Life as a Doula, Journey of a Woman

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Love and Life and Struggle and Joy

Gray Suv Under Blue Starry Sky during Nighttime

Mr M and I enjoy a wild night out, (alcohol sneaked in my bag...it is the end of the month and no money) and we suffer the following day, awoken by grandbabies...no quarter given!
When they go home to their Sunday bath and tea, we catch Tesco's last hour, the holy building radiating glitter like a mirage in negative, reflecting in dark puddles of oily rain.  We can afford two carrier bags worth, and honestly, I'm the richest woman on earth tonight.
The Friday before this wild weekend I sat in the drop-in clinic with a mother and her three day old baby boy...their passage had been rough.  He hadn't yet got his head around taking the nipple and suckling.  They were skin-to-skin.  The midwife spoke to the baby boy, using his name, her hand above his head, circling the air, stroking him, but not touching his body. She acknowledged his efforts, and he knew she was speaking to him. Two and a half hours they spent, held in the wisdom and compassion of this woman.  Mum fed him some of her milk from a bottle to reward his efforts and keep up his strength, then back he went to her breast, learning that good things were here.
My friend picked me up from this most sacred work, how I love that he doesn't need words.  I love that he speaks to the little person in me, who had a rough passage at the start of her life.  He eats at the house with us, and takes my car home.  Mr M. is beset by money worries, so I speak to the little one in him, soothing him in the way that woman taught me.  

Later on in our bed, very late, he is pained by a muscle strain, and we acknowledge 'the money', our pit of despair, our crushing debts, but we are not crushed by them tonight.  Instead, I download a free app which shows the names of the stars above us.  We have a laugh, and make furious love in the dark, and in the eye in my mind the black sky is our roof going back aeons into timeless glittering diamond carbon life.
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Shop Update!

When the going gets tough, the tough buy their amber and hazelwood beads here!






These are a few of the designs available in the Mid Sussex Birthing Beads Shop right now!  There's some amber for little teethers, amber and hazelwood separately and combined for children and adults, as well as amber with gemstones, in bracelets and necklaces.
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New door opening :-)

Last week I closed a door...you can read about it here.  I want to learn, I'd been waiting to start a course that my head thought was right but my heart knew was not my path.  I withdrew my application.  I'm not very good at ending things like that, at closing doors, because I fear that there will be nothing else to replace it.

Recently I heard the affirmation 'I am not being rejected from something good, I'm being redirected to something better'  I like that.  So Thursday I close the door, and the following Monday, yesterday, I was at drop-in clinic as usual, and one of the bosses came in and asked if I'd like to work at the hospital drop-in, run by a woman I know who is an IBCLC and the infant feeding lead for the hospital Trust.  I think my learning is going to start in earnest tomorrow afternoon!

These helplines are available if you need to speak to a breastfeeding counsellor in the UK:

ABM 0300 330 5453
NBFH 0300 100 0212 
NCT  0300 3300 771
LLL 0845 120 2918
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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Brows

The Brow Gods were with me


I do like to periodically bore you with the saga of my brows, and I will do a more in-depth post one day about what I've been doing with them lately, but last night they just went so well that I simply had to share.

I have been using a brow-dyeing kit to make use of those little white hairs that grow around what is left of the remainders of my actual brows.  I plucked them to death decades ago, and they have to get drawn in every day.  Some days are good brow days, some are not.  Last night was an excellent brow evening!
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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Real badass !00% Cacao Hot Chocolate kinda day



I usually drink almond milk, or at a push, semi-skimmed cow milk.  This little baby however, demands full fat cows (although in honesty its still lush with skimmed) and a dash of liquid vanilla extract.  You can sweeten with the hazelnut syrup used by Costa if you're feeling really flash, or use sugar...you'll need something to take the edge off the slight bitterness of real goddam chocolate.  Experiment with a pinch of chili powder, or cinnamon...cardamom powder...nutmeg...let your imagination run wild.  Next time I'll be adding a slug of Cointreau for a chocolate orange hit. Gotta love a rainy Saturday!!
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'Origin' design now in a stretchy

'Origin' Motherbeads design stretchy bracelets

I love a rainy Saturday.  Nothing like it for getting some beading work done whilst listening to Planet Rock...although I must say the featured year of 1984 is turning up some pretty abysmal tunes.

Anyhoo, I am so in love with the Origin design in my adult amber collection...I wear this every day with everything.  The amber is green with inclusions, very rare.  The stones are chrysocolla, amethyst and pearl.  The tiny pearls in the bracelet are actually mother of pearl.

I thought it would make some great Christmas presents to have a matching set of necklace and stretchy, and the stretchy has a sweet little gold coloured turtle charm too.

I'm going to take a little break now and make some real bad-ass hot chocolate with full fat milk and real chocolate.  Might even warrant it's own blog post!
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Thursday, 20 November 2014

The closing of one door...and the opening of another...all in the same day!

Class of 2013 La Leche League peer supporters
Gosh but I've been busy with the doors today.  I'm not sure that I've shared with you the fact that two of the loveliest parts of my week are the breastfeeding drop-in clinics that I work in as a breastfeeding peer supporter.  Below is a picture of me and the other 'pink ladies' graduating from the La Leche League course nearly 2 years ago.  (I was blonde then!!) I see so many wonderful mums in the clinic, and get to support them in their breastfeeding journeys.  Some of the mums have babies as young as three or four days, others are toddlers and older.  Naturally, I come away from each clinic buzzing with the ladies and babies who I've met, and wishing that I knew more about the subject, I'm always hungry for more knowledge.  This lead me to take the next step, and apply to train to be a breastfeeding counsellor.  To cut a long story short, there are a number of avenues open to someone like me to train, and some are more expensive than others.

I began my application to my chosen training body in June, and the two year course is paid for by a further two year commitment to working on the National Helplines.  The application process has been long, and has allowed time for my feet to get cold.  Something hasn't felt right for some time.  I find myself looking every day for an email from them, but two and a half months on, I haven't heard a word.

Over the last couple of days I've been considering withdrawing my application, and today I did it.  It felt scary;  I'd got my doula mentor and one of the IBCLC's at work to be my referees, and gone through the application, and now I'd changed my mind.  It also felt good to take a positive step, rather than hanging on in the dark and wondering if this was what being on the course itself would feel like.  I decided to trust that my wish to be involved in supporting breastfeeding mothers would itself be supported by the universe, and the education and opportunities I need will be shown to me in other ways.

I went shopping after that.  When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping! When I got home, I got a text from a mum-to-be wanting a doula for next year. Several texts later, and we agreed to arrange to meet when my doula business partner is ready!  Feels fresh and exciting, like a new door opening!

Footnote.  A new door opened just days later for me to learn the same stuff, actually on the job!!  Amazing!!! I wrote about it here.
These helplines are available if you need to speak to a breastfeeding counsellor in the UK:

ABM 0300 330 5453
NBFH 0300 100 0212 
NCT  0300 3300 771
LLL 0845 120 2918


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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Superfood lunch - deceptively easy to make

lush healthy lunch!
I love this super tasty lunch for so many reasons... especially that I can taste the health, and feel the benefits after eating it.  It is super tasty, very savoury and varied, and the teriyaki sauce in the mackerel gives it a sweet oriental kick.

Yes, the mackerel is tinned, and so are the beans, and there's enough beans and mackerel in one tin of each for two or three meals.

Add to these two main ingredients a chopped tomato, and some chopped kale flash-fried in a smidgen of coconut butter. As the kale is almost done, I turn the heat right down and throw into the pan a handful of flaked almonds, and some sunflower seeds.  You can let it cool off, or you can just combine the whole lot piping hot from the pan and get stuck in straight away.  

I need something quick and easy like this when I'm at home beading.  I get really hungry, and I don't want to eat unhealthy stodge or empty calories, but neither do I want to break away from working for more than 15 minutes to fix lunch!

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Friday, 14 November 2014

In the bead factory today

Busy creating in the bead factory today!
This is the view today from the bead factory.  I'm working towards doing a craft fair in December, and if I do this craft fair, I'm going to need lots of stock.

On the left is my personal favourite design, and one that is very popular.  The amber is rare green polished amber, with inclusions.  I've combined it with gemstones that are associated with feminine energies (freshwater pearl) letting go of the past and destructive compulsions (amethyst) and harmony and self-expression (azurite chryscolla)

The Motherbeads necklaces are strung onto double-looped tiger tail and the beads are interspersed with seed beads.  As the design is so popular, I decided to replicate it in my stretchy bracelet range, like these:
stretchy bracelets (not the far right one...that's knotted!)

In order to reign in my imagination a bit, I tend to work contrasting designs together.  That's why there are two different bracelets on the go on the bead board.

I'm looking forward to adding the 'Origin' design to the stretchy bracelets in my shop!
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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Bonfire 14...done ✔

Bonfire in Lewes, 2014

Bonfire 2014 is done, for me.  There are another couple of bonfires in the villages of Sussex; Rotherfield this weekend, and Barcombe on the 22nd November.  I most probably won't be going, due in part to other things that I may choose to do, but also due to me feeling that its kind of over for me this year.  The costume has gone away, chats over the dinner table with family reveal that Dave feels pretty much the same.

We went to South Heighton's night on Saturday, and got absolutely drenched.  I am usually a fair weather bonfire girl, but this night was magical, I felt no pain.  The warm welcome from the small village society was enough to drive way the cold from my soaking skin.  On Sunday after tea we went out into the dark, when it felt like the whole of Sussex was cosied indoors for the evening.  We went to the pub which our HQ, for 'box night' to count the charity take.  This year, I had the honour of choosing the charity, and I chose the Trevor Mann baby Unit at Brighton, where my son was treated for severe respiratory distress syndrome after birth.  It felt like a closure, quietly counting with a few members, in the pub where we had gathered periodically during the 8 week season, and monthly since April, with mounting excitement for our night.  It was a bit of closure on another matter too, involving bonfire, and my son.  It was good.

It was a good one all round!  It was uneventful, and other people have remarked on the fact that it was lacking in edge and someone even called it 'pleasant'...not a word I would associate with November the 5th down in the Cliffe.  It is true though...the whole season, and 'the night' was pleasant.  I've done very unpleasant too, so I'm not going to be one of the ones complaining about it.

Next year the fifth will be on a Thursday, then I think we skip on to two consecutive Saturdays. (It's a bonfire thing, we don't march on a Sunday, so the forth will temporarily become the fifth.)  That will see a more lively crowd I'm sure, unless its lashing down, but that's way off into the future.  For now, Bonfire 2014 is a happy memory.
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Monday, 3 November 2014

My weekend

A typical weekend towards the end of bonfire season. Note the really cool face in the smoke above the houses


This weekend was bonfire-filled from start to finish, and as the big day itself is only two sleeps away, today and tomorrow will have bonfirey elements to them too.  I wanted to share the photo on the left, as I took it whilst processing.  Usually I would be carrying a torch and therefore unable to actually take a photo, but for some reason I didn't get a torch, so I thought I would take the opportunity to snap away in the ranks.  The pinky tone in this photo is not a special effect, it's the colour the smoke turns when we carry marine flares to light up the parade.  As you can see the fireworks were spectacular and beautiful, and the smoke trails left afterwards highlighted some otherworldly participants of the night!  The location of this bonfire night was Battle in East Sussex, so for those of you that know your history you will appreciate the significance of ghostly faces appearing above the abbey and over Senlac hill.  (Even though it has recently been discovered to not be the actual battle site, but that's another story!)

The night was very exciting and great fun, but also a little spooky and there was definitely a feeling of the veil being thin that night.  All of us went home a little unsettled, and incidentally we all reported strange dreams the following day!
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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Saturday morning.. 4 sleeps till bonfire!

Saturday Morning breakfast!

I am usually one for healthy breakfasts...porridge, muesli, yoghurt and fruit, or any of a number of dishes that I keep in the fridge at all times made with couscous, vegetables, seeds and the like.  But sometimes, only a big fry up will do!  It's the first of November, so we are deep into Lewes bonfire preparations.  Last night we met friends in Lewes for an evening of live music and dancing, and tonight we will march in Battle bonfire's parade.  So you can see why we needed to start with a banging breakfast this morning!


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