As many of you know, at the moment I am writing the book Milestones of Motherhood which sets out to explore the ways in which women change and grow through being mothers.
The original idea for this book came about through a piece of writing I entered into the 2013 Mother’s Milk Writing Prize.
I had been looking through some old photos of when my first daughter was a baby, and the thing that struck me the most was not how much she had changed, because of course that is what we expect babies to do, but how different I was then, and how much I had changed.
Of course physically pregnancy, birth and caring for a baby are very demanding, and we feel and see the effects of this huge outlay of energy in and on our bodies.
Yet I began to reflect upon how much I had changed in other ways too. We may read many books and plan what we hope to be like as mothers, but as every new mum knows, there is no way to really know how you will feel and what you will do until the time comes and you are there, with your baby in your arms, depending on you night and day, every night and every day.
So I took the opportunity of my little ones sleeping to write a piece of prose called Milestones where I explored the ways in which I had changed through learning to care for my little ones.
I reflected upon how I had learned so much about love through loving my tiny daughter. Through loving her, I had really opened my heart and learned so much about myself. Pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding especially had taught me much about trust. A trust in myself, my babies, and the ways in which trusting, loving relationships are formed.
Here is a little excerpt from the original Milestones:
Looking back, at myself as a new mum, I was happy and hopeful, yet completely unprepared and unaware of what it really meant to love and nurture a baby. Less still was I prepared for the challenges and joys of toddlers and children. Yet each and every day I got to know my baby. I held her close, watched as she snuggled and found my breast … I felt as though I was in some kind of alternate universe, not quite woken up yet. However, through these hazy days, a vast transformation was taking place inside.
Looking back I smile as I imagine our fledgling family, like a butterfly, in a cocoon of our very own, letting go of everything we previously know and thought we knew. Letting go, yet learning so much more. As we emerged from our cocoon, fledgling wings feeling their way, gradually bringing ourselves out to feel the warmth of the sun, I realise our learning has been vast.
Taken from ‘Milestones‘, The Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize 2013 Anthology, Edited by Teika Bellamy, Mother’s Milk Books
My piece was commended by the judges and I felt so happy to see my writing appear in the Writing Prize Anthology amongst many other unique and touching insights into parenting.
Shortly after Teika Bellamy from Mother’s Milk Books asked if I would be interested in developing this idea into a book which explored the many ways in which motherhood changes women.
I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and to be able to write about issues which are very close to my heart.
Milestones of Mothering will include the stories of many women, all at different places along their parenting journey. If you would like to get involved and share your own journey of transformation as a mother, please get in touch and I will send you a Milestones Questionnaire. I look forward to hearing your story.
You can contact me on email@example.com
We also have a new facebook page Milestones of Motherhood where you can keep up to date with the progress of the book.
On Tuesday 27th January we will welcome Dianne Standen to Beautiful Beginnings to talk about the Campaign Cumbrians Against Fluoride.
As you may or may not know, the water supply along the Cumbrian coast is fluoridated. This means that Hexafluorosilicic Acid is added to our water supply.
The mainstream thinking behind this is that fluoride helps to reduce tooth decay.
Yet there are many reports which question this science, and many more research papers which flag up very worrying long term side effects from the continued exposure to fluoride, especially when fluoride is consumed regularly by babies and children.
This is not something I, until recently, knew much about, and as a health-conscious parent I, like many others, am keen to avoid exposing myself and my children to large and unregulated doses of chemicals. Especially as I, like the rest of the West Cumbrian population have not consented to receive this medication through my water supply and am concerned about the side effects of the regular consumption of fluoride.
Dianne will talk about the decision to fluoridate the West Cumbrian water supply, the CATFISH research study which compares the dental records of 5 year old children in West and North Cumbria, and the work of the campaign so far.
I hope this will be an informative session where we as parents can become more informed about the water supply which we and our families rely on each and every day.
To find out more visit http://www.cumbriansagainstfluoride.com/
Interactive harp and fun music session at Beautiful Beginnings Tuesday 13th Jan!
The first session of the year will see Beautiful Beginnings welcoming harpist and music therapist Clare Bakewell to the group.
Clare’s fun music sessions introduce children to the beautiful music of the harp, there is plenty of singing, playing instruments, dancing and the opportunity for everyone to have a go on the harp.
The group begins at 10:30 and the music session will start at 11:00. Donations towards Clare’s travel welcome.
Do come along if you can and enjoy the session.
Peace is an issue close to my heart.
Like millions of others I pray for peace on Earth each day.
Yet with so many media messages of conflict, aggression, fear and destruction, it sometimes feels as though peace is far off, somehow unreachable, perhaps an ideal but not a reality.
What can we do? How can we change things? Such questions can often lead to apathy and defeat, yet as parents I believe we all have an active and vital role to play in the contribution to peace on earth. We can use our privileged position as parents to contribute to peace each and every day.
We can choose how we react and respond to our children, how we talk to them and what examples we set for them. We can chose how we relate to others, how we respond to conflicts and the atmosphere we create in our homes and families.
How do you use your role as a parent?
I wrote about this in my article Parenting for Peace which appeared in Issue 67 of The Mother Magazine.
How do you use your role as a parent?
Do you realise the enormity of the potential you have for being an ambassador for peace in this world?
By parenting our children consciously, and relating to others with respect, we have the opportunity to become a beacon of light. To inspire others, not through our words or advice, but through our own peaceful actions and interactions.
How do you use this precious opportunity?
Each and every day we make a difference to the lives of our children and to the world. Every single person makes a difference simply by being in the world and contributing their energy. Imagine baking a cake or cooking a meal; every ingredient has a job to do, and so do we. There are no ‘spare parts’ in life, we all count, and we all make a difference. What is up to us is the quality of the difference we make. Smiling and showing kindness and respect where we don’t necessarily need to can make untold difference in the lives of others.
We all count and all make a difference in the lives of our children and countless others. What kind of difference do you make?
Peaceful Days, Peaceful Ways
By relating to our children peacefully we create an inner expectation of peaceful as normal. Similarly, if we are often behaving in an aggressive or stressed out manor, this too will be understood and internalised as normal by our children who grow up in our energy field. We know that children learn through imitation at most stages of their development, and how often have you heard your own words or tones of voice being spoken by your children? Never underestimate the influence of your parenting, and the way you live your life on your children.
To read the full article and many others visit www.themothermagazine.co.uk
You can receive a 20% discount on your subscription by quoting the code Clare Cooper at the checkout.
Mother’s Milk Books is a small, independent press which publishes high quality, beautiful books for adults and children which aim to normalise breastfeeding and empower parents.
This inspiring publisher hosts an annual writing competition which is a great opportunity to take some time to explore your creativity and put into words some of your emotions, memories and experiences of parenting.
This year the theme of the competition is The Story of Us in a family context.
I love this idea as it is really a springboard to explore so many aspects of the parent ~ child relationship.
Poetry and prose are welcomed and there is even a children’s poetry category.
The closing date of the competition is 18th January 2015.
Creating a community of like-minded families was one of the main hopes behind the creation of the Beautiful Beginnings Natural Playgroup. Over three years ago Hatti and I decided to set up the group with the intention of bringing people together and creating a community of like-minded families.
Breastfeeding rates are pretty low in West Cumbria. We hoped to create a friendly and welcoming group where parents could feel comfortable breastfeeding their children and also give and receive support.
Well it has been a busy three years, and looking back with a warm heart at many play group sessions, I can definitely say that a community has been created and friendships forged.
To celebrate 2014 Beautiful Beginnings sessions I’d like to look back and share with you some special memories…
We have created Blessingway Ceremonies to offer strength and empowerment to mums as they prepare to give birth.
We have welcomed new babies into the group and enjoy seeing them grow up week by week
Tiny friendships have been formed as little ones have spent time together, side by side playing, exploring, sharing…
We’ve watched and shared the journey as babies have become toddlers and begun to explore a whole new world…
There’s been lots and lots of cutting and sticking…
We’ve enjoyed many sessions of exploring the garden and also planted trees from the Woodland Trust…
I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the families who contribute their time, energy and ideas to the group. You all make each session special and we wouldn’t have the group without you!
Wishing you all a peaceful, happy and fun-filled Christmas and New Year.
Playgroup Sessions will begin again on Tuesday 13th January 2015 10:30-12:30
New families always welcome
We have some exciting Christmas plans for BB playgroup during December…
Tuesday 9th December will be a salt dough decorations session
We will all be able to squidge and squeeze the dough and hopefully create some lovely handmade decorations for your tree.
The salt dough is kindly being made by Alicja, and if you can, please bring along a chopping board, any cookie cutters you may have, a rolling pin and a box to take your creations home. You will need to bake the decorations at home.
Tues 16th December will be our playgroup Christmas party!
Ideas so far include a Christmas craft session from creative genius Jane Donaldson in the Arts Barn, music and dancing and home baked Christmas goodies. Looking forward to hearing more ideas about how we can make this a fun and sparkly party for all BB families.
Have you heard about the discussions going on at the moment about the ‘developments’ at West Cumberland Hospital? The plans for the new building look great, and the people of West Cumbria definitely deserve to benefit from a greatly improved health service in a newly built hospital.
What you may not have heard about, however, are the plans to reduce services. There is a plan to take away a number of services, one of these (among others) being MATERNITY.
What would this mean for families, labouring mothers and babies in West Cumbria?
The proposal is for labour ward to be closed and labouring mothers to have to travel to Carlisle.
Will there be extra provision at Carlisle for this extra volume of mothers?
Will there be extra midwives and consultants to ensure women have the specialist expert care they need during labour and the precious days thereafter?
What are the proposals for mothers who require consultant care during their pregnancy?
What are the implications for babies in Special Care? How will the extra distance impact on mother – baby bonding, how will families cope with traveling the extra distance, especially when there are other young children in the family…
What are the implications for home birth?
Will closing Labour Ward in Whitehaven put mothers and babies lives at risk?
There are many questions which need answering, and unfortunately, many people are unaware that this is even a proposal.
There is a meeting TONIGHT Monday 29th Sept from 7pm – 10pm at Whitehaven Rugby Ground for people to voice their concerns and ask questions about the proposals. Please try to come along if you can, even if its only for half an hour.
Please also talk to your midwife, MP and Councillors to find out more on this issue. There is also a facebook group dedicated to keeping labour ward at West Cumberland.
Before we begin the weekly playgroup sessions at The Settlement, we have planned an early autumn trip to The Gincase farm park on
Tuesday 23rd September at 11:00am.
There is lots for little people to enjoy including big soft play barn with slides and ride on tractors, an animal barn to meet some friendly farm animals where you have the chance to feed and stroke the friendly goats, guinea pigs, micro pigs and a pony.
There will be a baby goat feeding session at 11:30 in the animal barn.
Time to explore the outdoor paddocks and play park.
Bring along a pack lunch, and hot drinks are also available from the cafe.
Hopefully this will be a chance for the children to play and have fun whilst the parents get some time to share plans and ideas for the new term at playgroup.
If 10 or more adults and children over 2 are coming we will get the group price which is £4.50 per person.
Do let me know if you can make it. We will meet in the car park at 11:00. Look forward to seeing you there.
for more details: www.thegincase.co.uk
As the season turns to autumn, we are making the most of the warmer autumn days by having a meet up early September, and then beginning playgroup sessions again at the end of the month, with an autumn theme.
Moresby Park, 2.00pm Meeting on outdoor play park on field behind Moresby Parks Road, on street parking.
A fabulous new park with fun play stuff for all ages, plus walk to horses.
If raining meeting at Fun House Soft Play by golf course.