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A Step By Step Guide to Planning Your Virtual Mother Blessing

A Step By Step Guide to Planning Your Virtual Mother Blessing

Social isolation doesn’t mean you can’t have the Mother Blessing you dreamt of. Thanks to the power of technology, you can gather your closest family and best girl friends for a Virtual Mother Blessing.

A Mother Blessing is similar to a baby shower but instead of the women in your Village celebrating your baby by showering them in gifts, they celebrate you and your transition from maiden to mother and instead of playing games, you practise beautiful rituals. A Mother Blessing is inspired by a sacred Navajo ceremony, called a Blessingway but as a sign of respect, we call it a Mother Blessing or a Baby Blessing.

Here’s my Step- By- Step Guide to Planning Your Virtual Mother Blessing:

4- 6 WEEKS IN ADVANCE

1. Choose Your Organiser/ Host
Ask your mother, sister or best friend to help you plan your Mother Blessing and to be the Facilitator (Host). If you’d prefer to organise it yourself, at least let her be the Virtual Facilitator so you can relax on the day and be showered in love and support.

2. Set a Date
Any time between 32- 38 weeks is an ideal time to have your Mother Blessing.

3. Choose a “Venue”
Your virtual “venue” will depend on the number of guests and the duration of your Mother Blessing. Skype allows up to 50 people and unlimited time, Zoom allows up to 100 guests but only 40 minutes on a free account (100 people and 24 hours on a Pro plan), Facetime allows up to 32 devices and Google Hangouts allows you to see 10 people at once.

4. Create a Guest List
Add to your guest list all the women in your life who love and support you including your grandmother, mother, sisters and best girl friends.

5. Decide on a Theme
Anything positive and uplighting that relates to motherhood for example, Matrescence,The Joys of Motherhood or Motherly Love.

6. Decide How You’d Like to Decorate
You may like to invite your guests to attend your Mother Blessing in a special room in their house or backyard, to set their table with special items like flowers from their garden, to diffuse a particular essential oil blend and use the cutlery and crockery they save for special occasions. You could ask your Host to send or drop off a Care Package to your guests before the event with a special candle, an essential oil blend, flowers and anything you’d like them to use to decorate their space.

7. Consider Gifts
Traditionally at a Mother Blessing, guests create an artwork, do some craft or create a keepsake for you to have with you during birth or for your fourth trimester. It’s challenging virtually, but here’s a few ideas:

  • Create a Playlist: on Spotify for your birth, share it with your guests and ask them to each add a song that reminds them of you. At your Mother Blessing have them explain why they chose this song for you.
  • Organise a Meal Train:for the first 6 weeks after birth: You can create a meal sign- up sheet and assign days and meals to your guests using Meal Train. At your Mother Blessing have your guests tell you what they’re going to make and why they’ve chosen this special dish. After birth, leave an esky on your doorstep for your ‘Village’ to leave meals. Have them text you or your partner to let you know it’s there. If any of your guests don’t cook or consider themselves a good cook, they can organise home delivery from their favourite restaurant and tell you why they think you’ll like it too.
  • Create a Virtual Doula Fund
    Instead of gifts, ask your guests to contribute money (Crowdfund) towards a Virtual Postpartum Doula. Postpartum Doulas aren’t doing in- home support due to social distancing but some are offering their services virtually. They may offer support via facetime, zoom, on the phone or text. Postpartum Doulas can help you plan your postpartum, provide emotional support, help with feeding or sleeping issues with your baby, meal plan or help you be the mother you want to be.

8. Choose the Food
Choose a meal and treats and share the recipes with your guests and have them prepare them so you can enjoy together. Include the links to your recipes on the invite.

9. Send out the invites
Personalise your invite, send them free via text, email or a shareable link, track RSVPs, send messages to your guests and include a link to your virtual Mother Blessing using evite. You can invite your guests to Crowdfund for your Virtual Postpartum Doula on your evite.

P.S Include links to recipes and the details of your gift choice on your invite.

2- 3 WEEKS IN ADVANCE

10. Plan 2- 3 activities for your Mother Blessing. Here’s some ideas:

  • Send each guest a candle and have them light it at your Mother Blessing, share a blessing or a few words about what she wishes for you and then you can blow them all out together. When you start labouring at home, have your birth partner send a message to your ‘Village’ to light their candles so everyone is thinking of you and sending you love.
  • Write a Letter, Poem or story to you and read it to you at your Mother Blessing. Ask them to post them to you afterwards (or email them to the host who can print them out for you) so you can read them anytime you need a reminder that you have a village of women who love and support you on your motherhood journey.

There are plenty more ideas for activities online.

A WEEK IN ADVANCE

11. Plan your Mother Blessing
Create a rough order of events for your Mother Blessing. It should have an opening, middle and a closing. For example;

Opening: ask each guest to introduce herself, “I’m (name), daughter of (her mother), granddaughter of (her grandmothers).” This honours those who came before us and the matrilineal nature of birth.

Middle: present their gifts (as outlined above) and do your chosen activities.

Closing: sing a song, read a poem or quote or do a meditation together.

12. Have a practise run on your “venue” of choice with your host so you’re confident with the technology.

THE DAY BEFORE

13. Send your guests a reminder via evite and include instructions on how to access and use the Virtual Venue.

ON THE DAY

14. When guests “arrive”
The host explains to the guests what they can expect and will ensure everyone knows how to turn on their camera or mute/ unmute themselves and how to use the chat box. Arrange for the host to press “Record” so you can keep a recording of your Virtual Mother Blessing as a reminder of the love and support of your Village.

15. Celebrate
After you’ve done the closing for your Mother Blessing, enjoy your food and drink together and chat freely.

If you’d rather be pampered and leave the Mother Blessing planning and hosting to me, please get in touch HERE

I’m a fully qualified and experienced Women’s Circle Facilitator and can tailor your Mother Blessing to your unique needs.

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

Finding Certainty In The Uncertainty During Pregnancy

Finding Certainty In The Uncertainty During Pregnancy

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it”

No doubt you’re grieving at the moment for the baby shower you can’t have, the babymoon you can’t go on, the face to face birth education classes you planned to do with your partner, your in-laws coming from overseas to help out, your family and friends meeting your new baby and joining a mothers group.

Your world as you know it might feel like it’s spinning out of control. But there’s two things you can control…your mindset and your actions.

You get to choose:

  • how you feel
  • what you think
  • how you act
  • how you respond
  • what you eat
  • how you move
  • what you listen to
  • what you watch
  • who you follow on social media

What if you shifted your perspective and viewed this time and space in isolation as a gift to you and your baby? Use this bonus time to prepare for your birth and postpartum.

Here’s some ideas for your Birth:

  • Educate yourself about your birth options and your choices. Hospital antenatal classes have been cancelled but there’s some fantastic online Independent Birth Education courses like Hypnobirthing Australia. Hypnobirthing ensures you have a positive birth experience, no matter how your baby comes into your arms.
  • Keep a positive mindset: Listen to podcasts, read books, watch positive birth stories, write affirmations, listen to self- hypnosis tracks and put them where you’ll see them often.
  • Write your birth preferences: once you’ve educated yourself about your options, write them down. Share them with your birth partner and your care providers. We ultimately don’t have the final say in how our babies arrive, but there’s power in writing them down.
  • Set up your labour circuit: so you can stay at home for as long as possible once you’re in labour. To prepare, create a space in your house with a birthing ball, yoga mat, chair, yoga bolster, cushions and pillows, a wall clear of furniture and a birthing pool or bath. As you approach your due date, practise using this equipment. Choose positions which allow you to be in an upright position to make the most of gravity to help with the descent of your baby. Choose comfortable positions to rest in between surges. You can learn more about these positions on a Hypnobirthing Australia course, in my prenatal yoga classes or Active Birth by Janet Balaskas.
  • Create a birth playlist: of all your favourite songs using Spotify or Apple Music and listen to it when you’re feeling calm and relaxed so when you listen to it in labour, it will invoke these same feelings. You can check out my birth playlist here (it’s also the music I play in my prenatal yoga classes). 
  • Practice: if you’ve learnt tools like self hypnosis, acupressure, light touch massage, breathing, practice with your partner daily so they’re second nature when you go into labour.
  • Exercise: go for a walk in nature, swim in the ocean or sign up to prenatal yoga classes on zoom.
  • Plan your postpartum: Most women don’t give this a second thought. They finish work just a few weeks before baby’s estimated due date, catch up with friends for coffee and before they know it their baby is here.

Here’s some ideas for your Postpartum:

  • Plan your virtual Baby Shower or Mother Blessing.
  • Have conversations with your partner about household responsibilities once your baby arrives and your parenting goals.
  • Create your virtual village: research online mothers circles, virtual mama and baby yoga and massage classes, facebook groups, zoom or facetime with friends who listen and don’t judge.
  • Write a list of your favourite meals that you can cook and freeze.
  • Make double servings of your evening meals and freeze a portion.
  • Create a MealTrain for family and friends to drop meals on your doorstep.
  • Create a directory of local restaurants that are delivering.
  • Create a feeding sanctuary for when you bring your baby home.
  • Download books onto your Kindle or get a Audible account.
  • Save your favourite shows or ones you want to watch to your Favourites in Netflix, Stan or Amazon Prime.
  • Create a playlist of your favourite podcasts on Spotify or Himalaya.

Use this time to focus on what you can control. Don’t waste energy on what you can’t and view this extra time as a blessing. 

10 Surefire Ways To Get More Sleep In Pregnancy

10 Surefire Ways To Get More Sleep In Pregnancy

There’s nothing worse than being exhausted and longing for sleep but when you fall into bed you lie awake tossing and turning. Insomnia during pregnancy often comes at a time when you need it most.

There are various reasons why you may have trouble either falling asleep, waking up during the night or falling back to sleep during your third trimester including: needing to pee, lower back and hip pain, leg cramps, reflux, an active baby, restless legs syndrome (RLS) or anxiety and fear.

Here are some surefire ways to get more sleep in pregnancy:

FOOD AND DRINK

1. Avoid fluids an hour or 2 before bed to limit trips to the toilet. Instead, stay well hydrated throughout the day.

2. Drink chamomile tea at least 2 hours before bed to promote digestion and relaxation.

3. Avoid caffeinated drinks after midday as it’s a stimulant and may affect your ability to fall asleep easily. 

4. Eat an easily digestible meal at least 2 hours before going to bed to prevent heartburn.

PREPARE TO REST

5. Enjoy a bath with 2 cups of epsom salts to relieve muscle tension, prevent cramps and induce sleep. If you don’t have a bath, soak your feet in a bucket of hot water with 1 cup of epsom salts.

6. Set up your bedroom for sleep. It should be cool, dark and quiet. If not, open the window, wear an eye mask and ear plugs.

7. Lavender essential oil in a diffuser (3- 5 drops) or massage onto the soles of your feet (1 drop with a tablespoon of carrier oil). You can get doTERRA essential oils at wholesale prices, here

POSITIONING

8. Sleep on your left side to promote digestion and reduce heartburn. Put a body pillow between your knees and ankles so your hips are stacked to reduce hip and lower back pain. As your pregnancy progresses, it may also feel good to put a small cushion under your belly. If you’re suffering heartburn, you may be more comfortable propped up with pillows.

RELAX

9. Gentle stretching before bed such as hip circles and calf stretches promote circulation and reduce the likelihood of hip pain and leg cramps.

10. Practise Worries In A Box Meditation. As you’re lying in bed, visualise a box with a lid and a lock. As your worries come to mind (big or small), put them one by one into the box without giving them another thought. Continue to do so until your mind feels empty. Then visualise closing the lid, locking the box and putting it outside your room. Then wait for sleep to come.

Download my FREE Worries In A Box Meditation to help you fall asleep HERE

 

Here are my 5 steps to make your hospital room feel more like home

Here are my 5 steps to make your hospital room feel more like home

“the best environment to have your baby is the same environment where you could make a baby– or at least have a good time trying”

Dr Sarah Buckley

Whether you’re birthing in a hospital or birth centre, it’s important your space makes you feel:

1. Private
2. Safe
3. Unobserved

In “Ten Moons”, Jane Hardwicke Collings gives the example of a cat, “Everyone knows that cats need to give birth undisturbed in a dark, secluded place- perhaps preparing a softly lined box in the darkest corner of the furthest room underneath the bed. And everyone who knows about cats understands that you must never disturb a cat in labour or a newly delivered cat and her litter of kittens, otherwise the cat’s labour will stop or she may reject her kittens. Everyone who knows cats knows this.”

As a mammal, you’re no different to the mama cat. When you feel private, safe and unobserved, your body releases endorphins, the hormone that provides natural pain relief and an efficient labour and birth. If you’ve been labouring at home and you arrive at the hospital where your room is bright, unfamiliar medical staff are speaking loudly and you’re made to put on a hospital gown, your labour may stall or slow down. However, if your room makes you feel “at home”, your labour will continue to progress.

Five Steps to Make Your Hospital Room Feel More Like Home

1. SIGHT

Lighting: You feel more comfortable and uninhabited when the lights are dim when you make love right? It’s the same for labour and birth. Draw the curtains or blinds, turn off the fluorescents or dim the lights. Or switch on a lamp or turn the bathroom light on and leave the door ajar. Or you could take your own fairy lights to add a touch of romance. Or use some LED tea lights and scatter them around the room.

Decorate: Bring photos from home of other children, pets, loved ones or your favourite place and stick them on the wall so you can feel their presence and support.

People: Only have people in your birthing room that you trust and get a good vibe from to help your labour to progress. This could be your partner, family members or a doula. If you’re not comfortable with medical students in your room, say so. You could also add this to your Birth Wishes.

Equipment: throw a sarong or sheet over any unsightly medical equipment or clocks that might throw you off your game.

2. TOUCH

Clothing: Instead or wearing a scratchy hospital gown that gapes at the back, change into your own labouring clothes. Perhaps one of your husband’s over- sized t- shirts that smells like him and your home or anything you feel comfortable in.

Robe: At times during your labour you may feel hot or cold so take a robe from home (after your baby is born you can open your robe and put your baby onto your chest but stay warm).

Sheets: put a sheet or over the plastic floor mats and bean bags so they feel softer against your skin.

3. HEARING

Hospitals can be noisy so block out distracting sounds.

Music: Research shows that the effective use of music during labor lowers anxiety and pain perception as well as increases emotional and physical comfort.” Make playlists of your favourite songs. Choose a variety of songs that makes you feel energetic and motivated or calm and relaxed. Playing music may also make your feel more confident using sound during labour and birth.

Listening to the same music when you’re pregnant can be calming and reassuring to both you and your baby during labour.

Either play on the hospital’s bluetooth speakers if they have them or take your own or wear bluetooth headphones if you want to go deep within.

Ear Plugs: If you want to block out the noise around you, use ear plugs.

Chatter: Write in your birth wishes that you’d like any visitors in your room to speak to each other and to you calmly and quietly.

Phones: Write in your birth wishes (and remind your birthing partner) to turn their phones onto silent so as not to distract you.

4. SMELL

Let’s face it, hospitals smell nasty! Research shows that smell triggers memories and emotions. So mask the hospital smells with essential oils. Using these same essential oils during pregnancy at times you’re calm and relaxed can evoke these same feelings in labour. Essential oils smell nice and they provide emotional support. Lavender is calming and relaxing whilst wild orange and peppermint are uplifting and energising.

Diffuser: Use a diffuser like this which also helps to humidify and purify the air. Just add water and 3-5 drops of your chosen essential oil. If you’re unable to use an electric diffuser in your birth room you can make a spritz and pack it in your hospital bag.

Spritz: Add 25 drops of essential oil to a 4oz spray bottle and top with distilled or purified water. Use as a room, linen spray or face spritz.

Apply Topically: Add a teaspoon of fractionated coconut oil into the palm of your hand and a drop or 2 of essential oil and rub onto your pulse points.

Inhale: Holding your hand like a funnel over the opening of the essential oil bottle, take a few deep breaths in breathing in all that essential oil goodness.

Pillow: take your own pillow which smells like home.

Your Partner: Cuddling up to your partner and smelling him can help you to relax.

5. TASTE

Eat homemade snacks like bliss balls, cut up fruit and veggies, dip, a smoothie or soup to give your energy and stamina. Eating good quality snacks from home will make you feel like a strong, confident birthing woman rather than a sickly hospital patient.

From the list above, plan what you’ll need and then delegate the job of creating an environment that is private, safe and unobserved to your birth partner or doula and ask them to manage this throughout your labour and birth.

To ensure your labour continues to progress when you arrive at the hospital or birth centre, stay at home as long as safely possible, ideally with support from your midwife or doula.

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions in the COMMENTS below.

Must Ask Questions On Your Hospital Tour

Must Ask Questions On Your Hospital Tour

If you’ve decided to birth in a hospital or a birth centre, take a tour to become familiar with the space and to help you decide what you will or won’t need to pack in your hospital bag. Being familiar with the space and knowing what labour props they have helps to eliminate fear of the unknown when it’s time to go to hospital and helps you to clearly visualise your birth.

Stay at home as long as safely possible, ideally with support from your midwife or doula. Transferring to hospital too early can slow down or stall your labour.

YOUR ARRIVAL

  • When should I come in?
  • What’s the phone number I call to let you know that I am in labour?
  • Where should we park?
  • Where should we check- in and what documents do I need to have with me?
  • After I check- in, what are the next steps?
  • Who do I give a copy of my birth wishes to?

YOUR ROOM

  • Can I see a room that is similar to the one I will labour and birth in?
  • Are the lights dimmable? Are there lamps? Can I bring LED candles?
  • Can I use diffuse essential oils in my electronic diffuser?
  • Is there a bath or a birthing pool that I can use?
  • What labour props do you have? For eg. birth balls, peanut balls, padded floor or yoga mats, bean bags, birth stool or squatting bar.
  • Do you have bluetooth speakers? If not, can I bring my own?
  • Do you have WIFI and can I use it? (If not, check your network is accessible in the labour ward/ birth centre).
  • Can I take photos/ videos?

YOUR POSTPARTUM

  • I’d like to get my placenta encapsulated. Can I take my placenta home? If so, can you store it in your fridge?
  • Do you have a lactation consultant on staff to help me learn to breastfeed? When is she available and how often?
  • Is there a microwave that I can use to heat up home- cooked meals? And a fridge where I can store food?
  • How long will I stay in hospital after birth?
  • Once I’m discharged, what postnatal support is available?

YOUR VISITORS

  • What’s your Visitor Policy?
  • Can my partner stay overnight? If so, will they sleep in a cot, couch, recliner, etc? Is there an extra cost?

This is your birth, your body and your baby. It’s your birthright to ask for what you want during labour, birth and the postnatal period. Becoming an empowered mama starts from the moment you conceive. Practise asking for what you want now during pregnancy so it becomes second nature during labour, birth and beyond.

Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions in the COMMENTS below.