Writing | Summer 2018 In Review | Catherine Moore

Blakeney, August 2018 - Moore & Moore Living

Blakeney, August 2018 - Moore & Moore Living

I often find that taking time to pause and reflect at the end of each season really helpful with the transition into the next. It helps to maintain clarity, wider context overview, gratitude and committed action to those all important yearly goals set out at the beginning of the year.

I have adapted the recommended format by James Clear (www.jamesclear.com). I would like to mention Jonathan Foust who inspired me to write using this format after reading his. Jonthan Foust and his wife Tara Brach are a huge inspiration to me in their aproach to life and work.

The review explores 3 questions and you can make it as detailed or simple as you like. I would recommend spending no more than 30mins on the whole thing but that’s just me. Find what way works best for you and how to like to reflect. So let’s jump in!

Question 1

What went well this summer?

Slowing Down and Living in the Countryside

Intentionally creating space to slow down and immersing myself in the garden, the woods and the expansive life that surrounds us living in a national trust park. Our house is everything we could have hoped for to experience as our first home together as a family (Jonathan, Basil and I). It’s deeply touching to have your own front and back door, stairs, the flexibility of having the back door open all day after many years of city life where space is limited. I am deeply grateful for this space that we get to cultivate and take care of. It’s been a challenge to slow down. The woods and forest are so healing for me to spend time in as I comfort my grief process and take care of myself generally.

Health and Wellbeing

This has been my main focus this summer. Anyone who has grieved before will know how deeply physical it is. I am jogging up to x3 per week and still working towards joining the park run crew here at Blickling on Saturdays. At present we watch from the breakfast table and take our coffee back to bed. Both are competing values and so I keep working at it and to get healthy generally. I commit to regular massages. My body is a temple and all that jazz.

More Health Tweaks

  • Improved nutrition - eating more plant based foods.

  • Alcohol - reducing alcohol to special social occasions. Not sure even then that the hangovers are worth it.

  • Sleep - bed early and usually asleep by 10am. I prefer this so I can get up early. The early hours are a sacred space for me to either exercise or greet the day with sitting meditation.

  • Reduced caffeine - I have been drinking decaf drinks since end of May. No energy spikes and I feel calmer.

  • Simplifying - Creating diary space to breath more, grow and enjoy our own fruit and vegetables, marvel in the sunshine, not over stretching with commitments, letting go expectations to do lots of creative work based writing and connecting authentically and wholeheartedly. I also turned down facilitating training in London in Sept because I would over stretched myself. This was a tough but important decision.

  • Wishing Others Well - Daily practice of offering silent wishes of good will and care and gratitude towards others. Being kind costs nothing but goes a long way. I have really made the effort to hold the gate open for riders as they pass the house (and have a lovely sniff of the horses :)) or a door in the car park for others. I have reached out and congratulated others on their work and developments. Doing this with an open heart and letting go of any unnecessary comparisons. We are all on our own path.

  • Connect With The Homeless - I make time time each month to stop and have a chat with homeless people on the street, stroke their pets (I met a wonderful ferret) and give £10 in food or money.

  • Savouring - My relationship with light, the orchestral sounds of dawn/dusk with the windows/doors open, cleaning our windows in prep for Autumn so to capture it in it’s fullest, daily check-in time with Jonathan/family and good cup of tea.

  • Travel - Had a staycation and enjoyed exploring the North Norfolk coast.

  • Serving - Nurturing the business as it evolves at a pace that feels healthy. Offering our practice space freely every fortnight to the Norwich OCD Peer Support (NOPS) Group (https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/support-group/norwich-ocd-peer-support-nops-group)

Other Creative Exploration

As Oprah says, “ We only get in life what we have the courage to ask for”. I love this because for me, it can be just about getting started with things especially when it comes to writing, photography, putting the business out there, taking risks to reach out or send that important email and also knowing when to say no and knowing it is not the right time. Here’s some of things I’ve done this summer.

  • Writing - Started to write more openly and freely from my own voice for the business rather that feeling the need to hold back in case I sound a bit other there. I am embracing all of it in the service of myself and the business to grow authentically. Feedback has been really helpful.

  • Pacing - totally taking the pressure peddle off the need to be anywhere other that where we are and at the same time to work towards a flexible timeline.

  • Absorbing - Staying open to exploring new reading and podcasts.

  • Photography - Finding our voice gradually as a business with image exploration. Also just playing with the camera.

  • Connecting - Reaching out and connecting with others that I really admire in their field which has been really inspiring and helpful. People are really so helpful. Making new friends.

  • Contributions & Training - I had the honour of working along side world class therapists as conference committee member as part of the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS) World Conference held in Canada. I did the work remotely and contributed to the review of workshop submissions. To see my name amongst some people I hugely admire in the field is just amazing. Next year it is in Dublin (yes!) I went to the British Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) annual summer Conference in Glasgow and attended some really great workshops and symposia. I also signed Jonathan up to IDEO training which felt very exciting to encourage him to nurture his gifts.

Question 2

What’s Didn’t Go So Well?

  • Holidays - I had sporadic days off here and there. I want to try and work at having block time off going forward.

  • Marketing - I am still trying to talk less like a clinician when it comes to the lifestyle stream of the business. Sometimes I can talk using jargon which reduces my opportunity to connect with our wider growing community. I am really working on this as I get really helpful feedback along the way.

  • Driving - Had planned to take my driving test this summer. I never made time for it. I will keep driving with Jonathan in the meantime. It doesn’t feel so important right now.

  • Writing - That book I keep talking about and developing MML products, talks and events. I decided to hold back, take my time, let others help, enjoy and involve others in the process.

Questions 3

What Am I Working Towards?

  • Embracing the life that is here fully with an open mind and heart no matter what

  • Daily immersion in nature

  • Daily immersion in the creative process

  • Daily quality time with Jonathan and Basil

  • Cultivating intimacy and authenticity in my relationships

  • Continue to work towards balanced living

  • Continue to solidify the business model

  • Authentic Service

  • Writing that book

  • Creating talks and events

  • Collaborating with others with similar values and interests

  • Creating products

  • Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

The Bottom Line

I am truly blessed. I will continue to greet each day with fresh eyes and an open heart and bring loving kindness, care, creativity and integrity to all I do. I hope if you are reading this far then this might be useful and helpful for you in your life. I would love to hear how you found reading this and what was most helpful about it. What would also be great is to hear how you got on with your own review if this has inspired you!

With Metta

Catherine

Therapy | Birth Trauma & Treatment | Birth Trauma Awareness Week July 1st-8th

birth-trauma-awareness-week-moore-moore-living-cbt-therapy-norwich.jpg

 

"No one ever told me it was going to be like this". "I felt completely helpless and out of control". "I felt like no one was taking my views or feelings into account". "Maybe this is what everyone experiences and I am a bad Mum for not coping like everyone else". 

In an age when women are being empowered to be strong and authentic, I wish from the bottom of my heart that individually and as a society we could refrain from using the term "yummy mummy". It creates a status of "motherhood perfection" which is an unhealthy and toxic ideal which breeds amongst social media and baby and toddler groups. I wish women could truly and genuinely support each other more. 

25-34% of all women find some aspect of their birth experience traumatic and it can lead to prolonged distress for everyone involved (Mum, Dad (including same sex couples) and baby). Key themes that are often part of birth trauma are feeling out of control, unheard, helpless or fearing they might die or their baby might die during labour. It can lead women to fear having another pregnancy or avoid/delay getting pregnant again.

When we talk of birth trauma, we mean Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that occurs after childbirth. We also include those women who may not meet the clinical criteria for PTSD but who have some of the symptoms of the disorder. Quite often this can be in the background of Postnatal Depression and/or Anxiety and identified at assessment. 

Characteristic features of PTSD include:

  • An experience involving the threat of death or serious injury to an individual or another person close to them (e.g. their baby).

  • A response of intense fear, helplessness or horror to that experience.

  • The persistent re-experiencing of the event by way of recurrent intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares. The individual will usually feel distressed, anxious or panicky when exposed to things which remind them of the event.

  • Avoidance of anything that reminds them of the trauma. This can include talking about it, although sometimes women may go through a stage of talking of their traumatic experience a lot so that it obsesses them at times.

  • Bad memories and the need to avoid any reminders of the trauma, will often result in difficulties with sleeping and concentrating. Sufferers may also feel angry, irritable and be hyper vigilant (feel jumpy or on their guard all the time).

It is important to remember that PTSD is a normal response to a traumatic experience. The re-experiencing of the event with flashbacks accompanied by genuine anxiety and fear are beyond the sufferer's control. They are the mind's way of trying to make sense of an extremely scary experience and are not a sign individual 'weakness' or inability to cope.

There are risk factors for Post Natal PTSD which include a mix of objective (e.g. the type of delivery) and subjective (e.g. feelings of loss of control) factors. They include:

  • Lengthy labour or short and very painful labour

  • Induction

  • Poor pain relief

  • Feelings of loss of control

  • High levels of medical intervention

  • Traumatic or emergency deliveries, e.g. emergency caesarean section

  • Impersonal treatment or problems with the staff attitudes

  • Not being listened to

  • Lack of information or explanation

  • Lack of privacy and dignity

  • Fear for baby's safety

  • Stillbirth

  • Birth of a damaged baby (a disability resulting from birth trauma)

  • Baby’s stay in SCBU/NICU

  • Poor postnatal care

  • Previous trauma (for example, in childhood, with a previous birth or domestic violence)

In addition, many women who do not have PTSD suffer from some of the symptoms of PTSD after undergoing difficult birth experiences and this can cause them genuine and long-lasting distress. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of these symptoms do tell them help is available.

Treatment: I offer both Trauma Focused CBT and EMDR which are the NICE Guidelines recommended treatments and are really effective. Compassion is an integral part of treatment and helping clients to develop a compassionate mind and heart towards themselves and the circumstances they find themselves experiencing. 

A typical course of treatment ranges between 6-12 sessions. The initial phase is all about learning how to understand what is happening and bring a compassionate awareness to it. The middle is about processing and updating unhelpful thought or belief patterns linked to the experience. And the third is about enhancing inner qualities of compassion as part of resilience for the future and parental life. Relapse prevention may include revisiting the place of birth, speaking to staff involved or attending a hospital lead reflection group. 

As part of my perinatal work, I will often involve partners. Father's access treatment too where the adjustment to change in role and increase in responsibility activates significant distress. Therapy considers the wider context and is here to help! 

"Just wanted to say thank you for all your help so far, I know it’s your job, but really couldn’t have chosen a better therapist to reprogram my mind and help me become a more tolerant, relaxed person. For the first time at aged 29 I feel like I’m really starting to enjoy my life!

Your emphasis on kindness, compassion, mindfulness and self care has been particularly key for me in this, as combined with the CBT approach has been a perfect combination and I don’t think either would’ve worked without the other. In a way (at the moment) I’m feeling quite grateful for the way the birth panned out and that it’s allowed us to have this time to bond when he’s more aware of his surroundings rather than when he was born and didn’t really know what was going on!" - Juliet

Recommended Resources:

 https://www.makebirthbetter.org/about

http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/

Instagram: @birthbetter @mumologist @drrebeccamoore @parenthoodinmind