My aim for July is to eat more vegetables. The theme for this month, on my radio show, The Conscious Adventurer, is bringing awareness to food and our relationship with food from an individual and community point of view. I’d like to challenge you to join me in a food related goal for the month.
Do you want to (for example):
- Eat less meat?
- Eat more healthily?
- Use up things in your fridge?
- Plan your meals more?
- Eat with more awareness – e.g., really taste the food and savour the food?
- Try cooking some different recipes?
- Reduce how many takeaway meals you have?
- Increase unprocessed foods in your diet?
- Drink more water?
- Eat more foods that agree with your body?
etc. I’m keen to hear what you are wanting to do and to join me! The more the merrier!
I read an interesting study a few years ago, that compared the weight loss of two groups. One group was instructed to cut out some things while the other group was told to increase vegetable consumption. The two groups received identical other information. The group advised to increase their vegetable consumption ended up losing more weight than the other group. The lesson here (is not about weight loss, which I’m always very nervous about encouraging as a goal) is about focussing on increasing or improving something. What I’m hoping is that focussing more on vegetables will mean a decrease in more processed and sugary foods and encourage me to try more of the vegan recipes that I’m keen on. I’m also keen to reduce our packaging and, along with that, eat less meat and, when we do, focus on free range or organic meat. But, hopefully, those might happen as a function of eating more vegetables! What do you reckon?
Do you have a food related goal for July?
I remember that first Mother’s Day, when you were inside me and I was so confident about what the future might look like. It looks so different from that now, not least of which is because you are not with us in body.
Today I celebrate you and love you. I miss being able to hold you in me. I look at little girls all the time to sketch out how you might be now, 3.5 years old. I am proud of you and your life. I believe your life has a purpose that continues to live after you.
Today, while I cannot hold you, I am so lucky to hold your brothers. Back in that confident state of being pregnant with you, I had hoped for a girl and then a boy. Now, I can think of nothing better than your two brothers having each other in this world.
Today, made more vulnerable for loving you and grateful for having had the chance to grow you and birth you, I feel more acutely for those who yearn to be mothers, those who did not choose to be mothers, but embraced this, and those who lovingly mother children and adults who are not their biological children. The world needs mothers. The world needs love.
In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art
Image by UnSplash via Pixabay. Used with gratitude.
My mother left for her home yesterday, having been with me for 9 weeks. She helped me move into my new house, brought me meals while in hospital (despite how accommodating the kitchen tried to be, it is difficult to prepare egg-, dairy-, beef-, and nut- free meals :)), looked after the boys while I attended appointments, helped in numerous practical ways, and, perhaps most importantly, was definitely on my team. To say I owe my mother a tremendous debt of thanks is an understatement.
One of the things my mother did before she left was to weave the seat (she had previously woven the back) of my rocking chair. The reason this was especially such a huge gift was because my grandmother was a weaver in Sri Lanka. It was by weaving chairs and earning 5c per chair that my grandmother, a wonderful woman who did not have an education because she was the youngest and cared for her elderly mother, sent her three children, including my mother, to university. My mother completed a Masters in pure mathematics. It is because my mother was educated that she was able to leave Sri Lanka, first for Zambia, then South Africa, where her level of education opened up opportunities for me and my siblings that we would not otherwise have. Because of my mother’s qualifications we we able to obtain permanent residence in New Zealand when things became difficult in South Africa, even though we lived in an independent protectorate. The opportunities, including the educational chances, I have had are in huge part due both my parents. In this post thought, I wanted to reflect about the inter-generational impact that women can have and that caring for women can have. I also wanted to write about seemingly small acts that mothers can do that, accumulated, change life histories.
One of the things I have been working on, that I hope will make a difference to mothers, is a “Mind Spa” – a three or seven day chance to listen to some of my mindfulness based audio tracks, engage in reflective exercises, and perhaps detox from unhelpful patterns of thinking. More info here. I’ve been working on this idea for some time and really hope it will make a difference. As mother’s day approaches, I hold in my heart and awareness, all the difficult paths that mothering can take and that for many of us, the path is not straightforward. Part of the proceeds from each of the Mind Spa experiences will go to Women’s Refuge, which offers shelter, education, and practical/emotional assistance for women (and their children) in an interpersonal partner violence situation. This mother’s day, I hope you will join with me in thinking, not only of those who mother us, but also those of our mothers who are especially vulnerable.
With love, Kumari
In a few hours, I’m heading into hospital and the water that’s been around you while you have been inside me will be released. As with Bear, I’m so sorry to take away the choice of when to come into this world, away from you. I know you’ll understand, intellectually, one day, why I had to make this choice. I just hope that you know, even now, that I am doing what I’m doing in order to protect you as best as I can.
I’ve had to make some choices over the past months that others may criticise. They may tell you things about me that are not true. I hope you will always know that I did (and will do) my best to protect you and that my choices were always made with the primary aim of keeping you safe. That you have been able to get into the perfect position for birth and been able to descend more than Chippie or Bear could, that the fluid index around you has decreased so much, and that risks that were present have been decreased, is a miracle and is a sign to me that I made some right decisions. Even today, there are hard decisions and there are reasons I need to create a bubble of protection around us. There is also a lot of love around both of us and I hope you feel this love from so many people now, and that you will always know it through your life. May love always find you and may you always give love freely.
As with your brother and sister, I have enjoyed every single moment of you being inside me. Thank you for choosing my body, scarred as it is, to live in and choosing me for your mummy. Every single day you have been inside has been a gift. I want to say that I’m not ready to have you leave my body, but I’m making peace with that. I know I can’t hold you, Bear, and Chippie in my arms forever, but you are forever in my heart. I hope you always feel my love, even when you are not with me, throughout your life.
Your loving mummy
Once upon a time, there was a fairy princess. She was princess of the roses and lived in a beautiful rose garden. As everyone knows, fairies live in the garden. The princess watched humans in the garden and longed to know what it was like to be a human. She begged and begged her people to let her be a human. They said they could not manage without her and did not want her to go. She continued to look longingly at the humans, wondering how it would be to be in their world.
One day, when her people saw how sad she was, they agreed that she could go, “but only for a short while”. With the help of some powerful magic, they helped her become a tiny human girl and put her in the tummy of a mummy and daddy who longed for a little baby. They chose the mummy and daddy very very carefully. They wanted a mummy and daddy who would love their precious princess from the very first moment she was with them, even if they couldn’t see her.
The mummy and daddy were overjoyed to have their little girl with them in the mummy’s tummy. They called her Chippie and sang to her, talked to her, and read her lots of stories. She moved differently when it was her mummy or daddy talking to let them know she knew them. She especially loved music and moved in time to the music.
The fairy people missed the princess and called to her to come back. “Please let me stay longer” she said, and they sighed and let her stay a bit longer, and a bit longer, and a bit longer. One day, the fairy princess knew she could not stay any longer and, with a heavy heart, told her mummy and daddy that she would always be with them and that she loved them very much.
The mummy and daddy were heartbroken.
The princess could see how sad they were and wanted them to have a child who would be able to stay with them. The fairies asked the wise moon and sun for help. The sun gave them sunbeams to make a little boy, so that everyone would know his sunny disposition. The moon gave them moonbeams, so that he would light up the darkest room. They wrapped him up in powerful magic and he came to his mummy and daddy who loved him.
Do you know how I know this story is true? The little boy has an unusual light birth mark on his left cheek, where the fairies kissed him, he has a rose shaped and rose coloured mark on his chest, above his heart, where his sister put her hand on him, and, despite the odds, he has golden hair that darkens in winter.
(On a different note, that adults might be interested in, the egg that formed him came from the side of the mummy’s ovary where there was no fallopian tube, as it had been removed by surgery because of an ectopic pregnancy. The mummy and daddy had been told that that side would not be able to transport an egg and that their chances of having a baby had halved. As soon as the mummy heard this, she knew her little boy was very determined to be with them).
I’m not sure how to respond when people ask if I’m sure I’m not carrying twins, or, when they jokingly say “are you sure there isn’t more than one?”. There’s also the “You’re so large!” usually accompanied by surprise and astonishment. I partly feel that I need to say “I guess there’s a chance another baby has been missed by all the scans” and “I really love Christmas pudding”. Incidentally, on the subject of Christmas Pudding, thank you so much to Coles for an allergen free Christmas Pudding (egg-free, dairy-free,nut-free, etc) that Bear and I were able to enjoy.
At 25 weeks of pregnancy, I was measuring 34 weeks and my obstetrician thought polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) was on the cards again. At the 28 week scan recently, that suspicion was confirmed. The Amniotic Fluid Index (normally between 8-24cm) was 35 cm. The single deepest pocket seems a more reliable method compared to the overall amniotic fluid index
There is security in having been here before and having had a good outcome with Bear. However, because of the challenging road that has been pregnancy,there are no certainties. One of the things I’m learning is tolerating uncertainty. It’s one of the exercises/meditations on my CD (“Calm in a Complicated Pregnancy“) and something I will be talking about at my workshop about dealing with overthinking and expanding on in m workshop on staying calm during a complicated pregnancy. Taking bookings now!