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Category: Pregnancy


Find Your Tribe

Find Your Tribe

Posted May 24, 2016

It’s time to find your tribe. Find your collective, your crew. Connection is a deep soul craving that will nourish and cradle you. This is the message my base chakra kept sending me. Granted, my base chakra needed a lot of work after pregnancy and birth and a key element to rebuilding my base chakra was to really zone in on the areas I most felt depleted in. Or where I felt ‘lack’ or weakness. Through meditation and self-reflection married with my understanding of what the base chakra represents I came to truly know what was needed to rebuild this vital, foundational energy centre. Amongst the mess of my finances, career, feeling grounding, home life and structure the stand out was finding and being part of a tribe. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I now know that to be the most on-point statement around motherhood ever. For many of us we don’t have that village vibe. You might not live close to your family. Or perhaps, like me, you do live very close but for various reasons you can’t lean on them as much as you want to. Or perhaps they don’t quite satisfy you on a soul level. Gratefully, as I worked on rebuilding my base chakra through meditation and energy work, my base started working for me. Calling in situations, circumstances, people to guide me home to my tribe. The importance of connection As I’ve shared many times before, the first 3-4 months of Soleil’s life was so challenging it truly catapulted me into a different space, time, dimension. [BTW if you want to hear more about those early months of mama hood for me, head HERE to listen to my podcast interview with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz] It was this cataclysmic, seismic shift that drew me into an isolated bubble. I wasn’t able to make it to Mother’s Group for months. My parents were away overseas for 3 months. My sisters were busy with their children and fighting virus after virus – which meant I couldn’t see them for most of last winter. One day, I had 30 minutes to myself so I headed straight down to the beach for a walk. I spotted a mother’s group and something dragged me over to them. Their babies looked the same age as Soleil. And despite the tears literally welling up in my eyes and jamming my throat I gingerly approached them. Now, if you know me well enough by now you’ll probably balk at the idea that I did anything ‘gingerly’… it’s not my style at all. I’m more the direct/opinionated/confident type (with a decent helping of introvert thrown into the mix). But, as described I was isolated, all out of whack energetically and in a really dark place. So gingerly, nervously, is how I approached these beautiful women. They saw me coming. They smiled over at me. All the while I was thinking ‘Claire, what are you doing?!’… and yet I was propelled forward, my feet moved, my voice opened and I started talking… I mumbled something about never being able to attend Mother’s Group. I quickly shared that Soleil was a very unsettled baby but I’d love to come to the next meet-up. These women looked liked they had their shit together – a big leap from where I was in that moment. And it terrified me – comparisonitis kicked in, but yet still… I kept going. Something greater than me with more knowing powered through me in that moment. They were so warm. So loving. So gracious and patient. Many months later I personally thanked one of those mamas who, particularly, had been so inviting and compassionate to me. She told me that she saw how broken I was but she was impressed that I had reached out to them. That meant a lot to me – to know that she could really ‘see’ me in that moment and chose to respond from her heart. This Mother’s Group became the beginning of a massive realisation. It was my base chakra that dragged me over to them – to give me a taste of what sisterhood felt like. To remind me that sharing experiences and connection was vital to my soul happiness.  I did my best to attend these groups weekly and the women were (are!) all incredible, loving and straight-up good eggs. But there was something missing for me, although I never placed my finger on it. Find Your Tribe It wasn’t until one late winter’s day that I took Soleil out, in the ergo baby, for a walk to a local cafe. Underneath this beautiful little oasis of trees I passed by another mama carrying her hub. We smiled at each other. And just as we were about to pass each other, her beautiful bubba and my little sunbeam reached out to each other. Those little, chubby fingers stretching out wanting to grab hold of each other. They kicked and giggled. We practically did the same. The connection was and still is real. Myself and this other mama stood there chatting in the way that only mamas do. Hurried, excited, jumping from one thing to another in an effort to learn and absorb as much of each other as possible. It’s almost like speed-dating. 3 minutes to decide (before your babies start whinging to move on) if this woman is your type of mama. I knew instantly – she intrigued me. She is so different to me yet so aligned. We exchanged numbers. And from that day on I bumped into her and saw her everywhere. We eventually found a groove and started catching up with mama/baby play dates. Not long after that in late spring down at the beach with countless babies and mamas at the kids pool I found myself talking to one particular mama. I trust my intuition implicitly and on reflection I can see again how I was sub consciously gravitating towards certain energies. This mama is into health, wellness, spirituality. She is so generous – […] Read more

Crossing over from the head to the heart

Crossing over from the head to the heart

Posted June 08, 2015

Crossing over from the head to the heart Over a year ago, maybe more, I had an astrology reading done by the incredible Ezzie Spencer. Ezzie did my full chart and then talked me through what she had discovered. It’s funny, at the time I found everything she said to be fully loaded and heavy with meaning, but didn’t realise what the process would be when her discoveries came into being. Besides identifying that I am triple Aquarian, with my sun, moon and rising star seated in this fixed air sign, she also revealed something quite powerful and profound. This ‘something’ is only now coming into fruition, but looking back I can see it has been slowly brewing for years. I’ve been blindly and without direction travelling towards this something. ++ Ezzie pointed out that I have an astute level of understanding and a deep well of wisdom. All of this is cradled by a refined intellect and analytical mind. Ha! Gosh that sounds conceited… What that really means is that I’m all ‘in the head’! I’m a sensitive being, highly tuned in and self aware, but what comes naturally is using my mind, my intellect to ‘understand’. I’m a thinker and used to really pride myself for it. You with me so far? I bet many of you might resonate with this, so let me flesh it out a little more: Do you feel you are quick to understand BIG concepts? Is it easy for you to see all sides to a story/situation? Can you clearly ‘get’ spiritual teachings? Do you usually find it’s a no brainer when wrapping your head around complex people/issues/experiences? Can you easily deduce ways through sticky and cloudy experiences? Do you tend to be the voice of reason and insight amongst your family and friends? Is your wisdom often based on what you’ve experienced or come to learn rather than what you feel and intuit? Are you mostly driven and guided by your head? Are you often in your head – thinking and planning and stewing? Yes? Are you with me or know someone that is just like this? ++ Ok, first up, to clarify: there is nothing wrong with being this way. Being a heady, ‘thinker’ type has its benefits. Switched on and clued up! If you are this way, more power to you. We need thinkers! ++ When Ezzie pointed this out to me she explained that my soul had lived from this heady, wise space for countless lives. So far, it has supported me just fine. But now, in this lifetime and for the first lifetime ever, I am being called to cross the ravine and make it to the other side. To move away from the head space! And what awaits me there? A life led by the heart. A life dropped into an intuitive, feeling based space. Over the last five years I’ve journeyed deeper into my spiritual pilgrimage and explored deeply in my work as a Mind-Body-Soul coach. This continual process of discovery has slowly brought me face to face with the limitations of living from my head. It’s also forced me many times to feel into my heart and live from there. Many times I’ve resisted – after all, it’s new and scary and hard. Living from my head is easy. I’ve done it for many lives. It seems clear cut, straightforward; though truthfully it’s the opposite! But often I’ve not been given a choice, and my latest dalliance with feeling, living and being from my heart is one of those choice-less experiences. Becoming a mother is, I can now see, the true beginning of my traverse from the head side to the heart side. I’ve begun the journey, crossing the ravine. I know now that the last few years have been prepping me, slowly, for this forced, cataclysmic trek down deep into my feeling centre, into my soul, a trip that has been written into my soul’s story well before this body existed. ++ Every day, this motherhood gig requires me to check my ego and my intellect at the door. I’m asked to feel into my baby and her needs, to intuit them. I’m asked to feel into my body and be with whatever discomfort lives there in a much more potent way than before – yet also to respect and love this body more than ever, despite the fact that it’s more worn and battle torn! I’m asked daily to let my heart be centre stage, in order to navigate from soul. I’m asked to stop and drop the ongoing mind-chatter and useless need to ‘understand’. I’m asked to be ok with not ‘getting it’ and to stay out of my head. I’m ask to give and give fully in the NOW and to do so gratefully and with joy, to feel good giving more than I thought I was capable of. Oh it’s so easy to write those words, yet this is the most challenging spiritual assignment to date. Don’t for a second think that I’ve nailed this or that I easily can do what’s being asked of me. Feeling. Feel. Feel it… Do you know how to sit with what you feel and tune into it from an emotional space not an intellectual space? ‘Do you know’… That’s how I just started that question! It’s so ironic, considering we are talking about feeling, which, of itself, has nada to do with ‘knowing’… Feeling and living from that space is so damn challenging because we can’t study it and figure it out. We simply have to throw ourselves into the firey pit of feeling over and over and over until our mind starts to get the idea and turns down its full ball volume. This is where I am right now: being ok with not knowing what I feel, but also going there despite the struggle, as often as I can. This means so many different things. It means, as a person, I’m […] Read more

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 2

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 2

Posted June 01, 2015

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 2 If you missed out on Part 1 of this story please CLICK here to catch-up. ++ So, we left off at the point where my waters had broken yet labour had still not kicked in. My induction date was set and there was no going back. At this point I was accepting of the situation. It felt weird to ‘know’ the due date of my baby – the lack of randomness felt odd and overly planned to me, but nevertheless I was ready and this was happening and I’d finally let go of the fears I didn’t even know I had! On the morning of March 5th my husband and I pottered around the house, packed the car and had a beautiful breakfast together. Once at the hospital we set about making our room more comfortable. I put on a playlist I had created, started burning some ‘surrender’ oil and hung up the prayer flags my ladies had made me at my blessing way ceremony. We closed off the curtains to all the unnecessary medical equipment and dimmed the lights. Immediately the room felt calmer with a focused energy holding the space. Myself, Chris, my midwife and my doula spent time chatting and warming up to each other…warming up to the journey ahead. There was laughter and lightness – exactly what I had hoped for. At 11:30 I was administered the syntocinin – synthetic oxytocin to jump start the surges and get labour going. I was warned it can sometimes take a while to kick in with new mums… but not this mama! In less than two hours I was feeling my first ‘real’ surges, although I was still able to crack jokes in between. Within an hour I was plunged into the surreal ‘here and there’ space that comes with the intensity of full-blown labour. Naked. Swaying. Body rolling. I stood beneath the shower, feeling the hot water ease the aches and tingles that radiated from head to toe with each contraction. My body and my baby bearing down, earthbound, to open and release. There was no time for airs and graces. This was not the time for self consciousness or insecurity. There I was, out in the open. All woman. Moaning and rocking and breathing through it all, one moment and a time. Each surge, each contraction felt like a tidal wave rolling through my body… building in intensity and taking me with it. I found myself vocalising the intensity and loudly moaning and ‘omming’ through each wave. I had always imagined I would be very quiet and inward, but in the end I was very vocal – my inner warrior loudly took over. Now, I don’t want to use the word pain here — after all pain is dependant on how you perceive it – but there were moments when the sensations were so overwhelming, I felt overtaken by them. I found myself quietly repeating ‘it’s not pain, only a new sensation’ in order to stay present and ride the peak of the surge… and as I descended towards the end of each surge, my breathing would slow down, my attention would move deeper inward and my body and mind would move into stillness. I would stay here for what felt like mere moments, but in actual fact were minutes, between each surge. And then, once again, the wave would rebuild. My Doula, Lauren Falconer, and my husband were integral in supporting me through each surge… massaging me, hydrating me, wiping my face with a cold cloth, whispering supportive words… I felt held and completely able to surrender to the intensity knowing I had the most loving team backing me. It also allowed me to do what I feel every woman needs to do – let go of the outside world, of dealing with questions and concerns from the hospital or even worrying about time… I was able to let the beast of birth consume me and take me into it’s deep dark belly. If I clicked into my analytical, left brain I would start to question my abilty, my resolve or even the possibility that I could cope with this experience. But truthfully, when I stepped away from that headspace and stayed connected to my heart, my feeling space, my own inner wisdom, I knew I could do it. The most astounding thing that I can now see in retrospect is a birthing mother’s ability to be clear about what she wants and needs with diamond clarity – there was no confusion about what I required nor any fussing about in asking for me. Water. Massage. Be quiet. Hold my hand. I found myself almost barking orders to my team – something more powerful had taken over ensuring that we (my body, my baby and I) had exactly what we needed to move through each stage. I was also hyper vigilant… if anything happened that I felt unsure about or that sent shivers of insecurity through my body, I was onto it. At one point I saw Chris leave the room and I couldn’t settle until he had returned. I heard myself say on repeat “Where is Chris. Is he coming back?” I later learned that my beautiful mother, who was restlessly waiting for news at home, decided to show up at the delivery suite. Chris had been called out to see her! Probably not the best time to come, eh mum! ++ Ok…So there I was, deep in established labour and I intuitively had this feeling that my body was opening quickly. I asked my midwife when she was planning on checking my cervix for dilation – I had previously indicated that I wanted minimal interference including cervical checks. At this point it was 4pm and my midwife indicated she wasn’t going to check me until 7pm. Upon hearing that I almost fell apart. I now realise I was overcome with fear for a moment. Labour had become so intense I was starting to question my […] Read more

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 1

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 1

Posted May 25, 2015

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 1 Bringing Soleil into the world… It’s been 11 weeks since Soleil was born, to the day (as I write this), and it’s taken me this long to write and share with you our birth story. It’s partly taken me this long to process the birth and also to simply find the time to write this epic story. I want to share this story simply because I truly believe child birth (however it happens, including caesarean) is a miraculous, powerful experience… and within that experience holds the opportunity for deep transformation and growth. It tests you – even just thinking about it – to your limits. It is the birthing of my child, earth angel that she is, and then e birthing of me as a mother. We (baby and me) are both equally important in this birthing process… working together. I remember saying to my husband, two weeks before giving birth and just after experiencing quite an intense practice contraction, that I could see that labour was going to require ALL of me. What did I mean by ALL of me? My body – and all its strength My mind – and its ability to focus My heart – staying open and trusting My soul – remaining fearless and connected to purpose And, well, it did. I had to throw ALL of me into the birth, not to mention the days and weeks following… Soleil’s birthing truly brought me to my knees (literally!) and cracked me open (oh yeah, literally too!). So, let me start with a little background insight first on my child birth… The question I asked myself frequently in the early days of pregnancy was, ‘What kind of birth did I want?’ And I use the word ‘want’ loosely because there is no way to plan something so out of our control. What I hoped for, what I intended and what I preferred to happen was this: A natural, drug-free birth. A birth without unnecessary intervention A chance to bond with my baby post-birth for as long as possible A loving experience – surrounded by supportive people who understand me A birth that happened spontaneously A safe, healthy, quick experience A divine, empowering experience A birth peppered with humour and love. Add to that smaller desires, such as not managing the third stage of labour (cutting and clamping the umbilical cord too soon) or speeding up the release of the placenta. Well, the universe gave me some of what I wanted but threw in a few curve balls for good measure. Yes, they tested me, yes, they threw me off course, but they also provided the chance to completely surrender, to drop my agendas and expectations and to leave my ego at the door. One such test was being two weeks overdue. I was due on the 19th of February but bub arrived two weeks late on the 5th of March. I was (mostly) enjoying my pregnancy – as much as is possible when you are 17kgs heavier, filled with fluid, waddling and sleeping poorly. Despite that, I didn’t feel rushed to ‘get to the end’. It was a glorious summer of daily swims, outdoor yoga and lots of quality time with my husband. I meditated two or three times a day, my journal was my confidant and I ate delicious home cooked meals. I’m so glad I savoured that time because life with a baby definitely doesn’t allow for such indulgence (for now!). During those two weeks over due, my body and mind did a few somersaults, twists and turns. Everyday my body showed signs it was preparing for childbirth – I’ll spare you the graphic details but suffice to say it was ‘on’ – but it was turning on slowly. My little Soleil seemed reluctant to complete her journey to this earthly plane. She knew it was time, I did too, but there was some resistance from both of us. I knew she was coming but I could feel she wanted to come on her terms. In the near future I’ll share about Soleil’s first ‘cranio sacral’ therapy session where we discovered she felt the need to be ‘reborn’ and make peace with how she was birthed. ++ The conversation on ‘induction’ began with my midwives at exactly 40 weeks. That’s what happens when you hit your due date, not to mention when you are nearing 42 weeks gestation! I wouldn’t say I felt pressured, but when you are part of the modern hospital system you are often burdened with scary statistics and fear tactics. It’s hard to hold your ground… I wanted to go past 42 weeks but I faced a big fight to make that happen, which I didn’t have in me. I’m going to be completely honest here and say I had such resistance to being induced. I ‘knew’ too much about what can happen with an induction – often it leads to an epidural because the contractions are too intense (apparently much stronger that a spontaneous birth) and often that then leads to a caesarean because labour can dramatically slow down with pain relief. To add to that, at 27 I was my sister’s birth partner. She was induced and it was a horribly quick, intense, dramatic and very messy experience. So, I had a (huge) stigma attached to induction to say the least. The more the ‘induction’ word was thrown around, the more my resistance and internal fears boiled up. I spent hours daily journalling, meditating and reflecting on these feelings. 
Why did it matter so much to me? What was I really afraid of – the induction itself or the fact that it wasn’t a ‘spontaneous’ birth? How could I drop this story and embrace a new one? Is it possible for this to be beautiful? Is it possible for me to drop all judgment and therefore all anxiety? I also spent a lot of time conversing with bubby, mostly inviting her into […] Read more

The story of Soleil…

The story of Soleil…

Posted April 28, 2015

The story of Soleil… My little light beam, my daughter – Soleil Margarita Rivera – was born on the 5th of March 2015 at 6:43pm after what can only be described as an EPIC birth at lightening speed. But before I share with you my very personal and precious birth story I want to dial back a little to the beginning. Soleil is an earth angel that has been with me (energetically) for many years before she actually graced this earthly plane. Let’s start some 18 years ago. Yes, that’s how very long ago this love story began. This is the story of Soleil and how she came into my world. This story is also about signs. Noticing the little winks and directions from the universe. It’s about trusting in something you can’t see or confirm in anyway. It’s all about following your intuition. So, back we go, 18 years…I can’t remember why but I remember one morning, dressed in my bonds chesty singlet and pyjama shorts (standard sleepwear for my 15 year old self), I entered the kitchen and sat down. My mum was there… I looked up at her and said “Mum, I don’t know why but I think one day I’m going to have a little girl, and her name is going to be Soleil.” My Mum, who speaks French, knew immediately that Soleil meant Sun. And she too, in that moment, felt what I felt – that I was speaking a truth from an unknown source of wisdom. I remember her saying… “Oh that is beautiful. Your little sunshine. Of course you will. Inshallah (God’s will).” So there she was. Little Soleil had shown up, just like that, and made a home within my heart. And the idea that she would one day be in my life… well, I felt and believed this to my core. I trusted in this so much so that on my very first date with Chris, right after I realised that I would be marrying this man one day (I knew this in the same way I knew that Tuesday follows Monday) I shared with him about my unborn daughter, Soleil. And, no he didn’t freak out (tick!) Fast forward 7 years. I was 22 and travelling in Thailand and I wanted to get a tattoo… flicking through a book of tattoo suggestions in a bamboo shack on a remote beach, I remember thinking that the Sun and the Ocean were two of my greatest loves. As I thought that I glanced down and saw a word, written in Arabic Script (a touchstone to my heritage), with the translation written underneath – that word was ‘Soleil’… I decided on that tattoo instantly. Jump forward again to age 32… Chris, my husband, and I were celebrating our wedding with a belated honeymoon in Thailand. We had loosely discussed that starting a family might be on the cards soon, but we both still felt nervous about jumping in… As if we had any control over what the universe was dishing up for us?! Within a few days of our trip I noticed my period was late. After taking a test it was confirmed that yes, we truly have NO control. A little bub had found its way into my body and into our lives. As we walked the beach trying to process this HUGE change in our lives we glanced up and saw a restaurant (that we had passed countless times and never noticed) named Soleil. Chris and I both got goosebumps – the usual way my intuition tweaks like a puppy dogs ears, pricking up to a distant unheard sound. To drive the message home, that evening, at dinner, we sat near a German family – two little girls ran around in circles. The eldest calling out to her sister to follow her…. ‘Soleil, Soleil!” And this was on the very same where I first had that tattoo done. I couldn’t quite believe I was hearing this – a name I’d never heard before was now being sang around me… two little girls once again hammering the point home, that Soleil had decided now was the time. ++ As the pregnancy progressed I was ambushed (lovingly) with people’s opinions – It’s a boy, you’re carrying like a boy! Often other people’s intuition was so strong that it swayed me… including my husband who insisted it was a boy! So I started to wonder – am I having a boy? Could Soleil be taking a little longer to show up? But every time I would go off track a little signpost would redirect me back home to the truth… One day I was handed a gift from a family friend, filled with boy’s clothes. The bag they were in? A Cirque du Soleil bag. The day before I went into labour, Chris and I went for a spectacular sunrise walk on the beach. As I watched the fiery, bold, powerful sun rise over the ocean I couldn’t hold back the tears… as I realised my own Soleil was rising up, and getting ready to beam her light into my heart. I asked for the universe to send me a sign – to show me a Lady Bug (in the flesh, a picture, drawing, whatever!) And the signs kept coming…I had written in my journal, asking the universe to send a sign that Soleil was coming. I asked for two clear signs – anything fish related (as I was certain the baby was to be born a Pisces) and Ladybugs! One beautiful Sunday when I went to meet a friend, a Lady Bug flew at me and landed on my arm. This same friend had also told me she’d had a premonition it was a girl. That night as Chris walked into the kitchen I heard, “Claire, come here….” and there she was again, another ladybug sitting on the wall. My doula was in a bookstore and happened upon a random book with a HUGE picture of a […] Read more

Why I’ll be hibernating for 30 days

Why I’ll be hibernating for 30 days

Posted February 03, 2015

Why I’ll be hibernating for 30 days… So, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m about to pop anytime. At almost 38 weeks, this baby is ready for its birthday, so people keep telling me! I’m not so fixated on dates at the moment. I’m not yet feeling ‘over it’… or wishing away this pregnancy. I’ve had such an amazing experience over the last 9 months and I know that if I ever fall pregnant again I’ll never get to experience the spaciousness, freedom and lightness like I have, gratefully, this time round. In preparing for bub there’s been a lot to do – from getting everything this tiny human needs (so, so much) to sorting out my life and business and making sure that I am eating, moving, breathing and living consciously all the while. Honestly, I’ve been pretty casual about the whole preparation side of things, letting it all happen slowly and with ease. Which has been the overarching energy of this whole pregnancy… gentle, soft, fluid, effortless. And I’m planning on carrying that energy into those early weeks and months as baby and I bond and start this incredible journey together. After bub arrives there are no plans, really, except one major intention I am holding too… and that is the hibernation phase or ‘baby moon’ that I’ll be taking. What is a baby moon? Traditionally and also in my parent’s culture, women are advised to ‘hibernate’ for the first 30-40 days post birth. Birth is seen as an incredibly pivotal moment for a woman (and of course the entire family unit). It’s not just that she has birthed a new life into the world – as if that wasn’t big enough already – but her mind-body-soul is undergoing massive changes. Integrating new ways of thinking and being. Recalibrating. 40 weeks of pregnancy – the time of incubation – abruptly ends and a woman’s body has to move into a completely different mode of giving life. Her mind has to catch-up with that mode too. Her body will slowly revert back to the pre-pregnancy state, but at the same time it is now required to sleep less, produce milk, nurture and attend to a completely dependent child. On a more energetic and spiritual level there is a lot of gentle repair work that needs to happen. Emotions can be raw as the hormonal system rebalances. Spiritually well I am anticipating that the journey into motherhood can be a deep, internal shake-up. The hibernation phase is recommended to help a woman rest, restore and recover from such a dramatic change. It’s about rebuilding strength – in mind, body and soul – and creating the space and time to adjust and ease into this new chapter. It’s also a special time for the mother, father and baby to bond. The first three months of a newborn’s life is considered the 4th trimester – the baby is still undergoing massive development changes and the mum’s body is still undergoing massive renovations too! And in particular, the first 30 – 40 days are the most delicate and need to be handled with kid-gloves. It’s not the time for diving straight back into dynamic exercise regimes. It’s not the time for dieting (your baby is accustomed to the taste of food you ate during pregnancy – this is important if you are breastfeeding!) It’s not the time for an insane social calendar. It’s not the time for taking up new ventures or starting work/projects again. There is one task and one task only. Nurturing life – yours and your new baby. With all the wisdom and ancient understanding of the women who have birthed and mothered before me, I have decided to honour this hibernation phase. I’ve decided to commit as much as possible to a baby moon because it makes sense to me. What will my baby moon look like? Now, I’m not going to lock myself in the house for a month – but I’m certainly not making any plans to go far from home. This is a time of healing, bonding, sacred transformation and new beginnings. I feel so excited to be experiencing all of this and I feel quite passionate about honouring this journey. There will be a lot of this: Sleeping and more sleeping – as much as possible I will rest. Reading books, studying, writing (all the things I love to do) can wait. Eating nourishing foods – and letting my family and partner look after the cooking who are already cooking up stocks and stews for the freezer. Bonding with baby – lots of holding, touching, baby massage! Walks outside in the sunshine. Letting other people help – accepting whatever angels come my way and saying YES to their offers of support. There won’t be a lot of this: Cleaning and doing chores – again, traditionally women gathered around new mums and took over all this stuff letting the mama and bub do the precious work they need to do! Women were treated as precious and sacred vessels where their health and emotional wellbeing is a priority and the bub’s too! Round the clock visitors – as much as I’ll want to see people, I’ll be honouring this sacred time with my baby and husband by ensuring that visitors are spread out and don’t become too overwhelming. Working! An easy thing to do when your office is in your home and you coach via Skype. I’m going to take a step back from blogging + writing my newsletter for that month. Socialising – I’m not putting pressure on myself to be one of those mums that is already ‘out there’… for some this might work for them. But for me, someone that naturally enjoys alone time, I’m going to savour the chance to pull back and NOT be superwoman. It’s only a month and it’s an important month at that. ++ The human body is incredible. Everyday I marvel at the miracle of my […] Read more

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: How to host a blessingway

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: How to host a blessingway

Posted January 28, 2015

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: How to host a blessingway I’m not that into experiences like Kitchen Teas, Baby showers and the like. My husband and I didn’t throw an engagement party and I was a little unnerved by the whole Hen’s night (which ended up being an incredible experience). I am however, really into experiences that are sacred, respectful and honour the depth of meaning behind the celebration. Which is why I wanted to have a baby shower with a difference – with a blessing. A couple of years ago I helped host the blessing ceremony at a very good friends shower, and having been invited to another Blessingway I was certain that I wanted something similar for my own experience. What is the difference between a Baby Shower and a Blessingway? Firstly, both experiences are about celebration and a coming together of women. However, a Blessingway, which is born from the traditional Americian-Indian (Navajo) culture, is about honouring the mama-to-be and her transition into motherhood. It is also a way to honour the unborn baby as well. Without sounding wanky, it’s a more spiritually minded experience. A baby shower is a more Western celebration that is designed to ‘shower’ the mum and baby with gifts to prepare for the birth, which I believe became popular in the 40s and 50s. BOTH have their place and I can truly see the benefit in a baby shower – receiving gifts from friends for the baby is such a help. For me though, that wasn’t the priority. And I’m also not keen on the ‘games’ that are usually played at Baby Showers. No judgment, but I personally find them a little tedious. How to host a blessingway This is an incredibly personal experience so there are no rules or strict guidelines. What I can do is share what we did and perhaps that will help you come up with your own Blessingway experience. I was so blessed to have one of my oldest friends offer her (newly renovated!) home for our Blessingway. The space was divine, open and spacious. Another friend – my Reiki Healer and beloved soul sister – offered to host the blessing ceremonies. After researching Blessingway Ceremonies there were a few elements I knew I wanted to incorporate: 1. The sharing of food We asked each guest to bring a plate of healthy food. This not only made it easier for my host but it also meant that when we sat down to eat you could really feel the love. Each plate of food was literally buzzing with consciousness. I can’t begin to describe the joy in ‘breaking bread’ with my soul sisters, knowing that our food was high vibe, healthy and stupidly delicious! 2. Meditation + Blessing Opening the ceremony – we were all sat in a circle around a little altar – with a mini meditation and a blessing to me, the baby and each woman holding the space brought on the water works! I was crying within the first minute and I know many of my friends were too. It set the scene, it felt sacred and it simply soulful. 3. The Red String Blessing One long piece of red string was looped around the left wrist of each woman present. As this was done, each of my soul sisters (my mother and sister included) offered up a piece of wisdom and advice to me. And yes, tears were shed. My heart literally exploded out of my chest. My soul stretched out with delight. Words were shared such as “You already know everything you need to know” and “Savour eery single moment” and “I can’t wait to meet your soul baby”… ahh, it still gives me tingles when I think back to how held, loved and supported I felt 4. Prayer Flags I sourced online a kit to create our own prayer flags. I decided that I wanted my beautiful soulies to get creative with me and make a prayer flag each. These featured words of advice, drawings, and messages of love. They are all strung up and ready to be hung in the birthing room – whenever our baby decides to enter this world. I’e also had my nieces create a prayer flag as well. And I know that mid-labour as I look up at these messages I will either smile, laugh or cry… but either way, these prayers will bolster me, encourage me, keep me on track and lovingly call in this beautiful soul-baby. 5. Pampering + adornment Now, I won’t lie, this was my friend’s idea and one I was a little uncomfortable with at first (still have some work to do on ‘receiving’) but in the end, getting a shoulder rub and hand massage from my friends DELICIOUS! At 35 weeks pregnant any form of ‘care’ feels like being wrapped in the biggest embrace. I was also crowned with a stunning flower headpiece and my hand painted with henna. ++ Despite the heatwave, I had the most joyful, sacred and memorable experience. I’m so grateful to each woman that was there who held the space with their love and gave so much from their heart! Hosting a blessingway doesn’t have to be difficult or overly ‘spiritual’ or even fussy. Sacred can still be casual, relaxed and effortless. As mine was! And you might like to combine it with the most common ‘Baby Shower’ – throwing in a few baby-games or even doing a gift registry if that’s what you are after. Your turn: Have you had a blessingway before? Are you interested in doing this for yourself? love + light, Claire Read more

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Eating your own placenta

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Eating your own placenta

Posted January 20, 2015

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Part #7 – Eating Your Own Placenta Did that title grab your attention? Have you already heard of (and perhaps chosen to) consume your own placenta? Or is this so foreign and totally whack that you don’t even want to read on!? Well, surprisingly consuming your own placenta has become alot more palatable over the last few years. And yes, PUN intended. It is now becoming more popular and common to ‘eat’ your own placenta… and it’s now much easier to do. You’re probably not surprised to hear that this is something I hae chosen to do… but before you freak out I won’t be cooking up my placenta with some diced onion and garlic. I’ll be encapsulating it and taking it daily, post birth. Rather than me pretend to be the ‘placenta’ expert I’ve called on Erika Elliot from MotherBirth to do some explaining for you! Firstly let me introduce Erika. Erika Elliott began her professional life as a birthworker in 2005 when she founded MotherBirth.  The MotherBirth service provides loving support, contemporary knowledge, traditional wisdom and a decade of experience supporting Sydney’s birthing community. Erika is dedicated to supporting families as they find their way during pregnancy and birth. Erika is a mother, doula & childbirth educator offering calmbirthⓇ weekends and Birthing from WithinTM classes. Her qualifications also include prenatal massage therapy, birth photography, post natal doula support, birth story healing and placenta encapsulation. I was lucky enough to ask Erika a few questions on Placenta Consumption that I hope will really help you understand WHY this is such an important health practice and something that I can’t wait to try. Obviously I’m completely new to this too, so I will provide an update in the post-partum months of my experience, but I figure there is no harm (considering I grew the placenta in the first place!) Why do you recommend women ‘consume’ their placenta? What are some of the benefits (mental, emotional, physical?) Firstly, I would like to say that nothing benefits a new mother more than continued one on one support at home as she recovers from labour and birth and as she begins to integrate all that is required of her as a primary carer of new life.  Unfortunately, in our culture, most of the time this is not possible as family may not be close by or the art of caring for the mother as she cares for her baby is not in the familial tradition. When this continued one on one care is not possible, or even if it is, the placenta capsules are a way of powerfully boosting the new Mothers’ system as she turns her attention to the tasks at hand. “Baby blues” is a common occurrence –80% of mothers experience it in the first days and weeks after giving birth. Because it is so common, nothing is typically done about it until it may worsen into a diagnosis of postpartum depression, at which time anti-depressants may be prescribed. Antidepressants, like almost all drugs, are passed to the baby through breast milk, and mothers who don’t want to expose their babies to these medications are often faced with the decision to either stop breastfeeding or struggle with depression. Women suffer through the baby blues almost as a rite of passage to motherhood – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Placenta consumption has been reported for decades to help stop the baby blues and diminish postpartum fatigue. Some women have cooked the placenta in a stew, mixed it into a smoothie, or even taken it raw to tap  into its powerful effects. For many who feel squeamish about this or want to reap the benefits of  their placenta for more than just a day or two, there is another option; encapsulation. What is Placenta Encapsulation and what can it provide? Placenta encapsulation is the transformation of a nutrient dense organ into powerful, palatable food as medicine for post pregnancy and birth recovery. Powdered placenta has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for  centuries. In the early postpartum period, placenta capsules can provide: Faster milk production due to the high levels ofhormones including prolactin Shorter postpartum bleeding due to oxytocin and urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII Energy boosts thanks to the high iron content A sense of well being from the natural progesterone and cortisone content A possible reduction in or total elimination of post partum depression due to the many hormones at play but specifically the corticotropin-releasing hormone which drops significantly after the birth of the placenta Reduction of pain due to oxytocin which has an opioid like effect Historically, have human beings ever consumed their placenta? Is this a lost tradition or a relatively new one? We have no evidence of women consuming dehydrated, encapsulated placenta historically, but there is documentation of women consuming their placenta raw, immediately after birth, or cooking it and eating it as a meal.  I believe this form of encapsulating pure placenta is a relatively new one which is growing in popularity incredibly quickly.  I have been encapsulating for just over 4 years now, and this part of my business is one of the busiest! Have their been any tests/studies to prove the validity of this practice? There is no evidence based, scientific study out yet, although I have read that the results of one study are due out around May 2015.  As with all things, science and evidence based information can be helpful, but we are also at will to connect with our intuition and turn our attention to other mammals and what they do with their placentas.  For me, the evidence lies with the Mothers’ I work with. Do you find that most hospitals/birthing centres are willing to help with proper care/handling of the placenta? Yes, absolutely.  I also provide the couple with a sheet of information for themselves and their caregivers as to how the placenta needs to be handled immediately after birth so it is […] Read more

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: The books I’ve loved

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: The books I’ve loved

Posted January 14, 2015

Welcome to The Pregnancy Wellness Guide – Part 6 – Books and Education In the very early weeks of this pregnancy I didn’t really feel moved to read too much… in fact, that feeling has remained somewhat. But let me explain because I do have a few books to recommend. I didn’t feel called to dive into a lot of information written by experts on pregnancy, childbirth etc.  There was something within me that felt that, at that particular stage, too much information might actually get the better of me. It was almost like the only oracle and guide I needed was this baby and my body. And to this day I still see that as the foremost source of knowledge and information. Intuitively, every woman out there, knows what’s going on in their own body. When you tune in you are able to sense what’s right or not. Despite that, I love to read and I love learning… so I did get my hands on a few books that resonated with me. And since then, that pile has grown. Some are more spiritually minded, others are much more practical, but I’m using them as a resource, a back-up, a way ‘in’ when something feels cloudy or confusing. But if, at any point, anything I’m reading makes me feel anxious or stressed then I quickly put that book down and explore WHY. Am I resisting something truthful that this book is presenting, or is this book saturated in fear, that I don’t wish to buy into? The books I want to share with you today are not necessarily books that I’ve been told are ‘the best’… I know there are 1000000000 books out there that will tell you everything you need to know about pregnancy, motherhood, babies etc. But for me, I have gravitated towards books that give me a sense of confidence, trust, connection and most importantly knowledge that what is unfolding within me and the next stage of motherhood is one that I will figure out and I WILL get better at, day by day. I also should mention here that some of these books I’ve not yet finished, but I dip into – certain chapters satisfy certain queries. Other sections might be aligned to how I am feeling at that particular time. The one piece of advice that I personally think is important here is this: find the balance between getting educated and armed up with knowledge with learning and knowing too much. Sometimes a little ignorance is bliss, as long as you are instead firing up your own inner wisdom and intuition – use THAT as your main source of knowledge. Remember this. You literally have the wisdom of the ages – generations of woman who have birthed and raised children – threaded within your soul. You’ve got this. BOOKS I’VE READ + LOVED (Some of these have found me, been passed on or recommended by friends – trust that the books and resources you are meant to discover will show up!) v Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives – Deepak Chopra  Anything Deepak and I’m in… he creates a level of understanding on both the spiritual, physical, emotional and mental planes that I connect with and just ‘get’. It’s a perfect blend of advice and tips with spiritual and holistic perspective Parenting with Soul – Sally Collings This book isn’t hard to read and if you’ve been on this spiritual path for a while it’s simple an affirmation of how to take the way you lie into parenting. If you are relatively new on this journey then I think you’ll find this quite an easy yet eye opening book. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin This woman, Ina May, is the most incredible Midwife, Pregnancy and Birthing advocate. You MUST read this book. (Yep, that’s an order). The stories of birth are positive, inspiring and damn-right encouraging. They frequently move me to tears. Not to mention that Ina’s insight and advice comes from HUNDREDS of birthing experiences. Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful – Gurmukh By far my favourite book so far. Pregnant or not, this is one incredible guide. It’s permanently by my bed and I dip into it for reassurance. It wraps me in a warm hug of truth – that if I can grow this baby I can birth it. And if I can lie a conscious, spiritual life, I can bring that into this pregnancy and beyond. Not to mention the Kundalini meditations threaded through eery chapter. Love! Also a HUGE must for you beautiful mamas out there. Birth Skills – Juju Sundin with Sarah Murdoch I found this book interesting as the perspective on birthing is a little different to the Calm Birth mentality, but yet still supportive and really important to understand. It focuses more on active, moment-based techniques to work through the stages of labour (pain, contractions, transitions etc). The natural way to a better pregnancy – Francesca Naish + Janette Roberts Informative. Jam-packed. Natural/Holistic Focused. It has a wealth of natural-based knowledge which I found useful, but sometimes overwhelming. However by dipping in and out I’ve been able to get guidance when and how I need it. Baby Love – Robin Barker Honestly, I haven’t yet tucked into this one much but it’s more of a bible of knowledge. Recommended to me from a few friends who have said this book really helped alot with the first three months of baby’s life. The Child Within the Lotus – Margaret Stephenson Meere Being slightly obsessed with Chakras and Energy systems I was super eager when a friend recommended this book as it works through developmental stages of your baby via the development of the Chakras, from base to crown. I really love knowing the connection between the different stages to how the energy system is activating. Baby on board – Dr Howard Chilton This book came to me by my guides. Someone mentioned his name on some random facebook post, and […] Read more


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