Sunday, February 20, 2011

Equality Rights Alliance is celebrating 100 years of International Women’s Day with Sharing Young Women’s Stories, a campaign to fight negative Body Image and we need YOU 

Equality Rights Alliance is Australia's largest network of organisations advocating for women's equality, and they're running a body image campaign.
They (and we!) want to see more positive body images showing the beauty of real, natural women. They're calling on Minister for Youth, Peter Garrett, to promote 100 fashion industry businesses who sign up to the Voluntary Code of Conduct on Body Image. Guides Australia released a report yesterday showing that 63% of girls aged 10-14, and 75% of older girls, believe that the media thinks the most important aspect of being a girl is to look 'pretty and thin'. They want to show girls that they are valued for more important things than their ability to conform to an unrealistic and unhealthy media stereotype.

Click here to read more about this very important project.

A Gift of Flowers

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our Autumn Issue Out Soon!

Our Autumn Issue is due out very soon - and there's loads of new wonderful articles to enjoy.

We need to let you know - Barefoot Magazine is unfortunately no longer available in Newsagents. It is still available in some smaller outlets, but mostly we encourage you to subscribe so you don't miss out!

Scroll down and you'll find our magazine subscription info, on the left.

And we encourage those who can make it, to attend our next event on Bullying. More info here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


As a hospital play specialist and counsellor I am often with children in potentially stressful situations where resilience is called upon. Studies have shown that one of the greatest comforts for a child is the presence of their parents or caregivers. I recently attended a workshop by Petrea King (and the Quest for Life Foundation) that has spent over 20 years working with people of all ages and their families when challenged by illness, and other major life events. The workshop was entitled “Resilient Children” and it gave deeper meaning into what it means to be a presence or ‘present’ in a child’s life. There is a difference between just being there and being present. To be present with a child means that we are fully focused and emotionally present in the present time. This means that we are not forward planning what we need to do for the rest of the day in our minds, distracted, caught up with what just happened, concerned about what others think… Sometimes simply being there can mean only our bodies are present whereas being present in its full sense involves our all of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. An everyday example of my not being fully present was when I made my daughter a slice of vegemite toast when she very clearly asked for jam…  I had an internal conversation going on in my mind and was only half listening. Peter Levine who writes about trauma also tells of the importance in emotional first aid of settling and grounding ourselves first so we are then present and equipped to tend to the child’s needs. If we find ourselves or our child in a stressful or potentially traumatic situation then being present can become more of a challenge. If the parent/ caregiver is also overwhelmed by an event then it may be necessary to bring in another caring adult who can help tend to the child whilst the parent/ caregiver has time to calm, settle and ground themselves.  Children sense when we are not emotionally and mentally present for them and it can leave them feeling unprotected and overwhelmed. So one of the greatest ways we can support our children is by how we are in our ‘being.’
So how to be present and grounded? Everyone will find their own preferences, but it could include meditation practices or breathing into your whole body right down to your legs and feet. Practise the skills often and they can become easier to access under stress.
Sometimes due to circumstance if may not be possible to be physically there to comfort a child. Technology can help with the use of phones and the internet. You can also create your own rituals to keep connection with your child. This may be by sending kisses, hugs and love which the child may feel as tickles or a warm feeling, for example. Children can send their love too. And remember that the person you are wishing to feel connection with and send love to does not have to be living. Petrea has a lovely rainbow meditation available her website to be used for all these purposes.
Becoming resilient doesn’t have to be a sink or swim response when life throws us a curve ball. By learning to be more present, becoming more aware of our body sensations, becoming more emotional literate, and learning healthy coping and self care skills, we have a huge reservoir of skills that can be called upon when especially needed. Petrea stressed that it is not about what happens to us but how we respond that affects us. We can empower ourselves and children to have choices in the responses we all have.
Natasha Hund
Hospital Play Specialist and Counsellor

The Rainbow Mediation
Trauma-Proofing Your Kids
Peter Levine & Maggie Kline (North Atlantic Books, 2008)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Story of Jude

As you know we welcome birth stories of all sorts, here at Barefoot.Natalie has been kind enough to share hers. Thank you Natalie.

By Natalie Caruso

Like many women, I always knew that I wanted to have children ‘some day’ but I recall a specific moment when I finally felt ready to become a mother. Waking up one morning, I felt different. It was a Wednesday in July. I felt an inner knowingness and a sense of peace with the decision to have a child.

It took me two days to share this with my husband Joe and doing so was a very emotional experience for me. Once I revealed my feelings, there was no going back. I felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement as I was entering into a new and life-long commitment. It was a great responsibility that I was accepting in my role as a mother especially in the way I wanted to raise a child.

Being extremely motivated, I began to prepare myself for pregnancy. I have always lived a health conscious lifestyle and working outdoors at a health retreat on the Gold Coast provided a wonderful setting during the day. I also began regular massage and reike as well as keeping up my yoga practice and naturopathic visits.

Only a month passed, when Joe’s company offered him a promotion based in Melbourne, which would commence in a few short months.  While it was a great opportunity for him career wise, it certainly didn’t fall into our plans at the time. We were renovating and planning a move soon and I had always imagined being around my family, as we began our own. I was also very close to my grandfather and I really wanted to be close to him in Queensland in his final years.  At the same time though, supporting my husband in his career was important to me and so after much discussion we decided that he would accept the promotion, ‘trialling’ things for a few months.

Around two months later, before he was due to go, I realised my period was late and I decided to do a home pregnancy test. Joe had just returned from buying some fresh bread as we waited impatiently for the little grey line to appear.  As it did, a wave of emotion swept through both of us ….we had created a child and our life was about to change forever.

My grandfather was in hospital at this time and we looked forward to sharing the news with all the family at his bedside knowing that it would cheer him up considerably.

Over the next month, our renovation neared completion and we packed up and we moved into our new home.  Moving was the last thing I felt like doing in my early days of pregnancy but I wanted to make our new place feel like ‘home’ for us before Joe went to Melbourne.  Unfortunately, the smell of paint and everything new coupled with my pregnancy made me feel very nauseous. When Joe left for Melbourne, I lasted all of two weeks before I decided to move into Mum’s. The nausea stayed but I felt happier being close to my mum at this time and my family was reassured that I wasn’t going to be alone.

Within a few days of moving into Mums our little poodle ‘Missy’ of thirteen years began to deteriorate and passed away which left me devastated. This, coupled with missing my husband, not being able to share my pregnancy with him and the uncertainty of where his career may lead us, left me very sad. I loved spending time with mum and I had envisaged that she’d be close to me throughout this most important time in my life. However, as often happens in life, it seemed that my journey was about to take a different path.

At three months pregnant, I packed up my house up for the second time, moved everything into storage and joined Joe in his family’s home in Melbourne. Whilst Joe was enjoying his new role, there was so much uncertainty around what we were going to do; where we would live and for how long? What I knew for sure was that I wanted to birth naturally in the peaceful environment of home….the only problem was…I didn’t have a home.

It took us five frustrating months to finally find a place to live and by this time I was eight months pregnant. I was so relieved and grateful to finally have my own space and to get myself prepared for birth and the new baby that was entering our lives.

Being in Melbourne was extremely upsetting for my family.  We missed each other terribly and this coupled with the decline in my Grandfathers health made things very emotional for all of us. I was torn between my existing family and the new life I was creating. I felt helpless being so far away. But I needed to be focussed on what was happening in my own life and so I directed all my energy towards setting up our home and preparing for our child.

Despite feeling the emotional turmoil my body responded beautifully to my pregnancy. I continued with my yoga practice, went on regular walks and connected with my child on a daily basis, instilling trust in both of us for what was about to come. This time of turning inward gave me the strength to deal with the challenges life was presenting to me.

My dear friend Marion who was very experienced with homebirth came down from the Gold Coast to stay with us in the week prior to my due date. It was a wonderful supportive time for both Joe and I.

Two days before my due date my waters broke during the night. I wasn’t sure what to do so I grabbed some towels and returned to bed to try and get some rest. It was difficult to sleep with feelings of excitement and anticipation of what was to come. I was in deep trust and felt no fear at all. Whilst I loved my pregnancy and never got to the stage of wanting it to be over, I was also looking forward to finally meeting the beautiful child that was growing inside me. By 10am the next morning I was in labour and my child was on its way.

It was my husband and Marion who nurtured and coached and me through the experience of labour with exceptional dedication and presence.  ‘Rescue Remedy’ and lots of water were my other vital companions. We utilised the bath (which certainly helped with easing the discomfort of contractions) and moved around the entire house to get things progressing.

Halfway through the day, I was lying on our bed when all of a sudden I smelled a dreadful odour coming through the window. I later learned that our darling Marion had forgotten about the ‘heat wheat’ she was warming up in our microwave when it suddenly blew up, sending her running around the house with a burning heat wheat in her hand. In desperation she threw it out the front door.  Little did she realise that my bedroom window was open and right nearby. We never replaced the microwave. I’ve never been a fan of those anyway.

After a 22 hour labour and pushing for almost 5 hours we were finally blessed with a beautiful, healthy nine pound baby boy at 9:10am Wednesday the 18th of June 2008.  As planned with a ‘Lotus Birth’ we kept his umbilical cord attached.

I’ll never forget when he was first placed on my chest. Wrapped in warm bunny rugs, his big bright eyes looked directly into mine, and deep into my soul. I felt an overwhelming sense of love for him and a connection that is simply beyond words. It was one the most beautiful moments I have ever known.

Believing in myself, trusting in my body’s wisdom and feeling so compelled to give my child the best natural start to life is what gave me the courage to do what I did. Having total trust in Marion and her gentle guidance in addition to the support and encouragement from my amazing husband gave me the strength to get through one the most challenging events I have ever experienced. I will always remember how enduring and dedicated they were to me in my time of need.

Five days later whist in the bath, Jude’s umbilical cord detached itself leaving a beautifully healed navel. It was so incredible to honour this natural process and witness it taking place.

Three months later Jude Michael (Michael after my Grandfather) was christened on the Gold Coast. Three short weeks after that my dear grandfather passed away. I am so happy that he was able to meet our beautiful Jude and that Jude was able to meet him.

Jude is now 2 and a half. I feel immense gratitude having this beautiful little soul in my life allowing me to guide and nurture him intuitively and instinctively. Being with him reminds me to be present, to breathe and to love unconditionally. I am totally in wonder and awe of his beauty and his brilliance every day.

Natalie is a full time mother and lives in Melbourne’s North Eastern suburbs. She has worked in the health and wellness industry for many years, including Camp Eden Health Retreat on the Gold Coast. She has also been a Registered Nurse and worked in the Beauty and Fashion industries. She loves animals, being outdoors and is currently writing children’s books which she hopes to publish in the future. She embraces a healthy, positive and conscious approach to life and motherhood and is passionate about sharing this with others.

Our Summer Subscription Winner!

We have a winner! 

Congratulations to Jacinda Brown from Bachelor, NT for winning Stephen Michael King's illustrations! Her entry is below:

Creativity is akin
to what I do when gardening .
Inspired energy motivates, propagates
...Ideas grown
From seeds sown
Care and nourishment germinates, creates
strong roots,
blossom and fruits.

copyright Stephen Michael King