Category Archives: Rites of Passage

Respecting the 4th trimester and your postpartum body …

Respecting your body in the 4th trimester …. we read so much about the 1st, 2nd & 3rd trimesters of what to expect … however have you considered the 4th trimester and what YOU need to have in place to support you?
Your body is expected to do this amazing feat … to feed your baby, to do nights which might be very disturbed … to get out there and get back in shape (hey what???) yup the pressure women place on themselves that they need to lose the baby weight and get back into those pre-pregnancy jeans asap is immense.

In my role as a doula and pregnancy & postpartum yoga teacher … I have heard some scary stuff … I need to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy … I need to start running …. STOP 

Consider this … your body has just worked exceptionally hard for 9 months nurturing & nourishing a baby … your pelvic floor has carried your growing baby(ies) … you have these amazing hormones whizzing around your body … why do you have to jump back onto the hamster wheel?

I see ladies come along to class struggling with discomfort in their pelvis, pain in their lower backs, misaligned pelvises, there pelvic floor feels like it is non-existent, they haven’t eaten breakfast or been able to have a hot drink … they are struggling from having had a c-section … remember this is major abdominal surgery that can take quite a while to heal from … you want to feel that what you are engaging in is nurturing and nourishing you … yes there will come a point when you feel that you can start that “buggy fit” class and that you are ready …. but what happens x number of months, years down the road when you are suffering with pelvic leakage, prolapse …. this is the time to gently reconnect with your body, to be gentle and learn what it can do and what it needs … nurture and nourish your pelvic floor ready for your next baby or for the next stage of your journey.  Just because x or y says you should do it doesn’t mean it’s right for you at this moment … take the space to nurture yourself until your baby is at least 6 months … respect your body, respect the amazing concoction of hormones.  

There are many cultures who honour the postpartum woman … with periods of lying in … special foods, herbs, treatments to keep the body warm and nourished, massage … sounds divine … I so wish when I had had my babies that I had had this … after trying to get up and out after having an amazing VBAC birth with our second baby I ended up in the local supermarket bumping into someone who had only that morning opened the email to say “M had arrived earth side … welcome & all were well and doing fine” … imagine the shock on her face to see me coming through the doors … she was catching flies … I must add that I struggled to do what I needed to do and ended up going home and doing an online shop and promising myself that I was going to be gentle … it was too soon and too much … I ended up online shopping and taking a couple of weeks to myself … I learnt the hard way … and I chat about this a lot in class … but again social expectations are that we should be bouncing back and up at it … and also the pressure we put ourselves under.  

Take the six weeks to connect with your baby, start those gentle breaths we connect with in class … reconnect with your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, respect your body, your baby but ultimately respect YOURSELF … you are enough and you do not need to be super woman … your are nourishing & nurturing yourself and a baby … enjoy … have those pyjama days, snuggle with your baby, don’t pack your days running form an activity in the morning, lunch with a, b & c and then another activity in the afternoon.  Pace yourself … have space to spend time at home … to enjoy your baby … connect to what your body needs … 

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Claire runs Well Woman Happy Baby classes … she is based in Northampton from The Space in Boothville. www.rippleeffectyoga.co.uk  She has over 15 years of supporting women and is passionate about pregnancy and the postpartum period.  The classes are a combination of postnatal mummy yoga to realign and reconnect, baby massage & baby yoga plus a whole host of different techniques to support you and your baby.  There is a always a cuppa and some treat  that is created by Claire … plus the amazing support of those in class with you.  Classes are kept to a maximum of 4 mummies and babies.  Very bespoke to you and your little one.  
Claire encouragés you to listen to your baby, to journey together and if you need to baby wear in class she will adapt the class to facilitate this and it might just surprise you that you will do a relaxation with your baby fast asleep on your chest and it will be the most amazing experience … come and explore but be prepared to be here for a good few months … so build this into your postpartum care budget … it will be money well spent on you both.  Happy mummy, happy baby = happy daddy.

The ladies and their babies who come along really benefit from these amazing classes … 

“I found these classes invaluable my pelvic floor took a real hammering in labour and I have journey for 7 months working really hard to gain stability, balance and strength back.  I couldn’t have done that without your classes …. thank you I am very grateful!”

“I find the WWHB invaluable! And H loves them!”

“Please don’t stop ….. the progression from pregnancy yoga to WWHB was fab for us, J loved it and invaluable for me taking those first steps into mummy-life xx”

“Definitely keep them, I loved them with Z and N!”

“These sessions have been so important to me! I love them and have had a welcoming and safe place to come every week. I tell everyone I meet!”

“I can’t wait to have another baby just so I can come back to you Claire!”

 

She was done ….

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I read this and was blown away by it … this …. just this ….
She was done being something she was not. She realized the purpose of life was to be truly, happily who she was born to be…and if she paused long enough to remember, she recognized herself.

Enjoy

Cx

Author: Adrienne Pieroth

She was done not fully being herself.

She realized she was the only self she could be—and not being unapologetically true to herself was a disservice to her soul and the world.

She was done listening to the noise of the world. She realized the quiet voice of her own soul was the most beautiful sound.

She was done questioning her motives, her intentions, the call of her soul. She realized questions seek answers, and maybe she already knew the answers.

She was done striving, forcing, pushing through and staying on the hard path. She realized toughing things out might be a sign to pick another path.

She was done with friends that admonished her to be more light and breezy. She realized they didn’t understand she swam in the deep waters of life, she felt at home in their dark depths and died if she lived on the surface.

She was done with the distractions, the denials, the small addictions that pulled her away from the true desires of her soul. She realized that strength of character came from focus and commitment.

She was done not following the desires that yelled out in her soul every day. She realized if she did nothing about them, they died a quiet death that took a piece of her soul with them.

She was done with dinner parties and cocktail hours where conversations skimmed the surface of life. She realized the beverages created distortion and a temporary happiness that wasn’t real and disappeared in the light of the day.

She was done trying to please everyone. She realized it could never be done.

She was done questioning herself. She realized her heart knew the truth and she needed to follow it.

She was done analyzing all the options, weighing the pros and cons and trying to figure everything out before leaping. She realized that taking a leap implied not fully seeing where she landed.

She was done battling with herself, trying to change who she knew herself to be. She realized the world made it hard enough to fully be herself, so why add to the challenge.

She was done worrying, as if worry was the price she had to pay to make it all turn out okay. She realized worry didn’t need to be part of the process.

She was done apologizing and playing small to make others feel comfortable and fit in. She realized fitting in was overrated and shining her light made others brave enough to do the same.

She was done with the should’s, ought to’s and have to’s of the world. She realized the only must’s in her life came from things that beat so strong in her soul, she couldn’t not do them.

She was done with remorse and could have’s. She realized hindsight never applies because circumstances always look different in the rearview mirror and you experience life looking through the front window.

She was done with friendships based on shared history and past experiences. She realized if friends couldn’t grow together, or were no longer following the same path, it was okay to let them go.

She was done trying to fit in—be part of the popular crowd. She realized the price she had to pay to be included was too high and betrayed her soul.

She was done not trusting. She realized she had placed her trust in people that were untrustworthy—so she would start with the person she could trust the most—herself.

She was done being tired. She realized it came from spending her time doing things that didn’t bring her joy or feed her soul.

She was done trying to figure it all out, know the answers, plan everything and see all the possibilities before she began. She realized life was unfolding and that the detours and unexpected moments were some of the best parts.

She was done needing to be understood by anyone but herself. She realized she was the only person she would spend her whole with and understanding herself was more important than being understood by others.

She was done looking for love. She realized loving and accepting herself was the best kind of love and the seed from which all other love started.

She was done fighting, trying to change or not her accepting her body. She realized the body she came into the world with was the only one she had—there were no exchanges or returns—so love and acceptance was the only way.

She was done being tuned in, connected and up-to-date all the time. She realized the news and noise of the world was always there—a cacophony that never slowed or fell quiet and that listening to the silence of her soul was a better station to tune into.

She was done beating herself up and being so hard on herself as if either of these things led to changes or made her feel better. She realized kindness and compassion towards herself and others accomplished more.

She was done comparing and looking at other people’s lives as a mirror for her own. She realized holding her own mirror cast her in the best, most beautiful light.

She was done being quiet, unemotional and holding her tongue. She realized her voice and her emotions could be traced back to her deepest desires and longings. if she only followed their thread.

She was done having to be right. She realized everyone’s truth was relative and personal to themselves, so the only right that was required was the one that felt true for her.

She was done not feeling at home in the world. She realized she might never feel at home in the world, but that feeling at home in her soul was enough.

She was done being drained by others—by people who didn’t want to take the time for their own process and saw shortcuts though hers. She realized she could share her experience, but everyone needed to do the work themselves.

She was done thinking she had so much to learn. She realized she already knew so much, if she only listened.

She was done trying to change others or make them see things. She realized she could only lead by example and whether they saw or followed was up to them.

She was done with the inner critic. She realized its voice was not her own.

She was done racing and being discontent with where she was. She realized the present moment held all it needed to get her to the next moment. It wasn’t out there—it was right here.

She was done seeing hurt as something to be avoided, foreseen or somehow her fault. She realized hurt shaped her as much as joy and she needed both to learn and grow.

She was done judging. She realized judging assumed the presence of right and wrong—and that there was a difference between using information to inform and making someone else wrong.

She was done jumping to conclusions. She realized she only needed to ask.

She was done with regrets. She realized if she had known better she would have done better.

She was done being angry. She realized anger was just a flashlight that showed her what she was most scared of and once it illuminated what she needed to see, she no longer needed to hold on to it.

She was done being sad. She realized sorrow arose when she betrayed her own soul and made choices that weren’t true to herself.

She was done playing small. She realized if others couldn’t handle her light, it was because they were afraid of their own.

She was done with the facades and the pretending. She realized masks were suffocating and claustrophobic.

She was done with others’ criticism and complaints. She realized they told her nothing about herself—only informed her of their perspective.

She was done yelling above the noise of the world. She realized living out loud could be done quietly.

She was done needing permission, validation or the authority. She realized she was her her own authority.

She was done being something she was not. She realized the purpose of life was to be truly, happily who she was born to be…and if she paused long enough to remember, she recognized herself.

Freedom of Information – how it may just help you achieve the birth you would really like.

The wonderful women on the VBAC Support Group UK (FB closed groups) shared the following information …

Do you know about Freedom of Information?
The Freedom of Information law – England and Wales have it, Scotland has it (v similar), USA has it – most countries have it now really. It means that public bodies (hospitals, schools. Universities, governments, etc) must answer questions within a tight time frame. There are quite a lot of exemptions that can be used to decline requests, but on the whole the law is pretty thorough and helps the petitioner (questioner). If you are not happy with the way your question is handled you can also go to the national Information Commissioner.
If the hospital say you can’t go to the MLU and that it doesn’t accept high risk patients you could do a Freedom of Information request asking how many high risk patients have used the MLU. They legally have to tell you because of the FOI act. It may come back with some. You then would have the evidence to show that other high risk women have used it and therefore so could you.

FoI is different from Data Protection, but people mix them up often because an FoI request may feel similar to a DP subject access request- the latter is where you ask an organisation for any info it holds on YOU individually; FoI is where you are asking for non-personal information. Like – have any vbac women used the birth centre since it opened or any women with GBS or Strep B.

Hope this helpful. Going to add it as a Note and a blog piece. Thanks to the @vbac support group uk for letting me pass this info along.
Hugs Cx

 

 

The unknown … owning your own business …

The unknown … the known … the routine of regular classes … the rapidly changing day / week.  Looking at your booking sheet and thinking ohh that mama will be finishing soon to have her baby … will so and so be continuing class … so being proactive to market the spaces you have and clients letting you know what their plans are.  All very up in the air … a little like juggling a new baby, the laundry, sleep, being sociable, having a relationship, keeping on top of the housework and ohh yes EATING!   In my world I certainly don’t sleep when the baby sleeps … my business is 24/7 … literally if I am on call.

I have had lots of people say to me just go do the 9-5 thing … I did for many years work in education … and loved so many aspects of it.  I liked the structure to the day, the fact that I could prepare for x, y & z.  Interestingly in my work I do NOT discuss routines … I talk about establishing a pattern with your baby … I don’t use the word routine as life with a baby changes so rapidly and there is no point in trying to make a baby conform.  They will do it their own way until they are ready to change for themselves.  Those babies that choose to sleep through the night or those that decide they can’t sleep without you … go with what they need and listen to your instincts … they are usually spot on.  You after all are the expert with your baby you live with them 24/7.  Of course there are going to be fabulous and not so fabulous days … not bad days, although the number of mamas who tell me they have had a bad day … I turn it around and say ….

Me:  “ohh it can’t have all been bad, there must have been some good bits?  Did you make your baby smile/giggle, did they do x, y or z?” …
Mama:  “Well yes they did a or b …”
Me:  “See there’s some great positives.  The day was mixed …”

So life running your own business …. I live my life in a state of flux … never knowing quite who and when, where the next pennies will come from and believing in Divine intervention and clients paying me.  Staying in the now and not worrying about what might happen …
What I do know is that in the last 18 months I have had to be honest with myself and decide where my business was going and how I wanted it to develop.

Having your own business is a little like having a baby …. that never grows up?  It stays in that constant flux situation a little like being in a time warp.  Of course there is maturity within the business … you become more business savvy, you constantly review your classes, content, add new bits and tweak others, you change your booking conditions, you decide to add this element to your portfolio or to stop offering this or that long term project finally comes to fruition and it’s like your baby starts to walk taking tentative steps and testing the ground.
You support other new businesses or those that have been doing their thing for a long time without any formal booking process etc.  I’m always amazed that colleagues trust me enough to come and ask my opinion … wow … when did I graduate into that role?

I love having my own business and yes it has been quite a journey … thinking back I started off doing the things I did as hobbies … flowers led to weddings, our own initially and then lots of other lovely weddings followed for a few years.  Then I helped my husband out with his client group doing follow up “motivational” calls to support them in their nutritional journeys and ending up taking that business on, training others and being an active member of the community.  I eventually had to put my hand on my heart and say that this is the direction I wanted to move in … pregnancy, babies, women and families.

Choosing to own my business alongside a full time job was hard … and sometimes the business took a back seat and that was very challenging.  Having commercial premises when the economy was hitting rock bottom was a real eye opener.  However, I chose to do fewer days for the permanent job and focus on nurturing my baby.  This helped and I was able to establish a professional reputation for the classes and support I offered expectant families.  I started to parent my business with mindfulness and integrity.  It’s was never about money (and yes I was constantly reminded by accountant, family, husband … YOU ARE NOT A CHARITY … VALUE YOURSELF!)  my business was about supporting mamas in a time that is exceptionally pressurised and stressful. Not easy to put a price on that type of support.  However every mother, father (yes I have had a few call me to chat) and bubba matters.  Providing a safe space for each of them to be heard and listened too!
Don’t get me wrong I am not a charity and there have been times when I haven’t been paid, I have just covered costs but like every business there comes a point where it has to grow up and realise that it has to be paid for, that it’s not a hobby that the permanent job pays to keep going.
My biggest obstacle is when clients miss a class and want to be credited.  I have clear booking conditions and if you were a member of a gym and missed going to class or training you aren’t going to ask the gym for a refund of that months membership.

When the permanent job no longer exists heck you realise that the business must pay you for your time.  That your clients need to respect the fact that you spend time preparing classes, that you tweak them when they come with x, y or z into class and that you are drawing on a huge resource of experience and knowledge that has taken time to acquire, doing courses and submitting case studies, continuous professional development in order to be able to give them what they need.  It’s not something that can be learnt on a weekend course … it’s taken nurturing, patience and dedication … exactly like the time we spend with our children … it’s my other child!  Like my children I have patiently nurtured it, listened when it has spoken … and it does on a regular basis …

I have received some amazing support from mamas with areas of expertise that have pointed me in the right direction and I am very grateful for their expertise.  It has facilitated the growth of my business.

I read so many articles on positive parenting and one that I read recently made me sit and think about the Emotionally Intelligent Child,  it talked about “provide (ing) your child (with) ample opportunity to:

  • authentically feel a range of feelings
  • have a chance to reflect on their feelings and decisions
  • problem solve as they grow and learn
  • observe others experiencing a range of emotions and feelings
  • interact in different social situations
  • experience negative feelings without being offered a quick fix (no bribes to make crying stop for example)

It made me sit and think about these points and I loved the suggested ways parents could help their children to understand and manage their feelings & emotions.  It made me think about how I parent Ripple Effect Yoga (my other baby) and who I discuss things with … my husband is usually the first port of call – the father figure … he listens to me go on and on about this option for the business, what do I do in this scenario …  a couple of favourite Aunties (just to say one is dainty and the other is like leather) all of them listen and then break it apart and I realised that they facilitate and let me share …. to talk and to listen, to respect myself, others and my business.

The above article discusses these aspects and has some great points:
“Talk & listen: Discuss feelings and emotions as they arise, not to lecture but to give your child  important information about connecting how they feel to how they are reacting and also what they are observing in others. Using Time In instead of Time Out can help this process as well.

Research on emotional intelligence shows  that there is a really  healthy link between having emotions, feeling emotions, and cognitively identifying emotions.  For example, If a child can say they are mad (name their feelings), they are less likely to spiral into a tantrum.  Dr. Dan Siegel summarizes this ability as “name it to tame it”.

Respect & Don’t minimize: Everyone’s feelings and reactions are different and valid. Avoid telling your child how they should feel.

For example, if your child complains they are scared, reflect that back to them “You feel scared” or “You are scared right now?”  While well meaning,  it is not helpful to tell a child “this isn’t scary, don’t be afraid.”

If we tell children how to feel and that differs from what they are actually feeling they will begin to feel confused about their own feelings.”

I don’t think I am ever going to regret stepping into the world of having my own business.  Yes, I like lots of others, dislike accounts and tax returns but they are a necessary evil … the pleasure of seeing a mama bond with her baby, for her to experience a first in class and for us to all share in the joy of little A rolling over or little C smiling for the first time or laughing.
For a mama who needs to step inwards and be at one with herself … to take that step to trust me to cuddle her precious bundle of joy until they fall asleep in my arms.  This is a true blessing and one of the reasons why I love what I do, why I am passionate about parenting, mamas, babies and being a family.  So even though every day brings a little something different … I am loving it.  Thank you for coming along to classes, courses and days where you are able to focus on you personally.  You are all truly gorgeous and nurturing your beautiful bundles of joy.  Cx

Sacred Pregnancy … raw, emotional and a journey everyone should undertake (if they are ready)

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So for a few months I have been busy beavering away with a couple of online courses … Sacred Pregnancy so that I can offer 8 week mama classes, 4 week couple classes and 2 day mini retreats plus postpartum services.  I have loved every aspect of it even if it has challenged me at times and trying to combine studying with running my own business, looking after my own tribe and everything else that needs your attention has had its moments.  .

But then I decided that I would go on Retreat and spend 6 days in the depths of Snowdonia at Cae Mabon and delve into me … my god did I know what I was trying to undertake … probably not but the layers had to be peeled away and stripped back to the bare bones.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a pretty sight but I wasn’t on a holiday I was on a journey of self discovery and sisterhood.  Boy I got that in heaps!!

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Sacred Pregnancy for me has been like coming home … it calls to me … actually it shouts to me … so much that I would be stupid to ignore it … there are some wonderful aspects that I have just loved and others that have challenged me but I have been determined to overcome them, embrace them and find me.

This journey is about finding you and the most amazing Sisterhood! You have to be ready to face this … it’s heartbreaking, honest and SAFE! Safe? …. as in the space that is created by the community of sacred women and the facilitators.

My SP journey started online with Sacred Pregnancy … this challenged me with the artwork … I am not an artist but I decided that I could do this … take my time and meet every task. I had a few family challenges along the way but wow … just WOW! I thought I had worked through so much especially the birth of our first … but low and behold the first day on the live retreat completely floored me and when we introduced ourselves, who we were, our birth stories, I couldn’t quite believe how emotional I was and how raw it felt, our oldest recently turned 14 so I think it was closely linked to this …

The first day was very emotional … I knew what was coming but it didn’t prepare me … I was on the most amazing rollercoaster that was phenomenal. So on day 3 after the intro, the releasing … I felt so at peace and there was a sense of serenity that just washed over me. It was like unpeeling layers and I was revealing me … the real me … where had I been? I was buried under layers and layers – no actually years of being teacher, wife, mummy and finally I found ME!

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What was my highlight? Well there were quite a few …. if you can imagine a group of women celebrating life, then think out of the box … it was awesome … but for me it was the Roundhouse dance.

We were asked to dance solo in the Roundhouse with the fire lit. It was amazing. It’s been several years since I have done any performance dance and I was a little nervous. Holding back until the very end, nervous about the music Anni would choose for me … but I should have believed in the Universe …

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Photo:  Josie

It was amazing … I felt free … I didn’t have any inhibitions and loved every minute listening intuitively to the music, moving as my body wanted to … interacting with the rhythm, lyrics, setting the mood for the dance.   Anni choose Eva Cassidy’s version of Time after Time and this was perfect. I really wish it had been videoed as I could remember certain movements but not the whole or the music! One of the ladies on retreat asked if I had done professional dance! Wow that was awesome … I was a gymnast until 22 years old and it’s been over 20 years since I really danced properly but I loved every single minute and am going to build it in that I dance every day!
What an amazing experience. I can’t believe I was so resistant to doing this when I was on the online course. I kept putting it off and off! Never again!

The live retreat was so much more … exploring, fighting, resistance, give and finally acceptance for who I AM!

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I so loved this journey and can’t wait to support other women in their journeys … to finding themselves. It’s so powerful and at times so overwhelming that I did wonder if I would survive. I had a couple of nights that were disturbed (my apologies to my room mates!)

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but I felt so serene on day 3 and everything seemed to come together. I loved the honoring day … it was magical and I so miss Cae Mabon … and the beautiful Sisters I met and befriended. I know I am not always easy to get on with but there was a real connection with some beautiful women. Thank you for being there for me!

I can’t wait to share this wonderful journey with the women who wish to connect with themselves and their babies … strip away the layers and find the real you before you embark on the journey from maiden to motherhood and as a couple to see each couple find their roots so that they can build on this as they move from being a couple to a family.  It’s truly Sacred and to be Honoured!

Photos courtesy of:

Josie Gritten – https://www.facebook.com/pages/True-Image-Photography-by-Josie-Gritten/146962578671945

Jakob  – http://www.jakobgoldstein.net

& personal photos of Claire