Art from the Heart






Mothers Over 40

Portrait of a beautiful middle aged pregnant female smiling on the couch

The debate surrounding the fertility of older mothers has raged on in recent weeks. Enough now, we get it! Yes, delaying motherhood can be catastrophic as fertility plummets after 39. However as Robert Winston, the IVF pioneer and broadcaster, pointed out at The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual conference in Lisbon, there are also benefits of delaying having a baby. Lord Winston said older mothers, who have had time to gain skills and education, as well as build strong relationships, can provide children with a more stable upbringing. So concerned are we to point out the negatives that we fail to notice that there are also positives to being a more mature mother. Women of 40 and upwards have a plethora of reasons for delaying motherhood. Whether it is due to demanding careers, further education, financial circumstances or relationship stability, some women have been in the position to have children earlier. Berating them is not constructive. The press has ensured women are aware of the facts so instead of fear-mongering maybe it is now time to support and learn from women who have left motherhood till later in life.

22 Things You Should Know About Fertility


My husband stumbled across this comprehensive list of all the MANY fertility issues you may encounter on your journey to pregnancy. Woah, it’s a miracle any of us are here when there seems so bloody impossible to get pregnant!

Take a look:

Superstition Ain’t The Way


Stevie Wonder is right. Superstition ain’t the way. I have never been a superstitious person. In fact I am quite the opposite. To me the belief in superstition, that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two events, is totally insane. However when it comes to this pregnancy my rationality has well and truly gone out the window!

In my illogical, neurotic brain doing anything I did in my last pregnancy cannot be repeated in this pregnancy or it will jinx, risk or endanger this pregnancy. That includes but is not limited to signing up for antenatal classes, wearing a baby on board badge on the underground and planning or purchasing anything for the nursery or baby. I have accepted that I will have to make an exception and buy a few essentials, a car seat and some baby grows, but I will wait until March for that. I know I sound totally mad but I have just accepted that I will be a lunatic worrier until the baby arrives and there’s little I can do to avoid that!

Apple & Facebook To Pay For Egg Freezing


The news that Apple and Facebook will pay for the cost of egg freezing for their female employees makes me shudder. Despite claiming that they wish to ’empower women…to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families’ I believe that enabling women to delay child bearing is extremely risky. The issue for me is that it adds to the illusion that egg freezing creates some sort of guarantee that having a baby can be postponed and planned. Of course many women wish to prioritise their careers ahead of stating a family, and that is a choice women are entitled to. But to perpetuate the myth that women can focus on their careers until 40 and then use their frozen eggs is dangerously naive. Based on my experiences, the journey to motherhood can be unpredictable, cruel and lengthly. There are no certainties. Ladies need to be realistic that having a baby using frozen eggs is extremely unlikely. It has a success rate of only 20 percent—and that’s if you’re able to freeze enough viable eggs, which many women can’t do. Instead of offering egg freezing, which is a PR exercise ludicrously praised as forward-thinking empowerment, they should try to be innovative in their attitudes towards on-site creches, flexible work hours for new parents, extended parental leave and a more balanced culture.

Rainbow Baby

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I’ve seen many references to rainbow babies and it appears that we are due to have one. Rainbow babies are babies born to families after the loss of a previous baby. Rainbow Babies represent the idea that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides new life, energy and hope. What a lovely metaphor for the feelings expectant parents, who lost a previous baby, feel for the contrasting sadness due to loss, and hope for the future.



20 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Ease Stress

The road to motherhood can be unbelievably stressful. With that in mind, here are 20 ways, backed up by good scientific evidence, to keep your stress in check:

1. Go For A 10 Minute Walk

While just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins, green spaces, can put your body into a state of meditation, thanks to a phenomenon known as “involuntary attention” during which something holds our attention, but simultaneously allows for reflection.

2. Breathe Deeply

Any yogi knows that the breath — known as pranayama or “life force” — plays an important role in nourishing the body. Breathing exercises – or even just taking a few deep breaths – can help reduce tension and relieve stress, thanks to an extra boost of oxygen.

3. Visualize

Simply make yourself comfortable and then try to picture a relaxing scene.

4. Eat A Snack

Stress-eating doesn’t have to be bad. Pick a snack that will fill you up — say, half an avocado, a handful of nuts or a hard boiled egg — because nothing is more stressful to the brain than feeling like you’ve run out of nourishment. Focus on your food: its texture, the way it tastes, how it makes you feel. Now you’ve turned your snack into a meditation.

5. Buy Yourself A Plant

Houseplants can actually help you calm down. Researchers have found that simply being around plants can induce your relaxation response.

6. Step Away From The Screen

Uninterrupted computer use has been associated with stress, lost sleep and depression in women. Make sure to take frequent breaks during your day of computer use — and try to shut offline at least an hour before bedtime.

7. Pucker Up

Kissing relieves stress by helping your brain to release endorphins.

8. Try This Naam Yoga Hand Trick

Applying pressure to the space between your second and third knuckle (the joints at the base of your pointer and middle fingers) can help to create a sense of instant calm.

9. Hang Up, Then Turn Off Your Phone

Mobile phones stress you out. Talking can even raise your blood pressure.

10. Put On Some Music

While classical music has a particularly soothing effect — it slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and even decreases levels of stress hormones — any music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine.

11. Treat Yourself!

Eating or drinking something sweet is soothing because it stems the production of the stress hormone, glucocorticoid.

12. Or, On The Other Hand, Plug In

Yes, screens can stress you out. But used in the right way, there’s no reason you can’t turn to the Internet to get a little stress relief such as web-based stress management programs.

13. Chew A Piece Of Gum

Chewing gum doesn’t just make your breath better — it can relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress during episodes of multitasking.

14. Watch A Viral Video

A good laugh is a fine relaxation technique. What’s more, even if you don’t find the viral video your uncle Joe sent you to be that funny, just the anticipation that it might be will actually boost endorphins.

15. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Start with your toes and work your way up: tighten your foot muscles as much as you can, then relax them. Make your way up, tightening and relaxing each muscle until you’ve finished with your face. It may seem silly, but this practice can help reduce anxiety and stress.

16. Seriously, Turn Off Your Phone

Smartphones, in particular, are linked to increased stress, as more and more people feel pressure to respond to messages at all times.

17. See Your BFF

Friends aren’t just fun — your very closest ones can actually reduce your production of cortisol.

18. Eat A Banana (Or A Potato!)

Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress.

19. Try Eagle Pose

Many yoga poses are known stress relievers, as they open the shoulders, relieve neck tension and do away with many of the physical symptoms of stress. Eagle pose is a prime example of how a brief asana can target back and neck tension. Learn how to do the pose here.

20. Craft

Repetitive motions — like the fine motor skills used to knit– can soothe anxiety.

Try one today!

Premenstrual Twinge or Pregnancy Twinge?


And so it begins. Am I pregnant? Am I not pregnant? PUPO (Pregnant until proven otherwise) is a term I have seen on blogs. The worst part is that pregnancy symptoms are pretty similar to those experienced before a period. During my last pregnancy I felt nothing at this point. I was convinced that I was not pregnant because I felt completely normal. My nausea didn’t start until about 6 weeks in. That and a heightened sense of smell that resulted in me telling my poor husband how bad he smelt. Consequently I have had moments of absolute certainty that I am pregnant, followed, often minutes later, with total conviction that I am not pregnant and my period is coming. It’s a roller coaster! I experience cramps at various points in my cycle so I have to remind myself that it may mean diddly squat.

The wait until the blood test is going to be unbearable.

(FYI that is not my stomach. Sadly.)

To Rest Or Not To Rest?

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It seems that once embryos are transferred, there is nothing a patient can do to influence the outcome. Conception is a natural event that depends primarily upon the genetic quality of the eggs. Currently, there is no substantial evidence as to whether bed rest or continuing normal activities following the procedure makes a difference to the outcome.

Some physicians encourage patients to rest for twenty four hours, others suggest returning to normal activities as soon as possible. Many choose to rest because they think that by doing so they are improving their chances, while others elect to return to normal activities to help them avoid worrying. Essentially you should decide your course of action based on your own instincts.

If I had an office job where I was sat most of the day I probably would have returned the following day. However my job is hectic and active, and I knew that I would worry more, and blame myself later if the cycle failed, had I not taken it easy for a few days. Perhaps catering to your emotional needs is the most essential consideration.

Feet up for me!

Good for the Soul

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Gardening is good for the soul. Maybe it’s the fresh air. Maybe it’s the feel of the earth between your fingers. Maybe it’s the pleasure of seeing things grow. Either way we have been spending lots of time in the garden and it’s been great. I even painted some pretty colours on our ordinary terracotta pots to use as a herb garden.

Some find yoga and massages relaxing. I do not. I find it far more relaxing to keep busy and active. I don’t like having too much time to obsess think about everything.