Support After a Pregnancy Ends or a Baby Dies

Support After a Pregnancy Ends or a Baby Dies

As a counsellor, listening to and being present to the unfolding stories after a pregnancy ends too early, or when a baby dies, requires me to hold space for another’s sorrow in a way that can seep in, grow, and be held as a deepening sadness. This impact can be felt, yet remain as invisible and silent as the way society responds to these unspeakable losses.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Supporting someone after a baby dies as a loved one requires holding compassion for any perceived failings in supporting the unravelling of another in sinking downwards into an unfamiliar terrain. Allow them to decide whether to rise again or not and just be there alongside, being the doula for the other side of birth where a baby is missing in every part of their imagined shared futures. It is bleak and dark and unbearable and yet bear it you must as it is only a fraction of what the other carries. 

Often the joy of having babies is preceded with experiences of grief, and yet we only see the images around us of blissfully expectant mothers and smiling parents with their children. So rarely do we see the stories of loss, often born shrouded in silence such as with miscarriages, terminations or when a baby dies in utero, during birth or shortly after.

If you visit a maternity hospital, you will likely see image after image of the joy of having a baby. Go seeking a visual representation of the babies that will never be born, die in pregnancy, in labour or shortly after birth and you will notice little to no representation for this reality. With life comes death and the lifetimes in between the two are varied and many, yet we only champion live births and happy parents.

Sitting with

Being alongside such experiences is profound in its sadness, and yet there is honour in being a companion to such grief. Sitting with the love lost and the agony felt in letting go is an enormous task to hold. Forgiveness is needed when you fear you might get it wrong as it comes with the territory where ‘getting it right’ does not really exist. It is as much a fantasy as being a perfect mother. There is only what is.

Be present when others cannot be. Be there because there is a need. Hold self-compassion as you cannot be blamed for any failings as who taught you to hold the unbearable? Who taught you to know what to say, not say and when to do and give instead of speaking?  When you cannot ‘fix it’ there is no room for questioning, only sitting with, being with, sharing the uncertainty.

Anchor

Allow the depth of despair to be felt and be held. Give them an anchor to secure themselves to. Let them know their rights in honouring the loss, speaking of their loss, to expect to be heard for as long as they need to speak of their pregnancy, their baby, the child missing from the dinner table. Speak their baby’s name, ask them about their cherished one. Find ways to honour this experience, a tree that blooms at this time of year, a memory box full of all that is known and not yet known about their pregnancy, their baby. Allow for meaning making and disbelief to coexist.

Let them know it gets easier, you get to know the grief, recognise its needs, make room for it, be forever changed by it. Know your limits and encourage professional support so they can become more than the sum of their broken parts. Seek help yourself as you begin to feel that deepening sadness seep in and start to grow. You and I cannot ward this off for we are human, and it is too big to wriggle our way out of it. When attending to another’s grief we must attend to our own breaking hearts.

Know that a parent that has endured suffering on the path to parenthood will be better equipped to know something of their child’s suffering and may pass to them what has been learnt in reaching rock bottom and rising again. 

What a gift to give to another to reshape suffering into a way to comfort even if you have never received that yourself. Hold light where there is darkness and know if you only offer kindness, it is enough where there is sorrow.

Suzanne Hurley

Support After a Pregnancy Ends or a Baby Dies

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor & Supervisor

Fertile Ground Health Group

If you would like help navigating grief and loss please feel welcome to make a booking with Suzanne.

Stories of Survival in NSW floods

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods

Our hearts reach out to all the people who have been caught in these catastrophic floods.

Within this huge group of impacted people there is a minority community who have been sharing their stories of survival with us directly – solo parent families who have lost their homes. These people are sharing their stories with us because we have launched a fundraising campaign to support this vulnerable group to rebuild their lives. Supporting community health, in particular family health, has been a mission of Fertile Ground Health Group for the last 21 years and in this time of need we feel grateful to have the means to generate momentum and support for solo parent families in NSW who have lost their homes.

These stories of survival in the devastating floods are powerful demonstrations of the resilience and willingness of the human spirit when met with such catastrophic and urgent life and death moments. These stories are both heartbreaking and inspirational.  So far it is solo mummas and their children who have registered for support with us from this campaign, and the courage these women show is incredible.

Read the Stories of Survival (continuously updated as more come through)

When we heard the news of the flood I immediately contacted my landlord who said in the 2017 flood my apartment was absolutely fine so I naïvely thought we would be okay to stay here and just use our gas camping stove for meals. I ran out and helped move things in the library in the Toy Library, and got some shopping and then settled in for a few days stuck in the house. We don’t have many support systems in the area where we can just rock up for a few days and expect them to accommodate us, even if there is the threat of disaster. By 11pm we were getting warnings that the flood was going to be bigger than predicted, and we’d need to evacuate. 

I had already moved my car and I did not think it was safe to walk 3 km through low-lying streets with my three-year-old on my back so we decided to stay put. I flagged down a passing SES car but they said they were not taking pedestrians in their cars simply warning them to evacuate. We had no choice but to stay put and hope for the best. I called my Dad letting him know what was happening in case reception went and wrote a list of important phone contacts and sealed it in a ziplock and shoved it in my dry bag. 

I rushed around moving things as high as possible, packing go bags and tying my kayak to the clothesline. A move I thought was futile at the time. At 2 o’clock I heard a large bang downstairs and alarms started blaring. The levy had broken and water was rushing so fast down our downtown apartment that trees were being snapped. A stray gas bottle smashed into our door. Cue panic – dressing myself and my 3yo and a plea to the universe that we would survive again. In January of 2021 I woke to almost our entire apartment on fire, it had just reached the hall outside our bedroom. 

I scooped my 3yo out of bed and bolted, seconds after placing my feet in the garden from the bottom step both gas bottles exploded. Now we were living a similar horror again! Hours passed, frantic calls to both police and SES begging them to just take my daughter. The last SES call at 5am was met with a blunt ‘we aren’t coming into the CBD, good luck’ and an abrupt beep as they hung up. 

I called Mum and Dad and choked out a goodbye. Called a friend and told her I didn’t blame her for the advice to stay in the apartment. By this point the water was up to my knees. My 3yo was being exceptionally calm and brave, I am so proud of her! I lifted her from the floating couch into the kayak and jumped in after her, balancing the 4 kittens we had recently rescued precariously at the front. We had about another 1m left on the tether before the top of the kayak would have been pulled under water. I had a knife ready to slash it. We were wearing helmets and she had a floaty, I had a head torch. 

Even though the water was calm and slowly flowing away from the river, the rush of water I had seen earlier was so ferocious I was convinced we were dead if we entered it, kayak or not. I contemplated drowning my 3yo myself so I wouldn’t have to watch her suffer or be sucked away, I could at least tie her to me. 

Tried to climb the roof, too high. More frantic calls to family. Suddenly a voice screaming my name in the distance. I sloshed over to the side of the balcony, it was my DAD! He had borrowed a boat, been stopped on roads four times by the SES before he found a way through. We were saved! Everyone loaded in, three wet bags with some clothes and my phone and wallet. We passed my neighbour who didn’t want to be rescued, a family of five up to their necks in the water trapped behind bars. I begged dad to save them but we couldn’t get the window open. A man lying still on a roof, someone floating in their top story. Countless others screaming from rooftops to be rescued. 

At the end of the river near the large shopping centre there were police officers helping to get people out of boats. We jumped out and Dad grabbed something from his car to try and bust open the window. I waited for him to return, the tears were flowing. Four little faces and a mother came back with him, they had their heads turned to the side standing on a table by the time he pried the security screen off. We rushed them to the evac centre and everyone got fresh warm clothes. I hate to think of the others who died with the same fear we faced that night and I’m so grateful we have escaped near death, twice!

– Los (Lauren) De Groot, Lismore NSW

NSW Solo Parent Families who have Lost Their Homes
Los and her daughter after being rescued by her Dad

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

The last thing I did before going to bed was to hang my children’s floaties on the bedroom door, just in case. A strange thing to do perhaps, but there’s only me. There’s not another set of ready hands, or another mind in the moment, to help problem solve. I’ve got to make the decisions that will give my kids the best chance and protect them as much as I can. The flood levels were not predicted to reach our house, yet I had spent the last couple of days lifting, packing and preparing our house and belongings. The doors were sandbagged. I’d packed a bag in the car and moved it up the hill. I’d turned off all power points, even the fridge. I’d set my alarm to wake hours before the ‘peak’ of the flood so I could assess where we were at. It still wasn’t enough. I don’t think anyone could have prepared enough for this. My 6 yr old son and I ‘miraculously’ awoke at 3.30am, just as the first trickle of water snaked in under the door. A man arrived at our door yelling for us to get out now. We tried to move more of our stuff upstairs to our housemate’s room (another single mum). My little boy waded back and forth carrying his belongings and treasures upstairs. We had 30 minutes before the water had risen to a level where the water reached the bottom of the mattress on which my 2 yr old was still sleeping. I snatched her up and ran out the door. We got to a friend’s house, safe. The flood breached the second level of our house. Incomprehensible. Previously the highest level breached in our house to our knowledge was 15cm. Our ceiling collapsed, our home is unlivable, but what’s most heartbreaking is hearing my little boy try to problem solve where we will now live.

– Nina Woods, Bexhill NSW

Stories of Survival - Nina Woods 2
Nina returning to salvage items after the flood waters started to recede

 

Stories of Survival, Nina Woods
Nina and son, Lachie, sorting through the few house items they managed to salvage and bring back to where they’re sheltering

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

My name is Kate Coxall, I was a volunteer firefighter with the RFS for over 4 years, and also a trained Case Manager/Support Facilitator. The skills and training I had from this saved our lives, for this I am forever grateful. We lived in Bungawalbin, on a 110 acre property we had rented for 4.5 months after being evicted due to a sale of our Upper Wilson’s Creek Property. We left on Sunday night, because the water had already come under the house and was rising at a rate that was mind blowing, metres per hour. I let our Budgies out, knowing they would be able to fly to higher points, and raised all belongings and furniture to higher points over hours. I mustered the Landlords cattle the day before in thigh deep + water through several complex scenarios including deep water, to the highest paddock on the property near the road. I was so glad I had done that, they would definitely have drowned otherwise. I took my 8YO daughter, our beloved 8YO rescue dog (member of our family) and drove to the neighbours, after leaving extra feed out and what I assumed at the time, was a barrier to water rising, a plastic storage tub, at the chook’s house door.

I came back after another minimal sleep night of the heaviest rain I have ever heard, at 10:30am. The house had already been inundated, to floor height, I was absolutely shocked. I saw the chicken yard was 1m under water and left the car and my wet weather gear on the fence at a high dry point, and waded through 5ft deep water, over a fence to rescue the chickens, all 9 plus our rooster who snuggled into me to thank me, they had 20cm left till they would have drowned. My daughter has not only named them, they come to her and jump into her arms when called.. I managed to put 3 in the plastic tub to take back to her, but then bogged my car trying to turn around. The neighbour came to help out, and bogged her car, we had access to her partner’s family Ute, which we drove back to the cars, i tried to two her out, unsuccessfully due to the conditions and angles. We saw 5 people carrying a motor, then a boat, attempting to get from Bungawalbin to Coraki, some shoeless, one, Craig, with a huge gash on his head. We begged them not to keep going, just to come and shelter with us, but they refused, and attempted to go on. We later got an urgent message on social media that they were in need of desperate evacuation and had chained themselves in the Tinny to a tree. I cried for them many times, desperately asking other emergency service and medical trained friends to call 000 as I couldn’t call out, but could message. They survived thankfully, we later found out. 

Then the water rose and rose, and we heard the neighbours on the other, much lower side hadn’t been rescued yet and had lost all communication. I again asked friends to please, please call in the rescue knowing Lehann Suffolk and partner were mature aged, and much lower down than where we were. That night, after hearing choppers throughout the day go past, having logged the rescue for them, and us, I couldn’t sleep. I left a flashing torch on the fence post, illuminating the house, deck lights on, hoping the SES would see us. We learned that SES and ADF were grounded at midnight by the time the messages came through, it was terrifying knowing how incredibly fast the water was rising and how inundated we were. At 4am after many days with minimal sleep, I thought I heard 3 voices and screaming.. I felt beyond desperate, worried the Suffolks had not survived. I kept messaging people and services asking for help. That next day I was worried the other lady with me had gone into sepsis, and I felt I had started to go into shock, the water was still rising, and I was exhausted. We spent many hours outside trying to wave at Choppers. The first went straight over us, but the cloud cover was so thick that they missed us altogether. That moment was very disheartening, I thought we may not get rescued. 

My daughter was so brave throughout, but I saw her struggling with the reality that we may/may not get rescued, the fact she learned our house was fully under and the gravity of the idea that we may need to not just leave Budgies AND chooks behind, but her beloved support dog. I was so glad that I could identify what was happening for her and hold her through it. When the chopper came, after I had suggested that we find fluoros and other high visibility materials, which we laid down in the house yard and my neighbour laid on the road, after we waved and yelled and thought they may not find us, we were so, so relieved. I hugged Rob from the ADF thanking him, and then he told us that we couldn’t bring our dog. It was heartbreaking for us both. I took her back to the house where I had laid all the dog food we had and a large bowl of fresh water and told her to “stay home”. She got out and tried to follow us. My heart broke as I had to tell her to “go home”. I was worried she would get hurt or traumatised further from the chopper. I will never forget her face, I just want her back with us. We then were airlifted to Lismore SCU Evacuation Centre, given fresh food, a bed and offer of clothes, medical support and toiletries and charging stations. The gravity of what we had been through was starting to hit me, but we are so grateful to be safe. My employers, from The Lismore App, now family, offered us a place in their home, which is where we have been since, in Gooonellabah. What blew me away most is that a lady came up to me and offered that we could go and stay in her Mum’s granny flat, her name is Mim, and she could lend us a car.. everyone was so kind, I could never thank them enough. The best moment for me was when I was able to ask the man who had already been rescued in the chopper if he had come from the Suffolks property, the neighbours I thought I heard screaming and was desperately worried had drowned.. he confirmed they were all alive and not too unwell. That moment was just the most heartening of all. Thank you to all the rescue personnel, friends and community for your support to get us out, and to check in. It’s made all the difference.

– Kate Coxall, Richmond Valley NSW

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall
Kate and her daughter

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall 3
Being airlifted to Lismore SCU Evacuation Centre

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

I’m overwhelmed by what a long haul this is going to be. It’s taken me years after my husband left us with nothing to rebuild our lives & now my daughter keeps crying listing all the things she became attached to. It’s hard for children to comprehend the notion of our lives being at risk vs material or sentimental things. Myself and another solo mum fled at 4am with our kids and nothing but the clothes on my back. Our double story house is under and have lost everything. We also don’t know where we are going to live. The housing situation in the northern rivers is so dire – worst for solo parents. I felt vulnerable before : now I’m not sure there is any hope of us being re-housed or recouping what we lost .. it all feels too hard right now : /

– Leah Bee, Bexhill NSW

Stories of Survival - Leah Bee
Leah and her two children

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

My name is Elina Salokangas. I’m a single mum of 9yo girl and 6yo boy. We live in The Channon, NSW. This is our story. 

Sunday night the power went out at 11pm. So I had flashlights ready. There was a teeny bit of water coming into the living room under the skirting board, which happens sometimes when it rains. So I was up mopping. Then when I went to toilet around 1pm, flushed it, the water came up halfway. I thought, “That’s strange…” I went out to check the creek level on the side terrace (there’s a normally dry creek next to the house, about 5m below the level of the house) and I saw the water level was up to the terrace!! That has never happened before!

I went out to the front terrace to check if I could see any water, and water was all I could see! I quickly rescued the bunnies – the bottom floor of their cage was already under. Then I woke up the housemate in the studio. Moved my campervan on higher grounds. Then went back mopping… until the water started to come in from everywhere!! 

My first thought was to lift everything from bottom shelves and cupboards up higher, onto top of the shelves, thinking I was saving all the most important things… little did I know that all the shelves and furniture would fall over anyway. My son was sleeping on the couch. I picked him up when the water level was almost touching him. Put him down on my bed, next to his sister. Quickly went to get some jumpers for them… wetsuits… then woke the kids up, carried them to the kitchen table and put the wetsuits on. My housemate had two life vests as well, which I put on for them.. then the table started to wobble and float! Carried the kids to the kitchen counter, while putting up the ladder, and then carried them to the ladder and up to the bus roof. So grateful my bus was parked under the terrace roof 2 weeks prior! And you could quite easily climb to the roof of the house from the top of the bus, if necessary.

Last thing I got from the garage was a tarp, kids floaties, saw, rope, secateurs… water up to my belly button by then. I sawed the legs off from the little bunny cage and so we could fit them on the bus roof as well.

By then it was maybe 3am? It all happened so fast, from no water to waist height in 30mins, I think! I was too wet to go to the roof, smelling like sewerage, so I ended up standing on top of the ladder, leaning on the bus, the rest of the night. Also to make sure the ladder wouldn’t float away. 

By the sunrise the flood levels dropped. I got down, started to clean up the sludge from the front terrace and gather all the bits and pieces, while the kids were still sleeping up on the bus roof. It was still raining non stop, and less than an hour later the water started to rise up again!! I climbed back to the roof. About 1m water on the terrace and indoors… during the night it peaked at 1.8m indoors, 2-3m around the house, up to 4m on the driveway… my hitop campervan was almost totally under.

When my son woke up, he saw somebody swimming in the flood waters!! We could not believe our eyes! It was our neighbour, the landlady’s nephew, coming to check on us if we were Ok. First time ever I identified somebody as a True Blue Ozzie Hero! About half an hour later our other neighbours came in by canoes to rescue us! By then I felt totally dysfunctional, just so relieved and happy to be rescued. We survived. Can’t stop thinking about how different the outcome it would have been if I would have gone to bed early, before 11pm, that night…

– Elina Salokangas, The Channon NSW

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods
Standing on the ladder, leaning on the bus the whole night

 

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods
Elina’s son, daughter and bunnies taking refuge on top of the bus

 

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods

Please share these stories of survival with your community and share the fundraiser. Every little bit helps. Thank you.

With gratitude, kindness and in support of solo parent families who have lost their homes in the NSW floods,

Carly Woods & Charmaine Dennis
Directors
Fertile Ground Health Group

Help NSW Solo Parent Families who have Lost Their Homes in Floods

NSW Solo Parent Families who have Lost Their Homes in Floods

HEAD TO THE FUNDRAISER TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

We are so incredibly sad to hear of the devastation occurring throughout the NSW community due to the floods.

Within this community of impacted people is a minority group of solo parents with children, many of whom have lost everything in the flooding and are now homeless.

Imagine having everything that you have worked to create for your family being swept away in an instant.

The news of this is reaching communities nationally and globally, with so many people wanting to contribute and help those in need, ourselves included. We have a personal connection with the flooding in NSW, with our family and friends scattered through affected regions, many of whom have been evacuated and/or rescued with their children from their now submerged and destroyed homes.

We know that many of you, like us, will be wanting to help. That’s why we have launched this campaign.

We want to offer help not only to our family and friends, but to as many solo parent families out there who have lost their homes as we can. These families are in desperate need of our community support to rebuild their lives.

HEAD TO THE FUNDRAISER TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

All of the money raised in this campaign will be split and distributed evenly between the single parents who register with us and meet the eligibility criteria, detailed on the financial support registration page.

Solo parents can register up until the completion of this campaign (10 April 2022), and all funds will be split evenly and sent via bank deposit to the recipients at completion of this fundraiser. No money will be withheld for administration, nor by this fundraising platform. All proceeds go to those in need.

If you know of any solo parent families who have lost their principal place of residence in the NSW floods, please forward the registration to them so they can elect to receive the financial support that this campaign raises too –> www.bit.ly/FG-flood-support

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”

― Shannon L. Alder

Thank you so much for your contribution to this cause.

Read the Stories of Survival as they’re being shared with us. The stories are coming to us from solo parent families registering for support from this campaign are both heartbreaking and inspirational. They are powerful demonstrations of the resilience and willingness of the human spirit when met with such catastrophic and urgent life and death moments. So far it is solo mummas and their children who have registered for support with us, and the courage these women show is incredible.

In kindness and care,

Carly Woods & Charmaine Dennis
Directors
Fertile Ground Health Group

Read some of the stories shared:

Most of the time I love being a solo parent, but emergencies don’t make the list. I have to make every decision and wear the responsibilities of those snap judgements. I’m angry at needing to do this alone, time after time after time. We didn’t have adequate support. I couldn’t be or do it all. I couldn’t evacuate safely. For six hours my three year old was forced to sit in our kayak tied to the clotheslines while the rain lashed around her face and soaked her until her little lips were blue. We were tethered to the clothesline with an extension lead I ripped out of the house in a panic. As flood waters continued to rise around us and I sobbed goodbyes to loved ones down the phone and imagined watching my toddler drown in my arms. It hurts to be in this position AGAIN. I have worked so so hard over the last year to recoup most of what we lost in our 2021 house fire and now it’s vanished right from under my nose all over again. I have no where to run my business and earn our keep. No where to live for who knows how long – in the face of an extreme rental crisis. Every single thing I bought or made post fire is again – gone. Another traumatic experience to add to the bank. PTSD reigns supreme. There are only so many times you can restart on your own.

– Los De Groot

Im overwhelmed by what a long haul this is going to be. It’s taken me years after my husband left us with nothing to rebuild our lives & now my daughter keeps crying listing all the things she became attached to. It’s hard for children to comprehend the notion of our lives being at risk vs material or sentimental things. Myself and another solo mum fled at 4am with our kids and nothing but the clothes on my back. Our double story house is under and have lost everything. We also don’t know where we are going to live. The housing situation in the northern rivers is so dire – worst for solo parents. I felt vulnerable before: now I’m not sure there is any hope of us being re housed or recouping what we lost..it all feels too hard right now : /

– Leah Bee

Free 10 minute Health Consults

Free naturopath

We believe that bodies and minds thrive when given the right ingredients. We are dedicated to boosting our community wellbeing and this is why our brilliant team of practitioners offer free 10-minute health consults on rotation, so that you have access to expert naturopathic and nutrition care.

These sessions are designed to help anyone wanting preventative wellness strategies for immunity, symptomatic relief for acute conditions and general health enquiries. You will , of course, be referred if needed for more complex issues or conditions.

With health there is endless possibility, multiple angles for fine tuning and a plethora of ways to start to feel better. We want to help you feel your radiant vitality shining through.

Register for your free digital consult

Simply head to our bookings page, navigate to Nutrition or Naturopathy and choose ‘Free 10-minute consult PHONE/ONLINE’

Note: If you are interested in fertility, IVF support or trying to conceive, please book with a Fertile Ground naturopath. For general health concerns and questions, please book with a Melbourne Apothecary naturopath or nutritionist.

Which practitioners are offering free 10-minute health consults at the moment?
Shantini Iyngkaran

Shantini Iyngkaran

Shantini Iyngkaran is a Naturopath whose practice focuses on maternal care including pre and postpartum experiences. She believes the vitality of a mother is the result of unconditional support, attuning the mother to her body and replenishing all her cups, emotionally, physically, and relationally.

She also has a special interest in gut and immune health. As someone who has struggled with her own health challenges in these areas, she approaches this with lived experience and compassion.

Shantini values time and presence in her consults as she learns about the individuals physical, spiritual, emotional, and home health. She discerns a variety of modalities, techniques, herbal, and nutritional knowledge to identify and support health needs.

Shantini brings insights to her work from her multifaceted career as a solicitor, entrepreneur, personal trainer and yoga teacher. Her multi-passionate approach to her career and life, allows her to provide a holistic and tailored naturopathic practice.

When she isn’t working at the Melbourne Apothecary, you will either find Shantini walking in nature, with her beloved pooch, Sir Waffles, creating in the kitchen, serving her local community, enjoying a matinee at the cinemas or relishing the company of her friends. She is a connoisseur of hugs, so if you feel like a warm embrace book in with her.

As someone who deeply values connection and community, Shantini is currently offering free Naturopathic 10-minute consults to help to get you started towards better health. These sessions are a chance for you to make sure the therapeutic relationship is a great fit and get clarity about what you want to achieve on your health journey.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Shantini by navigating to Naturopathy – The Melbourne Apothecary > Free 10-minute Naturopathic Consult”

 

Jane Holland

Jane Holland Fertile Ground Health Group Free 10 minute health consults

Renowned for her grounded and intuitive approach to health, Jane is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher and retreat facilitator who is passionate about empowering people to cultivate a healthy and honest relationship with food, eating and their body. Jane brings awareness and reverence into her sessions and is dedicated to listening and supporting her clients to unravel the subconscious patterns of behaviour which drive decision making (particularly in relation to food and eating).

Jane is deeply committed to building community and creating safe and supportive spaces for people to live more harmoniously within their inner and outer environments.

Jane carries degree level qualifications in both Environmental Management (Sustainable Development) and Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) and is trained in both Hatha and Yin Yoga (400hrs Teacher Training certifications). She is also a Food & Spirit practitioner and Emotional Anatomy coach, integrating Eastern and Western philosophies in a wholistic approach to wellness. Jane uses her technical knowledge and understanding in these modalities, together with her deep insight and intuition, to ignite profound and lasting transformation for her clients.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Holistic Nutritionist, Jane, by navigating to Nutrition > Free 10-minute Nutrition Consult

 

Josephine CabrallJosephine Cabrall Fertile Ground Health Group Free 10 minute health consults

Josephine is an experienced, degree-qualified naturopath and trained fertility teacher specialising in fertility, reproductive health and pregnancy. She uses nutrition, dietary strategies, herbal medicine and lifestyle advice, to help her patients achieve their goals and is passionate about working collaboratively with other health care providers for the best outcomes of the patient.

Understanding the importance of a supportive and empathic support team through the fertility and IVF journey, Josephine aims to meet her patients where they are at, giving them strategies and resources to achieve the best outcomes possible.

She also enjoys helping patients with gut health, thyroid health and stress reduction, recognising the impact of these conditions can have on both fertility and general health.

As well as general fertility, Josephine has a special interest in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Acknowledging the different presentations of PCOS, she relishes in seeing women improve their fertility and other hormonal symptoms through individualised, tailored treatment plans. To help women better understand and combat PCOS, Josephine has authored an eBook, The PCOS Solution, as well as the Guide to PCOS & Diet – which she generously makes available for free – download here.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Naturopath, Josephine by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > Free 10-minute Naturopathic Consult.

 

Tess Doig

Tess Doig

“I believe the future of our health starts with preconception care and that improving a couple’s nutrition, health and lifestyle can give the best possible start to their future baby’s health”. Tess Doig

Tess Doig is a highly skilled degree qualified naturopath with over 9 years of practice specialising in the areas of fertility, pregnancy, women’s health and mental health. She is skilled in complex infertility cases, helping support many women and couples through unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriage, IVF, male factor infertility and more.

Tess also has a special interest in endometriosis, understanding the complexities of this condition through the connections between, immune, microbiome, hormones, and nutrition and how they interplay to progress this disease. She also understands the huge lifestyle and emotional burden this condition causes, and uses a range of nutritional, herbal medicine and lifestyle interventions to help resolve symptoms and improve the reproductive health and fertility of women with endometriosis.

Having two young children herself, she loves to support women through their pregnancy and postpartum journey. Tess understands the joy of this time but also the impact this can have on a woman’s mental health. She offers a supportive and compassionate listening space, while also investigating underlying pathology that may be affecting their mood. Treatment options include through nutritional, herbal medicine and lifestyle prescriptions.

Believing every person is an individual and there is no one-size-fits all approach to health, Tess will use all of her tools and knowledge to create a treatment plan specifically for you. She likes to think of herself as a health detective and is highly skilled in blood pathology interpretation along with clinical expertise, functional testing, and naturopathic diagnostic techniques.  Tess combines all of these approaches to assess and investigate your health. Tess is also passionate about collaborative medicine and will work and communicate with your medical practitioner and other members of your health team where needed.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Naturopath, Tess by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > Free 10-minute Naturopathic Consult.

Fresh salmon patties with yoghurt sauce and green salad

Recipe by Rhiannon Hardingham, FGHG Naturopath and Nutritionist

This delicious and easy to prepare meal is so full of flavour and goodness that you’ll want to make it over and over again!

 

Fresh Salmon Patties with yoghurt sauce

Makes 12 large patties, to provide 6 serves.

These are a great way to sneak fish and greens into kids or fussy adults who are not usually a fan.

Salmon is an excellent source of protein, as well as omega 3 fats. Try to get Atlantic salmon if possible but otherwise Tasmanian salmon will do just fine.

By cooking and cooling the potato, you turn 50% of the starch into what is called ‘resistant starch’: a high quality fibre that is both good for your digestion, but also lowers the glycaemic load of the potato by half.

These make an excellent main meal, or individual patties make great snacks through the day.

560g skinless salmon fillet

400g potato, roughly chopped

1 celery heart, finely chopped to make about 1 cup

fresh parsley and/or dill, finely chopped to make about 1 cup

1 small red onion grated, or 5 spring onions, finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

1 cup fresh sourdough wholemeal or GF breadcrumbs

3 egg, whisked

salt & pepper to taste

flour for dusting

olive oil for frying

Steam salmon fillets until just cooked through. Meanwhile, boil potatoes until tender. Combine in a large bowl, mash together, and season with salt & pepper. Set aside to cool completely.

Once cooled, add celery, fresh herbs, onion, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, whisked egg, and further salt and pepper to taste. Combine.

Form into 12 patties, dusting with flour. Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes until firm, and then fry in olive oil over medium heat until golden and cooked through. Rest on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil, and then serve with yoghurt sauce and a large green salad.

Keeps well in the fridge for 3 days, and makes excellent lunches or snacks.

Yoghurt Sauce

Combine greek yoghurt with chopped fresh mint or dill.

Green Salad

serves 2

2 handfuls of rocket leaves

1 medium zucchini, finely chopped (I use the slicing side of a box grater).

large handful of snow or sugar snap peas,

1/2 firm avocado, chopped into 1/2 cm dice

1/4 cup pepitas

handful of picked leaves of fresh herbs of your choice (parsley, mint or dill are all perfect)

Dressing

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

good slug of olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Dress salad and toss.

Food Cravings – what are you really craving?

Food cravings with Jane Holland

Food cravings come in all tastes and sizes. Have you ever walked past a bakery early in the morning and spied the rows of croissants in the window and found yourself thinking about nothing else but those buttery flaky pastries for rest of the day??

Or perhaps you’ve arrived at the end of a busy afternoon and found yourself thinking of nothing else but the moment when you can crack open the cupboard and dig your hand into a packet of salty crunchy crisp chips??

Or perhaps after dinner when you’re winding down, your mind becomes filled with the idea of biting into a delicious chunk of chocolate, that sweet goodness bringing you some kind of wild euphoria…

Chances are, if you are a human, you have experienced some form of food craving.

In fact, surveys suggest that up to 90% of women and 70% of men have experienced food cravings at some point during their life (Magee 2005).

Food cravings can be defined as an intense desire to consume a particular food, differentiating it from a feeling of hunger, which can be alleviated by consumption of any type of food (Muele 2020).

The Complexities

And it’s more complicated than you might think! We tend to think food cravings are driven by a primal instinct to stay alive, an evolutionary advantage embedded in our genes. And while that’s partly true, what is now also known, is that areas of the brain responsible for memory and sensing pleasure are also partially to blame (i.e. conditioned responses to stimuli), as well as a need to satisfy emotional states, such as calming stress and reducing anxiety. In other words, it’s complex.

When our needs are not being met – physiologically, emotionally, mentally, or energetically – our natural impulse is to rectify this. In other words, when we are ‘out of alignment’, we will find a way to bring ourselves ‘into’ alignment. Our brain can’t always differentiate between fulfilling needs in a resourceful versus unresourceful way, however, so if we are not aware of the ways we have learnt to ‘fulfil’ these needs (i.e. we have learnt to do something that brings relief but not necessarily long-term satisfaction), we will continue to repeat this behaviour over and over again, despite our seemingly ‘conscious’ desire to change it.

Mindfulness for Food Craving

Mindfulness, and self-awareness through sensation and the body, are some of the ways to bring us back into deep connection with our intuitive self. From here, we can respond to our needs in a more honest way, rather than a reactionary, automated way. But it’s tricky business. The parts of us that work to protect us (often formed during childhood or adolescence to ‘meet the needs’) might feel fear or hesitation or resistance to a different response, which can lead to more dissonance and contraction if we are not willing to listen and be ‘in relationship’ with them! Simply put, in order to understand our needs, we need to engage with them in a compassionate and honest way, to find out how we can support them (and ourselves) in a more resourceful way.

Stopping the Self-Punishment

As we bring more awareness to these needs and honour our deeper stirrings and get curious about the places where we are betraying ourselves, our physical body changes too. Instead of punishing or banishing the parts of us that crave chocolate after dinner, or eat a whole wheel of cheese at the party, or yearn for a hot cross bun smeared with butter, we start to notice that actually, those parts just wanted to feel safe in that moment, or connected, or loved.

Over time, as we integrate and listen to our different parts, our behaviour changes too. Learning to notice and feel what we are truly craving, fulfilling our needs and honouring our intuition leads to deep and lasting changes. It just requires deep compassion, radical honesty and a willingness to listen.

Written by Jane Holland, respected holistic Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary, renowned international retreat facilitator, adored Deep Sleep Yin Yoga teacher.

Book in with Jane to understand and reshape your food story, build a healthy relationship with your food and body, and create behaviours in your life that support your healthiest self. (Jane is currently offering free 10 minute Nutrition consults to help you take action – when booking navigate to heading Nutrition > Free 10 min consult > Jane Holland)

References

Meule, A. Twenty Years of the Food Cravings Questionnaires: a Comprehensive Review. Curr Addict Rep 7, 30–43 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-020-00294-z

Magee, E. The Facts About Food Cravings, WebMD (2005). https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-facts-about-food-cravings#1

Zucchini and Chilli Pepita Salad

Zucchini Salad with Josephine Cabrall from Fertile Ground Health Group

Zucchini and chilli pepita salad is a simple dish that I love for shoulder seasons where we are still having some nice days but the weather is getting colder. It’s still got a lot of freshness about it but the grilled zucchini is easier to digest than raw salad and the chilli pepitas give it some warmth. The lemon, dill and feta really get your tastebuds going.

This dish is super yummy as a BBQ side salad with just about every type of protein – fish, tofu, tempeh, chicken, red meat, falafel, chickpea or lentil burgers. If I have some leftover I often have it for breakfast on a slice of dense wholegrain bread with a poached egg on top.

Zucchinis are very high in fibre, which feeds beneficial gut bacteria and helps you to feel full and satisfied, as well as aiding healthy bowel movements. They are also very low in carbohydrate. All of these things are great for hormone balancing, general health and are compatible with a PCOS diet, if that is what you are aiming for. Being dark green in colour, they are a natural source of antioxidants and folate, making them great for fertility and pregnancy.

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) add a good source of zinc – helpful for skin, hair, immunity, fertility and so much more.

Ingredients
  • 4 large zucchinis, sliced lengthwise
  • A large handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • A pinch (or more as desired) of cayenne pepper (chilli powder)
  • Half a bunch of fresh dill, leaves picked
  • 30-40g of goat’s chevre or goat’s feta
  • Half a lemon, juiced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
Method

Brush zucchini slices with olive oil and cook them on a grill plate until soft and browned, flipping halfway. You could also roast them in a 200 degree oven on trays (don’t overcrowd the trays or they’ll go soggy before they brown).

Toast the pepitas in a fry pan with a splash of olive oil, pinch of salt and the cayenne pepper until just starting to go light brown, then remove from heat to cool on a plate.

Assemble the salad by tossing the zucchini with the dill, lemon and olive oil, crumbling the feta on top and sprinkling over the pepitas.

Want more? Download your free PCOS & diet guide, filled with delicious and healthy recipes specifically for people with PCOS – Written by Naturopath Josephine Cabrall.

What’s Your Fertility Plan?

Your Fertility Plan with Sage King from Fertile Ground Health Group

It can be quite overwhelming for any individual or couple to decide if their family plan includes children, let alone go one step further and reach out for support to optimise or facilitate fertility. These decisions can be even more complex for those who fall outside of the mainstream heteronormative, coupled, gender binary. 

Fertility plan – where to start?

Knowing when you want to have children is key to where you can choose to start on this journey. Does your family plan include children within the next 3-12 months? Did you know that preconception care takes a minimum of three months to positively influence reproductive health,  including egg quality? 

One of our expert fertility naturopaths, Sage King, has written a 6-part series to help individuals and couples of all gender identities and sexual orientations confidently navigate their fertility journey and create their own fertility plan. This series is inclusive of everything from preconception pathology screening, naturopathic preconception considerations, how to enhance your fertility naturally, to egg freezing, intrauterine insemination (IU) and In vitro fertilisation (IVF). Sage will be taking a deep-dive in how you can optimise your fertility outcomes.

What you’ll learn in this free 6-part article series

Part One: Identify Your Unique & Individual Needs

  • Individual considerations
  • Couple considerations
  • Sperm donor considerations

Part Two: Do You Need Preconception Screening?

  • Understanding your optimal preconception window
  • GP preconception screening
  • Your functional preconception assessment options
  • Naturopathic preconception considerations
  • PCOS, Endometriosis and the impacts on fertility

Part Three: Enhance Your Fertility Naturally

  • Eating for your fertility
  • Exercising for your fertility
  • Stress management
  • Enhancing sleep quality for your fertility
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals and why you should avoid them

Part Four: Is Egg Freezing for You?

  • Age and egg freezing – what’s the go?
  • Understanding the egg freezing process
  • How to access Naturopathic support for egg freezing

Part Five: What is IUI & do I qualify?

  • What is intrauterine insemination?
  • Is IUI for you?
  • Natural vs. medicated cycle
  • Importance of collaborative care
  • Naturopathic support options for IUI

Part Six: Your Guide to IVF

  • What is IVF?
  • Is IVF for you?
  • Importance of collaborative care
  • Naturopathic support options for IVF

Are you single? In a couple? Do you wish to use your own eggs, or do you want to carry using your partner’s eggs, or vice versa? Do you have a known sperm donor, or will you use clinic-recruited donor sperm? Perhaps a child is not in your short-term plans but you wish to freeze your eggs for peace of mind down the track – there is great information here for you too. 

Register to receive notification as each article in this 6 part series is released. Sage is dedicated to helping you identify your unique and individual needs, as well as to provide you with the information you need to feel more informed, more confident on how to best navigate your situation, and most importantly helping you feel fully supported on your fertility journey.

Bonus Preconception Q&As with Sage online

Get your questions answered by joining our closed Create a Fertile Life Facebook group. Submit your questions in this group and Sage will answer.

What’s driving your food story?

Food Relationship with Jane Holland at The Melbourne Apothecary

January. The month that should be renamed ‘Try-a-new-diet-ary’. 31 days of shiny good intentions, dosed with ramped-up ‘health’ marketing schemes, and laced with a sprinkle of post-holiday guilt… One 2019 UK study * estimated 26 million people start a weight-loss diet on the turn of the New Year, but 87% (or almost 9 out of 10) will break these new eating ‘habits’ by January 12th… Sound familiar?!

The truth is, even when we KNOW it is nonsensical to change our way of eating at 12.01am on January 1st, so many people still attempt to do so! Driven by marketing campaigns, societal ideals, or the compelling conviction of a colleague who lost ‘10kg last year on keto!’, we are addicted to the idea that controlling or manipulating our eating patterns will somehow alter our bodies, and therefore our lives.

Food lifestyle changes – yes or no?

Unfortunately, these diet trends are often cleverly marketed as ‘lifestyle changes’ when really, they are just another set of rules and restrictions that prevent us from understanding our individual body’s cues and getting radically honest about the real drivers of our behaviours that determine how, when, why and WHAT we eat.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that we simply throw away all guidelines without the support of a qualified practitioner, nor ignore research and data about what foods and nutrients support specific conditions. Nor am I suggesting that it is a bad idea to reflect on what we are consuming and make choices that are nourishing and support vitality! What I am suggesting however, is that understanding the RELATIONAL aspect of eating, including our own relationship to food, our bodies, and the systems in which they are created, is the foundation upon which real and lasting change can occur. And it is often overlooked when we are making decisions about our health.

Action VS Thought Patterns

We tend to think that if we change the ACTION, we will experience the results. And while this may be true if we desire a short-term shift and have the willpower to follow the ‘rules’, it does not focus on WHY that behaviour occurs in the first place, nor give us freedom and spaciousness to make different choices in the future. Our ‘food story’ is often intricately bound up in childhood memories, cultural narratives, and familial patterns. Our body carries the impact of these stories and it is not until we are willing to explore, enquire and untangle them, can our body respond and find its way back to its most natural state of being.

Untangle your food shame

My focus as a holistic nutritionist is to support you in understanding your WHY, and to create tools that allow you to untangle and explore the stories that keep you bound in cycles of body shame, diet confusion and the mistrust of your own intuition. As a degree qualified health practitioner, I draw on current scientific research and work with you to achieve what it is you desire to FEEL, allowing you to create a safe, nourishing, and spacious connection to food, eating and your body.

Now THAT feels like a New Year’s Resolution that lasts…

 

Written by Jane Holland, respected holistic Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary, renowned international retreat facilitator, adored Deep Sleep Yin Yoga teacher.

 

Book in with Jane to understand and reshape your food story, create a healthy relationship with your food and body, and create eating habits that feel right for you.

 

* source: https://inews.co.uk/category/news/health

How do you know if you have Leaky Gut?

Leaky Gut with Georga Holt at The Melbourne Apothecary

Leaky gut – you have probably heard it before, but what exactly does it mean?

Leaky gut refers to when the lining of your gut wall becomes damaged, causing pathogens/toxins to leak into the gut and reduce nutrient absorption. Unfortunately leaky gut is relatively common, but fortunately it is something that we can heal. So let’s get a bit deeper into it. I’ll share with you WHY you need a healthy gut wall, HOW you know if you’ve got a leaky gut, and a few key HEALING options to factor into your leaky gut care plan.

 

What is the purpose of your gut wall?

Your gut wall is essential for the uptake of minerals, nutrients & water. It also prevents entry of pathogens & toxins and also reduces the loss of nutrients that you consume. If there is a ‘leak’ it can cause a vicious cycle with your health systemically, as your gut health plays a significant role in every organ and system of your body.

 

How do you know if you have a leaky gut?

If you notice any of the following symptoms it’s a good idea to chat with your naturopath or practitioner about it during your next treatment session.

  • Irregular bowel motions
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog
  • Nutrient deficiencies

 

How do you get leaky gut in the first place?

Here are a few factors that can contribute to or reduce the integrity of your gut. Cast your mind back to the time when you started developing any of the above symptoms and see if it lines up with any of the following triggering factors.

 

Triggering factors:

  • Antibiotics
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Medications
  • Poor diet/inflammatory food
  • Stress

 

Okay, so this is all great to know. But how do you heal the gut?

Well, there are certain steps that need to be taken to ensure you are on the right path – for example see a trained health practitioner – whether that be a Naturopath or Nutritionist – this allows investigative work to take place to find out underlying causes/triggers, plus they will be able to design an individualised treatment plan to heal YOUR gut. Because at the end of the day, everyone’s gut (and health) is so unique and what worked for the person next to you won’t necessarily work for you.

In saying this there are some key components to a healthy glowing gut so here is a list of my top 4 go-to nutrients – make sure you consult with a practitioner to access high quality products at the right dose for your situation:

 

Glutamine

It repairs the tight gap junctions, boosts immune cell activity in the gut, prevents infections & reduces inflammation. It also soothes the intestinal tissue which can contribute to improving the integrity of the gut lining.

 

Zinc

Strengthens the tight gap junctions of the GIT lining which will reduce a leak of pathogens/toxins into the gut and plays a regulatory role in the immune system – which we know communicate quite closely.

 

Vitamin D

Plays a role as an immune modulator, anti inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. Low Vitamin D levels can contribute to IBS like symptoms due to a reduction of Vitamin D receptors which are found in the gut, this can reduce gut function such as motility causing bloating & digestive upset. Vitamin D also plays a role in intestinal epithelial barrier function and bowel inflammation.

 

Vitamin A

Studies have found that Vitamin A deficiency increases intestinal permeability (leaky gut), as it modulates inflammation and is an important component to the integrity of the GIT lining.

Written by Georga Holt, Naturopath.

Georga Holt is a respected general health Naturopath at The Melbourne Apothecary. Book in with Georga to improve your gut health and start  to reignite your sense of vibrancy.

 

References

Bischoff, S. C., Barbara, G., Buurman, W., Ockhuizen, T., Schulzke, J. D., Serino, M., Tilg, H., Watson, A., & Wells, J. M. (2014). Intestinal permeability–a new target for disease prevention and therapy. BMC gastroenterology14, 189. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-014-0189-7

Camilleri M. Leaky gut: mechanisms, measurement and clinical implications in humans. Gut. 2019 Aug;68(8):1516-1526. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318427. Epub 2019 May 10. PMID: 31076401; PMCID: PMC6790068.

Rao JN, Wang JY. Regulation of Gastrointestinal Mucosal Growth. San Rafael (CA): Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences; 2010. Intestinal Architecture and Development. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK54098/

Skrovanek, S., DiGuilio, K., Bailey, R., Huntington, W., Urbas, R., Mayilvaganan, B., Mercogliano, G., & Mullin, J. M. (2014). Zinc and gastrointestinal disease. World journal of gastrointestinal pathophysiology5(4), 496–513. https://doi.org/10.4291/wjgp.v5.i4.496