Content Warning: I do talk about childbirth  and my experience in my labours within this article. I talk about blood, and other topics that might make you squeamish or uncomfortable. If you think this is something that might upset you, you are under no obligation to continue reading.

When I was pregnant with my kids, I relied heavily on the knowledge and experience of  my midwife and OBGYN. And while I have absolutely no issues with the care I was given – in fact, I would say I had two of the better experiences I’ve heard of coming from the hospital I attended, my midwife in particular being second-to-none – I often felt alone in my experience. If something was happening within my body, I felt anxious to call the hospital in case I was just being overcautious, or paranoid.

My anxiety was heightened when I experienced a heavy bleed at 28 weeks pregnant with my first child. That moment in time scarred me for life; I will never forget it.  I was at work, and felt a gush. I thought for a moment my waters had broken (or, at worst, I’d wet my pants), so I ran to the toilet to find blood everywhere. I walked back into the office, trying to keep calm after stuffing some toilet paper into my underwear (I obviously had no need for sanitary pads at the time!!!) and asked our office manager to call an ambulance.

I had gone from feeling empowered, healthy and strong, to feeling weak, powerless and out of control within the matter of an hour. I had suffered from a retrochorionic haematoma, essentially a blood clot on the uterus.

I was sent away from my family and support system to a hospital three hours’ drive from home, to be surrounded by all the appropriate high level care I would need for my baby should she decide to arrive early.  I was told by doctors that I would need to stay for a few days, then a few more until the bleeding had completely stopped, then for 3-4 weeks until I was 32 weeks pregnant, because the hospital I planned to attend had the equipment to deal with a baby from that gestation, but not before.

I was given a tour of the NICU, to understand what to expect in case my baby did come early. While the staff were amazing, the whole experience filled me with fear and disillusionment. This was not how I wanted to experience my pregnancy. I had, to that point, felt so strong, in awe of my body and what it was capable of, and it was all taken from me in a very short amount of time.

When I returned home (bleeding stopped and baby still – thankfully – in utero), I researched and investigated my condition. I read stories – horror stories and stories of overcoming adversity in pregnancy – and this is when I decided I wanted to do this. I wanted to be a doula.  So in March, I signed up for my first course, which started in May.  We are now 3 weeks in and I’m having a blast, learning so much about childbirth and supporting women.

So why a doula and not a midwife? Why a doula at all?

1. Freedom
As a doula, I am restricted only by myself, and the law.  I have no other legislation or legal code that I must adhere to. I obviously must act in accordance with federal and state law on a general level, but I am not bound by a hospital’s code of practice, or a midwife’s/doctor’s code.  I think this is very important for me personally because it causes me to think about what’s important to me as a doula, what do I feel is morally and ethically right for me and my clients, and furthermore I am more flexible to adapt to different situations.

The other freedom granted by being a doula is that I work when/how I want to work. If I want to take on one client, or five clients, or ten clients at a time – that is up to me. I am not restricted by anything other than my own time.

2. Support
When I was pregnant, my husband, my mother and my midwife were my main supports.  My husband had never witnessed a child being born before, my mother had obviously experienced childbirth but that was 20+ years prior, and my midwife, while wonderful, was not a constant in my life like my hubby and mum were – she was there when I needed her, but she wasn’t an everyday support.  I really could have benefited from having someone else I could call, without pressure or time constraints, to talk about my pregnancy, how I was feeling, my fears, my birth goals, my expectations.  And so I really want to be that for other women.

3. Knowledge
Even if I never support a woman through childbirth at all, the knowledge and understanding I have gained from the training has been life-changing.  Not only about childbirth itself, but about the history of childbirth (past practices, the effects of past practices on current lives, etc) and about the medicalisation and masculinisation of not only childbirth, but of women’s health care in general. Pregnancy and labour are almost treated like an illness or disease, not a natural process that millions of women go through every year.  All sorts of controls and timeframes are put on women in pregnancy and labour, and it’s utterly ridiculous in my honest opinion.  I can at very least go through life without those rose-coloured glasses on and realise exactly what happens in the medical world when it comes to childbirth.

4. Advocacy
A huge part of my life has already been dedicated to speaking up for others. I want to further this in being a voice for those who often feel unheard.  I want to be able to express a woman’s wishes for her own experience in times when she is unable to speak up for herself, but also encourage and empower her to speak up as well.

5. Understanding
I obviously haven’t experienced every possible birth scenario firsthand, but as someone who has already been through the pregnancy and childbirth process twice, I’d like to think that can add to my understanding and empathy of a woman’s experience.  It’s not always fun or exciting or beautiful to be pregnant; sometimes it downright sucks and it’s ugly, and I get that, I’ve been there.

I hope to be able to empower and educate women on their choices in pregnancy and labour, and that I can continue to learn as I progress on my own journey.

In gratitude, attitude and empowerment,

I have set a number of spirituality-based goals this year, but one that has been super important for me is embracing and incorporating the moon and her phases into my everyday life.

At the full moon, I met with a number of my girlfriends at the beach. We walked a labyrinth carved in the sand, focusing on what we wanted to bring into our individual lives. We pelted stones into the water, filled with the things we wanted to release. And we sat and laughed around a bonfire, and observed the moon in her full glory.

But what about the phases between each full moon?  There are (arguably) 8 phases between each full moon – and each one is as potent and magical as the others.  Each phase lasts approximately 3.5 days (with the exception of the dark moon, which lasts only 23.5 hours prior to the new moon), allowing time to acknowledge and work with that phase.  This fact is also arguable as the moon is continuously moving, but for the purposes of magic, it’s considered relatively standard that a day either side of the actual phase is acknowledged as that phase (i.e. the full moon might be on March 12th at 10.38pm, but as far as acknowledging the full moon, this can be done on March 11, 12 and/or 13).

New Moon
As would make sense, as the New Moon makes herself obvious in our skies, it is an ideal time for intention setting, for making new plans, and for new beginnings.  It is a phase for not only the new, but for renewing, and starting over. It is at the New Moon that I set my intention for what I want to achieve over the next 2-4 weeks, depending on the timeframe that I feel accommodates my goal. If it’s a goal that needs more than 4 weeks, I re-set the intention at the next New Moon.

Waxing Crescent Moon
The first sliver of the moon, appearing as the crescent, is a time to nurture your intentions, along with nurturing yourself. For me, this involves sitting with my wishes for this cycle, and tending to it, almost like you would a plant; feeding it, watering it, researching on how to achieve it, gathering information to support you, giving it attention and love and care. I find this is the best time to journal, and specifically about why this intention is important for me and my family, and whoever else it affects. I feel like giving my intention the time and energy that anything deserves and needs to thrive provides the best outcome.

First Quarter Moon
This is when the moon appears to be a semi-circle.  During this time is when I like to start physically actioning to bring my intention into reality; for example, if my intention was to make an extra $500 this cycle, I might promote my business more, or buy a lotto ticket, or ask for extra hours at work.  Magic doesn’t work unless we do. It might seem obvious, but it’s like getting a job; you can’t expect to get a job if you don’t put in an application.  The universe just doesn’t work like that. We have to put in energy to receive back.  The power of intention and law of attraction are what amplify our wishes and help us get heard.

Waxing Gibbous Moon
I call this phase the ‘evaluation zone’.  How are things travelling right now? Are there any slight adjustments I can make to this intention to make it more achievable or more realistic?  Can I build on my intention even more? Can I see results happening already?  It questioning time; to assess what is working and what isn’t.

Full Moon
The one we all know about is the Full Moon.  I use the Full Moon as when you see your intention for what it truly is, you are illuminated of the process it takes to achieve your wish.  You have understanding.  I often find this is the time for releasing what does not serve me or my purpose or my goal to the universe.  I don’t see results just yet (maybe early buds of them), but I let go of the intention and allow nature to take its course as it sees fit.  I find myself taking notice of little synchronicities and coincidences after this phase.

Waning Gibbous (aka Disseminating) Moon
I usually start seeing results around this time.  I might get a phone call or a text message from someone I was hoping to hear from, or a bit of unexpected money comes my way; these kinds of things tell me that my intention is working.   I can see what I have learned from the process, and I can share my experience in the hopes to encourage others to do the same. By talking about it, I build and develop a higher clarify and understanding, and this helps me achieve my goals.

Last Quarter Moon
I like to spend this phase realigning myself with my goal – after 3 weeks, I’ve usually stepped outside and away from the boundaries of my goal at this stage.  I also use this phase start to release my intentions.  This really is the “closing phase”, where we complete what we need to complete in order to bring about the change we wish to see.  I am definitely seeing results by this phase if I’m to see any at all, and may have possibly brought my goal to full fruition at this time. It also becomes crystal clear at this phase as to what has worked for me and what hasn’t during the process.  I’ll often journal at this time to note these things, and keep record, in case there’s something that just didn’t work in this instance, or if there’s an ongoing theme each cycle.

Waning Crescent (aka Balsamic) Moon
Coming to the end of the cycle, I completely release the intention, because I’ve either achieved the goal or found the reason why it hasn’t worked.  I take full responsibility but release any blame and shame from myself, and begin to renew my personal position in the situation, in order to achieve the next goal or review and refresh the existing goal in new light. It is all let go and I think about what’s next, or how to do it better.

Dark Moon
In this short timeframe before the New Moon, I go deep.  I seek within myself what I truly need from the next cycle in my life and how that can be achieved.  Then at the New Moon, the intention is set and the cycle starts again.

How do you incorporate the moon into your practice and your everyday life? Are you an intention-setter or do you go with the flow?

In gratitude, attitude and empowerment,

  1. What was my greatest ‘win’ this quarter?
    Surrendering to the fact I can’t ‘do it all’, and making the decision to free myself from the shackles of extra work in order to spend more time with my family.  I’m notorious for over-commitment, and letting go some hours at work means I have more time for the other things that are more important to me.
  2. What lesson did I learn?
    Given care and time, everything will be okay. I, and the things around me, will still continue to grow when life gets crazy; growth takes time and nurturing. Tending to things just as much as necessary is enough for life to move forward – I don’t have to be everything to everyone all the time.
  3. What do I need to leave behind?
    I am an unique individual in a unique line of work; give away with traditional methods of doing things and find what works for me and my personal situation.  Make peace with the fact I don’t need to do things the same way as everyone else.
  4. What do I need to grow and nurture?
    My inner party girl! I need to let her loose. Celebrate with friends more.  Time spent with friends is never wasted.
    Also, remember to celebrate the little things that often appear insignificant but are actually huge steps to the end goal. Don’t forget to enjoy those times too!

In gratitude, attitude and empowerment,

If you know me at all, you’ll know that for the past 5-6 years, I have been on a complete decluttering kick. It’s been one of my favourite things to do, and one of the demons that has challenged me – in short, a bittersweet companion. My house is still not completely decluttered – far from it – but as I am slowly working towards a more minimal lifestyle (note: minimal, not minimalistic! I am not ready to rid myself of everything unnecessary just yet), I am noticing some changes.

Through the process, I have discovered that decluttering my physical space has become somewhat of an emotional and mental clearing exercise.

I am what they call an “angry cleaner”; if I’m mad or upset, I clean. It calms me, it clears my living space as well as my head, and both end up with more clarity, understanding and purpose.

I came to the realisation that what I was doing was actually magic. As within, so without. This is real magic, with real results. The effect of decluttering, organising and cleaning my space actually achieves the same for my thoughts and feelings.

It is no different to creating sacred space for ritual or meditation or to simply be. You prepare a physical space in order to enter a different headspace, even a different spiritual plane. By caring for the space around you, you care for the space within.

I will go more into my decluttering journey in future posts, but I share this information now because I realise so many people live in a mental state of dismay and helplessness; maybe, just maybe, doing something for your physical space might help you.

In gratitude, attitude and empowerment,

Daily Tarot Draw

When I started reading tarot a few years ago, I tended to just read full spreads and for other people.

I almost had an aversion to – or a fear of – reading for myself.  I kind of had this idea that my ideas and feelings about the situation I was reading about were going to counteract the advice that the tarot could provide, that my personal biases would get in the way and I’d only read the cards to receive the answers I wanted to hear, not what I needed to hear.

However, in the later part of 2016, I started to come around to the idea of reading for myself.  Why the heck shouldn’t I? At minimum, I would be getting practice, and at best I’m receiving helpful advice and an insight into my situation that I may not have seen or realised before.

When Vix at NewAgeHipster posted her ‘January Clarity’ challenge, I took this as a sign that I should a daily draw practice.

On 1 January 2017, I started the challenge, and while we’re only a little over a month into this new journey, it has absolutely changed my life.

I am receiving information and advice that I hadn’t considered before, and a theme has been recurring for me, at least over the month of January, which was that this year I need to take what is useful and leave what is useless.  Let go of what no longer serves my life and my goals.  Make room for more joy and less bullshit. Being able to work through the card, write the results down, and go back to reflect on the issues that have come up, has clarified for me what is important, the actions that I need to take to be more happy and more successful, and has simply provided a true clarity around how I want my life to look.

Of course, implementation is key, so I am also looking at the various areas of my life and seeing where I can make small-but-significant changes in order to bring about the results I want.  Because we all want a life that is magical and inspirational, right?

This journey-so-far has also reassured and empowered me to realise that this my own life; I have the ability to change things, shift things about, make room for more or less as necessary – that I have the power here.  I am not a victim of circumstance; I make my circumstances. If something isn’t making me happy, I have the ability to remove that from my life.

In gratitude, attitude and empowerment,