Secrets to a successful all-natural birth

13 Sep


21st April 2015: after a 4 hour labour my second child arrived as an unassisted-lotus born baby.

No drugs, no medical intervention and no disturbances.

“You were lucky” people said first time round when I birthed in this manner,…..

“it was bound to be easier for your second baby” people commented when they were unaware that my first child was also an unassisted-lotus birth.

Truth is that neither luck nor amount of birth experience have anything to do with birthing totally naturally.

The secrets lie in the power of your strength of mind alongside a few other factors which only you can control:

  1. Unwavering faith and belief in your body’s capability to birth unimpeded, as nature designed it to be.
  2. Absolute and genuine support, trust and positivity from all those who you choose to involve with during your pregnancy and birth period.
  3. To switch from the rational frontal part of your brain (and the noise from anyone elses’) to your limbic, mammalian brain in order to enter into the birth zone where you will draw from intuition and wisdom stored in the DNA from generations of natural birthing women.
  4. An ability to completely surrender to the inevitable and intense sensations: relinquishing control, letting go and relaxing into the experience. This can be learnt through hypno-birthing.

“But it’s ok for you” I hear you cry….”you had no birth complications.’ Well no I did not have a breach baby, or multiples, or a particularly ‘large’ baby or the cord wrapped around the neck or Shoulder Dystocia or Placenta Previa.

Guess what though, I did my research and came across at least one women for each of these categories who still managed a natural birth in spite of these complications. In the process I found out all sorts of interesting information that’s not so widespread amongst the birth fear-mongerers. For example, the placenta continues to deliver oxygen to the baby for a whole 5 minutes after the birth leaving plenty of time to unwrap a nuchal cord without causing danger of suffocation. Furthermore I learnt that a lot of the problems that arise during the average medicalised birth are actually caused by the initial medical interventions and disturbances of the natural birth process. By forcing the birth process in a time pressured manner, the artificial induction of a birth can create stronger and more painful contractions amongst other interferences in the delicate hormonal balance.


If you allow your body to naturally secrete the hormones in each stage of birth as it was designed to without the interference of man-made drugs then the female body will not risk putting the baby’s life at risk by rushing the delivery. Relax in a safe space and calm environment and your body will dilate as it needs to. Move and position yourself according to your body’s own signals and push only when your body tells you to and the baby will respond accordingly by moving into the correct position that it needs to take in order to arrive safely.

It really is that simple. SIMPLE but not easy. Natural birthing takes courage, the kind of courage you are going to need to get through parenthood and build a strong relationship with your children so don’t bail out on them now!

It all starts here with a peaceful, non-violent birth. Birth DOES matter as it sets the foundations of the baby’s trust in the world around them and colours all future experiences and interactions into childhood and beyond.

10 reasons why we are ditching the school system

6 Sep

IMG_4004“Education is what remains after everything he learnt at school is forgotten.” (Albert Einstein)

It always puzzles me why so many parents put their kids into the system that they themselves admit was unfulfilling and a waste of time. Nevertheless, even us as anti-school parents were tempted by the allure of the ‘free’ term time babysitter this year when baby number two arrived and life became more full on. On asking if my reception aged child would be interested I received a clear and definite “no”.

Sensible choice seeing as how he enjoys to learn and discover at his own pace, in natural environments and in an autonomous fashion. Below are ten reasons why we all decided together that school, at least for the early formative years, is a bad idea:

1 Conformity is valued over individuality, affectively turning children into a uniformed and gender biased flock of sheep. Peer pressure creates insecure children who strive to be ‘normal’ and fit in.

2. The system gears you up for a lifetime of obedient compliance in the slave work trade. On the sheep theme again, ‘yes sir, no sir, three bags full’.

3. If you want a true critical thinking child then school is possibly the worst idea as it merely teaches children to be critical of those who think. We all remember getting the best grades when we simply rote learnt someone else’s opinions and regurgitated them.

4. Children learn best whilst they are moving and physically interacting. Classrooms are the anti-thesis to this with long hours spent at desks, sitting on chairs.

5. Everyone learns best when they are passionate about the topic. School forces you to learn a whole range of uninteresting subjects at a superficial level. Learning is adult-led, rather than child-led. Consequently one becomes a Jack of all trades and master of none. Not good for creating an entrepreneur and certainly not good for creating a love of learning.

6. Bullying occurs often due to forced association rather than true socialisation. i.e a bunch of kids, the same age are imprisoned* together against their will as a pose to naturally mixing with people of all ages voluntarily in groups of shared interests and within the local community.                                                                                                                                           *(much like paying a prison bail fee, parents are now being fined for taking their kids out of school without ‘permission’) 

7. Standardised testing creates anxiety and psychological health issues as well as destroying self-esteem. Furthermore, such competitive practices encourage anti-social behaviour such as cheating. Co-operation and natural altruistic helping behaviour are de-valued in a competitive system.

8. Government are implementing free wifi into UK schools which has adverse health effects (particularly for females). See wifi dangers for more info. Furthermore, standard fluorescent lighting can also have negative health effects for many children. See dangers fluorescent lights for more info.

9. Phonics is all wrong: When we first learn to speak we pick it up from the ‘whole’ conversation/context, not from breaking exposure up into small increments of sounds. Reading and writing are best learnt in the same way. Furthermore most children, boys especially, are not ready to pick up these skills until closer to 7/8 years when they will likely pick it up in an instant.

10. Ancient and wise civilisations such as the Spartans kept their young enjoying a free range childhood with the mother or primary caregiver up until 7 years old as they understood that any formal instruction before such an age was futile. If you investigate you will find that many countries in Europe and Asia have also adopted a later school starting age of around 6/7 years.

So there you have it, my child has chosen to select his own friends from all age groups and not be told when he is and isn’t allowed to converse with them. He is taught how to think not what to think and encouraged to be curious no matter who/what it questions or contradicts. He is learning from everyday living and experiences. This is not a luxury choice we have made but one of sacrifice and hard work with little spare time or money left over. There is after all no distinction between play, learning and living.

Ten Common Toddler Parenting Myths You Likely Believe (and Why you Shouldn’t!).

26 Jan Featured Image -- 1674

Toddler myths busted by a gentle parenting guru….

What Rod? Our Experience of BedSharing to Age 4.

13 Jan

Five Things I Learned in the First Year – Raising My Highly Sensitive Son

16 Jun

Originally posted on :

This post is courtesy of our Guest Blogger, who will be blogging regularly for our site.. Alanna Casey is a technical writer, turned stay at home mom.. raising an HCS and also expecting her second child, a daughter, in October..

ImageBy Alanna Casey


I’ve known that my three year old son, Liam, is highly sensitive for almost a year now. The signs were there all along, but I didn’t put the pieces together until a few key events gave me cause for concern, and a mom in an online support group had talked about Elaine Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Child. Since then, I learned five significant things that I would like to share:

1. It’s not your fault.

At conception, many things are certain about your child, such as gender, eye color, hair color, and skin color. By birth, your child is wired with a specific temperament. Your…

View original 1,260 more words

Is television a wise idea for younger children?

3 Mar

P1020855Recently a popular unschooling facebook group had posted on their wall a homeschooler’s article on ditching the tv and the dangers of screen time. This piece stirred up quite an emotional response in defence of tv from the group members, much to my surprise as I have always understood unschooling to be a way of raising and educating children which engages children in learning through exploration in ‘real life experiences’.

I began my parenting journey with a ‘No TV’ ideal and managed to follow this through well at the beginning at least. Up until Ulysses reached 18 months old our family ditched pretty much all screen time including tv, computer games and visual online media. At this time we introduced a few Disney films such as ‘Tangled’ and we also began to watch YouTube videos online as a guide to help us in the kitchen with learning about juicing. To our surprise, Ulysses became fascinated to watching these juicing videos repetitively. At the time we reasoned that as this skill was being transferred practically in the kitchen in real time, it was not a problem and served as an educational tool. The problems then occurred as he grew older and one video and film lead on to many more. It gradually crept in and encroached upon much of the time he use to spend exploring outside in the real world. Behavioural changes including increased aggression, reduced attention span and increased hyperactivity also became more and more apparent as he transferred from watching screen time to other activities in a slower paced, real time.

Ulysses is now over three years old and the addiction has continued on and off since that time. At points he will be glued to the screen for hours on end if I do not set boundaries, resulting in walking away in a groggy mood, rubbing his eyes. Before screen time came into his existence he was never reluctant to go outside and play like he oftern is now. Some people have suggested that these changes could be due to normal developmental stages. In my experience this has not been the case as during the periods we have managed to have with very little or no screen time, the behaviour reverts back to a more balanced state.

TV and screen time can be used for different purposes for example, as an electronic babysitter for those struggling with lack of support and time to themselves. It has also been claimed that TV need not be harmful and may be used as a useful educational resource. This point does have some truth in I agree however, in ny experience I have found that during times when our Internet and screen time was inaccessible, either because it wasn’t working or we were visiting family, Ulysses was more likely to step back outdoors or into playing by using his imagination and connecting with others.

Through movement and active play children’s learning capacity is enhanced much more than when they sit sedentary such as at a desk or in front of a TV or computer. Yes of course we can access materials and information via a screen that we might not otherwise be able to but is all this really necessary for young children, especially below age seven when there is such a rich variety of other learning opportunities such as museums, farms, libraries ect.

It’s a bit of an old fashioned statement but one that definitely still rings true that before TV kids use to have to use their imagination to entertain themselves and their learning did not suffer, rather their creativity was improved as a result.

Here are some more great reasons to beware of unlimited screen time:

  • It can interfere with your child’s sleep/wake cycle and leave them tired.

‘several research groups have shown that applying a magnetic field (EMF) of a half a gauss or less, ….will increase or decrease production of pineal melatonin and serotonin ( sleep hormones). Other groups have observed physical changes in glands (pineal) cells in response to such fields, These experiments were controlled for illumination…’ (The Body Electric by M.D Robert Becker. P249)

  • EMF exposure from devices such as wifi, TV and computer games can negatively impact your child’s immune system, especially alongside other factors which accompany screen time such as sitting sedentary for too many hours in succession without exercising the body in between.

‘Most city dwellers continuously get more than a tenth of a microwatt from television microwaves alone. This may be especially significant, because of the human body’s resonant frequency. This is the wavelength to which the body responds “as an antenna”. Next to ELF (extremely low frequency) range, it’s perhaps the region of the spectrum in which the strongest bioeffects may be expected. The peak human resonant frequency lies right in the middle of the VHF television band.’ (The Body Electric by M.D. Robert Becker. P311).

‘Nowadays, the first thing a kid will do in the morning is put on his or her shoes and the last thing at night is take them off. So they are ungrounded pretty much all the time, and this constitutes, I believe to a lot of the new health and emotional problems that kids have today, and it’s another factor to add to the list of causes such as junk foods, lack of exercise, and being exposed to EMF pollution from long hours of television, computers and video games.’ (Earthing by Clint Ober, p112).

  • Watching media can influence how a child’s brain will develop and create such issues as hyperactivity and possibly even language delay. Watch for the following video link to find out more:

The truth of the matter is that many parents, like myself have become reliant on these technologies to supplement missing ‘needs’ in their lives. This could involve substituting wildlife documentaries for a disconnection with nature, soap operas for a disconnection from a true community and emotional support and perhaps watching comedies to reduce stress levels caused by our un-family friendly, work orientated culture.

So could there be a healthy balance for kids watching screen time? Perhaps for older children but not likely in the younger first five years of life when the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred and needs and wants often cannot be differentiated. Through experience I have found that adverts are not the only part of TV with subliminal messages. Thomas the tank engine comes to mind as one example when children are encouraged  to accept authority without question.

With grace and truth we can learn to recognise and accept the true costs of allowing kids to reside in a virtual world and let go of what is not serving their long term health and well being. I am certainly not an advocate of controlling children by making something forbidden as this only serves in making that something even more alluring as well as conveying the message that you do not trust them, harming their self image.

I do however, believe in setting safe boundaries rather than being totally permissive. In the case of limiting TV and/or screen time this will serve to both protect the developing brain and minimise electromagnetic stress on their mind and body which can negatively impact the immune system. By encouraging kids to engage in real play through movement, human interaction and using their imagination, we can begin to release screen time gracefully by crowding out the old with new endeavours. Until we reach point all we can do is the best you can to balance screen time with real living and being the change you want to see in your child by reducing or eliminating your own screen time.

Natural learning; the unschooling way

5 Feb


Education is something I excelled at both as a young child and into my early adult years. I was one of those students who never had to study very hard to pull the good grades out of the bag. Why then having been through the education system myself would I choose not to do the same for my child?

I believe learning is so much more more than just academics and exams. Despite doing well at school, having suffered from bullying and stifled creativity I feel my younger years could have been spent much more wisely had I had the freedom to explore my own potential rather than being pigeon holed into structured and categorised learning system which was nearly always disconnected from nature and life itself.

Now my little one has turned three I am often asked that question, ‘Does he go to nursery yet?’ When I reply I am reluctant to use the word ‘unschooling’ as people have a hard enough time getting their heads around homeschooling. Nevertheless I attempt to explain the natural learning path I have chosen to walk down with my son and the questions go a little something like this, in no particular order….

  • How will he learn social skills and socialise with other kids?
  • How will he learn the three R’s?
  • What will you do if he wants to go to school/college/university or take exams?
  • How will you keep him busy?
  • How will he get a rounded knowledge of all areas and what if there is something you don’t know how to teach him?
  • Isn’t the full time, stay at home educating role only for those parents who can afford it?

Perhaps the best way to describe unschooling is to to define how it is different from homeschooling. Unschoooling is very much a child-led approach, and this does not necessarily mean letting your child sit in front of a computer all day long! Far from it, unschooling parents tend to make a great effort to ensure their kids get out and about everyday.

Children are natural explorers and have an innate desire to learn whatever captures their interest. Homeschooling is much like transferring the set curriculum taught in a school from classroom to home. Unschooling on the other hand involves taking a child’s lead in their current interests and providing them with the resources and opportunities to discover more about that theme/topic for themselves. This capitalises on the fact that children, and in fact all ages learn best and most efficiently when they are engaged fully with interest in what they are discovering. Like the public school system, homeschooling can often employ rigid, scheduled and ‘age appropriate learning targets,’ whereas unschooling treats a child as having unlimited potential and possibilities and gives them a flexible and unstructured way to learn within their capabilities and without pressure.

P1030114 schoolwithoutwalls

Unschooling acknowledges that life is a school with learning opportunities everywhere you go and in everything you do. In a ‘school without walls’ a child will learn…

  • Maths as they go shopping.
  • Geography as they travel.
  • Literacy as they read books from a library and language as they communicate with friends or loved ones in a letter or electronically.
  • Science as they explore nature and animals. Rock pooling, farm visits, cooking, wild food foraging and camping are all great opportunities.
  • History as they visit museums and explore sites of interest such as castles and roman ruins.
  • Music from going to festivals or observing a talented relative or friend play their instrument.
  • Religious education as they both mix with people from different faiths in groups or out and about and visit different places of worship to occupy a rainy day.
  • Design and technology through free play with different materials and access to computers.
  • Physical education through regular activities such as swimming, tennis, yoga and football in the community.

Furthermore with the advent of the world wide web as a self-directed, educational resource, no question will remain unanswered.

So now back to those common concerns and questions often asked of the unschooling family.

  1. Socialising: A child is far more likely to connect to people and learn social skills in a setting where they feel at ease and where they enjoy spending their time. Whether it be at the park, in a group with a shared interest or simply visiting other young family members or friends, there is a big world outside your front door that is difficult not to interact with. It interesting to note that children of the same age rarely socialise well together (as found in the usual classroom setup), they actually learn far more social skills and indeed other skills from older children who are able to demonstrate their next stage of development. Also having the opportunity for older kids to interact with younger children helps them develop their nurturing qualities and important virtues such as patience.  IMG_1406
  2. Reading, writing and arithmetic: Words and numbers are found everywhere you go, not just in a classroom. Many children, especially boys are not mentally ready for formal or structured learning and trying to teach them this way can, and often does, set their comprehension back rather than if they were allowed to pick these skills up naturally at their own pace. Some examples of how a child is exposed to numeracy and language in daily life include: road signs, posters in a shop, watching films, reading menus in a cafe and working out transport timetables.
  3. Gaining qualifications: Exams and structured schooling are not one and the same thing. At any time your child can, having never attended a school, choose to enrol for any number of exams they feel they wish to gain in order to further their future career path.
  4. Keeping busy: The problem with keeping balance for our children in the modern world is not so much under-stimulation as it is over-stimulation. Too often parents and children do not spend any quality time and get to really know each other due to hectic, over scheduled timetables and time pressures. When you dedicate time to the unschooling lifestyle, life takes a natural rhythm and balance. Too often in trying to make kids achieve everything to survive in the corporate and consumerist world, we forget to teach them the basic skills of self-sufficiency. Such skills can be gained through simply helping with household chores, learning to cook, look after pets, grow your own food and taking part in meditation which develops a spiritual awareness so you can learn to balance yourself in both body and mind during times of stress. All too often schools neglect these vital areas of education. The main focus in unschooling is unstructured learning although, structured learning can also play a part should a child wish to master a certain skill. For example, a music class or gymnastics club. To keep learning opportunities ever present sometimes it requires thinking outside the box such as engaging in volunteering opportunities. As long as you you look hard enough you will always find a way.


5. Mentors and general knowledge: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to teach magnetism and how plants grow. Every parent who can read, write and count has the ability to be a learning facilitator for their own child. When the time comes that your child expresses an interest in a topic you have little knowledge of then it may be time to draw upon other people as mentors for your child; friends, relatives and professionals in that area can all engage with your child to help them learn more. For older children the internet provides such a vast array of learning resources much like a virtual classroom. It has been said that ‘it is better to be a jack of all trades than a master of none’ if however, you look at earning potential in society is it not the ‘master of one trade’ who achieves the most success? Perhaps we should concentrate less on children obtaining a good general knowledge but rather help them find what they excel and are passionate in and follow this to it’s greatest potential.

6. Money matters: Choosing to be a full time parent and learning facilitator for a child/children is a choice not a luxury. In a society that requires both parents to work full time to keep up with the Jones’s, sacrifices have to made and it’s not easy. To bypass relying on paid activities you must get creative. A typical week for us involves watching the digger construction sites, trips to the park, gardening and growing food, trips to the beach, library, free museums and local festivals and a free play visit to the creche once a week where my husband works. Volunteering with animals and a forest school inspired playgroup are soon to be part of our schedule. A garden is an absolute necessity for us and we sacrifice the size of our property and number of bedrooms to ensure we have access to outdoor space at all times. With money to spare unschooling can be made a little easier for example, taking advantage of off-peak tickets to nearby tourist attractions whilst other children are attending school. At the end of the day though children need interaction and exploration to learn, which doesn’t cost a penny.

Some may argue that I’m taking away the privelidge of education from my son at an age when he does not have the choice. I know my son better than anyone else and I observe that he does not enjoy large groups and being controlled, two main aspects of both a school and nursery environment. For these reasons I have decided to let him make the decision as he grows older whether he wishes to try school or not. Like the Spartans and other ancient cultures, I believe that a young child below the age of seven needs to be close to their primary care givers and allowed the freedom to just play, discover and explore, letting their imaginations run wild and free.


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