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Celebrating Life

This month I caught myself reflecting on life and why it’s important to celebrate what we can, when we can – prompted by a story on some sanitary pads by @we.are.riley

My first daughter was born at the Royal Free Hospital, London in 2001 and her birth signified a huge triumph over the fears that I would never have children. Three year earlier, I had been diagnosed with cervical changes that indicated the potential to develop cervical or ovarian cancer. I had most of my cervix removed in a series of operations, each more terrifying and challenging than the previous one, and ended up facing the prospect of having a full hysterectomy. On the advice of one amazing surgeon and my aunt, a nurse, I switched to organic sanitary products, and removed as many chemicals from my life as I could, from food to drink, to the home and beyond.

The road to pregnancy wasn’t smooth; two further miscarriages, more terrifying emergency operations, I feared that I would be unable to carry to full term, but I did – well almost! My cervix was stitched to prevent miscarriage, and the plan was to remove it two weeks before my due date but best laid plans and all that! Another race to a hospital for another emergency procedure and two days later my daughter arrived at 11.40pm, the perfect early Valentine gift. Motherhood was challenging, the fear of cancer loomed with every smear test. I was lucky with my test results but suffered another miscarriage, and then nearly 5 years later, using yoga to replace the need for the suture, I managed a completely natural birth with my second daughter.

Every year, as the daffodils start to emerge, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and desire to celebrate both my daughters, who have both recently started new careers, prompting even more reasons to celebrate! They have both had the vaccine against HPV, the virus that caused my cervical problems, and more information on how to have a healthy approach to your period can be found in All About Wellness - Natracare Blog. Natracare’s products were all I would allow myself and my girls to use and it is now a huge relief to see so many more great products on the market, as seen in articles like this 8 Of The Best Eco-Friendly Tampons And Sanitary Brands Worth Trying | British Vogue | British Vogue and I am so proud that my eldest is promoting these on platforms like TikTok.

For me during the menopause, using a mooncup was the only way I could carry on doing my job when flooding was such a scary and embarrassing issue 8 reasons to make a switch to the Mooncup menstrual cup – so the alternatives are out there ladies and believe me – THEY WORK!!

Breast, cervical and ovarian cancer predominantly affect women, and I am not alone in supporting friends and family facing the daily challenges that these cancers bring. Treatment can lead to remission but for those affected by each stage of cancer, the threat of a stage four diagnosis is often in the back of the mind. Macmillan and Maggie centres offer amazing support for those facing a terminal diagnosis, and as a celebrant, we can offer some comfort to those who want to celebrate their life with their family or just make plans for their family when the times comes to celebrate them.

My mentor Dinah, The Grateful Celebrant, carries out gratitude ceremonies in her wonderful woodland retreat. If you think that celebrants are just for weddings and funerals, think about celebrating a special occasion to thank your partner, your children, family or even friends and show them how grateful you are for them with a simple gratitude ceremony.

I would like to thank my friend, who was there for me when I needed my hospital bag on that February night in 2001, and I am grateful that I can now be there for her, while she continues her battle - no name needed - you know who you are. xx


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