Momleader

Message to my webinar attendees 24.4.2020

Hope this finds you well. This morning we prayed that God will help us to strengthen the family altar. I truly believe God has called us into a powerful season as mothers in Zion.In this season, God desires for family foundations to be strengthened better than ever. Connecting with our children and partners like never before. That vision will require an unwavering commitment and understanding that with God’s help we can do all things. I pray that you find time to truly connect/ know and understand your child/ren. To be committed to praying and speaking Gods promises concerning them.

In the mad rush of previous life, we were robbed of those opportunities. May God help us all. Simple things such as eating together at the dinner table with no phones, are powerful. Be committed to conversations at the dinner table. Start with simple questions such as ‘how has been your day? what did you like and what didn’t you like. Share what you personally enjoyed during the day, what were your struggles and how are you are finding solutions to those challenges.

Whilst it’s tempting to let the children do their own things especially if they are older or even adults, this is a perfect opportunity to effect their lives. Reach out in love. It may be uncomfortable at the start if you are not used to this, believe me, it’s worth the try and sticking it out.

This is also a great time to uproot those teachings in our schools and society. For months some of us were worried about the primary school curriculum. Here we are and it’s our opportunity to plant the truth into the hearts and minds of our children. Remember no topic is out of bounds. Talk about friendships, relationships, sex, faith etc. Our children desire to hear our honest opinions on these matters because we are their parents and they look up to us. Yes, I know sometimes it may look as if they don’t, listen, they do.

How about looking back to the family photos albums that have been piling up for years? It’s also a great opportunity to connect. If there are baby photos, share your pregnant journey. If possible, try not to focus on the glossy bits only, share the struggle and upheavals because life is like that.

Talk about your vision of a family. What do you hope to accomplish as a family.? What values are important to you as a family. For example, mine as a mother family, love and service. I am always encouraging and explaining to my two that family life is important and that value is demonstrated through actions. Things such as the regular video calls to my parents, WhatsApp chats with my siblings and phone calls to the sisters in my life. Relationships are important and we invest time and efforts. My children are fortunate to see some of the impact some of you have in my life.

May Gods love surround you always. May His peace reign supreme in your homes.

With love and blessings

Fadzai 🌸

Mums matter

*First published in April, 2018*

Mums do matter. A cliche’, yes, it may sound just about that, however, this is today’s theme for peri natal mental health awareness week. The week long campaign serves to raise awareness on this not talked about issue of mental health during and after pregnancy.

Mental health in certain communities is difficulty to talk about because of misunderstandings and misconceptions of vulnerabilities in people. How can you be sad/overwhelmed, unhappy or depressed when you are carrying or having Gods blessing? Yes, our children are just that, blessings. Sometimes those blessings come with challenges.

image from @metro

I remember how excited we were on finding out that we were expecting. Unplanned as it was, we were elated. Soon after, the vomitting commenced and it got worse by the day. By the time we got to second trimester, the plastic bag on my daily commute into work had become my friend. I was literally worn out on daily basis, couldn’t stomach much apart from the TM buns, ham and black tea. I looked forward to the weekend lie ins and not getting out of bed at all.

To a certain extend, I was fortunate to be at home in Zimbabwe ‘surrounded’ by family even though they did not know how to help or support me. The challenge with mental health is that even the sufferer does not know when to seek help because most of the time one is able to just smile through it.

So what are some of the symptoms and signs of pre, peri or post natal mental illness? According to charity mind, around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. The charity goes on to highlight that there are a varied reasons as why one may suffer mental illness, mainly

For us we had a few risk factors such as moving house, long distance commute as I worked in a different city to the marital home. The quick unplanned transitioning into parenthood, employment pressures as well as general ill- preparedness took a toll during pregnancy. We didn’t attend any pre-marital counselling. The ante natal classes that I attended were privately provided by a local Obs gynae and the conversation centred around labor and nothing more. The post natal care was publicly provided at a local baby clinic. This however, centred around baby weight, feeding and vaccines. We pretty much found ourselves reacting to situations and circumstances instead of being proactive.

When I had our second, the stresses were there as we had moved continents and I was adjusting to being a mature nursing student. Once again the Zimbabwe community of student nurses rallied behind me and supported me through severe morning sickness, tiredness, looking after a pre – schooler and unending assignments. This time I read and learnt a lot from my nursing colleagues as well as during my health visiting placement. I was armed with a lot of information and the experience was much better second time round even though I gave birth during british winter 😁

Whilst motherhood remains stressful, I haven’t felt the overwhelm and low in mood that I felt in my first pregnancy.

So what helps with maternal mental health?

-Talking to someone about your feelings help. Its important to let someone know how tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, struggling or sad you are feeling.

I personally have found exercising, meditation and prayer key to my mental well being. Long walks in the park or woodland allows me to clear my mind on busy days.

You don’t need to self diagnose, if your feelings/ emotions tell you something isn’t right, then talk to someone about it.

As mothers it becomes imperative for us to talk about our mental health with our children so they can learn. The report in the news highlight the worrying increase in children’s mental illness and lack of resources to support this demand.

Faith in action Charity is doing some work with faith communities about supporting members of the congregation who may need support.

Prayer, meditation and mindfulness do help as well. Being able to pray with someone can make a huge difference.

Mind is also a good charity to reach out to.

GP’s can help with referrals to support services. Talking therapies is a good service where you can self refer into depending where you live.

Other Public Health services such as midwifery, health visiting, social care and home start are also very good.

Don’t suffer in silence, here @intentionalmums we offer a listening ear if you are feeling overwhelmed, confused and challenged with motherhood or parenting. Do get in touch here.

Fathers tend to be left in this equation, yet evidence shows that partners can suffer from mental health too during the peri-natal phase.

We also work alongside other organisations such as Migrant Family Support who are able to assist with the issues that may be compounding your mental well being such as immigration issues, domestic abuse, housing etc.

Don’t smile through it. 💕

Links and resources:

1- Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/#.XMdbnjBKjIV

2-Maternal Mental Health Alliance https://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/

3- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/child-and-adolescent-mental-health-services-camhs/

Our children and their sexual health

IMG_7575Webinar 3.10.18

Growing up in Zimbabwe, sex was a taboo and not talked about. The expectation was that one should stay pure and be a virgin till married. Talking to a few moms, highlights that abstinence was never the case. Yes, most women got married to the men that they were sexually active with but they were engaging in the act way before marriage. It was felt that if someone had talked openly about sex, possibly things could have been done  differently. The fact that it was done behind parents’ back, made it a sinful act and that transcended into marriage thereby making marital sex complex in some instances.

This then poses the question’ how best can we prepare our own children to have good sexual health?’

According to the World Health Organisation, sexual health is defined as:

“…a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.” (WHO, 2006a)

   “Sexual health encompasses more than the act of having sex”

 

The implications of poor sexual health are recognised as early pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections as well as sexual abuse. What makes sexual health even more complex is ease of accessibility. The online world poses ,many challenges for parents and pornography is rampant (NSPCC).

With that definition we realised that the topic is very broad and needed to be streamlined. We then focussed on how do you talk to your child/ren about sexual health?

We agreed that there is the need to be honest, transparent, graceful and open-minded. We acknowledged that our upbringing, values and beliefs can be a challenge in embracing our children’s experiences especially where sex before marriage is concerned.

 

One of the strategies used in talking about this complex topic is using current affairs. If there is a program on television, use it as a conversation tool to explore the child’s understanding of sexual health. It is our responsibility as parents to talk to our children about this matter.

As parents we should aspire for our children to remain pure until they get married. A good question was asked about’ what do I do if my children admits to being sexually active, how do I handle such a matter when s/he is living in my house and not married.

                              What would Jesus do?

That was the question of the evening for us all to consider as parents/ mothers of faith. Dealing with this disclosure requires being composed and not being shocked as well as offering reassurance. We agreed that extending love, compassion is key to keeping the line of communication open. Acknowledging that there is a good and trusting relationship is a bonus and credit to the mother-child relationship. Whilst we may worry about STI’s, pregnancy, sexual abuse, using that window of trust can be a good opportunity to empower the young person with this risky behaviour. If a mother feels that they can’t breach the topic with the child, it was suggested that finding another person that the young person can talk to is important.

 

Our children want o hear our own personal experiences. Schools and other institutions may well be teaching our children different things to our value system We admitted that whilst it may be uncomfortable,  we should be willing to be honest and vulnerable with our children without jeopardising our relationship and position as parent. Talking to our children about soul ties, early pregnancies, STI’s and the joy of waiting for the right person is key.

A lot of the challenges with face as parents are to do with fear of being judged and shame. We encouraged one another, that our children belong to us and not for the society or community. Prayer remains a foundation and strategy of choice in raising our children. We continue to pray for them and ourselves as we partner with the Lord in bringing them up.

We remain hopeful x

Day 2

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Thank you Lord that you are a sun and shield around our children. Help them to understand and appreciate Your help and sustenance. May they know that in You is refuge and strength. We lift up in prayer those children and their families who may be going through very difficulty and challenging times, would You surround them with Your love and embrace. Make a way for them so that they may enjoy life and be a blessing to their generation. Help them  not to be a thorn in the lives of our children.

Thank for helping the school leaders in taking the issue of bullying in schools seriously. We break every lie of bureaucracy and sweeping things under the carpet at the expense of our children. Raise up warriors within the school environment who are really there for the needs of the children.

Strengthen us as parents to do the RIGHT things always by our children and not the easy way out. Teach us to look to You always in every moment and circumstance of our lives. Allow us by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit to parent as you would want us to: courageously with grace, faith, hope and love. Amen

Hope for mama’s

Day-1

“May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭33:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Lord I thank you for each and every woman who is looking for hope and confidence in their journey. I lift up mothers this morning to you. Many a times, our journey is fraught with fear, disappointments, and constant giving without much returns. Lord we commit ourselves to you this morning. May we know and feel your love today as we go about our day. Lord help us to receive it with joy and thanksgiving. Thank you father that our hope is in you in our position and purpose as mothers. We look to you.

Amen.

Fulfilling purpose, realising your dreams.

Dreams don’t thrive in a vacuum, without being supported, fanned, and bolstered.  And you can’t fertilize your dreams sufficiently all by yourself.  You need loving ambassadors, mentors, sponsors, and supporters who believe in you, and who see the future vision of you before it’s hatched.

These supporters know how to keep you true to your dream even when you’re so afraid that all you want to do is run. To launch your big dream into the world as a healthy baby ready to thrive, you need a “village” to support you.

I have been very hesitant to step out in faith. My past struggles used to stare me in the face, but my village has been nothing but supportive. Yesterday as I stepped into Airport Church for the parenting seminar, I vividly remembered the path the Lord had walked me through all those years that I sat under the ministry of Bishop Annie. In that moment, I felt vulnerable, broken and scared. I felt inadequate and unqualified. I sobbed like baby as I saw the grace and faithfulness of God starring at me in the very place that fear once stood.

The Holy Spirit reminded me there and then that it was the struggle that has brought me to here and now. There is no shame in my struggle but God’s purpose and destiny. I can never stand and claim to be qualified. He, qualifies the called so that His purpose will be fulfilled.

God says to Moses, what is it that you have in your hand? Exodus 4:2 .He poses the same question to each and everyone of us. Those things that you have encountered, seen , heard.. the hurt, pain, joy, laughter, setbacks, people and places . Those are the very essence of you. No one can tell of your struggles the way you can.

“Look to the path you have walked and know that there lies your destiny”

hope 💕

Wealth and riches

I choose my family.

As a praying mother, I have realised that it takes more than wishing and wanting your family to be united in love hence I pray about it.

As mothers there are so many things that scream for our attention: work, whatsapp groups, unending women’s activities, prayer/business conferences, ladies getaway breaks. Most of these things are very noble but what are we prepared to sacrifice in their place?

What are you choosing day? Where are your riches?💝