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3 steps to your perfect body shape

11:21 pm|

So what is the perfect body shape? The perfect body size? What is the ideal weight for my height?

 

These questions are constantly asked by many women with many of us striving desperately to achieve its (often unrealistic) answer.

 

Your ideal body shape is not defined by a desired weight or a dress size and is certainly not determined by comparing your body to someone else’s. Like the title suggests, your perfect body shape and size is specific and unique to you; it is one that is individually yours and one that illustrates your inner-self. It is neither his nor hers; it is exactly how you feel it to naturally be.

 

Your body is as unique as you are and no two bodies are the same so how can there be a perfect body shape for all women when we are all so different? And then why is it that we strive to look like somebody else (that has a completely different set of genes, body makeup, shape and composition)?

 

Why is it that we strive to achieve an image that is outside of ourselves rather than looking within to honour and respect our bodies and its version of its perfect size?

 

Who’s version of the perfect body shape have we subscribed to? When I ask this question there are very few that can say they subscribe to their own version or to their body’s version but instead have been living up to society’s version or someone else’s!

 

So where do we begin to take back our power and how exactly do you find your ‘perfect’ body shape?

 

1 – First and foremost we must acknowledge who we are today. Lumps, bumps, extra kilos and all, we must accept ourselves as we are in this very moment. If we skip the acceptance of where we are currently at, we are forever moving forward with our choices with the message that we are not good enough and will constantly be striving to achieve a goal leaving the whole of you in the wake behind with the message that you were never good enough in the first place. Instead, as we move forward with self-acceptance we are more open to learning and to discovering of what works best for us or not.

 

2 – Once we have accepted ourselves for who we are and continue to acknowledge where we are at (and let’s not forget how far we have come!) we must then learn to self-love, deeply so! Make self-love your motivation to eat well, to exercise and to take care of your body. When self-love forms the foundation of your choices, you will always make the right choices that honour and respect your body. Self-love and listening to your body will show you what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, how much to exercise and more.

 

3 – From self-loving choices, your body will take on its own perfect shape. Not one from a magazine, not one from an advertisement, nor one that is unachievable but rather one that illustrates your essence, reflects your love-filled choices and one that stands proud for who she is and the abundance of self-acceptance and self-love that emanates her being. Let alone the plentiful energy and self-confidence you gain!

 

When we learn to stop looking outside of ourselves for the perfect body shape and start to look within we find that our body has an amazing ability to provide all of the answers we need. In fact, as I like to say, the body has  an inner-knowing or wisdom of what exactly it needs to live, love and nourish.

 

Through honouring and respecting our body do we find true self-love and ultimately our ‘perfect’ body shape. 

 

As women (and men too) we have a natural beauty that lies forever within and it is about finding that inner-spark to reconnect to and let it shine for the world to see! And as it shines and we live in respect to our bodies we open an often untouched path to allow our body to adapt and take on its ‘perfect’ shape and no one else’s.

 

May you walk confidently in your body for it is one of a kind and illustrates your essence so that our world may be filled with our many expressions.

 

And finally, learn to love who you are and the body you are in. Learn to never self-criticize but instead self- love. Don’t shy away from your inner-beauty. Give yourself permission to feel your beauty, for you are beauty-full.

Guest Author, Casey-Lee Lyons is a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath, whole foods recipe developer, health and nutrition representative and wellness writer. With over 12 years experience in the health, fitness and wellness industries Casey-Lee is most passionate about inspiring others to feel their healthiest and best self.

Every breastfeed is a success

11:02 pm|

“I popped into the doctors’ to have my toddlers cough checked,” says Kate, mother of a just turned two year old. “I mentioned to the GP that I was still breastfeeding and was completely speechless when she told me, “you know there is no goodness in your milk after three months.”

On the other hand, there are mothers like Emma who are completely devastated when weaning happens early because of medical issues. Emma says, “I tried and tried to breastfeed for three months but I battled low supply and ended up with postnatal depression.  During this time, I was topping my baby up with formula and everyone kept telling me that the formula meant he wouldn’t be getting any protection from the breast milk, so it wasn’t worth stressing myself.”

Actually, however long you breastfeed or how much breast-milk you are able to give your baby, this magic potion made by mums is like medicine. It helps protect your baby against nasty bugs from coughs and colds to tummy bugs: breast milk is like a daily vaccination against every bug your baby comes in contact with: it is a living fluid containing healthy bacteria, antibodies, white blood cells, antimicrobials and cell wall protectors and proteins that offer protection against bacteria and viruses. If you catch a bug, specialised white blood cells will appear in your breast milk to protect your baby. Conversely, if your baby becomes sick, the transfer of germs from baby to your breast will trigger the production of specific antibodies. These antibodies will be deposited into your milk to boost your baby’s immunity and help her fight off illness.

And, it’s not just the milk your baby drinks that can boost her health and make her feel better – mothers the world over have used breast-milk as a cure-all for minor aches and pains:  with a few squirts, you can soothe rashes and itchy bites, relieve sunburn, unblock snotty noses and fix conjunctivitis. Some health practitioners even advise treating ear infections with a few squirts of breast milk every hour or two.

Some of the most recent research about human milk affirms that using breast-milk to fix these common ailments isn’t just the basis of old wives’ tales.  Studies into the antibacterial agents of mother’s milk reveal that breast milk has the ability to kill tumour cells and bacteria.   Your magic mother’s milk can kill 40 different types of cancer cells and has been shown to help reverse antibiotic resistance.  It’s all about a protein  in breast milk, ‘Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells’ (known as HAMLET).

According to researchers at the University of Buffalo HAMLET can help treat people with those nasty superbugs that cause pneumonia, MRSA, and staph infections and when HAMLET was recently tested on patients who had bladder cancer, after each treatment, the patients’ urine was tested to reveal that the dead cancer cells were excreted. HAMLET did not affect healthy cells.

Contrary to advice such as that offered by Kate’s doctor, as long as you are breastfeeding, your milk is providing your child with essential proteins, nutrients antibodies and other protective substances and will continue to do so for as long as you continue nursing. In fact, some immune factors actually become more concentrated during the second year of life – right when your baby becomes mobile enough to play with other children and is exposed to a greater array of bugs!

If you, like Emma, find yourself confronted with challenges that may mean you breastfed for a shorter time, it may help to think of breast milk as medicine. Every drop is protection for your baby’s health.   In fact, according to a brand new breastfeeding report by Save the Children, “Super Food for Babies,” 830,000 babies’ lives can be saved worldwide if they are breastfed within the critical first hour after birth.”

Perhaps, instead of judging  yourself or allowing others to judge you around the length of time you breastfeed, snuggle your precious baby against your bare skin, nuzzle into that soft downy head, breathe in  and remember, ‘every breastfeed is a success.’

Breastfeeding gives your baby and you:

The first hour:–baby receives colostrum, the most effective and potent immune system-boosting on the planet. This first feed stabilises baby’s blood sugar and protects his gut.

The first day : the slightly laxative effects of colostrum encourage your baby’s first bowel motion; helps seal his gut against foreign proteins (gut closure); boosts your baby’s immune system and helps your uterus to contract, reducing bleeding and aiding recovery after birth.

The fourth day: you have now given your baby his first “immunisation” (antibody-rich colostrum), and helped to get his digestive system running smoothly. Your creamy transitional milk contains high levels of fat, lactose, vitamins and more calories than the colostrum.

The first month: your baby is receiving perfect nutrition and immunity and because mother’s milk is so easy to digest, breastfeeding means he won’t be uncomfortable due to constipation. By exclusively breastfeeding for at least 1 month you have given your baby significant protection against food allergy at 3 years of age.

Six weeks: you have eased your baby through the most critical part of his infancy –new-borns who are not breastfed are much more likely to get sick or be hospitalized, and have more digestive problems than breastfed babies.  Breastfeeding for 6 weeks means that your child now has less risk of chest infections up to 7 years old.

Two months: Your child now has a lower risk of food allergy at 3 years old and, if you immunise your baby, breastfeeding boosts your baby’s antibody response to immunisations, strengthening the effectiveness of the vaccine. Nursing during injections will also offer comfort and pain relief.

Three months: Now, you have given your baby a 27 percent reduction in the risk of asthma if you have no family history of asthma and a 40 percent reduction if you have a family history of asthma. You have also given your baby between a 19 and 27 percent reduction in incidence of childhood Type 1 Diabetes.

Four months: exclusively breastfeeding for

Detox your fears for an easier birth

10:27 pm|

Spring is classically the time to detox your life. I really believe toxins are to the body what fears are to a pregnant mind. You may not be aware of them or their effects, but left to breed and run rampant, they can cause problems in the long run.

Mental pollution comes in many forms. Hollywood images, the media or our collective emergency mindset that has turned a natural miracle into a medical event in our own minds and then makes that come true.

Stop feeding the fears. Turn off the box, put away the bad news, and please I beg you, stop listening to horror stories!!

 

Ask politely, is it a positive story? Let them know, “Shhhh…baby is listening!” Perhaps you can agree to swap notes after the birth so they don’t impact on your experience.

You are the protector of your mental space and baby’s home. Nobody has the right to disturb your peace of mind. This is where motherhood begins.

Research shows labour is not just a mechanical process but an intricate interplay between mind and body. A hormonal orchestra that is easily disturbed. By what, you may ask? By your own mind and emotions.

This is where other mammals have the advantage. They just rely on instincts and don’t let their heads get in the way. Fortunately for them, they don’t read newspapers and so they don’t know they should be afraid. It turns out being primitive serves us better than being sophisticated.

Want a pain free birth? A fascinating theory I talk about in my new book { A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth} is Dr Read’s Fear-Tension- Pain Syndrome. Dr Read says, “pain in an otherwise uncomplicated labour arises from the sympathetic nervous system fuelled by the emotion of fear.” By removing fear, tension is reduced and pain is eliminated or minimised. Put simply, cure the fear and pain is taken care of.

Do you hold the belief that contractions equal pain? If so, you will make that a self fulfilling prophecy.

Give it a different name.  I never used the word contractions, nor pain. All I spoke of were waves and intense pressure and therefore that is all I had during my birthing experiences.

Learn the art of total body relaxation. Get yourself to such a state of inner calm that you no longer hold any fears regarding your birth and are only filled with anticipation of meeting your baby and becoming a mother.

Affirmation of the day:  “I am EXCITED about birthing my baby.” Your mind is the most powerful ally you have – USE it!

Guest Author, Katrina Zaslavsky’s book is about “A Modern Woman’s Guide to A Natural Empowering Birth”
Empowering Birth Book: Birthing Bliss Begins with Overcoming Your Fears

Further reading can be found here.

“When birth is no longer feared, numbed or endured it has the opportunity to become one of the most powerful, positive and transformative things a woman will ever experience in her lifetime.”~Katrina Zaslavsky (Birth Goddess)

How do I ‘do’ this being at home with a baby ‘thing’?

10:09 pm|

My sister had her first baby a few months ago, she sent me a text message recently asking a question that took me back five years to when I had my first baby. It prompted a memory reel in my mind…of being stuck on the couch every day watching ‘Dr Quinn Medicine Woman’ while my tiny baby slept soundly on my chest…for hours. After Dr Quinn it was ‘7th Heaven’ and when that season ended I watched an entire season of ‘Touched by an Angel’. I spent many hours on the couch in my pj’s stuck under a sleeping baby, for many weeks, and even months.

I remember thinking;
“Am I going to spend the rest of my parenting life here on this couch? Will I ever get out of my pj’s before 1pm? Am I destined to life inside my house until my child starts school? Will I ever shave my legs again?!”

Fast forward to now – two children and another on the way – five years of being a stay at home mum – and her question is still something I grapple with at different times and in different seasons of parenting.

My sister asked me: “What do I ‘do’ now?”
She wasn’t asking me to answer what she does in a day now that she is a mother – if we wrote down all that we actually physically accomplished we’d be mind blown. She was asking me “How do I survive now – how do I do this ‘being at home’ thing?”

I don’t believe she’s alone in asking that question either. If I’m honest I wouldn’t be surprised if a large percentage of women who return to paid work do so because ‘being at home’ is actually a really tough gig. Take the kindergarten teacher I spoke to a few months ago. She returned to full time work directing a kindergarten when her baby was ten months old because she found it “too difficult to be at home full time”. Or the admin assistant at my Husband’s work who has to take her children to child care at 7am in order to be at work on time and picks them up at 6pm, every day, because she too finds life at home too frustrating, too isolating.

I get it. I really do. After years in the paid work force I understand how difficult it can be to find yourself stuck on the couch in your pj’s all day with a tiny human glued to you for hours while your life seems to be passing by around you – or at least – everyone else’s life on social media makes it seem that way!

I think we live in a society that undermines the mother who stays home to care for her children. There. I said it. I think society tells us we aren’t useful or worthy unless we’re earning dollars in the paid work force, or that we aren’t successful unless we manage to hold down a job while wearing the motherhood hat as well. Or if we have decided to be at home with our littles we really must be involved in some sort of group or hobby… what do you do with all that time unless you’re serving in some volunteer organisation and making cupcakes for fundraisers? Surely you can’t be happy just, sitting on the couch in your pj’s…can you?

I think the answer looks different for each of us. I think we each find the balance that helps us maintain our best selves for our family, for some this is returning to paid work, for others it’s slugging out the every day at home while embracing the glamorously mundane that forms part of the life of a stay at home mum.

I want to encourage you…I’ve been a stay at home mum for five years and it is actually do-able! If you’re happy to pee in front of an audience and lack adult conversation for extended periods until your spouse walks through the door, it’s totally awesome. In all honesty, childcare just wasn’t an option for our family and so I had to learn how to ‘be’ at home, I’ve read many blogs, spoken to lots of different mums and I’m convinced of this one thing…being at home with small children for any period of time is tiring, relentless, and largely thankless – but if you find the balance that’s right for you it is the most rewarding, wonderful, spirit enriching and satisfying job in the world.

I wanted to pass on some wisdom from my mama tribe – I asked them the question:
“How do you ‘be’ at home – what keeps you sane while navigating the days, weeks, and months of early motherhood?”
I share their answers with you here in the hopes that it may encourage you and give you a resource to draw on when you feel you need it. Enjoy.

Katie – mother of 2
“I would say, give baby all you can in the way that you believe is the best for bub, but also give yourself care…emotionally, physically, mentally. There are new adjustments to self-care in motherhood… For me, taking baby for a walk in the pram helped clear the ‘fog’. Also things like, having a bath with bub, having a tea outside while baby naps.”

Marley – mother of 4
“Being connected to other mums was a huge normaliser for me…weekly library baby rhyme time was my first connection point to make friends with other mums in the same position, therefore I didn’t feel as isolated. Also I walked a lot with baby.”

Kelly – mother of 2
“’Be seen” is a biggie for me at home. I want my husband to tell me I’m doing a good job. I tell him the good (and bad) stuff that happened during the day and the chores I got done. I remind him to tell me I’m awesome when he forgets. And connect with other mums, that was a new thing for me, but it really helps.”

Jill – mother of 1
“Spending time

Help! I need help to help my baby sleep. How to find help and what you must ask.

10:48 pm|

There is so much pressure about having a baby who sleeps ‘all night’ , is it any wonder you worry whether you are doing some sort of harm to your baby if he wakes in the night.

You worry:

When will he sleep all night?

By the way, ‘all night’ is defined as five consecutive hours in baby sleep studies, not eight hours or twelve hours, as some people would have you believe.

How do I teach him to ‘self settle’ ?

Most babies under four months, need a lot of help to fall asleep –newborns enter sleep through an active sleep phase and they have a strong startle reflex that’s likely to jerk them awake just as they are dozing off. Besides, what’s the big deal about having some extra cuddles to help your baby relax and go into a lovely sound sleep? Consider, what environment helps you sleep best – do you simply hop into bed, lie down and fall asleep? Or do you have a nice warm drink, read a book or cuddle your partner before drifting off? Do you have nights after a busy day, when you find it more difficult to switch off and fall asleep? Do you sometimes wake with a fright from a scary dream that seemed real for a few moments? Do you doze off all snuggled up to your partner then just as you are almost asleep, do they poke you and say, you need to self-settle, move over to your own side of the bed or we will create bad habits?

And, the big one – am I creating ‘bad habits’?

Since when did needing cuddles become a bad habit? Your baby needs touch and movement to help his tiny brain develop healthy connections and structures for later learning and appropriate emotional responses; he needs reassurance and responsiveness to help him develop trust and a strong connection with you –that lasts a lifetime.   He is learning, you are there for him, you are his safe person, he can come to you whether he is a baby, a toddler a school aged child or a teenager and you will listen and help him.

There is a lot of noise out there creating fears about a lot of perfectly normal baby behavior. However, when you are exhausted, knowing what’s normal doesn’t give you a sudden burst of energy. Sometimes you do need help so you can get some much needed rest, just so you can make out the woods from the trees. But, how do you find help ?

There are a few options to help sleepless families:

Family members– can you call your mum , sister or aunt to come and stay for a few days or can you go and stay with a family member who will support you as you catch up on some much needed rest? Please don’t worry about feeling judged because you aren’t ‘coping’ . Most people are only too glad to be involved with a family baby and, if they have had babies themselves, they will understand. You may even be giving them an opportunity to speak about how hard it was for them in their own early days.

A post natal doula – if you can afford hired help, a post-natal doula can be the next best thing to having your mum to help. And, because you are paying her, you can say what you need done without feeling you are imposing. A doula can come in for a few hours to ‘pack you together’ and watch your baby while you catch up on some uninterrupted sleep. She can cook a meal, hang out washing and make you a cuppa – just like your own mum.

A Mother Baby Unit – if you want to make some changes to the way your baby is sleeping, you may want to ask your GP or baby health nurse for a referral to a mother baby unit or “sleep school’. Just like any sort of help, you will need to do your homework: ask questions about anything that is concerning you. For instance, what do they do? Will sleep training involve leaving your baby to cry? Will you and your baby be checked for any health issues? Will you and your baby sleep in the same room or will you be separated?

Some mother baby units take a very gentle approach and encourage you to respond to your baby at all times, others will implement a fairly rigid ‘one size fits all’ controlled crying regime. They may use a less confronting name for whatever they do but it can still be a version of leaving your baby to cry. Remember, this is your baby, you don’t have to do anything that doesn’t feel right for you. You can negotiate with staff and expect to have explanations for anything they advise. And, if it’s not for you, you are free to leave.

A private baby sleep consultant: There are people who will come to your home and help you. This is where you need to really take care. There is a plethora of online courses in baby sleep training that give their ‘graduates’ certificates; there are baby sleep trainers with no qualifications in early childhood or infant health; there are baby sleep trainers who will come to your home overnight to ‘teach’ your baby to sleep who have been found sleeping on the sofa while the baby has been left to cry.

Consider, this person is coming into your home, she is meeting your child, she is advising you on your baby’s well-being. You need to be very clear about what you need and what you are prepared to allow before you hire this person. Ask, what qualifications do you have? Check what these actually mean and what the scope of the training is. For instance, if you have a breastfed baby, can this person assess your baby’s feeding to see whether this is impacting your baby’s sleep? Will this person do a history that includes any health issues for you and your

Strategy of Surrender

10:22 pm|

Strategy for surrender

Claire Obeid is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Teacher who inspires women to discover balance, true happiness and perfect health. She reaches women in over 15 countries worldwide through her insightful and intuitive blog, video posts and dedicated Facebook page. This is her guest post:
Since the day little Soleil was born, in fact, since she was just a bunch of little cells multiplying I’ve been hurtling down the rabbit-hole of surrender.
Over and over, day-by-day I’ve been asked to let go – to surrender.
Surrender who I think I am.
Surrender to who she is.
Surrender to the struggle.
Surrender to the sleep deprivation.
Surrender to the loss of control and structure.
Surrender to the chaos.
Surrender to the beauty, and joy and insane love.
Surrender to the god-like connection motherhood creates for me.
Surrender to the sides of me I don’t like or thought I had ‘healed’
Surrender to the mess
Surrender to the present moment
Surrender to it all…
And you know what? I’m not there yet.
How do I know I’m not there yet? Well, because I find myself trying to ‘figure out’ if there is something wrong – am I doing it right? Is Soleil OK? Have I missed something?

I find myself looking for solutions where there aren’t any. Or getting lost in those feelings of futility and exhaustion that weeks and weeks of sleep deprivation do to you. I find myself pining for ‘time’ and trying to think about how to get more of it.

I find myself getting trapped in the idea that ‘if only things were XYZ then it’d all be better”.

When I notice I’m in this heady, catastrophizing, weary mindset I know that surrender and I have forgotten to nurture our bond.
But here’s the flipside to it all. I know I’m never supposed to be and never will be ‘there’ with surrender. Not fully, completely. Not 100%.
Why? Because we, surrender and I,  have a deal.
I’m supposed to experiment with it, lose faith in it, find it again, go deeper with it, start all over again.

Becoming a mama is so much more for me than creating a life (which is a miracle) and experiencing that journey. It’s about my own soul-journey with surrender.
And this realisation always brings about the question, WHY? again..

The deeper why is because I’m meant to dance with surrender so I can share it all with you.
I’m here to help you become besties with surrender. It’s my thing. it’s my job. And everytime I mess it up, that’s another up-leveling, re-education and re-learning so I can scrub up on my surrender skills. That’s what we do as teachers and guides, we have to keep growing and learning in order to help you grow and learn.

So here I am, once again, letting go of the idea that I have to ‘fix’ things with my little Sunbeam.

She is healthy, bright, BOLD, happy, oh-so-spirited. There is nothing wrong.

Nor do I need to fix anything with myself as a mother, woman, wife, friend, daughter – I do enough, I am enough, I love enough, I care enough.

I simply must accept, embrace and let go of the expectations and need to control. It means offering up my plans and my ideas and trusting that as and when it’s supposed to unfold, it will.
++
Take a deep breath with me now, because in true Claire style I’m going to flip all of that on its head. There are always two sides to every coin and this journey of surrender is much the same.

Within the realisation that I must surrender and embrace the journey of letting go, I’ve also come to realise that part of this version of surrender (in mamahood) I must also take ACTION and come up with a strategy. I don’t have to give up every dream or desire to surrender, I just have to work with it in a different way.

One of the massive stumbling blocks I’ve been facing is time. When your toddler is waking countless times each night and then only wants to nap on you during the day, well there isn’t much time left over. Domestic duties, cooking, eating, showering – these are the basics I’ve been fitting in amongst it all. Trying to fit in joyful work, creative time, spiritual practice and connecting to loved ones has been a battle. Surrender often wins.

However, I’ve come to see a massive truth that surrender has delivered to me lately.

It has said this;
Claire, you DO have time, if you allow others to support you in caring for Soleil. You choose for Soleil to be the centre of your universe and for you to be hers. It’s your choice to prioritise her over anything else. It’s always up to you how and where you create and find time.
Truthfully, I’ve hid behind being Soleil’s mama and ‘surrendering’ to her needs and the ebb-and-flow of her evolving being. I desperately don’t want to miss anything as she grows, but many of my dreams and desires with work and in life are ALL about creating opportunity, security and happiness for HER.
So how to find peace between the desire and spiritual NEED to surrender over to her and to motherhood with the need to build, create, grow, call in abundance and success?

And surrender once again answered with;
Hire more help.
Lean on your in-laws.
Hand over the reigns to your husband more.
Let go. You cannot be the only one to care for her.

So there it is. And so it is. Surrender has sent me a strategy. I now see that I can fully embrace surrender day-to-day with my little one when I create more space and time for me to take action where action needs to be taken!

It’s time that I let surrender become my strategy for life in both the moments of PAUSE + ACCEPTANCE as well as those of ACTION + CREATION.
I choose to trust that surrender will only ever deliver me into what is right and good for my soul.
Love + light,
Claire xx

www.claireobeid.com/

5 things I know about Postnatal Depletion

10:42 pm|

Australian Doctor Oscar Serrallach recently shared his learnings about Postnatal Depletion on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop blog, detailing the long lasting physical toll taken on a mother after bringing a child into the world. His title of postnatal depletion is startlingly accurate and has struck a chord (big time) with women worldwide. His findings are one of the best pieces I have read in this field of work.

With up to 50% of women believed to be affected, and up to seven years after birth (yep…seven!), it’s great to see this issue take centre stage. Best of all, it’s taking stage with credvia a biochemical approach, with a focus on the physiological impacts of the role of the placenta.

Here’s what I know about postnatal depletion:

1. It feels good to give it a name
Phew! So I’m not just dreaming this up? This is a real thing? Awesome! Continual exhaustion, feeling at the end of your tether regularly, thinning hair and a range of other pesky physical symptoms can easily get lost in the martyrdom of motherhood. All of this can lead to a very disconcerting feeling of being more than a little disconnected with yourself. Giving all of this a name authenticates that these feelings are not only real, they are normal and they are common. There’s a big sense of relief that comes with this.

 

2. Having a scientific definition validates the feeling that ‘this mothering gig is hard’
Mothering is way more demanding than I ever anticipated. The most complex of relationships and a gig that challenges you in ways you never imagined. Knowing the biochemistry behind this phase of life helps puts things into perspective. Knowledge of how the miraculous placenta which gives so much life to your baby is also draining so much life from you as the mother, makes sense. Scientific knowledge of the depletion of the maternal body highlights our need for replenishment. Replenishment that many modern societies aren’t addressing or acknowledging.

 

3. You’re not alone
If you’ve got even an inkling that you are, or have been, affected by postnatal depletion, you are not alone mama. Having three babies in four years, I’ve definitely felt it in each of my energy bodies – emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Every mama client I work with presents with it, whether they are three months into this mothering gig, or three years. Being open about this and creating greater societal acknowledgement will allow us all to feel more supported.

 

4. It’s best not to ignore it
Ever had a health issue and thought ‘it’ll get better in time’ or ‘everyone feels like this, it’s normal’? If you had, you wouldn’t be alone. As nature intended, a mothers focus is on the care of her baby. Detrimentally putting her own needs secondary to the babies, a mother is at risk of neglecting simple measures that could in fact avoid this depletive state.

There is actually loads a mother can do to promote healing hormonally, nutritionally and emotionally. Learning to replenish vitamins and minerals adequately through healthy eating and supplementation, learning to self-nurture (guilt free) and practise effective relaxation techniques. Focusing on optimising sleep, physical activity and lifestyle factors and importantly (but least commonly done) gaining support from professionals (counsellors, life coaches, energy healers) to assist with these lifestyle changes and emotional challenges.

 

5. The modern world can learn from this (it could be time to go a little ‘old school’)
The modern ‘supermum’ who returns to work, fitness and socialising, all at lightning speed, looking pretty cute and with a huge smile on her face is mighty impressive (and let’s face it, it feels pretty damn good for a brief moment). But this model of motherhood does nothing for societies understanding of the nurturing required of mothers with young babies.

Ancient cultures ritualised the first 40 days of motherhood with nurturing, replenishment and the support of ‘the village’. Perhaps this new title and awareness of postnatal depletion will open all of our eyes to the need to create modern rituals and a new acceptance of what it takes to properly nourish and nurture mothers. After all, the mother is the greatest energetic influencer of the child, so we have so much to gain from better care of mothers.

x Fi

Written by, guest Fiona Trewhitt, a Melbourne based Maternal Wellbeing Specialist, International Holistic Life and Wellness Coach, founder of Mumafit, creator of the popular Mumafit app, and most importantly, devoted mum to three young children (birthed within four years…yikes!). www.mumafit.com.au/

Nourish your mind

7:36 pm|

Did you know each year approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness?
Most commonly experienced are anxiety, depression, bi-polar, mood disorders and eating disorders. Whether you experience any of these yourself or know someone who does I hope the following nourishing tips help to support good mental health, a positive mind-set and positively boost your mood.

The overall goal when nourishing your body for a healthy mind is to:
Boost your overall nutrient intake (by eating a nutrient rich diet).
Ensure you get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals from your diet.
Enjoy quality sources of protein, healthy fats and slow-release (gluten/grain free) carbohydrates.
Avoid or reduce processed foods and sugars.

Promote a healthy mind with these tips:

Fish, fish, oily fish!

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which means your body cannot make it and must be obtained by your diet. Low levels of omega 3 or omega 3 deficiency is a known contributor to poor mental health, depression and anxiety.

Did you know your brain is made up of fat and over 70% of the protective coating around the small cells (neurons) that make up your nervous system (called the myelin sheath) are made up of fat?
Good fats are necessary to ensure a healthy nervous system as well as brain health. They are needed to build the brain’s neural connections as well as the receptor sites for neurotransmitters such as serotonin (the hormone responsible for boosting your mood).

Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids:
Oily fish – salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
Nuts and seeds – especially walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds

Give me back that b-b-bounce with B-Vitamins

B vitamins are important for nervous system function and energy production. They help boost your energy levels and help to ease nervous tension, stress and anxiety. In fact, B-vitamins are known as the “anti-stress” nutrients.

B3, B6 and B9 vitamins also work together with the amino acid tryptophan to produce serotonin (feel good chemical).

Foods high in B-vitamins:
Nuts and seeds
Eggs
Bananas
Chicken, turkey, red meat, pork
Avocados
Avoid refined grains and sugars as these can deplete B vitamin stores
Feelin’ good – Serotonin 

Serotonin is the feel good chemical made in your body using the amino acid tryptophan. (Tryptophan must be supplied through your diet).
Low serotonin levels are linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.
Tryptophan is also needed to produce melatonin and helps to ensure adequate quality sleep.

Foods rich in Tryptophan:
Turkey, chicken, beef
Fish
Eggs
Nuts (especially cashews)
Bananas
Pumpkin, peas, spinach
Smart carbohydrates such as sweet potato and quinoa also help to boost your serotonin levels
Nature’s chill pill – Magnesium

Magnesium plays an important role in biochemical reactions throughout your body and has been known to help with depression, anxiety, stress and mood disorders.
It also plays a role in nerve function and energy metabolism.
Typically, the foods you’ll find that are highest in magnesium are green leafy vegetables which are packed with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is known as the “life blood” of a plant and has the ability to absorb the sun’s light and turn it into energy.
Foods rich in magnesium:
Pumpkin seeds
Almonds
Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and kale)
Avocados
Fish
Bananas
Figs

Sunshine

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression and mood disorders.

Sources of vitamin D:
Sensible sun exposure
Egg yolks
Salmon
Tuna
Pork

The balancing act – Keep your blood sugar levels balanced
Fluctuating blood sugar levels = fluctuating moods
Unbalanced blood sugar levels can contribute to mood disorders, anxiety and depression.

How to keep your blood sugar levels balanced:
Avoid foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates and instead choose smart carbs such as sweet potato, quinoa and protein rich legumes.
Consume adequate amounts of protein (chicken, turkey, fish, red meat, eggs and seafood).
Ensure you get enough healthy fat in your diet (avocado, nuts, seeds,olive oil, oily fish).
Eating protein-rich foods and healthy fats will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and curb sugar cravings.
Sudden peaks in the amount of glucose in your blood (typically after high sugar or refined carbohydrate foods) can result in irritability, fluctuating moods and anxiety. Likewise troughs in your blood sugars (typically from going too long in between meals or not enough protein, healthy fat or quality carbohydrates) can contribute to mood swings, anxiety and feeling uneasy.
Avoid ‘bad mood’ foods – Consider Food intolerances and Sensitivities

Food intolerances and sensitivities may be contribute to feelings of irritability, fatigue, emotional imbalance, mood swings, depression and your overall sense of wellbeing.

Identifying potential foods and avoiding these in your diet can greatly influence how you feel and think.

Common foods include wheat/gluten, dairy/lactose, soy and preservatives to name a few.

Avoid or reduce caffeine and sugars

Stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol can contribute to anxiety, depression and mood disorders. They also ‘strip’ your body of necessary nutrients including the vitamins and minerals essential to your mental health.

Free mood boosters!

Get enough sleep.
Enjoy fresh air daily.
Exercise regularly.
Be present. Be in the moment.
Don’t rush or be ahead of yourself. Allow your body to work with you not always catching up with your mind.
Breathe.
A well nourished body = a healthy mind

 

Written by Guest, Casey-Lee Lyons. Casey is a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath, whole foods recipe developer, health and nutrition representative and wellness writer. www.livelovenourish.com.au/