Stress

Where to go for help with stress: A summary of different therapies

Stress
Stress

So, you are stressed, unhappy, discontented, dis-satisfied, miserable, unhappy, overwhelmed, down, depressed; and it’s been a while.

Your body is now rebelling and you are getting problems with your sleep, stomach, memory, exhaustion and aches and pains.

You’ve read all my stuff about what stress is with some hints and tips on what to do.

You’ve checked out my favourite books for when you feel overwhelmed or depressed, including mine.

But you need some outside help from a professional, so where to go?

I’m going to give a brief introduction to some of the therapies that might help.  They are all my views, based upon my experiences, so some people may disagree!  However, the idea is to have a look and see which ones jump out to you as suiting you.

 

Counselling

Who are you ?
Who are you ?

Available free from NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face.

But takes a long time.

Basically the idea is that you talk about stuff, so that you can dig down to find out ‘why’ you feel the way that you do.  It is really useful if you aren’t sure why, and for some people just understanding can shift the problem.

The downside is that for others, they just get stuck deeper in the story of their lives and become more of a victim.

 

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Available free from the NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

I love CBT, it’s what got me interested in personal development in the first place over 20yrs ago.  It helps you to tackle the thoughts that are running around in your head and look at life a different way.  The idea is that by behaving differently we will get a different outcome from situations.

I think it is quicker, but maybe less deep and therefore if you don’t understand much about your thought processes/past it will be difficult to use it to get over bigger problems.  Plus, behaving differently doesn’t always make people react differently.

 

Coaching

Tends to be private and ranges from cheap to very expensive.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

A coach is more focussed on the present and giving you goals that you can aim for and less about trauma’s from your past.

Be careful and thoroughly check their training and experience, as currently there aren’t any laws about who can and can’t call themselves a coach.

Some people use NLP (neurolinguistic programming) in the coaching, to help you.  Simply put they look at how your language affects your mind and therefore your behaviour.  I personally find it a little too orientated towards the mind.  I prefer a more intuitive approach with a more feeling/heart centered objective.  It can feel very manipulative, but it is’t without merit.

 

Hypnotherapy

Normally private.  Starting to get more expensive probably £60 or more.

But quicker.

You MUST get a well trained, well experienced hypnotherapist.  But if you get one, this can be a quick method of going into the past and working out what is causing your pain and then dealing with it.  Make sure that if they ‘remove’ a negative habit that they replace it with a positive alternative.

 

tapping points
Picture from Nick Ortner

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Private.  But can be cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

I suspect the usefulness of it depends on the experience and intuition of the practitioner and how comfortable you feel with them.

EFT has been around for a while, but I didn’t become interested until recently.  I think that it has settled down now and is a very well established option.  The idea is that by discussing our problems whilst tapping on certain meridian points (energy points in the body), it reduces how upset we are about it, then we will be able to see things differently and find a new way of seeing our life or tackling the problem.  It can be very light e.g. just looking at a headache, or go deeper into why.

The great thing is that you can learn it yourself and therefore also use it at home for smaller issues.  I really recommend Nick Ortner’s book ‘The Tapping Solution’.

 

Kinesiology Based Therapies

Private.  Much more expensive.  But much quicker.

I learned a form of kinesiology 10yrs ago (Resonance Repatterning) which is very quick at dealing with people’s problems (I used to specialise in serious mental health issues).  The body has a muscular on/off reaction which you can use to check what beliefs and problems you have.  It’s great because it bi-passes your opinions and the potential biases of the practitioner, to make sure that you actually get to the ‘real’ truth really quickly.  Then a healing technique will be used to ‘shift’ the problem and replace it with a more positive option.

There are several different options, some more structured than others.  It can be a bit wacky, but very effective.

Nutritionist/Naturopath

Supplements
Supplements

Normally private (dieticians might be free).  Mid-priced around £60

It’s amazing what physical problems and some emotional ones can be resolved with the help of a nutritionist (better than a dietician in my opinion) or naturopath.  The naturopath training is longer and more rigorous, but they are also more likely to suggest bigger changes to your patterns and they can suggestion supplements and herbs to help you out as well.

Never under estimate the power of a simple supplement, mineral, vitamin or herb.  In fact if you start to take a few, I would recommend checking in with a professional to make sure that the combination you are taking is OK.

 

 

Herbalist/Homeopath

Private.  Often after a long initial session, they can help you quickly and you only pay a small amount.

I’m a big fan of homeopathy, but it hasn’t worked well for me so far.  You get a little sugar pill that is meant to redress the balance in the body and can help with emotional, mental or physical problems.

Herbalism has helped me a lot and is of course where modern medicine started.

 

Reiki

Reiki
Reiki

Private.  But normally cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

Reiki is a lovely form of hands on healing where the practitioner gently touches or hovers their hands just above the body.  It can help physical, mental and emotional problems.  I became a ‘Reiki Master’ 13 yrs ago – it’s not that clever actually, it basically means ‘teacher’.  I LOVE Reiki for it’s simplicity.  But be warned, some of the people who do Reiki are mad as a box of frogs (in the nicest way!) and although it has improved, there is no standard teaching, so some people mix in other alternative therapies e.g. crystal healing and all sorts.

Please don’t jump to learn it straight away – take some time out for yourself first.  If you do learn it, remember to focus on just yourself and your family first.  Don’t run off to heal the world!

There are also other forms of healing.  Some people are just ‘natural’ healers, i.e. they are born with or got the ability to give healing to people.  Others are ‘spiritual healers’, which means that they believe they get help from other spiritual beings.

 

Physical therapies

Private.  Can be cheap if you find someone local, but expensive in salons.

E.g. Massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu Massage, Bowen Technique, Chiropractor, Osteopath

You could easily get a lovely therapist to give you a massage or reflexology session, talk through your worries and get a lovely relaxing treatment at the same time.  This is a very viable alternative and helps support the body while you are stressed.

 

More

Demartini Method – this was the final therapy that I learned (I’m a senior certified facilitator).  It tends to be more expensive, but very transformative and is based upon the healing power of gratitude.

Meta Medicine – a great method for discovering hidden reasons or potential events that had a hand to play in physical illnesses.

The Work of Byron Katie – A very simple method with just 4 questions, that you can also read about and use in your own life.  I find that one of the questions reduces about 80% of my stress levels.

 

Overall

My advice is that we ALL need OUTSIDE help from time to time and sometimes our friends and family are not the right people to help us.

However, it would be unwise to ALWAYS rely on outside help as that doesn’t help to improve our self-esteem and sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

When picking someone to work with, they need to be strong enough to challenge you a little, otherwise you won’t be able to break out of your patterns.  However, you need to have a good rapport with them and feel very safe and certain of them – that is probably the most important thing.

You are also looking for someone you appears to be pretty sorted, or at least more sorted than you are in the particular area of life that you are struggling with.  It’s fine if they have experienced the problem, it’s just that you want them to be past it!

Another ‘rule’ is not to ‘overwork’ yourself.  So don’t have a massage in the same week as a therapy session etc.  Always leave time for you to adjust after a session.

I hope that this gives you an nice easy introduction to some of the options, therapies and alternative treatments that are available.  You are very welcome to tweet/facebook me for more information or if you hear of a therapy I haven’t mentioned.

Have you used any of these?

Did you find them useful?

 

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

One Thing I’m Totally Sure Of Is: Everyone wants to feel loved

One Thing I Am TOTALLY sure of is that ..

Everyone wants to be loved just as they are.

We don’t want to be loved, despite our less attractive bits.  We want to to be totally and unconditionally loved.  This is true of us all, from the poorest to the richest, from the kindest to the maniacs.

Ironically, a lot of our less attractive behaviour comes from this one truth, because our brain kind of mixes up what ‘Love’ is an what it feels like.

Let me do some science, (but don’t expect scientific language for me, and feel free to add it if you would like to).

This is how our brains work generally ….

  1. Something happened.  Hmmm, I wonder what I thought about it.  Yep, this is my view/perspective/judgment of it.  Right let’s store it under this category.
  2. Something else happened.  Hmmm, it’s a bit like the last thing, but not quite the same.  So let’s store it in the same place out of laziness because it’s sort of the same.
  3. Lots more things get stored in the same category.
  4. Several months later, something else hardly the same at all happens, but by then we’ve forgotten the first thing, so it appears to match the same category.

Get it?

So, a child child looking to feel more loved over a period of time can put these thoughts together: ‘I feel loved when my Mum gives me attention’ -> ‘When my mum looks at me she is giving me attention’ -> ‘Hmm, Mum is ignoring me, but if I do something naughty she will look at me and give me attention’ -> ‘Result, she shouted at me’!

Of course, there are other reasons for unpleasant or unsociable behaviour, after all some people just like being irritating etc, we don’t just want to be loved, we do want other things too which give us a pay off that we like.  But it’s always worth wondering what’s going on in your child’s head when they behave in a way which just doesn’t make sense.  Especially if the way that they react is quite extreme.  You’ll probably be able to ask them what it’s all about, if you wait until they have calmed down.

How do we make people feel loved?

So the next question is how on earth do we make people feel loved, because it’s not as easy at is seems?  I bet there are times that you’re loved ones don’t feel totally loved.  If you don’t believe me, ask them (I’m going to do another post about Curly Headed Boy soon, to show you that you aren’t the only one).

There are two sides to it:

  1. Really getting to know them so that you know what makes them tick, and what makes them feel cared for.
  2. Learning how to see them totally, and loving them just as they are.  It’s about aiming to love them totally including the ‘less attractive’ bits, rather than what we normally do, which is to love them despite those bits.

I can show you how to do understand what makes your loved ones tick (1) quite easily, and if you put a bit of effort in, then you can definitely do it.  Some of us naturally know what is important to our loved ones, but it’s much more likely that you don’t and just assumed that you did.

Loving people unconditionally (2) is more difficult, because it’s not about being infatuated/in love with them; it’s about unconditional love which is quite illusive.  I think that Mums often (but not always) feel this naturally for their children.  But eventually the stresses of life make it more and more difficult to love our children’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts, without wishing there was less of the ‘bad’.  I learnt how to get to the point of totally someone or something by learning the Demartini Method from Dr John F Demartini (I’m one of the few Senior Certified facilitators globally).  I’ll post some blogs about it over the coming months in ways that will be really applicable to your lives; but to truly learn it, you really need to do a course, or go to a facilitator for a 1to1 session, it’s just one of those things that needs more than a blog post to learn in full.  There is a book if you are interested though, called ‘The Breakthrough Experience’.

So how to get to know someone better?

First find out more about them and their values/priorities, you’ll be surprised what you don’t know about your loved ones.  These questions will help and if you want more info then you can read Dr John F Demartini’s book ‘The Heart of Love’ where he shows the full Twelve Demartini Evaluation Method questions:

  • What do they tend to spend their time doing?  Why do they like it?
  • What do they like the house to be like?  Why?
  • What do they like to spend their money on? Why?
  • Who do they like being around.  Why?
  • Then try actually asking them!

What Makes Them Feel Loved?

I’ve found a book by a guy called Gary Chapman called ‘The 5 Love Languages’ to be very helpful with this on top of what I learnt about values from Demartini (he’s also written a pile of others and one for kids, but be warned he is very christian which might be off putting for some of you, and it shows up more in the other books).  He says that most people favour one or two of the five which are (I’ve translated them a bit):

  1. Compliments
  2. Quality Time/Conversation
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

The problem with these 5 options is that, if you don’t know your loved one very well, you could say the wrong things, buy the wrong things, do the wrong things, talk about the wrong things, and even touch them wrong!  That’s why it needs to be combined with the more practical general understanding from the first questions.  (If you want to see an example, I wrote a more specific post called ‘what to do if your wife won’t sleep with you‘).

So why am I writing about this?  Well someone popped me an email about their grand-daughter, and it was spookily similar to some problems that I’ve been having with Curly Headed Boy, but before I could launch into a blog post to answer it I needed to do some background stuff first … keep watching for the next post.

If you ever need some hints of ideas on how to do this, remember there is my question corner for anonymous questions/advice.

The 4 types of help: Be careful who you ask for advice

It’s easy to feel warm and fluffy when we talk to people about our problems, but does it sometimes require some discernment about who we talk to?  I reckon there are four types of advice …

1) Sympathetic Ear

Sometimes we just want a sympathetic ear; fair enough it can be therapeutic to offload and not keep it all inside.  That means we will pick someone who will either agree with us and think that the other people involved in our problem are ‘bad’, or maybe if we are lucky they will just listen and let us offload.  Which do you prefer?  I think that some of us prefer it when our friends see us as the ‘good guy’ and want to protect us from anyone who isn’t being ‘nice’ to us.  But I suspect that it’s more helpful if our friends don’t offer an opinion, but just let us offload in a kind, safe and unjudgmental space.  I suppose this is why some people need to go to a counsellor who is trained in helping people to offload and dig into their emotions, but I’m lucky to have some very wise friends who are willing to be a sounding board (for a little while at least until they kick my butt).

2) Similar Experience

Then there is the opportunity to talk to people who have some kind of similar experience because they are either going through it or have been through it.  But again it can go one of two ways.  It can be great to brainstorm with someone experiencing the same issues and share learnings, plus talking to someone who has come out the other side can give valuable perspective.  But what about their biases, and that they might naturally focus on one perspective?  I’ve heard how useful weight loss groups can be to keep people motivated, but I’ve also seen how groups of women can get together and complain about their lack of weight loss and that is what keeps them together; complaining, not acting.  At the moment I’ve been heavily relying on a couple of friends recently with similar experiences, but luckily none of them are bitter enough for it to turn into a bitch fest.

3) Pragmatic Approach

After a while, many of us move onto wanting a more pragmatic approach with the devils advocate.  This can be uncomfortable, but is it maybe the most honest approach?  Does it help us to see that there are two sides to the story?  It can do, but I’ve experienced how people can jump to conclusions about what the other side is and get it terribly wrong.  This is more like my background in the Demartini Method, where we look to help people gain a balanced perspective on their lives, so again I’m lucky to have friends in my life who do this as a job.  But all you are really looking for is people who can say things like ‘Do you think that is totally true?’ or ‘Could it be worse?’ or ‘What do you think they are thinking?’ or ‘Do you think it’s possible that it wouldn’t work for you as much as you think if it was different?’.

4) Problem Fixer

Then you get the problem fixer, who once you’ve offloaded, brainstormed, and gained perspective, will want to help you come up with an action plan to address it.  Great, progress at last you might feel!  But can they keep their own opinions and biases out of the way long enough to find an action plan that works for you?  Plus it can be infuriating if we have to jump straight to problem solving without the other steps (lots of us probably find our men do this).  Life Coaches tend to be really good at making plans of action for the future, and I tend to add this part in at the end of a session (but only once the pain and hurt are resolved and we can see the situation more clearly).

At the end of the day ….

I’m a big fan of talking to friends/family/professionals and getting problems in our lives resolved.  But there is always a downside to everything.  Sometimes it’s the cost, the amount of time it takes, or that we feel vulnerable when we share.  But even worse can be having a lack of discernment when we talk to people.  I’m not suggesting that our friends should be expected to do all 4 roles for us, but it’s important to be aware of which role they are playing and what they are capable of playing with their experience, wisdom, intuition and knowledge.  Everyone has their limitations, plus some will have agendas which we might be ignoring; no one is ever as innocent as they seem!

Eventually it will be time to move onto the next stage and not keep using an older role in the process.  That sounds harsh doesn’t it, ‘use your friend and move on’.  I don’t quite mean it in that way.  What I mean is, keep the friend, but if you are over the problem or past the way that they can help, then make sure you don’t keep dragging yourself backwards.  But then that’s my bias isn’t it; to eventually resolve it and not keep feeling sorry for myself, even if it sometimes takes me longer than expected?

Video Wed: Cup Half Full, Half Empty or Filled Half Way?

So I was chatting with Curly Headed Boy in the car the other morning about how to look at life.  I got him to imagine a glass of water that had been filled half way.  Then I said ‘Is it Half Full or Half Empty?’.  Because both are true.  But it is also true that it is ‘Filled Half Way’.

It can be really tiring to be around a ‘Half Empty’ person a lot of the time, they kind of seem to want to suck the energy out of you.  It’s because naturally there is always a balance in a conversation where we balance out over-pessimism with lots of optimism and vice versa.

The ‘Half Full’ people can be a bit of a pain too, as we aren’t really sure they are being honest and it makes us feel rubbish that we can’t be that bouncy all the time.  So around a bouncy ‘half full’ person we become pessimistic and around a draining ‘half empty’ person we become optimistic to try and bouy them up.

I’m not a fan of ‘positive thinking‘ because when misused and misunderstood it can create more depression and more trouble.  Instead the ideal really is to hit the middle of the scales, and balance both, so that we see that a cup is just filled half way with water.  It has good and bad in it.  So there is only half a cup, but it’s more than none!  That’s what I’m hoping to show Curly Headed Boy; that both are true, so that he can be a half-full-empty person and see both sides of the story.

So here are two videos for you, depending on how you started the day:

Grumpy?  Always look on the bright side of life: Monty Python!

Over-excited today?  This one will calm you down a bit: Jeff Buckley ‘Halleluja’

Do You Choose To Not Inconvenience Your Family?

I’ve made a massive shift recently and am now listening to myself a lot more.  I’ve decided that talking to myself might be a sign of madness, however as it works when I recommend things to my clients, it would probably work for me too!  So big in the Mummy Whisperer manifesto is for Mums to think about themselves FIRST (you know how they tell you to put the mask on yourself first to make sure that you survive and can help your kids).  But we can be sneaky things and hide where we aren’t looking after ourselves.

Now the first reason I overcame a habit of ‘not wanting to inconvenience the family’ was because of a sneaky and very clever trick by the people over at Blog Camp UK.  They got us to ‘pre-register’ for the London Mummy Bloggers Conference.  What a fab thing, because I didn’t think about all about the logistics and whether I could do it, I just thought it ‘sounded like a nice idea’.  When the invite came, I suddenly realised that I had no excuse not to go.  After all, it was just a day in London.  My lovely irish granny could come with me so that I could feed Little Dimples at lunch time, and they could have an adventure.  Meanwhile, Curly Headed Boy loved the idea of going to school with a gorgeous Mum who lives on the way to the train station (I’m going to miss you next year K, because you are fab, but also because he loves you!), and having a play date with his mate who lives round the corner (thank you so much C!).  I had a wonderful day, learnt tonnes, got the little grey brain cells going, gossiped a touch, and got very inspired about my blog and work.

So if you are thinking about one of the other blog camp UK days, do what I did; register and then work it out later!

This had an amazing effect on me.  My background is in something called the Demartini Method, and we have to regularly keep our continuing professional development up to keep our certification (I’m one of the only senior certified people globally; which is probably means I’m a bit of a teachers pet because I like doing exams/certification processes).  So normally I have to go to the states for to attend the advanced certification course, but as it happened the normal certification course was in the UK for the first time ever, a couple of days after blog camp.  I’d discounted it because of the expense, because it was 5 days, and because Little Dimples was so young and it would be difficult for the family.  Suddenly, I looked at it with new eyes.  By going now, I could save us a tonne of money, plus give us probably another 2 yrs before we had to go to the states again for it.  Plus due to my experience I managed to negotiate to only go for 3 days and pay a much smaller refresher fee.  So it was all change!

We all went in on the Saturday, and the kids had lots of fun with Big Hairy Northern Hubby and my lovely Irish granny.  Sunday and monday were a more chilled affair with the boys staying at home, and the Mums from school helping me out again (The gorgeous K, and this time E taking him to gymnastics in the very exciting car already full of 4 other kids).  I had a thoroughly lovely time; I got to meet a couple of old friends, lots of new people, and remind myself a little more about who I am underneath the Mummy outer shell.  Plus ironically, going for the ‘normal’ course, rather than the advanced one reminded my why I love doing what I do so much, and where I came from.  If I’d gone to the states my ego would have thoroughly gotten in the way and I would have gone in the advanced room, not the main room (there is only an advanced room in the states, not other countries), and missed out on this reminder of where it all started..

The only thing I didn’t quite manage is to explain the change of behaviour to the Big Hairy Northern hubby, who maybe needed a bit more explanation about how come I suddenly thought attending the course was a good idea.  It’s not that he wasn’t up for me doing it, but it seemed to confuse him a bit.  I think that sometimes we unreasonably think that the men will keep up with us when we change our plans and understand it as well as another woman might.  So next time I will remember to translate it better.

Meanwhile, the whole ‘inconvenience’ thing?  Well, yes, we were a bit knackered for a bit, but we got over it.  Curly Headed boy loved the adventure and time on his own with Daddy on the Sunday, plus has more confidence being with out Mummy (although I did get lots of cuddles on the Tuesday).  Little Dimples is now much happier on the trains, having disliked them on the first morning, and my lovely little irish granny has seen a pile of things in London that she had never seen before.

So I can really recommend inconveniencing your family once in a while; go on, what would do you good that you haven’t even considered doing?  We even experienced a package being exploded and a bomb threat with equanimity.  Which is weird, because there seems to be very little in the press about the amount of these going on in London at the moment?  But thats a whole other story.

Fibro fog

Turning my noisy head off

How thoughts bother usWhy do people have to disagree with us or have a go at us?  Do you ever wonder?  Wouldn’t it be easier or nicer if it was different?  Or if everybody was nice all the time would it actually not work for us?

I know that in this world there will always be as many people who like me as who dislike me.  Plus there will be people who agree with me and disagree with me, and just because they disagree with me, doesn’t mean they don’t like me (there’s a tongue twister for you!).  Sometimes I might not notice it because people often bitch behind closed doors, but sometimes you’ll meet an honest soul who comes straight out with it, which is refreshing if a bit shocking.

Each day there will be people who are nice to me and people who are mean.  Sometimes I don’t notice it because the people being mean aren’t important to me, sometimes I take it to heart.

Most of us can’t help preferring it when people like us, are nice to us and agree with us.  There are a few out there who openly court controversy and argument, but in the main we are all looking for the ‘nice’ in the world.  But does it always work for us?  Remember the saying ‘killing with kindness’?

Yesterday I decided to take some time out, sit in the sun and do a self-session on some stuff that had been making too much noise in my head for a while.  I was particularly looking at people from the same therapy background as myself, mummy bloggers and the big hairy northerner who spent the first year of Little Dimple’s life being more than usually gruff.  These are the people that I was wishing would always be nice to me, and because they meant so much to me it bothered me when they weren’t.

The problem is, when people are nice we often don’t make the changes needed.  Plus, ironically we can want niceness so much in our lives that we can actually attract the nastyness, it’s like the universe trying to help us to see that sometimes we need a different tack.  Of course if you are extremely determined (hmmm stubborn!) like me, it can take a lot of people having a go to make me rethink stuff or change my view of life.

So yesterday, I sat down and decided I’d done enough complaining and was going to sort it all out.  I won’t talk you through the whole process as that might take some time, but here are some of the things that I realised.  They are obvious and common sense, but there is a difference between knowing them logically and feeling them in your heart.  That’s when you can free yourself of stuff.  That’s what I do for other people and yesterday that’s what I did for myself.

The problem with the therapists/coachs from the same background as myself was I had a hell of a lot of loyalty towards them and spent a lot of time trying to help the community out because I love the method that we all use.  But I’ve got 2 kids now and my own business, and I don’t have the time.  However, out of loyalty I would still be investing time if I hadn’t had a wake up call.  It’s not the place for me right now, I’ve got my own business to sort out, and shouldn’t be sticking my nose into other people’s business.

With the Mummy Bloggers, I was being a bit daft, we do need to be able to disagree and not take it to heart.  My vision is for Mums to come together, but that doesn’t require us agreeing.  Ironically as well, without the competition, comparisons, and ridiculousness there would be no need for me!  It’s a bit like there being no jobs for doctors without illness, or no job for an appliance engineer if everything was built to last.  We don’t want things to break, but I have to admit that I enjoy helping Mums; a weird dichotomy!

I don’t talk much about the Big Hairy Northern one, as it’s not his fault I blog.  But lets just say that having been together for 22years and 2 young kids, there is probably more than just a little spring clean needed to spruce up our house at the moment.  Without his gruffness over the past year, I’d have probably just kept pottering along with the status quo and we both deserve lots more than that.  I might not have heard someone telling me that if they’d been all nice about it!

So yesterday I got to sit in the sun, feeling content and grateful for my life, with a lovely quiet head (for a little while at least!), bliss!

A whirlwind of a week, would you like a second chance?

Wow, this week was a crazy week!  Children’s nappies leaked twice and whole beds and duvets needed washing, babies puked, I bumped my car (ouch!), and I daftly scheduled Little Dimples vaccinations.  In the meantime technology was not loving me, things kept going wrong and my computer was on a go slow.  I was only just ready for my Free Webinar on ‘Ensuring your children reach their potential’ a couple of hours beforehand.  But phew, I made it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so you can be expecting lots more Free Webinars in the future!  (I hope I hear a massive ‘yay’!).

Now, I’ve already been approached by a few Mums who missed the chance to attend the webinar; don’t worry guys, I was kind of expecting that, because we do have very busy lives as Mums.  So I have created you a special new page from which you can register to hear it.  Please do it this way, don’t try to sneak the URL for the recording from a mate, because then you will miss out on the FREE online course which helps you after the call!  Ignore the descriptions you may see on registering in gotowebinar, that’s now irrelevant as the webinar is over!

http://mummywhisperersecrets.com/missed-my-webinar-ensuring-children-reach-their-potential/

What would you like next?  Pop a comment below for your most ideal free webinar or what you find you struggle with the most, and you never know that might be what I pick.  If you don’t have any ideas, here are some of mine, what do you think of these?

  • Why looking after yourself and keeping your identity as a Mum is crucial – you might know this logically, but do you need a helping kick to do it?
  • How I tackled Curly Headed Boy’s problems with starting reception
  • Ideas on handling bullying

Looking forward to all your ideas!

Who am I, Who was I, Who will I be?

Have you ever wondered what happened to the girl you used to be, or who you will become, or who on earth you have ended up becoming?  I suddenly started wondering about this at the weekend as I watched one of my favourite films ‘Practical Magic’ with Sandra Bullock.  I felt a tinge of sadness, as though it reminded me that there is a little part of me that I’m ignoring right now.  Realistically that is a choice I have made because I’m unable to fit in everything, and focussing mainly on the practicalities of life, helps everything flow more smoothly.  But it was a timely reminder to not ignore my needs for too long, otherwise unfulfillment will sneak into my daily life.

So who am I right now? I am everything that I choose to do because I love it, or do because I have let some ‘authority’ convince me I ‘should’ do.  I am everything and everyone that I have in my life, the people, the house, the stuff I do buy and the stuff I don’t.  These things that I value doing and having are what give me a reason to be, what get me up in the morning, and fill my plans for the future.  I am what I ‘be, do and have’, and what I value.  There is no point in complaining about what I think I don’t want in my life, because today it is there, so as at today it is me and what works.  Now tomorrow I may shift what I choose, so things may change, but this is who I am today.  The great thing about being a Mum, is that we have a clear sense of purpose each day (i.e dress, feed, bath and play with the kids!), plus because our time tends to feel more restricted it really highlights what our top most values are.  Of course it also feels restrictive sometimes, but that is just part of the package ;o)

Nature never throws anything away, so I am also what I was yesterday, and 40yrs ago.  Here lie the secrets as to why I make the choices I make today and what I value today.  Life is just like economics, where if demand is greater than supply the value of the product increases.  So where I thought something was missing or hard to come by when I was younger, it became something of importance as I grew older.  The younger the void, the more likely that it feels like a ‘core’ value of mine, which is always likely to direct my future and current reason for being or purpose.  The later the void appeared, the more likely it is just something that I was told ‘should be’ important, and doesn’t create that feeling of fulfilment when I listen to it that one of my own core voids do.

This is why I’m fascinated by people and connections, and why I love twitter, learning about human behaviour, and sharing what I learn.  It creates the need for a little sparkle or magic in my life, wether having fun with the kids or wearing necklaces.  It’s why I’m drawn to help people, and why I’ve chosen to learn therapies that empower people, rather than those that sympathise with the awfulness of their stories.  It’s why a week focussed on cleaning and routines leaves me feeling rubbish inside, and why I’m drawn to work from home.  It’s why everyday is important to me (often the result of people who experience the death of a loved one when young), and I’m so focussed on helping Mums with their daily lives, rather than concentrating more on spiritual evolution.  It doesn’t mean that other choices are wrong.  In fact, if I was the same as my associates who have had the same training as me, there would be no need for me.  That’s the point, that’s why we all value different things; to make the space for us to have the potential to know that there is a special reason and space for all of us, we just need to identify it.

So who will I become?  I would love to become a household name, teaching Mums how to listen to their own instincts, rather than be overwhelmed by people telling them what to do.  I had the most lovely comment on my last blog saying how fab I would be on daytime TV.  Who knows wether I will be that successful (it’s one way of measuring success, but there are many of other ways).  Maybe I will just continue to love being a Mum and instead concentrate on helping local Mums.  Maybe I’ll decide that the vaguaries of working for myself are too tough and return to the workforce.  But one thing is definitely true; the secrets to where I am going, come from where I was.  So I can be sure that I’m not going to suddenly become an overnight sensation as a singer, as there is no sign of skill, practice or any time spent on that activity!  I will definitely be a Mum, with a slightly romantic side, part tree-hugger, part computer geek, who learns and shares what she learns, and loves chocolate!

In the meantime, with a young baby and a 4yr old, I am mainly focussed on just being a Mum, with the standard voids that all mums have.  Time is like gold dust, and we all worry about the lack of resources in the future for our kids.  But how I choose to tackle these things will come from my top most biases and value systems, as having so little time really helps to show what your top values are. So my priorities are on what to me appears to be a ‘better’ use of my time, and they make up my current purpose of being who I am today.  As my kids get older, I will be less identified by these role based voids and there will be space for some new and old ones to appear.  In fact, in the nursery car park, you can pretty much tell who has younger or older kids by how they dress at nursery.  To look fabulous with a toddler early in the morning, requires what we look like to be very high on our list of priorities, and most Mums will totally fail at that.  However, as the toddler becomes a pre-schooler, you see the return of mascara and something other than jeans or track suit bottoms.

So today, I am me, but some days I find that more fulfilling than others, depending on whether I’m listening to myself or others more.

If you fancy learning more about values to help you find out more about yourself and your family, then you can sign up for my newsletter on my main site and get 2 free audios and ebooks.   If you fancy learning loads about values, then get in touch and I’ll point you in the direction of some books.

Arrival Of Baby No2 – A Very Different Experience

Willow Phoebe Rose Pearson arrived on Saturday 13th February at 13.25, at a chubby 9lbs 3oz, at home in our lounge after a very relaxed 7hr labour, lots of chatting and a short dip in the birthing pool.  Hubby and 4yr old son were downstairs during the process, watching films or playing computer games, and popping up to see how I was doing every now and again with more tea for us.  So it all worked out to be a very calm and un-stressful experience.

Now, if you fancy more detailed info, here you go, but feel free to stop here; I know that some friends will be wanting the full monte, and others will be interested in the home birth side, but some of you won’t want to know ;o)

So Much More Relaxed

It was so different this time around, with her picking a daytime arrival (6.30am-1.25pm) versus Max’s evening one (6.30-10pm).  Max was really full on, with me going straight into ‘transition’ 24hrs after my waters broke, no pre-warning contractions, just straight into 1 min contractions every minute.  The rather scary (and noisy, because I’m not good with physical pain!) roller coaster 4hrs included a mad dash for hospital, finishing off in a birthing unit.

Instead, this was a relaxed affair, with the Doula (Nicola Wilson – like an old fashioned midwife who gives additional support during the birth and post-natally) arriving an hour in, and the community midwife (Sarah Loveday – very lovely and relaxed) an hour or two after that.  There was lots of chatting, which I found helped with the pain as it relaxes the jaw (which relaxes the pelvis), along with remembering to eat, drink water and breathe (which I forgot to do first time).  I can see now why those women on YouTube were singing during labour, which might not be my cup of tea, but I definitely recommend humming to music or chatting!

I mainly stood up and leaned on a leather chair, for 6.5hrs, by the french windows (curtains shut obviously!).  It was a beautiful day, and when I got a bit hot and flustered I could open the doors.  It wasn’t where I planned to be, as I thought I would use the big fit balls or a bean bag, but they were useful for the midwife and doula instead!

I also thought I’d go straight in the pool, but things were going so well, that we decided to keep it for when I really needed it, which was only the final 30 mins.  The pool was a blow up ECO small one, which was perfect.  I wouldn’t want bigger, it kept it’s heat all the way through from the beginning, was quick to fill, and very comfortable to be in (both leaning on the sides and kneeling).  Things really ramped up when I got in, which although painful, was NOTHING like the traumatic pain I remembered from before and totally bearable for that short time, especially as I had help from the Doula and Midwife.

Pain Levels

I suspect this is the difference in pain levels is down to some prior preparation about fear of pain, plus being in a much more relaxed environment, with no mad dash for Watford.  I didn’t do ‘hypnobirthing’, but did use some relaxation techniques in the 6 weeks prior (I’ll do another post with information about that), which meant I was well rested. I also did some practical looking at the value of the pain with some of my associates beforehand, which meant that I wasn’t worried about making noise or it hurting again.  Plus with a more gentle build up there was less shock, and I wasn’t lieing on a hospital bed or ‘sitting on her head’ as the midwife called it.  I couldn’t have done anything other than lie down first time round, but now I know a little more about these things, I could have been lieing on my side, rather than on my back.

First time round it felt like someone had a couple of hot pokers and were mixing my stomach with them (sorry for the gruesome details!), whereas this time the contractions were in my back (like period pains are).  It was fascinating as they moved down my back as she moved, which is quite an encouraging feeling.  Plus, we tried an old fashioned tip, which was to check my legs to see how dilated I was.  Apparently, your legs starting getting cold at the ankle, and the higher up towards your knees it goes, the more dilated you are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like that model recently who didn’t feel a thing.  That last 20 mins was very intense, but this time I managed to not scream (waste of energy) and keep the noises lower in the back of my throat (which is where you want them).  I didn’t even get heard by the neighbours, unlike last time when I couldn’t speak for a week and could have been heard miles away ;o)

I owe huge gratitude to the fact that I live in St Albans, where home births are pretty much matter of fact, and the midwives get plenty of leeway to make it the best possible experience for mums, that it can possibly be.  Plus in hertfordshire we have loads of Doula’s including really experienced ones like Nicola, which is definitely the answer to the problem of no local family, siblings that need taking care of, potential help after the birth, and additional support during the birth hence taking some pressure off hubby.

Her Arrival

I was leaning forwards at the end, so the funniest thing was as they popped her on my back, and I suddenly realised how come she had taken longer, because blimey she was heavy.  Max had been a little 6lb 10oz baby, and she is nearly 3lb’s heavier at 9lb’s 3oz!  She was also very cute looking as she was delivered in her waters bag, so her head was all cushioned throughout, with no funny squashed look.

As expected she has dark hair, dark eyes (slate grey at the moment, but likely to go brown), and dark skin.  In fact her skin is really dark at the moment, which is because of giving birth at home and having no rush to remove the cord, so she got a lot extra blood etc, than a baby whose cord is cut quickly in hospital.  Whereas Max was obviously red haired, pale skinned and blue eyed, right from the start.  He was whipped off quickly to be measured etc, given a quick feed, and then passed to Daddy while I had a couple of hours of stitching (don’t worry, gas and air is fabulous, it didn’t hurt a bit!).  This time, despite her being a ton bigger, there are no stitches, which is really good news.

The only similarity between the two was the lack of drugs.  Not my plan!  But first time round there wasn’t enough time for them to have taken effect, and this time, I didn’t really need anything until then end, and there wasn’t much point by then.  I was given some homeopathic remedies by the Doula in the pushing stage, which I did think helped me through the last bit.

It was weird to be so much more conscious and able to follow instructions at the end.  I’d seen women give birth on YouTube, and they had seemed so much more involved and able to understand the midwives, but I just couldn’t understand how that could be, as first time around, I was so incapable of understanding anything.  This time I could understand instructions, and move when told to (with a little bit of complaining!).

The Rest Of The Family

Max and David had fun playing computer games and watching films.  David did a fab job of keeping everyone fed and watered, meanwhile Max would pop up to check on us, announce something funny and then disappear back downstairs.  I did suggest that they go out near the end, but unbeknown to me the Doula counteracted that, which I am really grateful for.  I was worried I might make noise and scare Max, but in fact they hardly heard anything, and it meant that they arrived in the lounge, almost immediately after her entrance into the world.  Willow and I cuddled for a quite some time in the pool, with Max leaning over.  He was really chuffed, not bothered by the pool being a slightly bloody colour at all.  In fact it was only later on that he got slightly upset, but we discovered it was just because he insists that she should wear pink or cute stuff, and he didn’t like the outfit that we had picked!

The dogs got treated to a lovely long walk by our dog walker, so they were pretty exhausted that night.  However, the Labradoodle noticed her immediately, and is already watching over her with great concern if she issues the smallest of squeaks.  The Spaniel took 2 days to notice her, and is just a little annoyed that she tends to take up space on the sofa, but thinks that she smells nice.

Afterwards

Once the cord had stopped pulsing, we decided to get out, and were put in a lovely cocoon of towels, while I fed her.  An hour later, I popped off to the bathroom and the placenta arrived very quickly, so there was no need for an injection.  Then I had a lovely shower, and got all cleaned up.  Meanwhile the Doula and two midwives (the second midwife didn’t arrive until just after she was born, because once she decided it was time to push, she only took 20mins, so there wasn’t a lot of notice) had tidied everything, fed me, and the pool had already been emptied and disassembled by David and Max.

It’s a lovely feeling to be at home, in the peace and quiet and not have to go anywhere.  Despite it being pretty easy, I did feel a little shaky afterwards for a couple of days, so it’s lovely to be all snuggled on your own sofa, with your baby and family.

The Next Week

Willow ‘mewed’ her way through her first 24hrs, with lots of little squeaky noises whether she was asleep or awake.  She has a set of lungs on her, but her wail is gentle in comparison to Max’s, which would go from 0 to 100 decibels in a matter of 5 seconds.  She wasn’t impressed by bodily functions like puking (delicately of course!), or pooing, but has found that if she sucks my finger it is a much more lady like way of winding herself than burping.

Max is a little sensitive, but has been wonderful with her.  Having no younger siblings myself, I’m amazed at how genuinely he loved her immediately, and how gentle he is when he holds or touches her.  Although it is half-term, he has been attending drama camp this week (same days as nursery), which has given him some normalcy, plus he got invited out for a ‘play-date’ on his own, which he adored (thanks Clare!).  We are co-sleeping just as he planned, and at the moment he would prefer Willow and I to stay in the room, even if she is being a little fractious; we’ll see how that goes.

David has had a tough time, as the day after Willow was born, it was announced that his company were shutting down the division that he had moved to 14 days previously.  Despite him supposedly being on paternity leave, he has repeatedly had to work late into the night, and attend teleconferences during the day in order to help out the different factions.  It would definitely be kind of fun to get a chance to be locked in a room with his main boss at the moment, what with the hormonal soup that week1 after a baby is born can be.  But don’t worry about us, David was made redundant 6 weeks after Max was born, so if the worst possible scenario happens, it just means that he gets the same opportunity to spend time with Willow.  Meanwhile, the Mums at Max’s nursery have all kindly offered to help with the nursery runs next week, so I don’t have to handle the a total return to normalcy when David goes ‘back’ to work, or in his case, actually has to go into London to work.

David’s parents turned up excitedly the night that Willow was born, and the next day were joined briefly by his sister and her 2 teenage kids.  But since monday afternoon we have had a quieter time of it, and are gradually getting our heads around how a family works with an additional pink bundle (she is definitely a rather cute bundle, whereas Max was nick named ‘alien bug’ for the first few weeks of his life!).  Hopefully, one of my brothers will be able to make it to meet her next week.

With Max I remember the first two weeks being totally cocooned with him for the most blissful weeks of my life.  That’s not a possibility with paternity leaves being cancelled, and reappearing, and then cancelled again, along with the reality of already having a 4yr old.  But generally, just as with her birth, it’s a slower, more relaxed if less intense experience (so far, that is!).

Note: Every couple of months I’ll post another blog on our progress and the differences/similarities second time around (mainly as a diary for me, but it might be interesting for people thinking of having a second), so if you fancy keeping up to date with our journey you might want to subscribe.

Swap Guilt/Pain From Affairs For A Bright Future

Blimey, what’s going on with the celebrities this month, we have Tiger Woods and his addictions, John Terry and the girls desperate to become WAGs, and now Vernon Kay with his daft texts.  I feel for anyone who discovers that their partner has been unfaithful in any manner, but I particularly feel for these women, as the whole drama will get played out infront of the media.  It must be much harder in some ways, because they also have to face the most massive public humiliation.  The only upside is that so many of their compatriots will be able to help out, whereas in a more ‘normal’ life these things are often kept secret.  So as BabyNo2 is still preferring the warmth of my tummy, rather than the snow outside, I’ve written this blog, for those women who find it when they are in pain, to show them that there is a chance of a pain free future.

Lets play the ‘Society Says’ game …

  • Society says that affairs are wrong.
  • Society says that the ‘adulterer’ should feel guilty.
  • Society says and the poor ‘victim’ left behind will feel devastated.
  • Society says that ‘other person’ was a predatory horrible person.
  • Society says that if you stay together the relationship will never be the same again.
  • Society says that if you don’t, all your future relationships will be tainted by the pain of the past.
  • Society says that the guilt and bad start means that if the affair continues, it will eventually dissolve disastrously.

Are you planning on playing a life like the game ‘Simon says’ from our childhood?  Do you know how much conditioning of how we are meant to feel affects us?  Hows about ignoring what everyone else says, and instead look for the potential that could come out from the events of your past?  Someone once told me ‘Out of great destruction, comes great creation‘, maybe that would be a more useful mantra?

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not belittling the pain of feeling like your life is falling apart, or the shock of discovering that your partner is not who you thought they were.  There is the feeling of being a total fool, either because you didn’t guess, or because you did, but were willing to be persuaded you were wrong.  There are so many painful thoughts that go through the heads of the people involved, that I couldn’t possibly do them justice here.  However, I don’t need to, because the market is jam packed with books and material about ‘victims’, ‘surviving affairs’, and pain, pain, pain, pain.

My plan is add to the less frequent voice of people suggesting that there can be opportunity, miracle, transformation and an extremely bright future once the storm has passed.  The reason that I go for this camp, is because what I care about is that everyone involved in the affair is able to have a life full of potential, where they can see the opportunities ahead of them.  There are the couples who could remain together, and go on to have a relationship which is stronger and more fabulous than before.  There are the couples who could split up and go on to have the most incredibly relationship of their lives.  There is the opportunity to mentor to our kids that they will survive even the toughest of challenges, so that there is no need to fear pain in the future.  There is the shift in the people involved reminding them of their potential to create outside of the relationship as well.  All of these opportunities will be stifled by fear and guilt.

I’m suggesting that this is possible, not just because it sounds like a ‘nice’ idea, but having had 10yrs of training, loads of clients, and my own experiences.  Some people are able to achieve this all on their own, which is a truly brave and courageous feat.  However, because of the heavy pressure of ‘society says’, many will need some assistance, and it might take some time.  But, that time will be little in comparison to the amount of potential years ahead, so I thoroughly encourage you to be open to the fact that maybe it won’t do us any good to berate the ‘guilty’ or sympathise with the ‘victim’.  I’ve used those terms in my previous posts I admit, so that I could win over your trust and hope that you would continue to listen to me when I got a little more controversial.

Now how I help people through this process is a little complicated to discuss in a post, but I’m going to give you a little insight into some of the steps involved.

  1. It’s important to be sure about why we feel guilty or are upset.  People assume that everyone who experiences the same problem feel the same, but actually we don’t.  If we dig deeper, we’ll find out that we have a very specific description of how we feel about it.  (This is not about the story, but about the character traits or description of the actions of the parties involved).
  2. The other thing that blanks us is to imagine that we ‘would never’ or ‘have never’ done the same thing and that the ‘guilty’ party is totally guilty.  What helps is to see that no one is ‘totally’ a particular characteristic in every area of life, and neither are we quite as perfect and untainted as we might imagine!  Some people call this ‘reflection’; it is the theory that the reason one thing upsets person A, but not person B is because person A is reminded of themselves and by something they have done somewhere in their life.
  3. The next most vital steps in the process are looking for those ‘opportunities’ that I mentioned before.  These are the ‘silver linings’ behind the clouds, and the reasons why we didn’t just gain from the experience, but when we look at reality, we actually don’t want to change the way it worked out.  (Now, don’t throw things at me and say ‘how could you say that’; just imagine how it could feel if I proved it to you!).

Now, I don’t really think that you need loads more complicated detail about the steps involved, but if you would really like to know a load more about the methods I use, then there is much more in depth information on my ‘Dance of Life‘ website and blogs, which are all purely focussed on the Demartini Method.  I can also recommend a book called ‘The Heart of Love’ by Dr John F Demartini.  I also recommend that you read the rest of my blogs under the category of affairs; there will be more to come too!

For the rest of you, I hope that I have opened you up your eyes to the potential of hope and an extremely bright future. You don’t have to fear it happening to you, because if you believe I might be talking sense, you know you will be OK.   For those who have experienced an affair; It’s Ok to be a miserable mess or still held back from either guilt or pain, but if at some point you would like to have a future free of the past, I’m here to tell you that it is possible.