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Pregnancy Yoga

I run Pregnancy Yoga classes, however what I can do for you is more than just exercise, relaxation and showing you yoga moves that are suitable in pregnancy. I’ll tell you what postures and movements help with what.. Heartburn? No problem I can help ease that, swollen ankles, yes that too, achey back…. yep, I don’t know anyone that gets away without some kind of back ache or rib pain. Classes may help with that too!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg because I can give you so much more!

If you’re feeling anxious about your pregnancy or birth, my classes will make you feel calm and positive. If you’re nervous and doubt you can do it, yes, I know these feelings and with a lot of the stories we hear about birth it’s not surprising we may doubt ourselves, however I’m here to help you understand and believe in yourself, birth CAN be a positive experience.  Regardless of the turns it may take, it’s about how you prepare.

Classes are also suitable for women planning caesareans, these classes will give you time to pause and make time for yourself. The focus on keeping you calm, relaxed and comfortable, always bringing you back to yourself and what your body is telling you is a huge boost to trusting in your instincts as a woman and a mother!

Why is birth preparation important?

You may have grown up hearing about birth from other people or learnt through watching dramatic scenes on TV that you’re waters will break and you have to make a frantic dash to the hospital or birth portrayed as a woman on her back screaming like a wild banshee.  Well, I’m here to tell you that actually you are perfectly designed to give birth, sometimes we need professional assistance in labour but your body and your baby KNOW what to do.

Ok so now I might be losing you a bit, but think of this. We are the only mammal not to trust our bodies and our instincts. WHY?  Because we have been led to believe all our lives birth is horrendous. A natural beautiful birth doesn’t make great television.  People share the bad experiences they’ve had, yet I wonder if they were given the opportunity for their birth to flow? Did they understand what there needs would be in birth and were they informed enough to know what would help them? Or perhaps they were scared or felt vulnerable so birth stopped and interventions were needed… Every birth is different, I get that but I want you to know that you can do this. I’m realistic and sometimes we need a helping hand and sometimes we have beautiful planned and unplanned caesareans. No matter what, you deserve a positive pregnancy and birth experience, your baby does too. It’s the best start you can give yourselves.

I can help ease your mind and give you the TRUTH about childbirth. The TRUTH about your body and how amazing it is.  I can give you the knowledge back that over generations and generations we’ve lost touch with.  You know what to do, your body knows what to do and my classes will help you tune back into that inner wisdom and listen to your body.  Trusting yourself and your instincts will help you in motherhood and learning to listen to your body’s needs will help you postnatally.

If you have a planned or last minute caesarean the skills you will learn during classes can keep you calm and help you feel empowered about the decisions you make for yourself and your baby. All women should feel empowered, it sets us up for a much better fourth trimester with our babies and potentially moving beyond that too.

And why am I all for good starts? It can make such a difference to your arrival into motherhood. A crappy experience could leave you feeling depleted and prevent the natural flow of hormones that help you in those early days, weeks and months.

My first birth experience was crappy, I thought I got it but I totally didn’t. I did not understand enough. The knowledge I have now that I share in my classes could really help you be better informed and understand more about your body, my classes are more than yoga, there’s birth prep included – some of which may complement other classes you’re considering.

I know how it feels to go through a bad birth experience. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this. I CARE so much and this is why I retrained and left the corporate world.  I feel so strongly that I can help you and I will do everything I can to help as many women as possible have a positive pregnancy and a positive start on their journey with a new life.

My classes are unique, I can tailor them on the fly around what comes up that week for mums to be, I teach couples birth preparation so I have an abundance of knowledge, practical tips and resources for you to access through me.

Anyone that books onto a block of classes will receive regular emails for 8 weeks which are designed to emphasise some of what we learn in the classes and to compliment other birth preparation, videos and relaxation bonus track included!

I hope you decide to join classes with me and if not I still invite you to please prepare for a positive birthing experience. Get informed and practice whatever techniques will support you through this time.

Much Love, Clare xx

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“You’ll miss this when they’re older”

Words by Hannah Durdle

I just saw a friend on Facebook asking for some advice about her new baby and saw someone comment ‘Oh you’ll miss this when she’s older’ 

I thought to myself sitting there reading how many people had said that to me…and how many people get it said to them…and quite frankly how much the saying needs to stop being said. 

My kids are now 14 and 12 and no…I don’t miss getting up 18 times a night…I don’t miss panicking they aren’t eating properly because they only want nuggets for months at a time….I don’t miss panicking about getting in trouble with our awful system not going to work because I had to take three days off to look after them when are ill…I don’t miss my house being trashed and being so tired I can’t be bothered to clean it up and then waking up and being panicked and stressed that someone might judge me as a parent…I don’t miss them having tantrums….I have some wonderful memories from those times but I don’t miss it. 

The bedtime stories have turned into watching a film together before bed and they still come in my room and sit on the end of the bed and have a chat. The irritating dinner times have turned into me teaching my kids how to make stuff…the waking up in the night has turned into me having a good night’s sleep and becoming a much better mum to help them with stuff because I am not mentally drained. My house is still a mess but that has turned into them helping me with it as they are old enough to understand what it takes to run a house…and the tantrums have turned into little adult conversations about what we should do together. 

My point is don’t let people make you feel bad when you need to vent. Everyone is doing a fantastic job as parents. Your relationship with your kids should grow and it should be something to look forward to as they get older and you can do more and more with them…not miss…even when they move out. And yes, I will miss them….as people. You’re allowed to be stressed. 

And fingers crossed one day I might be lucky enough to have grandchildren and I will look forward to them growing as little people as well!

Hannah Durdle 

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Maternal Suicide Awareness


Whilst the suicide rates for men is three quarters higher than women, my experiences during childhood shaped my understanding of maternal wellbeing and mental health.  I also suffered with post natal depression for 18 months five years ago.


I’m originally from Kent and when I was around nine years old during one of my mums struggles with her mental health, I heard her telling my Dad after being missing all day that she had been to Rochester Bridge, and was thinking about jumping.  Luckily she didn’t.


Then fast forward a couple of years and I’m 11 years old, my mum was mostly in hospital due to her mental health around this time, I hadn’t long been at secondary school and my aunt had been staying with us a lot to help out.  When my aunt needed to go back home for a bit my mum was out of hospital for a couple of days to see how she got on.  My brother and I were watching TV after school but I suddenly felt I should check on my mum, my dad was still at work.  I caught her in the kitchen holding a knife to her wrist.  So I told her to let me have the knife and go upstairs to lie down, when she did I started looking for every sharp thing I could find and hid them behind a chair in our front room.  When I went to check on my mum instead of finding her lying down like I’d suggested, she was trying to tie an extension lead cable around her neck.  I shouted at her and told her to stop, took it out of her hands and made her lay down and rest.
It could’ve been so different.  For people touched by events like this, or to have experienced the worst case scenario we know how crucial it is to have support and services available to help those suffering with their mental health.  


Official figures state that the maternal death rate is one in eleven in the UK during and up to 6 weeks after pregnancy due to a psychiatric cause.  A quarter of late maternal deaths are by suicide and can be linked to post natal depression.  Actual figures for PND vary according to sources, from one in five, to one in four, some mothers don’t seek help so the figures are suspected to be higher than records show.  If we were to look more into maternal services and what’s available to women postnatally there is still not enough support for new mothers.


However, there are positive changes, there is far more awareness and less stigma regarding mental health than there was around 30 years ago and there is far more awareness around the importance of taking care of our mental wellbeing.


Through my work with women in pregnancy and postnatally I intend to keep raising awareness about maternal wellbeing.  I would like women to feel supported whether they need it or not, I want women to know it’s ok not to be ok, it’s ok that sometimes motherhood is tough and that if you need it it’s crucial to seek help for yourself. 


I offer various pre and postnatal services to women and have a created a positive community #Mothers Supporting Mothers Movement.  I also provide one to one Birth Trauma Recovery for women that still suffer after their birth with symptoms of post traumatic stress.  This can be a trigger for PND and the symptoms that come with that, including in some cases maternal suicide.  


I may not always be the right person to help however I see myself as able to signpost women to services that they may not be aware of that are available to support them,  I’m honest and open about my own struggles with PND and motherhood in general and the more I share the more others share too.  It lightens the load we carry with us.  If you have any mental health issues I urge you to reach out to people you know will listen.  Whilst every situation is different, if you’re unwell then I also want you to know you can get better and there is always hope.

ClareXx

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Forgiveness in Motherhood

I often remind mothers that we should forgive ourselves quickly and move on.  We are always doing the best we can with the ability and knowledge we have at that moment and often we are showing up in the only way we can at that time.  We expect far too much of ourselves, we expect as soon as we become mothers that we’ll become this nurturing, all knowing, full of patience and the right words to say kind of mother – you know just like in the feel good family films? 

Or maybe that’s just me, I have this expectation of what I should be like as a mother, it’s often been to be the opposite of my own mum.  I’m doing pretty well, however I still have this unrealistic benchmark, or perhaps the holy grail of the perfectly balanced mother, loving and firm, fun and serious.  I can see other mums doing the same, I try to tell mothers how well they’re doing because I can see it, the strength, the connection, managing on a daily basis! I admire lots of mothers all for different reasons, we can learn so much from each other without getting stuck in the comparison trap.

I’ve just realised however that although I forgive myself quickly for little things, when something throws the family dynamic, a phase one of my boys is going through I am straight to thinking “What should I do? or What have I done or not done to create this situation? Why is this happening and what should I have done to avoid it happening?!”  

I wonder how many other mothers do the same?

I immerse myself in trying to trace back why a child of mine has behaved in a certain way, I over analyse, I critique what I’m teaching my children.  Other days I’ll be honest I can feel myself doing an inner high five when they do something that make me proud.  I realise I’m doing ok, we have good values and morals and core beliefs at the centre of our home life.  I feel we’re raising our children to be conscious about the planet, community, kindness and happiness.  

However.

Going back to forgiveness, today I’ve taken a step back thanks to a very valuable chat.  I’ve come to realise I’ve not forgiven myself for the stubbornness and the pride in not seeking help after my eldest was born.  I struggled on for 18 months determined not to be like my mum who has struggled for a long time with her mental health.  Determined not to go to the doctor and to have on eye records that I had PND (Post Natal Depression), determined not to put chemicals into my body.  As if seeking help was weak!  When actually it’s one of the biggest signs of strength.

As a result of my PND I put my husband through a lot and I’d not accepted motherhood and that I was a mother.  I apologised to my husband when I was coming out the other side of PND, he was surprised and not expecting this. I feel that inside I am often apologising to my eldest son, I’m very sensitive to his feelings. I probably overcompensate sometimes. I forgive myself for this.

There’s a lot to unpack here but I want to forgive myself for the disconnect I had with my son for his first years, I’m sorry I decided I couldn’t be a mother and that I would get back to work as soon as possible, take a promotion and go back full time because I felt I had nothing to offer him, I’m sorry I felt unable to accept my role as mother.  I’m sorry I felt I was better at my job then rather than being a mother.  I’m sorry that until now I’ve carried this with me and not let it go.  

I’m sorry I came close to walking out on my husband and my son when he was 18 months old.  I’m sorry that this has sat with me for such a long time and that I’ve doubted my abilities as a mum.  I’m sorry that I haven’t recognised all the things I have done right and I’m doing right.  I’m sorry I had this expectation on myself that is totally unrealistic – I have no way of being this mythical mother.  No mother is perfect, we’re human!

My sons have both chosen me for this life and I am blessed.  I have so much to learn from them because as I’ve said before they are my teacher as much as I am theirs.

As I forgive myself for holding onto the belief that I am not good enough, perhaps you can find something you need to let go of too.Let go of that unhelpful message you have going on in a loop in your mind! 

Holding onto these old patterns and beliefs isn’t the way forward to help me be the mother I need to be for my children, I’ll just be carrying around stuff that isn’t for my highest self and if I hold onto the story I’ve told myself about who I am as a mother I cannot move forward as a woman and human aspiring to reach higher.  How can I set an example to my children that sometimes things happen, sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we aren’t the best version of ourselves and let them know that’s ok.  That all of these experiences help brings to light who we really are and who we want to be, we can learn and grow if we don’t hold onto these limiting beliefs about ourselves and what we’re capable of. I want my children to soar! I want them to have self belief and so this cycle I’m in has to stop so it doesn’t pass on to them.

I am proud of all that my experience has taught me in the last six years, where it has brought me in terms of my career and giving back to women and our community, rediscovering so much that women have lost that I want to invite back in. It still teaches me now, new layers I hadn’t realised were there and needed shedding. These are my lessons to pass on and help others.

For now though, with the help of the Ho’oponopono prayer which I say to myself.

  • I’m sorry
  • Please forgive me
  • Thank you
  • I love you

Much love xx

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Calling all Suffragettes

Women's Circle Leigh-on-sea

Suffragette, Sister, I’m sorry we haven’t continued the cause, we thought the cause was about was the right to vote and “equal” rights, it was so much more than that. We didn’t fully see what we should’ve been fighting for, we didn’t see we were being deceived. It wasn’t about us having the same opportunities as men it was about us being free to be a woman.

Free to know ourselves as we haven’t in centuries, know our bodies, understand our cycles and how we are meant to work and create, when we’re meant to rest and when to be productive. Not work in the way a man can. 

It’s about understanding and embracing our life giving bodies fully, not allowing ourselves to birth on our back, instead listening to our birthing wisdom. It’s was not allowing birth to become a masculine process so we no longer trust ourselves, it was about reclaiming a feminine birth using masculine energy when it was needed. We should understand the power of placenta and the power of breast from an early age. We should KNOW our bodies.  We should have been fighting for more research into our female bodies and its needs.

We shouldn’t tolerate lack of studies and research into gynaecology, women’s hormones and women’s health. We shouldn’t be prescribed chemicals for our health, masking problems. We shouldn’t have a market for incontinence pads we should be provided with essential pelvic floor care after birth. We shouldn’t be made to feel we’re “crazy” from hormones or as we age we should hide it. Hide our wisdom, hide the stories our body tells.  

We should be in tune with our true selves, we deserve respect for the powerful beings we are, no one else can create life the way a woman can. We have forgotten that we have the most important job of all, we are tied to creation, whether we are a mother or not we are creators, we are connected to Mother Earth – yet we have turned our back on her too. We lost sight of our mother and our home to pursue a masculine dream of MORE, more things, more stuff, more ego, more more more…. believing it’ll make us successful, believing we need to keep reaching one goal then the next then the next, losing our mindfulness, losing our peace. Losing human connections to connect with an object, a game, a tv, a car, objects galore. This is what we’ve been led to believe we need. Yet to believe all this is keep us in our place. The irony. 

The disconnection from each other divides us further keeping the powerful powerful til they get to this point when they control our bodies! A woman’s body is her right, her right to choose what happens to it.

We shouldn’t be letting men in power decide what happens to a woman’s body, we should have autonomy over our bodies, we should be in a better place now. Yet we are heading for destruction, losing control of what rightfully belongs to us if we no longer take action. Had we continued moving forward in the right way we wouldn’t have to be lifting the lid on truths forgotten, we wouldn’t have to put up with this new level of oppression for women.

I’m so angry we have a culture designed to make us feel inadequate and not good enough, a culture that makes us feel we always need more, that we need to compare, that we need to compete, that we need to focus on ourselves and not our community that we are divided. We are so divided we can’t come together, we either bury our heads in the sand waiting for someone else to resolve the issues we have or we do nothing at all except talk about how outrageous it is.  This is what they want, those in power, a disjointed barely causing a stir hum in the background. Back to our job, our homes and our kids we go.

Our men. Our men need to understand what we’re up against, but they are not from a place of repression and fear. It’s hard for them to understand our anger and why we need to act. Yet they will understand when the balance is equal, they will see then how they’ve been living half a life, backed into a corner of expectation and made to hide their needs.

I barely scratch the surface at the inequalities between men and women, some I can’t even fathom that are happening ingrained in cultures here and around the world.  Women need to stand together – you are all my sisters and it breaks my heart when you don’t see it. We should be uniting. We should be linking arms, shoulder to shoulder.  We should be chaining ourselves to railings. What are we to do to? I despair.

Women are goddesses! Women bring balance, harmony and life! Are we forgetting life, life to projects, life to art, life to music? Women mother their families, their pets, their friends. Every woman is a mother. Every woman deserves to know and feel her strength and power. Why do we continue to not see it or let people take it away?

It’s about respect for ourselves. It’s about no longer believing the bullshit we are the weaker sex. We are NOT the weaker sex so let’s stop playing victim, let’s stand up for ourselves, let know ourselves better. You don’t know how powerful you are sister! You have no clue because the truth has been hidden, from you, from me for too long. The veil has lifted and we start to see glimpses. It may make you uncomfortable at first but keep looking, keep moving towards your true power. 

Before it’s too late.

There is no equality. You’re deceived. I get you don’t want to be angry, I get this might make you uncomfortable. I get that you’ve a lot going on in your life. I get that you’re smart and don’t like to think of yourself as being manipulated. It makes my blood boil to think of the many manipulations I uncover. Without anger there would be no action. Without action there will be no change. 

Listen up! Wake up!

It’s all very well saying we’re not happy, things need to change but sisters what are WE going to do?

Xx

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What kind of mother are you?

A Rainbow Mother…

I think it’s a shame Mothers sometimes feel the need to put themselves into camps that end up with us comparing or competing against each other, this is the opposite to what this world needs. I came across something a while ago that resonated greatly with me though.

I was reading a book in which it talked about Mothers expected to be “Earth” Mothers in today’s society, the Earth Mother is the benchmark or how we “should” parent. These are those wonderful women that have maternal instincts in every cell of their bodies, that embody the essence of nurturing their children putting themselves aside.  Having done yoga for a long time, being spiritual and having a keen interest in everything holistic I remember a friend saying “You’re going to be an Earth Mother”. I was slightly alarmed! I was pretty sure that was not the type of mother I’d be. In fact my friend who is very different to me is far more of the immersive mother type than I am. Far more what we could class as an Earth Mother.

I’ve sometimes felt guilt about not being an “earth mother” however recently I discovered a new “type” of mother, a description that made me breathe a little sigh of relief.

This mother is a Rainbow Mother. 

This type of mother needs to create and stand out from the crowd. She needs to fly free and do things away from her children. she can be the best mother she can be for her children by NOT channeling all her energy and attention into her children. It’s a challenge because as a rainbow mother we are pulled to take care of our children and nurture them and yet we feel pulled in another direction towards whatever else makes us tick.  This type of mother wants to inspire in her unique way.

This description is far more like me and some of my friends and clients. I’m so happy I came across this in a book about women connecting to their roots, we aren’t a one size fits all “type” of mother and that’s ok. It’s not that I need approval or a label to define the way I parent however it proves that this cultural perspective we have about motherhood could do with a lot of shifting still.  (Along with the role of stay at home dads)

Being a certain type of mother, or parenting in a particular style doesn’t make one better than another. Sometimes I feel people can be very judgemental towards other mothers for the way they parent, it makes me irritated because I understand that we all parent based on our experiences and the way we perceive information and facts, dare I say it’s a bit like politics, there’s a stat or research for most things, if you put us all in a Motherhood Parliament we’d have our own way of doing things. Only this isn’t us governing the country it’s guiding our own children in a way that is authentic to us and the world we want to create for them. So perhaps judgey mothers no matter if you’re more an Earth or a Rainbow mother, need to look in the mirror and question what it is about a different parenting style that offends them and keep their eyes in their own lane without casting dispersions. Motherhood isn’t a label, society is trying to tell us that one is more right than the other in my observations.

Wouldn’t life be boring if we all parented the same? Our children are all unique so we know what they need from us and we know what feels right for us too. Trust in your own instincts and authentic parenting. Our babies chose us for a reason.

I’m not an Earth Mother, I’m more aligned with a Rainbow Mother and that’s ok.

Do you see yourself more of one than the other or perhaps a bit of both? Would love to know your thoughts! Had you head of a Rainbow Mother before?

Xx

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A letter from a new born to their Mummy xx

Note: I’ve adapted this from a couple of my favourite versions.

Dear Mummy,

I know I’m fairly new to this world, and almost every moment is a new experience for me. While you seem more familiar with these surroundings, I know this is all brand-new for you as well. In fact, you may seem a bit overwhelmed, so I want you to know it’s going to be OK. We’re going to do just fine. I’m not as complicated as you might think – in fact, my needs are pretty simple so let me break it down as best I can.

• Your voice – please let me hear it. Whether you sing or talk, murmur or hum, I just love to hear the sound of your voice. It’s comforting and soothing, and it lets me know you’re here. Even if I don’t understand any of what you’re saying, I love it.

• Your body. I know your body changed a lot because of me, and I’m sure you’d like to change it back as quickly as you can now I’ve arrived. But, your softness is my happy place. You are my cuddles and hugs and the best place for me to sleep. In fact, I connect best with you, your skin touching my skin. I don’t understand a lot but the feel of you holding me is something I definitely know and crave. So, please don’t be so quick to let this go – or let me go. I love you the way you are – right now.

• I have one voice. Whether I’m tired, hungry, have a wet nappy or a tummy ache, I can only tell you with a cry. As I get older, I will learn new and different ways to express myself but for right now, it’s all I’ve got. So, please have patience with me – when you’ve just fed me and changed me I should be happy, but maybe now I’m cold. Or, I’m awake but not ready to be – and I can’t get myself back to sleep. I know I will try and test your patience and your energy level. Please bear with me.

• You are my everything. I need you. I can’t do anything on my own yet. While I know it’s selfish of me but you need to put me first for right now. I know you can do it, and when you have the opportunity, let other people help you out. If you trust them, I trust them and you don’t need to feel guilty about it. I don’t need you to be Super Mum, just my mum.

• Speaking of trust, I’m going to really test yours. Being a mum is hard and you’re going to worry and wonder if you’re doing the right things for me. Trust your instincts; you have them for a reason. Listen to advice, weigh options and opinions but in the end, I’m your baby, so you make the decision that’s best for me and you.

• Take care of yourself. Be mindful of what you eat and drink, your health, your emotional and physical wellbeing; yes, even your rest though I know that’s a bit ironic coming from me right now. I need you around – not just for today or this year but as long as is humanly possible

Lastly, I love you – no one can ever be who and what you are to me. 

Good luck, Mummy, I know you’ll do great!

Love always,

Me

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Feminism

Feminism.

I’ve been one for years and now it actually means so much more as I expand my knowledge around women’s roots which have been forgotten. Birth is a good place to start learning what we’ve forgotten, understanding how perfectly designed we are. Like all of nature.

Feminism then, to me is about women rising out of their current state and into the role we are meant to have as women. Living in a society that compliments men and women rather than the current bias we have in the favour of masculine. For example women should be able to birth in their own space, in their own time if all is well. They should be able to trust their instincts and be heard!

Women are meant to be nurturing, strong, intuitive, powerful beings yet over many many many years we have closed off to ourselves due to conditioning, fear, vulnerability – men misunderstanding us and our qualities and gifts.

I am a mother of two young boys. I would like them to celebrate the diversity of men, women and most of all see us each all as individuals. I don’t want them to be hated for being men. I don’t want them to reject aspects of their feminine creative energy, I want them to be comfortable in themselves without feeling there are masculine roles they have to play.

Women should be free to be whatever we want without limits. That may mean they can dress how they want, they shouldn’t feel vulnerable at night, they should feel safe they should feel like an object that’ll be critiqued. Our intelligence is celebrated not our waist size. Women shouldn’t have to work two additional months to earn the same salary as a man.

I feel for some of our men too. There are so many pressures on men in our current world. They have to “man up” that phrase does piss me off a bit, I’ve used it myself but it’s not right is it? Basically ignore what your feeling and get in with it anyway. Bury that stuff deep and do something or buy something to help you forget about this thing you don’t like.

Anyway, feminism, if you think it doesn’t affect you it does. I believe that together we can change the way society is for the happiness of our children. For future generations. If only we could stop all trying to be heard over all this noise and invest time stepping into who we are, who are we authentically without all the social, patriarchal, media driven information we’re fed every single day.

Gently each woman can find her way back to her roots again, this is what we need to do for ourselves.

If we can all do this, men and women, we won’t have a them and us. We will see through the crap and will start looking within. We will connect again more fully with the people around us and our communities. We will see the person not the job, house, car, clothes or possessions. There’s a lot of shallow stuff there, I’m not judging that’s the system we caught in, but we can learn so much more from each other if we look beyond all that. If we’re brave enough.

Human connection is what we need above all, with the masks and illusions aside.

Xx

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Sam – Motherhood and surviving cancer

Mummababy_space and SamSpace

This is Sam’s story, she is a 3 times cancer survivor and as well as training as a Post Natal Doula she has also turned her experiences into a way to support other women that may be experiencing similar to her at a vulnerable time in their lives. Amazingly brave and inspiring, here’s her story…

“Twelve years ago, at the age of 27 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was hormonal so I was terrified my fertility would be affected. We did all we could to protect my ovaries and seven years later, after coming off tamoxifen three months after getting married, we fell pregnant. 

We had a gorgeous baby girl and 18 months later, at a regular check up, my consultant found a lump on my clavicle. It was a secondary breast cancer. 18 months after that, I was diagnosed for a third time, this time in my right breast. I set up a survivor support group after dealing with PTSD and depression after treatment finished and focused all gatherings around wellbeing workshops. 

The Samspace_safespaceaftercancer support group is now running quarterly and I post new blogs about ways we can empower our recovery, as often as I can. After desperately wanting another child but all my cancers being hormonal, I couldn’t cope with the side effects of one of my maintenance drugs anymore, so decided to have my ovaries removed and a hysterectomy last February. 

It has been one hell of a journey but I am now being mentored as a post natal Doula and I absolutely love it! Ultimately I want to be able to help other mums who have been affected by cancer or chronic illness during, before or after pregnancy. 

This area is specialised but so needed and after my experiences, I feel passionately about being able to access this kind of support and empathy at an already vulnerable and challenging time. 

I now blog about lots of areas such as parenting through cancer, secondary infertility, hysterectomy as preventative surgery, what is a post natal Doula, self care and how to empower our recovery, not just after cancer treatment but during the fourth trimester too. 

Sam x “

If you need any support please follow @Samspaces_safespaceaftercancer on instagram or @mummababy_space_

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“That!”

HD Brows

“That” thing that keeps you you

Full disclosure – This is my fantastic Sister in Law! She wrote this a while ago for me and as I’m only now publishing it she’s kindly updated some of the products so they’re up to date. Thanks chicka! Xx

“When I was 8 months pregnant, a client said to me, in response to me suggesting she should use a powder on her new HD Brows, “you won’t have time for any of that when you have a baby!”. “that” I’m assuming means taking time to make yourself look and feel slightly more human than you feel with a 4 month old baby in tow. In my head I was thinking “I will be doing “that” because “that” is what I do!”.

It still shocks me how some women think that as soon as you become a mum, you somehow should become less of a woman. That you should prove how good a mum you are, by showing how much of yourself you are willing to sacrifice. If I am honest, on that day when said client told me that I wouldn’t have time for any of “that”, it firstly made me feel sad that this was now what was expected of me because I was becoming a mum, that I was to leave all my “me bits” behind. And secondly, guilt, because it hadn’t even occurred to me, that this would be something I would have to give up. Part of me. Was I being selfish for not even considering not putting my brows on in the morning?

But why should it be like that? Is it too much to ask that we should spend a few precious moments every day making ourselves feel good? Why is that so wrong?

5 months on and I am proud to say that I have done “that” every single day since my son was born…because it makes me feel like me …and because I am stubborn. I don’t use make-up to please anyone else except myself. I rarely saw my mum without a scrap of make-up and even my nan always used to have her nails painted and her hair pinned up nicely. Apart from making me feel confident and happy, I love the process of putting “my face” on every day. 5 minutes in a day I can spend thinking about me. Ok, so since having my son, I have had to adapt my morning make-up routine. Precision lined eyes are SO overrated anyway!

My time-saving make-up tips for new mums that have worked for me:

1. Making sure your skin care routine is top notch has so many benefits. Not just for vanity, but also protecting against infections and environmental damage. Wipe over skin in the evening with a cotton pad soaked in Micellar Water. My favourite is Bioderma Sensibio H2O. Micellar Waters are super quick for removing all make-up and are non rinse. Only use a night cream or oil if you really need one. We’re trying to save time here. In the morning use a light facial wash and exfoliater on alternate days. Caudalie foaming facial wash is quick and easy or if you have a little bit more time DHC Deep cleansing oil is amazing and leaves your skin feeling really clean. For exfoliaters try Malin and Geotz Jojoba scrub whilst in the shower or The Ordinary Glycolic Acid or Pixi Glow tonic before skin care. Next, is your standard; Eye cream, Serum and Moisturiser. Standard I tell you. Standard. Every single day without fail. Find the best ones that suit your skin type. The Ordinary has some high tech products that really do the job, and are also very reasonably priced. If you’re baffled by the ingredients and their uses, use their Regime Guide to find what products suit you best.

2. Tinted moisturiser or CC (Complexion Corrector) cream. Something you can easily apply with your fingers and that doesn’t require much blending. There’s no time to start fiddling about with brushes and blending out. CC Creams are more skin care based.

3. Concealer. God save concealer!! Use it on blemishes and under eyes to cover dark circles. Avoid any products with shimmer or light reflecting particles (YSL Touché eclat). These products are just going to bounce the light off your eye bags. Absolutely counter productive.

4. Brows (touchy subject). Making sure your brows are shaped to perfection will save you time tweezing out strays or applying make-up to create a perfect shape. Make sure you stay on top of your brow shaping by booking regular appointments with your brow stylist. It only takes 30 minutes and is a good time to recharge your batteries and clear some headspace. Every salon is different, but I am more than happy for my clients to bring babies and toddlers to their appointments. I know how important it is for you to feel nice.

I like to fill in my brows slightly using a brow pencil or a soft brown eye shadow and angled brush. The HD Brow products are brilliant and stay put all day.

4. A quick wash of shadow or creme pot. Nothing crazy. Ivory colours will open the eye and give you more of a wide awake look. Mac paint pot in Painternly is so versatile. Apply with your fingers to the lid and either leave natural or use as a primer for a powder shadow.

5. Eyeliner (if you have time). A soft black or brow kohl pencil can be smudged along the top lashes with a cotton bud. This masks any mistakes made because you’re in a hurry. Keep eyeliner to the top lashes only. This will lift the eye giving the illusion you’ve had 10 hours sleep!

6. Lashes. Having your lashes tinted will save you a heap of time. You can skip mascara, and also panda eyes.

7. Blush. And light pinky blush on the apples of the cheeks will give a healthy glow. Cream products have more longevity, keeping you fresh all day.

8. Lip balm and go go go!!!

This should take all of about 5 minutes and in my opinion worth every single second.

Please keep me posted on how you get on and if you have children, how you’ve incorporated your “that” into your day. It could be reading books, painting, watching your favourite soap. I’d love to hear your time saving getting ready tips too! And if “that” isn’t your thing, that’s cool too.

Love Claire xx”

Make up Artist Leigh on Sea
Claire Louise Davey Make up Artist Master HD Brows Stylist