Raw Superboost Caramel Slice

This caramel slice is oh so delicious using our Superboost blend (Either the repletion blend or the 4th Trimester Superboost blend can be used). Perfect for the party packed silly season approaching fast!

We came across this recipe from the lovely Organic Sisters site (check them out at organicsisters.com.au. So many delicious recipes on there!) We just adapted our superboost blend instead of the raw cacao powder

Ingredients

BASE

1tbs of melted coconut oil

1 cup of dates

3/4 cup of almonds

CARAMEL

1 cup of dried dates

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 tablespoons of unhulled tahini

1/4-1/2 cup organic maple syrup

1 cup raw cashews (cover and soak them in water for an hour and then rinse them)

1/4 cup water

TOP CHOCOLATE LAYER

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup organic maple syrup

1/4 cup Mama repletion superboost blend or 4th trimester superboost blend

Directions

BASE

Pulse dates, almonds, and coconut oil in a food processor until it’s a fine crumb texture and sticks together when moulded and pressed.

Pour the mixture into a slice tin (20cmx20cm) lined with baking paper. Press down on it to form the base.

Place it in the freezer to set.

Caramel

Add the dates, coconut oil, tahini, maple syrup, cashews and water into a blender and pulse until all smooth. You may need extra water here but try to only add a little.

Pour the caramel mixture on top of the base mixture and place back into the freezer to set.

TOP CHOCOLATE LAYER

Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and superboost blend to a small saucepan and stir on a low heat until combined. Should only take a few minutes.

Spread the chocolate sauce on top of the caramel filing (making sure the caramel layer has set!)

Place it back in the freezer to set (about an hour) then slice it up. Store in the fridge or freezer.

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Postnatal Nurturing Chicken soup

Making a meal for a new mum not only helps to take the pressure off her and the family but is a great way to nourish and nurture her and aid in her recovery after birth.

Homemade chicken soup prepared with healing broth is mineral dense, high in protein, gelatine rich for healing, warming and comforting and easy to digest and absorb. The perfect postpartum meal. Oh and satisfying, remember how ridiculously hungry you are after giving birth!!

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RECIPE

THE BROTH INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 organic whole chicken

  • 2 Tbsp. of raw organic apple cider vinegar (helps to draw minerals from bones)

  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped

  • filtered water to cover

METHOD

  • Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.

  • Cover with filtered water and add the apple cider vinegar.

  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours (depending on size of the chicken).

  • Place aside the poached chicken and shred or cut the meat off the bones.

  • Here you can strain the broth to use for the soup below OR

  • Put the bones back into the broth and continue to cook for 24hours.

THE SOUP INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, diced

  • Quarter pumpkin, diced

  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced

  • 1 stalk of celery, diced

  • 4-5 fresh shitake mushrooms sliced (if you can not source fresh, you can used dried)

  • 2 Tbsp Ghee

  • Shredded meat from the poached chicken

  • 5 – 6 cups of chicken broth

  • 1 Tsp. Organic Dulse Flakes (optional – excellent sournce of Vitamin A, B’s, magnesium and zinc)

  • Tbsp miso paste (optional)

  • Himalayan Pink salt to taste

  • Tamari to taste

  • Coriander (for garnish)

Method:

  • In a large soup pot, heat the ghee and sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until softened and lightly browned.

  • Add the pumpkin, chicken, mushrooms and dulse.

  • Add the broth and bring to a boil.

  • Simmer for 20-30 minutes.

  • Add miso paste

  • Add salt, tamari to taste

  • Garnish with coriander


Interview with Kathleen Murphy from MamaCare

Kathleen Murphy is a Naturopath, Acupuncturist and mother based in Sydney. She runs the amazing MamaCare and we wanted to chat to her about all things the fourth trimester.

In traditional cultures the 4th trimester is a normal progression after a new baby is born. How important is this wonderful and special time for a new mother and her baby?

The fourth trimester is incredibly important! I cannot say it enough… and I say it a lot. I think it deserves just as much attention as preconception and pregnancy health, labour and birth preparation. The period after birth is hugely important and a significant transition for any new mother – physically, emotionally, spiritually – regardless of if it’s her first baby or she’s had many before. Whether that new mother is aware of it or not, she is mentally, physically and emotionally engaged in extremely important work during this period.

In many different traditions, around the world, the importance of the fourth trimester is understood and the period following pregnancy and birth is honoured as a special time for the mother herself: a transition. In many cultures, women are not expected to carry on their normal lives, there is no pressure to ‘snap back’ to where they were before. Instead, they are recognised and respected for the changes they’ve undergone and journey they are beginning.

Take physical healing, for example. A woman’s body goes through significant change over the course of pregnancy, a gradual process over the course of roughly 40 weeks. During and after birth, she again experiences a seismic physical shift, but in a much (much!) shorter space of time. Unsurprisingly, this new mother’s body needs to recover and there is a process of physical healing required, whether she has a smooth and relatively easy birth or high-level intervention.

Emotional wellbeing is another extremely important area to address. The emotions experienced following the birth of a child can be intense and overwhelming. There is also a huge fluctuation in hormone levels immediately following birth, with the onset of breastfeeding, and the weeks that follow which can leave new mothers feeling vulnerable, emotional and fatigued.

Understanding this transition, recognising the importance of the fourth trimester, and providing the right support during this time, allows a new mother to adapt and thrive. It facilitates strong bonding with her baby. It supports her other significant relationships, with her partner and family. Honouring the fourth trimester serves not only the new mother but also her baby and her community.

The 4th trimester is not very well known in our modern day society. Why or how do you think this happened?

Look, lots of reasons I think.

I think a big part of it is that, these days, most of us live outside of close-knit family or friendship communities and lack the ‘village’ support that is essential during major life events… including the weeks and months following the arrival of a newborn. And the many years beyond that, it must be said!

Also, many of us, particularly in the urban environment in which I live and work, are having fewer children and doing so later in life. So, we don’t regularly see close friends or family going through pregnancy and birth, having babies and raising children. For many people I speak to, one of the first babies they ever hold is their own. How incredible is that! As such, we have no model to follow when it comes to caring for ourselves and others during this huge life transition

There is also the issue around the medicalisation of pregnancy and birth; viewing them as a health conditions requiring treatment and management rather than natural life processes. But that’s a whole other conversation!

I am heartened, however, to observe and be part of a discussion that is getting larger and louder about the importance of postpartum care and the fourth trimester. Let’s bring it back!

Can you tell us a little about your personal experience in your 4th trimester?

I had a beautiful fourth trimester.

My husband and I live 1000s of kilometres from our family and closest friends, so I knew we’d need to call in help and support in the weeks after giving birth. Happily, my husband was able to take several weeks leave from the time I went into labour. We also arranged for our parents (first mine, then my mother-in-law) to stay and help during the first four weeks after my daughters’ birth. I understand this arrangement wouldn’t work for everyone, but we are lucky to have an excellent relationship with both sets of parents. We’d also talked to them about it in advance, our needs and expectations, so everyone was on the same page about the purpose of their visits i.e. to support me and my husband… rather than just drink cups of tea and hold the baby (though we did plenty of that too!) We also hired a doula for labour and birth support, and her follow up in the weeks afterward was a wonderful support.

I put an embargo on visitors, first to the hospital and then to home, for the first few weeks as I wanted to stay in the newborn bubble as long as I could… to let myself heal, bond with my new baby and find our rhythm as a family.

I had also stocked the freezer and pantry with my favourite nutrient-dense, yummy foods. I also requested meals from the few close friends and family who visited in the first month – something we could share together when they visited and, again, discussed in advance, so it didn’t feel like an imposition. As such, for the first month, we ate delicious healing mama-nurturing foods without doing much cooking or prep-work at all. It was awesome!

I took herbal medicines and some nutritional supplements to support my energy, balance hormones and promote healing. I ended up having an unexpectedly large amount of intervention in my daughter’s birth, so healing (physically and emotionally) was a big priority.

An unusual end to my fourth trimester culminated in us moving to the other side of the world for six months. We flew out of Sydney when my daughter was just two months old. At the time, I felt physically and emotionally strong, confident with my baby and undaunted by this big change, which I attribute to an extremely well-supported and nourished transition into motherhood. This is something I wish for all women, whether its their first or subsequent baby. And certainly, something I plan to replicate with our next child!

You are an accomplished Naturopath and Acupuncturist. Can you tell us about your role at Mamacare and how it started?

I’ve always worked with preconception and pregnancy care and understood the importance of good health and support after birth but didn’t really get the concept of a fourth trimester or how crucial this period can be for new mothers.

Quite self-centredly, it was my own pregnancy and the birth of my daughter that made apparent to me the importance of this transition. At this time, I was talking to a good friend of mine who was also expecting her first child and our conversation turned to what resources we had found, were using, recommended to others, etc. She mentioned that there was so much (an avalanche in fact) of information on how to take care of yourself during pregnancy and how to prepare for birthing, but very little (almost nothing) on what to do afterward. This was a real light-bulb moment for me! I consider that otherwise casual conversation the start of MamaCare.

From there, I started looking into services and resources, thinking about out how best to approach this, I spoke to practitioners and researchers in the field of maternal and integrative health… and eventually got a small business up and running, at the start of last year, alongside my clinical practice.

What is Mamacare? And what services do you offer?

MamaCare is an in-home health service that provides health checks, physical treatments, postpartum resource pack, tailored nutritional and herbal advice, a support email and phone line.

I visit women in their house before and after birth to check in and perform a regular health review. This includes a general health assessment and specific pre- or postpartum review, tailored health recommendations, discussion around a woman’s feelings about the birth and new motherhood, assessment of birth recovery, breastfeeding, newborn health, etc. I may also incorporate physical treatments such as acupuncture, massage and moxibustion (a Traditional Chinese Medicine warming treatment). When other family members are present (e.g. partner, parents, other children) they may be involved in the consultation and are encouraged to take an active role in supporting a new mother’s health and that of the newborn.

Depending on what we decide beforehand, I may visit just a couple of times or up to every week throughout the fourth trimester. Some women have me see them at home initially then move appointments over to the clinic as they start to feel stronger and ready to get out for longer periods of time.

I also work with other clinicians managing these women’s health before and after the birth – including obstetrician, midwife, doula, GP or lactation consultant – in order to make the experience as collaborative and beneficial as possible.

What positives have you seen since working with mothers in the important 4th trimester period? What feedback have you received?

One of the biggest positives to come out of this that I have experienced, is the value and appreciation mothers feel from having someone solely focused on their needs and wellbeing. I’ve heard this a few times now: how good it is to have someone focus on the new mother herself: to help her heal, ensuring she feels well and supported.

There are also the small but significant rewards of helping to relieve back pain or abdominal cramping, supporting breastfeeding or balancing mood. Seemingly ‘normal’ clinical stuff, but which is often overlooked or goes unchecked for new mothers who aren’t able to get into the clinic to have these things seen to. As such, I bring the clinic – and the support – to them!

Where can we find you?

I’m based in Sydney, with a clinic in Pyrmont and home visits are mostly around the Inner West and Eastern Suburbs. I have travelled further, including interstate, for some extra-special new mothers. But for the most part, I am in and around Sydney.

The website is: http://mamacarehealth.com.au/

Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/mamacarehealth/

Instagram is: https://www.instagram.com/mamacarehealth/

 Kathleen Murphy from Mamacare. Image by Angelica Sotelo photography.

Kathleen Murphy from Mamacare. Image by Angelica Sotelo photography.

5 HERBS FOR HAPPY ADRENALS

 

There's a group of herbs i call my secret weapon. They are Adaptogens. I use them to help me get through this crazy (rather stressful) wild time of parenting. They help me cope with everyday stress, be a nicer person (less irritable), less anxious, give me more energy and very importantly help me stay ahead of burnout (Yep, I've been there. A story for another time) 

Burn out, or adrenal exhaustion is a very common symptom of post natal depletion. When we are depleted and running on empty for too long, our adrenal gland is working to the max which in turn leaves you with elevated cortisol and a suppressed immune system (Hello feeling wired and tired and picking up every bug going around!)

It’s a very common condition of this fast paced world we live in. So here are 5 Super adrenal herbs that can help.

Reishi mushroom is the queen of medicinal mushrooms. She helps to support your immune system and boost your adrenals giving you energy and hormonal support.

Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha) is one of our faves! It’s a powerful herb that is super nutritious as well as helping your nervous system cope with emotional and physical stress.

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosis) is a great herb for energy but also supports and tones the adrenals and nervous system for a calm burst of energy unlike the quick high and jittery low from caffeine. 

Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) is a yummy herb that is soothing on the adrenals and calming to the nervous system.

Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb which means it increases the bodies resistance to stress. 

Herbal teas are a great way to add some of these herbs into your everyday. We have naturopathically formulated our repletion tea and recovery tea with several key adrenal herbs infused with nutritive and calming herbs to nourish and support those overworked adrenals, support your nervous system and give your immune system a boost.

And we also created our superboost blends with Reishi Mushroom blended with Cacao, Withania, Shatavari, Lucuma and Mesquite to deliver these delicious herbs and nutrients into a smoothie or a warm drink.

RECIPE SUPERCHARGED HOT CHOCCY

Warm a cup of milk of your choice (Almond, cashew, hemp etc. i personally like Nutty Bruce)

Add 1bsp cashew paste

1 tbsp tahini

1 Medjool date

1 tbsp superboost blend

1 Tsp cinnamon 

Blend up

ENJOY. XXX

 

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Post Natal Depletion Q&A with Dr Camilla White

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Q: Mother, Integrative Doctor, Health Coach......You’ve got some pretty impressive credentials, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to get to where you are today?

A: I’m mother to Evie who is 4 and Banjo who is 2 and we moved to Byron a few years ago. It’s always been a dream of mine to live up here and we love the outdoor lifestyle and natural beauty as well as all the inspiring friends we’ve met. I have a background in emergency medicine but I’ve always been interested in nutrition, holistic health, yoga and meditation. After my second child was born and my marriage broke down, I suffered from severe hospital fatigue and burn out. That difficult time luckily led me to a wonderful job in Integrative medicine where I work with inspiring doctors alongside wonderful naturopaths, acupuncturists, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and other skilled therapists. I have a special interest in women’s health and postnatal care and after reading about the work Dr Oscar Serrallach was doing, I was keen to get involved. 

Q: Since working at the Health Lodge in Byron Bay, you’ve become a pioneer in women’s health. Can you tell us a bit about post natal depletion and what you see in clinical practice?

A: Post natal depletion is very common in clinical practice but not normal and not widely recognized. There’s very few texts written about it. Post natal depletion is a very understandable outcome of a series of less than ideal events leading to depletion at multiple levels of a woman’s wellbeing. The postnatal depletion period can last up to 10 years after the baby is born. Postnatal depletion is a syndrome with a constellation of symptoms that arise from physiological issues, hormonal issues, and interruption of the circadian rhythm, layered with psychological, mental and emotional components. Some of the factors that contribute to postnatal depletion are that modern women are having children later in life and we go into motherhood already close to the maximum capacity of what our bodies can handle. Western society does a poor job of preparing modern women for motherhood, we are all stressed and overwhelmed with choices and multiple responsibilities in a fast paced society. Throw into the mix pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding and add a little sleep deprivation, nutritional insufficiencies, environmental toxins and lack of social support and you have a recipe for postnatal depletion. In clinic, I see Mothers who are exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and having difficulty coping with something they’ve been led to believe would or should come naturally to them.

Q:What symptoms should women (and partners) be looking out for so Post Natal Depletion doesn’t go undiagnosed?

A: Some of the symptoms of postnatal depletion include baby brain, fatigue (often debilitating), insomnia or disturbed sleep, weight or hormonal issues, loss of skin elasticity, skin dryness, softer nails and thinning hair. Partners could look out for mothers who are seemingly constantly stressed or overwhelmed, sensitive to light and sound, overly emotional - I’m sure we can all relate! If you have most or all of these symptoms, you are not alone. If you are also able to experience joy and anticipation at times, then chances are you aren’t depressed - you’re just depleted.

Q: Working with lots of women have you seen an increase in Post Natal Depletion? Do you think there is a rise in incidence or is it a case of newly recognised rather than a new condition.

A: I think it is both a case of a newly recognized condition and a rise in the incidence of mothers with postnatal depletion due to the society we live in. Western society on the whole does not offer the community or familial support in the fourth trimester (40 days after birth) like other more traditional cultures do. Our society expects women to get back to work, get your pre-baby body back and generally just “get on with it” often without support. What these ancient cultural practices have in common is a protected time (referred to as confinement) with lots of social support for the mother to fully recover after she gives birth. She has an army of helpers to allow her to sleep and rest. Someone to do the shopping and cooking and someone showing her how to breast feed, change and bathe the baby. She can relax in the knowledge that she is in a safe and nurturing place with those who only want the best for her and her new baby. Doesn’t that sound great?

Q: Have you seen a link to Post Natal Depression?

A: There is a difference between postnatal depletion (very common) and postnatal depression (less common). Postnatal depletion is a syndrome with a spectrum of symptoms. PND is at the most severe end of the spectrum and certainly postnatal depletion can contribute to PND but not all women with depletion will become depressed. Within the first 12 months of birth, the PND rate in Australia is approximately 13%. Some women are genetically predisposed to depression and have a history of the same as well as anxiety. One of the cardinal symptoms that distinguishes depression from depletion is anhedonia - the inability to derive pleasure from things that previously did bring pleasure. In depression, there is no joy in the experience of motherhood and no enjoyment in activities or simple tasks that would have usually brought joy.

Q: How can we help to prevent women from getting post natal depletion? Do you think we need more support for new mums in the early days of motherhood? Is it time women started looking at self -care as a necessity rather than a luxury?

A: We can prevent postnatal depletion by giving new mums more support in the early days of motherhood. Bring back the fourth trimester. Organize a postpartum doula, meal drops and practical support for the new mother. Mothers need to make self care a priority. Ask for help and accept it with grace. Get good sleep. Take good supplements. Eat good food and drink lots of water. Have a good restorative therapy as often as you can (yin yoga, acupuncture, massage), do some gentle activity, be good to yourself and don’t entertain visitors (unless they are going to help!), limit social media, slow down and simplify your life - de clutter your home, be good to your soul - make time for some meditation, do mindful breathing exercises, gratitude mantras or visualization. Enjoy life. You are amazing! You made a baby! Be proud and thrilled with your body, even when you’re still depleted. Put on some music you love, dance and sing along with your baby. There can never be too much joy in the house. 

Q: Tell us a bit about the retreats you are planning this year. They sound like every mums dream!!!

A: Through @yourholdingspace I’m creating some delicious mothers retreats with Natalie Martinot and soon we will be launching @spacetoflow ~ a place where you can go to find a bit of peace, some space to flow with life and nurture yourself. Our retreats will focus on sacred self care practices and mothering the mother. They will be around 3 days and nights of delicious Ayurvedic food, nutritional advice and recipe sharing, yin yoga, Vedic meditation, massage and essential oils workshops held in the beautiful Byron hinterland. We’d love to incorporate a Sisters and the Sea Fourth Trimester pack and an opening Women’s circle. Watch this space xx

Q: Lastly, where can women find out more about post natal depletion?

A: Much of this information has come from what I’ve learnt from Dr Oscar Serrallach and his book that is to be released very soon - The Postnatal Depletion Cure. If you are in the Byron Shire, the naturopaths at the health lodge are a wealth of information and you will currently find me at Cape Byron Medical Centre. 

Adding Some Floral Fun to our Events

To celebrate our collaboration with the super creative Jess from Poppy and Fern Flowers and the styling whiz Rach from PeachyPie Events, we put on a little get together for some of our friends at a funky beach shack on Belongil beach.

The evening began with a flower crown workshop carefully demonstrated by Jess. There is something very special about women coming together and creating together. As we worked the energy shifted. We talked about the day we had, the week, our children, our jobs, our husbands. We shared and we listened while we weaved and dropped into the moment.   

We then came together in circle. We shared and we laughed and we cried. We let go of what didn't belong and we set positive intentions for the future, for ourselves,  for our community, for all women. Then we feasted! It was nothing short of magical! My dear friend Lauren (and extremely talented photographer!) from Avalon Lane captured the evening brilliantly.

 

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Tips for Getting Through the Festive Season

This time of year everything feels like it is speeding up. I orginally put together this little guide for myself when i felt things were starting to spiral out of control. I stuck it on the fridge, a bit like a positive affirmation, my christmas mantra. Its seems to be working, well so far so good anyway.  

Tip for getting through the festive season; 

* Stick to your exercise routine, or as my yoga teacher always says "don't abandon your practice when you need it most". It's so easy this time of year to shop, cook, clean, entertain, decorate a tree, wrap gifts etc etc instead of heading to the gym, going for a run or making it to your regular yoga class. 

* Food food food. This time of year is often associated with an increased consumption of rich foods, processed snacks (chips, crackers etc), sweet treats laden with sugar (think pavlova). This year we have decided to keep it simple, high quality produce that sings on its own, instead of fancy time consuming high stress dishes. Think fresh tropical fruit platters, olives, organic greens with a sprinkle of edible flowers, double smoked free range (stall free) ham, fermented pickles, grannies chutney and some organic spelt sourdough bread (thank you Sunday Sustainable Bakery for moving into town). If you do happen to overindulge (lets face it, it is the festive season) then an easy and accessible way to support your digestive system (and LIVER!!!) is herbs in the form of teas!! Try a combination of peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm and fennel for digestion, drink dandelion root for the liver and give your nervous system some support with passionflower, chamomile and licorice root.   

* Create an alter or a sacred space. A dedicated place for mediation, prayer, positive thought or just to remind you to smile and breath a little deeper. You don't need a lot of room for an alter or a lot of things, a few crystals, shells, a candle, whatever has meaning and reminds you to stop and just be, even if its only for a fleeting moment. 

* Smudge. I find smudging a helpful way to 'wash off' any unwanted outside influences, to shift negative energy. It is grounding but at the same time very relaxing and peaceful.   

* Safe guard your energy.  A little bit of self love and nurture goes a very long way this time of year. Take the time to have a bath, burn some essential oils, listen to relaxing music, look after and nuture yourself. 

* Gratitude. Yes family can be very painful and extremely grating at times, but take the time to cherish those around you, to be grateful for these moments together, for this precious life.

 

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Hosting a mama blessing (blessingway)

A mama blessing is a pre birth celebration, a ceremony where women gather in circle to support, empower and celebrate a women in the days leading up to birth. A mama blessing can be organised by friends or the mother to be and held as an alternative to a traditional baby shower.

It does differ however to a traditional baby shower as the focus is on the pregnant woman and giving her strength, love and encouragment, rather than being focused on the baby and present giving. 

The term 'Blessing way' is often interchanged with mother blessing or mama blessing. A Blessing way is a sacred navajo ceremony and out of respect for the navajo people we use the term mama blessing instead.

 

So what's involved:  

There are endless ways you can throw a mama blessing but here's a few ideas to get you started;

  • First step is to create a space.

As the mama blessing is a women’s circle the first thing you need to do is create a comfortable ritual space. Decide on the space where you are going to hold your circle, this can simply be a cleared lounge room or a backyard with thrown down rugs and cushions placed in a circle big enough to seat your guests. Creating a center-piece, such as a crystal mandala,  in the center of your circle adds a special sacred touch. 

  • Flowers

Ask each guest to bring a flower from their garden to contribute to the centerpiece. A flower crown for the mother to be is also a wonderful way to celebrate her beauty.

  • The ceremony

Burning sage or smudging is a great way to begin your circle as it is grounding and relaxing. Smudging helps to ‘wash off’ unwanted outside influences and can help set the tone for your circle.

  • Meditation

Beginning with everyone sitting still in guided meditation is a way for your circle to relax, be present, to set intentions and to manifest joy and positivity for themselves and for the mother to be.

  • Ritual

Sharing a blessing through either the salt or water ritual is a key part of the circle. This is a time for each guest to speak beautiful and positive words to the expectant mother, to give her a blessing, a wish or a positive affirmation. The infused salt or water is given to the mother to use during labour or after birth to soak in your blessings.  

The string ritual is a beautiful way to close the ceremony, linking everyone together to maintain the connection. A reminder of the support, love and encouragement within the circle of women. 

  • Feasting

Eating together is a big part of a mama blessing, whether it be catered, 'bring a dish' or prepared by the host. 

 

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The Birthday Circle

The day was busy preparing, organising and styling our space for our women’s circle, which was mostly for us to get together but also for my birthday. It was a huge thing to organise and only an hour or so before everyone was to arrive we hadn’t even arranged the naked teepee, which was to be our space for the circle. Eventually my neighbour helped set it up, even adding the fairy lights (which were amazing later on!) and was an angel sent from heaven. Everything just fell into place as the girls arrived and everyone assumed a job. By the time everyone had arrived the space was looking fabulous and the food platters were gold star (thanks Nicole!!!), all fit for queens.

We sat around the low table, eyes googling the food and chatting about whether we should just eat first(!) when someone let slip that they were pregnant! (not me by the way). It was a beautiful surprise to start the circle with and secretly we had been waiting for our girl to announce that. We have all known each other since we were pregnant with our first born’s, meeting in our various pregnancy support classes and after birth ‘mama baking’ together. We have been meeting regularly since then and all attended each others mama blessings for our second and third babies. So I guess you could say we know each other pretty well.

The circle began shortly after with M smudging and cleansing us from tip to toe. Now I don’t actually smudge that often but the smell of the sage together with the floral’s smelt absolutely divine and so grounding. It was such a beautiful way to start a circle and prepare for sharing. When we were all seated M led a short, relaxing and arriving meditation. She then asked us to think of a couple of words to send around the group as we held hands. I must note here that the privacy of a woman’s circle is that whatever is shared in the circle stays in the circle – for confidentiality to each member. However I can say all of us sitting together was very powerful, focussing on each other as a group. I felt so much love and connection. Tears were already welling within me.

After that M asked us to say a few words about how everyone met (me) and then a few words about how we were feeling and where each of us were, in short, were at in life. It sounds like an intense thing to ask but because of the circle space with everyone listening to the speaker, it creates a special atmosphere, that is respectful and non-judgemental.  Going around the circle I was amazed at what came out.  These women had seen me.  It was only in circle, where time was set aside specifically to share and listen, that these feelings were able to be shared.  I’m still so amazed and filled with love and gratitude for everyone’s words.  When each expressed their own story I witnessed so much bravery, courage and honesty.  Their were tears and laughter, sadness and joy.  All witnessed, all heard and all held by each other.  This to me is the real sisterhood.  Women lifting and supporting women. And in our case mums helping mums.

I think we all came away with a better understanding of each other and possibly ourselves. I was totally uplifted and feeling love from the ritual, the listening and sharing, and the birthday circle.

Love

Justeen xx

A very special thank you to M. for hosting this wonderful moment and facilitating a beautiful circle. All my heartfelt thanks and love .

p.s. Even though this was a women’s circle for a birthday, the circles for a mama blessing or bride to be are similar – all gathering to support, bless and well wish a sister.

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  Did I mention how delicious the food was???!!!

Did I mention how delicious the food was???!!!