I Feel Pregnant…

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The Beauty Of Pregnancy

I am not actually pregnant but I have been experiencing sensations as if there is something going on within my body akin to the process of growing new life.

I have been sitting with the feelings trying to hear the messages, decipher the tenderness of my breasts and delve into the warmth of my womb to investigate the percolatings, what it is that is evolving and how it wants to change my world.

3572990050_345a844585_oIt is a knot, a knot comprised of the DNA of all my thoughts, my investigations, my dreams, my experiences of the last year coming together, entwining in their awesomeness to show me my future but not quite coalesced. It’s still looking for form and shape, right now it is just raw DNA material, as an embryo at conception.

It’s questions but not quite answers. It’s paint and canvas but not yet a painting. It’s threads and fabric but not a finished piece. The building blocks are there, now I must figure out the finished piece and how I will birth it into the world. I’ve been given the tools, the people, the foundation, the love I need to blossom but only I can bear down and bring the life forward.

3468330509_db1ded1c1b_oI go in-ward, I feel the pulsing energy looking for form. The ideas and memories finding each other, connecting the dots and duplicating like the cells of an embryo growing into a fetus, burrowing down, implanting in my soul, nourished by my enthusiasm, my words, my hopes.

But there is also fear. There is holding back. There is doubt. I am learning my worth and slowly believing in my abilities, letting go of my perceptions of myself as unworthy, and developing new behaviours that when the darkness of doubt knocks on my soul’s door, I can look it in the eyes and claim my worth, my value to this world, and not let any more darkness in.

Where the darkness has already taken up residency, I am serving eviction notices. There is resistance, 20 years of pain, shame and anger does not simply pack its bags and move on. Those emotions are too comfortably enmeshed into the fabric of my soul, they believe they’ve earned the right to live there and they are filing appeals to my eviction notices and organizing demonstrations with picket signs “We will not go!”, but I say “Yes, you are. Be gone!”

I am re-writing my story, finding a new narrative, my voice has power, people are listening, hearing, seeing me, taking notice.

3971578022_fe5fd2475a_oThe fetus nourishes and grows on that evolving power and grace. It is calling to me the people and resources I need. In the last year I have come so far from the beginning tentative steps into the ways of the older religions and traditions. Last New Year’s Eve I included a smudging ceremony as part of our evening with friends, a way to cleanse the negativity of 2013 and open ourselves to the possibilities of 2014, and now a year later those ways have become an integral part of my path and I’m thirsty to learn more.

I’m not ready to label myself pagan or Wicca or whatever variance thereof I am drawn to. There is not enough that I really understand yet, but names come with birth and so 2015 is all about birthing this energy growing within me, it’s about giving this embryo bones, a heartbeat, lungs and all its senses to hear, feel, touch, smell and taste with. And, of course, a name….

As this child gets stronger, the negative gunk will have no choice but to leave. I will finish re-writing my narratives and finally leave the past in the past. The child will grow, will organize itself into the finished work of art, and will let herself be known and seen, her limbs pushing against my insides as she stretches, flexes and expands, filling every cell of my body with her newness, her power, her beauty.

When she is ready to be born, she will become me and I will become her and we will become one, ready to take on the world.

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It is done!

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IMG_20150105_012454Every day brings new insights into my world, expands my understanding of the energy fields around me and the ways in which I can influence them. One such experience is the moon ceremonies I have begun to incorporate into my life with the Full and New Moon. The first Full Moon of 2015 was January 5 and I was supposed to go to a group ceremony but due to the weather it was cancelled so I planned one for myself.

When I began attending the ceremonies last August, I had no idea how influential and powerful they would become in my life. That 45 minutes every two weeks or so refreshes me, re-awakens me and is an opportunity to reflect, reassess and change the path I am taking in my life or simply re-affirm the path I am on, perhaps with some slight modifications to my bearings and sign posts.

The act of going inward to reflect and then to physically write down the burdens I release and the energy I wish to welcome into my world has become an integral part of my life, one that when I miss a ceremony I feel the heaviness build up as anxiety and my path before me blurs a little around the edges. I begin to feel lost like I’m drifting off course.

The night of the Full Moon I lay in bed tossing about, I could feel the pull of the moon, it was whispering sweet promises to me in the quiet of the night, calling me to come out for a chat. It didn’t matter that it was 1 am and the rest of the house was asleep. Intuitively I knew it was something I had to do and it had to be done right then. I could lay in bed fighting the intuition or get up and take care of business.

So there I was sitting in my living room at 1 am lighting a sage bundle to cleanse myself and meditating on what I needed to release and what intentions I needed to set, often they are two sides of the same coin, for example I released my dependence on sugar and set my intention to eat healthier. It can also be the releasing of a negative event, perhaps words that were said that caused pain or an action or lack of action that caused a dissonance in one’s spirit. It’s good to meditate on why the words or event or lack causes the pain reaction within us but it must also be released to make room for healing.

In my limited understanding of the energy systems, I walked myself though a grounding where I visualize my energy literally going into the earth and then coming back up through my spine and out the top of my head so that I am connected to both the earth and the spiritual plane.

I took the opportunity to bathe myself in white healing light and to send out healing energy to the friends I knew in need of some extra good energy vibes as well as to my immediate family and friends regardless of needs because everyone can use some good juju!

Having cleansed and meditated on my releases and intentions, I wrote them down on pages torn from the journal I received in my gift bag in Paris at the Relationship Retreat. I wanted to add some of the good vibes from a place and time that meant so much to me.

IMG_20150105_011453IMG_20150105_011508~2Once I was happy with the grounding and energy work and I had finished writing down everything I felt called to release and the intentions I felt called to set for myself, I put my jacket and shoes on and ventured out into the frigid night air where I was met with a breathtaking sight. The storms had passed, the sky had cleared and through the ice laden branches of the trees the moon was visible in all its power and beauty. I caught my breath and took a few moments to simply inhale the energy descending  from the sky to bless my releases and intentions.

IMG_20150105_012405First I burned my releases, and in the wind and cold, they were more stubborn than usual. I often find the release paper slower to burn, and maybe it’s because often releasing is harder than setting our intentions for the future. I was more stubborn than the negative energies and they were soon ashes.

Before burning my intentions, I spoke each aloud, sending them up to the moon, amplifying their strength and then I set them on fire and let the smoke carry my words, my intentions up to the universe with endless gratitude.

IMG_20150105_012852Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And with a stomp of my foot to seal the ceremony, so mote it be! It is done!

I returned indoors to my warm living room and regained my meditative pose, reiterating my gratitude and closing off the earth and spirit plane connection by sending my energy back into the earth and closing my Chakras like a zipper.

Then I was at peace and so I returned to bed and fell asleep almost immediately, the power of the moon still shining overhead and now within my heart as well.

I Am Ready!

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14948052391_ddb365bc4d_oI am ready to be who I was always meant to be. To let go of the pain that holds me prisoner in my past, present and future. A prisoner to a story that I’ve relied on to define me, the story of being out of control of all the shitty things I’ve been through and letting those definitions be my calling card in my present and future. Those crazy, out of control, painful events happened to me, and yes they did shape the course of my life, but they are not who I am.

I am ready to shake the mantle of descriptors like depressed, lonely, uneducated, teen mom, loner and to open myself to immeasurable possibilities and beauty that exist in the world. To take the hands of those willing to teach, to support, to listen and to help me as I learn to trust my instincts and take these steps forward into a future life that will bring everything I need; abundance, love, family and blessings beyond count.

2014 brought me to the water and in 2015 I will drink deeply from the source and redefine my life. It will be an intense process of shedding an old weary skin and filling out the new skin as I learn to wear it comfortably.

What does that mean exactly? Well I’m not 100% sure yet, I’m still in the very early stages of the process but one thing I am sure of is 2014 brought me the teachers I need: Anni and Tim Daulter, Carrie, Gillian and Jennifer. In 2014 I began to learn a lot of release techniques, and I have been exploring paganism and Wiccan traditions, traditions that have always intrigued me but with my religious upbringing was slow to investigate. The biggest revelation I’ve had since delving into these traditions is that my religious beliefs are not at odds with the more earthy and grounded beliefs of the Pagans and Wiccans. I can find my niche and embrace the best of everything that works for me.

In 2015 I’m going to delve deeper into crystal energy, Reiki healing, psychic awareness, and learn more about the earth centered traditions so I can more thoroughly adopt them into my day-to-day living practices. And most importantly I am going to document this journey on my blog, so please join me as I embark on these new adventures in 2015.

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It is Time to Heal

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IMG_20141001_175030Sixteen years ago I lay on the floor trying to sleep, anxious and excited about the events of the next day. The room was ready. Clean sheets on the bed, beautiful flowers on the side table and many little touches of romance all around.

Waiting…. waiting…. waiting….

I was in a place of waiting. Alone but knowing very soon I would not be alone any more. The anxieties, the nerves, the hopes, the dreams crystallizing in that moment as I lay on the floor unable to sleep for the sheer excitement that I would be a bride in just a few short hours, and then HIS wife forever.

How young and naïve I was sixteen years ago to believe marriage could save me from my anger and my pain; to think that marriage would change being a single mom into being a family with the minister simply uttering a few words for us to repeat and then blessing us by the power of the church vested in his 91-year-old hands and heart.IMG_20141001_175301

How so much more complicated the process would all end up being…. And how much more pain we’d unwittingly cause each other in the process…

It has been sixteen years filled with passion, love, anger, disillusionment, grief, and struggles of many varieties including power struggles, parenting struggles, health struggles and financial struggles, but here at the threshold of another celebration the biggest fact I cling to is we are still here. Every day we get up and reach for love, reach for understanding, reach for forgiveness and we look at each other across the bed sheets hoping we can find the love, the healing, the forgiveness to carry us through many more years.

There is a lot to forgive and a lot of letting go that needs to happen. Sometimes the pain feels overwhelming and like a gaping hole that can never be filled with enough love to wipe it out. It’s an ongoing, ever-challenging, ever-changing, ever-demanding process. Some days it still involves a lot of waiting… Waiting for patience. Waiting to feel loved. Waiting for validation – to feel noticed, to feel seen and to feel heard.

One of the most intentional emotions I brought away from my retreat in August is that it is time to clarify, to re-define, to evaluate, to change, to face the challenges of my relationship. To stop settling for unhappiness for the sake of my children. It’s an old story. What kind of example are my husband and I setting for our children when we settle for unhappiness in one of the most important and singularly defining relationships of our lives? I wouldn’t want this kind of relationship for any of my children so why am I settling for living in one and asking my spouse to do the same?

After sixteen years my husband and I are at a crossroads. Neither choice is an easy one.

Down one road, there are lawyers, not enough money to keep two households functioning, inevitably more anger and resentment, children having to adjust to missing one parent when they are with the other, missing their bedtime routines of “I love yous” and “see you in the mornings”, and so many more crazy changes and adjustments we haven’t even thought of. Down the other, there is work, lots of work. Reconnecting work, honouring work, loving work, re-defining work, hard work. Really hard work. Divorce will seem like a viable option at times because it would be easier to move on than face some really tough emotions we’ve spent a lot of time and energy avoiding over the last sixteen years.

It is time to heal.

It is time to face our relationship, ourselves, our choices, our responsibilities and find the love again or, and this is always a possibility, not find it but I want to know we did everything possible to save this family because we do owe our children that much and if at the end of the day we can’t, hopefully this process will at least help us choose an ending that honours each other and our children.

For now we are choosing the path of hard work and in that spirit my husband and I have decided to go on a relationship retreat in December. It’s in Paris, France. For a week, the focus will be us, there will be no hiding from each other behind screens or responsibilities or day-to-day life or the needs of the children. Anni and Tim Daulter will help us find our way back to each other, help us find ways to reconnect, help us find ways to redefine our relationship in healthier ways so that there’s less hiding behind pain, resentment and anger.

As we embark on our seventeenth year of marriage, I commit myself to the work that Paris will bring, to meeting my husband in a safe place where we can begin the process of letting go of all the burdens that weigh us down and keep us from being the people, the couple we are capable of being. I believe in my heart that if we don’t fix us, nothing else matters and that’s why this trip to Paris is so important and I am soooo grateful that my husband has chosen to participate in this retreat with me.

A friend asked me if I was placing too much hope in this retreat solving our problems?

The truth is I have to believe it’s possible, that this retreat could bring us the closure on a less than stellar past and an opening to a better future together. I have to believe we love each other enough to give this gift to each other and be willing to open the package and accept the gift into our lives. If I don’t believe that than what’s the point of going to Paris at all? We might as well give up now… So yes I believe this retreat can help turn our relationship around, can temporarily plug the holes in our sinking ship and give us the life boat to save ourselves. We just have to be willing to get in the life boat and row like hell.

I am willing to do the work. I am willing to let go. I am willing to find a new path. I am willing to get in the life boat with my husband and row like hell, hoping that both of us will be pulling together and working together towards the goal of a healthy, happy relationship that is the center of a healthy, happy home. At the end of the day I believe that’s all either of us really want.

So as we celebrate our sixteenth wedding anniversary, we look to our future, waiting, waiting for the day we pack our bags and get on an airplane and for five days make us the center of our world for better or for worse…

I am ready to change, to heal, to love my husband with all my heart and in return open up myself to accepting his love, his healing and his changes, and together creating a safe place within ourselves and around us for the evolution to happen.

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Change and Changing

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5655715130_22866414c7_oLife changes, a truth we must accept. Time carries us in its ebb and flow, always towards tomorrow. My own life is moving towards a new chapter. None of my children are babies anymore. In three weeks I will be the mom of an 18-year-old, an adult in the eyes of most of the world and definitely in the eyes of the law. I don’t feel old enough or mature enough to be the parent of an adult but on October 11 that will become part of my résumé, along with also being the parent of a kindergartener.

My youngest, who celebrated his fourth birthday over the summer, is enjoying the challenge and excitement of being in Kindergarten. His mornings are full of new children, new toys and new experiences and then he spends his afternoons with me, visiting our favourite haunts, reading and having quiet time.

It is a slow letting go but in that letting go my life is changing. I am pursuing my sacred living studies and honing my skills as a birth worker, healer and a women’s health educator. I spend time playing with words and emotions, sharing the results on my blog and connecting with a social web of like-minded people. I spend time nurturing my own evolving persona which involves the physical practice of releasing the baggage that has weighed me down for too long and a cracking open of the armour that has imprisoned me under the guise of protection. It is a process of learning and exchanging old beliefs for new beliefs. New beliefs that embrace possibility and redefine my relationships with the natural world around me and the people in that world.

I am changing my inner dialogue, beginning to truly believe I am worthy, worthy of being called a good mother, worthy of being loved, worthy of following my dreams, worthy of opening my arms and my heart to the world and in turn worthy of finding and keeping friends who reflect my soul and heart back to me.

For the first time since I was teenager, I am looking towards the future with happiness, believing that the path before me is leading me towards self-fulfillment. I am not afraid of the changes ahead, I am embracing them. Tired of feeling broken, lost and angry, I am ready to trade those negative emotions in for ones that will serve me into the future.

It will take time and patience and self-love. There will be obstacles but a change of perspective turns obstacles into challenges that nurture growth. Words are so powerful and I’m learning how to use them to empower myself to change my present and my future.

Change is constant. I can’t stop it but I can embrace it, love it and own my place within its ebb and flow.

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Meeting Needs

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2822745259_86e9306308_oMy son just turned four.

The first day of the new school year is less than a week away and I haven’t signed him up for kindergarten yet. In my heart I don’t want to but I’ve had to face some tough, emotional, letting go kind of stuff over the last month. One of the issues that surfaced was finding space and time for me in my life and accepting that I am worthy of that space and time.

I have decided that I will consecrate my space and time to a few hours each morning while my four-year-old is at school playing, socializing and learning. I have also decided that there will be a compromise. He will go for half days instead of full days, giving us our afternoons for quiet time, exploration time and one on one time. In this way we will find balance. He will get to experience kindergarten, I will have the time to work on my courses that I’ve signed up for and we’ll still have our time together.

My little guy is super excited about starting school. Picked out a new pair of Spider-Man sneakers and asked me if he would get a “boy dress” after he saw all of his sister’s new clothes! His Daddy thinks we should buy him a kilt.

I am super excited too. I will be learning more from the sacred living movement. Currently I’m signed up for Medicine Woman and the Postpartum course, and I will likely be adding a Sacred Essence course which is all about the essence of flowers. I’ve also signed up for another course, The Woman’s Healing Arts Teacher Training, and there’s another course I started back in the spring that I need to get back to and finish. My next three to four months will be bursting full of learning.

Then there’s my writing. I have set myself a goal to be published by “Elephant Journal” before the end of the year (2014). I have one friend from high school who has been incredibly encouraging and she is helping me with editing and the focus of my pieces. The other day she dared me to submit a piece by the end of the day and I did! Then I got my first rejection notice. Oh yes that was disappointing but only for a brief moment. All writers, even the best, have rejection letters and this one wasn’t even a true rejection letter, it was a “we like your piece but it needs some tweaking before we can publish it” letter. So I am taking their advice and re-working it a bit, and hopefully I will be ready to re-submit it soon.

Between my courses, my writing, my long list of books I want to read and even some time to do some crafting, my mornings will be very busy and for the first time in my life I feel like I have a true vision of my future and I am really excited. I have the flutters of butterflies in my stomach when I think of all the ways I can bring healing, connection and abundance to other women in my community and to be able to do it in such a way that I can also support my family. It will be a truly incredible blessing.

Unfortunately as excited as I am to embark on this journey of growth and learning there is a dark side. Choosing to send my son to school is going against every fiber of my soul and I am really hoping I have made the right decision. I really wanted to home school him, or un-school him as the case might be, and having to compromise that ideal is proving emotionally difficult. I think it’s why I’m procrastinating on signing him up because in a way I feel like I’m failing my son by giving into the system. The truth is I am not a failure and I’m not failing my son for making this decision to put my needs first because once I’m finished with the bulk of my education and get my business going, I will be able to re-visit home schooling and by then I will be able to meet the needs of my children far better because I took this time to meet my own needs first.

Feeding my Soul

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2683676764_8ed0b79dbe_bFriday I was in my element! I could cook without worrying about the mess. The party wasn’t at my house. I was just providing the food. So I cooked!

I planned my menu, shopped for missing ingredients, and then concocted, mixed, rolled and poured until I had enough food to feed a small army.

I always make too much.

I go above and beyond because I love to share my love of food as well as my ability to feed people well. Friday I got to do just that.

I made veggie squares, salami rolls, roasted pineapple wrapped in bacon, humus, a four layer dip, cauliflower pizza with marinara sauce, and the pièce de résistance, the chocolate birthday cake, a two layer slwpid-20140523_182940.jpgab cake with Oreo cream cheese icing sandwiched between the two layers which I then iced in milk chocolate icing with Oreo crumbs sprinkled on top. Mmmmm good!

Everything was good!

Oh I dream of a huge kitchen with space to experiment, with elbow room to roll, pound, mix, shape and create food to feed and entertain the souls of my friends and family. Room to make a mess and actually enjoy the mess, instead of feeling like I’m fighting for every inch of usable counter space.

I’ve had friends over on a spur of the moment invitation for brunch and whipped up a feast of waffles, muffins, bacon and sausages.

I love feeding people, and I’m always trying new ideas, experimenting, and creating amazing food to share. The process is inherently artistic as you are taking basics like flour and eggs and turning them into something soul inspiring.

I came home Friday night and I was still in my artistic mode, still feeling incredibly inspired so I pulled out my new beads and sat and played with them, stringing different beads together until I created something beautiful, a flower.

20140526_183906It’s all about creating beauty.

Beauty as food, as a beaded flower, as a poem, and even as the art of loving someone else. Touching them, awakening them, vibrating them. All of this is fuelled from the same creative need to fill the soul with beauty, to connect with a world on a level that is more than trudging through life and making do. It’s about stopping to hear your heart beat, to listen, really listen, to the whispers of your soul and let it free to create something beautiful.

This weekend I did all this and more. My soul stretched its wings and created food, art, words and love. Then I released my creations into the world to connect with the souls of others. This is how life should be lived, how my life should be lived. Sharing, giving, opening up, creating, loving…. If I can base my life on those principles I will find the happiness I am looking for, longing for….

If I knew then what I know now…..

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NewbornshotI have a 17-year-old son and a 3-year-old son and the way I have parented them has been completely different. Even with my 3-year-old I wish I’d known some things when he was real little that I know now.  Over the last 18 months I’ve explored and read information on birthing practices, baby care, nutrition, particularly breastfeeding, circumcision, attachment parenting practices and so much more.  And I believe I’ve read pretty widely and many different view points which has led me to feel for the first time as a mother confident in my parenting choices.  Before I did what I knew and took advice only from a small group of women, which while it was not bad advice by any means, it was lacking, and not intentionally lacking either.  Practices change, improve, as information sharing becomes easier, and old ways of doing things are discredited. Every mother only wants what’s best for their children, and the wealth of information available now is mind-boggling.  I have waded through a great deal of that information and here is my list of what I wish I had known then that I know now.

  1.  Circumcision is wrong.  It’s not up to us as parents to make that decision for our sons.  It is their body, and most when given the choice do not choose it.  My oldest is circumcised because 17 years ago I didn’t know any better.  Most of the men in my family were circumcised, it was what I knew as normal.  My 3-year-old isn’t and I’m glad I just decided not to by default because I was too tired to look into it.  Now I’m glad I didn’t and wish I hadn’t with my oldest.  Aside from inflicting incredible pain on an infant too young to understand, there is just no medical reason to do it.  Thankfully in Canada we’ve come a long way and most boys are left intact now, but I still believe that this is an important message to spread as there may still be people who believe the outdated information.  I encourage you to check these sites for more information:

http://www.wholenetwork.org/

http://www.savingsons.org/

2.     Breastfeeding and more importantly, extended breastfeeding – as society has termed it – is incredibly healthy for both mother and child and completely normal.  I will admit I used to fall into the camp of thinking breastfeeding past a certain age, about a year, was wrong, but now I have learned better. The health benefits don’t stop as a child grows.  Breast milk changes constantly to meet the needs of the child, even when tandem nursing children of different ages.  Breast milk is liquid gold, and the benefits of breastfeeding an older child is huge to both mother and child.  In the mother extended breastfeeding can help lower the risks of illnesses such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  In the child it provides continued immune support against common ailments and is the perfect building blocks to help them grow strong mentally and physically.  Emotionally it is an easy way to help soothe a child in pain or who is over tired.  No matter what formula companies may say, they can never duplicate the amazing, adaptive qualities of breast milk.

That brings me to my next point on breastfeeding; support systems.  In Canada, partially because of our maternity and parental leave benefits, there’s a decent support system in place and it has definitely improved since my 17-year-old was born but there’s always room for improvement.  Even with my 3-year-old I wish I’d had a stronger support system and that when he was three months old and I decided due to my extreme post-partum depression to quit, someone had said “No, what do you need to keep breastfeeding?” because the truth is I didn’t want to quit, I just didn’t have the support I needed or the words to express my frustrations.  I sometimes wonder if I would still be breastfeeding him.  He totally loved it and still will reach for my breasts occasionally like there is a lingering memory there.  So support isn’t just about hospitals supporting skin to skin immediately after birth (weighing and even cord clamping can wait, unless there is a medical reason to whisk the baby away, the baby should always be placed skin to skin on the mother’s belly right after birth), or providing good qualified breastfeeding consultants if they are needed both in hospital and after discharge, but it also includes community and family support, especially in the first 3-4 months after birth, which is labelled the fourth trimester for a reason. Community support also includes supporting a nursing mother when you see her out in public.  Women should be applauded and encouraged for providing the best possible nutrition for their children and not made to hide or feel ashamed in any way.  As a by-product of encouraging breastfeeding in public, it also normalizes it for the next generation.

3.     Birthing practices is one I’ve spent a lot of time reading about.  I started my training to be a doula a year ago but after doing the weekend course, decided to put the practical side on hold as I still have a young family to care for. I continue to read extensively on birthing practices and absorb all the information I can.  I’m an advocate of natural birthing practices as much as can be possible but each labour, each woman is different and at the end of the day just needs to feel supported and loved as she moves through this rite of passage to motherhood, whether it’s for the first time, actually most importantly if it’s for the first time, but also for each subsequent child she births as well.  Birth isn’t just about delivering healthy babies, it’s about birthing strong, confident mothers, and the quality of care and support will have a huge impact on how a woman sees herself both as a woman and as a mother.  I have learned an incredible amount and I will revisit this topic again in future posts. Suffice to say my views on the pregnancy and birth process have changed quite a bit over the last 18 months, and I hope will be an integral part of my career path. I’m actually already signed up for two Sacred Pregnancy courses this summer where I hope to extend my knowledge and care skills exponentially.

4.      There are other areas as well that I have learned so much about, like attachment parenting for example.  Some elements of the practice I always knew deep down but society insisted on different approaches, and especially with my 17-year-old I didn’t have enough wherewithal to argue the status quo.  For example, I left my 17-year-old to cry it out because 17 years ago that was an acceptable method.  Now, never, not even with my 3-year-old.  About 8 months ago he suddenly developed a fear of shadows, and after that his easy bed time routine evaporated.  It became a long protracted affair, but when he cried, I, or my husband, was always there.  And now, he’s learned to handle shadows and scary monsters, but even more importantly, he also knows without question we are here if he needs us. The relationship I have with my 3-year-old is the most connected and natural of all my children. Attachment parenting does not breed spoilt brats, it breeds confident, happy, well-adjusted children.  Yes, it’s more work but the rewards are worth it.

Below I’ve listed my favourite websites and Facebook pages for information on all the above.  It’s just a sampling, I have many, many favourites and can’t possibly list them all.  There are some amazing women and yes, even men, changing the face of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting in general.  I encourage you to check them out.  I’m sure I will be writing more on these subjects in the future, both to provide information and to relate how they apply to and affect my life.

http://www.handsfreemama.com/

http://www.evolutionaryparenting.com/

http://www.ourmuddyboots.com/

http://www.drmomma.org/

http://freeyourkidsblog.com/

http://www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com/

http://www.littleheartsbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Consciousparentingnow

http://www.positive-parents.org/

http://www.birthwithoutfearblog.com/

http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/

My Soul Map

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You’ve perhaps gotten a sense of who I am from my first two pieces, but I thought it might be helpful to do a more in-depth introduction.  I thought to keep this simpler I would use point form, as many of these elements of who I am or want to be will likely be examined more intensely at some point, but for this post I want to keep it simple.  Think of this as the reference map at the beginning of a fantasy novel, or, as I am going to call it, my soul map.

  •  I am almost 37 years old.  I have been married for 15 years to an amazing man, and we have three children, aged 17, 9 and 3.  My 9-year-old daughter will be 10 the same day I will be 37, and I like sharing my birthday with her.  When they brought me my first meal at the hospital, the menu had Happy Birthday written across the top.  I kept it for her memory box!
  • I was a 19-year-old mom.  Becoming a mom was the hardest and most painful event that I have ever experienced.  Some of the wounds run deep for both my oldest son and I, but I have faith that things will get better.
  • I am also a sister.  I have two younger siblings, a sister and a brother.  My brother is married to an amazing woman, and they have one beautiful child, who has the wonderful honour of finally making me an aunt!  I love being an aunt!!!!
  • Both my parents are still alive and I don’t know what I’d do without them.  My mom is my saviour!
  • My husband’s family is small, just him, his brother, his brother’s significant other and his dad.  We lost his mom almost nine years ago after a six-year battle with end stage breast cancer.  Those six years were a blessing.  She was an amazing woman and we will never stop missing her.
  • Our family is completed by our crazy pup named Brandy, who according to her papers is a Pomeranian Poodle mix, but we’re not sure how accurate that actually is.  She is a wonderful pup whatever her parentage may be!
  • Family is very important to me.  They always come first.
  • I am a strong believer in attachment parenting, peaceful parenting and conscious parenting.  I wasn’t always though, it’s a path I’ve discovered fairly recently but for the first time I feel like I’m doing the right thing as a parent. I still have a lot of work to do because we are unfortunately entrenched in some bad habits.
  • I have a dream of homeschooling my youngest and in the process enhancing my middle child’s learning experience even if she stays in the school system.
  •  I am loving, helpful and generous to a fault with everyone, though I have had to learn self-control as I don’t always look after myself and I can be a little too easy with money.  Right now as a stay-at-home-mom, it means we are living on one income so I have to be more careful with our resources.
  • I am very creative.  I love to cross-stitch.  I enjoy working with paper in a variety of ways, including some dabbling in quilling and scrapbooking.  I want to learn the art of tatting, knitting and crocheting.  I love amigurami patterns and want nothing more than to be able to make them myself!!! I also enjoy playing with beads and have learned a few basic beading techniques. I have also dabbled in photography but currently do not have a good camera to use so I resort to mostly point and shoot photography.
  • I absolutely love to bake and cook.  I am always trying new recipes.  My family and friends like to refer to themselves as my guinea pigs as they never know what I’m going to try next.  I have been trying to expand into paleo and gluten-free cooking and experimenting with more vegetables, but I have two children who are very picky eaters and experimentation is usually met with less than enthusiastic responses from them!  On the flip side, I’ve had marriage proposals over my baking….
  • I love Pinterest.  I don’t collect much in the way of things, but Pinterest is a place I can collect ideas and go back to try some of them later, or get a load of inspiration to try something new.
  • I am a very spiritual person. I am a member of the United Church, but don’t believe my spirituality is found only in my Christian beliefs.  The United Church is very laid back and open to people’s differences, and it fits well with my own Christian beliefs of love and acceptance of all. I enjoy exploring my spiritual side through a number of avenues, many of which I will be exploring in my writing.
  • I enjoy traveling a great deal. Unfortunately I don’t get to do enough of it but I love exploring new places.  I’m a girl who is all about the journey to get where I’m going, and the less straight the path from point A to point B is, the more interesting! I traveled a lot with my family when I was younger, and I wish I could provide the same experiences for my children.  There is so much to learn and see out in the world.
  • I love to learn and I am very smart.  Do not let my lack of post-secondary education fool you.  I am very well read and I do not believe one needs a diploma to succeed in life.  My wish list on Chapters is way over 300 books long and getting longer all the time.  I dream of a magnificent resource library, particularly on pregnancy, family and child rearing philosophies, but also on holistic living and natural medicines.
  • I am an old hippy at heart.  I dream of a big property where I can grow my own food, run my business and live as naturally as possible, with as little environmental impact as possible. A place where my family can spread its wings and fly.
  • I have suffered from varying degrees of depression since I was 18/19 years old.  Right now it’s particularly bad and I’m hoping this exercise will help me find and weed my life path so I can shake the depression for good.  I have a lot of work to do. It is also part of the reason I am not working right now.
  • Organization is my weak point.  I struggle to find order in my chaos.  We live in a small house with little space, and it’s hard to stay on top of things.  As part of my 2014 journey, I’m hoping to work towards purging the things that don’t matter so that what really does matter can find room to breathe.
  • I have a weak point for Facebook and I’m addicted to being on-line.  This is a huge problem and one I am going to face and conquer this year.  I struggle to find a balance between my real life and my on-line life, and for the sake of my relationships, I will figure out that balance.

I think that covers the basics of my soul map, and hopefully now you have a better picture in your head of who I am, and hopefully I’ve intrigued you enough to stick around for more.

Below I’ve selected an assortment of pictures of my family to share with you.  It is the only time I will feature so many pictures in one post!  I absolutely love taking pictures of my family.  On another note, I will not be providing anyone’s real names in this blog.  I will be coming up with pseudonym’s in the future to make it easier to reference each person but for now they are simply oldest son, daughter and youngest son.  If the person reading this knows us, please refrain from mentioning our names in comments.  Thank you.

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