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I Am Sacred Woman has moved to www.drgaurilowe.com

Nurturing Our Sacred Feminine Naturally – blogposts about bringing sacred awareness into pregnancy, birth, as a mother and a woman.

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attachment parenting

That Similac ad! Just cunning manipulation or what is true sisterhood?

Similac Schimilac – What really is the essence of this Motherhood?

Many people were quite moved about the similac advert on motherhood. I was genuinely intrigued by the varied responses; as well as the intensity with which some were portrayed. I initially thought it was a nice message and an important one – “the sisterhood in motherhood”. Doesn’t it just sound very nice? 

similac 2 similac still 1

Then I found out it was a formula advertisement and I still thought it was a good message. I reflected on its source and the power of ego and representation of various symbols of groups of people, the intention – the sly intelligence. And I still thought it was a good message. What surprised me were the other responses from so many other people. Why did I not agree with my brethren? (The social network with whom I so easily identified.) Was something wrong with me? Why was I not as passionately inspired by a message when I discovered it is from such a manipulative source? Since I am normally so passionate about these topics!? it really got me thinking.

And I slowly allowed the memory and the images to come back to me….I remembered that tangible oneness with all mothers that I had felt when I birthed my first child. When you feel like you are one pulse with a divine organic raw mother Godhead. When the energy pulsing through your body is the same energy shared by mothers all over the universe….crossing cultures education nationality religion and age. That feeling when the world stops and every moment is forgotten except for the amazing beautiful baby you now have in front of you that is yours! The love. The responsibility. The melting away of everything else to consume you in a most deep self-sacrificing love that you never knew possible.

And then I remembered my own mother. I found ones perspective of ones own mother changes somewhat when you become a mother yourself. I considered how I might judge her according to her mothering choices she made when she was my age managing life and young children. How I was weaned at 9 months; how I never co-slept; how I attended day creche from a young age….etc and I considered my relationship with my own mother and how I know absolutely and completely that she deeply deeply loved me and trusted me. How I deeply love her and respect her for her unconditional love to me.

Now I understand the physiology research of the neuroscience and psychology behind attachment parenting. Shew I devour the research and the articles. I love this science and I get it and I adore teaching it and practicing it because it is SO important for bonding and parenting and giving our little ones the best start! I practice and preach it passionately!!

Yet, I again reflect on the nature of the emotive responses to the similac advertisement…. and I considered humility. Now I digress from the content and focus on the mood. Humility is not a cowards quality. It is not a quality of shyness nor inferiority. Humility is a deeply divine quality….true humility gives you a power….a connectedness to faith and an attractiveness. By delivering a message with humility – ones heart can open and one can interact on a heart level. A heart exchange.

Not on the level of ego. Ego meaning we are identifying with our status or our choices or what we are known for – which are all part of the material or bodily identity.

Humility speaks to people in a way that encompasses everyone equally on a soul level. It does not judge; and it does not divide. It speaks with compassion and love.

I realised this is the message I want to bring forward. This is what came pouncing out at me as I reflected on the responses written with such passion and intensity, where I felt divided from the very group of people I most identified with: on this very same topic.

Humility is more important to me. That honouring of integrity of words and sharing that does so with love and compassion and not judgement nor ego.

How can I stand in outward judgement about the very essence of the sisterhood of motherhood in terms of the various practices a mother uses? No matter how strongly I may feel or know…to come forward in judgement is to nullify our words and intention and mute our message. So is there a trick to express passionately AND humbly?

I really must also say that I am not sitting here spouting out “Thou may not judge!” while I sit back and do so. I try not to be a hypocrite ! and I am, too, so far from perfect or even non-judgemental! But I do try. And when I do something that does not feel so good – when I feel my intention was somewhat uncool or facetious, I do reflect on that black dark feeling in my heart and consider how I can make it light again. I just keep trying. And I really feel humility is a good goal to strive for.

The sisterhood in motherhood. Why not? Why see so much more into it than simply that? Even if we know without a doubt that our choices on parenting issues are perfect and superior and right. How do we get to play that card and lose our integrity to important qualities and values we are so desperate to grow and imitate for our children?

If you haven’t seen the advert yet, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqPHqaSb8PM

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments! Please feel free to leave your own ideas here.

If you would like to read more about parenting here is an interesting blog about how parenting affects our children and society! 

https://gaurilowe.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/why-parenting-matters-workshop/

Some more thoughts on humilty…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXEinvmG6l8

Stop! Enough reading about it – gonna start living it!

Some of my reflections on being Sacred – in writing or in real daily life?

I really love writing. I have so many ideas and I often lie down staring into the darkness, heartwhile breastfeeding a baby back to sleep, with a blog reeling away in my mind – with nowhere to put it down. Audio recording would disturb the silence, I have tried a notebook in the park, just really too tired to do extra late nights – and anyway they get disturbed.

Actually there are so many blogs out there now saying the same and important things about life, love and living – babies and growing. But I find writing healing for me and a gut creativity I like to do. Still I would love if my experiences and real-life stories that have impacted me and grown me – even the everyday beings and then the bigger ones too – could perhaps inspire, touch, remind someone else too about – the importance of being You or just remembering that we are so much of Being Sacred in just that……. Being.

But my life keeps me humble.

Actually the point of this blog was intended to highlight my thoughts of how much time I could spend reading articles, blogposts, status’, how much time I could spend doing and creating and producing something at the end of the day to validate my value, to have something to show for all my day’s efforts – but in truth I am finding that that is all taking away valuable time from being exquisitely present in being my truth – and standing in my sacred realm in relating and maintaining my tribelet at home. I am expressing this to take any of this illusory pressure off myself – and for the ego it pursuits – and give myself permission to honour those moments each and every moment – daily – in being so finely present in sacred gratitude with my loved ones. With really nothing much at all to show for it – well, with physical eyes that is.

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I want to write and share my thoughts, my studies and my experiences with women, saints, babies and life which lead me to have deep connections and celebrations and challenges of living an authentic heart-led life.

I want to write about the beautiful and incredible women who touch me and need to be written about – including my beloved mother, who left this world over 2 years ago during my pregnancy; about the special couple who I have been so privileged to walk with as we faced a stillbirth and recovery afterwards; about the mother saint who came into our lives and left so many deep impressions that have altered my daily life profoundly – deepening my practical and philosophical understanding of what truly being a Sacred mother and woman is – and how profoundly important it is to our communities!

I read about the sisterhood of motherhood and the vaccine wars…..I spend my days watching my 2 year old grow, complain and love life; I get a snippet of my 9 years old growths and changes as he becomes older and wiser! I go through all the emotions and frustrations of being at home and not “achieving” anything – and then I remember – and then I hear bits of a webinar of conscious parenting – and I remember again!!!

I spent my government service in the hospital writing the stories of my daily interactions with life and death, patients and their loved ones – in my head – driving home on the curves of beautiful Garden Route mountains or alongside the township of Khayelitsha. So profoundly moving – such real life – too much real life everyday.

I want to write about the amazing herbs and holistic approaches to healing that I am learning more and more about ; so many of our women face challenges and dis-eases.

Then I miss medicine….oh yes! Even that emergency red trauma resuscitation! And I miss those night calls – and  then I remember how much I missed my family those nights…. I want to be more! I want to do less! I want to be

So I don’t get to write those posts, I don’t get to teach the most beautiful connecting with your baby meditation process, I don’t get to do the profound and deep sacred postpartum binding and mother healing I have also studied since – as much as I would love to.

Because … I am too busy being. Being mother, being wife, being woman, being. And at the same time trying to remember and deeply honour the spiritual purpose for all of this and connect with this at every moment. IMG_20150224_073732

So I can’t offer a regular post – though I would love to! And I don’t do much else either – because I am giving my energy and time to my growing family. Finally. It doesn’t make me better. This is just my path. But I love that feeling when you are following your heart – and it feels so right.

IMG_20150213_154447Yip – most of that means getting down and playing dirty with an incredible blessing in a body of a 2 year old!! And some deep philosophical debates and basic arguments with a strong willed 9 year old!

Finally!

 

 

 

 

Honouring our children – The yearning to be NorMal.

As I walked to my son’s classroom this afternoon I overheard a boy in his class saying “A miracle has happened! Lochan is going away for a year!”. He was being mean. I could hear it through his voice and I confirmed it later. It hurt like a dagger through my heart to hear my son spoken about in this manner. 

I knew my son is different. He has always challenged that bell curve. He has always challenged my yearning for the assurance of being normal. The mother’s questions I see so often posed “What is the normal growth for a baby? What is the normal amount of times a baby wakes at night? When is it normal for your baby to sleep through? How many poo nappies are normal? When can a child normally cut with a pair of scissors? How many words can a child normally say at this age?”

He challenged every bell curve. He forced me out of my linear and any box-like thinking that I still held. By the age of 5 he knew which types of cars had their spare wheels underneath them or in the boot. That is because we took half an hour to walk from our car to the shops…due to checking under each car for a spare tyre.

He was an expert in fish! And as many children swam on the water – he would spend as much time as he could with his face submerged – in the underwater world of the waterlife, defying gravity. He held his breath for eternity! When others learnt to swim on top he was quite happy swimming below.

And he became really good at drumming his own intricate signature beat.

Within minutes of meeting you – he would come and tell us who “Your Lord” is and the details of your diet. He is a proud vegetarian and easily and naturally challenged anyone who wasn’t. After meeting an elderly conservative lady one day, I came to get him – and found they were discussing if Jesus was vegetarian.lochan turban

He did things his way. And that was so often NOT the way that the parenting books and ‘experts’ described…especially according to their timelines and scientifically backed milestones.

Some friends offered various forms of input – even a diagnosis of Aspergers! I gracefully declined. What could that help? A label? An expensive visit to a child psychiatrist who could prescribe a dangerous drug to help my child fit that deeply entrenched socially acceptable brand called “normal”.

The best advice that I always came back to was to TRUST. To trust him and his process. And to realise he was fine! Actually he wasn’t even ABnormal. And I found that guidance always demanding a deep settling acceptance in me. A deep relief that he was ok. I was ok. And actually this was all very special. I am learning to identify my projections, my unmet needs, my parenting definitions I carry with me, my expectations based on my lack of sleep, my sensitivities, my childhood experiences, my humanness.

A dedicated and proud builder and gardener.
A dedicated and proud builder and gardener.

I am learning again and again – to see the growing child in this overwhelming world we live in. I get the most strength and alignment with a sense of truth when I see how amazing my son is! He stands in his own space and is who he is – and demands a sense of integrity from you!

He is not competitive. He has nothing to prove. In a bicycle race everyone raced past eager to win, even crying afterwards if they came second and not first…he just cycled past merrily in his own time completely engrossed in enjoying the cycle and the view.

He easily plays with younger kids, girls, he does not judge or compare! He does not retaliate if hit – he is gentle. He knows about the soul, eternity and equality. He has faith and he is honest and true.20140710_155324

He told me very convincingly the other day, when I was encouraging him to do some card games (like other boys his age love to do) – “I am just not a card or game kind of boy. I am a car kind of boy.” He knows he needs to play.

He expresses his frustration and anger immediately and does not hold it in. He likes to sleep with one of us near. He is challenging and amazing. He has a bold plan to build a house in which the whole world can live and it will go around the whole world and he can describe in detail – each floor. There will be no need to have shops nor money as people will only eat what they grow.

If he does not shoot you down with his questions about your life – he will endear you with his intensity and fascination and imagination.

And he has taught me – to TrUsT.

It turned out that boy I overheard that day was probably expressing himself in a way to protect him from the emotions of a boy leaving their class. It was probably not personal but a way he was interacting with an older boy. He had expressed the opposite in the class just before. Anyway – whatever it was – it really allowed me to dive into an appreciation of my beautiful boy!

My son is not AbNormal. I cannot even indulge myself in labelling him as different! He is as unique and special and wonderful as every other child – as your child, as our neighbour’s child, as the child in the shopping queue in front of you!

That soapbox mould we somehow want our children to conform to (the social norms and expectations around us) actually do not exist, There is no soapbox mould. I would sometimes take solice in thinking “My child is different.” Actually he isn’t! He is a child. 

And I hope I can do what will support, savour and love his awesome mind and growing body in the best way so his inner flame and passions remain true and glowing! 

The four of us!
The four of us!

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With his best friend who  he gardens withn daily.
With his best friend who he gardens with daily.

Why Parenting Matters…in a nutshell!

baby Jalangi hand

Why Parenting Matters?

Introduction

It may sound obvious that parenting does matter, but the gravity, magnitude and vastness of this statement continues to impact me. By understanding HOW parenting affects the growing and developing mind, body, soul, character, strengths and nature of our little ones – we can make informed, clear, parenting choices for each ones benefit. 

The following is based on a workshop. These are the basic skeletal points. Each section deserves a seminar in itself! But it creates a clear and methodical way of imbibing why parenting matters – from a few different angles.

I would also like to say that I am not writing as an “expert” in parenting. I write this because I am so passionate and eager to find out parenting ways that make sense in terms of consciousness and integrity regarding authentic, and wholesome outcomes.

Parenting starts at pregnancyjust embryo

I divide this statement into three:-

  1. the effect on the developing physical body of the baby within our physical environment (our body).

  2. The role and affect of our emotional state on the developing baby

  3. Our relationship and connection with our baby

Physical Body

Actually parenting starts before pregnancy. This is because the nutritional and health state of our body is most important pre-conception! This is the time that most influences our pregnancy health and body – in terms of growing healthy babies. This was found during the Dutch Famine – studying outcomes of healthy babies who were conceived before the famine and the mothers were pregnant during the famine compared to mothers who conceived during the famine, and were therefore all ready affected. So this means prior to conception we should be paying attention to how we are treating our bodies, eating well and becoming the best fit and nurturing environment to grow our babies! And we should of course continue this during pregnancy too.

Emotional Statein womb too

There is no barrier between our emotions and our babies. The blood can filter out some harmful nutrients, medications but there is not such filter for our negative and harmful emotions. Our babies share our emotional environment and are floating in out emotional stories.

They are reacting to emotional stresses and increased cortisol releases at this time. They are especially vulnerable to continued stressors and chronic stress. Too much cortisol has been shown to have a negative affect on brain development.

Our babies are also learning what to experience and expect as “normal” from what they are experiencing in the womb. For example when the mom is feeling fearful, unsure, unsupported and abandoned – these feelings filter down to the baby and he/she is learning what the experience of life is like. In contrast a mother who is feeling loved, supported and validated is surrounding her baby with this environmental stew that she is learning – “life is accepting and I belong”! This is forming what is “normal” for him/her.

Connecting with your babyfamily pregnant

Babies are aware and conscious in utero. The senses are developing and they are receptive to sound. Research is supporting babies recognising sounds and voices they were exposed to in the womb. Our relationship and bonding for both parents can start during pregnancy! And it should for further healthy and beneficial growing and bonding attachments.

A few tools of great importance come up at this time.

  1. Nutrition! Physical health! Starting before conception and continuing through pregnancy. Wholesome meals, valued supplements, vital lifestyle and appropriate exercise.

  2. Mothers must be SUPPORTED during this time! They should feel beautiful, amazing, loved and trusted!! They are performing the physical and emotional miracle of growing a baby! They should be supported and loved. Spoil her!!

  3. The same goes with the healthcare providers relationship with the mother. She should come out of the consultation feeling like she is doing a fantastic job of carrying her baby and have full faith in her ability to decide and control her environment around her labour and birth. She is an integral and respected part of decision making.

  4. Take a Fetal Love Break! Take a few minutes a couple of times during your day to send your baby a message. Give your baby some physical time, attention and care. Use these minutes to rest yourself and just be with your baby. Rub your tummy, put your legs up and fall in love with your baby! Even better is send your baby a message – a visual picture or a letter, sentence AND send it with an emotion. This is a profound and real way we can communicate with our babies. 

The value of understanding the evolution of parenting through the ages

I found it difficult to go into the horrific details of the various parenting practices through the ages. BUT I find the value as researched by psycho-historians and psychologists incredible and insightful and very helpful. These are the 3 main reasons why:

  1. It is incredible to consider the mindsets and attitudes towards children that enable the certain parenting behaviour at different times in history.

  2. Studying the effects of different parenting ways through the various societies in history – and following up the generations as they grew up to become a part of adult society – shows how parenting affects our adult character and views. These include general empathy, war and military involvement, political actions.

  3. The evolution of parenting and seeing how it has changed – slowly and in different ways through the ages gives incredible perspective and hope! As to how far we have come and how far yet we will go. It helps to understand our older generations sayings, advice and attitudes towards different parenting practices and why things are how they are!

The 6 evolutions of parenting include:

abandonmenbtinfanticide

Infanticide Mode – Unwanted, weak, wrong sex, illegal babies were dumped, neglected, exposed or abandoned. Child mutilation was common (feet binding, finger amputation, cranial deformation, female and male circumcision). 

Abandonment Mode Children were sent off and raised by wet nurses, foundling homes, foster homes, sent off for child labour, apprenticeship, slavery and oblation. The mortality rate soared and foundling homes were over-full.Children were subjected to inhumane working hours and conditions from young ages.

Ambivalent Mode – Children grew up at home with obedience and control were priorities. Time with parents was minimal but they remained at home. The belief that children were born evil and needed to be taught to be good prevailed. The basis of learning was fear and included cruel corporal punishment. Practices include tight swaddling (to control wandering hands), child labour and sexual abuse was also common.

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Intrusive Mode The concept of games and fun came in and children staying at home greatly improved the infant mortality rate as well as lowering the fertility rate! However although children were nearer they were definitely tamed with severe and cruel corporal punishment. 

Social Mode Children are valued as children with different needs, rights and expectations. They are allowed to play. But they are expected to fit into our lives – socially and according to our needs and desires. So they are trained to do so. Their emotional health is not prioritised nor understood. Breastfeeding, feeding generally, sleeping perhaps event toilet training is scheduled. This mode mostly employs corporal punishment, shaming and positive and negative manipulation.”Children should be seen AND heard BUT not taken seriously.”

Helpful Modethe mode of parenting that we aspire for. Emotionally sensitive to the child’s developmental and growing needs at certain times and responding to them with insight and patience, in this way opening deep qualities of empathy. Seeing and accepting our children for what they are and not for our projections onto them. Moulding our lives to fit our child’s needs rather than expecting them to fit into ours. Employing babywearing, co-sleeping, demand breastfeeding and positive gentle discipline and boundary setting enhances the helpful mode of parenting.

Passage of Rites at Certain Ages

Understanding the basic and normal needs and stages of a child’s emotional and mental development truly helps to understand their behaviour and how to respond to best meet these needs. It also helps to understand the detriment of not meeting them and thereby reinforcing how important and beneficial it is.

Rite to Exist lol in wrap

The basic first rite starting in the womb until about 6 months old. Needing to have needs met immediately as a baby has no evaluation of time. The importance of having a conscious healthy and connecting pregnancy, gentle birth and no separation afterwards. Importance of skin-to-skin, breastfeeding and co-sleeping. 

This is the time core beliefs are built; like “I belong” “I have the right to be here” “Life is good and safe”. Or negatively “I don’t belong” “I am alone.”

Rite to Need

This is the second stage from birth to about 18 months. Babies are extremely skin-centred and touch is a huge part of meeting their needs. It is a chance to become securely attached which has shown to improve mental health, mental security in the future. This involves both parents, and the father’s role is very significant in supporting the mother as she is meeting her babies physical needs of nourishment and touch. This can be very overwhelming and exhausting and the importance of having support for the mother is very important here.

If a child’s needs are not met here or postponed – they continue to be in the stage of need as an adult and co-dependency problems can result. In contrast by meeting these needs and increasing attachment now there is increased resistance to stress later in life.

Rite to be Supported

From about 10months to 2 years babies start to learn to master their own body and start to explore their environment. Now we need to respect their autonomy, support their development at their own space and time with healthy, firm but gentle boundaries. This is when parents may start to shame children for exploring and this is not helpful for their development. We want to support their need to explore, depend on their own strength – to be there when they need support and allow them to be vulnerable. In this way we show that vulnerability brings support and not shame.

vrindavan windRite to Freedom

A challenging time perhaps, as our 2-4 year old learns to define his own boundaries and self – often by opposition. We need to allow their right to protest without crushing their sense of self, nor humiliating them. We respond with respectful relating and allow them to follow their own natural rhythms.

Rite to Love

From the age of 3 – 7 years our children are learning to relate and express their feelings to each other as well as explore their physical genitals in often an exhibitionist manner. This time needs to be supported, respected and not shamed nor humiliated nor taken advantage of in obscure roles. By supporting this time and stage with respect and dignity we are fostering and teaching important exchanges of love and sexuality.

Conclusion

This is an honourous and huge task for new parents. The importance of SUPPORT cannot be underestimated. Now we are living in isolated, nuclear family systems. I encourage parents to have reliable, loving and understanding support systems in place before the birth of their baby. Support for the mother and family is very important for the family to continue meeting the demands in a healthy and nurturing way for all.

happy babyA few excellent references I used:

Parenting For A Peaceful World – Robin Grille

Lloyd de Mause – psychohistorian

Raising our Children, Raising ourselves – Naomi Aldort

Attachment Parenting In India

For those who don’t know me – I am Gauri, mother of 2 sons, age 8 years and 1 year and a trained medical doctor with a heart and soul for gentle, conscious midwifery, women and baby care. We live in Cape Town, South Africa and are making our third family trip to a holy place, Mayapur, in West Bengal, India for 6 weeks. Home of an international spiritual Vedic community and home of our spiritual faith too.

Mayapur is a growing international community (Russian, Chinese, American, European, Australian, South American) within a rural part of Village India – where cows and goats are kept alongside mud huts, with clay ovens and coconut trees. Where people weave their own saris on their hand weave looms and milk their own cows and collect their own firewood and grass for their cows. People are poor and simple.

Village cows
Village cows
Local village mother and toddler.
Local village mother and toddler.
Washing at a water pump.
Washing at a water pump.

The community we stayed in have built-up resources. We stayed within the international community compound in a comfortable and simple 2 roomed apartment. At night we rolled out the mattresses and all slept alongside each other in one room. It was mostly comfortable, snuggly and great.

Different moments and activities catch me at certain times – wanting to share these quaint, challenging, memorable moments as only another attachment parenting mama would empathise! Sometimes bizarre, sometimes so sweet and sometimes funny or ridiculous or seriously challenging! So here are a few quips and pictures (when I had) about these little moments that we have enjoyed and have made our bond stronger and more precious.

Some thoughts along the way – when the cleaner was pointing to the cold marble floor and saying “Mojah. Mojah.” and pointing to Shyam’s bare feet – I realised he was saying that babies must wear socks (mojah in Bengali), adults are fine but babies must wear socks. Shyam keeps taking his off that is why he didn’t have any on! We also learnt from him that cows milk and rice are very good for babies (not together! But separately.) It made me wonder how cows milk is fine for young babies (well Shyam is one year now) and then I considered that you probably don’t see much food allergies among these village people – who are having pure raw, organic and chemical-free milk! Makes you wonder…..

And being in India I cannot forget the numerous photographs requested or taken, the many hands pinching cheeks, touching chins…Shyam learnt very quickly to do do that hand movement as if blowing a kiss! And the almost impossible task of keeping thriving Indian soil, bits on the ground out of Shyam’s eager, curious hands crawling all over. I am proud to say he celebrated his first birthday and took his first steps on Indian soil.

Co-sleeping

Something about all sleeping together...love it! Priceless.

This is a non-issue in India and within the community I was staying. Most of my friends have a 2-3 bedroomed apartment with one very large room filled with a very large bed – on which the entire family or the mother and the children sleep. Older children may have their own room in some houses. In the poorer places co-sleeping is there too. We slept on mattresses that we rolled away in the day time. And very comfortably all slept together.

Elimination Communication

As ever SO rewarding to catch those little pees and poos in all different situations! Thankfully being India, squatting behind a tree is not too taboo! And the initial flight went well, with catching a pee here and there and using diapers in between. Shyam has been quite regular in the mornings and definitely holds a poo in for a more suitable place (mostly).

The most classic EC moment was in a taxi! On a long ride leaving early in the morning, Shyam and I ventured out to another holy dhama (sacred pilgrimage site) about a 2 hour flight away. So an early morning taxi took us to the airport (3.5 hour ride) and then a long wait at the airport, a flight and now on our way to our destination on another 3 hour taxi ride! We are in traffic – I mean Indian city traffic driving out of Delhi. Cars, auto rickshaws, bicycles. Motorbikes, scooters, trucks all sides of us and nowhere to stop…and I know Shyam needs a poo. Right beside us is an autorickshaw with passengers inside, and hanging outside too. We catch each others eyes as we overtake them and then they overtake us. So…I squat Shyam over some newspaper between my legs and successfully do the deed and clean him up (not much mess with no nappy on, pretty much clean catch) and throw it out the window in between the autorickshaw and a truck. The people hanging out of the autorickshaw probably watched the whole thing – and remained quite pan faced about it all!

What I have learnt about EC – is that pees dry quite quickly! However on arrival at the hotel and while filling in the many forms they require with passport details, Shyam emptied his bladder all over me, through my skirt…not too long we bundled upstairs and had a warm shower! Oh well, we can’t get them all! And generally we have had some lovely nappy-free afternoons.

Another very practical and useful aspect of EC particularly in India which is infamous for digestive problems namely diarrhoea – is that I could very carefully monitor the consistency of his stool. And when it looked a little more loose I could boost him with some probiotics and homeopathic gastro prevention we have with us. It is more difficult to tell how firm the stool is once it has been in a nappy.

Image
These are woolen Nepalese arm gloves which make great warm leggings. Very practical for cold floors and ec.

Breastfeeding

I was excited to be able to be with my baby 24/7 and not have to pump and be separated from him at all! So no bottles or pumps came with us! I prefer to breastfeed discretely and sometimes cover my shoulder down with a shawl or blanket and I do breastfeed where I am – I don’t hide, or go to a bathroom or anything. I am proud and happy to breastfeed but I am modest and respectful to be discrete and private about it. However Shyam does more often kick off anything I have covering and ends up doing gymnastics on me while feeding which can do away with any other intentions I have! And what a blessing breastfeeding is on a long flight! Taking off, landing, in between…always there, always doing the job of nourishing and nurturing.

What I did notice – arriving in an Arab Emirates state, with women completely covered from head to toe with slits for their eyes, and men in beards and black dress… I was inherently more aware for a need of modesty. Not in a bad way, in a respectful way – and I found that interesting. And further when we landed in India – and we settled into a very spiritual and chaste community, where breastfeeding is supported, expected and commended for several years! I preferred to be more modest and respectful and covered up appropriately.

Still even in the most sacred places, times and meetings with holy men – I have needed to breastfeed and done so with no problem at all.

A great spectacle which would have been a classic photograph, but I was too scared, as it was in Vrindavan and the monkeys there are known to steal cameras and use them as bribes to get food! So I took a picture with my mind. On a construction site – where a lady construction builder was sitting on the edge of a second floor of a grey cement skeleton of a building – breastfeeding her toddler.

Babywearing

I love babywearing and bought 3 different carriers with me as I knew I would be doing this a lot. I bought my Mei Tai, African Baby carrier (like the Ergo) and a good ringsling. They have been great! I have been wearing Shyam about 3-6 hours each day. I must admit after the first week I was looking for a stroller as sometimes I just wanted to be less laden and felt he wanted that freedom to look around too. That was when we were out a bit more and I was wearing him for over 6 hours a day and he was sleeping on me twice a day. Soon after that my body got used to it and the muscles that had started hurting stopped! Now I carry him first thing in the morning and he sometimes sleeps on me and sometimes waits to get home. I was finding he was sleeping for 2 hours on me at a stretch.

It has been fantastic to meet other babywearing moms here – most do! In ringslings, ergos and many have made mei tai or ringsling like carriers themselves. This community appreciate the need for close contact with our little ones!

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On a local rickshaw visiting some ancient places.

Baby-led eating

Another fun topic! All diet restrictions broke here! And Shyam had his fun dose of wheat, little bit of dairy and lots of fun with peas and discovering sugar cane! And of course the delightful sipping of fresh pure coconut water straight from the coconut! And the occasional object from the ground :/ I have gained faith in him that he spits out everything generally that goes in, that does not belong – after some time…

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Sugarcane

As for the BIG question on many people’s minds, perhaps….No. I did not vaccinate my children. Ever. This topic deserves an entire article devoted to it. Briefly – I support INFORMED, RESPONSIBLE FREEDOM OF CHOICE. I believe in my children’s body and immunity to heal itself. My children did not get sick in India. Once or twice Shyam seemed to have a fever at night. (Once was after a bee sting, that day.) His stool became like diarrhoea for one day. But all passed quickly with rest, breastmilk, closeness and some homeopathic remedies.

In all – what an amazing spiritually uplifting, fulfilling adventure – that certainly bought our family closer! 

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