Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Mule Yule - A Great Big Motherhood Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed. Well done to the winners, announced below.

I've put together this wonderful prize package as a little festive thank you to all of you who read and follow my blog. To the winner, FIVE lovely books on parenting and motherhood, a fantastic FILM about early parenting, a BabyCalm white noise CD, and a bundle of Creatures Natural Baby Toiletries (toiletries UK only).

To five lucky runners-up, a copy of the ebook, Memoirs of a Singing Birth, by Elena Skoko.

The top prize is just perfect for anyone interested in birth, babies, motherhood and parenting. You might be an expectant or new mother yourself, or perhaps a birth worker or early childhood specialist. The prize could easily be divided up as Christmas presents to those you know and love, or you could just hog the lot yourself, whatever you prefer!

To enter, just leave your name in the comments at the bottom of this post. The winners will be picked randomly using the random number generator at, and announced at 8.30pm on 1st December. If you want to enter, but have difficulties leaving a comment, get in touch with me via my Facebook page or by email, and I will be able to help.

Here is more detail about the prizes. If you don't win, they may give you some gift ideas!

BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents by Sarah Ockwell-Smith was published in October 2012 and has since received rave reviews, beating some of the old stalwarts like Gina Ford and Supernanny in the Amazon charts. In fact, it doesn't even seem right to mention the names of the 'baby-trainers' of yesteryear in the same paragraph as this fresh, informative and compassionate guide for new mothers. The book is entirely and unashamedly baby-centred and grounded in the facts about early child development: rather than trying to sell you any lies about the restoration of normality, it encourages you to slowly adapt to parenthood by trusting your instinct and informing yourself about the true value of your input and the difference your actions will make to your baby's developing brain. Packed with information and advice for new mothers, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Available from Amazon and the BabyCalm website.

Also from BabyCalm, this White Noise CD is designed to replicate the constant reassuring sound heard by baby in utero, to calm babies, and help them sleep for longer.

Available from the BabyCalm website.

A bundle of Creatures new baby goodies, including a 300ml Creatures Baby Shampoo, a 420ml Creatures Baby Wash and a 220ml Creatures Baby Balm Butter. (This part of the prize is only available if the winner is UK based.)

Available from the BabyCalm website.

Musings on Mothering edited by Teika Bellamy reminds me of mothers everywhere, in that it has an understated cover and a tendency to play itself down and sell itself short. Look within, however, and it is filled with richness; an explosion of beautiful art, touching words and poems, warmth, humour, pathos and sorrow. An absolutely perfect book for all mums, a wonderful gift for Christmas, a completely lovely book. If you do not win it, please buy it and give it the ego boost it deserves. All royalties from the book go to La Leche League GB. Buy via Mothers Milk Books, priced £13.99. 

A copy of Babyhood - The Film - an absolutely fantastic explanation and defence of child-centred, responsive parenting (which ought not to need explaining or defending of course, but...!) A stellar cast of leading experts - Camila Batmanghelidjh (Director of Kids Company), Lesley Page (Former Head of Midwifery and women's health at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust), Sue Palmer (Writer, presenter and consultant on modern childhood, author of Toxic Childhood & 21st Century Boys.) Helena Kennedy QC (Member of House of Lords. For her work for women she received the Times Newspaper's Lifetime Achievement award in 1999.), Sue Gerhardt (Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and author of Why Love Matters), Carrie Longton (Co-Founder of Mumsnet), Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk (Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology, University of Dundee) - tell us in clear terms the vital importance of the first months and years of life, and there is the occasional poem by Holly McNish, which lifts an already excellent documentary into the realms of creative art. A great educational film for all new parents, go to the website to buy copies, watch using Distrify, or organise screenings. Watch the trailer here:

Catching Babies by Sheena Byrom is the memoir of a midwife from her first day as a student nurse through her thirty five year career in the NHS. Those who have heard of Sheena Byrom will know that she is a passionate campaigner and advocate of positive birth and woman centred care, and this shines through in her story - from the moment she drops into the conversation that she spearheaded a move away from midwives wearing such formal uniform as nurses, since pregnant women are not sick and uniforms create an imbalance in the power dynamic, you know that you are reading the work of a subtle revolutionary! The book is gentle and readable - Call the Midwife meets the late 20th century - with a sprinkle of midwifery politics thrown in.
Available from Amazon.

Home Births: Stories to Inspire and Inform is one of a great series of books published by Lonely Scribe. I've already reviewed the lovely Breastfeeding: Stories to Inspire and Inform; Twin Birth is coming out soon, and as some of you know, I am thrilled and a bit anxious to find myself editing their forthcoming book on Water Birth. The Home Birth book is an excellent read for anyone interested in home or 'natural' birth, filled with beautiful birth stories written by both mothers and their partners. Highly recommended for both pregnant women, dads to be and birth workers everywhere.

Available from Amazon.

Baby Shiatsu by Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke and Tina Haase is another great book for new and expectant mothers. The book explains some of the basic principles of Shiatsu and then offers well explained exercises for parent and baby, illustrated with hundreds of clear and attractive photographs. There are some workouts just for mum or dad as well and lots of encouraging tips and info on the emotional and physical world of both baby and grown up. Anything that encourages parents to spend time connecting with their baby gets my vote, so this book gets my vote.

Available from Amazon

So...leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic haul of prizes, and if you are not the lucky winner, you might still win one of five copies of the ebook Memoirs of a Singing Birth, for the runners up.

This truly is a beautiful book for anyone with a passion for childbirth, and would make a particularly lovely gift for a pregnant woman. Elena Skoko writes with insight, wisdom and wit about her journey into motherhood, weaving into her birth story a wealth of information about birthing practices, the politics and history of childbirth, and the actual reality of her own birth experience, giving birth in Bali with guerrilla midwife Ibu Robin Lim.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Yayasan Bumi Sehat, a non-profit natural birth center in Bali.

Available in paperback at Lulu and Amazon US &UK, and also published as ebook on Smashwords.

Good luck!

The giveaway has now been drawn, the lucky winner is:


And the 5 runners up are

Well done and thanks to all for entering and making it fun. Please get in touch with me if you have won a prize, and have a wonderful Yule, from the Mule! x

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sometimes I Pass the Place Where We Once Lived - A Sonnet

Sometimes I pass the place where we once lived
And glimpse three ghosts arriving at the door
A woman - me, a man, a newborn child,
Alighting, in the darkness, shocked and sore.
I watch them cross the threshold, disappear,
They don't exist now - all of them are gone,
For brand new parents barely last a day,
And babies only live 'til they are one.
In twenty years I'll show you our old haunts:
"We used to come here once when you were small"
You'll shrug, but I'll see flashes everywhere -
Each gate you climbed, each park, each village hall.
       Our lives move on, we change, evolve, adjust, 
       Leaving our trace, our imprints in the dust.

If you are partial to sonnets about parenting you might also like: 
I Lie With You Until You Are Asleep