No one ever showed us

You want strong, effective surges, so embrace them as they grow in power – this is the `intensity’ element. I’ve actually created an app to help you time your surges (you’ll find it listed in the resources section at the back of this article). It also guides you through your breathing and helps you to relax between surges. Using the app makes it easy to keep track of what’s going on over a period of time. But, of course, the good old-fashioned method of pen and paper, together with a clock or watch, works as well. Once you’ve reached that magic 3/10/45, then it’s time to make the journey into the birth centre or hospital, or to call the midwife out to you if having a home birth. You can now consider yourself to be in established or active labour, or the first stage (different names all meaning the same thing). This is where the official timing of labour begins. Everything that has gone before this point is considered early labour and doesn’t contribute towards the official length of labour. Hospitals or birth centres consider you to be in established labour once you are 4cm dilated, but, given that you’re likely to be at home during early labour, it’s obviously not possible to gauge how many centimetres dilated you are yourself. Here are a few to choose from: Spanish: Te amo French: Je t’aime bien Italian: Ti voglio bene German: Ich liebe dich If you’re planning on buying chocolates this year, add an artful touch by placing a love note under each chocolate in the box. Thoughts like You make my heart smile, Life’s just better when we’re together, Thank you for being you, and, of course, XOXO will touch your loved one’s heart and make the day and gift even sweeter. Valentine’s Day comes around only once a year, but you can keep love alive every day and all year long through the artful expressions you share with friends and family. I love bringing the branches in and placing them in vases around the house, filled with warm water. Within a few days, I start to see little yellow flowers form along the branch, brightening the room and my spirits, reminding me that spring is nearly here.

It was the mindset, for instance, adopted by the janitor John F. Kennedy ran into at NASA in 1962. When the president asked him what he was doing, the janitor apparently responded saying that he was helping put a man on the moon. It was the mindset adopted by a roadworker who was directing the flow of traffic near a repair site on a stretch of Colorado highway several years ago. Standing in the sun, he periodically turned a sign that read Stop on one side and Slow on the other. I keep people safe, he told a driver who asked him how he could stand such boring work. I care about these guys behind me, he continued, and I keep them safe. I also keep you safe, and everyone else in all those cars behind you. And it was a mindset adopted by a food cart owner a few years ago when my friend realized, after ordering, that he had forgotten his wallet. My job isn’t to take your money, he told my friend. Laughter is the flow of love, coursing through your body. Laughter is the nectar of present-moment awareness. Invite more enthusiasm into your life. Invite more playfulness. Invite more lightheartedness. Invite more laughter. One of our favorite playful and lighthearted cosmic revelers is the fourteenth-century mystic Hafiz, whose poems have been translated recently by Daniel Ladinsky. Hafiz invites us all to join in the cosmic dance. What is laughter? What is this precious love and laughter

Instead, focus on the frequency, duration and intensity of the surges. Lots of women who have had babies previously will look you in the eye and say: `You just know’, which always sounds very unhelpful. You will know. Even if you’re a first-time mum and you’ve never done this before; Trust your body and your baby (and your instincts) – your body and baby both know what they are doing. In summary, here are some things you could do during the early stage of labour: Established labour You’re now in proper established labour. This is the real deal. You’ve travelled into the hospital or birth centre, or your midwife has come out to you. Spring symbolizes rebirth, renewal, and reawakening. Even on gray days, purple violets pop through the last snow, white crocuses, yellow daffodils, and pink tulips reach toward the warming sun. The grass magically turns a shade of bright green, the buds on the trees start to form, and before long, cherry trees are ablaze with pink blossoms. The new warm air carries their sweet fragrance everywhere. Easter often marks the beginning of spring, and eggs are the perfect symbol for the birth and fertility that abound. Decorate eggstraordinary Easter eggs with your family’s pictures on them to make a beautiful centerpiece for your table. It’s a simple project, but fun for everyone. First, print out photographs of all your family members from the computer (shrink each portrait to about the size of a quarter). After you’ve dyed the eggs a color or combination of colors you love and allowed them to dry, cut the portrait out in a small circle (again, approximately the size of a quarter) and glue it to the egg. Use a ribbon, brightly colored pipe cleaners, or tinsel to frame and finish the photo around its edge.

My job, he said, handing my friend his taco, is to feed you. Not all of us will find our calling. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find purpose. The world is full of retail clerks, coupon sorters, accountants, and students. It is full of highway flaggers, parents, government bureaucrats, and bartenders. And it is full of nurses, teachers, and clergy who get bogged down in paperwork and other day-to-day tasks, and sometimes lose sight of their broader mission. Yet no matter what occupies our days, when we reframe our tasks as opportunities to help others, our lives and our work feel more significant. Each of us has a circle of people–in our families, in our communities, and at work–whose lives we can improve. That’s a legacy everyone can leave behind. Erik Kolbell vividly remembers the summer in 2003 when his daughter Kate got her first job. Budding in our hearts? It is the glorious sound Of a soul waking up! Play and enjoy. It will keep you young in body, mind, and soul. Through love; By maintaining a youthful mind. In James Hilton’s classic 1933 work Lost Horizon, the central character, Hugh Conway, unexpectedly finds himself in a remote Tibetan land called Shangri-La. He soon discovers that the inhabitants of this domain are playing by a different set of rules, for sickness, aging, and death are rare phenomena. The high lama of the monastery, for example, informs Conway that as a result of secret antiaging practices, he has been alive for more than two hundred and fifty years!

You’re probably expecting me to tell you that this is where it gets difficult? This is where it gets easy – in a way! Mums, you now have a single focus. You are in the right place (that you have chosen), you are being supported by your birth partner (they are not just by your side but on your side), your baby is on its way (whoop! Your focus will become more channelled now and the only thing you need to remember to do is breathe: in for four, out for eight, four times over, rest and repeat. It sounds simple – and it really is! Breathing is now your sole focus; Every time you feel a surge come on (which you can expect to happen approximately three times in every ten-minute period) simply close your eyes, inhale through your nose, feel your chest expand before exhaling slowly through your mouth, and feel all tension release as you become more deeply relaxed. Perhaps you will have your birth partner count for you to coach you through each one and keep you grounded and focused. Perhaps you will rely on the powerful visualisations that you’ve been practising – visualising, for example, a hot air balloon inflating and filling up with air as you inhale and then, as you exhale, seeing the balloon gracefully glide up and up and away. Fill a basket with shredded paper or grass, and arrange the portraits as a wonderful display of your eggstra special family. On Easter one year, we invited some friends over for dinner, and the evening turned into an unexpectedly wonderful, wild, and wacky party. I filled the dining room table with Peeps (the little yellow marshmallow chicks), some feathers, ribbons, sequins, paper plates, pipe cleaners, paper, scissors, hot glue, buttons, and a bunch of beads and craft supplies. I invited everyone to play dress-up by dressing up his or her chick (Peep). Everyone had so much fun: some made hats and feather boas and created pearl necklaces. Others stuck feathers in the marshmallow to create a bouquet of colors, while one woman dressed her chick in a chic black-sequined evening gown. Once we finished dressing the Peep, we started dressing ourselves. We used paper plates as the base for a hat, made flowers from paper, glued buttons and beads onto the brims, and hung streamers with ribbon from them. Before we knew it, we were all sitting around the table each modeling an Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it. We looked so lovely that we had our own Easter parade!

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