Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Moon Cycle Bliss herbal tea

Menstruation is not a sickness but a sign of health and life. It is a call to balance in our busy lives, a time to honour inward energy and to nurture the self and the reproductive system. This nutritious and comforting tea is ideal for relieving the symptoms of PMS, restoring stores of calcium and other minerals, balancing female hormones and easing menstrual cramps.

Together with the Moon Cycle Bliss herbal bath, it is a way to acknowledge the monthly rhythm of life, promote rest and self-nurture, and bless our daughters and young women to value and honour their bodies and life rhythms.

There are four different teas according to your needs.

* The Moon Cycle Bliss tea - a lovely to tea to support healthy menstruation in any woman.
* The PMS-ease tea - start drinking this one a week before you expect your bleed
* The Cramp-ease tea - start drinking this one a day or two before you expect your bleed
* The Bleed-ease tea - to help ease excessive bleeding during menstruation.

Moon Cycle Bliss tea - a gentle blend to promote rest and self-nurture during menstruation. These herbs have been used through the ages to help balance the hormones and relieve period cramps. With Red Raspberry Leaf, Motherwort, Crampbark, Fennel, Valerian, Blessed Thistle and Feverfew.

Moon Cycle Bliss: PMS-ease

Contains:

Dandelion - relieves bloating, water retention, swollen breasts, muscle spasms, acne and anaemia

Lady's Mantle - strengthens the endometrium

Nettle - highly nutritious, rich in calcium

Yarrow - regulates menstrual periods

Valerian - eases PMS

Chamomile - calming

Red Raspberry Leaf - rich in calcium and other nutrients, tones and nourishes the female reproductive system

Moon Cycle Bliss: Cramp-ease

Contains:

Cramp Bark - relieves uterine cramps, relaxes muscle tension & spasms, calms anxiety

Sage - balances  female hormones, regulates the menstrual cycle, relieves painful periods

Parsley - regulates periods and eases menstrual pain

Valerian - eases menstrual cramps

Thyme - relieves painful periods

Fennel - benefits menstrual problems

Red Raspberry Leaf - rich in nutrients, tones and nourishes the uterus

Moon Cycle Bleed-ease tea: to help curb excessive blood loss during menstruation. With Shepherd's Purse, Yarrow, Calendula, Red Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, Chasteberry & Cinnamon.

Disclaimer: This information is of a general informational nature and does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any health condition. Any health condition should be referred to your chosen health care practitioner. Check with your health care practitioner before commencing to use any herbal tea, and be aware of any personal and family allergies.

These teas are not suitable to drink during pregnancy. A breast-feeding-friendly blend of each tea is available.

Cost:
25g = $5.00
50g = $8.50
60g = $10.00
100g = $16.00
200g = $30.00
small muslin bath bag = 1.00
large muslin bath bag = 1.50

Moon Cycle Bliss Gift Pack:

A 50g Moon Cycle Bliss bath sachet plus your choice of TWO 50g packets of the 4 Moon cycle teas = $24.00 plus postage (a savings of $2.50).

50g Moon Cycle bath sachet and 100g packet of Moon Cycle Bliss bath herbs


How to Use:

Use a glass or ceramic pot or jug, and avoid metal implements when making herbal teas. Place about a table-spoon of herbs in your pot or jug, pour on hot water, and allow to steep for about 10 minutes. You can drink the tea hot, warm or cold, and add a twist of lemon or some active Manuka honey if desired. Drink 2-3 cups daily. Store your herbs out of direct sunlight to preserve potency and flavour.

To Order: email blissfulherbs@bigpond.com or phone Julie 5966 5980 or 0432 105
When you place your order, please let me know if you are breastfeeding, as some of these herbs are not suitable for use during breastfeeding. I am able to custom-make you a tea that is safe for breastfeeding.

More support for healthy menstruation:

Nutrition and PMS

Diet can be a big factor in controlling PMS symptoms.

* Drink plenty of water
* Cut out or reduce saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, refined sugars, salt, caffeine and alcohol to help reduce the depressive symptoms associated with PMS
* Cutting out caffeine can also alleviate painful breasts.

Here a selection of foods that can help to balance hormones in the body and help to alleviate PMS symptoms:

* Flax seeds, soya yoghurt, miso and soy are plant oestrogens and help address and imbalances.
* Wheatgerm,brown rice, nuts and seeds contain B6 and zinc and can aid oestrogen and progesterone balance.
* Nuts also contain good fats that can lift mood and treat mild depression.
* Sesame seeds, broccoli, cabbage and other sources of calcium can prevent PMS.
Research suggests that women with a greater intake of calcium from food sources have the least PMS symptoms.
* Brown rice, wholemeal bread and other whole grains provide a slow release of energy avoiding a quick release of sugar into the system that can aggravate PMS.
* Chickpeas, lentils and mung beans contain phyto-oestrogens that help to balance the hormones.
* Wholegrains, wheat bran and other foods rich in fibre helps to expel excess oestrogen from the body.
* Calcium/Magnesium Chloride: An excellent supplement to help alleviate cramping and muscle spasms. It helps to maintain good muscle tone. Magnesium increases the absorption of calcium in the body. Calcium/magnesium may also help in reducing breast tenderness. Some women have found that chewing calcium supplements during their period helps with pain control.
* Vitamin E: Good for reproductive organ health and function.
* Vitamin B complex: Helps to reduce premenstrual tension. Brewer's Yeast may decrease the severity of menstrual discomfort, including depression. Some research suggests that menstruation may cause a functional deficiency of vitamin B6.
* Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: Help to strengthen blood vessels and capillary walls in the uterus.
* Iron: If you have heavy periods, ensure that you are not suffering from an iron deficiency.
* Exercise regularly. Women who are physically fit have a lower incidence or severity of menstrual cramps.

For understanding the role of diet and healthy lifestyle for supporting hormonal balance and health, I recommend the DVD lecture, 'The Dance of the Hormones' by Naturopath and mother of 8, Barbara O'Neill, available for $20.00
It is essential knowledge for all women, young and old.

If you or a young woman in your life is suffering from severe hormone imbalance or dismenorrhoea, there is help available:
* Women, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle by Naturopath Ruth Trickey - a veritable "Bible" for all things to do with women's hormonal health, from painful menstruation in young women, to conception care, to PCOS to menopause.
Available here
Contact Ruth Trickey here

Master Herbalist, Kami McBride, shares this wisdom about the menstrual cycle:

"I believe that nature did not create the menstrual cycle to be a sickness. The menstrual cycle is the nurturer and giver of life. It was not meant to be riddled with suffering and trouble. There are many cultures where women don't experience the PMS symptoms that we do. Why then does our menstrual cycle cause us so much pain?
In a society obsessed with productivity and output, it can be difficult to honor and support the inward energetic nature of menstruation. I feel the PMS epidemic is the collective voice of the feminine speaking and trying to tell us something.
Each month the cycle of life waxes and wanes through the female physiology. Women are biological creatures and the menstrual cycle is related to other biological cycles such as the moon cycle, the ebb and flow of the tides and the seasons of the year. Menstruation is an embodied dance of life cycles that reminds us of our humanness and our connection to the cycles of the planet on which we live. We can cultivate our cycles as a gift that can help keep us in balance or we can shame it, drug it and try to ignore it.
The current primary practice in relation to menstruation is to plow through it as if nothing is happening. The changing rhythm of our body cycle is not reflected anywhere in the calendar or work schedule. Menstruation is a built in cycle that provides us with the opportunity to restore and rejuvenate each month. It is a time when the female body releases, regenerates and heals. Menstruation is a natural part of our cycle that can take us into the regenerative and contemplative aspects of the feminine.
With the epidemic of chronic fatigue and exhaustion related illness, many women find that some of the problems around menstruation are the body letting them know that it would like to have a little down time during this monthly time of releasing and letting go. All cycles have a waning and waxing rhythm. When we are just constantly on the go, we forget that optimum health requires that we have time to rest and restore. The menstrual cycle is the perfect guide to help us find balance in our lives of over commitment and consumption. Let menstruation be a resource to help you move from the yang experience of outward expression and achievement to the yin experience of going inside and listening to the deep recesses of your soul. The menstrual cycle teaches us about harmony between yin and yang, dark and light, activity and rest.
There are many herbal remedies that can help a woman to work with instead of fight against the constantly changing rhythm of her body. Each month when you begin menstruation, take an herbal bath or footbath to mark the transition into the more yin part of your cycle. Take a little more rest time and drink a nourishing herbal tea or take an herbal tincture to support your menstrual time."

Read more here

Here are some ideas for creating ritual and celebration when our beautiful daughters become young women:

"You've been seeing the signs like a farmer notices the spring. And now the time is here - your daughter has begun her menses. Your graceful gazelle of a girl is emerging into a woman.

You sew her a wheaty-pack in soft crimson velvet. You trim it with purple ribbon and scent it with lavendar. You find your longest shawl for her to use as a rebozo. You buy her a set of cloth pads and a calendar. You talk to her about keeping an extra pad or two in a special pocket of her bag, just in case. You give her herbal tea and a herbal bath sachet of fragrant, nourishing herbs.

You think about perhaps a mother-daughter trip to somewhere special, for a night or two ... a place where you might bathe in the sea, soak in hot springs, or climb a fern-shrouded mountain and paddle in a shallow stream.

You wonder if you will talk a lot, or hardly at all. Either way, it is OK. Either way, you create a kind of Red Tent for your daughter to come to. You wonder if she would like you to draw henna on her hands, or make a daisy chain for her hair ... or is that too OTT, will she feel bashful?

And then, the time is right to give her the little book. It is a slim, small volume, formed of re-cycled brown paper. The decorations and illustrations are hand-drawn. The prose is practical, truthful, honouring and lyrical. The writing swirls and curls as the vines entwining the pages do. The wisdom is brief, yet profound, easy for a girl to enjoy and absorb.

What is within this little brown book?

What would you like to see on the pages?

What wisdom do you wish to bequeath your daughter?

What blessing would you bestow to honour your woman-child and help her embrace this new phase of her life-cycle with grace and dignity?

What essential knowledge would you wish for her to have, about her body, her moon-cycles, her fertility, her birthing self, her soul-self, her spirit-self?" 

This article, 'How Menstrual Shame Affects Birth' informs our understanding of how honouring menarche as an important rite of passage for young women prepares them to be positive, confident and empowered as they approach childbirth.


In Western, industrialised culture, menstruation and birth are commonly seen as unstable, pathological processes requiring medical control. Girls learn to see menstruation as shameful and secretive. Menarche is a nodal event around which girls’ beliefs and attitudes to being female are organised. The perception of menstruation as a liability has foundational implications for future female experiences, particularly birth. Other cultures have recognised menstruation and birth as spiritual phenomena, with menarche and childbirth experienced as powerful initiatory processes. My PhD research explored the links between cultural attitudes to menstruation and spirituality, and women's experiences of birth. My feminist perspective recognised the power imbalances, patriarchal controls and structural inequities that oppress women in their intimate body experiences. Menstrual shame was identified as a core patriarchal organising principle that inculcates and perpetuates male dominance and female subordination. Engendering the perception of female physiology – and thus womanhood – as inherently flawed, menstrual shame was a key factor that predisposed women to approach birth feeling fearful, disempowered and vulnerable to intervention. However, my research also unearthed a counter-cultural group of women who had transformed their relationship with both menstruation and birth. Redesignating menstruation as a spiritual phenomenon enabled these women to dismantle their menstrual shame, connect with their female spirituality and give birth fearlessly and powerfully. For others, the profound spirituality of birth transformed their understanding of menstruation. Contrary to cultural norms, both menstruation and birth can be sacred female experiences which are sources of authority and empowerment.

More resources from Red Tent Sisters to support young women entering menarche

4 comments:

treebytheriver said...

From my experience of living in Asia for nearly 2 decades, I think this attitude is not restricted only to western, industrialised culture. I met Asian women living in profoundly patriarchal cultures, with great shame - and ignorance - regarding their female bodies and menstruation in particular. The c/s rate across Asia is 60% and rising. Sex trafficking of women, girls and children is rife in many regions, including the kidnapping of rural girls to address the shortage of marriageble-aged women due to a too-wide practice of female infanticide. These girls are literally chained up like dogs by their 'husband' until they lose the will to run away. One Chinese girl I lived with had no idea that her genitalia had three orifices. She thought she only had two and was incredulous when I told her otherwise. Many women I spoke with had very strict rules around modesty that I thought went beyong privacy and into the realm of the female body being disgraceful or disgusting. I think patriarchy and misogyny is wide-spread through many cultures the world over. My observation is that if there is something in the culture that does affirm the feminine (eg belly-dancing, henna, 'red tent' style menstrual rites etc) there are other aspects of the culture where misogny has a stronghold and the feminine/womanly power is undermined.

Tanja K. said...

I am absolutely amazed at how quickly the moon cycle bliss tea and the PMS ease tea have worked for me, all my PMS symptoms including water retention and breast tenderness have almost completely disappeard on only the second day of drinking the teas! So looking forward to soak in a bath with the moon cycle herbal bath sachet on the weekend!

Anonymous said...

The herbs have been a blessing!!! My periods are starting to normalise and the tea is a Godsend in helping with my cramping and pain. I have also taken on your advice from your Facebook page of using my period as I reminder to stop and rest. Thank you! From Kate

Anonymous said...

I have tried the Breastfeeding bliss tea, the Carys tea and the Moon Cycle pack with the tea and bath herbs. They are truly blissful! The Breastfeeding tea has improved my milk production,and it tastes great. The Carys tea is soul warming & nurturing. I have just used the Moon Cycle pack and I’m glad to say it has really helped with the severity of cramps. I have the teas either hot or cold and they taste lovely.
Julie has a great source of knowledge, and expertise and wonderful,
caring customer service.
Kirsten