Monday, December 21, 2015

Menopause , yeah that

 " Ok I will tell you now, menopause for me was like another puberty for older women ! "
Menopause , first off , what the heck is it ? sheesh well with all the new terms in place now & descriptions for some they say it is just a small window like a yr when you have not had a menstrual cycle for 12 months . then you go in to post menopause . .many list peri-menopause as the time surrounding menopause as that leading up to & after menopause .
some say crooning is only with menopause .
so honestly I am going to share & tell what menopause is for me & what my personal menopause experience has been . & most of all share truths rather than stereotypical media made assumptions .
just a very short note on my peri-meno time .
if you want to know more just ask me .
it began just very shortly after I turned 40 yrs old . my cycle began to change & my pms symptoms came on & would last a full on two weeks . Basically after ovulation I began pms .
I will also say my reproductive body is like that of the women on my father's side not my mother . My mother basically had maybe two hot flashes & her menopause lasted probably one year . yeah I know ridiculous eh .
This was a big change compared to my usual pms time of 3 days before menstruating .
I used wild yam cream & within 3 weeks my cycle went back to normal. I used this for a period of 3 months then stopped . I was good for 3 yrs then it happened again . Again I used wild yam & same thing pms symptoms vanished & my cycle returned to normal.
Ok so that peri was really not that bad . not compared to yes age 45 when my menopause began .
I call this menopause because the cycle changed . what worked for me in peri-menopause did not work for me in menopause . so I know my body . different cycles. childhood, puberty , childbearing fertility years, perimenopause & now  menopause . These were & are different stages for me .
so yes age 45 years . Year of the hot flash !
Walking , sitting , sleeping , eating . No time , place , or inactivity or activity is free from experiencing the flash !
Hence another journey . Trying wild yam again . It is promoted to help once again with this phase . well I can say for me a big NOPE , to wild yam helping with menopause . Nothing what so ever .
So I found books & the most helpful just as her birthing books helped was reading the book by Susun Weed on Menopausal years .
 & several other articles via she & other women .
 my gosh how this helped me !
& isn't it strange how plants that we have not known come to us when needed ?
For me it was Motherwort , yes named after mother yet for me I had many plant allies I had in my motherings years . Motherwort never was one of them . Yet she mothered me in this phase . My god/dess how I needed mothering !
 Ok I will tell you now, menopause for me was like another puberty for older women !
I felt outside of my norm . Where was my body ? gaining weight . I as a small thin person this was tramatic for me putting on 20-25lbs ! I felt sluggish & slow . My diet changed I craved foods I'd never enjoyed nor given second thought to . mostly sweet & salty .
 Ok motherwort , yes she helped me immensely back then . Hot flashes disappeared .
My cycle though I began bleeding every two weeks . Yes ! every two weeks ! sheesh
all you ever hear about menopause is that you stop bleeding . No many women do this bleeding more thing !
 Relief to me connecting with other women at our local goddess festival ! Ha , also the year of the crone Baba Yaga ! I learned I was not the only one !
 So yes I feel the need very much to share & help the women younger than myself who will eventually come upon this stage.
 We have in our  lifestyles all these teachings for our young women changing from girl to woman , ceremony , honouring , gifting , teachings & fasting , red tents , honouring blood & mothering , birth & breast feeding . & yes I do wish to teach & care for younger ones , so many need us older ones to give them comfort . Yet we also need caring . My older body needs just as much love & attention .
 There will be a time & a need for honouring , helping , gifting , caring for the elder woman .
I personally do not have a red tent I have an Indigo tent , a tent of my ancestors , a tent of those Indigo workers , those older wise women . a place to share & give .
So yes My Motherwort ally helped me . Hot flashes gone . then again probably another 3 yrs later they came again . Motherwort worked great . Oh by the way I use tincture or mix the dried plant in with other crone herbs because I cannot stand the taste of motherwort !
Ok that was until this past spring ! I had known , read that some women need rest during menopause . Well what hit me in mid June was sleeping for 3 days in a row & my 4th day would be ok . I honestly thought I had Lymes ! No, then they came , those Flashes , yes they did ! in the heat & worst humidity of summers we have ever had !
I am not kidding when I say this lasted in to mid August . I finally regained my energy levels !
 Yet the flashes no .
Ok I am not talking a few per week as I began my menopause all those yrs ago . No . I am talking 20 per day ! Yes that is correct ! This is not an uncommon thing !
Even entering Autumn & Winter I would be flinging my blankets off . Motherwort tincture helped to some extent but not ridding me of the flashes as it had in earlier yrs.
 I was at a loss what to do. My Vitex wasn't helping . I couldn't take black cohosh as I 've had bad reaction to it before .
 bring me to late November & honouring one of those cravings .
 Huh , the Pomegranate ! Again , this came just via craving . I began eating , just devouring these fruits of my ancestry . I began all sorts of love  with this fruit ! I did ceremony , bathed with it , divined with the seeds .
 & my flashes well they just sort of began to subside . Being me I did not make this connection though . yeah , that is me ahead & yet slow at the same time ha ha
 No that did not happen until a beautiful friend was over & I offered her some of my pomegranate . She told me that they are estrogen producing !
Well my goodness ! So now when I go to research this information . Yes !
 I cannot say how much this is working ! For me !
Again this is my personal experience . Is it because of part of my ancestry , my body hormonally is like my Middle Eastern/Indian side ?   who the heck knows .
All I know is that yet again a calling , a craving has worked . & I am sharing because honestly if I can help another woman not have to go through 3-4 months of 20 some hot flashes per day it is well worth sharing .
 Does pomegranate juice work ? I have no idea because right now I have access to fresh fruit .
 So I am sticking to that . If & when I do need to try juice I will try & find the best raw form I can .
I am not sure if the juicing process changes the structure or not .
So this is me now in my 52 year old body .
 I can't speak or say more because this is all I've got .
 a little on the vaginal dryness , thinning of skin etc.
 Thus far I have found aloe vera , yes weird because I absolutely did not like it on my eczema or dry skin but my vag does like it &  it helps .
Yeasty stuff as always acidophilous & yogurt 
 bladder , well bladder excrecises do work ! But for infection , yes for the first time in my life I did get bladder infection ! cranberry, yarrow & bear berry work !   but also my bladder was out of place ! yes that can happen,  especially with older women & those of us who have given birth ! For me 6 times birthing . So I did exercises to put it in to place again . A good friend told me she went to the chiropractor to have this done & it worked as well .
 I also am doing the yoni steams . I make my own teas . Personally because of my age I have a crone tisane for vaginal steaming . I also added olive oil to my steam because of my age & ancestry etc.
 But I can say all stereotypes & what we just grew up hearing in general was not true in my case .
I wish I had had more sharing , more teachings given to me like with our moon time etc.
So I really want to help younger women be prepared & help women my age & older to learn & care for each other .

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Little Flower Girl ~ A Birth Story

This is the birth story of my second child , my beautiful daughter Jasmine Milan .
A gift to her for her 29th birthday .
She is now a beautiful young mother herself .
I'm copying the story from the Compleat Mother
My Little Flower Girl
I was a single parent when Natasha was born . Three years later, I met Bob and we traveled to Mexico.
I became pregnant there but on the way home I miscarried. This baby was about 12 weeks it was very painful physically & emotionally and especially hard on Bob. We think it happened due to so much non stop travel which was extremely stressing on my body .
Back in Winnipeg we knew we really wanted another child but then I got pregnant and miscarried again . I went to a hospital : it was the first and last time I would get medical help for a miscarriage . Three student doctors looked at me as if I were an anatomy lesson instead of a grieving mother.
As one checked me a gush of blood flowed out . " Yuck " he said as if this was the grossest thing he had ever seen . " Fetal tissue " they said, but to Bob and I this was our baby .
I never got another period . I wasn't going to lose this one . I found a doctor through the woman's clinic but I still can't believe they recommended her to me . She wrote out a prescription for valium to be taken for the first 3 months .
Instead of following that advise I went to my mother's dr. who was cool , who also had homebirths with his children. I wanted a dr. for backup in case of emergency so if we had to go to a hospital we'd have someone who knows us to meet us there . Bob and I both wanted a homebirth with a midwife.
For the first 3 months I drank red raspberry and lobelia tea. I believe it made me strong and relaxed .
Darlene the midwife came when I was 14 weeks . I couldn't believe she stayed for two hours . We talked about Bob and I and raising kids. Then she checked my blood pressure and urine . I told her how I'd been craving ice and chewing on it . She told me I might be low in iron . I took a supplement and the craving went away .
At prenatal visits Darlene helped me feel confident showing me where the baby was , how much baby weighed . She was a true friend . I went through my first birth with her and although it took place in the first birthing room in Winnipeg I shared what had bothered me . Noise, distraction and lots of people in the room . The Lamaze method was shit actually . To look at a focal point - forget it ! I needed to close my eyes and get in to my body .
Natasha and I really got in to each other , playing cards late at night , drawing or reading . We rubbed my big belly with coconut oil and then I massaged her to sleep . We looked at birth books a lot and she was excited this baby would be born at home . She asked if it would hurt and I said if it did I'd wiggle my finger so she would know when to be quiet .
One night I had a dream that I was with my pregnant friends . One of them had her baby and Darlene helped her put the baby back inside her warm , safe belly . It was like a demonstration of birthing for us all. Simple and easy .
It was a cold, cold winter with a lot of storms . One night we went to see my mother and after we ate Natasha fell asleep. Mum was playing the piano for gramma Grace who slept on the couch . I suddenly thought " I should wash the sticky floor in the kitchen " So much energy , eh ? On the drive home I had contractions so mild you say " no, it can't be "
The next day contractions came and went .Then the next day yet again I woke with them finally good and strong , and think ohooooo. I showered and rolled around on the futon , then called the midwife , my mother and sister , then the dr. just so he'd know what was going on .
My mum ended up doing the dishes over and over again . Darlene arrived after I'd had about 8 hot showers . Bob and I sat next to the radiator and I loved the warmth on my back . Natasha came in the room and I wiggled my finger , she giggled and ran out of the room .
Darlene nursed her little boy to sleep and I seemed to have heavy endless contractions . I looked at Darlene with lost eyes and said " is it coming ?"
" It's going really smoothly " she said , so gently . I looked at Bob during one of the contractions he looked so big and strong , so love him . I actually felt horny
I tried being on hands and knees, but my head was to low , so I hung on the hammock under my arms , this was perfect . I could hand and push, oooooh .
 Darlene put a warm wet cloth on my bottom. Great. My arms were sore on the hammock, so Bob held me up while I pushed and pushed .
Natasha gave me an apple juice popcicle and I sucked it right up. Darlene was looking at the baby moving down , then WHAM ! My waters broke , splash, all over her. We all laughed, but I was so tired , oh please.....
Then it happened. My mind left the room and took me , my body and my baby to a forest that was hot , moist and misty . I saw it clearly , and I was there naked and sweaty . There were dead leaves and fresh cool earth I dug my toes in to . Big branches of cedar and pine spread out over me with patches of light filtering through . I was birthing in a forest and I began to hoot . The birthing call . Then I heard them, the others, other women also birthing . answering each other  hooting , hooting hooting ....
Darlene was asking me if I wanted to feel the baby's head . I was back in the room , then , felt the burning . ohhhhh, The head is there . My mother is there . Oh , no , she takes Natasha out ! I want to run and get her back , but I'm having the baby ... Natasha is crying " I want to see the baby " the burning , Ohhh .
The head comes. I feel it, then the shoulders , swish . and out she comes . Cry ? Not really strong , but a cry nonetheless .Natasha came in and put her dolly blanket on the baby . Later the placenta came . Natasha wanted to go get her little scissors to cut the cord ! Everyone took turns holding baby Jasmine . Darlene ran a bath for us and Jasmine nursed in it for a long time .
We learned Jasmine had, had her hand on her head which may have been why my labouring was so very long .
Bob and I cuddled down to sleep with Jasmine between us and Natasha beside us on her own little futon bed.
Darlene came over a few times in the next couple days . weighing baby . Jasmine's eye had a bit of infection but that cleared up the next day after I dripped breastmilk on it. Her cord got a little smelly so Darlene said to bath in salt water  , it dried up nice and clean .
We froze the placenta in the freezer and this was the reason for writing the story . This summer we buried the placenta out where my mother was raised . We dug a hole in the yard and lay pine branches down first then the placenta , Natasha's daisies and buttercups , some bluebells and birch bark and a stick of Jasmine incense .
Finally we sprinkled rose petals from gramma Grace's rose bush which hadn't bloomed in years . Gramma Grace had died in spring and it was like the plant came back to life , her soul nursing it back to bloom .
I cuddled Jasmine with the sun shining down on us and told her " I love you Noonie , you're a special little girl "
my flower girl

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Use What Ya Got

this is a write up in response to my midwinter brokedom which comes every single yr at this time .
response to feeling low enough without seeing all the posts out there on facebook & blogs & pods .
 to buy & try every essential oil & exotic herb out there .
I'm not knocking oils or our beautiful teachers from far off places . I myself use essential oils but I've run out of the oil I used since early winter & can't purchase more .
so get this , that oil was spruce . I live in abundance of spruce .
 LOL I was thinking how I bet spruce is an exotic plant to someone in Belize !
what did common people , lay folk use ? In our area for all our ailments . Just like we use cotton rags for bandages I'm going back to remedies my people used here .
& essential oils the distilling aside from making alcohol perhaps, my people did not make essential oils or use them . yes made & used all over the world by many of my cultures but by the common people ? I really doubt it . I personally believe just like the so called book of shadows was an upper elitist class thing so were essential oils . infused in animal fat or nut oils seed oils & tinctures made using local wine  yes .
I always was a person to use the plant first , capsule tea or tincture , bathes  , salves , soups , poultices ...... but like anyone especially online social media I get influenced .
I feel I'm not doing enough . I need to use everything out there & do everything out there .
 in fact if I return to be more focused on my local area & using & conserving what we have here I'm not just helping myself but my grandchildren too !
I don't want them to feel the need to use things from far away across an ocean . that is the whole purpose of unglobalizing , undoing the new world order .
get back to here . use what I got , be the lay folk granny that I am .
& yes of course I'm not that radical but I need balance . do what is right for myself & our family .
I can't afford 5 different types of oils so I can buy a bottle of white flower oil for our chest colds because I certainly can't afford to make my own right now .
make us teas , drink cider vinegar , have herbal baths  etc. even my salves I can't sell right now because I can't afford the oils or containers . but for myself I can do what my gramma did & that is use the animal fat given to me  by friends . use pint glass pickle jars for my own salves & rubs . because really I need to look after us before others .
we may not be able to mail out things right now but I can trade with people right here in all 4 directions !
I look to some of my fav herbalists . while they were knowledgeable of so many plants & remedies  they used what was in their own backyards . Even if they traveled they used the botanical remedies of the local places .
Anyway for now I'm broke so I'm going back to it being simple actually using onions , garlic , & blueberries . cedar, pine & juniper . bearfat , vinegar & honey .

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Pad & A Sponge ( keeping it simple )

I've been thinking on the keeping it simple , keeping it cheap theme again .
I wondered why post this ? people out there know it already . shit they can google anything LOL
so on the subject of environmentally friendly & low cost regarding menstration comes up . It will in each generation be a new topic . so should we not keep
 re-sharing ? many young women use the cup the menstration cup which catches your cycle blood . it is inexpensive & is a convienent way to save your blood to use in ritual or give back to the earth etc.
yet some of us have a tippy or irregular shaped cervix . some of us do not wish to use plastic or latex materials due to allergies or environmental reasons .
so what else can we use . what did your great grandmothers use ? aside from having a sacred space with a hole in the ground to bleed each cycle or collecting mosses ;-)
 rags . I don't think the younger generations may even know what the term " I'm on the rag or I got my rags " means LOL
  Women can purchase pre sewn menstrual flannel pads already made if they like . I don't . Now I'm sharing my experience , what I use . what works for me . I am not a working outside the home woman like my daughter is .
So what I do may not be best for her . maybe it is . I'm just sharing because it is extremely simple & cheap.
I use flannel rags & a small sea sponge . This works well for me . Personally if I did not go out or travel I do not even use the sponge when at home . but the sponge is a great alternative to tampons or the cups .
 So let's start with the rag ! I do not pre-sew my flannel . I use long rectangular shaped pieces of flannel . that is it . my mother & grandmother taught me via diapers that you need not hem flannel . it frays at first but it eventually after a few washings closes up along the torn edges & no longer frays . so just snip the lose little ends that come the first couple washes & eventually that stops & you do not need deal with a lumpy hem either .
 You can make a few sizes of rectangles depending on the flow of your bleed . the longer the rectangle the thicker your pad will be . you can make smaller pieces to add within larger pieces too. the reason I just fold my flannel & not sew is that it saves on drying time ! within the dryer or if you hang wash .dryer time for a thick pad takes time & energy & hanging them takes time too .
How to clean your flannel . to avoid stains , if that bothers you . soak in salt water in a bucket , yogurt container etc. salt cuts mucus ! this is how people in the olden days cleaned their hankerchief ;-)
once you are finished soaking if you want you can pre-wash by hand with laundry bar soap . don't rinse it & let it sit for about 20 min .
I rarely do this but for those who want totally stainless pads go for it .
 So the sponge ! replacement for a tampon , natural & you can easily use it to collect your cycle blood if you like to do that .   here in Canada they legally cannot be sold as menstrual sponges doe to the issue of TSS . Personally I don't believe this is about the health safety of women at all but more about money in the pockets of big manufacturers . However you cannot purchase an actual menstrual sponge here in Canada . Yet what is a menstrual sponge anyway ? A sea sponge of course ! & Yes ! We can purchase sea sponges . You can find them at cosmetic counters , women use these sponges to remove makeup . I did when I needed a new sponge went to purchase one at the local pharmacy . I ended up not buying it there because the sponges were not quite big enough for myself . So I went to the pet store & purchased a hermit crab sea sponge . The important thing about sponges is to clean properly & store them properly . sterilizing is easy , you boil the sponge !
You can find different cleaning instructions online . I will share what I do . during my cycle I actually boil my sponge before first use . insert like a tampon . remove & save blood in a jar . again you can cut mucus by rinsing the sponge in salt water . I then rinse the sponge using laundry bar soap . .remember to rinse well so all soap is removed because some of us are sensitive to detergents .
squish dry as best you can & re-use . you can also dry really well by rolling in a clean dry towel .
ok so when finished your cycle , I clean once again with the laundry bar soap & rinse but I then boil the sponge again then dry then store in a dry dark space . waiting for use again come next cycle .
I know this is rather long but really it is so very Simple !