Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Circle of Life

When I was growing up my aunt and uncles loo used to be covered in little handwritten quotes, or sayings people had thought were funny, thing like "the meek shall inherit the earth, if that's ok with the rest of you" or "bad spellers untie!" One that was at eye level was " the first 3 minutes of life are the most dangerous, the last 3 are pretty dodgy too" 

Sometimes I am surprised at how much of my life seems to be about birth and death.  When you are around both things so often it makes you realise how close these things really are.  We all talk about it, everyone says it, but I wonder how many people realise how right it truly is. 

Today I was thinking about the career path I have chosen being there at the beginning of life (well autonomous life anyway) and it suddenly struck me that I had once spent some time with a woman who was a funeral director (Michelle), we talked about her job and what it entailed and she mentioned that she thought that I would make a good funeral director, at the time I was a little taken aback but the more I think about it I realise that the role of a doula and childbirth educator is very similar to that of a funeral director, you could even think of a funeral director as a doula for the dying, or for the dead.

I didn't make that term up, there are actually people who call themselves doulas for the dying and I think that a good funeral director is exactly that.  Michelle counseled my family when my mum died suddenly, she sat with us for hours while we grieved, she walked us through the decisions we had to make, she cared for my mums body and our families hearts during this time.  When my Aunt was told her cancer was terminal we all got together and Michelle came out to her home.  Libby talked about what she hoped for after her life was over and we talked about the details that we, her family, needed to know, what would happen, what choices were available etc.

In the same way as in birth the dying and the family of the dying need support, guidance and most importantly they need love.  I wonder if I would ever have the strength of character needed to make a career in the end of life , I wonder if like michelle I could find the gift in loving people through the last experience they will ever have.

Death is sad and scary and every time someone I know dies it lays heavily in my heart, but that is just one side of death because as certainly being with one aunt who died and another living with the knowledge she will soon die has given me cause to grieve and rant and mourn it has given me many more gifts, insight into my character, the ability to show love and peace with the ideas of life coming to an end somehow at sometime.

Birth and death are bound together so tightly, that the closer you look the more you realise how similar they really are, and what a gift it is to be around both.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Self Expression

Today Jack picked out his own clothes. It doesn't happen often, mainly to do with wardrobes that are old freebies where all of the usable space is up to high for him to access, but today he decided to get his chair and grab what he wanted. So we have;

+ A New York New York T-Shirt featuring the twin towers
+ Some overly baggy balinese material shorts
+ Not matching green and gold sydney 2000 olympic socks pulled up to the knees
+ A pair of blunstone rip offs with the fake leather surface pulled off
+ Last but not least a patchwork jacket made of a concoction of striped material that was brought for Hamish so the arms are 2/3rd length and it was skin tight

Hamish played it safer with;
+ Red pants
+ Red shirt
+ Pale purple knitted cardigan
+ Red patent leather boots

It made me wonder about how we find our own style, if I mention to Jack that the combination of clothing items were ...... A little out of wack, am I stifling his creativity? or by leaving it am I not performing one of my mothering duties to teach him about matching colours, patterns or styles or at least helping him choose things that clash with style? when does me not helping him become child neglect? ... I think today was close *grin*

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Homebirth Illegal ...

Hamish and I one minute after birth .. at home .. those extra hands are my midwives.

Today two Bills were introduced to parliament by health minister Nicola Roxon.

1) Health legislation amendment (midwife and nurse practitioner) Bill

This Bill is about accessing Medicare and PBS, there is nothing currently
written in this Bill that discuses eligibility - there is no comment within
it at present that states anything about homebirth. However, in her speech
she openly stated that there will be no MBS for Homebirth.

2) (and this is the clincher) Midwife Professional Indemnity
(commonwealth contribution scheme) Bill 2009

This Bill excludes midwives from providing intrapartum homebirth care.

The outcome is that homebirth midwives will be breaking the law as of July 2010 if they attend homebirths because there is no one currently offering indemnity insurance for midwifes. Hospital based midwives will be able to access the hospitals insurance but will not be covered for births outside of hospital unless those births are part of a hospital run homebirth programs of which there is only one in NSW and it covers a very small radius.

Homebirth and women's choice advocates see this as an issue of choices. Homebirth is safe, there have been many studies whose outcome proved that homebirth was safe, the most resent was the Netherlands Study released last month. It took 50,000+ women who had homebirths V 50,000+ who has low risk hospital births, the data showed that there was no difference to the safety of mother or baby if the chose to birth at home. You may say that you would not choose homebirth and that is well within your right, the point is it should be within my rights to choose to birth my babies at home with a midwife attending.

Birth without midwives is called freebirth, there is no data on the safety of freebirth, and for a lot of women it is not what they would choose. There are more and more cases of women who do choose freebirth being visited by the Department of Children's Services (DOCS) for endangering their child, women have actually had their children taken from them, and although all so far have been reunited it speaks strongly of the government departments policy on freebirth and the danger that women are facing if they choose to do so.

Personally I am speechless, and so very sad. I would encourage everyone to look into this further, write letters, attend rallies, join your local homebirth organisation and FIGHT !! fight for your choice to choose however you want to birth, fight against laws being made that discriminate against a small minority, good lord, please just help us fight !!!

Monday, 22 June 2009


She walks into the room, unsure what she will find. He lays quietly in the bed, at first she is unsure that he is awake, but as she slowly moves further in she sees he is watching TV, unable to focus enough to read anymore, she clears her throat to announce her arrival, but instead of the usual beaming smile to welcome her she catches his eye and sees a glassiness, she becomes aware how much the situation has changed in just a few days.

She thinks back to the father of her childhood. From the beginning beyond their dark features there was no doubt that she was her fathers daughter. You could see it in the way they both rested their head in their hands the same way, both clicked their toes unthinkingly as they watched television, both were openly affectionate, and they both knew the feeling of kissing someone hello only to realise that the recipient was not comfortable with the kiss. As people often say, the things you find annoying in others are often things you don't like much in yourself, so they had also had their fair share of father daughter disputes, but they had happily survived and grown and found a new admiration for each other as adults. They were able to talk for hours, about things that both of them knew no body else would understand, at least not in the way they understood each other, and although their lives kept them from seeing each other often, they always thought that there would be time after her children grew and his work subsided that they would once again be able to sit together and ponder the universe. But life has a way of making you slow down ... Even when you think there isn't enough time.

Bad news always seemed to come to her in a phone call, that job she didn't get, the boy that broke her heart, it was her father than had called her all those years ago to tell her her mother had died, and then there was the phone call from him years later to tell her that they had found a mass, so small that you would barely think it could cause so much trouble, but it was inoperable and they told him he probably only had a few months to live.

They were wrong, it had been three years, since that tiny lump in his brain was discovered, and in that time she had decided that time was the one thing that they could no longer take for granted. So she shared his journey, as much as one can when the path is leading someone towards the end of life. She amazed over the peace he acquired and the strength that he showed everyone one around him, she cried often after their talks wondering which one would be their last, who would understand her once he was gone? She came to see him often and watched as the conversations slowly got more muddled and he became the shadow of his former self, she helped him eat when he was unable, took him to the toilet, helped him brush his teeth, but even this pale version of him, could still laugh with her, rant with her and worry for her, because within it all he was still her father.

She looked at him again lying on the bed, his knees curled up, looking older and more fragile than she had ever seen him before, the nurses told her that he was fading but she was still surprised. She walked over smiling, sat on the bed and wrapped her arms around him knees.

"Hey sweetheart, how are you?" she asked, he looked at her and some of the glassiness lifted .... There he was, faded as he may be, in his eyes there was the father she knew. He told her he wasn't feeling well and when she asked "what's going on" he said faintly, "honey, I don't think I have long left" she let out a wretched sob, "I know" she said softly and saw tears welling up in his eyes, she stumbled over her words, but managed to say "are you scared?" and was relieved when his answer was no.

And so she held his knees tightly and they talked about what was to come, for her and for him, it was a quiet, intensely sad conversation and one that she will remember for the rest of her life, after all it was the last they ever had.

Friday, 19 June 2009


Both of the boys are into literacy and numeracy at the moment. Jack has been talking about and trying to write a lot over the last year and Hamish has just started.

Today we had an interesting talk about numbers as we went through some number cards.  Jack can count to 20 and knows by site the numbers 1-10 but after 10 we start to hit some issues.

Not issues for me of course .... Or for Jack but suddenly the english language gets in the way, he knows thirteen, fourteen etc but 11, 12 and 15 are just plain confusing.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, oneteen, twoteen ..... ? Why isn't it oneteen? How do we ever learn language when the progression of that language doesn't make any sense?

Its fun and interesting watching both of the kids learn the rules of language when there are no rules, and how that lack of rules keeps us on our toes;

* Do/does or do's as Jack says
* See/saw or see'ed as would make sense seeing the way we change tense with other words
* Buy/Brought or as Jack likes to say buyed

I'm sure there are hundreds of others. I remember a family story about when I was four and was so determined that the correct plural of foot was foot's that when my neighbour tried to teach me that it was feet, I got cranky and stormed home.

No wonder!!!

I'm sure that there are whole books and theories written about this crazy english language but for now Jack and I have finally conquered do/does but I think I will miss do's a little bit, and I'm sure we will conquer oneteen as well, in time.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Rainbow Blanket

She lies in bed and pulls the blanket around her shoulders. It drapes heavily over her and her child, shielding them from the winter chill.

She looks down at its myriad of colours and remembers watching her mother knit square, after square, after square.  Her mother asked her to put the 100 squares into sets of four, picking combinations of colours that bounced off each other in a way that pleased her, then she asked what colour she would like the edge ... It was a different time, these days she would have answered green, but she was so much younger then and she asked for black.  And so night after night that winter she watched as her mother knitted those squares together to make a bedspread to big for her childhood bed, and wondered if it had been an accident that there were so many squares.

She looks at it again feeling its weight warming her and her child, and wonders now if her mother made it without knowing but somehow knowing that after she was long gone, her daughter would spread that magnificent rainbow blanket on her bed on cold winters nights and it would warm her and the grandchild she would never meet ... And they would both remember that she loves them.

Warm Hands Warm Heart

This morning I ratted through all of the pockets of jackets and jeans in the house looking for any lost dollars.  It was an interesting way to start the day and proved that you don't always find money in random pockets as I had previously thought.  At the moment, dollars (and even cents) are a bit tight.  Its not a huge worry, its just interesting the lessons you learn about where all of those dollars and cents go and what you can do in your daily life to save a few bucks.

- as lovely as it is to have a coffee made for you, if you have a random clean take away cup, making your own (if you have an espresso machine) can comfortably suffice

- it takes you only having $20 in your account for your partner to make his own lunch

- if you count all the random coins you find plus any in your coin dish you will get about $40

- no matter how broke I am if you call me and ask me to door knock my street for the heart foundation I will still say yes, even though I don't really want to

- a spinach pie is 40c more expensive than a steak pie

- no matter how broke you are a pair of kids high tops (converse style) in cammo print are still a bargain at $1.50

- if you are out of cash it is inevitable that the cable and/or your mobile phone will be cut off

- if they are cut off make sure you ring your partner and speak gently, because he has probably already paid both bills

- do not think that calling your ISP to lesson your data plan is going to save you money, it is Murphy's law that they will accidentally lesson it more than you requested, not be able to fix it until the end of the month, leaving you with 64k modem speed for the rest of the month

- once you have no real ability to get on the net, you will suddenly think of 100 things you want to know/do that are only available online.

- the bits you had planned to sell (books and flotsam)  when money got tight, need you to have access to the internet to list for sale and so the circle goes on.

- just when it feels that things are a bit to hard for your liking you will walk out the front door and life will seem a bit brighter.  For me the silver lining on this cloudy day were 2 pairs of amazing arm warmers lovingly knitted by your wonderful stepmother, I mean really who can be cranky when wearing super groovy new orange (plus another pair in purple and orange) arm warmers !!!! (See photo)

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Winters Day at the Beach

Im guilty of thinking that some photos of my kidlets will suffice the blog blackout I seem to be having at the moment.  I could bore you with all the details about the hows and whys of the blackout, but in the end .... if I had the time (brain space) to explain, then I would have the time to think and write a post *grin*
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