As I sit here stuck under a sleepy baby (thanks to 6 week imms), I can’t help but do a lot of thinking. To be honest, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since Lily arrived. I was stuck in hospital for a week without family being able to visit so I reflected a lot, I didn’t sleep much and the mind wanders.

I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life, who hasn’t? When you’re in the thick of it, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there’s generally a positive to every negative.

Every poor decision (and I’ve made a many), every shitty situation, every friendship gained and lost has helped me get me where I am today. 

I’ve written blog before that have touched on the friendship topic. Motherhood really made me reevaluate the friendships and relationships I held. Reuben and I have started a bit of wedding planning and we were having discussions around the guest list and how many people we think we’d have there. My thought process was around the whole would they invite me to theirs? Have they met our children? Have we ever met their partner? Would I regret not inviting them? Have I seen them/had contact within the past year?

It really made me realize that I can count my ‘friends’ on less than 2 hands these days. Sure, I have a lot of contacts and connections (personally & professionally) as well as Facebook friends but how many actual friends do you have? That you can confide in? Communicate often? Hang out or couldn’t imagine your life without? I’d be curious to know. Am I the only one with such a small friend group? Is it my own doing? Before meeting Reuben I lived alone for a really long time and was single (about 5 years), I became super independent and often went into my own shell and ended up becoming a bit of a hermit. I became at peace with my own presence and didn’t feel the need to be surrounded by others. Sounds odd, but if you’ve been in that situation, you may know what I mean. I was never a drinker, I never went to town or anything like that. I’ve drunk more since becoming a Mum (those end of day Pinot’s are my saviour).

I hold my friends dearly and would do anything for them, sometimes I am slack, I get busy and I don’t reply but that is not a reflection on how much I value their friendship. I try and tell my friends how much they mean to me, even though most find it corny. I would hate for tomorrow to come and something happen to myself or one of them and have had not told them how much I appreciate them.

As I mentioned above, I’ve made poor decisions in the past. I’ve allowed people to walk all over me and treat me badly. I’ve settled for less than I deserve and I let people hurt me. But looking back now, yes, those actions and situations changed me. They’ve shaped me into the person I am now and that I deserve a hell of a lot better. They’ve helped me find this drive that I didn’t realize I had.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve always been about helping people. Being there for everybody else even though at times I felt as though nobody was there for me – and maybe that’s why I am the way I am. I treat people how I would like to be treated. I like to tell them I care, I love giving my friends gifts – it genuinely makes me smile. I absolutely love doing things for others.

Building this blog into what it is today and getting amazing private messages from people saying how much I’ve helped them has made the negativity bearable. The support group for mums that I created now has over 13,000 members and daily I see mums empowering and helping our other mums. Giving support, guidance and positive praise. Sometimes all we need is a non-judgemental ear and some reassurance. It truly does make me feel so damn good. 

I have struggled with mental illness, this is no surprise. I talk openly about it because there is so much unnecessary stigma around it. I thought I was managing it, and then developed PND with Baxter. I have this new body that has been difficult to be comfortable in until I learned that acceptance was the key to my happiness. This body grew life (2 even). I jiggle more than I used too, I have scars that will never go away – and I am now OK with that.

It’s been a tough road this mum gig, I never imagined myself being a parent. To be honest, after some pretty shit past relationships – I thought I’d be on my own for the rest of my life. Then Reuben came along, unexpectedly – and changed all of that. Falling pregnant with Baxter had us both freaking us – new and unknown territory is scary but we owned it and embraced it, what other choice do you have? We’ve fought like mad and we’ve shared so much joy together. We’ve watched Baxter reach milestones and we’ve been so extremely proud, we made that and by god is he handsome. With the recent arrival of Lily, we still don’t know what we’re doing – no day is the same. Becoming a Mum has shown me a strength I never knew I had, emotions I didn’t know existed and it’s made me laugh and cry – sometimes at the same time. My family is complete and I have never been so happy in my life.

I truly don’t even know what the purpose of this blog was all about, I had feels I needed to get out.

Essential oils are becoming more and more popular. There is so much information out there that it can become very confusing, so I thought it best to speak to someone who knows what they are talking about!

Gillian Parkinson is a certified Clinical Aromascience Practitioner (NZQA, IFPA). She uses essential oils for health & wellbeing, she has been in practice for almost 7 years, 2 websites where she makes and ships her products worldwide. She is known for her TINKture Tattoo Aftercare & Le’Esscience products. Gillian is passionate about educating people about the safe and effective use of essential oils.

First question, what is an essential oil?

The essential oil is the volatile liquid that is extracted from a plant. That volatile liquid is full of chemical constituents such as esters, acids, ketones & sesquiterpenes, to name a few, then they are broken down even more chemicals, cineole’s, limonene, linalool & bergaptene – to name a very few!

From these chemical constituents, Dr’s and professionals in the Aromatherapy industry, such as Robert Tisserand, can analyse the essential oil and find the fantastic healing properties each essential oil have. These are and not limited to, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, cell regenerator and so many more. It has been scientifically proven that once applied topically (safely diluted), the chemicals are in the blood stream within 2 minutes and central nervous system within 15 minutes. They have a cumulative effect, the longer you use essential oil blends (if long term is necessary), the better they get!

How would you recommend using essential oils?

The safest ways to use essential oils are by topical application (never neat, must always be diluted in a plant based carrier oil and never, ever ingest, ever!) or various via inhalation methods (vaporisers, drops on a tissue, steam inhalations, inhaling from the bottle).

Unfortunately, there is a growing trend to ingest essential oils via adding drops to water (please do NOT do this, it is NOT safe) and using neat on the skin. These trends have grown just in the last 3 to 4 years, from USA based multi-level marketing companies and their unqualified resellers. Their marketing patter is “our oils are the highest quality in the world, so it’s safe to ingest & use neat”.

This is simply not true, it is in fact, potentially very dangerous. Any qualified practitioner would never recommend these methods as they are so unsafe. Ingesting can cause damage to the mouth, stomach, gut flora, burn mucous membranes, damage the liver and kidneys. Using neat on the skin can cause nasty reactions, rashes, even burn the skin. The safest and most effective way to use essential oils is under the guidance of a qualified (certified through a professional organisation) essential oil practitioner (QEOP).

Why do I need to speak to a qualified practitioner, there is so much information on Google!

That is the problem! There is TOO much information and a lot of it is misinformation or information that has been misunderstood and reported in an incorrect way. For example, there was an article going around that using lavender on boys will cause the growth of breasts – this is NOT true, unless you used a bucket of lavender on the boy every day over a long period of time and obviously that is not going to happen.

Recently there has been posts about not using Eucalyptus on babies & children, certain botanical species yes! Like Eucalyptus Radiata, citriodora, dives & polybractea – some of these Eucalyptus’s are SO strong you can get tar off concrete! They are skin irritants, difficult for the kidneys to eliminate, overdose can cause muscular weakness, nausea & vomiting – this is due to the different levels of chemicals in these species, higher in ketones & other chemicals, so NO, don’t use on children, or even adults! But Eucalyptus Globulus, known as Blue Gum and Eucalyptus Smithii, known as Gully Gum are beautiful, very gentle but very effective. Still only ever use as directed, 1 or 2 drops only for babies (again never neat on the skin, always diluted), 3 or 4 drops only in a vaporiser.

QEOP’s have learned about the different species of plants, the chemical components, the hazardous essential oils, the correct dilution rates for specific conditions, which essential oil is best to blend with other essential oils (using one on its own is effective, blending correctly with others, they become a powerhouse). A QEOP also knows the contraindications of essential oils, what to avoid during pregnancy, if you suffer health conditions, what you can use and what you must avoid using on babies, toddlers & children. They will also make these products up for you so you are not taking any risks, you are not going through a ‘trial & error’ period, you are likely to get better results, faster, when consulting a QEOP. Most QEOP’s products too are cheaper than those sold my MLM resellers, QEOP’s are motivated by helping people (I am deeply passionate & motivated by this) and not the $$. I have so many returning and long term clients due to the effectiveness of my products & the help and advice that I give.

Is using a vaporiser effective enough?

Vaporisers can be very effective for certain ailments, killing airborne bacteria, creating a calm, relaxing atmosphere, helping with sleep, assisting in keeping airways clear with coughs and colds.

Vaporisers should never be used longer than 2-3 hours in babies / toddlers / children’s bedrooms (small rooms) – a build-up of the chemicals from the essential oils can be too much for their little systems (this is the easiest way to explain it).

However, there are other methods that can be just as, if not more effective. Correctly diluted blends applied to the skin can help a multitude of conditions. Anxiety, stress, depression, wound healing, skin conditions, sleep, aches & pains, PMT, PND, generally balancing hormones – used daily (or as directed) can have create a significant improvement in these conditions. You can use combinations of inhalation and applying topically for times of acute conditions.

Wow, there seems so much to essential oils!

Yes, there is – I studied for 2 years, did more than 700 hours doing case studies, sat exams, was mentored to gain my qualification which I’m immensely proud of. The use of essential oils can be so effective (if used as directed) for so many non-life threatening conditions! I have 4 granddaughters and they have all grown up with essential oils, they sleep beautifully and are pretty calm, relaxed kids.

Essential oils that can be safely used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner for babies & children – essential oils that can be used with babies under 3 months old are limited to Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Mandarin and Gully Gum.

The below list are essential oils which are safe for babies 3 months + and children to age 2 (more varieties of essential oils can be added to this list for children over the age of 2).

Cedarwood
Roman Chamomile
German Chamomile
Cypress
Frankincense
Geranium
Ginger
Gully Gum (Eucalyptus Smithii)
Blue Gum (Eucalyptus Globulus 3mnths+)
Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia)
Marjoram (Sweet)
Rosemary
Rose Otto
Rosewood
Sandalwood
Tea Tree
Fragonia
Thyme (sweet)
Ylang Ylang
Bergamot
Lemon
Mandarin
Orange
Spearmint

If anyone has any concerns or questions, can they contact you? Absolutely, I can be reached by calling 027 6000 289 or emailing gillian@LeEsscience.co.nz

11800551_10153056590733364_7771559108499391866_n

 

Firstly, thank you. Words alone cannot express the gratitude I have for you. 

You’re a Midwife, a Mum, and a damn good friend.

You made me see a strength in me that I didn’t know I had. A strength I didn’t even know was possible.

You reassured me that everything was going to be OK and that I could do this.

You let me ask all the ridiculous questions I had including a late night text freaking out because my poo was black (thanks iron pills). Questions like “what if I don’t know I am in labour?” haha, how fucking naive was I? You know alright…

You helped us in ways you will never even know. Pre and post-birth.

You’ve never questioned our decisions and you’ve always supported us 100%. I start to ramble and you stop me and remind me that our decisions are exactly that and I don’t need to justify myself.

You’ve been totally honest and straight up with both Reuben and I when we needed it most. 

You made us see sense when we were in a sleep deprived state and it was all getting a bit much.

My midwife is also a personal friend, I was always a little worried her seeing me at my most vulnerable (and seeing my lady bits) but honestly, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. She is a total champ and I don’t regret my decision even when she challenges me – generally for my negativity and crap attitude (and I thank her for it). She was well aware of my past mental health issues and was so amazing seeing signs of PND early on with Baxter and jumping on it straight away, educating me and making me see that it’s far more common than we realise and there is so much help and support out there. She made me feel confident in talking about how I really felt which in turn has allowed me to help others going through the same thing by speaking openly in my blog about my struggles.

Her love and support throughout the pregnancies/births of both Baxter & Lily is something I will be forever grateful for.

You know who you are… thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

18057083_1313091305393642_5427747711100726190_n

I came across this post the other day and it really resonated with me because I am THAT friend right now and I have been for a while now, while I was pregnant with Baxter and more so now that he is here.

For friends without children it’s harder to understand, they often take it personally or think that you’re choosing not to make any effort or that you simply don’t care. That is not the case at all. I wrote about it early on in my journey as a new mum and to be honest, things haven’t changed a lot for me these days and as Baxter has gotten older.

I’m tired, and when I am not tired I have a million and 1 things to do.

With so much going on in our lives we need to remember to be kind to ourselves, that those true friends will understand and offer a helping hand instead of being annoyed at our absence.

A good friend once told me ‘you find out who your true friends are when you have a baby’. There is SO much truth in this but when she told me at the time I thought, really? Fuck yes. I was THAT friend. I didn’t know how to act or be around friends who had just had babies because it’s something I hadn’t experienced personally.

My priorities have completely changed since having Baxter and I never saw it coming, there were people I considered good friends who have never even met my son and due to this I have pulled back and decided that I don’t need people like that in my life. Yes, people without children are busy too but so much changes once you have little people who depend on you entirely. Being a mum has really made me see things in a whole different perspective. You realise what’s important and what isn’t. You learn to care less about what other people think and more about what you think of yourself. You realise how far you’ve come and you remember when you were such a mess you thought you’d never recover. You smile because you are truly proud of yourself and the person you have become and this new life that you created.

I don’t like going out at night because 1. I am tired and 2. That means I don’t get to say goodnight to Baxter, I then go to work in the morning and he is still asleep when I leave so I then don’t get to see him until the next evening. When I am not busy being a mum, more often than not the last thing I want to do is be social, and that’s all me, not you. I’ll be totally honest, I was a bit of a nana even before Baxter came along. I’ve never been a party girl and I would much rather sit at home watching shit TV and eating Tim Tams in my Jim Jams but that’s just me. I love seeing my friends and hanging out but find things are just different now.

I have the lowest tolerance for bullshit these days, from dramatic friends to opinionated people online (ironic as I can one of them). I have so much more to worry about these days, and have just found I simply can’t be bothered with trivial things that are of such low importance to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have so much patience when it comes to my son, I just seem to have lost it for everybody else and I think I put that down to the fact that my life is so devoted to him right now. I have been shit on my so many friends in the past, haven’t we all that I really just don’t have time for people in my life who are out for the benefit of themselves. There is simply no point.

I will not apologise for the way I am. I am me. I live an insanely busy life in order to provide a good future for me and my family. I can be a real shit friend but I can also be the most amazing friend, often there is no in-between but those who know me know that this is me and I would drop anything for them.

A year on and I am almost lost for words which is a rare occasion for me. This last week has been rather eventful for me and I don’t really even know where to start.

For those who don’t follow all my social channels, my son turned one, I got engaged and we threw Baxter his 1st birthday party. All in the period of a week. It’s been a whirlwind but my life is generally pretty hectic but this was next level.

Baxter turning one is huge, the last year has gone so insanely fast I struggle to put it all into words. It’s been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Becoming a parent has been the toughest yet most rewarding responsibility, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and on some days I’ve wanted to rip my hair out. I’ve questioned my parenting decisions and I’ve also questioned if I am capable of such a responsibility. I’ve lost friends and I’ve gained some bloody amazing new ones. I’ve grown apart from people because life is different for me now, I have different priorities and things that were previously important to me really aren’t all that important anymore. I’ve grown as a person and I’ve discovered an inner strength I never knew I had.

There were moments there in those early weeks where I really questioned whether I was cut out for being a Mum. I was struggling mentally and I genuinely didn’t think I could do it. Sleep deprivation really fucks with your head and had me in such a mess I wasn’t functioning properly. It is so important to have a good support network around you to help combat this. My next hurdle was realising I was suffering from Post Natal Depression and seeking the appropriate treatment, hands down the best thing I could have done for myself. I became a lot more patient and my mental wellbeing is in a much better place now.

It’s funny because people make the comment when being handed a newborn baby, ‘do they come with a manual?’ and now I understand. We really did have NO idea what we were doing and it is extremely overwhelming. As time went on, each day became easier, don’t get me wrong, they’ll change up their routine and completely throw you off within a day but you gradually become more confident. I used to be so scared of going out in public and now I really don’t care. I am confident in myself that I could appropriately deal with any situation that may come up. He is no longer calling the shots, I am! Haha.

One year seems like a long time but it really isn’t. To look back now I am well impressed and proud of what me and my little family have achieved. The development Baxter has made and the joy he has brought to our lives. As this chapter closes, another one opens and I am looking forward to what the next year has in store.

A year for Baxter means a year for this blog since it went live (was a private pregnancy journal for the previous 9 months). 15,000+ followers on and I can’t believe the opportunities that I have been presented with, the sense of community I have created and the amazing people I have met along the way. Each and every one of you plays a part in this and I cannot begin to thank you enough.Feeling very overwhelmed and emotional this past week. My life has changed so much and I am no longer the person I used to be, I am so much better and I am so damn grateful that I made decisions to put me and my happiness first in order to create a better life and future for myself. Never settle for anything less than you deserve.I am now the mother of a 1 year old and a fiancee to one pretty bloody amazing man and in a few short months I will be 30. Eeeeeek.

Bring on the next year!

14212159_10207312479711886_3228496339953748372_n