Stop And Smell The Roses

There have been moments during the past seven weeks of parenting that I’ve experienced mild to moderate, to at times, even manic overwhelm. But I know not to beat myself up.

Mumming and breastfeeding non stop around the clock with little to no sleep can send even the most grounded of persons spinning off the earth’s axis.

I am not perfect, nor must I try to be.

In spite of the craziness, I love my little family unconditionally and wouldn’t trade any of this madness in for the world. For amidst the mayhem are bountiful blessings that make it all worthwhile; I am Mum to a beautiful, spirited son who lights up my world despite keeping us well on our toes; I have my supportive, hardworking spunk of a man by my side who provides buttery crumpets to warm my tum and endless laughter to warm my heart; I am also blessed enough to be surrounded by authentic women who I am proud to call my friends.

I honestly believe that the more grateful we are about life, the more life has to offer us things to be grateful for.

It’s so easy to get blindsided when emotions are running high, so today, tune in and count your blessings.

What blessings keep you keeping on?

Nothing in life is guaranteed, not even our next breath. As extreme as this may sound, it’s important to remember this simple truth if we are to appreciate all life has to offer.

Before becoming a Mummy I walked everyday, sometimes even twice a day for an hour each time. These days I am lucky to get a half hour walk depending on my sons mood… I have learnt not to expect my walk, but to be grateful when it does happen. This way I avoid disappointment and appreciate our time spent in nature all the more. I remember to ‘stop and smell the roses’ 🌹 Or in my case, these beautiful orange flowers (I have no idea what they are, feel free to educate me!) 😉

Today, stop and smell the roses. Notice your next breath and give thanks. Expect nothing and appreciate everything, and if you can’t appreciate it, at least accept it.

Love always,

Hayley xx

Perfect Parenting (No Such Thing)

One thing I am learning on this crazy parenting ride is that motherhood is a huge lesson in trust, acceptance and surrender; because there really is no such thing as perfect parenting.

Each day I’m turning new corners as I slowly embrace and accept all that is perfectly imperfect about mumming…

…From having to change and bath my baby boy twice within half an hour of waking (the poop explosions are real 💩💩😳) to having to turn back home just minutes from leaving my doorstep due to hysterical crying two days in a row (my little darling has suddenly decided he prefers being rocked to sleep in my arms during his afternoon nap over being walked to sleep in his stroller…) Bye bye nature walks, Mummy!! 👋🏻🌳😫

As defeating as these moments can feel, it’s impossible to remain frustrated for long… especially when I look at Kole’s tiny little face.

I am so very blessed.

A perfect Mum, I am not – but a good one? Yes I am. I love this tiny soul with every ounce of my being 💙🌈 And if that means giving up my afternoon walks for cuddles, then I surrender… 🤗

What else makes me a good Mum? Laughing after my son spits up milk all down my chest – only to see him chuckling (for the first time ever) right back at me with a mouth full of milk 🙌🏻🥛🤣

What is one of the million ways you are a good Mum? It’s time to acknowledge your superpowers!

Love always,

Hayley xx

The Smallest Things…

There’s no doubt that parenting can be lonely business and often the days can seem long and repetitive. But the dichotomy is that I also never want these days to end… Why? Because there is SO much magic in the seemingly mundane, enough to turn even the longest and loneliest of days into my greatest source of joy.

For me, it’s in my morning conversations with Kole; it’s gazing into his eyes and seeing the future in them; it’s studying his ever changing expressions and realising an hour has passed by; it’s feeling his tiny breaths kissing my skin; it’s noticing his crying soften and his tense body relax the moment I hold him close to my heart… If it wasn’t for these moments of magic in our day, parenting would undoubtedly turn us all insane.

But thankfully, ‘sometimes the smallest moments take up the most room in your heart.’ Today, look for the magic. It’s there.

What are the small moments that take up the most room in your heart?

Love always,

Hayley xx

The Folds And Creases

I am slowly beginning to accept the folds and creases as a normal part of motherhood; whoever says parenting is easy is bullshitting you. Motherhood is magical, but it’s also DEMANDING.

There are days I’m lucky to take a shower before midday, brush my hair or take a pee. Eating is limited to fruit and toast, and I’m often seen sporting two round wet patches where my milk has leaked through my nipple pads. Leaving the house looking like a scarecrow no longer bothers me – I couldn’t give two shits because I’m just grateful I left the house!

I’m in awe of mums who manage to look presentable and hold their shit together, I’m wondering when that day will arrive for me? But I’m also secretly wondering what’s really beneath the Mummy mask… because surely I’m not alone in this?

Today, let us acknowledge our deep, unwavering, profoundly passionate love for our children, but let us also acknowledge the grit it takes to live with the folds and the creases.

This squishy face makes all the sleepless nights worthwhile…

Love always,

Hayley xx

Mothers Milk

Nobody said breastfeeding would be easy… So far my baby and I have experienced the initial breaking in period of cracked nipples, early onset of mastitis, and we are currently navigating an overactive let down which means I drown my son in milk each time we feed! Queue choking, frustrated baby who chomps down on my breasts to slow the flow…

There are times when I feel like giving up, but I know this breastfeeding journey will get easier with time. It’s worth me persevering to provide the best nourishment for my child.

‘Breastfeeding is a Mother’s gift to herself, her baby and the earth’ – Pamela K. Wiggins.

In some ways, breastfeeding prepares us for Motherhood. It is to place another’s needs before our own.

I understand breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and I have no judgement towards women who choose alternative ways to feed their baby. As a bottle fed baby myself, I respect every woman’s decision as a choice.

For me, that choice has been to nourish my child with what Mother Nature provided. Not simply ‘because it’s free’ (…anyone who says that clearly doesn’t know the time and effort that goes into breastfeeding!) I choose the breast because this is the food that was intended for my baby to help him grow and thrive.

What sacrifices/difficulties/adversities have you experienced on your baby feeding journey? Did you reach a point when it all began to get a little easier?

Love always,

(One curious breastfeeding Mumma)

xx

The Rainbow After The Rain

Each day I receive a quote to my phone which appears in the form of a notification. On my birthing day, mid labour, this is the quote I received. It couldn’t have been more true.

At this stage I had endured a lot of rain and had been birthing for over 24hours. A pinched nerve in my lower back meant that my labour was not ‘flowing’ as I’d imagined. Determined to avoid any drugs or invasive pain relief that would pass to our baby’s system, I allowed the rain to pour down on me – hard and heavy.

I would say that the back labour and water injections used to alleviate the discomfort were far more distressing than any other part of the birthing process, which i’d always held as beautiful and powerful and still believe this to be true.

The pinched nerve demanded all of my attention and focus, and at times I questioned my ability to birth my baby boy naturally, if at all. But my rainbow came. And I love him with every ounce of my being 💙

In life, sometimes we wish to give up. We don’t see that in the midst of our pain and despair, there is a beautiful rainbow forming.

Today, I ask that you TRUST. No matter what your circumstances or how long you’ve ‘put up with the rain’ – have faith that the rainbow is coming. Trust that it is bright, beautiful, colourful and magical. And yes my dear, that rainbow is just for you. You are SO worthy 🌈

So this little bundle of love is one week old today 💙🌈

Wow, what a journey Motherhood is.

My life now consist of sleeping in three hour increments or less; poopy bums and milky burps are the main flavour of the day, and my breasts have been converted into a 24hour milk restaurant 🥛

BUT, holding you close to our hearts, hearing your little piglet snorts and seeing your dreamy smile as you sleep makes every ounce of tiredness worth it’s weight in gold.

We love you Kole Roy 💙🌈 Happy one week earthside beautiful boy,

Love always,

Mummy & Daddyxx

Mother Nature’s Dance

Dear Mother Nature,

For two days, we danced. You came to me in the early hours of Monday morning, and I leaned into your embrace.

‘I am here to dance

As we have for thousands of years

To a song I’ve never heard, but have danced a million times…’ – Storm Ellyatt

Slow and steady, I swayed to your rhythm, rising to the swell of each surge.

The dance was long and enduring, testing every ounce of our emotional and physical strength.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning you came thicker and faster, your pace more insistent and I could barely catch my breath before I was swept along – no longer in control, but completely surrendered and at the mercy of your power.

And then I heard you whisper in my ear: TRUST.

We danced, we moved, we fell breathless and exhausted, only to begin again this intoxicating euphoric sway of nature.

I stumbled, I rose, I fell again, and just when I thought I could dance no more, I roared my final roar… and then you gave us the gift of our baby boy 💙🌈

Welcome to the world Kole Roy.

Date: 1st Aug 2018

Time: 1:03am

Weight: 9 pounds 3 ounces

You are beautiful in every way. Words cannot express the depth of love we already have for you.

My deepest gratitude for my incredible birth companions, Daddy, Dasha, Michelle and Grandma Lorraine who came along for the dance and remained steady and consistent to each change in tempo.

And for the energetic support of my Divine friends and sisters, you gave me the courage and strength I needed to own my vision of a natural birth. We did it! It wasn’t quite the 3 hour birth I’d envisioned, but it was worth every last little ounce of energy!

We will be opening our arms and hearts to welcome visitors in two weeks time. We appreciate your love and patience in the meantime as we honour this sacred time to bond (and rest!) as a family and for bubs to gently adjust to his strange new world outside of the womb.

Love always,

Hayley, Daley and Kole Roy xxx

Soulful Sunday #60: The Other Side Of Fear

The other side of fear

Welcome to my fifty-sixth instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’; a weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my dreams and intentions for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

Fear is debilitating. It can literally leave us paralysed with anxiety.

There is a famous quote (and book for that matter) by Susan Jeffers who reminds us:

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

My biggest work over the last few months has been to face my fears around labour, particularly around the ‘normal’ practice of hospitals whose medical interventions often result in unnecessary trauma for both Mum and baby. Don’t get me wrong, in a medical emergency these procedures can save lives; but in a normal, safe, healthy pregnancy and birth, such interventions often cause more harm than good.  Is it any wonder then, that we hear so many horror stories about birth?

Once my fears were acknowledged, I could then begin to dissolve them. I turned to natural birthing books and absorbed myself in the thousands of positive birth stories (yes – they exist!!!) each contained. The more I read, the more I began to meet women who had birthed naturally, and with less complications (if any) than those who had birthed at the hands of doctors and drugs.

We also decided on Hypno-birthing classes to prepare ourselves for a calm birth using breath work, relaxations, visualisations, strengthening affirmations and natures own pain relief; oxytocin – all of which helped to deepen our confidence and trust in a natural birth.

Whilst our preparations do not guarantee us a smooth, uninterrupted birth with little to no complication or medical intervention; what they do provide us with are the innate tools to birth in love and trust, rather than shrouded in fear.

Of course, there are always some residue fears of the unknown and lingering What if’s? But since the only way out of my birth is through, I must ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’

The only way out is through.

– Robert Frost

And through we shall go, in love and trust.

Soul Strolls

With three weeks to go until we meet our baby, strolling has become somewhat of a waddle! The pelvic pressure is real haha And so, after finishing my last week of work last Friday, I decided to put my feet up and rest this pregnant body.

I booked in for a pregnancy massage at Endota Spa (which was the best massage I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot!) and soaked up the healing vibes. I plan to spend the next three weeks resting and nourishing myself and our baby, and enjoying our last few weeks as a ‘two.’

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‘Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’ – Marcel Proust

Soul Recipes

This recipe is an oldy but a goody of mine. I love using my slow cooker, and this dish lends itself perfectly to one. It’s hearty, it’s comforting, it’s delicious and it’s even healthy My Hearty Lentil Curry gets a thumbs up every time. Let me know what you think!

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Yummy lentil curry!

Soul Music

On the other side of fear lies freedom and peace. So today I would love to share this delightfully peaceful track by Ashana titled Deep Peace. Put you feet up, take a deep breath in and receive the deep peace flowing to you. Now sigh and release. You are free. You are safe. You are secure and loved.

Soul Sisters

Today I would love to share this beautifully nourishing poem titled Bliss by Aroused. A timely reminder for us to connect with our intuition within and to trust.

Wrapping you all in a warm loving hug on this soulful Sunday.

Love always,

Hayley xx

Soulful Sunday #55: Beautiful Bodies

comparison

Welcome to my fifty-fifth instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’; a weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my dreams and intentions for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

At seven and a half months pregnant, I’m amazed by the number of women who feel compelled to comment on the size of my bump, comparing its size to that of their friend who is ‘due two weeks before me and is SO much smaller’, so small in fact you can ‘hardly tell’. I’ve even had my belly compared to a basket ball!

I’d like to think the women delivering these words are well intentioned and simply unaware of the potential harm their comments can cause. Still, I can’t help but feel a little disheartened that body comparison is so prevalent, even during pregnancy.

Isn’t a women supposed to feel beautiful and bountiful in her pregnant body? Is the fullness of her tummy not the fullest expression of creation itself? A time to celebrate the changes in her body as it nurtures new life within?

I have to acknowledge that I’ve also had many women tell me I look beautiful and stunning as I bloom to full size. To those Divine Goddesses; I salute you. For you are the ones who focus not on the ‘neatness of the bump’, or for how long it can remain disguised or ‘unnoticed’; but instead on the natural beauty to be embraced throughout the many changing phases of a woman’s body.

Today, let’s lift each other up. Let’s celebrate our bodies; big, small, teeny or tall, remembering that we are ALL Divine.

Soul Strolls

This week’s soul strolling took place in the hospital. We had our hospital tour where we were able to walk through where we’ll go on the day of our birthing. Despite having had some fears around birthing in a hospital, as I walked the corridors I blessed them with love and repeated the mantra, ‘All is well. I have nothing to fear. Love, peace, harmony and joy surround and indwell me.’

The Mercy Hospital for Women does feel like a safer space than my previous hospital. The midwives are very supportive of a natural birth with as little intervention as possible. I trust I am in safe hands.

Live your life as if everything is rigged in your favour.

– Rumi

Soul Recipes

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My partner loves to buy a Massaman Curry from our local Thai. Since he spent this soulful Sunday working, I decided to surprise him with a Slow Cooked Lamb Massaman which was simply divine! I adapted the recipe slightly (and cheated) by buying a massaman curry paste rather than making my own from scratch, as this recipe suggests. If I owned a food processor I would definitely have attempted the homemade paste in this recipe… I also used carrots, red pepper and red chillies in addition to the potato instead of the green beans, since I already had those vegetables on hand at home.

Needless to say, this dish was yummy and my man had a happy tummy after a hard days work.

Soul Music

I’d love to share Heather Mae’s I Am Enough as a stunning reminder that our body’s are not ‘wrong’ or ‘shameful’. We can be grateful for our body, regardless of our shape or size. This makes me smile each time I listen. Today, give your body a big appreciative hug, tell your body how much you love it… and then have a good ole dance to this feel good track! I’ll be dancing along with you with my pregnant bump 😉

Soul Sisters

I’d love to share the work of a soul sister who has been pivotal in reducing my fears around labour. I bought Kat’s book in my second trimester when I was led to it by a serendipitous moment. It was just what I needed to believe in my abilities to birth my baby naturally. I will be gifting Kat’s work to any pregnant ladies I know! You can find Kat at The Birth Goddess.

Wishing you all a soulful Sunday. May you feel safe, supported and loved, today and always.

Love always,

Hayley xx

 

Soulful Sunday #54: Blessings Of Love

 

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Welcome to my fifty-fourth instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’; a weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my dreams and intentions for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

I’ve heard it time and time again, yet this past week I’ve really come to know this as true: There are really only ever two choices; love or fear.

Last week I came close to having a panic attack I was so overwhelmed with the unknown outcomes of following a natural birthing journey in a medical hospital setting. Fear encompassed every ounce of my being and I was deeply emerged in my shadow. Yet this week, I’ve worked to dissolve those fears, to seek the truth within. And sure enough, the Universe delivered the love and support required to pull me back into the light.

Harmony, peace, love and joy surround and indwell me. I am safe and secure.

– Louise Hay

I am my own pillar of safety and strength. I have a voice. And when I trust in myself and the Universe, my world reflects back to me the safety and security I desire.

Soul Strolls

Last week we took our soul strolling to the local parks to have some photos taken by a friend of ours. This was her first pregnancy shoot, and we think she did a great job! Here’s a couple of sneaky photos. We had lots of fun goofing around in nature with my baby bump in tow.

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Soul Food

I have been a little slack with creating and uploading my own recipes as I used to. But this week, I served a delicious Dhal to my guests which went down a treat. Since I haven’t written down what I used, I will share this delicious Dhal recipe which is not dissimilar to my own. I used pumpkin instead of sweet potato and added garam masala, chilli flakes and coriander to the mix. Enjoy!

spinach-sweet-potato-lentil-dhal

Soul Music

This week I would love to share this stunning track by Karen Drucker titled, There Is Only Love. Such a simple message, yet one which resonates so deeply and infuses my being with peace and love. Have a listen. I hope it brings you as much comfort as it does for me.


Soul Sisters

Yesterday I had my Mothers Blessing and truly felt the power of ‘Soul Sisters.’ So much love and energy in one room, how could I not feel loved and supported? I am a very lucky lady to have so many incredible and inspiring women in my life, each gifting me with their words of wisdom, and loving gifts of the heart.

Many of you may recognise our beautiful writer and fellow blogger Miriam from Out An About in these photos. Such a Divine soul who never fails to lift my energy to one of spirited grace and unity.

I have the energy of so many Divine women supporting me on my natural birthing journey. All fears aside, there really is ‘only love.’

And on that note, it’s Fathers Day in the UK and I’d like to acknowledge two of the most incredible men in my life; my angel Dad, and this gorgeous Daddy to be 💙💙

I’m proud to have walked beside both of you in this lifetime, you are strong men of honour, yet neither afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve.

I only hope that more women and children have the opportunity to know and experience a good man in their lives, whether paternal, teacher, lover or friend.

Here’s to all the men and Dad’s who rock our world 🙌🏻

Here’s wishing you a soulful Sunday permeated with love, trust, harmony and peace.

Love always,

Hayley xx