The first four weeks.

Throughout my pregnancy I was solely focused on preparing myself for the labour and birth that I never even gave a single thought to what life would be like after Lara was born. I’m still not sure if that was a good thing or not?!

I was quite fearful of labour and birth at the beginning of my pregnancy, and that fear came from hearing other peoples horror birth stories. After talking to my obstetrician about my fears, she suggested I look into hypnobirthing. I enrolled into a calmbirth workshop & practiced hypnobirthing techniques during the last half of my pregnancy, which meant listening to guided meditations 2-3 times a day, reading and studying daily and casting my thoughts and intentions in creating my ideal and perfect birth scenario. Because I was so focused and determined on having a calm birth, I put all my focus on that alone. My thoughts never wondered to what would happen after the birth or what life would be like with a baby in it.

As I write my personal experiences here, keep in mind that everyone is different. What I experienced might be completely different to what someone else has or will experience…

I’ve noted some of my ‘WTF’ moments I experienced below after my calm, drug-free and natural birth…(Yes, my practice paid off)

Get used to seeing blood…ALOT of blood! 

After laying on the bed in the birthing suite for 2 hours after I gave birth, with Lara resting skin to skin and calmly on my chest, it was time for me to get up and have a shower so we could move into our room in the maternity ward. Now I naturally knew that there would be bleeding afterwards, but good lord the bathroom floor looked like a murder scene! Blood was just running out of me like a leaking tap, even trying to dry myself with a towel and get dressed after my shower was a challenge. Try putting your clean undies on while blood is running down your legs… it’s impossible! And gross! Good news it does taper off after about 2-3 days and then it’s more like having your period for the next 4 weeks, which means wearing pads for 4 weeks! Ugh! My obstetrician said that I didn’t even bleed that much compared to others, and I thought I bled a lot! I believe taking raspberry leaf capsules in the last trimester of pregnancy helped with this as it helps to tone and strengthen the uterus.

As I had a natural birth with no tearing or intervention, I consider myself pretty lucky with the healing process. It was tender down there for a good week after, but nothing too bad that I didn’t need panadol or ice packs. Sure I couldn’t walk very far or sit on hard surfaces for the week after, otherwise I felt pretty normal. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if you had stitches down there! I put my eating 6 dates a day and soaking in the bath for 6 hours during labour down to my easy delivery.

Feeling like jelly.

During the last few weeks of pregnancy I felt so tight everywhere, like my skin had been stretched to it’s limits. It’s crazy how right after birth your skin sags and goes soft. My belly went down very quickly, but my entire body felt so soft and jiggly. I actually hated the feeling of touching my skin, especially washing myself in the shower and putting moisturizer on. Everything just felt loose and like I had no muscles in my body. I felt like this for about 2 weeks after birth, then I slowly started feeling myself again as my body started to tone up. I felt better when I wore fitted clothes like leggings, a crop top and fitted singlets. It just made me feel like everything was held together.

I put on a total of 18 kilos during my pregnancy, and I lost 10 kilos during the first 2 weeks without doing anything but sitting in bed. I don’t feel ‘fat’, in fact I feel pretty good, I think the fact I can fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans helps my confidence. I know it will take some time before I feel like my old self again, and I’m not going to push myself too hard for it to happen too quickly either.

Boobs as hard as rocks.

My breast feeding journey was over before it really begun as Lara was having difficulty latching and I wasn’t supplying enough ‘food’ for her. We decided to stick with formula feeding on day 4, which was also the day my milk came in… WOW! After a day of not expressing, my boobs got so big and so hard, they hurt to even lift my arms above my head. They were so engorged and constantly leaked. I had to wear ice packs and a compression band around my chest for days to help with the swelling. It took a good week for them to go down, but I was still leaking milk just a few days ago. It’s a gross feeling! If I didn’t wear breast pads I would soak through a bra and t-shirt within an hour! Crazy!

Crying… and it’s not the baby.

Whether it was the influx of hormones going crazy or the lack of sleep, the first two weeks I found myself crying a lot. If Lara was crying from a belly ache or being hungry, I found myself in tears too! Sometimes I felt so helpless to her if I couldn’t settle her, or I’d feel so anxious and scared that I’d just start crying. Because both hubby and I were struggling with lack of sleep we would get grumpy at each other which would also lead me to tears. Some people call this the baby-blues, but I think it’s just trying to adjust to life with a baby. Everything is new and different and it really takes time to adjust.

I was fortunate enough to have Lara in a private hospital which meant we stayed in their care for 5 nights. I loved this because it meant I got 5 days of learning from the midwives, which is a wealth of knowledge for a first time mama such as myself. The first few days at home I found pretty overwhelming and scary as it meant no buzzer to call a midwife when I needed help or advice. This probably contributed to the tears I cried.

Say good-bye to sleep.

If you’re like me and is someone who doesn’t function very well without a full 8 hours sleep then let me tell you sister, prepare to drink multiple cups of coffee and have a constant headache! I thought having broken sleep during the last trimester of pregnancy was supposed to prepare you for life when baby arrives… Ha! Lara is a pretty good baby and feeds every 3-5 hours, but it takes at least 1-2 hours to change her nappy, feed her, burp her and then soothe her back to sleep. Then there’s the challenge of moving her from your arms to her bassinet without waking her up… I honestly am finding it really hard to adjust to having 3-5 hours sleep a night. Since being home from the hospital I’ve showered and got out of bed before lunch time about 3 times. Everyone says to nap during the day when bub has her naps, but I find it really hard. I’d rather do some housework and have some quiet time with a cuppa. I can’t sleep knowing there’s washing to do or floors to clean. They say newborn babies get better with their sleep patterns around 6-8 weeks, so I am hoping by then we all will be able to have better sleep and wake up a bit fresher!

Feeling anxious ALL THE TIME.

I usually wouldn’t call myself an anxious person, I am generally quite chilled out and go with the flow, but Lara has changed me! I constantly worry if she’s ok! It makes me sick to my stomach sometimes. Is she breathing? Is she too hot? Too cold? Why is her eye sticky? What’s that red mark on her skin? Why isn’t she drinking all her milk? I question everything. I’ve especially been so paranoid and nervous that she’s going to get sick. She’s had a little cough the last couple weeks and it terrifies me that it’s going to develop into a cold or even worse, whooping cough! It also doesn’t help that people who have come to visit us have been sick despite my best efforts of warning them to stay away if they’re unwell. You suddenly forget about looking after yourself, and your main focus is on your baby and that they are 100% healthy and well. I am looking forward to Lara’s 6 week immunizations, just for piece of mind that she will be protected from some illnesses at least, and then maybe I can stop worrying so much.

The little things.

Like using the car seat and pram for the first time. Sure you can try practice setting up and using these before bub is here, but the real challenge is doing it with a real life baby! It still takes me ten minutes and a lot of head scratching to work out how to strap Lara in and out of her car seat!

Because Lara is on formula, she gets quite bad tummy aches and constipation. If we change her nappy and there’s a poo in there it’s basically like Christmas! I never thought I’d be so excited to see a poo!

Living in a bubble. I’ve only left the house a handful of times since bringing Lara home from hospital and that’s really to run to the supermarket or chemist. We managed to have a nice walk on the beach the other day while the sun was out which was pure bliss for my soul. The weather has been so cold I just don’t want to take her out, and then I don’t want her to get ill, or risk people touching her who are sick. The days seem to just blur together, and I don’t even think about what day of the week it is anymore. I was also hopeless at replying to messages before I had Lara, and now I really just can’t give a hoot about checking my phone. So now you know why I haven’t responded to your messages.

I’ve also stopped caring so much about people’s problems. My main focus now is my baby and my little family. It might sound selfish, but having a baby really puts life into perspective and what is important. I am a 30 year old wife and mother now, and life is very different to what it used to be, and I find myself straying away from certain people and things that don’t align with my thoughts and life now.

While pretty much everything I’ve written here sounds negative, I don’t mean to scare any mamas to be or sound like a sad sack! These past 4 weeks have been a major learning experience, and while I try to look at everything in a positive way, there a days that really test you. Having a baby isn’t easy, and it takes some time to adjust. But the love you feel for your baby and partner/husband has no comparison. I feel so grateful and blessed to be where I am in life with what I’ve got and I look forward to learning and experiencing life with Lara as the days go on. I miss her when she’s sleeping, and even though I feel so tired and my eyeballs are hanging out of my head, I get so excited to hold her in my arms and stare at her beautiful face. These past 4 weeks have been a whirlwind, but it’s been the best learning experience ever!

X Jes

Yes, I formula feed my baby!

If you’d like to criticize me for feeding my baby formula, take a ticket and get inline.

There’s currently a campaign making the rounds on social media in regards to normalizing breast feeding in public and how important feeding your baby breast milk is. You will find mamas posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding their child, followed by a lengthy post about how incredible their body is for producing ‘liquid gold’ or ‘nature’s food’ for their baby and how important it is for babies to be fed breast milk.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that ‘breast is best’ for babies, and I had planned on feeding my baby this way, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out the way we plan.

I gave birth to my baby 9 days ago and I’m currently feeding her with formula. Lara is formula fed not because I randomly chose to do this, but because I was having difficulty to feed her from the breast. Do you know how disheartening it is to not be able to produce enough breast milk to feed your child? It is so deflating to not be able to do something your body is naturally supposed to do, especially when your child is screaming with hunger and frustration.

While in hospital we tried so hard to breastfeed. I had the midwives hand expressing me every couple of hours which hurt, and then every time Lara was due to feed I had a midwife trying to get Lara to latch on properly. It resulted in tears for both of us. Lara just wasn’t ‘getting it’ and because she wasn’t suckling properly she ended up damaging both of my nipples to the point they were bleeding. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience for both of us, but everyone kept saying to push through the pain and keep going as we would eventually get there. That’s easy to say, but when you’re doing it, it’s extremely hard!

After 4 days of gritting my teeth through the pain and a broken heart of struggling to feed my baby, we found that Lara wasn’t putting on much weight as she wasn’t getting enough ‘food’. The doctor suggested we needed to ‘top her up’ with formula to help her put on the weight she needed, to which we agreed on.

The day before we were due to go home I told my husband how anxious and nervous I was to go home and tackle this breast feeding journey on my own without the assistance of the midwives. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to express enough and that Lara would again struggle to latch. It wasn’t until one of the night nurses came in to my room and asked if we were formula feeding or breast feeding, and at that moment I told her of my difficulties and that I felt I couldn’t continue with the breastfeeding any longer. This particular nurse was so understanding and supportive and helped us transition to formula. The next feed I fed Lara with a bottle of formula milk and she drank it so easily and comfortably. She slept well because her tummy was nice and full and after a day she had put on 35 grams. And I didn’t have to go through the agony of expressing and the tears of frustration.

So while everyone is campaigning to normalize breastfeeding, I’m here to say let’s normalize formula feeding too! There seems to be so much criticism surrounding formula feeding and it’s really not fair! While breast feeding mothers may get criticized for feeding in public or to ‘cover up’, Formula feeding mothers get criticized for not giving their baby the nutrition it needs or in my experience so far am asked why I’m not breast feeding!

People are just so nosey and really don’t think before they open their mouth. In my opinion, a healthy baby is a fed baby, whether it’s breast milk or formula, and no one should criticize or judge a mother for how she is feeding her baby.

x Jes

My birth story.

We welcomed our little girl, Lara Evelyn into the world on Wednesday evening, two weeks ahead of schedule.

As you may be aware, I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts or if you’ve been following me on social media, I was practicing hypnobirthing techniques for labour and birth. I wanted to follow up on the results of my practice as so many of my readers were very interested in seeing what the outcome was from my preparations.

When it comes to labour and birth, anything can happen and it’s important to always keep an open mind. While my ideal birth didn’t turn out exactly how i envisioned, it was still positive and I’m very happy with the outcome.

Now just like my labour, this may take a while so pop the kettle on and get comfy.

Last Tuesday (31.07.18 at 12:00pm) I was seeing my obstetrician for my 38 week check up when to our surprise we found out I was already 3cm dilated! My obstetrician advised us that we would be meeting our baby within the next 24-48hrs for sure! I couldn’t believe it! I instantly felt excited, anxious and a little nauseas from the anticipation that my baby would be coming very soon! So hubby and I headed home and surprise surprise I started getting gentle ‘waves’ (contractions) a couple of hours later.

From about 3pm I just relaxed at home, listening to my calmbirth meditations, coloured in my coloring book and snacked on some fruit and dry biscuits while hubby attended to tasks around the house. The gentle waves didn’t really bother me, but we timed them every so often just to keep track of where things were at. By 11:30pm the ‘waves’ were averaging 1 minute long and around 3 minutes apart, so we called the hospital and they advised we come in so they could see how I was progressing. The ‘waves’ weren’t painful at all, it just felt like a mild period cramp or what I describe as ‘tightening’. I just applied a heatpack to the area to help with any discomfort.

At the hospital after some monitoring and general observations, around 2:30am the midwife did an internal check and I was still only 3cm dilated. I wasn’t in any discomfort, but I was just tired from being awake in the early hours of the morning, so we decided to head back home to try and get some sleep, with my obstetrician requesting I come back to the hospital at 8am to see how I was progressing.

We arrived back at the hospital at 8am on Wednesday (01.08.18) after not really having any sleep due to excitement and anticipation to find out I was now 4cm dilated. My obstetrician admitted us as she said we would definitely be having a baby today!

Hubby and I were taken up to the birthing suite where we settled in and made the space our own. I had my essential oil diffuser on, affirmation cards out and started listening to some calming music and meditations to get in my ‘zone’. The ‘waves’ at this point were starting to take more of my attention but were still quite manageable, just using simple calm breathing techniques and changing up my positions to get through.

At 12:00pm my obstetrician came in and broke my waters to help get things moving. I had hoped that this would happen naturally, but with complete trust in my obstetrician I agreed.

Around 2pm I got into the bath which was such a relief on my body. The warm water really helped with my lower back ache and to help me feel more relaxed. The ‘waves’ began to really intensify by this stage, however time passed quickly here and before I knew it i had been in the bath for 4 hours.

It was 6pm on Wednesday now. My obstetrician was curious at this point to see how I was progressing, and after an internal check she advised I was now 5cm dilated. After hearing this I felt a bit deflated as I had been in labour for over 24 hours now and I was feeling quite exhausted. I really thought I would have been much further along than 5cm, but the midwives and my obstetrician assured me I was doing great, and that my body had already done the hardest part of opening up. They suggested I get back into the bath and we would see how things were progressing in 2 hours time. Those 2 hours felt like the longest 2 hours of my life… The ‘waves’ were really taking my focus away at this point and I really had to concentrate to breathe and move through them as they were coming every 30 seconds and lasting approximately 1 minute long.

The ‘waves’ were strong and made me feel a little nauseated when they peaked, but I sipped on ginger ale and water and snacked on dry biscuits and mints which helped me to not be sick. I also kept having hot flushes and used cold face washers on my neck and forehead to help cool me down.

8pm eventually came around and the midwives helped me out from the bath. I laid on the bed while my obstetrician checked me over and told me I was now 6cm dilated. At this moment I cried and just felt so frustrated that I had been laboring for this long now and was only 6cm. I felt that the ‘waves’ were so strong and close together that I had no energy or stamina left in me to even breathe through them. I really wanted to birth without drugs but at that moment I just wanted the ‘waves’ to stop! With hesitation and disappointment I agreed to having an epidural as I felt I just lost my mindset and was fearful it would still be another 6 or so hours of intense laboring ahead. My obstetrician put a drip in to help with my fluids and called the anesthetist for the epidural.

As I lay there on the bed praying the anesthetist would hurry up and take this ‘pressure and tightening’ away, I had a ‘wave’ come that felt different than usual. I felt this immense pressure in my bottom and I even voiced out to everyone that I felt like I was about to do a poo on the bed. The midwife came over to quickly check me and to everyone’s surprise I was fully dilated. This was it, no time for an epidural, there was a baby coming!

Everything seemed to be happening so quickly at that moment, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to have the epidural, I felt scared, and I felt excited knowing we were almost at the finish line.

With assistance, I got up on my knees with my upper body draped over the head of the bed and breathed baby down the birth canal with each intense ‘wave’. I could feel the adrenaline in my body, and I tried to remember to relax and just breathe slowly. The sensation felt so strange, as I actually felt like the baby was going to come out of my bottom. Soon enough my legs gave way as my body was completely exhausted and I had no strength left to hold myself up. The midwives helped flip me over so I was sitting upright instead, and this way my obstetrician could do her part efficiently.

My obstetrician was incredible in guiding me through breathing and pushing. As soon as I felt a ‘wave’ come I would say ‘here it comes’ to mentally prepare myself to get though. Everyone helped remind me to breathe properly and when to give my everything with each push, while cold face washers were draped around my head and neck and water and ice chips helped replenish me in between the ‘waves’.

I could feel absolutely everything, and just went with my body.

I was told I had my eyes closed the entire time and that I didn’t really make any sound except deep breathing and a deep sigh of relief after some of the strong and hard pushes. I just focused on my obstetricians voice and trusted her guidance. I didn’t pay attention to anyone else in the room.

I remember her asking me if I wanted to touch the baby’s head as it came out to which I said no. She then told me to have my hands out ready to receive my baby, to which I hesitated. I just couldn’t comprehend that my baby was just seconds away from being born and so my husband stepped in and grabbed our little girl and placed her on my chest.

It took me a few moments before I could even touch her or look at her as I was just in complete shock of what just happened. When I did look down at her she had her eyes open and was just staring at me. She was so quiet, not a single noise apart from a little gurgle. I even said ‘is she alive?’ because she was so calm, still and quiet.

We waited until the cord stopped pulsating before my husband did the honors of cutting it as we believe in the benefits of delayed cord clamping. I also delivered the placenta naturally and easily after 10 minutes.

In total it took about 40 minutes of nudging baby down and pushing her out. I also had no tearing or damage and didn’t require any intervention.

I still can’t believe I laboured and gave birth without any medication, and no vomiting. (Vomiting was a huge fear of mine during labour) I felt completely normal after the birth, and am recovering so well. The midwifes were all so surprised at how well I am, and didn’t even ask for panadol.

I really believe all my pre-birth preparations made my experience what it was. While there were moments I felt I couldn’t go on, the breathing techniques and affirmations really helped keep me grounded. It’s like I had all these inner resources imprinted in me and my subconscious just knew how to access it.

It also helped that I had such a great team around me and that the hospital really supported my birthing preferences.

While my labour was long and enduring, I still would say I had a positive birth experience. The baby was never distressed during labour and I believe that came down to myself being in a calm state. Even now, just 4 days after birth, Lara is such a quiet and content baby, and even the midwives have commented on this.

I would definitely use the same techniques for my next pregnancy and birth, and I feel so confident within my body and its capabilities that I could once again do it without medication.

I feel amazing, joyous and happy and Lara is such a content and beautiful baby! I believe this outcome has contributed from such a positive birth experience and I would highly recommend every woman and/or couple to learn hypnobirthing or calm birth techniques. Knowledge is power, and the more you understand how the female body works during labour and birth and how your emotions affect your hormones, you can better understand how to work with your body rather than against it.

X Jes

No bake date and almond slice.

Did you know that eating 6 dates a day throughout the third trimester of pregnancy helps to soften your cervix, helps you dilate quicker and have a shorter labour?! (So researchers say anyway) I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’m giving it a go, and il report back after bubs is born.

Now I love dates, but I’m at the point where I can’t even stand the sight of them after eating them daily for approximately the last 10 weeks, plus they give me terrible heartburn now, so I’m not completely enthused to down them at the moment.

I’m so close to labour and I’m not going to give up now, so I whipped up this easy no bake slice to help get my daily dose of dates without cringing at the thought of eating them! Plus this slice is drizzled in chocolate, and who can say no to chocolate right?

You don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy this slice, they would make a lovely afternoon school snack or morning tea treat!

You can add in basically anything you like, I had some sunflower seeds, walnuts and shredded coconut in my pantry that I also added into the mix. You could also add in cereal or oats, and other dried fruits. (Hmmm actually I might try cereal in mine next time)

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of condensed milk
  • 125 grams of butter
  • 1 packet of arrowroot biscuits
  • 2 table spoons of golden syrup
  • 1 cup of chopped pitted dates
  • 1 cup of roasted almonds
  • 3 table spoons of chia seeds
  • 250 grams of dark chocolate melts
  • Method

    • Crush the biscuits into a fine crumb. You can use a food processor or place the biscuits into a zip lock bag and crush with a rolling pin.
      Roughly chop the dates and almonds and add to the mixing bowl with the crushed biscuits.
      Add in the chia seeds and any other dry ingredients you fancy.
      Heat the butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan over a low heat until butter has melted. Then pour into the dry mix bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon.
      Line a lamington or brownie tray with grease proof paper and pour mixture into tray. You may like to use your hands to press the mixture firmly into the tray.
      Place tray into the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
      Melt chocolate and drizzle over the top of the set slice, and place back in the fridge until chocolate has hardened.
      Cut up and enjoy!

    I hope you enjoy these as much as I do! I can’t get enough!

    X Jess

    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