Sunday, 29 November 2009

Why we need to listen to our bodies

I was lying in bed this morning, thinking....

I was thinking back to the Race Night a few weeks back when I fell and got a couple of good bruises on my ankle and knee. The ankle bruise welled up into a huge lump, which looked very wierd and freaked me out. I immediately went to get some ice and sat with my ankle on a chair being 'soothed' by the ice pack. The swelling subsided fairly quickly and I felt good that I'd prevented my ankle from looking too deformed.

As the days and weeks passed I noticed that the discolouration of the bruise on my ankle disappeared earlier than that of the bruise on my knee. So applying an ice pack helps. As usual, I forgot to take my arnica despite often recommening it for others.

So, back to this morning. I was thinking about how we don't listen to our bodies enough these days and how I'd resolved to rely more on what my body told me and less on the secientific and medical advances we all take for granted. All part of the more holistic approach to life I want to take.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not planning on going back to the times before the Industrial Revolution. I am very grateful for living in todays' times, some of the time. I wouldn't give up my dishwasher, and I miss my car which has been off the road for too long. I am grateful that we have life saving procedures and increasing medical knowledge to improve our quality of life.

But, and it's a big BUT, I believe it needs to be balanced with the knowledge our bodies hold within us. As mammals we should have an innate instinct within us. Something I've learned in my journey as a mother and a doula. For example our hormones, far from being an annoyance once a month, are very important during childbirth. Once the roles of oxytocin, prolactin, beta-endorphin, adrenaline and noradrenaline were understood I realised how well we are designed for life. I share an article written by Dr Sarah Buckley1 about the hormones of labour with women very often. Although not a scientifice person in the least I am enjoying the Human Biology course I am taking and admiring our wonderful bodies even more. They do, indeed, know what to do.

I was even discussing this with my favourite vet yesterday. He treats the human owners as compassionately as he does the animals, very important. So, he was showing me round the building as part of an open day and it was interesting to see all the equipment on site. I remarked that James Herriot would have been envious but then thought that it would be such a shame if the instinct vets have was lost. This vet agreed that it would be, as when training many years ago he had been impressed with a mentor who could diagnose with a good 'feel' of the animal. Nowadays, sometimes it might be that, rather than do a good investigation by sight and touch, vets would forego that for a routine x-ray, hardly handling the animal at all. It's not just humans that might be suffering as a result of over medicalisation but I've not even looked into that side of things yet...

So, if my ankle swelled up after that disastrous attempt at a three-legged race was it because it needed to? Our bodies know how to heal themselves and do so in the most remarkable way. If I 'help' my ankle by preventing or minimising bruising and swelling, am I in fact hindering it? I'm glad that my bruise healed well but wonder if I should have left it to do it's own devices. If it had been badly swollen and painful I might have been forced to take it easier for a few days. Rest would have been a good thing at that moment in time and as it happens, 36 hours after that fall I did indeed end up in my bed for a day with a migraine.

So my body did find a way to get some down-time after all..... :o)


Thursday, 26 November 2009

Chocolate can be dangerous


I was eating my favourite chocolate of choice, Minstrels, which have a shell coating. And, as sometimes happens, a little piece of this shell seemed to get stuck in the flesh in my throat and was seriously irritating me. The coughing was implusive and I could not stop, it felt a little like choking even.

I was coughing so hard and trying to make my way to the kitchen to get a glass of water but it was taking a long time. You just can't walk and cough/wretch at the same time.

Eventually the coughing was so hard it made me vomit.

Not once, all over the carpet.

Not twice, in the sink

But three times, had to stop it till I got back to the sink....

Should have stuck to the lovely fruit scones I'd made earlier. However, I thought that eating a fourth was too much.... and that the Minstrels would be better.

Well, you know what thought did, don't you?

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Crochet.... just for old ladies?

I don't think so!

I'm itching to do more but have to feed the kids, and study, and stuff... can't think what really ;)

I've knitted a jumper and a cardigan but couldn't be bothered with a pattern so just did them, I referred to a pattern to get started with the crochet hats but then abandoned their goobledeegook instructions to go by instinct.


How many of us listen to our instinct?

I mean, really listen and tune out the wonders of modern technology?

There are many times I 'know' things and later find out I was correct, but doubted myself at the time, or allowed doubt to prevent me from saying what I thought.

I was on-call as back up for a fellow Doula, and we hadn't gotten around to me going to visit the mum. We had merely talked by email so that I was clear on her birth preferences, and I had given some information that might be useful. However, I kept thinking how much I would like for my fellow Doula to have this experience as it would be her first. I couldn't shake that I would never meet this mum....

So, I am elated to have heard the joy and buzz in my fellow doula's voice as she quickly called me to say I was no longer needed on call. I can't wait to hear all about it and help her debrief :)

There have been previous times in my life where the 'knowing' was really strong. When I was pregnant with my first child I was never happier in my own body. So much so that I walked past an office being refurbished and 'knew' that an accquaintance was never going to start the job she had been offered. I spoke to her about two weeks later and she told me her job offer had been withdrawn. There were many more occassions like this during that pregnancy and I began to realise that being totally in tune with myself allowed me to tune in to other senses we don't normally recognise in today's world.

It's taken many more years to start listening more and to learn to have faith in myself and my body. I am becoming more and more holistic in my approach to life, whilst remaining grateful to the scientific advances of the last 150 or so years. My own childbirth journey, as well as the journey I have travelled to become a Doula, has led me back to instinct, and the fact that women have innate, animal instinct we have suppressed for far too long. 

I'd like to share with you one of my favourite brands - Faith In Nature very reasonably priced, smell gorgeous and have wonderful customer service so far. I feel really good getting out of the shower knowing that I'm not putting man-made ingredients on my skin. It's a little thing but it's made me feel good. As most mums reading this will appreciate we usually put ourselves at the bottom of the priority list but I'm inisiting on having these lovely products.

Cooking is not my forte but we do try not to buy any processed foods, and if there is anything remotely pre-prepared that it has the purest of ingredients. I'm not totaly organic, but try my best to use the best foods I can. And now I'm thinking about the medications we put in or on our bodies. I am very concerned about the ingredients contained in vaccines and all over the internet we can see both sides putting forward their arguments. Both my children have had all their immunisations to date, mainly because I did not have access to the information I do now and because with each injection neither of my children suffered much of a reaction. We all seem to cope well with them. But I can't help feel guilty that their cells may now have undesirable chemicals attached to them. Sixteen years ago my instinct was very concerned about putting 3 immunisations into my little baby's body at once, but back then the average person didn't have access to the internet like we do today. It's hard to find unbiased information, so I'm going to listen to my instinct on this topic as well as with the rest of life.

Instinct, and research-based evidence.

Here goes nothing............

Hi, I am going to try to empty my head of all the stuff that goes around and around in it, and put it all here. This means that there will be quite an eclectic mix of randomness but should contain my thoughts on childbirth, cats and crochet plus lots of other useless useful tidbits.