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Archive for October, 2007

Birth in Australia

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

If you thought women had few choices here, just be thankful that you are not in Australia, which seems positively draconian by comparison.

Read this article from the Sydney Morning Herald…

I am not sure about the argument that Australia’s size makes home births unsafe- most people live in cities!!!!

Morning Sickness

Monday, October 29th, 2007

The dreaded morning sickness….for many women this is the single worst part of being pregnant. For most people it tends to start at about 5 weeks pregnant and abate by 14, but for a very unlucky few it can last all the way through. If you are in the thick of it, assume that you will not be one of those!

Its is believed that morning sickness is actually a protective mechanism, an ancient survival skill that was necessary when food was perilous. The development of a fetus’ major organs ( between 6-14 weeks) coincides with the mother’s immune system letting its guard down so as to not ‘reject’ the baby and instead allow it to establish itself in the uterus. It means that at a very important time in the child’s development, the mother is increased danger of falling ill. So what happens? She developments morning sickness where she is either regularly ill, or where she develops aversions to certain types of food. Many women find themselves repulsed by the thought of meat or averse to fish or eggs- mainly the foods that hold the greatest dangers, or would have done in the past…….and this is your body protecting you. Thankfully, it usually passes when the mother’s immune system is restored and the fetus is less vulnerable.

How to cope? Eat regularly and often- jacobs cream crackers are a god-send to nibble on but anything little and often seems to help the nausea abate. And dont assume that the name ‘morning sickness’ means it will only happen in the morning- many women feel ill at night, so just nibble liberally!! Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates- in other words healthy stodge- so comfort foods are the order of the day.

Mint and fennel tea both seem to help alleviate nausea. So does ginger tea that you can make by peeling a little knob of ginger, cutting into pieces and then covering in boiling water. Leave it to brew for a couple of minutes then drink the water. You can do this several times with the same bit of ginger. Homeopathy can also really help- just ask at your nearest health store for particular remedies.

And get enough sleep. Morning sickness is made infinitely worse by being tired ( perhaps because your defences are down even more when your body is tired) so getting enough sleep is essential- it might make you boring but better boring than ill.

For the majority of people it is (hideous but) short-lived, so gritted teeth are also necessary.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Many women happen upon remedies by accident so if you have any advice, please post it up.

Unfolding mothers

Friday, October 12th, 2007

I am listening to a beautiful series of messages on BBC radio 4 - Womens’ HourĀ  ………….it has reminded me of something I read somewhere that spoke of all the mothers that have carried and birthed babies, a long line of mother and daughter and mother and daughter going way back. It encouraged the pregnant mother to think of how many women it has taken to get to her, standing here, with her baby in her belly, about to be a mother herself.Sometimes we focus so much on the birth, we pick it to pieces and plan for what we want, get consumed by fear and caught up in debate that we forget to revel in the wonder of birth and what it is to be a mother.

Bringing up Babies

Monday, October 8th, 2007

I am in the very unusual position of not having a television, but I have been told by a number of people of the new series that is on at the moment ‘Bringing up Baby’, exploring different methods of child-rearing. It is, by all accounts, causing quite a stir!

That we adhere to a method of bringing up babies at all is in itself questionable- apparently when women in a small community in Southern India were told that we have manuals on how to bring up children they were all amazed, even shocked. For them, child-rearing is as natural as eating, and not something that needs taught. The best advice I was ever given on the subject of bringing up a baby was trust your instincts and take your time. Perhaps the methods are therefore for the time poor? Or maybe our reliance on methods is a sad indictment on our lack of community and the fact that many a poor modern mother brings up her baby in isolation. How are we meant to know what to do, when the first baby we handle is our own? Is it any suprise that we turn to books when in times past we would have asked a friend or sister or mother or aunt?So like it or not, the methods are with us, and hence the debate. Opinions abound, and our politically correct society suggests we should be accepting of everyone’s choices. Except I fear that many choices are often made without full knowledge of how a baby’s brain develops. When studies were done in Romanian orphanages it was concluded unequivocally that physical nurture; hugs and kisses and proximity to another peson, was even more important than food and warmth. Those babies who were denied love did not survive. Those who were given a lot of love almost always did.

Science has made extraordinary developments in its ability to map the brain and our capacity to love. Before making any decisions on how to bring up your baby, consider the long-term impact of what you are doing. “A General Theory of Love” by Lewis, Amini and Lannon and Michel Odents wonderful ‘The Scientification of Love” are both very worthwhile reads.

As a very dear friend and mentor once said to me, every family is an ecosystem. You need to find your own way with your baby and work out what is best for you all. Different ways will be right at different times and in different situations. Do what feels right, not what someone tells you to do. But whatever happens, don’t fall for the modern and misplaced idea that a loved baby who is held and nurtured is somehow spoilt. Independence is not foisted on a person. It is taken by them as they grow and is borne of love and trust. Nurture your baby well, and they will become the independent, secure and happy little people you want them to be.


Monday, October 8th, 2007

We’ve just put a clip from the introduction to the DVD up on the DVD page… you can watch it here too!

Tonight’s class

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Tonights class is on The First Hour after Birth; Stage Three and Early Bonding. If you have missed the classes on first and second stage then go to class notes - the second stage notes will be up by this afternoon- and have a quick read before class. See you all later.