There isn’t really a fancy or funny title I can put here, and I only want you to be reading this if you want to, and know what it’s going to be about so anything cryptic would have been unfair. It’s not a nice topic, but it is an important one. I was intending to add it to our Bumps and Babies theme, but that was such a joyus theme it felt wrong to add in there, but as we are now focused on the broader topic of Family Life, I feel miscarriage sits more comfortably here, and it is without doubt a family issue.
I have my own story, some of you will know it better than others, but I wanted this post to be wider than my own personal experiences and so have invited the lovely Rosalind Bubb to give us a more measured support for miscarriage. Here are her thoughts:
How to ease the pain of a miscarriage
That’s why I support others who’ve had miscarriages, and also those who are “childless not by choice”. I know how hard it can be. And I also know that there are ways to make it less painful, which are not commonly known about – but unless someone shows you what they are, you just have to struggle through it all the best you can.
When we’ve had a miscarriage it can be extremely upsetting and painful. It can feel as if our heart’s been broken. And sometimes it can be hard to talk about, and we don’t always realise how common it is, or get the emotional support which we really need.
There are 3 things which I think it can be helpful to know about, when we’re trying to recover emotionally after a miscarriage.
1. There’s been research carried out by Drexel University in the United States, into the emotional impact of having a miscarriage. They’ve discovered that most women do not even begin to feel back to “normal” again for a minimum of four months (and it can be quite a lot longer than that.)
I think many people expect that we “should” be over a miscarriage much sooner than this – and if you’re not, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s very common.
2. The same research showed that the intensity of grief which many women experience when we lose a baby can be as strong as if we’d lost someone close to us who’d been walking around in our lives. Again, I think if you haven’t experienced this you might not believe it, but if you have, then you probably completely understand.
3. In addition to these two facts about the length of time it takes to recover, and the depth of grief which you’ve experienced, there’s a third important element which affects how quickly and completely we can recover emotionally after a miscarriage – and that’s to do with just how unpleasant (or even traumatic) the experience was for us.
It’s very common to see and feel some really horrible things, when we lose a baby. And sometimes these memories can haunt us, and make it even harder to put these events behind us. Even if we try to push them to the back of our mind, they don’t always stay there, and they can flood us with grief and pain when we’re least expecting it.
Fortunately, there are tools which we can use to ease all of this pain, grief and trauma – but most people don’t know that they exist.
Although I’ve had twelve miscarriages, I can truthfully say that it actually feels now as if I’ve had none – and I know that that’s a very extraordinary thing to say, but it’s true. They no longer cause me any pain or regret, and I actually no longer wish that it had turned out differently – and this is why I support others.
I use two very powerful and gentle self-help techniques, to help you to change the way you feel. One of them is EFT “tapping” (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and the other is TAT (Tapas Acupressure Technique.) These two tools are very simple and effective, and you can use them on yourself, any time you want to ease the pain and to feel better than you do now.
If you would like support to feel better after a miscarriage (no matter how long ago it happened) I can help you in two different ways. I do individual sessions with people, wherever they are in the world, using Skype and Facetime. And I also have an online Miscarriage Support Program, which allows you to feel better at any time of day or night, from the comfort of your own home.
Please go to my website www.miscarriage-support.com and I invite you to download my free Guide, “9 Ways to mend your broken heart after a miscarriage”.
And if you have any questions, or would like an informal chat about how I can help you to feel happier and more peaceful after a miscarriage, please feel very free to be in touch. I would be delighted to support you.
Thank you very much for reading this, and I’m sending you love and warmest wishes,
~ Rosalind xx
Statistics tell us that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage – sadly the odds were higher in our experience, and I have needed help and support from wonderful friends, family and I made use of the excellent Miscarriage Association in the UK. It is something that so many people experience, and yet something that most of us still don’t feel at ease to discuss – and I have no idea how men deal with the issues (that’s a whole different post…). It is desperately sad, and while I’m happy to discuss it or answer any questions I still don’t really feel like writing about. I will always be ‘one short’ and I’m welling up right now just thinking about it…
I guess I do need to join Rosalind’s group!
This is a tricky topic for me as I’m clearly no expert (having been with the same partner for over 20 years) and when I was dating there was no internet!! BUT I am an expert at human relationships, managing self esteem, being assertive, positive thinking and most other healthy mental exercises required to put yourself out there in the dating world. I would really value your comments so please add your pearls of wisdom and experience.
Firstly you have to meet someone, and I go on a lot about the importance of knowing and being able to express your VALUES – and when meeting new people you are much more likely to have a positive experience with an element of shared values, so looking in areas that you are more likely to find those shared values is a good place to start. If you do prefer the online route to view and read about a person before you actually meet them, there are a number of internet dating sites that profess to be attuned to ethical or environmental people – here are a few to get you going.
Some sensible guidelines when meeting people you don’t know for the first time: (talking for hours on the phone or texting still isn’t ‘knowing’ someone x)
- Meet in a public place
- Let someone you trust know where you are and agree if you will text them or they will call you to check in
- Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have credit to make calls
- Make sure you have enough cash for a taxi or whatever you may need if you choose to leave
- If meeting up in a large group, discuss the plan and make it clear you may leave if the group decision isn’t something you want to join in with
- Of course you want to look your best, but remember that you also want to be a bit comfortable and be able to relax a little!
If the online thing isn’t for you, there are a number of group dating businesses that host dinner parties, days out or theatre trips where people meet in smaller groups with a shared interest. You could arrange this yourself by spending time doing the things you really enjoy and meeting people socially perhaps via volunteering? There are also holiday companies for single people and organisations like Gingerbread – who specialise in supporting single parents with finding a new partner, or just socialising at all.
Essentially, unless you fall in love with the person who delivers your post – you will need to go out and meet people to find one of them that makes your tummy go gooey.
The hardest part of the whole process is finding out if you make them feel that way too.
It may be that you need to actively put yourself in places where you are more likely to meet like minded people – but still being an honest and authentic person you will need to have think about a creative way to do that. For example, if you love Italy, have been there many times and love the food and culture then maybe taking an Italian evening class would be a good idea? You will learn a useful skill for yourself and are likely to meet people that also love Italy – some of whom may be single… You could also look in people’s shopping baskets for ‘dinner for one’ type deals and stalk them, but that doesn’t seem as healthy…
We’ve created this infographic to give you some starters with the dating world, making sure that you remain open and honest – while also keeping yourself safe and sound.
Once you have agreed to meet up with someone you then have to remember your frugal values and goals. Make sure you are clear from the outset about whether you are going to ‘go Dutch’ or buy your own tickets to the cinema etc. It’s nice to be treated, but you may also want to have enough money with you that you can pay your half or the whole amount should you or they run out!
If you are on a strict budget it’s much easier to be up front about that, and offer ideas that you are happy with. Some frugal suggestions could be:
- a picnic and walk
- visit to a museum or gallery (especially if they are free)
- using a Groupon or other voucher for a meal or experience
- Just having a drink rather than a meal – meeting at different times may help
- finding a free local event like a fair or outdoor cinema
- borrow a new outfit rather than buy one
- use memberships you already have – a trip to the gym, a National Trust visit, a discount code or just a free drink in Waitrose!
Dating should be fun and if you do meet someone you want to see more of, that’s a very exciting time. If you are genuinely happy on your own that’s fine too. There is not just one perfect person for you, there are lots of people you could be happy with – the most important part of the whole process is that you have to be happy with yourself (mostly) first. If we don’t believe ourselves to be essential nice and loveable we will be inherently suspicious of people that profess to love us – because they must have something wrong with them! I have a video going up tomorrow all about this and will link to it from here as soon as it goes live x
Wishing you happy times ahead.
So, this is a tricky celebration – firstly it’s held at different times of year in different countries (more on that later) but also it can be a very volatile subject for those that are not mothers but who would like to be, those who have lost children and of course those who have lost their mother… it can be hard to celebrate something, knowing how hard it is for others you know and love. However, I do like the opportunity that many ‘event’ days give us to share kindness, affection and celebrate goodness so here are some thoughts on Mothers Day…
In the UK it is historically known as Mothering Sunday – and this wasn’t to do with your actual mum, but your mother church. On the 4th Sunday of Lent you would visit the largest or ‘mother’ church in the area (this goes way back to the 16th Century), it then slowly joined with being a day that young people who were working in service could go and visit their mother and perhaps take a small posy of flowers, or a piece of cake. Mothering Sunday then became a day to celebrate your mum.
Over in the USA a totally separate non-religious celebration invented in 1908 by Anna Jarvis to celebrate the role of mothers. It was signed into the calender in 1914, although Jarvis later started a revolt against the commercialisation of the day, feeling it had lost all the genuine affection and moved to something you could just buy and not really think about in depth. Jarvis saw no need to buy anything for Mothers Day and led the boycott of cards and chocolates for the day she had created!
So the two versions of Mothers Day have morphed a bit, despite having vastly different histories. I would agree with Anna Jarvis, that a day to honour any woman that has given time, inspiration, care, love and probably blood, sweat and tears into the lives of others is a good day. I also agree with her that there is no need to spend money buying things when you can tell her you love her in many other ways.
HOW TO CELEBRATE ON A BUDGET
* One tradition from the Mothering Sunday in the UK was to bake a Simnel Cake – this was a real treat during the restrictions of Lent, it’s a fruit cake with marzipan – yum. Download a recipe and either make a cake if you have time or just chat with your mum about her memories of Easter celebrations.
* Make a card, it seems too easy but mum’s really appreciate if you have taken the time and care to create something just for them – if you are not confident with your artistry then print off some really special photos for the front.
* Make a photo collage, you can choose lots of special times, or just the two of you or a theme or whatever – they make great talking points.
* Go for a walk together, to an old haunt or where you used to live or just to a nice park. Time is precious.
* Take her breakfast in bed, this has become a bit of cheesy one and most mums are probably up first! However, this is the day you can embrace the cheese, maybe think of a real favourite breakfast or come up with something new…
* Give a gift of time, commit to visiting (if you’ve left the nest) once a day/week/month depending on your situation, if you can’t visit then consider the help technology can offer – can you call, Skype, FaceTime, Message etc.
* Flowers are lovely but don’t last very long, if you do want to buy a gift think about a living thing that will last forever, maybe name a tree in their honour if you can’t plant one in the garden, or buy a miniature rose that can stay indoors for a long while.
* If you have a skill you could upcycle something they need, refurbish something they love, or make an item yourself that will mean the world.
* Ask questions about her life. Everyone has experienced their own unique version of events, so even if you think you know everything about your mums life I bet there are a few funny stories or childhood memories still to be uncovered. This shared history is a great way to really connect with people. Even very young children enjoy hearing about the ‘old days’. My kids cannot believe that when I was small there were only 3 channels on the TV and the telephone was attached to the wall, and I’m only 42
We have some FREE gift vouchers to download in the shop if they might be useful… I’ve left them deliberately very blank so you can really use them for anything, they are A4 size and should fit into a DL envelope x
Share the love with a mum that may not have her children around, maybe visit a friend that you know struggles at this time, or take a box of biscuits to the local residential home.
In the year that we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote, it seems a particularly important year to celebrate all that women bring to the world, and this is just one day to remind us to do that. Hope you can enjoy it x
We LOVE this day, it’s all about LOVE which is the stuff of life… and you can moan about the commercialisation or you can just ignore that and do your own thing – which is how we roll at Frugal HQ. So here’s how we have a Frugal Fun Family Valentines.
We plan ahead –
Family have been drafted in to babysit, and Mr Frugal and I are off to the cinema tonight with free tickets using our Tesco Clubcard vouchers. It’s so nice, and a rare treat for us to go out just the two of us and it’s so essential to have time for being a couple as well as a larger family unit. These outings are truly valued by us, and big thanks to anyone willing to look after our four exuberant children for the night, it’s means the world x
We show love –
It’s not about what you buy, but what you DO that really matters. So, we do cards but not gifts – the cards are mostly homemade or very funny and relevant. The kids make cards and various other things at groups and nursery and we collate these to make a lovely collage on our mantelpiece.
We play games –
Last year we had a scavenger hunt to win sweets, the year before we put photos of family members and friends around the house and the kids had to find everyone on their tick sheet to win the prize.
We also have some homemade Love Bugs that are used for all sorts of strange games over the years, you can drop things through them, use them for bowling or try to blow them over while laying on the floor…
We make stuff –
This year we have the new play tray so I had to put that to good use. With a range of ages to engage we have gone with:
cards and envelopes to make
games using sweets – naughts and crosses
games using sweets – stacking them until they fall
love hearts – to write something you love and stick it on our collage mirror
a pot of pink and red pens
We eat weird things –
We try to eat pink and red foods, it’s usually easy with some heart shaped pasta that they do at Lidl, but I was too late this year, so we will have heart shaped pudding and red sauce on ‘normal’ pasta, I think I’ll get away with it as there are lots of sweets in the house, all heart shaped of course.
This is really just to prove that you can include children and the whole family in discussing and celebrating love, you can show them how much you care with treats, but also with time and shared experiences. You don’t have to spend anything, or a few heart shaped sweets to make it extra special. It’s not about what you spend, it’s about taking a ‘fake’ day and making it your own, to express something you do feel is valuable. If you are looking for some ideas for a more intimate, adult Valentines Day then you might find our post on Adult Love useful x
There is going to be a flood of posts and articles surrounding Valentine’s (or Galentine’s if you’re trendy) Day, and it’s hard to think of something a little different to talk about! I actually LOVE celebrating Valentine’s Day, I think any excuse to talk and show affection and love to those we care for should be grabbed. We have games we play with the kids and eat heart shaped and/or red and pink foods for dinner, after 24 years Mr. Frugal and I still send cards to each other and have a take away as a treat with something bubbly in the evening.
Love is special, and if you have someone you really feel good around then take every opportunity to tell them. Of course for a relationship to show commitment and longevity you will need to show you care on more than just one day!
I’ve decided to use all this talk of love and relationships to write a post of two halves. 1. Frugal Romance and 2. Sustainable Sex (eco not stamina!).
If you are still looking for love there are a number of dating sites specifically aimed at people with strong eco and ethical values:
So, the shops will have lots of options for you to spend money to demonstrate how much you love someone. I’m here as the voice of reason to say what you SPEND does not demonstrate how much you love someone! Really, it just doesn’t. However your ACTIONS may well be a huge clanging bell of how much you have thought about/planned for/taken care over the person you wish to show affection. There is a very fine line between saving money and being careful about people’s feelings. A homemade item only works if it’s genuinely made with care and affection, FREE things you could consider creating might include:
- a card
- a photo collage
- upcycling a favourite piece of clothing
- a keepsake box
- a mix tape (or modern equivalent!!)
- inviting over a treasured friend
- offering to babysit for an important occasion
- cook/buy a favourite meal
- put on clean bedsheets, maybe with some perfume or petals on there?
- do all the cleaning, and open a bottle of wine…
If there is a chance that you have very different views on the whole Valentine’s Day thing I would encourage a conversation about this in advance to avoid common pitfalls and crushed expectations. Examples of AGREED spending changes could be:
- Celebrating on an alternative day when everything will be cheaper, flowers, meals, chocolates EVERYTHING.
- Setting a budget for gifts.
- Showing love to a common passion instead, so rather than flowers donate that money to a project you both love or buying an item you both agree is needed/wanted.
- Not spending at all, and have a free date night (see below)
- Buying one thing that’s really wanted rather than spending on lots of smaller items available in the shops that are red and heart shaped, but will ultimately end up in a charity shop.
For a no spend Valentine’s Day you will have to be a bit more creative, and if you are planning a surprise remember to focus on the LOVE and not the PRICE
– people don’t want to hear that it was cheaper to do X than Y, it’s just not romantic.
Here are five ideas for a FREE Date Night, and you can do these on any night of the year obviously – maybe you could have a monthly night of romance instead of just birthdays and anniversaries?
- Watch the sunset or sunrise together… this can be a truly peaceful and wonderous experience. NB if you are parents of young children I’m aware this won’t work for you x However, you are probably up for one of these anyway so having a partner to share it with might be nice??
- Look over an old photo album together and remember some fun times, you can laugh about your teenage haircuts, see your first dates or a wedding album. Have a laugh and remind yourselves why and how you fell in love… The longer you are together the more hilarious this gets.
- Snuggle up and watch a movie. Turn the lights out and grab some snacks or a hot chocolate and just be. Choosing a movie can be tricky – I would go for whatever is most likely to induce laughter, romance or sleep depending on your situation.
- Make a Plan – think about the future you plan together, discuss some shared goals or dreams and see how you can support each other to make them happen.
- Have an ‘early night’ – wink wink, see below
Somewhere in between the Romance and Sex halves of this post I want to quickly mention underwear – there are some really beautiful, ethically sourced and made underwear producers that may cost a bit more than Ann Summers, but will last you a long time are comfortable as well as sexy and offer an elegance and sensuality that may be more to your taste take a look at…www.lbpclub.co.uk, www.luvahuva.co.uk & www.moralfibres.co.uk.
So now we move to the more awkward part of the post – at least if you’re British it will be awkward! – to think about how we allow for frugal and ethical values in a healthy sex life. A quick word of warning from my own recent research if you use an online search engine to find ‘eco sex’ you are likely to come across a lot of articles, books and information about a group who took the term as their own and have a very specialist view of what it means; basically they practice and encourage people to love the Earth in the most explicit sense. If that’s your thing, you have found your people; if you are looking for a more environmentally friendly way to express human to human love then the ideas here will be more for you…
Below are some ways you may want to consider making changes or at least pondering the issues of sustainable sex.
One of the great things about sex is that it’s free! But if you want to change things up a bit here are a few more FREE ways to explore:
- turn the lights off and save some electricity (frugal and ethical!)
- consider the Great Outdoors as a possible location…
- save water by sharing a bath together
- enjoy a sensual massage using up some moisturiser or oil you already have
- change your ‘usual’ location if things have got a bit ‘same same’
- borrow a book from the library and try one new position a week/month/year
- make some cards with sexy suggestions and take turns to pick one at random
- one partner gets to choose the whole evening’s activities
If you have or use ‘equipment’ you might consider how ethically they are made, and the materials they are made from. The more natural the material the better from an environmental point of view, however it’s likely most sex toys are made of plastic. You will be pleased to learn therefore that the company LoveHoney can at least recycle your WEEE categorised sex toys. You just give them a clean and send them off, all the details are on the link.
If buying something new, you have the chance to be completely eco-friendly with options that are recyclable (glass, wood) or rechargeable, for example the Gaia Eco Vibrator is biodegradable and can be recycled. There is also a wind up vibrator which only needs you as a power source. You can check out www.lovehoney.co.uk, www.ethicalsextoys.co.uk and www.EarthAngel.co.uk who offer a selection of items for more ethical consumers, including recycled leather whips. There is also a social enterprise offering ethical sex toys alongside educational resources at www.vavven.org.
Condoms are still one of the safest and easiest ways to make sure you avoid unwanted pregnancy and STD’s. However, they are not biodegradable and often end up in landfill or our waterways. The only currently available option that is biodegradeable is made from lamb intestines which aren’t especially sexy. BUT there are ways you can make more ethical choices… some companies offer 100% recycled packaging, and Fair Square off ultra thin condoms from fairly traded latex. At www.babipur.co.uk you can buy vegan, fair trade condoms – it is mainly a children’s site so don’t be too alarmed when you first get there!
Here is also a good point to think about being comfortable – there is a great lube available from lots of places including Boots called YES! Lube, this is organic and free of parabens.
If you have the urge to go all 9 1/2 Weeks, just remember to think about where your food is sourced, and it’s impact… traditional aphrodisiac foods like seafood are often full of unpleasant plastic particles or mercury and that’s not at all romantic. It might be better to go for a safer homemade option like this easy vegan Chocolate Sauce recipe…
14oz coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk coconut milk, sugar and cocoa powder together and then simmer in a pan for 10mins, add the vanilla and oil off the heat stir to blend and allow to cool (or not!)
If you like to dress up, consider getting costumes pre-loved instead of new, and consider the quality and flammability of the materials used! Again, you may want to try a homemade version, you might create your own school days with white shirts and ties, wrap up with toilet roll like a mummy and then rip it all off, recreate a favourite gig with the live CD and wear the gig t-shirts you bought back then…
Whatever floats your boat between consenting adults should be fun and healthy. It can be very difficult in family life to find the time and energy for romance or even the most cursory of sex lives, but intimacy is what makes a relationship different from a friendship so it’s worth nurturing for the long run.
I will be adding some more relationship based articles to the FRUGAL YOU page, after writing and delivering a number of courses on relationships, as well as working on my own for over 20 years I feel in a good place to share the love x
It occurs to me that this is perhaps more of a milestone than I had appreciated as despite many glorious highs and deep, dark lows over the years I have never thought we wouldn’t make it through those moments together, and get to the other side. I suspect no one else would put up with either of us! So, while speaking with Mr F I wondered out loud how we’ve managed what so many people haven’t…
Below are our collective thoughts about what has meant we got to this wonderful day – and hope to get to 30 years and more.
Laugh – you have to have a sense of humour to live with any human being for any length of time. If you share the same delights and see the funny side of things together that’s a double bonus, but whatever makes you laugh you need to make sure happens for you often.
Talk and Listen – there is MUCH that we don’t agree on, and regularly have to agree to disagree… but that doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge when something is important to the other person and respond accordingly. You also need to check in with each other often, life with a young family or a busy job means you may go for days or weeks without really communicating effectively and frustrations or fears can build quickly. We learnt this the hard way as a military family before email or texting, good old fashioned letters meant we could go for many days without hearing from each other. I really feel that has had a lasting impact, and we now appreciate that we can talk face to face.
Hold hands – there must be physical contact and connection. Humans need physical touch, and what makes a relationship different from just a friendship is usually the intimacy… so do that, as much as you can – and if you can’t then talk about it while having a hug. It’s an important part of early relationships and easy to loose sense of with children and little alone time while you both awake. Turn off the tv and put your phone down once in a while x Demonstrating affection while out and about and in front of the children also gives them a good sense of how a positive relationship works, and can be very comforting. It’s also hugely embarrassing at a certain age – but that’s no reason to stop 😉
Play the Long game – we have seen lots of couples spend so much time and money planning a wedding, but not a murmur about the day after and beyond. If you really are committing to this one person for the rest of your life you need to think about how that might go!
Keep a list – it’s very easy to mentally check off all the annoying habits of your partner, we all have them and without a happy list they can beprrak any relationship. So make sure you also keep a happy list…the things about that person you love and admire. I’m regularly driven crazy by Mr F having a long shower with the door locked on school days while I try to get four kids dressed and ready, but that doesn’t outweigh the amazing things he does for us all, his generous nature and adventurous spirit. Whenever I feel frustrated by a small event I try to list in my head all the much more important qualities and actions that I love in him.
Take a break – when two people get married, they are still two separate people, with their own interests and passions. It’s healthy to take some time to be your own person, especially if you are parents and time and attention are already stretched in many directions. This might mean joining a social group, having the odd afternoon or night away or meeting up with friends. It’s important to pursue your own goals, working together to make sure everyone has space at some point. You also need some time as a couple if you are parenting, it’s so easy to forget that once the kids leave home it will be the two of you again – and you may not recognise each other!
We are no experts, and have had disagreements and fallen out many times, but we are both committed to each other and our family and helping each other to be their best – more on this when we start our new topic about Frugal Self Care after the holidays x