With the Duchess of Cambridge about to have her second baby, I am reminded about how painful media events such as this can be for women who are struggling to conceive or whom have recently miscarried. Reading this article also reminded me of some of the painful things that people said to me whilst I was trying to conceive. If one hasn’t lived through or been close to someone who has lived through the pain and sadness of being childless it is easy to get it very wrong. Statements such as “You just need a holiday. I know someone who couldn’t get pregnant and went on holiday and after a few gin and tonics came back pregnant” and the classic ” Oh all I have to do is look at my husband and I’m pregnant” made me want to punch the person! Perhaps one of the worst I remember was a friend who had two children telling me that I did not know how lucky I was to be childless as raising small kids is so hard. Hmmmm.
If getting pregnant or having a baby is proving to be difficult, please do read the article and know that you are not alone in having to hear painful comments from friends, family and even strangers. I don’t think I was brave enough to state out loud the retorts in my head. When you’re feeling vulnerable or caught off guard, being witty or just downright honest can be hard. But I would have loved to have said something back to those people.
One of the things that our clients love about their acupuncture is the space they have to talk. In the acupuncture room they are free to express any feelings they have. It is a safe space to vent, to be angry, to cry, and yes, we do get through a lot of tissues! Being able to express our emotions is an important part of moving our ‘qi’ or energy. When emotions are buried or lie dormant, they build up leading to all sorts of emotional and physical issues down the line.
If you want to find out more about how acupuncture may help you on your journey of becoming a parent, please do get in touch.
Followers of us on facebook will know how much we love posting news stories on the variety of animals that now receive acupuncture – dogs and cats, horses, crocodiles and alligators, monkeys, turtles. This week there has been a story on an owl in Madrid, with an injured claw, receiving acupuncture before he was released back into the wild. Read more here and watch the video.
Routes To Parenthood is a showcase for services in fertility, adoption, fostering, LGBT parenting and more, with specialists offering free advice to individuals and couples at any stage on the fertility journey. The next local show is at the Armouries in Leeds on sunday 19th April. Tickets cost £5.70. See routestoparenthood.co.uk for details.
Support for those experiencing difficulties in conceiving from Black and Minority Ethnic communities
We know that many people find it hard to share their fertility problems with friends and family; all too often infertility is not understood and recognised as an illness and for those from different religious and ethnic backgrounds there can be specific challenges and problems when dealing with their difficulties in conceiving.
In 2011, Infertility Network UK was awarded a grant by the Department of Health to improve infertility support services through the recruitment and training of volunteers; this has been successful but in order to provide support for those facing these specific religious and cultural challenges as well as for all those affected by difficulties in conceiving we need more volunteers from black and minority ethnic communities. We want to let those people know that there is support available, on line or at the end of the telephone, from people who understand.
It may be that you yourself are able to help or that you are seeing those undergoing fertility treatments or are in contact with people who you think may be interested in helping others within their communities. From running or assisting with a support group to talking to people on the phone or dropping off our leaflets at community centres, there are a wide variety of ways people can help. Volunteering can involve as much or as little time and effort as an individual has to give, and we would welcome any support that people are able to offer.
As many of you will know, Infertility Network UK (I N UK) is the national charity set up to provide information, advice and support to anyone who finds they have a fertility problem. The information and advice we provide covers the whole infertility journey, from the moment someone first discovers they have a problem to the eventual outcome. For those who have a successful outcome through treatment or alternative parenting options such as adoption we provide support through our ACeBabes network and for those who are sadly unsuccessful and are involuntarily childless through our More to Life network.
For more information on the services which we can offer and volunteering opportunities please visit our website at www.infertilitynetworkuk.com , email us at [email protected] or call 0800 008 7464. And if you can help us reach BME communities that would be really helpful too.
Clare Lewis-Jones MBE
Consultant to Infertility Network UK (I N UK), More To Life (MTL) and ACeBabes
Mobile: 07980 822663
The Year of the Sheep or Goat will start on 20th February. The Green, Wood Sheep or Goat (the animals are interchangeable in the Chinese zodiac) follows the tumultuous Year of the Horse. The Year of the Sheep promises to be calmer as Sheep symbolise peace and harmony. Sheep also bring creativity and this is a great year for artists and those with creative passions. Even for those who lack these qualities, 2015 should bring a calmer year and any activity tackled with passion and joy is destined to bring success.
Work, for most, will be quiet and uneventful. If last year was the year for the Horse to gallop off, this year is about contemplating and appreciating what has already been accomplished, to think about bringing goodness to others and to calmly look ahead. Tread steady and this year should bring peace and comfort.
I like to imagine those sheep or goats that are outside, standing firm on any terrain, in all weathers, quietly grazing and gently just getting on with things.
Those due to be born in the Year of the Sheep, are thought to be gentle, righteous, sincere, artistic, and elegant. They like to exercise moderation and be cautious in life. They are romantic and will choose partners who will protect them and give them the room to grow. Food, shelter, and clothing are three basic things which remain most important in a Sheep’s life. They are good team workers and often like to remain in the background of an endeavor. Sheep are generous with their time as well as their money. The quiet outer appearance of the Sheep belies his inner determination. When threatened, Sheep can respond passionately and firmly. Sheep have a special fondness for quiet living. They crave love, attention and approval in life.
Sheep have fantastic luck. They usually meet the ones who will assist them and will care deeply for them. Basically survivors, Sheep know how to placate or evade their enemies. Although they look gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside, always insisting on their own opinions in their minds. They have strong inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts. They are also wanderers by nature and are happy to set off on journeys to meet new people and to see the world. It is often the simple things in life that give them the most pleasure; a wonderful view, a beautifully created object or an inspiring piece of music will help these people feel happy and entranced.
They are artistically talented and have great sense of fashion. They are very romantic, and determined in love. Sheep are good-natured and try not to hurt other’s feelings. They are generous to share what they have, thus often have closed friends and families. Sheep are smart, elegant, and can work very hard to achieve their goals. They can forgive easily and be understanding about others’ faults. Sheep, with their inner calm and serenity, attract few health problems.
Their weakness is that they can be pessimistic sometimes and complain about things. They can be oversensitive and fretful of little problems. If things are not going their way, they are easily discouraged or hypercritical. Sheep sometimes can be too idealistic to be practical.
Sheep can appear to be disorganized. They dislike strict rules and can not take too much criticism. They sometimes feel insecure and require a lot of attention, earning them the term ‘clingy’. They can also be very shy, and not speak up openly about what their thoughts are.
Sheep avoid confrontation and are not born leaders. It is because of these characteristics that being born in the Year of the Sheep is not that highly regarded by some Chinese who prefer the energetic and dynamic characteristics of some of the other signs, like the Dragon, Tiger and Horse.
However, the Sheep is the 8th sign of the twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac, 8 is the lucky number for the Chinese, and being born under the 8th sign is auspicious indeed, and who wouldn’t want their child to be kind, forgiving and loyal? To be born in the Year of the Sheep, babies will have to be born from February 19, 2015 to February 7, 2016, the last day of the 2016 lunar year.
In 2015 most Chinese will be off work from Wednesday, February 18 (New Year’s Eve) to Tuesday, February 24 (the 6th day of Chinese New Year).
Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families.
The New Year’s Eve dinner is called Reunion Dinner, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families – families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together.
Traditionally, the Chinese celebrated with firecrackers and dragon dances. This is becoming less popular in urban areas, but still red lanterns hang in parks and every house and building is decorated with red. Like Christmas in the West, people exchange gifts during the Spring Festival. The most common gifts are red envelopes. Red envelopes with money in, are given to children and (retired) seniors.
Certain foods are eaten during the festival because of their symbolic meanings, based on their names or appearance.
Fish is a must for Chinese New Year as the Chinese word for fish (鱼 yú /yoo/) sounds like the word for surplus (余 yú). Eating fish is believed to bring a surplus of money and good luck in the coming year.
Another traditional Chinese New Year food is Chinese dumplings. Because the shape of Chinese dumplings looks like a silver ingot – a kind of ancient Chinese money, Chinese people believe eating dumplings during the New Year festival will bring more money and wealth for the coming year.
Other New Year food includes spring rolls, glutinous rice cakes and Sweet Rice Balls.
Chinese people believe that, as the Spring Festival is the start of a new year, what you do then will affect your luck in the coming year. There are many taboos for the Spring Festival season. These taboos usually apply up to a month before the festival and continue to the end of the festival (day 15, the Lantern Festival). They are strictly followed in rural areas by the older generations, but the younger generations and people in urban areas may not know them.
- Some Chinese people believe that they mustn’t do cleaning and wash their hair in the first three days as that will sweep/wash away good luck.
- A cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so the young are placated fastidiously.
- To ask for a loan is a big “no-no”.
- Another interesting thing is the red underwear. You will see red underwear sold at supermarkets and street markets. Red is believed to ward off bad luck and misfortune. For the people born in a year of the goat (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003), red underwear is a must for 2015.