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.
Few would deny the power of breasts. They are magnetic. Hypnotic. Fascinating.
So much so that their power has become taboo. They are biologically “secondary sexual features”. But their sexual aspect has supplanted their primary function. They are mammary glands. For nurturing young. They are what connects us to all other mammals. But our culture has forgotten this, and has put them into the “erotic” bracket, and kept for TITillation of men. Their superficial appearance is all that is valued: large, pert, neat nippled breasts.
But breasts are so much more than this.
When we talk of nurturing, the first thing we think of is their milk. And this is truly incredible stuff. Over the years, the more I have learnt about it, the more I have been purely stunned by the intricate miraculousness of this precious fluid. Breast milk, so I have read, changes composition according not only to the age and nutritional needs of the baby, but in order to protect them from infection. Every time a mother kisses her baby, she ingests the pathogens on their skin and creates antibodies which are then fed to the baby through her milk.
I breastfed all three of my children for around two years each. I am so glad I did. But many mothers can’t, or don’t. What I want to talk about is the invisible aspect that is rarely talked about that every mother, whether she breastfeeds or not can give with her breasts: her feminine, nurturing energy.
Think for a second of when you hugged your mother as a child, or when your child hugs you… where is the head? That’s right, laying on the chest, on the breasts. Soothing. comforting, transmitting love. It is intangible, but no less real. This is how mothers transmit the nurturing, loving energy to their children even when they are not breastfeeding, but when we breast feed this streaming of energy is even more direct from mother to child, and sustained for greater lengths of time than a hug.
I first read about the energy properties of breasts in Dr Christiane Northrup’s life changing book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, where she talked powerfully about energy depletion in the breasts and how this can lead to infections and abscesses, when the nursing mother is giving too much and becomes exhausted.
I have also read about the energetic properites of them in Tantric Orgasm for Women, Where author talks of the breasts as a woman’s positive energetic pole, which needs to be approached and awakened first, before genital contact is made. In The Art of Sexual Ecstasy there is an incredible picture of a man sucking his partner’s breast, with a thought bubble, and in it you see him remembering the feeling of suckling at his mother’s breast. His eyes are rolled back, in the same way a milk drunk baby looks, in sheer ecstacy, feeling deep peace and pleasure in their own body and profound connection to the beloved. This is the power of the breast.
Many who have not breastfed worry about the mixing of feelings and emotions between the eroticism of the sexual breast and the nurturing aspect of the mammary gland. Most women report that the physical sensations of breastfeeding are completely different to any sort of sexual interaction, and that if the sexual feelings do emerge, which can happen with a child who is weaning and gone a few days without feeding, that it feels odd and uncomfortable. But the feelings of pleasure and closeness for mother and child are similar to a post orgasmic haze as the act of nursing produces the same hormone: oxytocin, which produces feelings of bliss, bondedness, deep connection and relaxation.
But there is something more to the energetic and nurturing aspect of the breast – something to do with this energy flow which I have experienced many times. When each of my children weaned for a few weeks, to a couple of years with each different child, when they were tired or upset, they would choose to come and put their head, or their hand, on my breast. At first it would have to be on the naked breast. There was some sort of soothing which they got from its energy alone, that was separate from the sucking sensation and the milk itself with which they previously comforted themselves.
And it was not just my breastfed babies who would associate my breasts with nurture. A neighbor’s 3 year old son, who had not been breastfed, fell on the road outside my house, and was very shaken and upset. I picked the sobbing child up to carry him down to his house, the first time I had ever held him, and the first thing he did, was to put his hand gently onto my breast and kept it there, as his sobs subsided, all the way to his house.
And it is not even just humans. One day we found a tiny abandoned kitten in the hedge, and carrying it back home (I was still nursing at the time), it wriggled and nuzzled its way in under my cardigan, nuzzling and licking at my breasts, looking for milk and comfort.
This energy, its pull, its draw for both nurturing and sexual terms fascinates me. One of the most distinctive thing about my paintings is the nipples with the spirals on that emerge so often: a making visible though art, of what lies invisible.
Many of us are unaware of this energy spiral. We have learnt to shut off our feelings to our breasts. But whether we are breastfeeding or not, being aware of this aliveness in our breasts, the energy spirals is key to our feminine health and to healthy, loving, connected relationships. Bringing our attention to them throughout the day and especially when you are hugging people, and before and during intercourse is a key way to be sure that we are in our bodies, giving freely of our energy, not depleting ourselves, nurturing and connecting with love. It is also vital to receive love in through the breasts and heart chakra through hugs and open communication, through keeping our bodies warm, through rest and relaxation, and through massage and loving touch.
Your breasts are miraculous, not for what they look like, but for what they are and do. Take care of them.
This post is part of the Irish Parenting Bloggers BlogMarch to support Breastfeeding Week. For an introduction to the March, and a list of the other participants please visit
I seem to have been talking sex a lot recently, with soul-sisters, my women’s group and my partner. It strikes me that though we may not want to DO it as much, us married women with kiddies sure love to talk about it! It matters to us. It excites and intrigues us and makes us glow – as one friend says, she knows I’m about to start talking sex (which is quite often, if truth be told!) because my face lights up! But talking and doing are not the same.
There comes a time in your life when sex isn’t, well, so sexy. And it’s certainly not carefree. Nor spontaneous. Sex becomes more functional as you enter your thirties – tied up with conceiving… or desperately NOT conceiving another. It can feel like a strategic military operation at times to get both partners in the same place, minus kids and plus small amounts of energy. Nor is it about lust-filled exploration – as you know each other’s bodies back to front. So what IS sex about…?
In one word: connection – to ourselves and each other.We’re all pretty good at superficial connection via Facebook, and superficial titillation in this sex-saturated world. But real connection is anything but superficial. The longer you know someone, the less places there are to hide. Sex cannot be used as escapism once you have been together for a prolonged period. It requires connection. I know in myself, I turn away from this connection when I feel overwhelmed with the world and myself: the thought of being that open, that connected, is more than I can take. And so when I go off sex, it is a great reminder to me that I am disconnected – not just from my partner, but also my own body, and from other areas of intimacy in my life. If I can’t show up in bed, I am not showing up elsewhere. If I can’t let myself go in the bedroom, chances are the rest of my creativity is being inhibited too.
Sex requires that we turn up as we are, in the bodies we currently inhabit. And with an openness of spirit. It requires complete openness and vulnerability. A desire to engage fully. To BE together. And that’s before you get to the physical aspects which might be blocking your path…
Post-baby bodies: it might be as simple as stretch-marks or as serious as tearing and scar tissue, or a body memory stored in your genitals from a traumatic birth – going down there post-babies can be a lot less straight forward. We are aware of our bodies in a more functional, less romanticised way. As are our partners. It can be hard for either or both of us to detach from their baby making qualities, to their erotic ones, especially when breastfeeding and our partners might cop a squirt of milk in the eye during foreplay!
Cycles: It is natural for libidos to be dampened down whilst breastfeeding. But when our menstrual cycle resumes, so do our monthly hotspots. It is great to be aware of when these occur and take your lead from your hormones. When your libido rises just before ovulation, and just before (or for some women during) menstruation. For more information on your cycle do check out my book Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle.
Feeling touched out: Mothers, especially those who are co-sleeping, breastfeeding, or mothers of under 3s can feel totally overwhelmed by touch at the end of a long day mothering, and when evening comes just want their physical space rather than being touched some more.
Exhaustion: Many mamas get into a spiral of I’m too tired, I don’t want to have sex. Their partners subtly or not so subtly express that sex hasn’t been had in a long time, and she begins to feel resentful about being put upon – doesn’t he understand I’m tired? I don’t have any more to give. I really just don’t want to… A vicious spiral of disconnection can build from here, with both too frustrated and misunderstood to communicate. How do YOU break out of this? How do you find a way through where both of you feel your needs are being heard and honoured?
Turning it around…
Reframing: I often feel hounded if I am not in the mood. And know that many other women do too. But when it was explained to me that that hungry look was not a demand, but an appreciation, a visual “I love you, I love your body.” Rather than perceive it as a threat which I had to defend myself and my tired body from, I could totally reframe it, and it made me feel energised, loved and grateful. What woman doesn’t want to feel loved, to know she is loved? And that is all most of our partners want for us too: to express their love. For them it can often be with actions of physical love making, rather than words or other gestures. But you may need to have the words and gestures first. Reframing it in your own mind can make you feel a whole different way, instead of him “needing” or “demanding” something, can you consider it a devotion, meditation, a shared enjoyment, an invitation for play or fun, a chance to feel loved?
And can he reframe what he considers “necessary” for “sex” – is sex just intercourse leading to orgasm? What other ways can you connect physically and emotionally? Negotiate non-intercourse ways of interacting lovingly. Everyone needs touch, some of us more than others – making sure you are giving, and receiving loving touch is vital for all relationships.
Get away – a change of scene is so important to get our energy flowing. Our energy stagnates if we live day in, day out, in the same place, in the same way, and in the early years of parenthood we can be very stuck at home. Getting away together – to a hotel, or house sitting a friend’s house, or having a naughty Saturday afternoon together sans kids at home is often just what the doctor ordered. Time out of mundane reality to reconnect on every level.
The erotic – pillow books were a common thing of the Japanese, I like this idea of shared enjoyment of eroticism. In our culture pornography tends to be a male-dominated, female-exploiting field, and is often mixed with aggression, domination or abusive models of sexual interaction. But we all have an erotic side – a side that loves sensuality, titillation, naughtiness, the erotic – can you find a way to share this in a way that celebrates, not denigrates you as a woman? That makes you feel good? Do share your suggestions below for woman friendly eroticism that you share with your partner.
Keep exploring, and enjoying and pleasuring your own body – the more to love and enjoy your body and sensuality, the more you understand, without pressure or expectation what you like, and love, the more alive your body feels on a regular basis, the more alive and in your body you will feel.
There is, and always has been, a pressure on women to have sex – both to make babies and to give pleasure, often regardless of her own desires. Even when our partner may not be intending to put pressure on, there is the cultural pressure on men and women to be doing it more. Enough, enough already. Sex is nothing to prove, nothing to achieve. There are no minimum requirements.
But that is not to say it is not important. But our vision of sex, our definition is narrow. And what is important is that which makes us glow when we talk about it, and that we experience after making love – the glow of our heightened life force flowing through our veins, the feelings of ecstasy, of abandon, and sensuality. The sense of being one with another, one with the world. The comfort and pleasure of being touched by and touching. These matter. These impact all of our relationships and our life as a whole. However you can, make sure to weave THAT sort of magic through your life and your partnership. Find how to connect, and reconnect in a way that pleasures and celebrates you both.
Rape has been in the news, in the air a lot these past months. Events that previously would have been over-looked and ignored by the mainstream media, are now receiving the full coverage, and righteous anger they deserve. The following post was written by a mother following a particularly shocking case in the US, where many in the media and justice system tried to excuse the behaviour of the rapists.
Becoming a mother changed a lot of things for me. I am now responsible for the well-being of a most precious being of light and love. Becoming a mother has made me examine everything I do, I say, I believe. In wanting my daughter to experience and to be kind, compassionate and empathetic, I have become more so. I see and experience the world through different eyes and skin now – hers. While I had become immune to, hardened and accepting of many things in life for myself, this is not the case when it comes to her.
Which is why I have been at a complete loss for words for the steady stream of reports of rape from all over the world. But now I have to find the words to name this despair, outrage, and pain.
Every single person that is raped is a human being. Women, men, boys, girls, heterosexual, homosexual, transgendered, and everyone in between. In being raped, each of them become dehumanized, debased, violated, scared, devalued. Each of them is someone’s child.
The prevalence and acceptance of rape is a our failing as humans, as parents, as community and society. Nobody deserves to be violated because of their gender, their race, their economic status, their behavior, the way the dress, their mistakes. No one is entitled to violate another human being. And how did we collectively learn to simply stand by and watch such acts of violence happen in front of our eyes ?
What can I do? I can teach my daughter that she is to be honored and respected by treating her with honor and respect and expecting the same for myself. Fortunately, she will learn that men respect and honor women, because her father does so with his wife, and child. And we treat all those around us with respect and kindness and empathy. It may not be the “real world” but this is the world that I want for us … for us all. And I do believe, each little step makes a difference.
Lavina Faleiro: mother, wife, yogini, yoga teacher/therapist (pre-/post-natal, kids/family, womb), scientist, dancer; one foot in Bahrain, heart in Ireland; joy in heart, song on lips, smile in eyes; dreams in head; love in fingertips.
I am excited to share with you the publication of my second book, Moods of Motherhood.
A compilation of my best-loved posts on motherhood from my popular blog, Dreaming Aloud, my columns from JUNO magazine and many new pieces, never before published. This is a book full of my trademark searing honesty and raw emotions. It will make you laugh and cry – wherever on your mothering journey you may be.
Topics include: tenderness, pregnancy and birth, happy days, anger and fierceness, playfulness, love, patience, homemaking and much, much more… it is illustrated throughout with beautiful black and white photographs.
It would make a great gift for friends and sisters; great introduction for those who have yet to discover my writing.And a bound treasury of my work for long-time readers to hold in their hands.
And to celebrate I am running a 72 hour sale here on The Happy Womb!!!!!!!! Enter Moods72 at the checkout, to receive 15% off the paperback or 25% off the e-version. This discount is also available on Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle.*
Let me share with you the introduction…
My grandmother always said: “You are your baby’s weather.” How true that is! There is nothing more remarkable about the act of mothering than the changing moods. The weather of motherhood can seemingly alter from moment to moment, day to day, a rollercoaster of emotions stronger than one has ever experienced before. The stakes, after all, are far higher than anything we have ever played for before: the very life, health and happiness of a creature that is our own flesh and blood.
On reading back over my blog, I noticed how contrasting posts follow one day after the other – all so real, yet so intangible. Like the weather we are only left with vague memories and snapshots of how hot or cold it was, no real yardstick of the tempests and sunshine of our mothering years.
Other mothers were drawn to these posts, these outpourings of emotion, frustration, joy and despondency. It seems we are all yearning for a reflection of our own tumultuous experiences, a validation of the endless emotional turmoil and physical exhaustion which motherhood reeks in our lives. We seem to lack a language to share both the mundane repetitiveness of our daily mothering lives, as well as a forum for sharing the deeper emotional parts. For perhaps the first time in history, the mothers of the twentieth and twenty first centuries mothered alone, in separate houses, often far from family support. The job of parenting is not meant to be handled by one adult, it takes a tribe.
Few of us entered the role prepared, though we might have been expecting (some) sleepless nights and smelly nappies, the all-consuming nature of motherhood lay hidden, until we were well and truly embarked on our maiden voyage. The sweetness of a first baby’s smile did not reveal the cacophony of demands which another child – or three – would bring.
Most knew how they wanted to be, and what they most certainly would not do. And then after the first glow of motherhood had worn off, the disappointments begin stacking up: the ideals which had fallen by the wayside, the perfection not achieved, due to lack of energy, experience, insight or something else.
And at that point we can despair and see ourselves as failing. But the mothering journey, does not, cannot stop that day, even though we feel we cannot continue. And it is in overcoming these moments that we find ourselves as the mothers we truly are. In this moment we let the perfect mother die, and embrace our quirky, impatient, silly, messy, deeply loving mother selves.
This book is far from a parenting manual written by an objective expert. Rather it is the life of a mother – warts and all. It is compiled from posts written for my blog, Dreaming Aloud, published articles and previously unpublished work. So here, for you, is a journey through the emotional terrain of a mother, from humour to heartbreak, though the story is mine, it could be yours.
When I was the mother of one, I thought I was an expert. Which is why I became a writer on parenting issues! As the mother of three, I have been humbled to my core. I have realised just how much I don’t know or can’t do – and just how little I am “in control”. And yet ironically with that knowledge and acceptance, comes a little more wisdom, and a lot more experience.
I see new friends starting out on the road to motherhood with mixed feelings. Immense joy at the ecstasy of love they are about to experience, great protectiveness, wishing to shield them from the scars it will make on their souls, the pain, the heart ache, the worry, the exhaustion, the touching of anger which they had been able to keep hidden all these years. But this is the journey. The one that makes us the mothers that we will be. The mothers that our children will live with every day, yet barely know.
Becoming a mother brings with it such a vast raft of complications for the psyche, before you add the momentous task of caring for a small and ever-changing child to the mix. Becoming a mother reawakens our own feelings, good and bad, about our own mothers. It changes our relationship with our partner forever: suddenly we are not just lovers but parents. And it shifts us instantaneously into the next generation, causing potentially seismic shifts in friendships where one set are not parents and we now are. Not to mention the adjustment between us and our families of origin. And that is before we even consider the massive shift in roles for most modern women from full time work or study out in the world, to suddenly being at home, if only for the first weeks, with a small being who needs you all the time. Ideas of women’s roles in society suddenly become less abstract or idealised, and the whole dilemma of who cares for the child, who works, who pays the bills and how suddenly become pressing realities with few ideal answers.
Very often I find it hard to be really mentally present with my children – though I aspire to be. I find the demands of motherhood too intense, their needs too much. And so I do what I know, what I love: I write. In writing I capture the mood, the moment in a more effective way than my whirling thoughts and fuzzy memory could ever hope to. And so I find that even in my moments of despair, distraction and elation I was present. And in these vignettes of mothering life, and the images which accompany them, I have captured the whole process of motherhood which was at times almost unbearable in the actual living of it.
And so I have it here in all its preciousness to savour, and give thanks for, from the safe distance of time and the security of the written word. Yet, as I read back, I realise with great poignancy that these babies who I am capturing have grown, without me noticing, despite my almost daily writing about them. They are bigger and stronger, little rugged human beings out in the world. Little humans that I co-created, that I carried in my belly and fed from my breast. I feel like I need to pinch myself, it doesn’t seem real, or even possible. And yet it is. And that is the miracle of motherhood.
The most important thing about this motherhood lark is that we know that we are not alone. That we are not the only ones feeling these feelings and living these experiences. Surround yourself with like-minded allies to laugh and cry with, to confide in and gratefully accept support from.
I look forward to sharing my journey with you and hope that it might give you insight and support in your own.
From the back cover…
“Moods of Motherhood traces the life of a mother: her tenderness, joy, anger, love, frustration, grief and gratitude. Compiled from posts written for her popular blog, Dreaming Aloud, her best-loved columns from JUNO magazine and many new pieces. This is a book full of Lucy Pearce’s trademark searing honesty and raw emotions. It will make you laugh and cry – wherever on your mothering journey you may be. Though the story is hers, it could be yours.”
*(Discount valid to midnight (GMT), this Sunday, 4th November, use valid to one product per customer).
I am delighted to share with you my contribution to a very special book which has just been published.
Note to Self : The Secret to Becoming your own Best Friend invites you to discover the beauty and power of self-love, acceptance and becoming your own best friend. Exploring topics such as Healing, Menstruation, Motherhood and Body Image, Note to Self shows you how to embrace who you are and write love letters for your soul. It includes a collection of letters from 30 inspiring women around the world including Tabby Biddle, Jane Harwicke Collings … and me!! Continue reading
“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
* 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)
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/
“How can I speak for birth?”
That was my question, back when I first felt called to do birth work. To advocate for birth. Natural birth. Birth as she has always been for millions of years. Generation after generation. Nothing weird or hippy. Nothing worthy. Just the miracle of biology which is birth. Donkeys, goats, dolphins and cats do it: nothing weird there. That’s all I wish for women, is to experience the magic of life, the wonder of birth. But we have been told that birth is dangerous, uncertain, not to be trusted. And that birthing like animals is beneath us. We need to be saved from that.
But the opposite is true. Natural birth gave me back to myself. It was a revelation to me. And it has become a large part of my life’s work. I truly want to help more women share this most fundamental and natural of experiences, because in our medicalised birthing world this is not an inevitability, but a rarity. Continue reading