Category Archives: Mamahood

Crossing the Womb to Birth Threshold

This is an extract from Gail Burkett’s new book, Soul Stories: Nine Passages of Initiation, a guidebook, a gentle companion for your pilgrimage through life’s many stages using meaningful ritual. If you choose, your experience will culminate in an initiation to yourself.

Gail invites you to join her for a New Moon women’s call.

“I have planned 13 Moons and feel deeply committed to bringing women together around Rites of Passage on each New Moon. September 12, 10 A.M. Pacific Time, PDT.

For my teaching on this call, I will describe the developmental spiral from birth and talk about each passage, showing how a life is built through relationships, events, books, seasons, all kinds of things shape each one of us. Together we can learn to see the catalysts of change that serves as our special marker, a threshold past to be reclaimed.” www.ninepassages.com

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Begin here in the Soul place before your Birth. Focus on your story of origin, your Soul story. Consider the time in history and your ancestry; meditate on this view and access your reason for being. Why did your Soul come to Earth when it did? For you as the initiate, this liminal time connects your spirit trail back through your lineage. As your own storyteller, you will gain a spiritual understanding of how the past shapes the present and the future. Remembering these pieces of your Soul story now fulfills a longing of your whole life. Everyone begins inside our Mother’s womb.

Design a ceremony using the same ritual elements your Ancestors used—fire, water, earth, and air. Sit as quietly as possible for a few moments and go inside with your thoughts and feelings. On Earth where gravity rules, all we know is time. This pilgrimage will help you identify gifts that came in with your Soul.

May I suggest something otherworldly? Use your imagination to enter the womb, float around at the end of an umbilical cord in the liquid bubble of the womb. Imagine floating with the Womb of the Universe. I actually mean to return your imagination to your Mother’s womb. Claim a rebirth platform to remember your Soul story. Create an exalted connection with the storyline running when your conception was announced. What story did your parents create just before you came to be? How did neonatal care prepare for your Birth? You were needed and expected here on Earth. Soon you will know why.

Call forth your imagination; enter your wee oceanic body in your Mother’s womb. You spent eight or nine months in the ocean Soul Stories of your Mother’s womb, so spend time this month to call forth the intentions and instructions of your Soul. Go inside this warm and spacious ocean preceding your first threshold. Begin to know yourself as the sperm meets the egg. Somehow you became the intersection of your Father and your Mother.

Consider what gifts came through the environment of living with these two people. Other gifts came to you from this womb journey, gifts that were yours alone, gifts of your Soul. At some point your mind-body-spirit met your Soul, perhaps at Birth, perhaps before. This womb-time directs your Soul’s journey. Spend some time here and decide for yourself, what do you believe? How are Birth and Death related? Engage your heart-mind, dance like you were in the womb. Play ocean music. Every visual image you receive during this first month will ease all the rest of your journey. I advise releasing your right brain to the fine act of creating art!

Take time to breathe lots of air, very slowly. Use this time to learn how to quiet all the way down. Take long, warm baths, return to the womb in your mind. Review your developing body. Find the place of gratitude for your toenails, for your pancreas and liver and spleen, do some visual work for the miracle of your blood. While you are inside your Momma’s womb, imagine her as an egg inside of your Grandmother’s womb. That, in fact, is where we all begin.

Remember this is no exaggeration, every one of your Mother’s eggs, 400 or so, came through your Grandmother’s womb first. We are miracles inside of miracles inside of miracles and need quiet time to honor ourselves.

Questions for your quest. To inspire your timed writing and help return your focus to this Divine mystery, listen to what Coyote asks:

  • What story was already running outside the wombspace where you were born? While you did acrobatics at the end of your umbilical cord, what was the mood?
  • What were the circumstances in your family of origin?
  • What story do you know? Before you were born, did you come with an agreement about this lifetime on Earth? This womb-time spent in review is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself to discover what you believe.
  • Do your beliefs mirror your parents’?
  • How did you form your beliefs?
  • Did you agree to be here for a certain number of years and learn certain lessons?
  • What state-of-the-world story can you piece together while you were inside that warm, wet womb space?
  • When you were born was there any agreement about when or how you would die?

See how many perspectives you can entertain.

It’s important that you know what you believe for your origin story; Birth and Death have a relationship. Death walks with us through life and must be welcomed as a Soul choice, like Birth.

Allow your cosmic consciousness to awaken to these questions. If you are open and curious, your beliefs will be revealed. Ask your own questions and share a sketch of your beliefs with your sacred circle. Can you speak your origin story to your Soul Sisters? I experience joy and humility when I consider my origin story. What do you experience?

The whole design of our human experience is free will. Why would your Soul choose your Mother? Why did your Mother choose your Father to be her mate? How did all of that happen anyway, what chemicals were racing freely through the world? Testosterone, estradiol, what part do you understand? We are truly much more than miracles.

I want to introduce Soul as energy of the Divine, the Source energy. While you are still in your womb-space consider the concept of your Soul as the bringer of gifts from the Source, does this fit in your belief system? Take this opportunity to understand how Soul fits into your personal cosmology. If terms like past life, rebirth, life after life, or life between life, offer clues, solidify these beliefs also. When you step up to the Birth threshold, you will know what you see coming.

Starting in the womb-space before Birth provides time and opportunity to preview the agreements between your parents as they cradled you. How did they prepare to receive your gifts and hold them safe for you? Parents are only one of our Soul’s agreement; some of us have siblings who have been the closest confidants because of common origins. From the Cosmos your Soul agreed to also walk with your biological body and bring your cosmic mind into consciousness. Your cosmic consciousness wraps around mind-body-spirit at the peak moment of your Birth and then all that stardust seems to fold in on itself. Ask your sparkly cosmic consciousness to open beyond a rose bud to reveal more beautiful petals.

Consider why Soul is less talked about than other earthly experiences of human beings; we rarely share intimate meditations. If you begin a meditation practice just for this pilgrimage to review your life, more will be revealed and you will have an interesting perspective to share. Perhaps you could agree to an email drop to your circle of Soul Sisters and Mentors. Sharing your immersion will likely expand the vistas for every witness.

This time may be approached from many angles, try asking, what needs healing? Did you choose this warm and welcoming environment? Can you tell the story of why you made the choice of parents, of geography, and so many other details? What essential part of yourself came from your Father and what came from your Mother? For tender-hearts from divorced families, do you see and feel the difference between nurture and Nature? How can this reflective point of view expand your healing?

On the national and global historical timeline surrounding your Birth, what happened? Be curious. Wikipedia will help answer this curiosity for your origin story. Go there and plug in a date, like your birth year or conception year.

Your intuition is the best guide for this approach to review for healing. Remember you came with a purpose. Listening to your intuitive mind that delivers messages in subtle and complex ways will connect you to Source. Perhaps your purpose is already fulfilled or perhaps this pilgrimage will reveal the reason long known to your Soul-self. Look around to your friends now, how were their lives affected by history’s timeline?

The emotions stirred by questions, mine and those you ask yourself, become clues to follow and journal about because the origin of your joy or pain lies somewhere in those emotions, not necessarily in plain view. While you have your mind in the womb-space, your biological creation brings a renewed appreciation for your body as a remarkable miracle. It brings into stark focus the need to think about your Soul.

If I asked you to please write a sweet letter to your Mother, do you jump at the chance or cringe? Nearly everyone has some kind of mommy-wound. Your personal experience may be well reasoned and understood or the consideration begins here while you’re in reflection with her bulbous womb that became you. Your thoughts and feelings may fly back to this neonatal or postnatal birth time. Somehow mommy didn’t attend quite perfectly. My Mother didn’t nurse me, so at some point I decided she didn’t love me enough.

Here and now is where forgiveness rises in me and flows out. Each one of us has our own definition of perfection for Mother. Without her perfect attention, we decide our Mother has abandoned us. This dance of attention and abandonment is reinforced each time you felt alone or did not have your needs met, perfectly. This rock and a hard spot is an old story for Mothers without many Aunties around. I let Mothers off the hook for this unfortunate cultural wounding wheel this way, as daughters we must realize we cannot know all the facts.

Write, dance, share and share more to heal those wounds for this reason if for no other: Culture has been far too hard on women; we bear so much unnecessary stress. This guilt and shame can be healed here and wherever it surfaces again. In Endnotes you will find Brené Brown, an authority on the topic of shame and vulnerability, how to recognize it, and what to do about it.

Perhaps it all started when Mother divided her focus while you were still an infant. Half of her attention went somewhere away from you and you couldn’t get it back. This wounding is natural, we all have it because we made mommy our only focus. She focused on baby for much of your deep dependence and then returned to herself. This is true for more than half of all mommy-wounds. What were your specific details?

Before your Birth threshold, while in the wet and warm womb space, you will be opened by my suggestions. Take what is useful and leave the rest. Please get comfortable with your routine as you flex and stretch to accommodate your new ritual habits. Write about everything in your heart and mind, write about your Ancestors who beckoned you to return to a body to complete your lessons. Then write about your parents, your siblings, and your earthly grandparents. Perhaps you hovered over the scene with your spirit guide. Once or twice each month, strengthen your circle with a call or a meeting. Your Soul circle needs you and you need them.

Be willing to examine your inner realm, to heal and grow. Be willing to listen to your intuition as the Divine Feminine, the Source, or perhaps the voice of God of your understanding.

How you do what you do deepens this experience your way and leads straight to the drumroll—the Birth Passage which marked your emergence into the Earth plane and the whole of your life? The first and most dramatic of all of the Passages happens when your Soul meets your body.

gailburkettGail Burkett, PhD, author of Soul Stories, and Gifts from the Elders.

www.ninepassages.com
https://www.facebook.com/authorgailburkett

 

 

ProCreate – showcasing artist mothers

The Placenta Effect

Image: ProCreate Project.   Creative Direction: Dyana Gravina.   Photography: Digpal Singh Rathore.   

I get approached by a lot of women, with a lot of exciting projects, not all of which I can get involved with.

ProCreate jumped out of my inbox at me.

As a creative mother, who has written a #1 Amazon bestseller for creative mothers – The Rainbow Way: cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood… I was SOOOO excited to find out about this project, from Dyana Gravina, an Italian artist and entrepreneur currently based in London.

ProCreate Project is a collaborative medium for female artists that aims to support and
produce artist’s works during pregnancy and beyond. My dream is to make Procreate project become an agency dedicated to women, artists. I would like to be able to showcase through a vast range of activities their work, create and produce for and with them new pieces of art
using what for me is a generative force, pregnancy and the wonder of motherhood!

I asked her to share a bit more about her story with us…

After the 5th month of pregnancy my body underwent enormous changes: my belly grew bigger and as my physical transformation became more apparent, that force inside of me also grew stronger and more physical.

I was being influenced by that wondrous little creature that was generating a creative rush like I had never felt before, inspiring me to become even more driven and persevering.

I was in full bloom. I wanted to drown myself in the ocean of creative ideas crossing my mind; start painting and playing music again. So one night, before falling asleep, I suddenly pictured the logo in my mind’s eye: a light bulb and a foetus…and I would call it ProCreate.

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Just like that it came to me. At first I thought it was the beginning of an event; I was not sure what I was creating it for, and I was alone when I started this journey. But now I have travel companions and I am building up my company, and it is all thanks to this creative process that I experienced in my life…when I least expected it!

I struggled to find a community where other female artists could express this creative feeling or, indeed, any medium that talked about the connection between creativity and pregnancy. I wondered whether I might be going crazy; was I really the only woman on earth to be feeling this way?

So I started advertising online for other female artists who may relate to me and my newfound passion and it was not long before responses started to pour in.

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Image: Polly Penrose, 7 Years of Self Portrait, A BODY OF WORK – contributor to ProCreate Project.

By sharing my story with other artists I finally realized that what I felt was real. After a long period of solitude, I felt I had found something beyond my initial expectations: the friendships I have formed with all these women, and the stories I have heard from other females are simply amazing. I am not saying that every woman feels or should feel as we do, but there are many that do and I truly believe it is important to empower and support that – and them. This journey helped me rearrange my priorities and find out what really mattered to me.

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Image: Dyana Gravina.

There are women who have created incredible art and worked more passionately during pregnancy, and we definitely need to encourage this and make it possible in any way we can.

Procreate Project aims to become an agency with the determination to showcase and produce artistic creations with and for creative mothers / to-be. We work alongside the creative compulsion of mothers (to-be) who are feeling or have experienced this power, in order for them to advance productively and connect them with the forefront of creative business, correlating them with relevant movements, scenes and diverse niche groups in society.

We have just launched MAMA – mothers are making art, in collaboration with The Museum of Motherhood of NYC. For more see: http://mommuseum.org/2015/05/31/m-a-m-a-the-art-of-motherhood-click
And http://www.procreateproject.uk/mama-international/

11018575_10152696878966616_2271151057474561475_nMy book, The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood, and some of my art will also be included.

You can see more of Dyana’s project, and learn how to get involved at her stunning website: www.procreateproject.com – all images on this post come from her site, with permission.

 

Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering

Moods of Motherhood Lucy H Pearce

Moods of Motherhood charts the inner journey of motherhood, giving voice to the often nebulous, unspoken tumble of emotions that motherhood evokes: tenderness, frustration, joy, grief, depression, playfulness and love. She explores the taboo subjects of maternal ambiguity, competitiveness, and the quest for perfection, offering support, acceptance, and hope to mothers everywhere. Though the story is hers, it could be yours.

Today’s post is part of the Moods of Motherhood blogging carnival to mark the launch of the second edition of my book, Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering.

Do be sure to read to the end to see all the women around the world who are joining me today, lifting the lid on motherhood… and to WIN your own copy!

 From the book…

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Mothering is the work of the heart, soul and body. And yet our culture has no interest in how it feels, to do it, the effects it has on us… just that we choose the right nappies and sleep routines, and have quiet children who say please and thank you. The inner world of a mother creates the climate within which our families, and communities, grow, and yet it is almost entirely overlooked and undervalued, until it has become so unmanageable that intervention is required.

The basic premise is this: mothering doesn’t matter. It’s not real work, be grateful, shut up and don’t complain. Or that if you’re not finding it all comes naturally, if it’s not all delightful, then you are a BAD mother and therefore don’t deserve to have kids. Shame ranks highly in the arsenal of weapons to keep mothers compliant and submissive. As does comparison to other successful paragons of mothering virtue. Women’s work has never been properly valued in our culture. In part because women have been second class citizens for so long. In part because women’s bodies and inner realities are not understood. And in part because it is done in private: within our bodies and our homes. We gestate our babies unseen. Rock and nurse them alone at home. Survive dinner time. Worry about finances. Try to reclaim flagging libidos. Curse stretchmarks and wobbly bits. Angst over school choices. Smart at criticisms of our parenting… in private.

I soon realised what an epidemic there is of under-supported, overstretched mothers out there. Working their own personal coalface every day. Women who love their children, and yet struggle with the daily mothering grind. Women who are struggling with mental health issues, often undiagnosed. Suffering from extreme sleep deprivation. Lack of support – be it financial, cultural and emotional. Women who feel very alone… and doing the hardest job in the world. And wondering if they are doing OK. Wishing they were doing better. Scared to say anything in case they are judged incompetent and incapable, and the source of their anguish – but also their deepest love – their precious children – are plucked from their less than perfect hands.

And so women struggle on in silence. Knowing that they, or the reality they are experiencing must be wrong… because it doesn’t match up to everything they are told about the truth of motherhood, the natural instinct that we are supposed to have which will carry us through everything, that soft-focus, unending love, joy and delight – by the authorities: the baby books, experts, public health nurses, doctors and movies.

This book is a celebration and acknowledgement of ALL the moods of motherhood. Not just the pretty, nice, acceptable ones. But the dark, murky, unspoken, unspeakable, confusing, ambiguous ones too. All of these and more are tangled together to make up the tapestry of our mothering days.

About the author

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Lucy H. Pearce is the author of four life-changing non-fiction books for women including the #1 Amazon bestsellers: The Rainbow Way: cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood and Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle. Read more…

Buy now!

Moods of Motherhood is available to buy from your favourite online bookstores, in e-book or paperback. And, naturally, signed copies direct from my shop.

Once you’ve read it, do be sure to leave us a review on Amazon or Goodreads! Your feedback matters hugely.

Win a copy!

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Click on the book above… and we’ll send you a link to your FREE SAMPLE right away! This will automatically enter you into the giveaway draw to win a paperback copy.

Already a follower of Womancraft Publishing? Then head over to the Womancraft Publishing Facebook page and share today’s post, let us know you’ve shared in the comments below the Facebook post.

Enter before midnight (GMT) Monday 1st December to be in with a chance to WIN one of 5 signed paperback copies.

Carnival Contributors

I am so delighted to be joined today by over 40 mamas around the world in the US, UK, Ireland, Sweden, France, Poland…

Becky Jaine shares how The Joy Factor inspired her to leave the corporate world, reclaim her JOY and become a better guardian of her children’s joy

Dr Katrin Bain suggests in her posts that you go with the flow of The Changing Moods of Motherhood

Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea writes about the intense joys and desperation of motherhood in her post, Sometimes my Cloak is Big Enough

Jaci at HappinessBackpack explores Worry from a hospital bedside in her post Worry and Lumpy Hospital Beds

Kate from KatyStuff writes about the Manic Moods of Motherhood

Aisling from Babysteps writes about how motherhood made her more empathic here – The Empathy Factor

Monika shares experience of dancing and motherhood and why it rocks

Amy at MamaDynamite wishes her mood of motherhood was less frustrating in Reclaiming the Positive in Parenting

Joanna at Create Your World has learned some difficult truths… and some beautiful ones too. What my son has taught me, and how it’s not all positive

We have a strong Irish Parenting Blogger contingent

Emily at The Nest
Sinead at Bumbles of Rice
Lucy at Learner Mama
Andrea Mara of Office Mum
And lots of my favourite bloggers including…
Author Louisa Leontiades at Postmodern Woman
Author Suzi Banks Baum at Laundry Line Divine
Author Molly Remer of Talk Birth
Ancient Amber author of families for the Earth
Zoie at Touchstonez
Misty Tunks of Makey Mamas
Karina at Karina Ladet
Laura of Holistic Mama
Zoe Foster at Raw Yoga
Rowena at Ret Row Art
Awen at Wild Magpie
Clare at The Clevs
S.M. Hutchins at Live Wonderstruck

The Power of a Birth Partner

This beautiful guest post on the importance of supportive birth partners is an extract from Birth, Breath and Death by Amy Glenn Wright. I LOVE this woman’s writing… as does Ina May Gaskin!

“Amy Wright Glenn has written a remarkable book that I found very touching, reading it as I did when I was caring for my husband during the last weeks of his life. Because she’s such a brave soul, I very much enjoyed her company as I journeyed deeper into that territory that had to be traveled.”
Ina May Gaskin, midwife and author of Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

When she was six months pregnant, my younger sister Rachel faced a painful marital separation. It proved too much for her to bear alone. She needed calm, security, friendship, and loving support. So did her soon-to-be-born daughter. My husband Clark and I opened our home and welcomed her with joy. She lived with us during the final trimester of her pregnancy, the birth, and the postpartum recovery.

Before she arrived, she called me. “Amy, will you be my birth partner?” she asked. I said yes. It was an answer that would change my life.
I projected confidence yet inside I felt nervous, hesitant, and out of place. Although I could outline the basic philosophies of various world religions, I knew next to nothing about childbirth. How could I support her through this rite of passage into motherhood?

While checking out a few books on birthing, I shared these fears with the librarian. “Have you considered hiring a doula?” she inquired. I never heard this word before. Gratefully, she took a break from her work to educate me about the services that doulas provide birthing women.
I wanted to hire a doula for Rachel. Later that afternoon, I met up with her and enthusiastically shared my new discovery.

She laughed and said, “Amy, I don’t need a doula. I have you!” I paused. “Well, I need a doula.” So, she humored me. We hired a doula. Rachel’s midwife fully supported us in bringing a doula on board. We found a wonderful woman, full of passion for her work. As a former opera singer, she sang like an angel. Her calming and beautiful melodies brought a great deal of peace to the early hours of labor.

When Rachel knocked on our bedroom door at 5:30 am on a late March morning, I bolted upright. My beloved niece was soon to be born. Knowing our doula would arrive at our request brought tremendous relief and calmed any lingering trepidation. I wouldn’t be alone in supporting Rachel through the trials ahead. Our doula joined us for the vast majority of Rachel’s twenty-four-hour labor. Her helpful, kind, and informed presence proved invaluable.

Rachel quickly morphed into the bravest person I knew. Wonder and pain mixed into a strong elixir coursing through my sister’s beautiful body. We spent hours walking through the springtime fields behind our home. She labored in the upstairs tub as water washes over her rhythmic contractions. At the hospital, she moaned and rocked and said she felt agonizing pressure. She cried and bled. I massaged her body as she mercifully rested during the five-minute respites between contractions. These respites are nature’s wise gift to birthing women.

At one point as Rachel rested between pushing, our midwife turned to me and said, “You’d be a good doula.” Her words fell into the fertile soil of soon-to-manifest dreams.

Then Rachel’s cervix opened fully and the downward pressure compelled action. While pushing, she compressed every bone in my hand. I didn’t dare say anything given what was happening to her vagina. The baby crowned. Then, with a hearty push, new life slipped out of Rachel’s watery, warm womb. A threshold opened, and my sister gave birth.

The energy in the room shifted with celebratory grace and tearful smiles. We welcomed this precious one to the earthly realm of gravity, air, and land.

“A woman’s body knows what to do,” our midwife stated in the most matter-of- fact way.
Following Rachel’s birth experience, I devoted myself to doula training.

Aztec elders taught that women who died in childbirth go to the same level of paradise as men who died in battle. After attending over forty births, I fully understood why. Men die in battle from intense wounds. They bleed as they sacrifice for a greater cause. The same holds true for women who die in childbirth. They bleed as they open to life. The juxtaposition of beauty and pain in each birth astounds me. Each story lives in me.

 amyAmy Wright Glenn earned her MA in Religion and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught for eleven years in The Religion and Philosophy Department at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey earning the Dunbar Abston Jr. Chair for Teaching Excellence.

Amy is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, prenatal yoga teacher, (CD)DONA birth doula, and hospital chaplain. She is the voice for “Motherhood, Spirituality, and Religion” for Philly.com and blogs for Attachment Parenting International, Doula Trainings International, and The Birthing Site.

Amy is a regular columnist for Holistic Parenting Magazine and recently published her first book: Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula. Amy teaches private meditation classes via Skype to students across the United States. She also teaches prenatal yoga classes, Mommy and Me Yoga classes, and Breath and Movement Birth Preparation workshops in south Florida. To learn more: www.birthbreathanddeath.com

@amywrightglenn

https://www.facebook.com/AmyWrightGlenn

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Birth, Breath, and Death is available on Kindle and in print via Amazon. Click the book to go straight through to its Amazon page.

 

 

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.

**************

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.

Womb Wraps

Have you come across womb wraps? I hadn’t… until only two weeks ago.

If you suffer with any of the following:

  • menstrual cramps
  • lower back pain
  • symphysis pubis
  • pelvic pain
  • chilled kidneys

either during menstruation, pregnancy or postpartum, then you will know how you long for comfort and support… but that it’s hard to find.

When Claire Taylor of  www.cherishingwoman.org contacted me to tell me about her womb wraps, I was so excited to hear that there was even such a thing, having struggled with all of the above problems over the years. Womb wraps sounded so comforting, I just had to see one for myself. Having been sick for weeks, with monster PMS and chronic lower back pain, I needed some comfort and love… and fast.

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It arrived in a flash. Ripped open by my daughters who demanded to know what it was. I didn’t lose a second in trying it on – the details that come with it are super clear. It is like a mini wrap skirt of softest fleece, with long ties. It reminded me a little of wearing a wrap sling – only much simpler and lower on the body – but it is the same feeling of being hugged. My daughters and son immediately started stroking it, whilst asking what it was for, saying that they could stroke it forever it was so soft. They each demanded a try (my daughter instinctively slinging her doll in it!). It is soothing and warming like this and gives gentle support to the whole belly, womb, kidney and pelvis area. You could wear one round the house or out and about without anyone looking twice-  they come in maroon, chocolate and leopard print.

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But that’s only half the magic! We then we heated up a hot water bottle and popped it into the integrated pouch at the back – worn one way the heat is held over the lower back, the other way and it’s over the womb. We had to readjust the tension a bit to support the weight of the water bottle.

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Holy mama, it was divine. So, so soothing. Pure heaven.

Soft, stretchy, warming – like having a perfect hug around your belly and lower back. These fleecy wraps are so nurturing. Beautifully made by hand, you can tel they’ve been stitched with love – as there’s even a little heart stitched into the back.

As you know I love supporting women in business, especially women creating and selling products to support and empower other women. These tick every box for me.They get my absolute seal of approval for a well-designed and -made product especially for women – for happy wombs everywhere – they should become part of every woman’s self-care kit.

Womb wraps are £25 from www.cherishingwoman.org

Light at the End of the Tunnel: Pregnancy and Depression

Today’s post comes from Laura Wright and is on a topic close to my heart. I struggled with depression during one of my pregnancies and after two. Please do also see my articles on pregnancy/ post partum depression in the free resources section, here.

pregnant meme

Last year, someone very close to me became deeply depressed while pregnant. In fact, it was my little sister. After coaxing her through this tough time with the help of her wonderful partner and the rest of our family, it got me thinking about what advice or information to give prospective mothers who feel depressed during this time.

I am aware just how lonely and isolated women can feel when the world expects them to be blooming. While I have two wonderful daughters of my own, my experience of depression had been purely academic until my sister’s experience last year. Now, I feel called to write more on this deeply personal topic, so that women who find themselves in this situation can find the support and resources to help them, and to know that they are not alone in this and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Exploring the Treatments Available to Treat Depression in Pregnancy

While a diagnosis of depression during pregnancy is usually a shock, you are not alone; as many as a fifth of pregnant women suffer from low mood. It’s also important to remember that your diagnosis means that you will receive treatment, which won’t just protect your well-being, but also that of your developing baby.

Receiving treatment

Your doctor will advise on the treatments available to you, which will depend upon the severity of your depression and other factors in your medical history. In cases of more severe depression, they may suggest antidepressants as an option. However, as some of these drugs may pose a risk to your unborn child, they are usually not recommended in cases of milder depression, as the benefits are not sufficient to outweigh the risks. There is still plenty of help available though, as a range of treatments are effective when low mood is mild to moderate. These therapies can also be used in conjunction with antidepressants to enhance the outcome. Here we give an overview of some of the alternative treatments for mood disorders available to pregnant women.

  • Taking regular exercise during pregnancy is recommended to keep up your fitness to prepare you for delivery. However, keeping physically active is also beneficial for your mood when expecting, as it triggers a number of positive changes within your body that promote feelings of well-being. Exercise such as brisk walking, low-impact aerobics, swimming and yoga are all good activities, but check with your doctor about other suitable forms of exercise.
  • Psychotherapy can take the form of one-to-one counselling, where you may receive help you to build on your relationships or to change negative thought patterns. However, support groups designed to help people with depression may also be useful if you are comfortable participating in group activities.
  • The complementary therapy of acupuncture is an additional option to ease the symptoms of depression, as certain pressure points relieve feelings of low mood. Indeed, research has shown that this is a suitable option in pregnancy.

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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.