Red Beets

Foods to be aware of (Limit consumption)

These Anti-Lactogenic foods- these foods have been know to decrease the mother’s  milk supply and can cause reflux and other issues in the infant:

* Soft drinks & carbonated beverages; these not only decrease milk supply but rob your body of calcium.

* Coffee & Caffeinated beverages

* Chocolate

* Citric Acids in foods & juices (tomato, citrus fruits etc)

* Aspartame  (should be avoided in any case as it is highly toxic)

Potentially Anti-Lactogenic herbs:

(These herbs can potentially decrease and dry breast milk)

* Parsley

* Sage

* Rosemary

* Thyme

* Mint

Jen Lashua is a Certified Herbalist, Artist and Mama to four little sweet beings.

She is founder of Love & Tea Company, which features handcrafted organic teas, including a line of specialty teas specifically formulated for Women & Children’s Wellness.

A fusion of her two passions, Tea & Art, you will find Jen’s original paintings on her tea labels. Love & Tea Company promotes the Art of Tea; engaging the mindful art of loose leaf tea while promoting artist’s creative works. She is offering at 10% discount  at  www.loveandtea.com to all Happy Womb customers, for the next 7 days. Enter code “happy womb” to avail of this wonderful offer.

Connect with Jen via her blog: http://artfultea.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Tea/153226064491

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LoveandTeaCo