Before your imagination starts to run wild and you envision me tucking into my placenta on a dinner plate with a steak knife and glass of red while recovering in my birthing suite, think again.
What is the Placenta & What Does it Do?
The word placenta come from the Greek, meaning "plate" or "discoid." This is because the placenta resembles the shape of a dinner plate attached to the side of the uterus, with the umbilical cord connecting the baby's belly. Without a placenta, no fetus could ever survive.
The placenta has many unique and important roles. It can assist in the sharing of information from the mother to the baby and then back to the mother. Crazy, right?
1. Acts as a filter: with the help of the umbilical cord that is, allowing the goodness from mum to reach the fetus, all while keeping the toxins at bay.
2. Functions as a sensor: the placenta helps decipher what the fetus needs also helps to regulate the absorption of amino acids, fat, oxygen and vitamins.
3. Operates as a hormone factory: it produces high levels of oestrogen, progesterone and cortisol for mum and fetus.
The first time I’d ever heard of eating one’s placenta was many years ago when I was trying to fall pregnant myself. I stumbled across Jennifer Stano who had quite a social media following and was expecting her first child. From memory, I loved her pregnancy style, and followed her in the hopes of getting some helpful dress-the-bump tips.
A video popped up on my Instagram one morning, and the still was of Jennifer and her husband. She had delivered her baby, and she’d had a little boy. The video caught my attention because she was in a hospital but had a kitchen blender in front of her. Perplexed and curious, I proceeded to watch her make a placenta smoothie and with a chunk of her raw placenta, fresh berries and some other ingredients. The video was about the smoothie and getting her husband to drink it, which he did. When I saw this video I was absolutely appalled! Why on earth would you make your husband do that? Shock value? How ridiculous. And what was the point of a placenta smoothie in the first place? I couldn’t help but think it was a grab for attention at the time, and I shook my head, chalking it up to wanting likes and dropped jaws.
Fast forward a few years to when I finally had a bun in the oven and my world shifts. It’s funny how pregnancy makes you pull out all the stops and really look after yourself for the sake of your baby. I was at the end of my third trimester living in Melbourne and a girlfriend of mine had mentioned that she had her placenta encapsulated. I was thrilled to have someone close to me that I could actually talk to about the experience. After all, when it comes to matters such as these, we need to peel back all the layers of assumptions, fear, and disgust that stem from ignorance.
She told me about her great experience with Anna Papadakis from Opening To Life and I called her immediately. Anna is a birth attendant, birth educator, body centered therapist and trainer. She started placenta encapsulation in 2012, and now it's a core part of her practice.
I confessed to Anna that I didn’t know much about the process, how it worked, or anything for that matter. I hadn't even read the website yet, but I was close to giving birth and keen as mustard to learn more. I also alluded to the fact that I’d heard consuming the placenta was good for a mother’s recovery, and that was something I desperately wanted to know more about.
Anna and I spoke on the phone at length about the process, the placenta itself and how sacred it is. I don’t mean that in a spiritual way (although it is pretty magical), but I personally feel that it's such a misunderstood organ. So if you're at all like me, and curious about this process, I find it easiest to break it down into two categories, the WHY and the HOW of consuming your placenta.
"We need to peel back all the layers of assumptions, fear, and disgust that stem from ignorance."
- Erica Kickert
As a soon to be new mum, I was quite worried about postnatal depression, commonly referred to as PND. The idea of PND being a dark horse that doesn't discriminate really spooked me. I'd spoken to a midwife who mentioned that I might be at risk for a few reasons, in particular due to our lack of support and absence of family from either side due to our move up to Queensland when our baby would be a mere 7 weeks old. My husband's family live in Melbourne and my family live in California, and I knew I'd particularly struggle when my parents had to say goodbye to their only child and their first grandchild.
In the same way that you commit to eating well and getting rest for the sake of your unborn baby, I committed to making my recovery the smoothest it could be, and that started by working from the inside out.
Anna went over a few key benefits, which were:
- Increasing our iron levels, which will help to combat fatigue, give you more energy, and therefore less depression. It's often difficult to absorb iron from supplements. You ingest crazy high does and the excess is expelled via black poop (if you've ever been on these supplements, you'd know exactly what I'm talking about)! However, when it's your own iron, it's much easier to absorb.
- Some research shows that increasing Vitamin B6 combats post natal depression and helps to regulate mental process and mood.
- The placenta contains high levels of Oxytocin, which is commonly referred to as the "love drug." Increasing the levels of this hormone increases your sense of wellbeing and happiness.
- The placenta also contains Lactogen which has been shown to help increase breast milk supply.
Click here to read about more benefits and how/why they work.
In Anna’s case, she only handles one placenta at a time in her work space. I really loved that she had this policy, for obvious reasons! Once the baby and the placenta have been born, it's set aside in a plastic tub by the hospital staff and awaits pick up. I didn't even know Anna had been to collect the placenta, and then I received a sweet text message that she would be dropping by with my capsules all ready to go and was excited to meet me.
It's your decision how you would like it to be prepared.
Anna offers two methods:
I wanted the placenta to retain as much goodness as possible, and opted not to cook it. This form of encapsulation involves less processing and will yield more capsules for you too. Once the placenta is cleaned, accessed, measured and cooked/dehydrated, it's then ground up and placed into clear organic capsules. Anna then bottles it up and it's delivered to you within 48-72 hours with specific instructions about how many to take a day.
My experience was outstanding. I ask most pregnant women if they are going to eat their placenta, and I get a lot of sideways glances, but I also meet a few women who say "YES" or who ask me for more information. My milk came in on day 2/3, I bounced back so quickly, got my period a few weeks later and didn't have any baby blues. I genuinely believe the encapsulation was responsible for my speedy recovery.
One of my favourite yoga students from Melbourne, Anna D, had asked me about the process and decided to have her placenta encapsulated after her second birth. This is what she had to say:
"I thought about having my placenta encapsulated during my first pregnancy but I let myself be talked out of it. After the birth of my first daughter the baby blues hit me hard. I was so scared that I was developing postnatal depression. (I was lucky that my baby blues only lasted a couple of weeks).
Second pregnancy I went with my gut and organised to have my placenta encapsulated, and I’m so glad that I did! No baby blues at all after the birth of my second daughter, plus my recovery was so much faster which was great as I had an active toddler to keep up with this time. I also found I had a lot more energy in the morning despite having to wake several times for night feeds.
My husband was also really sick at the time and I don’t know if they helped, but I didn’t catch whatever bug he had. I’d happily encouraged placenta encapsulation to any Mumma’s to be."
- Anna D, Melbourne
I highly recommend that you read some testimonials to get a feel for what people are saying about the process.
It's a great place to begin if this is something you're weighting up.
Have you ever had your placenta encapsulated?
Would you consider having it done? Tell me in the comments below.
What's in my bathroom cabinet while I'm growing a tiny human?
- Have a read below -
1. Biologi Bf Hydraton body serum: for my face and body. It's so versatile and nourishing.
2. Cedar and Stone's oil cleanser: for evening face wash, and I steam off the impurities with a bamboo or muslin face cloth.
3. Simple as That Sunscreen: it's 30 SPF and I use this daily. Most days I only wear this and mascara.
4. La Mav Organics BB Cream: in the medium shade.
1. Biologi Bf Hydraton body serum: for my face and body
2. Black Chicken's Axilla Barrier Booster natural deodorant: which is for sensitive skin. I can shave my armpits and use this right after, it's amazing!
3. Dr Bronner's bar soap: my favourite bars are the lavender, hemp rose and peppermint.
4. The Source Bulk Food's ylang ylang shampoo: I don't use conditioner because I don't have any need for it. If you would like to use an all natural, DIY conditioner that is free from nasties, try this.
5. Black Chicken Remedies dry shampoo: it's natural, organic, works well and smells amazing.
6. Dr Bronner's Organic Magic Balm as well as Black Chicken's Balm of Ages: for when I needed that little something extra on rough and very dry skin.
What I don't do:
What I do make an effort to do:
Well, that's it!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
1. Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth by Ina Mae
2. Active Birth by Janet Balaskasrth
3. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley
(Appropriate pre and post natal, as the title implies).
4. The Mindful Mother by Naomi Chunilal
5. Being There by Erica Komisar
6. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth M.D.
7. Up The Duff by Kaz Cooke
8. Brain Rules for Baby, John Medina
9. Baby Love by Robin Barker
After Baby Arrives:
1. The Mother's Mind Cleanse by Jacqui Lewis
2. The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooij
3. Being There by Erica Komisar
(Can read this before or after, but I recommend reading it before your birth so that you can make appropriate plans for your maternity leave).
4. The Postnatal Depletion Cure by Dr Oscar Serrallach
(Currently reading this now!)
Do you like to read and prepare, or wing it?
Tell me in the comments below!
I had a week to make the most of my time in the North Island of New Zealand. I asked my friend, and fellow American expat, if she would be keen to join my daughter and me, and she gave us an emphatic YES! We had less than 24 hours to plan an epic week, jam-packed full of adventures and a large TO-DO list.
Like I said, we didn't have long to prepare. I knew we would be taking two cars, which meant that I was going to be in the car alone with my toddler for long periods of time. This meant one thing.... SNACKS! I've limited her mid-morning and afternoons snacks of late, but when it comes to traveling with kids, snacks are sacred.
HOT TIP: I have blogged about this before, so have a read, especially if your are flying internationally with your munchkins.
In order to prepare for success, I hit up the shops the day we left. I bought trail mix, cherry tomatoes, popcorn, mandarines, apples, bananas, organic rolled oats, peanut butter, our homemade breakfast seed topping and a few organic baby food pouches (meat and veg only, no fruit) if I was caught in a pinch.
I also brought my slow cooker! Yep, you read that right. I knew that two nights we would be out in the bush, super remote and without wifi. I purchased everything I'd need to make a healthy veggie filled minestrone soup that would feed the three of us for two hearty dinners.
First Stop: Taupo
We booked and Airbnb a stones throw from Lake Taupo. It was a little A-frame cabin that was super cozy. We woke up early the following morning and watched a pink sunrise over Lake Taupo and Mt Taupo. It was spellbinding!
Pit Stop: Rotorua
We were only 40 minutes away from the highly recommended Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, and this was a non-negotiable, must-see in my book! To get there, we drove along the Thermal Explorer Highway which was incredibly scenic and showcases a myriad of lakes, hot springs, geysers, natural spas and mud pools.
Second Stop: Waitomo
We stayed at the Rock Retreat in Waitomo. As the name implies, it's a retreat, surrounded by rock formations and clusters that hold an insane resemblance to the Scottish highlands. We stayed in a quaint cabin, with a resident border collie, and we only had a wood burning fire place for heating. It was quite romantic and seemed like the perfect backdrop for an episode of Outlander.
My favourite parts of the cabin itself were:
The organisation of the kitchen with rubbish, recycling AND compost.
That you had to grind our own coffee beans in an ancient wall mounted churning device from back in the day.
The balcony overlooking the valley and the white puffy sheep that frequented our knolls.
The ladder to the attic with a kids play area and extra beds upstairs.
HOT TIP: You can follow Rock Retreat on Instagram
We were only 13 minutes from the famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, which was another must-see on our list. We loved the tour and can't recommend it highly enough. I particularly like that the caves were privately owned and all the employees were direct descendants of the Maori tribe leader who discovered the caves over 130 years ago.
Pit Stop: Zealong Tea Estate
We had a long drive ahead of us from Waitomo to Auckland, so we timed our pit stop perfectly to stretch our legs and explore the Zealong organic tea farm. We made a booking for their scrumptious high tea, which is only $49 and included 6-8 cups of tea from a bag of your choosing. Zealong have won a number of awards and it's not hard to see why. The grounds are exceptionally well kept and tidy, littered with large Japanese inspired bronze statues, tea pots and dragons. The tea tasting room looked like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie and was immaculate. Highly recommend stopping by for a tour, a bite to eat and look around their magnificent grounds.
Stop 3: Auckland
To be fair, we only drove past Auckland and didn't have a proper look. I heard it was quite similar to Melbourne, but not as nice. After all the remote explorations we had soaked up, the last place I wanted to be was a big city. A proper coffee was tempting, but we opted to stay in the inner city suburbs for a night and had some bomb Italian for dinner. We wanted to get an early start the next morning for The Coromandel.
At this point we had connected with our hubbys, so our party size doubled, and so did the fun. We all decided that the best way to see the Coromandel would be by boat tour. We booked online that morning and made the 2pm tour. The water was still and we had no waves in sight. This was a huge relief for me because I get dreadfully seasick. The tour was an hour long and featured some stunning caves, the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and the famous Cathedral Cove.
After the tour, we decided to hit up Hot Water Beach. Be sure to bring a shovel with because the novelty here is that you can dig your own spa! When you dig a hole in the sand, hot geothermal water under the sand gurgles up and makes a hot (sometime scolding hot) spa. We all burned our feet on a few occasions, but it was so fun trying to find the perfect spot, which did take a lot of trial and error. We all watched the sunset from our mini sand hot tub and walked home in the pitch black. It was such a fun, unique experience and not one you replicate anywhere else in the world I believe.
The Pit Stops on the Journey Home (The Coromandel ---> Hawkes Bay 5.5 hours)
Huka Falls : ragging waterfall, be sure to check it out.
Be sure to stop at the Otumuheke Stream as well. Warm geothermal water from the Otumuheke Stream flows into the Waikoto river, creating a mini spa with healing mineral water. It is open every single day and totally FREE.
Well that's it! Hope this has given you some guidance in preparation for your north island adventures. If you have any lingering questions, please pop them in the comments below.
Congrats! You're preggers. You're growing another being, and all your energy is going towards harvesting another person's vital organs, eyelashes and fingernails. How bizzare, right?!
Pregnancy is not a one size fits all experience. Some women wear pregnancy like a glove, glow the whole 40 weeks and have a three hour labour. Others might have horrible morning sickness, suffer daily back pain and have a 20+ hour labour. We cannot pigeon hole what experiences may or may not come your way.
Having said that, there are some things I feel we can touch on because a fair few us have had to deal with pregnancy cravings.
My OB is renowned in Melbourne and an absolute legend. I can't recommend him highly enough, and just quietly, I'm totally devo that we don't live in Melbourne anymore because we always said we wanted him to deliver all of our kids! You can listen to this 2 minute snippet with Dr Jo and Rebecca Judd on the MamaMia Podcast where he shares one of his incredibly sweet birthing rituals. (It brought me to tears listening to it because we did it for my daughter's birth and I had a beautiful flashback).
Around my 33+ week I remember having a chat with Dr Jo and he explained that we only need about 200 extra calories a day toward the end of the pregnancy. 200! That's about 1/2 a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, NOT a pint size container of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
But I get it. We're pregnant, uncomfortable and can have an insatiable appetite, especially if you are on steroids like I was (the worse side effect EVER)! We feel like it's our time to celebrate and indulge (it is), but we also want make educated decisions that will be good for us and for our bub.
Here are a few tips and tricks that I've implemented during my pregnancies:
1. Listen to your body
I've always been an intuitive eater, and I think it's good to be honest and forthcoming with what your body is trying to tell you. If you're pregnant and want to lick dirty potatoes, you're body is probably needing some essential vitamins and minerals! I'm not a huge red meat consumer, but I craved it fiercely with my first pregnancy. Turns out I was in the single digits for my iron levels = I was severely iron deficient (like really, really bad).
2. Make healthy swaps
Here are a few healthy swaps worth trying :: If you're craving this, try ________________ .
Snickers bar vs. RAW SNICKERS
Store bought, or boxed brownie mix vs. AVOCADO BROWNIES
Chocolate mouse vs. OVERNIGHT CHOCOLATE CHIA SEED PUDDING
Grab and go store bought granola bar vs. SWEET AND SALTY TRAIL MIX BARS
Greasy burger out vs. homemade SALMON BURGERS WITH SLAW
A mountain of cafe pancakes vs. HOMEMADE PANCAKES FOR 1
3. Be flexible
If you deny yourself time and time again without giving yourself a solid WHY.... you'll most likely binge and end up feeling really guilty. If I really want something, and can't stop thinking about it for a few days, I'll ask my husband to get it for me and throughly enjoy it. Leanne Ward, the Fitness Dietitian, shared a wonderful blog post about how to prevent binge eating and combat sugar cravings... have a read!
4. Make it from scratch
"Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it from scratch." This is Michale Pollan's #45th rule from his book, Food Rules. I love this rule so much! Eat whatever junk you want as long as you make it.... it's so completely and utterly brilliant. Why? Because if you have to make an apple pie from scratch, you'll either,
A. Rethink making it all together (most likely).
B. Spend an hour plus making and baking it and really appreciate it bite by bite.
C. You'll most likely have consumed a healthier version compared to a store bought apple pie.
HOT TIP: Speaking of sweets! If you're looking to really indulge, I highly recommend these two desserts. This vegan chocolate pie is healthy, and these peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake bars, not so much healthy- but bloody delish.
I eat five times a day without fail. This means I always have morning tea and afternoon snack, at least! I'm an intuitive eater and eat when my body us hungry- plain and simple.
Here are a few of my favourite snacks which have a nice blend of sweet and savory:
- Organic apple with crunchy peanut butter
- Veggie sticks with hummus
- Shared mini cheese board (pregnancy safe), with dried fruit (ex: apricots, prunes, pineapple), fresh fruit (ex: apple, mandarin, crispy pear), walnuts, and pickles. This makes a great dessert or netflix platter in our house.
- Cookie Dough Energy Bites (family FAV)
- Lemon Coconut chia energy balls
- Pumpkin bread
- This healthy banana bread
Hope that helped guys.
Wishing you all the best on your pregnancy journey!
I decided to make a little list of things that I do, or have tried, (or think are worth trying), in the event that there are other Mamas out there feeling the same way.
Don't be too hard on yourself
Mum guilt is a thing. Don't berate yourself too much. Each pregnancy is unique in the same way that each and every child is unique. Whether this is your first pregnancy, or your fifth, we can't expect to feel the same way, have our bodies morph into the same shape, crave the same foods, etc. Sometimes these things take time, other times you might feel an inexplicable bond the moment you see the little blue lines on the pregnancy stick.
For me personally, getting pregnant with my daughter was a HUGE milestone; watching our 7 week video of our ultrasound and getting confirmation that the baby was alive makes me cry to this day. THIS pregnancy was less stressful in some ways and more stressful in others. I felt the same overwhelming excitement at the 7 and 12 week scans, but as I talked about in this post, I was in a rough headspace the first few months.
I was also relieved when I had my morphology scan and found out about about my very low placenta. Because my placenta was so low, the baby was punching and kicking my placenta instead of my belly wall. When the baby got bigger and stronger I'd be able to feel it move, and boy oh boy this kid is ACTIVE!
I used to teach meditation when I lived in Melbourne, and I found that I preferred to teach it rather than practice it! Meditation is something that I struggle with, and that's not easy to confess as a yoga instructor!
I think the best type of meditation practice is on your own, in silence. But if you need, or prefer, guidance I've tried Headspace and YogaGlo. According to Women's Health Magazine, these were the six best mediation apps of 2018.
Do prenatal yoga
This is a great way to slow down, connect to your breath and be present. Good prenatal teachers will not just take you through asanas, they will, (and should), bring it back to your pregnancy, your experience, your bub.
Talk to your baby
Might seem weird, but have you ever talked out-loud to yourself?
I do all the time because I've spent a lot of time on my own over the years! In the same way that we mumble and chat away to ourselves in our apartment or wandering through the grocery aisle, you can chat to your bub too. Maybe ask them how they are in the morning, what they feel like eating before lunch or say goodnight to them after your evening wind down.
Find out the Gender
If you're feeling a bit disconnected from the baby, consider finding out the gender with the Harmony test (week 10-12) or at the 20 week morphology scan. This might help you to visualise your life together after the birth, make picking a name more personal and could possibly expedite the bonding process.
Start Nesting Early
Start to prepare for bub's arrival by doing all the fun things:
Ask your friends for positive stories
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Listening to positive experiences and practicing visualisation is a great way to set yourself up for success. I've been asking my friends with two kids what I need to know and how I can prepare for success. We both laugh and they say the first three months are all about survival, which I get 100%. Everyone tells me it's the hardest thing ever, but that the time goes more quickly and the tender moments are even sweeter. I got a glimpse as to what this might be like when I watched my daughter hold a seven week old baby the other day. My daughter thought she was holding her new sibling, and was besotted. She demanded more cuddles and stroked the baby's face and didn't want to share the cuddle time. I had to explain that this wasn't our baby, but seeing her hold the wee one nearly brought me to joyful tears. I will no doubt reflect on that memory when I am in struggle-town during labour.
Wishing you all the best and a healthy, happy pregnancy.
If you (or someone you know) is struggling with anxiety and depression while pregnant, or after the birth, don't hesitate to reach out to people like PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) and speak to a professional.
It's almost Mother's Day, so I've accumulated a list of ideas for the special women in your life!
Cleverhand is owned and operated by the lovely Emily Wilson who lives in Sydney, Australia.
I've purchased two custom prints from her and they are both my favourite pieces of art we have in our home.
A nice idea would be to get your Mum's favourite quote/song or to have all the members of your family written (like the image below).
HOT TIP: ALL MOTHER’S DAY ORDERS TO BE PLACED BY MIDNIGHT ON FRIDAY 3RD MAY. ORDERS SENT ON WEDNESDAY 8TH MAY.
Joco Reusable Cup
JOCO reusable glass coffee cups are so nice, ergonomic and eco-friendly. I LOVE mine which I got as a promo from The Source Bulk Foods in Rhodes, NSW. I love it so much in fact, that I actually went back and got my husband one as well! These would be great for the eco-conscious Mum, Mum-to-be or MIL.... and you could even fill them with some healthy homemade treats or goodies from The Source Bulk Foods.
HOT TIP: Other reusable cup brands here.
Black Chicken Remedies Skincare Travel Set
This Travel Set is an excellent way to introduce your Mum to the benefits of low-tox beauty. You get 7 of their outstanding products in a cute black and teal travel kit.
What's inside? Their oil cleanser, exfoliating polish, toning mist, facial serum, multi-purpose balm, body oil and their all-natural deodorant. All of these items are to die for, all-natural, cruelty free and toxin free!
Notes To My Future Daughter
Catie Gett is the author of Notes To My Future Daughter, and this would be an incredibly thoughtful gift for a a Mumma-to-be that knows she is expecting a girl, or any Mum for that matter.
HOT TIP: Check out her Instagram, it is all kinds of wonderful.
GoodnessME Box Gift Subscription
Looking for a fun, unique gift that will keep them on their toes?
Gift a GoodnessMe Box for three months, and it's only $85! Each box has 7-10 health products and samples that have been hand picked and curated by a team of nutritionists, naturopaths and doctors. If need be, you can even set dietary requirements for the gifted boxes (for example: gluten free, dairy free, vegan, gluten and dairy free).
GoodnessMe also offer free shipping Australia wide which is always a bonus in my book since I think everything should be free shipping!
Sorry that this post wasn't up sooner!
All the best on the hunt for the perfect present!
There is something about being pregnant that seems to lift a lot of people's proverbial filter, am I right?
The uninvited belly touching, the crazy personal questions, it's enough to make your head spin, exorcist style. I'm lucky mine have been quite tame this time around. Here are my top asked questions thus far, with my answers attached as well:
1. Are you going to find out the gender?
2. Would you prefer a boy or a girl?
I'd love to give my husband the boy he has always dreamed of.
I wanted my firstborn to be a boy, but I was so happy once I give birth to and met my baby girl!
3. How far along are you?
4. Are you going public or private for the birth?
5. Where are you having the baby?
Westmead Private, Westmead in their brand new maternity suite which opens in March 2019.
It's like a 5 star hotel, I'm so pumped!
6. Have you chosen a name?
We don't have a boy name yet, and we have nearly decided on a girl's first name.
7. Do you have any cravings?
Spicy food, asian food, fish tacos, Indian food and bao buns.
None of which I really eat funnily enough- except for the occasional homemade asian fusion dishes.
8. Are you going to get an epidural?
No thanks! I always aim for as natural a birth as possible.
9. How do you think your daughter will adjust to having a new sibling?
She is so excited to be a big sister! She kisses my tummy all the time and her fav book at the moment is "There's a House Inside My Mummy."
10. How do you feel about giving birth again?
I'm excited I guess. I know I'll hate the waiting game in the final few weeks, but I had a really good birth experience with my daughter.... even though it didn't remotely go to plan (read my birth story here) and we had some big hiccups.
I can't wait to grow our little family and introduce our little bubba to her sister, and the world.
11. What are your favourite green beauty brands to use during pregnancy?
Black Chicken Remedies: 1. All natural deodorant 2. The skin complexion polish and
3. The nocturnalist night serum
For an even complexion: La Mav Organic BB cream (medium shade)
For added face hydration: Biologi, Bf Hydration body serum
For sunscreen: Simple as That, SPF 30
For my belly and my daughter's skin too: Byron Baby macadamia oil
(I'll do another blog post about these and more later on)
Are you pregnant too? Tell me in the comments below the craziest thing you've been asked!
Spiritually tuned in.
Ayda had to create her own empire, single handedly. She wasn't a trust fund baby, and she wasn't handed the reins to any of her companies through nepotism. From a very young age Ayda learned that hard work was a necessity if you wanted to have financial freedom.
Ayda's family left the revolution in Iran to seek a better life in Australia where they were granted residency through her father's skilled working visa as a successful engineer. Ayda was only 4 years old when she landed Down Under and didn't speak a lick of English. Ayda distinctly remembers the routine of boarding the bus with her mother weekly to attend English classes in the CBD. One particular memory that has seared into Ayda's memory is witnessing her mother's helplessness due to her lack of an education. Yet, her mother persisted and continued to board their bus, with a prejudice bus driver no less, in an attempt to make Ayda's life better.
Ayda gets goosebumps sharing this story to this day. It most definitely fueled the fire in her belly to be hungry for knowledge, and subsequent freedom to be given the opportunity to do whatever she set her mind to.
The adversity didn't stop there though, as Ayda found herself treading though her tumultuous teenage years where she lacked the stability of a steady home life. When many others would have succumb to complacency, Ayda decided to carve a path for her future, and she landed her first job at Hungry Jacks (Burger King) making $7.50 a hour. This job allowed Ayda to move out of home at the age of 16 years old where she became entirely self-sufficient and started saving her cash. Keeping her nose to the grindstone, and deep in her school books, meant that Ayda was able to purchase her first property at the ripe age of 18!
Ayda has been working in property ever since and has founded multiple seven figure companies and boasts a property portfolio worth over 10 million dollars. She's ambitious, determined and passionate about making other GenY men and women property owners too.
In order to help facilitate this, Ayda has co-founded a company called Grow Group. Their aim is to help clients from all walks of life source and purchase property easily. All the consultants own property and are successful investors in their own right, so you know you're in good hands. In order to introduce more people to the road to property ownership, Ayda and her team host an introductory workshop via Grow Group, and I had the pleasure of attending one of their events last week. The evening was hosted at their swanky office in Pyrmont and included bubbles, food and an opportunity to mix socially with the other guests. The workshop itself was fascinating with a lovely introduction from Ayda and an easy to understand powerpoint presentation plus a complimentary learn as you go notebook to help you answer some important questions. There were loads of boogie breaks to dance out any restless legs and the team were such gracious hosts. I highly recommend attending a workshop in person if you can. Keep your eyes peeled because they are available in Brisbane, Sydney AND Melbourne!
But, now I want to share more about the woman behind all the magic! So thrilled to have you on today sharing with our readers Ayda!
Let's dive in:
If there was only one thing that you could share with those who aren't familiar with who Ayda Shabanz is, what would that be?
Mmmm. I'm not sure I understand this question, but I would probably say:
Looks can be deceiving. I've been judged on who I am my whole life because of how I look, but that doesn't define who I am.
I am Strong. I am independent. I am wild and free spirited. I am down to earth. I am adventurous. I am courageous.
I've been through many struggles, and I'm sure there are more to come.
I believe that my life has unfolded in such a way so that I can understand and empower people to show the world what we are capable of.
(Oh wow, that was uplifting. I almost stood up off my chair with my fist to the sky - ha ha!)
You talked a lot about your WHY during the workshop; (the motivating factor that propelled you into this line of work and property ownership). How crucial is this step of carving out a WHY if a client wants to achieve financial success and freedom?
I feel like the journey through life is a constant search for meaning after meaning. You don't have to know the reason for life today, I just want to stress that point. Many people struggle with this idea and it creates a lot of stress. Your WHY is more in relation to having a clear picture of what you want your life to look like in 5 years to 10 years. If you can't define that clearly, your basically walking through life blindfolded with no real idea where you're headed. So many people don't spend enough time with themselves to figure this part out for themselves.
In terms of investing, it's critical because having an idea of where you want to be allows you to make proper decisions on what type of investment or investing can help achieve your goals. For example, you'd need to know how much money to save, how much you'd need to earn and what types of investments are available to you. So many people get this part wrong or leave it out!
Also, it's OK if it things change along the way - hence why you review your plans annually.
Some people may not know that you are also a successful business coach. What does a business coach do exactly, and when should a business owner take the step to recruit one themselves?
I love helping other business people. It's all about making better decisions and getting faster results.
There are many different types of coaches and their ultimate goal is to help you get a better result to achieve your aspirations. In terms of business coaching, this is in relation to one's specific business. A business coach will keep you accountable and help you formulate your goals into a set strategy and implement them into results. They should provide experience and insight in business areas beyond your level of experience. Business coaches also act as a sounding board around questions and/or decision making as well as opening you up to a network of people that can help you achieve your goals.
I have, and continue to have, all types of coaches in my life (business, life and spiritual), and in my opinion everyone should have one. Especially if your business is slowing your own growth because you're trying to do it all on your own. In a start-up phase it's even more crucial to do it right and get the correct guidance.
Did you know that your Persian derived name, Ayda, means, “Visitor, returning, inside the moon, happy, angel of love?"
Yeah, it has lots of meanings which are all amazing and around bright light. I do believe I have a big purpose here. x
The different meanings of the name Aida are:
Arabic meaning: visitor, returning.
Swahili meaning: advantage, reward.
Persian meaning: shining like a moon or beautiful as a moon.
Turkish meaning: a special flower that grows beside the river.
You shared an outstanding quote during the workshop from Warren Buffet, which reads, "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."
Can you tell us about a time in your last 16 years of business that this rang true for you?
I've seen this many times in my 16 years, but more specifically in terms of GFC or times of financial crisis. I've seen many people ready to benefit when times are down and many people make fearful mistakes.
For example, we purchased loads of property for clients in 2003-2008 in Sydney when the market was so flat people thought it would never recover. So, we took the opportunity, and as a result, our clients reaped the benefits when the market boomed. It's all cycles, you just have to trust your own numbers and hold on for the ride.
What is it about Gen Y that makes them an ideal target audience for Grow Consulting Group?
I'm a Gen Y gal and I've been in business for 16 years. I've seen so many people do it wrong, and I want to help everyone. But now, more then ever, I want to help my generation because I understand what we've been through (and are going through).
Work/life balance is: possible, or a myth?
It's always a matter of priority. I think balance is possible, but that comes with making tough choices. For example, saying no to certain things you want so that you can give yourself the things you need, or saying no to watching TV because you want to exercise. These kinds of choices can make having a reasonable balance possible.
Finish this sentence: Social media is...
an opportunity to reach and help more people if you are authentic and real.
Owning multiple properties has allowed me to ___________________, which has changed my life for the better because _______________________ .
Owning multiple properties has allowed me to have choices, which has changed my life for the better because now I have the opportunities to grow myself, my business, and do more of the things that I love.
What is your definition of success?
Loving who you are, loving what you do with your time and making a positive impact on the people you touch and the world.
... ALL with a big smile on your face, and light flashing off your aura (I know I'm strange).
What is the first thing you do every single morning?
I make my bed, then make a tea or celery juice, light a candle and meditate.
At a few of your speaking engagements I've heard you discuss the importance of meditation. How does this mindfulness practice enhance your day to day life?
It helps me to reconnect with myself and my purpose. Busy lives make us disconnect from our spirit.
As a busy business woman with a hectic schedule, how do you practice self-care? Or, is this an unnecessary indulgence in your opinion?
Self-care is putting yourself first when you need to. I totally have to do this because I give a lot of energy every day to my work, meetings and staff. I practice self-care a few different ways:
meditation, walking outdoors, cooking, reading and sleeping when I need to. Oh, and listening to beautiful music as well.
What is your 2019 forecast for the Australian property market?
I see opportunity for those willing to not get sucked into the negative talk.
What do you do to get the creative juices flowing?
Listen to music. I prefer jazz or classical tunes.
Getting outdoors and exploring nature.
Getting out of the city and working in creative places.
Listening to uplifting YouTube videos.
Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
Oprah. She fought many obstacles in her life, but she's a resilient and empowered black women who accomplished things people couldn't even begin to imagine. She has stayed true to her values, who she is and has never changed. She inspires so many people from her life and her struggles. Recently, I also love Lady Gaga.
Give us your fast five:
I'm listening to: Jay Shetty.
I'm loving: exploring new walking tracks.
I'm reading: Ray Dalio, The Principals.
I'm eating: I'm always cooking new things. Currently I'm eating a lot of homemade, organic paleo based food.
I'm loathing: the businesses that serve no purpose in Sydney.
Growing another human takes a toll on the body, there is no denying it! Some of the most common issues we hear about in the health and wellness industry are; SIJ joint pain, sciatica, and general low back pain. I've taught prenatal yoga for years now and these are typically the issues I hear about the most when ladies hit their yoga mats.
What are some common causes for these issues?
Weight gain. Duh. It has to happen gals!
The centre of gravity is shifting due to baby in your womb.
Postural changes which can create a lordotic curve in the spine.
An influx of relaxin and oestrogen which can create joint laxity, (especially in the pelvis).
My second pregnancy is going well so far, but I've had some low back discomfort after out epic road trip down to Melbourne. We drove from Sydney to Melbourne in one day, a total of 12 hours of travel. I did quite a bit of yoga that week at The Base Yoga, which helped a lot, and I also walked frequently. A week later, we packed up the car again and made an 11 hours trip home in a single day. Needless to say, my low back was not so happy with me at this point, and I wanted to get on top of the issue before it worsened. After all, once issues start compiling during your pregnancy, they seem to worsen if they are ignored.
I booked in to have an adjustment with Dr Evan, affectionally called Chiro Evan, followed by a remedial massage with Rima at the incredible Selph Health Studios in Rosebery, NSW. Evan recommended the adjustment first which helps to reestablish the new tissues and the massage to follow through with the corrections. This was truly an incredible combination, and one that I would not have thought of myself.
Although it wasn't my first time meeting Evan, it was my first time having an adjustment with him. I felt so welcomed into the space and really confident with his skills. Evan has a bachelor of Chiropractic Science as well as a Masters in Chiropractic, which is very impressive. He found congested places in my body that I had not even mentioned on my admission forms. Evan was so open for discussion about what I needed and we found the perfect ways to move and adjust my pregnant body. One of my favourite parts of the appointment was the ability to safely lie on my stomach in their little egg cup pillow. This made my low back treatment a lot easier, and we were able to fix the discrepancy in my leg lengths and loosened up the muscles aggravating my SIJ. I also had my upper thoracic adjusted and my neck as well, a personal favourite. Even though I had implicit trust in Evan, he must have noticed I was ever so slightly tense as he cradled my head in his hands. He told me to wiggle my right toe, and BAM, there was my neck adjustment beautifully executed. Clever redirection technique right there! I think it's paramount to find a chiropractor that you can trust in a day and age when people so base their search on preferred health providers alone.
Lastly, Evan performed N.E.T. which stands for neuro emotional technique. Evan was the first person to ever tell me about this incredible treatment, and I was baffled that I'd never heard of it before. The idea behind N.E.T is to find and address where stressful responses have taken hold in the body. Emotions are believed to be at the core of every stress, symptom and disease. Therefore, the goal of N.E.T. is locate and remove these imbalances in the body that are associated with the physiology of this unresolved stress. My evaluation went well, but Evan said my kidneys needed some attention and that I should increase my fluid intake and add some fresh berries and beans to my diet for my benefit bub's too.
DEEPER LOOK: Have a look at a simplified N.E.T. assessment chat here
After the adjustment I went into an adjacent room to meet Rima for my massage. Rima has 10 years of experience in the health and wellness industry and specialises in remedial, sports, pregnancy, and Swedish massage. The first thing Rima did was welcome me and ask me how I was feeling today. I noticed this common thread with the practitioners there; they are all genuinely interested in how you are as a person, not just your symptoms. We talked about what was to be expected from my treatment and I snuggled into another pregnancy pillow which allowed me to relax safely on my belly. The room, the music, even the essential oils that were being diffused made this an sensory experience to remember. I throughly enjoyed the massage and it was the perfect pairing after the adjustment. Rima delivered excellent pressure during the treatment as well, which I really appreciated because sometimes masseuses will barely apply pressure on a pregnant woman!
I left Selph Health Studios feeling more comfortable, completely relaxed and more clear headed. I meandered to my car and drove home in complete silence- no radio, no phone calls, nothing. I felt nurtured, supported and I will 100% be returning to keep up with my pregnancy care and birth preparation.
This little corner of the internet is for non-yoga topics like motherhood, low-tox living and green beauty products I love.