My birth preparations.

This week I’m 34 weeks pregnant, which means there’s about 6 weeks to go until I get to meet my baby.

I’ve been pretty open and honest about my pregnancy struggles and fears surrounding the birth, so I wanted to share what I’ve been doing to help prepare myself for a calm, gentle and natural birth.

The best thing I ever came across was hypnobirthing. This has changed my entire perception about labour and birth. No, I wasn’t hypnotised with a swaying pendulum which I’m sure is the first thing that comes to mind.

Hypnobirthing was developed to reduce anxiety and fear surrounding labour and birth. Reducing fear, reduces tension and adrenaline which diminishes pain sensations. Consequently, this then allows mothers to birth their babies more confidently and comfortably.

Some benefits of hypnobirthing are;

  • Eliminates fear, tension and anxiety about the birthing process​.

  • Gives your body the preparation needed for a calm birth.

  • Greatly reduces or eliminates pain experienced during childbirth.

  • Shortens the first stage of labour​.

  • Greatly reduces or eliminates the need for painkillers during childbirth​.

  • Reduces surgical intervention​.

  • Reduces fatigue so you can remain alert and energised.

  • Faster postnatal recovery.

  • Returns birthing to the beautiful, peaceful experience nature intended.

  • Allows dads or birth companions to play an active role in the birth.

  • Creates a calm environment for your baby to be born into.

My husband and I attended a calm birth workshop which is exactly the same as hypnobirthing a couple of weeks ago, and I can highly recommend this workshop to any pregnant woman. Aaron and I are now equipped with knowledge of how the body works during labour and birth, I know how to breathe properly through contractions to ensure I stay in a calm and relaxed state of mind, I’ve gained confidence in my body’s ability to birth naturally and without medication and Aaron and I have a better understanding that this whole experience is about team work, and our bond has grown even stronger.

Hypnobirthing has helped me immensely prepare my mind for labour and birth, but there are also other things I’ve been doing to prepare.

Meditation

I meditate every day without fail, sometimes even twice or three times a day. The meditations I do are about visualizing my baby’s birth and how I would like my ‘perfect’ labour and birth to be, aswell as simple relaxation meditations. Practice makes permanant, and by practicing the ‘relaxtion response’ in the body every day, it begins to come into play very easily. I’m hoping by my first contraction, I can easily tap into a deep relaxed state of mind.

I use crystals alongside my meditations, sometimes using my smudge stick to help clear away negative energy, and essential oils to help keep me in a relaxed and calm state. I will be bringing my crystals and oils to the hospital when I’m in labour also.

Affirmations

I have positive birth affirmations stuck on almost every wall in my house and on my desk at work. I read these daily, and I also have a few special ones for labour and birth that will come to the hospital with me. Affirmations are not only for manifesting a specific goal. They’re meant to encourage a life filled with positivity and gratitude.

Raspberry leaf tea 

I have recently started taking raspberry tea leaf capsules, which assist the uterus in preparation for birth. Most women drink raspberry leaf tea, which has the same effect, however the capsules are stronger. Raspberry leaf is thought to help shorten labour, as it strengthens the uterine and pelvic muscles while also working as a relaxant at the same time, and therefore helps reduce the pain of contractions during labour.

Eating dates

I eat 6 dates everyday, which helps to shorten labour and aids in faster dilation. Researchers have found that dates have an oxytocin-like effect on the body, leading to increased sensitivity of the uterus. It also helps stimulate uterine contractions, and reduces postpartum hemorrhage the way oxytocin does. They also found that it contains many nutritional benefits for pregnant mamas. The recommended quantity to eat is 4 – 6 dates per day from 34 weeks of pregnancy.

Some of you probably think this is all a bit extreme, and that’s your opinion. But for me, labour and birth is a huge challenge mentally and I am working hard, dedicating time to practicing ways and help prepare my body. I mean, you wouldn’t enter a marathon without training for it would you? Same goes for labour. Why wouldn’t you want to atleast try and have an easier, painfree and relaxed birth?

The best advice I’ve received from other calm birth Mother’s is that it’s mind over matter and believing in your body. It’s about conditioning the mind to think positively about the birth and trusting that your body knows how to birth gently and naturally.

So I guess we will see what happens when it comes to BIRTH day, and how everything will unfold. I’m excited to fill you all in on my birth story, and to see if everything I’m working on and the birth that I dream of all happens for me. For now, I’m going to trust the process, and have faith everything will happen for me.

X Jess

P.s For those interested in learning calm birth, here is the information of the workshop we did. I highly recommend this to any pregnant woman.

Web: http://lotuscalmbirth.com/

Email: lainey@lotuscalmbirth.com

Lemon and blueberry loaf.

Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite sweet treats! If you don’t already know, I love lemon! So anything lemon related I get excited about!

This loaf is super easy and tastes oh so good too! Perfect for afternoon tea, picnics or after school snack!

You will need:

  • 125gm butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons of grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flower
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 100gm blueberries
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method:

  • Step 1 – Preheat oven to 170 degrees and grease and line a loaf tin. Using an electric beater, beat 125g butter and 3/4 cup of caster sugar until light and creamy.
  • Step 2 – Beat in eggs and lemon rind. Fold in 1 and a 1/2 cups of self raising flower, 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup lemon juice until well combined. Spoon half the mixture into the pan. Scatter the blueberries and then cover with the remaining cake batter.
  • Step 3 – Bake for approx 45 minutes. Once cooled, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Enjoy!

X Jes

Why creating a tranquil space is so important.

You know how you have that one little space in your home that you just adore… Or maybe you don’t? For me, my favourite space to be is in our bedroom or the main loungeroom. Both rooms are filled with plants, crystals, my favourite books, and candles. I love surrounding myself with life, nature and gorgeous plants, creating a beautiful detoxed home where it feels peaceful and calm.

Modern life is busy and places a lot of demands on our precious time which is why it’s more important than ever that we have a sanctuary in our homes. So where is your quiet space, your space for reflection and recharging?

I can quite happily just lay in bed and look around the bedroom and feel at ease, I love the colour tones, the selected photos that are placed around the room, the textures of the blankets and pillows, and that everything has a place. If I’m feeling stressed, anxious or upset, I get into bed under the layers of blankets, supported by a bundle of pillows and just lay there, and soon enough I’m feeling good again. In the evening I turn my salt lamps on, light some candles, and diffuse some essential oils, it creates such a warm and inviting space for rest and sleep.

My loungeroom is where ‘family’ time takes place, while the room has a tv and other technology outlets, it still is a place of calmness and serenity. I practice yoga and meditation in this room, and I love the natural sunlight that filters through the main window. There are plants, candles, different textures, photos and pictures, books and insense burners. I love sitting on our big comfy couch with a cuppa in this room, it feels light, safe and peaceful.

Where you live is your sacred space. Your sacred space tells the universe everything about what exactly you want to manifest in your life. Whether all you have is a room, an apartment, a house, whatever it is for you – how you look after it, how you feel in it, how you spend your time in it, how organised or clean it is, say’s everything.

This is the space where you are supposed to ground, re-energize, feel loved, & feel valued. If you don’t love, value, honor or cherish your space, if it doesnt represent the way in which you would like to be received in the world, start to put energy into your space and watch your world begin to change.

Everyone needs a space where they can feel nurtured. This is your space and even if it’s only 5 minutes of everyday that you get to spend in it, it should make you feel relaxed, at peace and revitalized when you leave. It’s important for your health to rest and recuperate, physically and mentally.

My tips for creating a tranquil space in your home.

Colour: For a calming color scheme, return to nature. Earthy neutrals are an excellent choice for a relaxing room. I really love neutral and gold tones.

Add Life: Adding some lush green plants purifies the air and helps transform even the most urban abode into a restful oasis. Plants have a calming effect through their soothing green colors and by providing oxygen. My favourite go-to indoor plants are the fiddle leaf and peace lilly.

Conquer Clutter: Clutter produces physical and unconscious chaos. Have a clean out of the items you no longer need or use in the home. Creating space in the home will create room for more love and joy in your life.

Nurture Nature: By incorporating natural elements into your space you feed the intrinsic yearnings deep within you that foster a sense of inner calm and peace. I love hanging dried flowers in my kitchen and having fresh produce out in view.

Welcome Windows: Open your windows each day and remember to take a deep breath. Fresh air is always a must!

Let in the light: There’s nothing as refreshing as natural light to make a home feel bright and airy – and close to nature. Keep window treatments to a minimum and let the light pour in at every opportunity.

Aroma for the senses: A homemade linen spray, soy or beeswax candles, and essential oils are all natural ways to enhance your room with fresh scents, which can not only be calming when it’s time to sleep, but also invigorating when it’s time to wake. I highly recommend Doterra essential oils.

Toys away: Don’t let your entire home become a playground with the kids toys. Toys and playtime should be in a designated room or area. Parents need their own space away from chaos and clutter, so ensure you have at least one room in the house that is toy free!

Whatever your style, everyone needs a haven in their home or garden. Somewhere to find your zen, your inner calm, and you’ll know when you’ve found it because you will instantly feel at peace.

I personally love the earthy tones and boho feel in my home, and you really don’t have to put yourself out of pocket to create a lovely style. Jute rugs, knitted throws, pillar candles and sea grass baskets are found in Kmart, Target and Big W for budget prices, and I always try foraging for fresh flowers in my garden or out in nature before spending money on them at the market.

Where is your tranquil space? And what do you love most about it?

X Jes

Pregnancy progress and the stuff no one tells you about.

Well it’s been quite a few weeks since I posted any progress on my pregnancy, so I thought why not let you in on what’s been going on in my world as of late.

Now I wish I could write about how care free, relaxed and easy this pregnancy has been, but unfortunately I haven’t quite settled into this role as easily as I thought I would. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you can’t really prepare for how your body will react and how your mind will adapt.

Pregnancy will be different for every woman, some have an easy ride, while others suffer the entire 9 months. While I personally have struggled, I am trying to see the light in the dark and sharing my experiences on my blog helps me to understand that there’s other pregnant sisters out there going through the same thing.

I’m three quarters through the second trimester now, and there’s been some things going on that I didn’t expect, and that’s because no one tells you about it.

Well, here’s a heads up for all you mamas to be…

Beware of the white top! 

Let’s talk nipples! One of the first ‘symptoms’ of pregnancy for me was changes to my nipples. They get big, real big, and a whole lot darker! At about 15 weeks it was clear my boobs had grown and my bras were just not fitting me anymore, so my husband took me shopping to get fitted for some new maternity bra’s. Turns out I had gone up two cup sizes which just blew my mind! Anyway… The next day I put on my new white maternity bra and wore a white fitted singlet over the top. Hubby and I were out and about for the whole day, until I caught my reflection in a window and noticed two dark spots on my top – It was my nipples! My white bra and white singlet couldn’t even hide these bad boys, and yet I had been out all day flashing these big brown babies to everyone. No wonder the old man at the petrol station was so happy to see me that day!

Sneezing may cause leakage freakage. 

Have you ever pee’d yourself in public? I hadn’t, except for when I was in prep and I wet myself on the basketball court because I was too scared of the grade 6’s hanging out in the toilets… but when you’re a 30 year old woman, you don’t expect it to happen to you. The first time (yes it has happened more than once now) hubby and I were down at the park with our pooches having a glorious time, until I got heyfever and began to sneeze. Next minute I had wee running down my leg. I imediatley walked awkwardly up to hubby and said ‘babe, we need to go home, I’ve had an accident’. Now I carry spare undies in my handbag.

Burn baby burn.

I feel there’s so many stages of pregnancy, first I was sick and couldn’t eat, then I got hungry for anything and everything, and now I can’t eat much at all without getting full really quickly. It’s so weird! In the last couple weeks I’ve been getting heart burn after most meals which in my eyes is nearly as bad as morning sickness. The constant feeling of needing to burp, but if you try force a burp you end up vomitting. Or the burning acid taste in the back of your throat. The worst was when I had tomato soup for dinner and then laid down on the couch just after. After about a minute tomato soup was nearly all over the floor. Hello acid reflux! I often have to get my husband to ‘burp’ me like you would a new born after they’ve guzzled milk – funnily enough as kind of weird as it is, it actually works!

Weird dreams.

I can guarantee that every night I will have a bizarre dream. Like I mean my dreams involve some crazy and twisted stuff. Like the time I gave birth to a dashound. Or the time I was a professional rapper, and I was famous! Last night I dreamt of eating curry while riding on a dolphin at sea world! I don’t know where these dreams come from, but damn! I usually wake up just thinking ‘what the?!’

Leg cramps sent from the devil. 

WOW! I have never experienced leg cramps like I have in the recent weeks. Leg cramps so bad you can’t even straighten your foot out to stand up. And they last for a good 20 minutes. There’s nothing quite like being all cozy in bed and you roll over or stretch out and then BAM! and you think ‘This is it, this is how it ends!’

I can also advise, do not, I repeat do not check your weight on the scales. I’ve hit the 10kg mark and I’ve told my husband I don’t want to know anymore! Its hard to see your weight hitting numbers you’ve never been before in your life!

The hormones are definitely raging at the moment, because I will literally cry at anything. Especially when I fluff in front of my hubby! Oh yes, no one tells you that you become a farty mc fart bum when pregnant!

Things seem to be really moving along quite quickly, In just a couple weeks i’l be in the third trimester! We’ve had our hospital admission interview, booked in our birthing classes, and my babyshower is currently being organised. I wish time would slow down, I need more time to prepare myself, I still feel like I’m just getting my head around it all.

I’m still so fearful of the birth, but I’m trying to be open minded about it all. I’m looking forward to attending a calm birth workshop we booked in a few weeks time, I really feel I will benefit a lot from it. Not sure it will ease the thoughts about pooping during delivery though!

Apart from all the ugly stuff, knowing I’m healthy and that bub is growing well and everything is looking very normal and good, makes me feel at ease. My obstetrician is so lovely and all the midwives at the hospital seem incredibly patient, caring and helpful so I know I’m in good hands.

I’m feeling baby move more and more every week as she grows bigger, sometimes it’s a little freaky and uncomfortable, especially when it feels like she’s kicking my cervix, but it’s a nice feeling knowing that there is actually a person growing inside of you. It makes all the icky stuff worth it.

X Jes

No Bake Hedgehog Slice Recipe.

I love all things sweet, but I rarely have the patience to bake things that have too many ingredients or have too many elements to the recipe.

I’m all about convenience and this no bake hedgehog slice is perfect if you need to whip up a quick and easy desert to bring to your next family dinner or afternoon tea with the girls.

You will need:

  • 2 packets Marie biscuits.
  • 250g butter, melted.
  • 3 table spoons of cocoa powder.
  • 5 table spoons of shredded coconut.
  • 1 tin of sweetened condensed milk.

Icing:

  • 250g milk cooking chocolate.
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil.

Method:

Step 1: Crush the biscuits and place into a mixing bowl. Make sure there is a combination of fine and chunky crumbs. Add the cocoa powder and the coconut and mix well. Tip: I put the biscuits into a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to crush them up.

Step 2: Gently melt the butter and condensed milk on a low heat. Once melted together, pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix well. Once all ingredients are combined, press mixture into a slice tray and refrigerate for 1 hour. Tip: I line the slice tray with baking paper, this makes it so much easier to get the slice out after.

Step 3: Gently melt the chocolate and mix in the oil. Pour over the chilled biscuit base and refrigerate until firm. Slice up and enjoy! Tip: I sprinkle shredded coconut over the top of the chocolate to add a little something extra.

God and Yoga. Can both be present in our life?

I was hesitant at first to even write this blog post, because I know it’s not going to sit well with some people, but in the last couple weeks I’ve had questions thrown at me about my faith in God and my love for Yoga and how I can possibly have both?! If you aren’t aware, there are many Christians who have a strong belief that Yoga is a dangerous and demonic practice, and you cannot worship a Christian God if you are also worshipping ‘false Gods’ and using your body in poses that are deemed dark and evil.

Does it really have to be one or the other or can both be present in our life?

Well, I personally believe you can have both. Infact, I believe they come hand in hand with one another. While I may be criticized for writing this, as Jesus was ridiculed for the places he went and people he hung out with. I am free to express my views, and if people feel they need to go out of their way to contact me to tell me I’m going to hell for doing Yoga, (Yes, can you believe people actually think it’s ok to tell another person they are going to hell?) they can atleast read my thoughts and views about it.

I do not believe for a second that practicing Yoga has any likes to ‘dancing with the devil’. Yoga to me is soulful, gentle and spiritual – how can something so soft and peaceful be deemed so dark and evil? And before you get started with the facts – I know them all too – I suppose this all comes down to that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and well, this is mine.

I practice crystal healing, smudging, essential oils, moon cycles, and all the energy that flows from those things too, and while many will argue the fact that this is also a demonic practice from dark forces, and that the “source” of this power isn’t Godly. I believe in the good, positive energy and healing they bring.

Most people believe in something bigger than themselves, whether it may be God, Mother Nature or the Universe, or all the above, whatever you feel in your heart and whatever you are connected to that’s perfectly ok because it’s YOUR religion and it’s YOUR life. While I believe in God, I would never judge the next person if they didn’t have the same faith as me, nor would I ever pressure them to join my faith or tell them they are going to hell just because they don’t agree with my opinion! Your relationship with who or what you worship is a very personal thing, just like my relationship with God is very personal to me. My relationship will be different to someone else’s relationship, and my commitment and devotion may be at a different level to others, and that’s ok! It doesn’t mean I’m loved any less by my God.

(I’m going to give myself a little Amen! for that last line)

My faith is the core of how I live my life, where my values lye and the type of person I strive to be, and I practice this everyday. I believe in leading by example, and If the way I live my life inspires or motivates another to do good, then I know God is using me to do his work, and that is so pleasing to my heart.

I have often found it easier to be faithful to yoga than to my religious traditions. I have often found that yoga opens my heart and mind to God in a gentle, renewing way. Sunday mornings in church often left me restless, or feeling spiritually hungry for more. In contrast, my weekly yoga classes leave me feeling renewed, balanced, and wholesome, with a quiet spirit.

I have experienced the love of God in such a strong, powerful and healing way on the mat, that I cannot go along with the notion that a Christian cannot practice yoga. There are times to go deep and there are times to rest and receive. Just like the beautiful warrior pose, both deepening and softening are necessary for a strong and growing walk with God.

In the last 18 months that I have really delved into my yoga practice, I feel my connection to my faith has deepened. I’ve experienced so much magic, that I can only put it down to God and the life he is speaking into my heart.

One of my favourite parts of my yoga practice is meditation and I believe meditation opens us to the voice of God. I like to think that prayer is when I talk to God, and meditation is when God speaks to me. It’s hard to hear what God is trying to say to us when we rarely get quiet enough to listen attentively to the still small voice. Learning to be still allows us to be still and know.

“People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.”                 -Proverbs 21:2

One of my teachers refers to yoga as “the process of noticing.” At its most basic, yoga is a physical discipline involving stretching, strength training and breathing exercises. By practicing the physical aspects of the discipline, we develop an acute awareness of the natural state of our bodies, increased focus and heightened self-control. If we are more aware of the natural state of our bodies, how much more can we be aware of when the Holy Spirit is moving within us?

Why do we pray? Why do we read Scripture? To be more fully connected to God, of course. If the Holy Spirit is dwelling within us, an inward practice is not selfish or demonic—it’s necessary.

Namaste.

X Jes

Goodbye Twenties, Hello Thirties!

Last year, when I turned 29, I had a feeling of panic come over me when I realized that I only had one more year left in my twenties.

Now I’m only days away from hitting the big 30, and looking back on the last 12 months of my twenties all I can think is that one year can bring SO many changes!!

This time last year I had just got home from travelling London and Paris with my best friend, which was one of the best times of my life, and something I will always treasure!

12 months ago I also came to the realization that life was too hectic and I wasn’t soulfully satisfied. I began to change the way I looked at life, and took the path of slow, and intentional living. I feel that the last 12 months have been preparing me for this next decade of life, My thirties!

I have no qualms about leaving my 20’s behind. I enjoyed them – I did some things right, I screwed up plenty of others, and I had a lot of fun in the process, but I won’t miss them. My 20’s, much like everyone else’s, were about growth and self-discovery. Some discoveries made me proud, others, not so much. But it is with this knowledge that I know I can go confidently into my 30’s knowing my true self, and knowing I can pretty much handle any obstical that comes my way!

Thinking about everything I achieved, and didn’t achieve in my 20’s is actually really confronting. By all means my 20’s were not perfect, infact for a while there it was quite messy! I didn’t really know who I was, life was fast trying to keep up with the next thing and trend, & no real sense of direction. I knew what I wanted but I couldn’t quite grab it. There was relationship issues, poor money management, and wrong choices. But with all the mistakes, I have learnt so much, and that is part of life and it has shaped me into the person I am right now.

Goodbye Twenties! 

  • Aaron and I moved in together.
  • We got Jasper and Mya (Our two Siberian Huskies)
  • I met my now best friend Stephanie and watched her become a mother and wife.
  • I changed careers. (Hairdresser to retail assistant, to account manager)
  • Aaron and I went through 3 new cars between us.
  • I had my first car accident.
  • I became an aunty to two neices and a nephew.
  • I won two National Pageants!
  • I travelled Europe and the USA, twice!
  • I got Married and fell pregnant at 29!

Hello Thirties! 

  • Hello to a new decade of life, I look to the future with anticipation.
  • God willing, Aaron and I will buy our first home.
  • We will welcome a baby into the world that we made, and we will be given the responsibility and the privilege of raising her.
  • That’s all that I know about what’s coming, but I know that there is promise of great challenge and incredible joy in that alone.

I can look to my 30’s and be a boss at budgeting and managing finances, know how to nurture my body, mind and soul, know how to love myself and stand up for myself. Know when to be silent, only buy things with intention, invest in people who only invest in me, understand what love really is, and know that very little is needed to enjoy a happy life. And that sounds pretty darn good to me!

Bring on 30! I’m ready!

X Jes