I haven’t written about grief. I thought about it a lot. Felt it immensely. And in the past 12 months incredibly so. Today marks 4 years since my beautiful Mum died. But for me it is doubly hard as it’s also 7 years today since I got married. Double whammy. In effect, my mother died on my wedding anniversary. And, since he and I are no longer, and my mum is no longer here, today is probably to the hardest day of the year from me…so many raw wounds reopened, so many memories come flooding back. I remember much of the fateful day 4 years ago when the doctors said there was ‘no more’ they could do and saying goodbye. Although we didn’t really day goodbye, we were one of those families that was putting on our brave faces right until the very end. I even remember when they began to turn everything off for my mum, she said “guys, it could take a few days, don’t be surprised”…she was comforting us in her dying hours…what an incredible person she was. It had been a long battle for her, and towards the end very trying on all of us. Yet my mum never complained. Can you imagine the agony and anxiety she felt day after day? Those long lonely nights, the beeping machines, the nurses in the ICU and the rounds and rounds of tests and needles and just everything. I spent something like 79 days straight visiting her in the hospital – doing what little I could to ease her suffering. Bringing in home made green smoothies, foot massage, watching TV together, chatting to doctors, and talking about life and planing the future together. I was very lucky to have had the time to spend with her and although I’m sad she didn’t get to meet my kids, I don’t think I would’ve had the time or ability to be with her that much in the hospital had the children been around. I am grateful as well that my ex-husband and I had a business together that I was able to take the time away from work to be with her. Despite the immense sadness, I am blessed in many ways. Apparently the cure for depression is gratitude, so today I want to be be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life over the last 4 years. I’ve been able to experience the most profound joy and happiness with the births of my two glorious children, who really, are the epitome of my mum. Happy, cheeky, smiley, love life, love people, make the room smile whenever they walk into it and every time I look at their blue eyes, I see her. My daughter Olivia has a profound likeness of my mum, something I am reminded by many great friends regularly and I do think part of the soul of my mum is in her. I constantly think I wish mum was here, but then I look at Olivia and say ‘here she is’ and the gift of being able to have a mother daughter relationship as well is so wonderfully special, I think Olivia came into my life just at the right time. So grief, you may upset me at times but you do not control me. I go on everyday with the thought in mind that ‘this too will make me stronger’ and if I could even be as strong for 5 minutes as my mum was in all those lonely years with her illness, then I will forever be grateful for that gift.
All 3 major things in my life have changed since then.
I now have 2 gorgeous kids who are one and three years old respectively, my mum isn’t here anymore and sadly and more recently my husband and I have separated. They are some pretty substantial and ground-breaking changes. And I am now at a complete point in my life where I am wondering what does my future look like, and where is my life is going to go….???
It’s scary, it’s exciting, it makes me nervous, it makes me incredibly sad….I’ve got lots of reading to do, lots of well meaning friends and a beautiful family around me, really I am very blessed. The next step is…how? Where…what?
I really feel the need for a creative outlet, and so as I already have this blog, I thought I may use it as a space to write about some of my adventures/ trials and tribulations of life as a ‘mother’ in need of ‘nurture’ and as I nurture myself, my children and bring some new awareness and awakening to what is my new life, I hope to gain some insights that may help you and me along the way. Thanks for reading.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted properly or with any regularity here…the past 3 years have seen me lose my mum, become a mum twice over, and adjust to all that in between raising two kids and supporting my husband and finishing off my Institute of Integrative Nutrition Course. I must confess there hasn’t been a lot of time to ‘Nurture’ this Mother in between the chaos and fun that is life! I first started writing this blog as I became fascinated with health and wellness and wanted to understand what really made us sick. And what I could do to support my mum as she was facing a tough cancer battle. It helped plant the seed for so much of my own personal discovery into health and wellness, and what I could do to really thrive and feel great, not just survive. It seems everyone is busy, everyone is ‘time-poor’ and although we are working harder than ever we are sicker than ever and more exhausted than ever. Dr Libby (drlibby.com) has been a long time mentor for me and it doesn’t surprise me that her game-changing book “Rushing Women’s Syndrome” still dominates shelf space. I’m blown away in hind-sight of how relevant it was of me to name this blog Mother Nurture and the focus that I now want to write about is exactly that, nurturing the mother. It’s going to be a goal to post two blogs per month on topics that seem relevant to me at the time, as well as some follow ups on previous articles that I now find more relevant than ever. Like most busy Mum’s I don’t have a lot of spare time but I hope you can find some ‘gold’ in some of the posts on here, and let me know of any feedback, good or bad!
When my mum died, part of me died too. But I know she wouldn’t want that and would want the party to go on, fabulous food and wine, without her! One of the things my mum is remembered for and which was very special for our family is her cooking. Her cooking and understanding of flavours was amazing, and always brought us together. Whether it was a special occasion like a birthday or just a regular mid-week meal, the food was always restaurant quality. (My husband loves to tell me that our mid-week meals were still better than his family special occasion meals!). One of the lovely things that has happened to me since her passing, is discovering a recipe book she made for me with some of her favourite recipes and personalised handwritten notes about when to best serve these dishes, what I liked as a little girl and other special cooking tips.
One recipe I’d like to share with you is her lovely Chicken Marbella. Just the smell of it in the house makes me think of her and my siblings too all find great comfort in this meal. I’ve adjusted it to make it ‘sugar free’ but I’ve kept in the prunes which I think are a key part of the dish. A lovely moist chicken piece with freshly steamed greens and sweet potato mash – food for the soul.
This one is for you Mum. x
8- 10 organic chicken thighs
1 whole head of garlic
1/4 cup dried oregano
Course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 Spanish green olives
1/2 capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup of rice malt syrup
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup Italian parsley finely chopped
In a large bowl combine chicken, garlic, oregano, pepper an salt, vinegar, Olive Oil, Prunes, Olives, capers, lime juice and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate in the fridge overnight.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Arrange chicken in pan and pour white wine around the pieces, then bake 45mins – 1hr, basting with the juice over the top regularly.
Serve with mashed sweet potato, steamed broccolini and sprinkle with cilantro or parsley.Use organic ingredients where you can, most importantly the chicken.
Enjoy. And please let me know what you think!
I’ve taken some time out from writing of late, to do the title of this blog, some nurturing of my own dear Mum.
Since her diagnosis last year, she has undergone six months of chemotherapy and then three months ago has had the courage to undergo a revolutionary bone marrow transplant. It’s not an easy transplant, with many risks associated with it. Unfortunately, there were some complications and it did not go as well as we’d like to expect, however our dear Mum put up the most incredible fight and showed more courage and depth of spirit than I could have ever expected of anyone. I have such a huge admiration and the utmost respect for her. Sadly, she lost her battle last month. But, we know that if anyone could have beat it, it would have been my mum.
It’s been a massive journey for us all, and as a daughter and not a doctor there is only so much I can do. But I do believe that it’s the bits we have done as a family are the reason she has made it this far. From the years of support with chemotherapy, love, friendship and above all supporting her and her wishes for treatment, we’ve been there. As much as we’d like a different result, it is what it is. And in this last month, the incredible ties that have bound our amazing family together have been monumental. What a legacy she has left behind. How in awe I am of her. And how blessed I am that we have been there with her for this journey. Apart from the obvious of taking her food and green smoothies (!), and visiting her everyday, we have given her comfort, we have become knowledgeable in the entire BMT subject area, we’ve arranged masseuses so she too can have a little bit of her own nurturing, friends have come by, we’ve sat with her and most of all, loved, supported and nurtured her.
There will not be a day that goes by that I won’t think of my dear Mum. And I already miss her dreadfully. But, I’m aware that she was such a special lady, I believe she has done all she can for this lifetime, no doubt already she is busy in the next lifetime, doing amazing things elsewhere, making other people smile and feel special. And I can’t wait to see her again one day.
Thanks for your support on this blog. I plan to get back into it, and discover a bit more and share here about my own health journey as time marches on.
Six weeks ago my husband and I quit. Sugar that is. I’ve followed Sarah Wilson’s blog for a couple of years, and observed and even partaken in the principles of Sarah Wilson’s ‘quitting sugar’. But I never did it with a full commitment. I didn’t eat much sugar myself, I’ve been aware of being ‘healthy’ for ever. There were the occasional temptations which were exactly that, but life is short and I wanted to be able to enjoy those occasions. Then my husband and I caught up with a friend who had quit and looked fantastic, and my husband agreed he should try it. And I also had my own reasons.
About eight weeks ago I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovaries, which is something that about 10% of women will have, and it is believed to be a genetic disorder. It means you may have trouble conceiving, issues with weight loss, acne, hair growth and generally makes a mess of your hormones. One of the things the Eastern medicine specialists will tell you is you must eliminate sugar from your diet. Now, it is worth noting here is that excess sugar is not the cause of PCOS… but that some people who consume sugar are less tolerant of the effects than others and to help you cope with PCOS it is best you avoid sugar.
So, not only did I want to quit sugar, but I now had a medical reason why I needed to quit it.
Natalie Kringoudis from the Pagoda Tree in Melbourne has written a fantastic eBook called “Fertilise Yourself”. And as she explains, being fertile is not just about getting pregnant. “Your fertility is an extension of your health”. Natalie explains that high glycemic index foods like breads and pastas can lead to increased levels of insulin in the blood. And we know that Between 50–70% of women with PCOS have high insulin resistance. To explain this more clearly, Natalie says “Your body converts the high GI carbohydrate to sugar and then stores it as fat to protect itself from the potential damage caused by these dangerously high levels of sugar. This is toxic and bad news for health and fertility. This process also stops the burning of fat that is already stored”.
You might think to yourself – how can so much sugar and high GI foods be in our western diet if they are so toxic? It’s a valid question. Through genetic modification and processing, our foods are not what they were 50 years ago. Whole foods aren’t meant to be played around with. As Natlie says “They are perfect the way nature has made them.” An absolute testament as to why I called with blog mother nurture. “When we start to mess around with how they are made, there are always consequences – and in this instance, we are suffering majorly. We’ve stuffed up. We messed around with how foods are genetically made to yield larger crops and gain greater dollars. It seems we thought we could outsmart nature. Turns out, we can’t. By modifying foods we are now paying the price – and our health is a direct reflection of the blunder we’ve made.”
You may of been like me and grew up in a family with the principle of ‘fat is bad’. We always had low fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, even ice-cream in our fridge. When we remove the fat from food – it’s topped up with sugar. Dessert or a snack was always a piece of fruit. And I know what you are thinking, ‘but fruit is natural’. You are correct, and this is technically not bad for us. But the thing is we are now consuming far too much of it. Of all sugars. Back when we were cave-men we used to eat a couple of berries every now and then, and use it as instant energy, we used to eat the fat on the chicken and we used to eat full fat cheese. We need to ‘unlearn’ the 80’s way of dieting, the anti-fat message needs to stop. Protein and fats are the most important foods to focus on for fertility and health, because our hormones are made from fat and protein.
For me, since I’ve eliminated Sugar I’ve noticed positive changes including more energy, a sense of ‘lightness,’ a decrease in bloating, consistent bowel movements and emotional balance. My skin has been better too. My husband has experienced 6 kilograms of weight loss in 6 short weeks. Just from quitting sugar. Nothing else. Isn’t that amazing?
I don’t think I’ll ever go back to my old ways…’99% fat free’ does not mean it’s good for you. Sugar free, that’s something else.
I’ll be posting some yummy sugar free recipes I’ve discovered, and created to help you in your journey, and I would also recommend you buy Sarah’s Wilson’s “I quit sugar” eBook of sugar free recipes. Delicious and truly nutritious!