by Bernadette, Self-employed in Community Services, Australia
Last month I attended ‘the first gathering’ in Melbourne for a group of women in the cycle of menopause. If I’m honest, I attended because I have loved being with the women who attend the women’s meetings, the sharing that occurs and the unifying experiences that remind us of our true power as women – the power of learning to truly be ourselves, connecting to our ability to be still, to really feel our bodies and to appreciate and celebrate the well of wisdom they contain.
This specific Menopausal Women’s Group I attended because it was another opportunity to have this wonderful experience again… AND I was eligible because I biologically fitted the criteria (not that that was necessary)!
What occurred was profound for me.
During the evening I was moved by all the different ways in which women experience the cycle of menopause.
There were women who were parents of very young children sitting beside a grandmother who was just learning to say no to the demands of her adult daughter. One woman told of her 70-year-old pattern of rescuing her sister that she had recently broken, whilst another woman was facing risky surgery for cancer the following week. Continue reading “Celebration of the Cycle of Menopause”
by Adrienne Ryan, BEd, Brisbane, Australia
At a recent presentation by Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine, I came to a deeper understanding of the beauty and power of menopause.
This is the stage I am coming to next in my life cycle, where my body will say: the time of bearing and raising children, of ‘bringing life into the world’, has completed and now it is time to nurture and care for others in a different way to:
Support them to take responsibility for the quality of life they are building, knowing that this quality is what they will take with them into their next life.
It is very beautiful to be reminded that women bring life into the world and later support life to leave the world too. I don’t have children but nonetheless children have always been and still are around me in my day-to-day life. Mothering is a quality I have expressed with children and others – it is a part of how my body impulses me to relate to the world as a woman.
EVERYTHING HAS ITS STAGE IN LIFE’S CYCLES Continue reading “Menopause – Not The End Of Life As I Know It”
by Nicole Serafin, Tintenbar, Australia
I recently gave birth to my second child. I also have a 5 year old daughter whom I breastfed and then progressed onto solids when she was ready. Our son is also breastfed but has a much bigger appetite than our daughter and I decided to include some formula feeds. Formula never entered into the equation with our daughter, but with our son it has been a completely different experience. Of course, breastfeeding is pushed by many midwives and a lot of mothers, but some women are not as lucky and for one reason or another are unable to, or choose not to, breastfeed.
I have felt the inadequacy that some women face from this – it is huge, and so wrong and unnecessary.
I did not think that I had an issue with formula or not breastfeeding. I had been lucky with both of our children and was able to breastfeed them both without any problems, so I never had to consider any other options. When it came time to give our son formula in place of one of his feeds, I could feel myself begin to question if what I was doing was the right thing, if I should really do it, or should I just keep feeding every 2 hours and wait until he began to wean himself? Continue reading “New Mother: To Breastfeed or Not to Breastfeed?”
by Ariana Ray, UK
I WAS TWENTY-ONE WHEN I GOT MARRIED
Everyone my age was getting married and I didn’t want to be left on the shelf as my mother put it. I was in an unstable relationship, but he was a man and he seemed willing and available for marriage.
BY THE TIME I WAS TWENTY-TWO I WAS HAVING MY FIRST CHILD
The fourth came within less than six years after that, at twenty-eight I had all my children, two girls and two boys. When the youngest child was two I started studying at the local University for an Honours degree. Within six months of starting the degree course my marriage ended and I became a single parent.
I WAS A FIXER
When things broke, when things got difficult, when children cried or knees were scraped, when bills needed to be paid and the all-important Reebok trainers were needed, the sports equipment, the label clothing, the trips abroad, the emotional traumas – I FIXED it all. It was how I fooled myself I was in control, how I mothered my children no matter what the scrape we got in as a family, MOTHER FIX-IT would step in.
TO ME MOTHERING WAS ALL ABOUT FIXING Continue reading “Mothering – Leaving the FIXER Behind”
by Adrienne Ryan, Brisbane, Australia
I went to a presentation for women today hosted by Jenny Ellis and Mary Louise Myers from Universal Medicine. What was shared there about ‘True Nurturing’ inspired me deeply…
Nurturing is something I had begun to invest in by taking time to be attentive to what was needed to support me throughout my day. Before this, I can see how my way of life was designed to waste no time: a 2 minute shower, 5 minute dressed and ready to go, multi-task my way through many things at once, not wasting time painting my nails or spending too much time on my hair or paying too much attention to what to wear on an ‘ordinary’ day, and so on. In all this speedy efficiency there was no quality time, no space for just enjoying being with me – it was all about ‘moving on’, ‘getting things done’, ‘not holding other people up’, or ‘not taking up too much of their time or space’ and certainly not indulging in any perceived self-absorbed frivolous-ness or girlie-ness – these were just big unnecessary, indulgent, time wasters.
But today things are different. I have come to love making time to take my time getting ready for the day, tenderly and lovingly looking after myself, enjoying putting on makeup and clothes that highlight (not hide) my beauty and womanliness. I make time to take my time now, and because I do I get to enjoy the feeling of me – the loveliness that is within me – and I notice that I don’t want to brush this off, dismiss, diminish, play it down, reject or deny my innate preciousness anymore. Instead I want to honour it, embrace it and confirm the truth of it: I am worth TIME.
Today at the Brisbane Women’s Presentation I discovered Continue reading “True Nurturing – The Way I Return to Me”
by JK, UK
I am a woman who has experienced a number of women’s health issues (see Part 1 on Endometriosis). One of those women’s health issues was mastitis. I also have a curiosity about women’s health statistics and articles on the state of women’s health today.
Around 10 years ago I had very sore lumpy breasts, much sorer than they were around the time of my period. I went to my GP and I was quickly referred to a local specialist Breast Clinic. On arrival at the Breast Clinic I underwent a series of tests and investigations, including what I experienced to be an uncomfortable mammogram. For those of you who have never experienced a mammogram, it is like having your breasts squashed and pressed between two cold, hard metal plates in the most awkward of positions, whilst standing half naked in the middle of a cold, clinical room. As I was standing there I was nervous as I was also wondering ‘do I have breast cancer?’. This specialist Breast Clinic offers a ‘one-stop’ shop in that over a couple of hours you have many x-rays, tests, examinations, and then you wait in a corridor of chairs to be called in and given your ‘diagnosis’. Continue reading “Mastitis – Experiences and Observations on Women’s Health – Part 2”
by Sharon Gavioli, Registered Nurse, Birth Educator, Counsellor, Brisbane, Australia
All my life I have had a knowing that life was about people and loving people. Despite this, as a young girl I learned that love meant that I should be good and put others’ needs before my own. This meant working hard to please my parents and friends. Throughout this, I felt a frustration at how I felt I had to be and at times would step out of line, which left me feeling bad that I had let another down. Then I would brush myself off and get back in the game in the pursuit of this love.
In my teenage years, I directed my quest for love in pursuing boys, hoping that a relationship would bring me the elusive love that I hadn’t quite found as a girl. After a few false starts, I found the man whom I was sure was going to bring me the love. Within a year of marriage, I started to feel disappointed and again frustrated that the love wasn’t pouring forth in our relationship. I tried to express this, but in the end decided that maybe having a baby would definitely be a sure winner to finally find that true love that I so longed for. Continue reading “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Only to Find it Was Already Within Me!”
by Shannon Everest, Australia
While sitting eating my lunch at work, and fanning through the latest Vogue mag. in the patient waiting room, I read bits and pieces of an article about a new and upcoming young actress called Alice Englert. The article was titled ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
The article itself is not what is important here – what is important is the ponderings that occurred after reading the article.
This young woman of only 18 years was being celebrated with such expressions as ‘Englert heads into the light’… She was being placed on a pedestal for all the world to see, described with such beauty and awe, but for all of the things she can ‘do’, the way she looks, the way she ticks boxes – and not for who she actually is. Lauded for how she has managed to carve her way into the industry, descriptions of her physical beauty and the uniqueness of her old-world ‘look’.
I found myself wondering, how does she really feel? What does she do to care for herself working in the film industry? What did she have to go through to get there? Continue reading “Media & Women: True Qualities of Women”
by Shevon Simon, London, UK
There has been extraordinary change in my body in that my periods HAVE (NOW) RETURNED after some time of absence….
I never thought of myself as a person with difficulties with their period. Yes there was pain, but doesn’t everyone experience pain? And I’ve only in recent months contemplated that experiencing such excruciating pain during my periods could be my body telling me that I was out of sync with the way I was choosing to live and be with myself. An extraordinary concept for me!
I began having my periods around age 11. I was still in primary school and was geared up and excited to have them. My Mum openly had pads and tampons in the house and as she mostly wore pads, I knew this was what I would wear when my periods began. I was so excited to have my period as I could feel my body preparing for it to come, and two of my friends had already started theirs. I wanted to be one of the first so I didn’t get left behind – I was already running the race of competition! My periods began during the Easter break whilst at my grandma’s, but what a shock I received…. Continue reading “Inspiration – My Periods have Returned through Returning to the Real Me; Joy!”
by JK, UK
I am a woman who has been a women’s health statistic – I had endometriosis for over three decades, which I found was an extremely painful and debilitating condition.
I recently re-visited some statistics on endometriosis and found that approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide suffer from endometriosis; 8.5 million in North America and 2 million in the UK and rising. ‘Endometriosis; the presence of tissue, histologically similar to endometrium outside the uterine cavity and the myometrium, is one of the most common gynaecological conditions in women of reproductive age, but it remains one of the most complicated and baffling’ (Rizk & Abdulla, 2003). I too had found the condition baffling…
I started my periods at age 11 in my first few weeks of starting senior school. I knew something didn’t feel right within my body not long after I started my periods, given the amount of pain and discomfort I had each month at the time of my period. I found it debilitating and sometimes had time off school (or work), lying on my bed with a hot water bottle and taking painkillers. My tummy was sore, my breasts were sore and my period cramps were extremely painful; with often no painkillers touching the pain, to the point that on a couple of occasions I went to A&E even in the middle of the night, desperate for some pain relief. I would sometimes nearly pass out with the pain. I remember walking home from school one day and having to lie down on the pavement as I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk. I would have hot sweats and feel nauseous from the pain as well as having thick clotty lumpy dark brown period blood. I would get bowel pain at the same time, diarrhoea and lower back or right hip pain. I knew some of my friends had painful periods but they didn’t seem to have the other symptoms, and often for them a painkiller would do the trick. Continue reading “Endometriosis – Experiences and Observations on Women’s Health – Part 1”