What’s Green Parenting?

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“#greenparenting is about making conscious choices, good for us, our children AND good for our planet. Creating little humans and accumulating stuff as we raise them, accrues a heavy ecological footprint. It’s their future after all, so it makes sense to be mindful about how we support nature, not only take from nature…”  –     Luxmama

In 2019, the European Economic and Social Committee along with Make Mothers Matter hosted a seminar highlighting the importance of engaging families as changemakers for sustainable development.

EESC President Luca Jahier explained that families, as the cradles of the passing-on of
cultures, traditions and behaviour to the next generation, have a key role to play here. Firstly, because parents focus naturally on the well-being of their children and this characteristic makes them natural candidates to pass on the message of sustainability.

Secondly, in view of the role of mothers specifically, in despite of shifts in society, more than a third of women in the EU still work for free while caring for their family members, and almost 80% of those working outside the home nonetheless cook or do the housework to a much larger extent than men. This means that, at least in the domestic domain, they are the ones deciding what to consume, and are thus primarily concerned when making more sustainable choices. Thirdly, still in view of the role of women: because, when working, women are still over-represented in sectors such as healthcare, care and
education, which are paramount for people’s well-being, and they can use their position to push for sustainable options.

Women thus have a crucial role to play and need to be especially made aware of this power and empowered to play it right. He affirmed: ‘we must stop living at the cost of our children. Instead, we must create frameworks for sustainable lifestyles – and we must act now’.

Here are 5 steps towards #greenparenting and a better future for our children:

  1. Composting, Refusing (waste prevention), Reducing, Reusing and Recycling

Consider consuming differently…

Yes, you’ve heard “reduce, reuse, recycle” it a million times. But this time we’d like to emphasise the “refuse and reduce” bit. In general, most of us are over-consuming, creating tons of waste. Consider consuming differently, buying bulk, local and seasonal, more vegetables, second hand and sustainable. Instead of opting for disposable products, turn to other alternatives, or homemade articles or use rental, second hand etc.

  • There are tons of second-hand markets in Luxembourg and lots more on Facebook.
  • Zero-waste consumption is now made easier by Ouni, a packaging-free, organic cooperative in Luxembourg. Other online options like Zwoice is also sprouting up.
  • Consider how you give gifts to loved ones. How about shifting from giving things to giving experiences or your time?
  • Consider eating less meat and if you do choosing sustainable options.

2. Vote for political players that prioritise the environment

Simple..

3. Learn more about climate change and support local action

Greta Tunberg has created a movement like no other. Children world-wide are standing up. Support this movement. Show your children you care and that they can too can make a difference. Children (before conditioned otherwise) naturally respect nature.

Visit Youth for Climate Luxembourg.

Visit the Transition Network Luxembourg, a non-profit organisation that provides an experimental space for thinking, researching, disseminating and practising post-carbon lifestyles and regenerative culture.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2019, Luxembourg already over-shooted ecological resources on Feb 16th…

Learn more about climate change and solutions here:

4. Vote with your funds – say no to players still investing in fossil fuels

Believe it or not, one would have imagined that all banks and other big players are supporting renewable energy all the way. Well it turns out, many are still investing in what’s killing our planet. So ask your bank where they stand. The collective voice of consumers are the strongest…

  • Here’s a cool ecological search engine powered by green energy and using profits to plant trees: www.ecosia.org
  • Do yourself (and the earth) a favour and check in with other services you regularly use (e.g. amazon, itunes, facebook, spotify etc) to see if they have made/have plans to make the energy shift away from dirty sources of energy like coal towards renewable sources.
  • Ask your energy provider if you can opt for renewable energy sources.
  • Next time you buy a car, why not opt for an electrical one (whilst ensuring you will recharge it with renewable sources of course). In fact, use your car less and opt for the growing network of public transport, cycling or walking. Your kids will love it too…

5. Speak up where you can

You’d be surprised how shifting to more conscious ways in your community is possible if someone starts planting little seeds (no pun intended)…

Where can you speak up so habits start shifting? At your little one’s school/creche? Sharing your enthusiasm with your friends on how your family managed to shift consumption behaviors etc (ensure at all times not to judge others, not yet understanding the urgency of the matter. That’ll just scare them off 😉

Thank you for just thinking of this, much love to you! Together, you would be surprised at what we can do!

Read more about Luxmama’s #greenparenting awareness pillar.


More about the Author

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Mother of two, holistic maternity coach/educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide coaching, healing and education in preparing for an empowered conception, pregnancy, birth, life and parenthood journey. She is an IMPI Maternity Coach/Educator, IMPI Holistic Pregnancy & Child Sleep Practitioner, Happiest Baby on the Block Educator, “Becoming Us” Facilitator, Dancing for Birth™ Instructor, Birth Advocate, Holistic Childbirth Educator, Reiki Practitioner, Head-trash Clearance + Fearless Birthing Professional and “Birth into Being” Facilitator (level 1-3).

She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, a non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and perinatal mental health by offering a variety of social and educational events in Luxembourg.

Mothering the mother, or the job of a Postpartum Doula


History of birth & postpartum

Mary Cassatt, Maternite 1890

Historically birth & postpartum were home-based. Up until the 19th century women gave birth in their home with the help of an elder experienced woman from there village at first and a midwife in more recent years.

The strenuous nature of birth along with the fact that breastfeeding was the only way to keep a baby alive mandated the great care new mothers received from the people close to them and from their village. Most people used to live in small communities and after birth the mother was supposed to stay in bed and learn to breastfeed her baby. The older women were there with valuable guidance and advice and the community was there to provide food and help with older kids and housework.

The modern era

Medical advances combined with the urbanization of societies meant that Postpartum care declined greatly in quality in the 20th century! Now we know that mum is safe, there are doctors that take care of her for 3 days at the hospital, midwives that teach her the basics and then off she goes…alone to the house with no one to help!

And then we are sad about low-breastfeeding rates and high rates of Postpartum depression in most developed countries! What we need to understand is that this should not surprise us. Breastfeeding is a learned skill and requires a lot of support from other women that have the knowledge to share in order to be successful! Dana Rafael, US Anthropologist and Breastfeeding advocate that studied birth & postpartum of around 200 traditional societies, said that:

breastfeeding was a physiological process that needed to have something in place in the culture or else the lactation function would not work. Breastfeeding needs support”

Also, birth and breastfeeding are energy draining activities and the new mother needs nutritious meals and help with all the tasks she previously undertook with ease. And foremost she needs psychological support, confirmation that she is doing ok, that things are going to get better, that she is a good mum! A new mum needs to be mothered also and in modern societies we have forgotten that…

In Luxembourg a recent survey conducted by Happy New Mama  showed that 65% say they were not prepared for life after birth & especially for the postpartum period, although 74% amongst them had received a Prenatal education course. When asked to describe this period the majority (66%) is on the negative side, with 27% responding “Very Hard” or “Not Good” and another 39% said “Average” which is amazing if we think that this is the period were we finally meet the person that was growing inside us for 9 months! When it comes to negative feelings, “Tired”, “Exhausted” and “Overwhelmed” were naturally on top but some other not so obvious were highlighted. 1/3 of respondents reported feeling “Isolated” or “Lonely” and 27% “Scared”. Finally, around 25% felt “Depressed” and experienced the “Baby Blues” with 11% reporting  “Postpartum Anxiety” and 6% “Postpartum Depression”. The majority of the population that took part on the survey relied on help from their partners mainly, 46% had an independent midwife visiting and 40% had one of their parents helping.
However, these numbers are only an indication) as Luxembourg does not publish data on Postpartum Mental Health!

Factors associated with a negative experience seem to be C-sections, especially emergency ones. And consequences involved lower rates of long -term breastfeeding (39% breastfed their baby over 6 months vs 80% for women with a ‘very good’ postpartum period).

Moving finally on what would help during that period, top answer were more sleep, a warm cooked meal or help with housework but “company, someone to talk to” was also chosen by 42%, which is in line with the loneliness of that period!

In Luxembourg the state provides some visits after birth from an independent midwife (sage-femme liberale). They visit at home, check baby’s weight, check the breastfeeding and if there are any medical or other issues with the new mom (e.g. excess bleeding, any infection, pain etc) and this is a valuable service for new mums. They visit in the first 15-21 days postpartum and reimbursed by CNS. However, the visit lasts 45 min and often there are not enough midwives in Luxembourg to cover the demand. Many midwives also offer other services in private and are an invaluable resource.

For sure the postpartum experience of women giving birth in Luxembourg is a topic that needs to be explored further and official authorities should start paying more attention to it as this period affects women’s well-being and is probably the most fragile period of their lives, mentally and physically.

Role of doulas

This is the point where, in many modern societies, a Postpartum Professional (or Doula) comes. The role of a postpartum doula is NON-medical and it’s focus is Mothering the mother, it is to give space to the new mum to recover from birth and to get to know her new baby. They offer practical help and emotional support to the new mum until she is confident and strong enough to take care of her new family. A Postpartum Doula will prepare nutritious meals, will give a massage to increase oxytocin, will take care of older kids, support and encourage mums with breastfeeding and give them time to have a nice bath or show some exercises to help recover from birth. But most of all she will be there to listen! Listen to her birth story, her worries and anxieties of being a new mama and to celebrate the most intense transition they will go through, the transition to Motherhood.   A postpartum doula is the village we have lost!

Because postpartum care should be given again the position and value it once had and because..

It is not enough to keep new mamas alive, we need new mamas to thrive!

More about the contributor

Christina Anyfanti is a Certified Postpartum Professional & part of the Newborn Mothers Collective as well as a Birthlight™ Motherhood & Baby Yoga Teacher.

She also has a Diploma in Counseling Psychology among others. happynewmama.lu

Let’s just be!

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Let’s just be!

My kid is starting school in September! I know, right. But I just had him! What happened? He is starting in precoce in the local school. They can start when they turn 3. In September he will be 3 and 8 months.

As a consequence he is saying goodbye to his friends in crèche. This breaks my heart. It took a long time for him to be happy in crèche and to make friends. Now he runs to the door and can’t wait to play with Peter, Eva, Youni and all the other besties! They have really formed a great group and he talks about them constantly!

The sad news is that all of them are going to start school in September and not in the same school. We have already said good-bye to Martyna. She will spend the summer in her home country and when she comes back she will start precoce.

Tears were flowing on her last day.

I was getting prepared to comfort my little sad boy and to explain why life is the way it is. But you know what? I didn’t have to. My kid didn’t seem too affected by this. To be honest, I haven’t dared asking him about it because I don’t want to remind him of it. So maybe he hasn’t realized it and the reaction may come later. But I still think it is amazing how kids just pick life up and keep going. He goes to crèche not the least bothered by the fact that Martyna is no longer there, but instead focuses on all the other kids that are there.

Kids are so present in the present! We, the adults, should really take note! We get so caught up in the past and the future that we forget the present. We forget to enjoy and play in the present. Kids don’t do that. Kids don’t think about the consequences or how much pain they may or may not be in in the future. They just keep playing because that is what is happening right now!

When we grow up, we forget how to live in the now, especially when we become parents! We worry all the time! Are we doing this right, should I have done this differently? How will it be in the future, etc. etc! We constantly worry, and the older we get the more we worry.

Let’s learn from our kids and be more in the present! Whether you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant to your chin or just had your kid, this message is for all of you! We can’t change the past, and the future hasn’t happened yet. The only thing we can influence is the present. So let’s get back into the present and be! Life happens now!

If you have your newborn or toddler with your right now, then try to notice how (s)he is breathing! Notice their stomach moving up and down! This is how you should breathe too! Breathing this way will calm your mind, body and spirit and will bring you back into the now!

Our kids are amazing! They are much more in touch with nature than we are! Take note and learn! I can’t wait for what other lessons my kids have in store for me! But for now, I will breathe and be in the present!


More about the AuthorGet real logo cropped

Anne Louise is a mother of two small boys and works as a Holistic Health Coach in Luxembourg. She helps her clients lose weight, gain more energy, increase quality of sleep and finally feel awesome about IMG_8083themselves! Struggling with weight herself for most of her life, she can truly relate to her clients and offers a safe space to talk about issues around food, body image and self-love.

She keeps up to date with the newest Health Trends and blogs about her findings. She also runs a Weight Loss Support Group on Facebook! Don’t be shy to get in touch!